This volume examines conceptions, ideas and habits connected with children in Antiquity and the Middle Ages, focusing on the "dark sides of childhood" in the pre-modern world. The authors investigate the long-term attitudes of people, as well as ruptures in habits and customs.
The book is divided into three parts. "Unwanted" deals with parents who were unable to bring up their baby and handed it over to other people or the cruel whims of destiny. "Disabled" addresses what we would label as children's illnesses since disability was a concept largely unknown to ancient people. "Nearly Lost" examines demons, viewed as destructive forces with the ability to destroy children or young people, sometimes by literally sucking their lives away.
The articles are written by an international team of specialists from Belgium, Finland, Italy and the United States and were presented at conferences organised by the research project "Religion and Childhood. Socialisation from the Roman Empire to Christian World", funded by the Academy of Finland (2009-2012, directed by Dr. Katariina Mustakallio), at the University of Tampere, Finland.
Preface (Katariina Mustakallio and Christian Laes) Part I. Unwanted 1. Infant abandonment and the Christianization of Europe (Ville Vuolanto) 2. The Dynamics of Infant Abandonment: Motives, Attitudes and (Unintended) Consequences (Judith Evans-Grubbs) Part II. Disabled 3. Disabled Children in Gregory of Tours (Christian Laes) Part III. (Nearly) Lost 4. Hungry Witches in Antiquity and the Middle Ages (Laura Cherubini) 5. Sons of Demons: Children's Impairment and the Belief in Changelings in Medieval Europe (c. 1150-1450) (Jenni Kuuliala) 6. Socialization Gone Astray? Children and Demonic Possession in Later Middle Ages (Sari Katajala-Peltomaa)