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The Single Life in the Roman and Later Roman World

$137.00 (C)

Christian Laes, Sabine Huebner, Anna Boozer, Wim Broekaert, Judith Evans Grubbs, Harri Kiiskinen, Elina Pyy, Mina Petrova, John W. Martens, Kevin Funderburk, Thomas Goessens, Raffaela Cribiore, Ville Vuolanto, Geoffrey Nathan, Stephanos Efthymiadis, Jennifer Cromwell, Mohammed Hocine Benkheira, Julie De Groot, Matteo Manfredini
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  • Date Published: April 2019
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108470179


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About the Authors
  • Using a variety of historical sources and methodological approaches, this book presents the first large-scale study of single men and women in the Roman world, from the Roman Republic to Late Antiquity and covering virtually all periods of the ancient Mediterranean. It asks how singleness was defined and for what reasons people might find themselves unmarried. While marriage was generally favoured by philosophers and legislators, with the arguments against largely confined to genres like satire and comedy, the advent of Christianity brought about a more complex range of thinking regarding its desirability. Demographic, archaeological and socio-economic perspectives are considered, and in particular the relationship of singleness to the Roman household and family structures. The volume concludes by introducing a number of comparative perspectives, drawn from the early Islamic world and from other parts of Europe down to and including the nineteenth century, in order to highlight possibilities for the Roman world.

    • Presents the first exploration of the single life in antiquity
    • Embraces the pagan, Jewish and early Christian world and offers a contemporary comparative perspective
    • An international team of contributors provides a variety of methodological approaches and uses all available source material (literary, archaeological, epigraphic and papyrological)
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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2019
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108470179
    • length: 434 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 23 mm
    • weight: 0.83kg
    • contains: 9 b/w illus. 3 maps 16 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. What's in a single? Roman Antiquity and a comparative world approach Christian Laes
    Part I. Demographic, Archaeological, and Socio-Economic Approaches:
    2. Single men and women in pagan society – the case of Roman Egypt Sabine Huebner
    3. Looking for singles in the archaeological record of Roman Egypt Anna Boozer
    4. Between coercion and compulsion? The impact of occupations and economic interests on the relational status of slaves and freedmen Wim Broekaert
    Part II. Being Single in the Roman World:
    5. Singles, sex, and status in the Augustan marriage legislation Judith Evans Grubbs
    6. 'Singleness' in Cicero and Catullus Harri Kiiskinen
    7. Tracing Roman ideas on female singleness – Virgil's Aeneid Elina Pyy
    8. Single as a Lena. The depiction of procuresses in Roman Augustan literature Mina Petrova
    Part III. Singles in Judaism:
    9. (Why) was Jesus single? John W. Martens
    10. Contesting the Jerusalem Temple – James, Nazirite vows and celibacy Kevin Funderburk
    Part IV. Late Antique Christianity – The Rise of the Ideal of Being Single:
    11. Singles and singleness in the Christian epigraphic evidence from Rome (c. 300–500 CE) Thomas Goessens
    12. Different ways of life: being single in the fourth century CE Raffaela Cribiore
    13. Single life in Late Antiquity? Virgins between the earthly and the heavenly family Ville Vuolanto
    14. Being a bachelor in Late Antiquity – desire and social norms in the experience of Augustine Geoffrey Nathan
    15. Single people in early Byzantine literature Stephanos Efthymiadis
    16. 'Listen to my mistreatment' – support networks for widows and divorcées in the Coptic record Jennifer Cromwell
    Part V. Comparative Voices:
    17. Celibacy and sexual abstinence in early Islam Mohammed Hocine Benkheira
    18. To marry or not to marry in fifteenth and sixteenth-century cities, cases Antwerp and Bruges Julie De Groot
    19. Singleness in nineteenth-century Italy – permanent celibacy and solitariness between coercion and free choice Matteo Manfredini.

  • Editors

    Sabine R. Huebner, Universität Basel, Switzerland
    Sabine R. Huebner is Professor of Ancient History at the Universität Basel, Switzerland. Her research focuses on the everyday lives of the common people in antiquity. Among many other titles, she has published The Family in Roman Egypt (Cambridge, 2013) and Papyri and the Social World of the New Testament (Cambridge, forthcoming). She is currently leading two large-scale projects on Roman Egypt funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation at the Universität Basel.

    Christian Laes, University of Manchester
    Christian Laes is Professor of Ancient History at the University of Manchester and Professor of Ancient History and Latin at Universiteit Antwerpen, Belgium. He studies the social and cultural history of Roman and Late Antiquity, paying particular attention to the human life-course: childhood, youth, family, sexuality, and disabilities. His books include Children in the Roman Empire: Outsiders Within (Cambridge, 2011), Youth in the Roman Empire: The Young and the Restless Years? (with Johan Strubbe, Cambridge, 2014) and Disabilities and the Disabled in the Roman World: A Social and Cultural History (Cambridge, 2018).


    Christian Laes, Sabine Huebner, Anna Boozer, Wim Broekaert, Judith Evans Grubbs, Harri Kiiskinen, Elina Pyy, Mina Petrova, John W. Martens, Kevin Funderburk, Thomas Goessens, Raffaela Cribiore, Ville Vuolanto, Geoffrey Nathan, Stephanos Efthymiadis, Jennifer Cromwell, Mohammed Hocine Benkheira, Julie De Groot, Matteo Manfredini

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