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by Archaeology Newsroom

The child and his health in the Byzantine age

The medical practice in treating children’s health in Byzantium is dictated by the perceptions of society for the child and his care. With the exception of Developmental Paediatrics issues, such as the neonatal care of the new-born, breastfeeding and healthy diet that comprise an autonomous unity in the Medical Literature of Byzantium, the variety of childhood morbidity is scattered in the chapters referring to the relevant health disorders of the grown-ups. The historical, literary and hagiological sources not only indicate that specialization in Paediatrics did not exist, but also reveal the vital role that Church and State have played through charitable institutions, miraculous healing and protective legislation for the preservation and cure of children’s health. Based on medical, historical, theological and legal texts, this article presents a concise recording of the position of the under age members of the Byzantine family and its environment and refers to the infantile medicine, the nosology of child, the hygienic commandments for life, the activity of healer saints as well as the factors affecting the social health of children, such as violence, oppression, school and sexual maltreatment.