Domesticated human slaves

Following up on Optical_Illusion's thoughtful comment, how do we select the traits of a domesticated human?

For instance, would you breed for smaller size and relative weakness to ensure docility? But then, is this useful? The 'slaves' would be poor labour, unable to move heavy objects or work for extended periods. So do you breed for size and muscle mass, which would require lots of testosterone which links to aggression. Fast growth short lives? Slow growth long working periods?

It's hard to figure out a physical phenotype for a generic 'slave' race, much less a behavioural profile.
 
It's less of a biological domestication, but I've had a recurring idea about a system of chattel slavery that implements an analogue of Newspeak from 1984 in the slave population, inspired by something I read once about some slaveowners speaking French among themselves while teaching their slaves English. While it would obviously require more work on a constructed language than "just dumb down the master's language", it would still take less effort than breeding an entirely biologically distinct slave race. Creating a conlang that could be taught to slaves that
  1. couldn't be used as a jumping off point to learn the master tongue through exposure and observation,
  2. would systematically eliminate the ability to express concepts counter to the slaveocracy,
  3. and could survive from generation to generation without developing ways to express those concepts
would be a pretty heavy lift, but less work in the end than the purely biological alternative.

Realistically such a system would require two adaptations to be viable. First, the overseers would need to use the newspeak exclusively when around slaves to prevent associating words in a natural language with physical objects or abstract concepts. Second, there would need to be a rigid demarcation between house and field slaves, such that house slaves or their equivalent would be sufficiently trusted to learn the master tongue but not pass it on to their brethren in the field/mine/&c. In the end this would likely result in two divergent slave populations: an overseer class with privileges and more expansive language, and a field class with the inability to easily express rebellious concepts. A rigid control of breeding and education among slaves could be used to prevent the newspeak from "degenerating" away from its intended purpose, possibly resulting in the decrease in critical thinking and self expression in the lower slave caste as time goes on.
 
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It is not viable economically.
Quote from the wealth of nations by Adam Smith, Book III, Chapter II:
"The experience of all ages and nations, I believe, demonstrates that the work done by slaves, though it appears to cost only their maintenance, is in the end the dearest of any. A person who can acquire no property, can have no other interest but to eat as much, and to labour as little as possible. Whatever work he does beyond what is sufficient to purchase his own maintenance, can be squeezed out of him by violence only, and not by any interest of his own."
 
instance, would you breed for smaller size and relative weakness to ensure docility? But then, is this useful? The 'slaves' would be poor labour, unable to move heavy objects or work for extended periods. So do you breed for size and muscle mass, which would require lots of testosterone which links to aggression. Fast growth short lives? Slow growth long working periods?
If I were to do this (which I'm definitely not but please don't look in my basement), I'd select smaller size, less agressivity and faster production cycle.
Intelligence and strength would be secondary, as really you'd only put them on menial labour with any kind of thinking done by overseers. As to strength, either you have more of them or you got pullies.
I'm gonna point to Green Antarctica again (loved it, would adore a hardcover) where you had monkey things (ghul?) pick cotton. They were not strong or particularly intelligent but they did the work
 
It’s rare for a slave population to have natural replacement, USA are one of the few exceptions. In general you need a permanent supply of new slaves to replace the low birth and high death rate. @John7755 يوحنا came with some exception from the ancient Middle East, but while those was called slave, they sounded more like a specialized social class/caste. Such social class can be a isolated population as we as example see with the Ashkenazim in Europe, who saw relative little influx from outsider in Eastern Europe. But we also have the Romani who saw large genetic influx from neighboring populations.

In general the more control outsiders have over the women in such a population the greater influx from outside population we will see, and you can’t domesticate a population without such control. It’s also rare for a slave master population to have a color split like in USA. Which make it harder to distinct the population from each other.
 
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Following up on Optical_Illusion's thoughtful comment, how do we select the traits of a domesticated human?

For instance, would you breed for smaller size and relative weakness to ensure docility? But then, is this useful? The 'slaves' would be poor labour, unable to move heavy objects or work for extended periods. So do you breed for size and muscle mass, which would require lots of testosterone which links to aggression. Fast growth short lives? Slow growth long working periods?

It's hard to figure out a physical phenotype for a generic 'slave' race, much less a behavioural profile.
The few attempt we see for ad hoc selected breeding attempt of slaves we see a selection for size and muscles. But this wasn’t attempts to produce a domesticated slave population.
 
