Looking for children in Late Antiquity

Authored by: Geoffrey Nathan

Children in Antiquity

Print publication date:  December  2020
Online publication date:  December  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138780866
eBook ISBN: 9781315542812
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315542812-11

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Abstract

While Christianity brought new values and attitudes towards children and childhood, there existed nevertheless a degree of continuity with previous values and attitudes, functioning within a broader sociocultural continuum. Christian writers prove to be invaluable sources on childhood, often recording experiences of their own childhood. However, as in the Roman pagan world, the official law-code remains the most important source for children in Late Antiquity. While childhood was still considered to be a separate and distinct phase of life, Christianity brought new concerns, such as the fate of children who died unbaptised. Legal emphasis was on property and family succession. Infant mortality remained prevalent, while orphans could sometimes expect better treatment than before.

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