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0001 Unswept Floor Mosaic of a Roman Dining Room. 5th Century. Musée de la Vigne et du Vin


Ancient Enslaved Christians is a collaborative project designed to make early Christian enslaved and formerly enslaved workers visible to both the scholarly community and the broader public. It is framed as an inclusive project that takes its inspiration from similar projects in Atlantic history and the study of the ancient world. As a resource it collects together information about these workers in a searchable database and provides a starting point for further research. In keeping with the grounding vision that enslaved workers should be centered in our conversations, the entries are organized around enslaved workers rather than the objects or texts that refer to them. 


For more information on the methodology informing this project please see our Methodology page. For more information on enslaved literate workers and their roles in general see our introduction to enslaved literate workers.

All of the material contained here is free for non-commercial use in teaching, research, and academic publications providing that adequate credit is provided to the individual author. The essays, entries, methodology section, site text, and bibliography is covered by a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. For permission beyond the scope of this license please contact the project administrators.

History and Goals

The project began as an effort to document the presence and work of enslaved literate workers among early Christians in the first and second centuries CE. Though enslaved secretaries, copyists, and scribes had been noted by readers of religious and secular ancient literature, they were widely viewed as mouthpieces for their enslavers. Recent scholarship in book history and the study of Roman slavery has sought to correct this view. 


The second stage of the project, beginning Summer 2024, plans to document the presence of other enslaved Christian workers in the first and second century.


While some entries on non-Christian enslaved workers already exist in the database, it is our  aim to broaden the scope of the project further in order to create comprehensive data for enslaved women and enslaved literate workers who lived around the ancient Roman Mediterranean in the first and second centuries CE. 


This resource is constantly under development and is regularly updated.

Steering Committee

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Candida Moss

University of Birmingham

Principle Investigator and Project Lead

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Chance Bonar

Tufts University

Project Lead

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Christy Cobb

University of Denver

Co-Principle Investigator and Project Lead

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Jeremiah Coogan

Jesuit School of Theology

Project Lead and Lead Epigrapher

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Research Fellows

Darby Alvarenga, University of Denver

Joseph Foltz, University of Denver

Wake Gerbi, University of Denver

Kimberly Majeski, University of Birmingham

Lily Reed, University of Birmingham 

Matthew Webber, University of Denver

Research Interns

Max Foa, The Dalton School

Savannah Irelan, University of Denver

Our Partners

This first stage of the project was initially developed by Candida Moss and was supported by a grant from the Catholic Biblical Association on “Enslaved Literate Workers and Christian Book Culture.” We are enormously grateful to the Catholic Biblical Association for their support, without which this project would never have emerged.

Catholic Biblical Association Logo in Black lettering
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