Children’s mischief, delict and crime in the Roman Empire



Year of publication 2021
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description A new trend has recently emerged in the field of childhood studies uncovering the situation in classical antiquity. This approach considers the child to be an active agent and participant of the life in family and society, as opposed to the traditional view of the child as a mere passive object in the hands of the adults around. In this paper, I propose to follow this trend to push further the discussion of children breaching the legal and social norms as children could be not only the victims or witnesses of dark or violent situations that could happen, they could be as well the perpetrators committing an offense or even violence. Focusing on extant legal and literary evidence from the long-lasting era of the Roman Empire (though better evidence we have for the late imperial era), I would like to discuss our possibilities to reconstruct the phenomenon of children as active participants in mischief, delicts, or crimes and violence in Roman antiquity; how were they treated; what can we know about their motivation and experience. However, given the sources, only the frame of the reality in which the children acted can be reconstructed.
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