Sentimental Education of the Roman Child: the Role of Pet-Keeping

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Keith Bradley, “The Sentimental Education of the Roman Child: the Role of Pet-Keeping.” Latomus 57.3 (1998): 523-557.


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A study combining the ancient evidence of the prevalence of pet-keeping among Roman children with modern notions of the benefits to children of living with companion animals in terms of educating children about the life cycle and the development of social skills. Bradley is careful with the evidence, especially, when it comes to children learning about death through the death of a beloved pet. In ancient Rome, given the higher rates of infant mortality, death in childbirth, and shorter lifespans, children would likely have already learned of death from the loss of a beloved human companion. I like this article for its consideration of relationships between two often marginalized groups of beings: human children and animals. - SUSAN A. CURRY