Children and the Memory of Parents in the Late Roman World

Ville Vuolanto

in Children, Memory, and Family Identity in Roman Culture

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780199582570
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595271 | DOI:
Children and the Memory of Parents in the Late Roman World

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This chapter scrutinizes Late Roman childhood and the expectations placed on children by their nearest relatives. As source material letters and homilies of the late fourth-and early fifth-century ce ecclesiastical writers are used. Three aspects of the connection between children and familial memory are examined: children as carriers of the name and family traditions, children as tokens for memory by their very existence, and children as guarantors of after-death commemoration through patrimony and burial arrangements. As a result, the traditional practices of the non-Christianized (elite) families of the earlier Roman Empire appear to have been largely maintained: memory, carried on by one's progeny, was still a central way of understanding one's immortality after death, even among the Christians.

Keywords: asceticism; Christianity; commemoration, parents; death; history of childhood; immortality; Late Antiquity; patristics; virginity

Chapter.  7988 words. 

Subjects: Classical History

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