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date: 24 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter opens by defining ‘Roman’ and ‘children’ (in Roman sarcophagus terms) and problems inherent in both. The discussion starts with a brief description and outline of Roman burial practices involving sarcophagus burials, including how the city of Rome may have differed from e.g. northern Italy in terms of children and sarcophagi. The discussion then moves onto the reliefs that decorated sarcophagi and to the key question of how far their iconographies presented childhood as a differentiated stage of life and one which had particular resonances with Roman social ideals as played out in family terms, investigating the underlying issues in how children get represented, issues of family continuity, the portrayal of innocence, the dichotomy between unsocialized versus civilized, and the impact of Christianity.

Keywords: Roman, childhood, sarcophagi, Rome, Christianity, iconography

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