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L'exposition des petites filles à Rome sous la République et sous le Principat

Abstract : The abandonment of children in ancient Rome is a well-attested practice. The present paper is concerned particularly with the abandonment (expositio) of young girls during both the Republic and the Principate. By re-examining and comparing various sources, works of fiction as well as historical documents, we investigate whether female infants were more likely to be abandoned than their male counterparts. On this question we have, in the first place, literary texts from the theatre (Plautus and Terence) and also works on rhetoric (Seneca the Elder, Quintilian). These are works of fiction. Among factual sources are the correspondence between Pliny the Younger and the emperor Trajan concerning children in Bithynia who were exposed but subsequently reared, and contracts from Egypt involving wet-nurses and referring to abandoned children. This varied source material helps us with the question of why little girls were exposed, and also provides a basis for demographic argument.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, November 5, 2019 - 3:29:36 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, January 14, 2021 - 11:42:34 AM


  • HAL Id : hal-02349154, version 1


Annie Allély. L'exposition des petites filles à Rome sous la République et sous le Principat. Annales de Bretagne et des Pays de l'Ouest, Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2017, Accueil et soin de l'enfant, 124 (3), pp.49-64. ⟨hal-02349154⟩



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