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Title: The behavioural and emotional reaction of the Romans to infant mortality
Author: King, Margaret
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1997
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This thesis examines the behavioural and emotional response of the Romans, at both the societal and individual level, to the death of a child in infancy during the period c.200 BC-AD 235. Part A discusses the extent to which Roman parents were indifferent to the welfare of infant children. Variations in parental concern and treatment are accepted, but an examination of the evidence shows that the attitudinal and behavioural patterns of the Romans were in general child-oriented. Part B explores the specific theme of the response to the loss of a child in infancy within the context of the popular view that the Romans were unaffected by infant death. The study of infant burial practices, funerary rites and afterlife beliefs reveals that at the societal level there was no expectation that Roman parents should be thorough in the treatment of infants in death. However, the archaeological evidence demonstrates that a number of parents were burying their infants in the same manner as adults and older children. The principal hypothesis of this thesis that Roman parents could have grieved emotionally for the loss of an infant is complicated by difficulties in the literary and epigraphic sources. These problems are recognised and it is acknowledged that large number of infant deaths could have passed by unlamented. But a considered analysis of the source material, combined with current theories of attachment and bereavement, suggests that expressions of grief recorded in literature and on tombstones could have been a genuine reflection of the feelings of the bereaved individual.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available