Children and Everyday Life in the Roman and Late Antique World explores what it meant to be a child in the Roman world - what were children’s concerns, interests and beliefs - and whether we can find traces of children’s own cultures. By combining different theoretical approaches and source materials, the contributors explore the environments in which children lived, their experience of everyday life, and what the limits were for their agency. The volume brings together scholars of archaeology and material culture, classicists, ancient historians, theologians, and scholars of early Christianity and Judaism, all of whom have long been involved in the study of the social and cultural history of children.
The topics discussed include children's living environments; clothing; childhood care; social relations; leisure and play; health and disability; upbringing and schooling; and children's experiences of death. While the main focus of the volume is on Late Antiquity its coverage begins with the early Roman Empire, and extends to the early ninth century CE. The result is the first book-length scrutiny of the agency and experience of pre-modern children.
" … on account of its impressive thematic breadth, the high-level quality of its contributions throughout, and its deep, critical engagement with issues of method and theory, Children and Everyday Life in the Roman and Late Antique World should be required reading for anyone interested in the history of childhood. From the big questions that it raises to the experiential details that it captures, the volume richly repays its readers for their imaginative journey through these ancient children’s lives."
- Sinclair Bell, Northern Illinois University, USA, 'Childhood in the Past' journal, 2017
"The volume’s emphasis upon childhood agency and intersectionality is an innovation found throughout this edited volume, although individual contributions also experiment with other new approaches to childhood studies … Individual contributions would be appropriate for upper-level undergraduate teaching and certainly for graduate teaching and scholarship. The volume advocates forcefully for an agent-centered approach and, as such, represents a productive new direction for the study of children in antiquity."
- Anna Lucille Boozer, Baruch College, City University of New York, USA, in the Bryn Mawr Classical Review, 2017
List of Figures
Notes on Contributors
1. A New Paradigm for the Social History of Childhood and Children in Antiquity
Christian Laes and Ville Vuolanto
2. Agency, Experience, and the Children in the Past. The Case of Roman Childhood
Setting the Scene: Experiences and Environments
3. Children and the Urban Environment: Agency in Pompeii
4. Little Tunics for Little People: the Problems of Visualising the Wardrobe of the Roman child
5. Touching Children in Roman Antiquity: the Sentimental Discourse and the Family Christian Laes
6. Being a Niece or Nephew in an Ancient City. Children’s Social Environment in Roman Oxyrhynchos
April Pudsey and Ville Vuolanto
What Did the Roman Children Actually Do?
7. Leisure as a Site of Child Socialisation. Agency and Resistance in the Roman Empire
8. Roman Girls and Boys at Play: Realities and Representations
9. Age, Agency, and Material Culture in the Roman World: the Graffiti Evidence from Roman Campania
10. Why Roman Pupils Lacked a Long Vacation
11. Becoming a Roman Student
W. Martin Bloomer
Religious Practices and Sacred Spaces
12. Roman Children as Religious Agents: The Cognitive Foundations of Cult
13. Jewish Childhood in the Roman Galilee. Sabbath in Tiberias (c. 300 CE)
14. Resistance and Agency in the Everyday Life of Late Antique Children (3rd-8th c CE) Béatrice Caseau
15. Children in Monastic Families in Egypt at the End of Antiquity
Maria Chiara Giorda
16. Every-Day Life of Children in Ninth-Century Byzantine Monasteries
A Cruel World: Accidents, Disability and Death
17. Children’s Accidents in the Roman Empire: The Medical Eye on 500 Years of Mishaps in Injured Children
Lutz Alexander Graumann
18. Listening for the Voices of Two Disabled Girls in Early Christian Literature Anna Rebecca Solevåg
19. Children and the Experience of Death in Late Antiquity and the Byzantine World
20. How Close Can We Get to the Roman Child?Reflections on Methodological Achievements and New Advances