Children in the Roman Family and Beyond

Jens‐Uwe Krause

in The Oxford Handbook of Social Relations in the Roman World

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780195188004
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History

 Children in the Roman Family and Beyond

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  • Classical Studies
  • Ancient Roman History
  • Marriage and the Family


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This article demonstrates the status and conditions of Roman children in the family. The first section explains the demographic conditions of children in Roman society, including the high mortality rates and the various contraceptive methods used. The next section looks at the childhood of Roman children, from their birth to their coming of age. The roles of the mother and father are also discussed. The last section of the article discusses orphans and stepparents and stepsiblings. This article concludes that very few Roman children grew up in an intact core family; rather, they grew up in heterogeneous families, with stepsiblings and stepparents.

Keywords: children; demographic conditions; mortality rates; contraceptive methods; childhood; coming of age; parents; orphans; stepparents; stepsiblings

Article.  9677 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Ancient Roman History ; Marriage and the Family

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