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date: 30 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The Roman family has become a vibrant and challenging field of study, and the growing interest in children in Roman culture can be seen as a development within this trend. Nevertheless, studies of children tend to focus on the later phases of childhood, with few investigations of the role and significance of infants. While the Roman life-course and the social construction of ageing are occasional themes in childhood, discussions the distinct life stages of development and socialization apparent already in the first year of life hardly feature in current discourses. In view of this imbalance in childhood studies, this chapter explores some key aspects of Roman infancy and earliest childhood, using archaeological, epigraphic, and historical evidence to gain insight into the attitudes towards the very young, and particularly those under the age of one year, in both life and death, and, sometimes, even before birth.

Keywords: Roman, infancy, epigraphy, status, identity, textual sources, birth

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