It’s rare for a slave population to have natural replacement, USA are one of the few exceptions. In general you need a permanent supply of new slaves to replace the low birth and high death rate. @John7755 يوحنا came with some exception from the ancient Middle East, but while those was called slave, they sounded more like a specialized social class/caste. Such social class can be a isolated population as we as example see with the Ashkenazim in Europe, who saw relative little influx from outsider in Eastern Europe. But we also have the Romani who saw large genetic influx from neighboring populations.

In general the more control outsiders have over the women in such a population the greater influx from outside population we will see, and you can’t domestication without such control. It’s also rare for a slave master population to have a color split like in USA. Which make it harder to distinct the population from each other.
It would depend, but they were slaves by way of being property of the Assyrian monarch. They simply had a role that permitted their autonomous lifestyle when not being commanded. Generally though, slaves in Assyria were either:

-Prisoners at home. People for instance who committed crimes and fell into a slave status.

-Debt slaves. Akkadian law stipulated that people who were unable to pay debts, became slaves as a matter of course. These became chattel too, commonly, the practice was to immediately sell the debtor in order to regain your debt to someone who would use the person more readily. Most commonly, slaves were bought by rural nobles, the temples, the palace or urban merchants (especially merchants who forayed into prostitution).

-Self or familial sale. One of the most enshrined and protected systems of Akkadian law was the ability to sell you or your family to slavery. In these societies, children were assets for the family and selling excess children into slavery was common. And in times of hardship, entire families sold themselves to slavery and remained self contained slave families, whose children remained slaves and their children were slaves. Creating a growing slave population.

The rural areas of Assyria and Karduniash were inundated with such arrangements. In the middle and early Bronze Age, most peasants were freemen and farmers of their own plots. However, economic declines, famines and warfare, led to vast numbers of peasants to sell their lands and families/themselves into slavery under nobles. By 800 BCE, the common situation was large noble estates filled with large amounts of slaves who were chattel but typically were not sold due to the rooted nature of their slavery.

-Loot and pillage. This was the lifeblood of the economy in Assyria and were referred to as flocks and cattle. Assyrian monarchs were expected to take slaves every few months and donate 3/4 to the public for their free purchase.

The Itu and others, were a simple advanced version of the above and owned directly by the monarch. Their entire people had presumably been residing in Syria in 1070 BCE, but in the fall of the Hittite empire under invasions form multiple directions and most importantly from Assyrian imperialism, these people came under threat. Residing in syria, they were captured by the Assyrian kings during the Late Bronze age and their entire people were enslaved and deported to Assyria-Karduniash. Therein, they were treated as chattel under Assyrian military control and used as self reproducing military cadre, while their women and elderly worked in domestic works in the palace or by nobility who had been assigned positions in the state.

As such, the Itu could not be purchased by private citizens and were never bought, they remained a strict state monopoly and operated almost like a corevee. There are some instances wherein nobles close to the king, would request Itu for certain jobs and the contract drawn up, would be called a loan, as opposed to a purchase; the payments were made to the great king, as opposed to the Itu themselves. As such, they cannot said to have been non-chattel, but were more of an experiment of ruling and an increasingly complex outlook on slavery, society and monarchy in Assyria. The Itu were the first group to be made into a slave-caste people and were the most integrated in this system and from all that we know, were seen as paragons of loyalty, raised from birth by Assyrian bureaucrats and inundated with service to the Great Gods. Other slave castes had developed by the later Assyrian empire, such as large assortments of heavy infantry and bodyguards from Cilicia, Anatolia, possibly Greece and southern Europe and Cyprus who were forced to live in communes and stay among their group and offer their men as bodyguards for the Assyrian lords. They were prized for their stature and power in battle and in warfare, are mentioned as those who would carry the shield of the Great King.

In many ways too, we could say, the Assyrian government treated its slave warrior castes like horses. They were sometimes called cattle and state monopolies, as if they were natural resources. Horses for instance, were controlled by the state totally, it was considered impossible to purchase a horse privately for instance, one could only buy or be loaned a horse by the state or a noble. These horses too were sequestered into particular zones under state watch and control. The human slaves under direct state control, were much the same, treated as valuable resources not for the public and sequestered into communes of Assyrian watch.

I feel that in otl, the Assyrian example is the closest we get to the poster's wishes. Akkadian society, more than any that I am aware of, was based upon the dominance of slavery inundating all parts of life and interaction. The decline of slavery in the Sassanid and late Arsacid period in turn heralded the decline of traditional Akkadian religion and customs and its replacement with a more modern Mashriqi Arab culture.
 
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It’s rare for a slave population to have natural replacement, USA are one of the few exceptions. In general you need a permanent supply of new slaves to replace the low birth and high death rate.
That doesn't seem to be the case, considering domestic or generally non plantation based slavery. Slaves having natural decline is not the rule but rather a specific case depending on in which condition they are put.
 
