With Dr. Eireann Marshall
Our understanding of the lives of Roman children is hindered by the dearth of evidence about them. Ancient children were not equipped with the plethora of toys and equipment which they have in the modern world, nor were they given specific rooms in their houses. From this, it is easy to think that children weren’t as prized then as they are today: there isn’t a word in Latin which is specific to babies and the traditions laid out by Roman forefathers limited the time parents were meant to grieve them. The reality, however, seems very different. Literature and art are filled with evidence of parents lamenting the deaths of their children, which were all too frequent given the high mortality rates. Naturally, the lives of Roman children depended on their status and we, all too often, hear the voices of the well-off, though there is evidence of children of all walks of life being treasured.