By the late Republican era, slavery had become a vital economic pillar in the wealth of Rome, as well as a very significant part of Roman society. It is estimated that 25% or more of the population of Ancient Rome was enslaved, although the actual percentage is debated by scholars, and varied from region to region. Slaves represented 15–25% of Italy's population, mostly captives in war, especially from Gaul and Epirus. Estimates of the number of slaves in the Roman Empire suggest that the majority of slaves were scattered throughout the provinces outside of Italy. Generally, slaves in Italy were indigenous Italians, with a minority of foreigners (including both slaves and freedmen) born outside of Italy estimated at 5% of the total in the capital at its peak, where their number was largest. Those from outside of Europe were predominantly of Greek descent, while the Jewish ones never fully assimilated into Roman society, remaining an identifiable minority. These slaves (especially the foreigners) had higher death rates and lower birth rates than natives, and were sometimes even subjected to mass expulsions. The average recorded age at death for the slaves of the city of Rome was extraordinarily low: seventeen and a half years (17. 2 for males; 17. 9 for females). [page
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