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Description - The Family in Late Antiquity by Geoffrey Nathan

In one his unrelentingly caustic letters, Jerome described a man who had recently buried the latest of his twenty-two wives in the city of Rome. His deceased spouse had had twenty husbands of her own. In his letter Jerome subjected the widower to all his withering sarcasm and vitriol. Yet the image of that day in 384 AD, despite Jerome's mocking disdain, impresses upon the mind an essential question about Roman social life: in the age of a supposedly Christian empire, to what degree did the new religion permeate that most basic of societal units, the family. The Family in Late Antiquity addresses that very question. Geoffrey Nathan first contextualises his arguments by examining the classical family and then looks at the Christian notions of the family unit. He then explores marriage, children, domestic servitude and other familial institutions to present a comprehensive analysis of the family in the late Roman Empire. Geoffrey Nathan argues that despite the considerable ideological pressure of the church and Christian thinkers, neither Roman law, not social custom changed greatly from the classical period. Older more enduring cultural patterns remained dominant in a society that had strong social, financial and legal reasons to remain unchanged.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780415166652
ISBN-10: 0415166659
Format: Hardback
(234mm x 156mm x mm)
Pages: 288
Imprint: Routledge
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd
Publish Date: 28-Oct-1999
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - Geoffrey Nathan

Dr Geoffrey Nathan is a lecturer in Roman History a the University of California at Los Angeles. He has published numerous articles on late antiquity in learned journals.

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