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Becoming Byzantine: Children and Childhood in Byzantium

Byzantine Symposium, April 28-30, 2006, Symposiarchs: Arietta Papaconstantinou and Alice-Mary Talbot

Byzantinists have shown little interest for children and childhood, even after the fin-de-siècle surge of studies on that topic in classical, medieval and early modern studies. Two recently published books and two doctoral dissertations devoted respectively to orphans, childhood disease, children's education, and the visual representation of children, do show an increasing curiosity about the topic. Even so, the bibliography on Byzantine childhood remains a short one, and does not include any substantial general overview. One of the aims of the conference will be to provide this overview, by looking into as yet neglected aspects of childhood in Byzantium.

The focus of the conference was on the Middle and Late Byzantine periods, the ones most neglected hitherto, although some of the papers included materials from Late Antiquity as well. The papers concentrated on the basic subjects of definition, legal and social status, representation, life and death, education and acculturation, but issues of everyday life, such as toys and games, were addressed as well.

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