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date: 01 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The engraved plaques used to seal burial niches in the Roman catacombs constitute a rich resource for research on the commemoration of children in late antiquity. By comparing epitaphs and figural decorations on plaques for decedents of various ages, this study examines constructions of children and childhood in a selection of catacomb complexes in suburban Rome. The plaques uphold some recognized trends in late antique commemoration and suggest new directions for inquiry into commemorative practices in sites of communal burial. How do the widespread cultural changes in the third- and fourth-century Roman world affect funerary traditions, family and community life, and expressions of religious identity? This study offers new perspectives on complex questions for which there may be no definitive answers.

Keywords: Burial, catacombs, childhood, children, Christianity, commemoration, epigraphy, iconography, late antiquity

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