Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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Foundling hospital
(983 words)

A foundling hospital (Latin hospitium expositorum, German Findelhaus, French hôpital des enfants trouvés) is an institution that takes in abandoned children (so-called foundlings). In ancient Greek and Roman society, the exposure of sickly, excess, or unwanted newborns was the father’s decision; in early Christianity, it was condemned by the church, and beginning the late 4th century it was also prohibited by imperial law. When an infant was abandoned in a church, however, the crime was not punished. Care for such infants fell within the range of functions of monasteries [6]. B…

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Gestrich, Andreas, “Foundling hospital”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 07 December 2022 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_SIM_019270>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20180126

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