Brill’s New Pauly

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Child exposure
(711 words)

[German version]

Exposure of children (Greek έκθεσις/ékthesis; Lat. expositio/oblatio), which must be clearly distinguished from infanticide, is to be seen as a method of ancient family planning. The decision whether to expose an infant lay with the head of the family: in Greece -- with the exception of Sparta, where the phyle elders (των φυλετῶν οί πρεσβύτατοι) examined newly born infants either to order or to forbid that they be raised -- this was the κύριος/ kýrios ; in Rome the pater familias. Demographic theories regarding the frequency of infant exposure are not unprob…

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Wiesehöfer, Josef (Kiel), “Child exposure”, in: Brill’s New Pauly, Antiquity volumes edited by: Hubert Cancik and , Helmuth Schneider, English Edition by: Christine F. Salazar, Classical Tradition volumes edited by: Manfred Landfester, English Edition by: Francis G. Gentry. Consulted online on 08 December 2021 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1574-9347_bnp_e613990>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: 9789004122598, 20110510



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