Perhaps we can get rid of the intermixing problem by one group (preferably the slaves) being 'immune' to (the effects) but carriers of a widespread STD. If it is a fatal kind of STD, then intermixing is a lot more difficult.
 
You know I usually parse words and hold my tongue when I see stupid malevolence on this forum but for once, screw that; What in the genuine fuck is wrong with you people?
My question came from James C Scott's book "Against the Grain" where he talks a lot about the domestication of man and animals as well as early state slavery. It's a really interesting book
 
That doesn't seem to be the case, considering domestic or generally non plantation based slavery. Slaves having natural decline is not the rule but rather a specific case depending on in which condition they are put.
I'm pretty sure it is the rule. Very few slave populations historically have been able to sustain their numbers even in places where slavery was supposedly more humane.
 
I think you might have overlooked the labeling distinction made by genomes in these studies - the identifications of racial groups were made solely by genetics.
Why, yes, I did overlook the key data that you neglected to include in your statement.
(I.e. that the studies clearly show only male European ancestry.)
Funny how not including the thing one wants to emphasise makes one's point less clear than was intended.
 
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What about the Future?
For example Replicants from Blade Runner are prety much a slave species and one of the worse possible scenarios for the future.
 

Marc

Donor
Why, yes, I did overlook the key data that you neglected to include in your statement.
(I.e. that the studies clearly show only male European ancestry.)
Funny how not including the thing one wants to emphasise makes one's point less clear than was intended.
I stand corrected, I should have been more detailed. Thank you for taking the time to respond.
 
Maybe instead of selective breeding, a premodern society intent on dumbing down a group of people could use lobotomies. IOTL lobotomies weren't a thing until relatively recently, but I feel like it would be possible. We know that ancient societies were able to successfully drill holes in peoples head to release pressure after an injury. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trepanning#Prehistoric_evidence)
I remember a Law and Order episode where the criminal was lobotomizing victims with hot water once he made the hole, rather than with a tool.
Hypothetically, a really evil society could trepan slaves, pour hot water in, and bandage them up.
 
What would be simpler than my other idea would be what they do to the lower class in Brave New World. The babies that will be born into the lower class are given alcohol while in gestation. This could help lower the IQ of the slaves.
 

Vahktang

Donor
I seem to remember:
In a Draka novel they were finally getting around to making their slaves a different species, so that their boys ‘taking their due’ would not result in a child to muddle things.

The Ainu people in Japan were separated and breeding within their own population for so long that, had things continued, they were well on their way towards being a separate species.
Fifteen thousand years or so, I remember, but, I read that many years ago.

Oh, and Fafrd and Grey Mouser had underground cities whose air was circulated by tireless slaves pushing fan mechanism, bred for that purpose.

As with the answer to many of these, make it a religion.
Heretics, non worshipers, are conquered.
As a symbol, they are enslaved, marked, and sent out to work on the Church farms and industry, off in the boonies.
As new ones are born, they are born into heresy, marked, raised by their fellow slaves, to grow up to be a slave themselves.
Their heresy is repeated, made canon, their punishment, eternal.
To keep things going, the slaves never give up their own heresies, it strengthen them, makes them insular.
Further, it is considered their fate, reinforced, so that the domestication is social, as well as genetic.
Genders are separated, by walls, eunuch guards and miles.
Those that give positive slave traits are finally allowed to breed.
Said children are hostage, to keep down on rebellion and revolt.
Records are kept so that close family members do not breed. These become breeding records.
Regime change, the breeding continues.
Religion changes, the slaves remain being bred, their thinking still heretical and the advantages, for profits and as examples, too valuable to give up.
Repeat for nearly 5,000 years, until the modern era.
By that time, the heretics have their own language, known to them and their overseers and guards, who learn it themselves.
The overseers have long considered them non humans, and have passed it on.
The heretics also see themselves as a different race, and find no others except themselves to be considered a sexual partner.
I think this could possibly work.
 
As a symbol, they are enslaved, marked, and sent out to work on the Church farms and industry, off in the boonies.
If you want to add to the weirdness (say you're sort of moving to the outline of a novel in the New Weird genre, as a random example), those marks could be either facial scarring OR cranial deformation. This was in common use in several parts of the world (even in France up until the XIXth century!) and does not affect intelligence.
This could be used to mark the slaves, or the non-slaves.
That second option seems more likely as it'd be a mark of "civilisation", as you're even conquering your own body and transforming it. It was used to mark nobles in some pre-Colombian civilisations.
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