[Sca-cooks] Slavery in Europe

Jadwiga Zajaczkowa / Jenne Heise jenne at fiedlerfamily.net
Mon Jan 1 17:58:18 PST 2007

> Jadwiga Zajaczkowa wrote:
> > Now I'm completely lost-- what country are we in? Slavery had become 
> > uncommon in most European countries by approximately the 12th century. . .

[Susan's long list of evidence that slavery *existed* in period Europe 

My dear Susan, I believe the statement I was responding to was:
">     I have never seen "servants' allotments" for sugar, spices or 
> luxury products in the 15th century. What was available to those who 
> could not buy slaves was locally produced - not pepper."

Pepper does appear in the accounts of many households that clearly would
not have slaves, in England and other countries. A quick look at C. Anne
Wilson demonstrates a number of examples, such as the household of two 
priests who used a pound of pepper in a year in England. Other sources 
suggest that the use of slaves through the 16th century dropped off to a 
minor status good in most of Europe by the 13th or 14th century, though 
Russia had a significant slave population through the 1720s (cf. 
Encyclopedia Britannica). The purchase and use of pepper is far better 
attested in records and documentation than routine purchase of slaves, 
so I am unable to follow your equivalence of pepper use to slave owning 
in the places and times I am familiar with. For instance, Le Menagier 
gives little to no information about care and supervision of slaves, 
which he certainly would if he thought his wife would encounter them, 
but does give us lots of pepper use.

Is it possible, Susan, that you were originally drawing an analogy from 
a non-European geographical context, in which case it would be helpful 
to me -- or us -- if you were to give an idea of what other luxury goods 
besides slaves you would find equivalent to pepper use.

-- Jadwiga Zajaczkowa, Knowledge Pika jenne at fiedlerfamily.net 
"History doesn't always repeat itself. Sometimes it screams
'Why don't you ever listen to me?' and lets fly with a club."

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