The Family in Italy from Antiquity to the Present

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Edited by David I. Kertzer and Richard P. Saller

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How have family relations been regulated through the ages by state institutions and laws? What impact did the advent of Christianity have on marriage? Were parents in the past less emotionally attached to their children? What changes have taken place in legal attitudes and practices toward adultery and “homicides of honor”? How has the position of women in the household altered over the millennia?


In this book distinguished contributors offer historical and anthropological perspectives on the Western family, focusing on family life in Italy from the Roman Empire to the present. Using methods that range from symbolic to quantitative analysis, the authors discuss a wide variety of topics, including matchmaking, marriage, divorce, inheritance, patterns of household organization, child-rearing practices, cultural and legal meanings of death, sexual mores, celibacy (banned in ancient Rome), adoption, and property rights. Through its unique combination of chronological sweep and geographical focus, the book is able to shed new light on central questions of continuity, change, and causation in family history.

"This volume has much that is new and important to say to European family historians and to anthropologists of Mediterranean Europe."—Jane Schneider

"The topic is very timely. Indeed, recent scholarship has deepened and revived somewhat earlier notions about the evolution of the family in Europe and its relationship to the birth and development of other institutions, including the market and the state. This volume will add considerable depth to that discussion, and thus enrich it."—Joseph LaPalombara

"A useful addition to the literature, [it] offers a basis for scholarly comparison with families from other countries."—Elaine G. Rosenthal, Journal of Interdisciplinary History

"This is a useful reference book for psychohistorians. The emphasis on demographics would fit well in any psychohistorian’s library."—Mary Katherine Armstrong, The Journal of Psychohistory

ISBN: 9780300055504
Publication Date: September 10, 1993
416 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
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