Joel Pollatschek

Doctoral Fellow (Euthenia Fellowship)

Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies
April 2024–September 2024

University of Oxford
Title of current research project: "The Ideologies of Slavery in Ancient Greece"
Joel Pollatschek
© Joel Pollatschek

Academic Profile

How can a people simultaneously hold freedom as the highest good and enslave millions? This question has two parts: how did the Greeks imagine freedom, and how did they reconcile that idea with slavery. Much has been written on the former, especially in the contexts of the political sphere.  However, while scholarship has seen increased interest in ancient slavery in recent years, the justification problem has only been grazed while investigating other facets of Greek slavery.

I investigate this second question regarding the ideologies underlying slavery, focussing on both explicit and implicit evidence. By implicit evidence, I am referring to evidence that can reveal sentiments not stated outright. What are different metaphorical uses of slavery based on? What can the placement of manumission inscriptions reveal? This significantly increases the available data. Additionally, focussing on implicit evidence allows us to reconstruct something closer to instinctual opinions. What do the Greeks think about slavery when they are not actively justifying the practice? By investigating these questions, I hope to reconstruct how a people whose culture was so closely associated with the fight for freedom and, at least in much of Greece, equality among citizens could enslave human beings.

Research Assistant, FAIR Epigraphy project, University of Oxford

Research Assistant, Department of Ancient History and Epigraphy/University of Heidelberg

since 2022
DPhil, Ancient History, University of Oxford

MPhil, Greek and Roman History, University of Oxford

Erasmus+ Exchange, History/English Studies, University of Edinburgh

BA, History/English Studies, University of Heidelberg

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