No treatises are specifically devoted to the subject, and jurisprudence was interested in slavery only inasmuch as it provided a source of revenue.
Greek comedies and tragedies represented stereotypes, while iconography made no substantial differentiation between slaves and craftsmen.
Slavery in ancient Greece was a common practice, as was slavery in other societies at the time.
There is no continuity between the Mycenaean era and the time of Homer, where social structures reflected those of the Greek dark ages.
The terminology differs: the slave is no longer do-e-ro (doulos) but dmōs.
He concludes that "one aspect of Greek history, in short, is the advance hand in hand, of freedom and slavery." An abundant literature of manuals for landowners (such as the Economy of Xenophon or that of Pseudo-Aristotle) confirms the presence of dozens of slaves on the larger estates; they could be common labourers or foremen.
The extent to which slaves were used as a labour force in farming is disputed.
As in agriculture, they were used for labour that was beyond the capability of the family.
The slave population was greatest in workshops: the shield factory of Lysias employed 120 slaves, Slaves were also employed in the home.
Xenophon indicates that they received one obolus per slave per day, amounting to 60 drachmas per year.
This was one of the most prized investments for Athenians.
It is difficult to estimate the number of slaves in ancient Greece, given the lack of a precise census and variations in definitions during that era.
It is certain that Athens had the largest slave population, with as many as 80,000 in the 6th and 5th centuries BC, on average three or four slaves per household.
The domestic's main role was to stand in for his master at his trade and to accompany him on trips. The female slave carried out domestic tasks, in particular bread baking and textile making.