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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  History and Archeology (Moderator: David Atherton)  |  Topic: Roman baby killers?? 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Will Hooton
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« on: June 25, 2010, 02:26:55 pm »

This somewhat macabre story, from the beeb:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/science_and_environment/10384460.stm


The discovery actually dates back to the early twentieth century, although it seems to have only recently come to light.

From the article:

Quote
Archaeologist Dr Jill Eyers said: "The only explanation you keep coming back to is that it's got to be a brothel."

I don't know if Dr Eyers has further contextual evidence to back this up, but I'm somewhat sceptical of this hypothesis. Murdering and burying babies in situ? Hmm.

I understand the Romans took the concept of exposure from the Greeks, but would it be practised to this extent?



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Robert_Brenchley
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« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2010, 03:33:48 pm »

Exposure of infants used to be common practice, but 97? That's something far more systematic. Lots of births happening all together. A brothel would be one possible explanation, but there must have been plenty of such establishments, and if there aren't any parallels, then it's hard to imagine it was normal brothel practice. They may not have had effective contaception, though I vaguely remember reading about condoms made of pig's gut being found at Vindolanda, but there were always abortifacient herbs.
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Robert Brenchley

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Will Hooton
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« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2010, 03:57:18 pm »

I would have thought there would have been a precedent as well, and apparently there is. A find near Ashkelon is similar.

http://www.archaeology.org/9703/newsbriefs/ashkelon.html


From the above article, the author also points out the ancients knew about abortion, as well as the value of babies sold into slavery. Why would the brothel owners leave them to exposure instead of profiting from their sale?
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Robert_Brenchley
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« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2010, 03:21:43 pm »

The preponderance of more valuable male babies in the Ashkelon case is odd.
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Robert Brenchley

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