The workshop “Children and Everyday Life in Late Antiquity. Tracing children’s perspective from the 1st c. BCE to the 6th c. CE” is organized under the aegis of the project “Tiny Voices From the Past: New Perspectives on Childhood in Early Europe” (University of Oslo / Norwegian Research Council). The project (2013–2016) studies the lives of children and attitudes to childhood at a culturally formative stage of European culture: Antiquity and the Early/High Middle Ages. For further information about the project, visit

Themes and aims

The aim is to produce articles for a volume dealing with the everyday life of children in Late Antiquity. The idea is that all presentations would have children and their perspective as the starting point (living environment, both material and interpersonal) and, as far as possible, the experiences and agency of the children themselves. The main focus of the volume will be on Late Antiquity, and a central concern will be to scrutinise continuities and changes in everyday life. The articles are expected to deal with local children and childhood experiences in the Roman Empire, in early medieval and in early Byzantine contexts in the period from the first century BCE to the sixth century CE.

For this, a workshop is arranged in May 2014 (two to three days between May 20 and 25)—here, papers based on the first drafts of the articles aimed at the volume will be given. There will be both invited scholars and scholars participating after this call for paper. Simultaneously, there takes place a parallel workshop “Origins of Western Childhood, 1st cent. BCE–13th cent. CE”, which will take the perspective of history of ideas on childhood. A follow-up workshop for those included into publication, with fully developed chapters, is planned to take place in spring 2015, with the final deadline for the contributions.

The Organizing Committee of the workshop looks for contributions that focus on the following issues (interested participants are, however, welcome to propose other topics!):

– the experiences and agency of children (work, religion, community life)

– children’s activities and social networks (family, kin, neighbourhood)

– the material culture of children (toys, interplay with the built/natural environment)

– housing conditions, furniture, tools, clothing and food of children

– touch, smell, dirt and noise in the lives of children

– the narrative environment of children (stories and ‘children’s literature’)

– written remains by children (graffiti, school excercises, letters)

All papers are expected to pay attention to the impact of social status and gender on the lives of children, and as far as possible to aspects of continuity and/or change. Taking account of popular culture and comparative viewpoints is welcomed. The Organising Committee very much encourages interdisciplinarity and welcomes contributions from classical scholars, historians, archaeologists, New Testament and early Christian scholars, folklorists, papyrologists and art historians inter alios.

The deadline for the abstracts (max 300 words) is October 10th 2013, to be sent to Ville Vuolanto, [email protected] final programme of the meeting will be published later this year. In order to achieve a lively discussion and a possibility to prepare for comments, interested participants are kindly requested to send an outline of their presentation (i.e. of the chapter proposed) by April 2nd 2014. There will be no workshop fee, and coffee, lunches and two dinners are covered by the organizers.