It is often assumed that children do not really occur in medieval art. The problem for researchers is not so much one of finding representations of childhood, but of recognizing them. Medieval art has its own conventions and if we approach it with a present-minded attitude we are indeed likely to find only ‘miniature adults’ at best. This easily leads to a conclusion that medieval society neither knew nor understood the concept of childhood. Yet size and proportion can be deceptive: medieval art does not necessarily meet modern standards of naturalism and a small figure need not represent a child. This chapter considers representations of children in early medieval art, including memorials and monuments, placing these images in their artistic, iconological, and theological contexts.
Children’s Burial Grounds (cillíní) in Ireland: New Insights into an Early Modern Religious Tradition
Colm J. Donnelly and Eileen M. Murphy
Children’s burial grounds (cillíní) are a recognized class of Irish archaeological monument that were used as the designated burial places for unbaptized infants among the Roman Catholic population. The evidence from historical and archaeological studies indicates a proliferation in the use of cillíní following the 17th century and that the tradition continued in use until the mid 20th century. This can be linked with the rise of Counter-Reformation Catholicism and the role played in Ireland by the Franciscans of Louvain, who were strong Augustinianists. The chapter reviews the development of new burial legislation in the Victorian era and suggests that this led the Church to take greater responsibility for the burial of the unbaptized through the creation of unconsecrated burial plots in Catholic cemeteries. The end of the tradition can be ascribed to the reforms undertaken within the Church as a result of the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s.