Culture They find a prison-mill in Pompeii where slaves and donkeys ground grain

Archaeologists at the site of Pompeii, the city devastated by the eruption of Vesuvius two millennia ago, have found the remains of a room where slaves and donkeys were forced to grind grain during "massacrery" days

Culture They find a prison-mill in Pompeii where slaves and donkeys ground grain

Archaeologists at the site of Pompeii, the city devastated by the eruption of Vesuvius two millennia ago, have found the remains of a room where slaves and donkeys were forced to grind grain during "massacrery" days.

This "prison-bakery" has emerged in what is known as "Regio IX" of Pompeii, where work is currently being carried out to secure this peripheral and uninvestigated area of ​​the site, its managers reported today in a statement.

It is a "narrow receptacle, with no external exit, with small windows with iron bars to allow the entry of light", where servants and donkeys were locked up to grind the cereals with which the bread was then cooked.

The discovery was made by excavating a house that, as was often the case in the ancient Roman city razed to the ground in 79 AD, was divided into a residential area, decorated with refined frescoes, and a productive area, in this case a bakery.

In fact, 3 victims of the eruption had been found in the facilities of this domestic bread-making factory, confirming that this house was still inhabited.

The discovery allows us to better describe how the productive system of Pompeii worked but, above all, the cruelest side of slavery, in which there was no relationship between the master and his servant (in ancient Rome the freedmen, slaves freed by their master for different reasons, they constituted almost a social class).

The worst and most cruel face of slavery in ancient Rome has an exceptional testimony, that of the second century writer Apuleius, who in his "Metamorphosis" narrates the life of Lucius, a man turned into a donkey and sold, showing the harsh reality of those contemporaries of his reduced to beasts of burden.

This "mill-prison" found in Pompeii does not even have doors and its only exit leads to the atrium of the house of lords.

"It is the most disconcerting face of ancient slavery, in which there was no relationship of trust and it was reduced to bestial violence," said the general director of the Pompeii Archaeological Park, Gabriel Zuchtriegel, in the statement.

In the grinding area, next to the stable, a manger has been found and, around the grinding area, on a volcanic basalt pavement, a series of circular marks that - it is believed - served to prevent the animals from they slipped.

The iconographic and literary sources of Ancient Rome, such as the reliefs from the tomb of the rich baker Eurysaces in Rome, who had an oven-shaped tomb built still visible today, suggest that the molars were usually moved by a donkey and a slave. .

The latter, in addition to moving the stone that ground the grain, had to control the movement of the animal.