Full image caption
Leather whip with wooden handle. This whip has six thongs and a small handle attached to the thongs. There are fragments of two other handles. It is not certain what this leather-thonged whip was used for. Under Anglo-Saxon law only a slave could be punished by flogging. As he (or she) owned no property, a slave could not pay a fine or compensation for breaking the law, and was flogged for a minor offence, mutilated or killed for a more serious crime. Many household servants and farm labourers were 'unfree'. Some were born into slavery; others were prisoners of war; others were penal slaves (enslaved for having committed a crime). It was illegal to sell slaves of English race overseas. The slave trade persisted even after the Norman Conquest. In the late Saxon times most servants and farm workers were slaves and could be punished by being flogged with a whip like this one.
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