Disabilities and the Disabled in the Roman World: A Social and Cultural History

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Cambridge University Press, Apr 12, 2018 - History - 252 pages
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Almost fifteen per cent of the world's population today experiences some form of mental or physical disability and society tries to accommodate their needs. But what was the situation in the Roman world? Was there a concept of disability? How were the disabled treated? How did they manage in their daily lives? What answers did medical doctors, philosophers and patristic writers give for their problems? This book, the first monograph on the subject in English, explores the medical and material contexts for disability in the ancient world, and discusses the chances of survival for those who were born with a handicap. It covers the various sorts of disability: mental problems, blindness, deafness and deaf-muteness, speech impairment and mobility impairment, and includes discussions of famous instances of disability from the ancient world, such as the madness of Emperor Caligula, the stuttering of Emperor Claudius and the blindness of Homer.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Chapter 1 Conception Birth and the Crucial First Days
23
Sane or Insane?
37
Chapter 3 Blindness a Fate Worse Than Death?
80
A Silent Story
114
Stammering History
133
History of Pain and Toil
149

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About the author (2018)

Christian Laes is Associate Professor of Ancient History and Latin at the University of Antwerp, and Adjunct Professor at the University of Tampere. He specialises in the socio-cultural history of the Roman and late antique worlds. His previous books include Children in the Roman Empire: Outsiders Within (Cambridge, 2011) and Youth in the Roman Empire: The Young and the Restless Years? (Cambridge, 2014).

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