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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



in ancient Rome, a private workhouse for slaves. Ergastula were built underground on the villas of slaveholders or, less often, in city dwellings. Slaves kept there were shackled and were overseen by other slaves. In ancient Rome, the word “ergastulum” sometimes referred to all the slaves on an estate.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A Roman workhouse for slaves or debtors.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
(3.) On slaves in houses, Baird 2012, 160; ergastulum at Chalk, Kent, Webster 2005, 166-8; landscapes of control, Friedman 2009.
Reduce this noble race to working in the ergastulum like Negroes and Chinese, and they rebel....
Monastic imprisonment received its initial papal endorsement in the fourth century when Pope Siricius (384-399), advising Bishop Himerus on a number of disciplinary questions, ordered "sacrilegious" and "lascivious" monks to be confined in a monastic cell (ergastulum) in "continual lamentation," that they may achieve purification through "penitential fire." (61)