By Nathan Barton
Repeating the evils of history?
Back in the 8th Century AUC (better known today as the 1st Century Anno Domini), life was simple. Not just simple but short and anything but sweet.
The life of children in the Greek and Roman worlds (and indeed, much of the known world) was particularly bad. Death rates from childhood diseases decimated infants and toddlers. Greco-Roman society in particular was very hazardous for the newborn, because of the custom (apparently in all social levels) of exposing infants – taking unwanted newborns and leaving them in a field to be either collected by slavers (or perhaps a few good people) or eaten by wolves or other predators. Generally, Greek custom was similar, as was that of many other cultures. The Hebrews are often pointed out as exceptions to this, whether in Canaan (Palestine) or in the Dispora across the Empire and in Mesopotamia and Persia.
The emperor Constantine (yeah, that one – the “religious convert to christianity) made it legal to sell infants in 313, regardless of the status of their parents: this was supposedly a compassionate measure to reduce the exposure and death of infants. Continue reading