Child death is a rare event, especially in industrialized countries. On the contrary, early deaths were frequent in ancient Rome, especially in the first years of life. For example, it was estimated that about 30–40 per cent of children died within the first year of life. For this reason, the low emotional involvement of the parents for their newborns and infants has been hypothesized. This commentary aims to discuss the psychological response to child death in antiquity, focusing on ancient Rome, by analyzing a marble epigraph conserved at the Louvre Museum: the epigraph of Iulia Florentina. Specifically, the idea of parents’ lack of emotional investment in children in antiquity is disproved by modern theories of psychology and psychoanalysis that highlight the universal nature of the attachment bond between child and caregiver. Further studies combining the historical– archaeological and psychological perspectives will help investigate this topic further.

Children’s death and bereavement in antiquity. A psychological and anthropological analysis of the attachment relationships and coping with loss

Commodari Elena
Primo
Conceptualization
;
La Rosa Valentina Lucia
Secondo
Writing – Original Draft Preparation
2022

Abstract

Child death is a rare event, especially in industrialized countries. On the contrary, early deaths were frequent in ancient Rome, especially in the first years of life. For example, it was estimated that about 30–40 per cent of children died within the first year of life. For this reason, the low emotional involvement of the parents for their newborns and infants has been hypothesized. This commentary aims to discuss the psychological response to child death in antiquity, focusing on ancient Rome, by analyzing a marble epigraph conserved at the Louvre Museum: the epigraph of Iulia Florentina. Specifically, the idea of parents’ lack of emotional investment in children in antiquity is disproved by modern theories of psychology and psychoanalysis that highlight the universal nature of the attachment bond between child and caregiver. Further studies combining the historical– archaeological and psychological perspectives will help investigate this topic further.
premature death
bereavement
anthropology
psychology
psychoanalysis
culture
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11769/534160
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