Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Mors immatura : portraits of children on Roman funerary monuments in the west
Author: Mander, Jason
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2008
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Restricted access.
Access from Institution:
This thesis examines funerary iconography for evidence of Roman attitudes towards children, childhood and the family. Based on 690 portrait monuments drawn from select areas of the Western Empire, its central hypothesis is that the commemorations are best read as highly artificial constructs which reveal more about the social preoccupations of the commissioners than the lives of the children whom they represent. The first of the seven chapters defines the parameters of the accompanying catalogue and discusses the benefits of studying a diverse range of monuments (rather than isolated "show-pieces"). The methodological section which follows assesses the cultural limitations and identification problems inherent to funerary material and considers how the terms "child" and "portrait" are best defined in this medium. The four subsequent chapters analyse the following key areas: the ages, genders and attributes of children; the presentation and composition of the family; the iconography of surrogate and extended relationships; and the archaeological context of funerary display. In each case any emotional interpretations which surround the material are discussed and then countered with alternative, and better supported, social readings. It is argued that previous research has been based on samples which are too limited in terms of size, genre and geographical scope and influenced too heavily by a desire to prove parental benevolence and the existence of "love" and "affection" within the Roman household. By exposing demographic biases and iconographic problems, it is shown that commissioners were actually using the image of the child for overtly social purposes, with some of the results being subject to substantial, and hitherto unacknowledged, regional variation. The conclusion then reassesses a well-known example to show that while Roman parents did attach importance to their children, funerary evidence can only prove it to be of a social, rather than an emotional, nature.
Supervisor: DeLaine, Janet ; Smith, Bert Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Archeology ; Roman archeology ; History of childhood ; Roman ; funerary ; portraits ; children ; families ; valuation ; commemoration