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female life-course  

Kelly Olson

The female life-course in ancient Greece and Rome ideally followed a set path, a path which would look different depending on one’s rank, status, race, and geographical location. Women of the upper and middling classes in Athens and Rome, however, were supposed to progress through childhood and marry almost immediately after puberty, producing children in their turn, raising them, and perhaps becoming widowed before dying in what people today would consider the prime of life.

The female life cycle changed according to rank, status, race, and geographical location across the Mediterranean. Thus, an urban slave-woman’s life cycle would have looked significantly different from that of a married citizen woman, as would that of a lower-class woman, or a foreign woman living in Athens or Rome, which in turn may have been very dissimilar to (for instance) a woman living in a rural Roman province. What follows is what is known of the life stages of a middling-to-upper-class woman, since this is where literary and artistic sources pool.


children in Roman law  

Ville Vuolanto

In the Roman world, the age limits connected to children were often flexible. Even in the case of legal liability, the ages were not rigid. In individual cases, children’s capacity to understand right and wrong, criminality, and responsibility were to be taken into account—at least in theory.1 Generally, children until the age of seven were referred to as infantes, until puberty (or, in later legislation, until the age of twelve for girls and fourteen for boys) as impuberes, and those between the puberty and the age of twenty-five (with the full legal capacity) more generally as (minores).Even if children and, more broadly, minores feature in the Roman law already from the Twelve Tables onwards, they did not constitute a category of their own in Roman legislative thinking. Thus, information on children in Roman law is scattered throughout the whole corpus of legal literature.A child is here defined as an individual below the age of full legal capacity, not primarily as a blood relationship to one’s parents. The focus here is on matters pertaining to the rights and status of the children themselves as underaged persons. The main themes are children’s legal incapacity in economic matters, guardianship, paternal and parental power over the person of the child (patria potestas and personal status; exposure, killing and selling of children) and the obligations between parents and children.