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date: 18 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The lives of lower-class children in Rome must frequently have been sad and brutal. They would be put to work very early in life, and their hope for a good life and for social progress rested primarily on the goodwill of their owners and their own intelligence. The one thing that could provide them with a sense of stability and a feeling of safety was belonging to a domus, which included not just the freeborn but also freedmen and freedwomen and their descents: lower-class children. The various other lower-class children—abandoned children, the poor freeborn, delicia, and slave children—could count on the chance of a reasonable life were they to be included within a domus in some manner or another. So it is that these lower-class children might have thought their lives were good as long as they belonged somewhere.

Keywords: Abandoned children, alumni, delicatus, delicia, foundling, infant exposure, sale of children, slave children, vernae, working children

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