People

 

Gold necklaces once worn by wealthy ladies from Philippopolis, the 2nd Century, Plovdiv Archaeological MuseumGold necklaces once worn by wealthy ladies from Philippopolis, the 2nd Century, Plovdiv Archaeological Museum

In the 6-7th centuries nothing could stop the arrival of the Slavs. Their mass migration changed the Balkans' demography forever. In the beginning, they settled outside cities, Philippopolis being no exception. Soon, however, they became townsfolk.

The people of Philippopolis were also divided by class.

Slaves were at the bottom of the social pyramid, although their number was never that big as in ancient Greece or Rome. The reason is historical – slaves in the pre-Roman Thracian society were usually prisoners of war, and trade in humans never really took off. Instead, Thracian kings ruled over free small-time villagers and craftsmen. With the Romans' arrival, however, slavery became more common. Cheap labour was crucial for big workshops and farms, catering for the imperial market. Even the city owned people and used them for menial jobs like cleaning the water pipes or maintaining the streets.

Some slaves were freed by their master. This never meant complete freedom as the former slaves and their offspring were supposed to remain loyal to their former masters. In the 4th Century the freeing of slaves was encouraged but the subservience of so-called libertines remained.