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Discovering the Roman Family

Studies in Roman Social History

Keith R. Bradley

Publication Date - 25 April 1991

ISBN: 9780195058581

240 pages
5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches


These essays on various aspects of family life in ancient Rome offer an especially timely and provocative new characterization of how this most elementary component of Roman society was structured. Recognizing that a traditional nuclear model is necessary for a basic understanding of Roman family organization, Keith R. Bradley argues that a broader, more extensive context must be established if this structure is to be fully appreciated. Examining the roles of slaves, servants, and other surrogates in the upbringing and socialization of children, and concentrating on the parts played by wet-nurses and male childerminders, his book molds an entirely new framework for the study of the Roman family. He investigates the extent of serial marriage, especially among the upper-classes, and the effects of the widespread familial dislocation that resulted, and for the first time considers the prevalence of child labor in the Roman world, contrasting the experiences of upper-class and lower-class children. Bringing these themes together in a lively final section through a fresh, thorough examination of Cicero's correspondence, Bradley portrays the life of an actual Roman family. A seminal contribution to Roman social history, this book is essential reading for anyone interested in how the family worked and lived in classical times.


"Valuable contribution to the history of Roman family and life course."--American Historical Review

"A scholarly, yet highly readable and accessible set of studies--a valuable and welcome resource for those studying and teaching Roman history....Will also make a fine complement to Shelton's source book."--Paul B. Harvey, Pennsylvania State University

"Will adopt as a supplementary source in my Ancient History course. It is a unique and valuable resource on Rome."--Reuben G. Bullard, Cincinnati Bible College

"Enormously valuable, extraordinarily interesting, a gold mine of erudition, welcomed as a teaching resource in a subject area of critical importance."--Clyde Curry Smith, University of Wisconsin, River Falls

"Excellent for graduate students."--Elizabeth Adams, Frostburg State University

"A most timely, solid, readable study for all students of Roman social civilization."--Stephen Simon, Appalachian State University

"A most useful supplement to a basic text and a most welcome way to bring the Romans to life as a living society. Well organized and well thought out."--M.C. Rosenfield, Southeast Mass. University

"A very useful collection of studies--I shall certainly recommend it to students."-Ria Talbert, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

"Clear presentation of major issues. Excellent notes and bibliography. Individual chapters stand alone. Ideal fr upper division course."-K.R. Wwalkters, Wayne State University

"Tackles material, particularly the involvement of children in the Roman work force, that does not appear in general textbooks."--Elias Kapetanopoulos, Central Connecticut State University