Two and a half thousand years ago, fifty miles south of Athens, twenty thousand men labored in stone. They haunted narrow shafts to extract silver from the earth. They did not labor for wealth, but for their lives. They died of accidents and violence, sometimes as examples or warnings to their fellows. Whatever their lives had been before capture was gone forever. They were owned, body and soul, and their value was less than that of the pick they swung.
The Mines of Laurion were not the first site of brutal slavery, and they would be far from the last.