Friday, November 16, 2007
Grubbs, Hidden in Plain Sight: Expositi in the Community
Posted by Mary L. Dudziak
Judith Evans Grubbs, Washington University, St. Louis, Dept. of Classics, has posted a new paper, Hidden in Plain Sight: Expositi in the Community. Here's the abstract: Using legal, papyrological, and literary sources of the Roman imperial period, this paper looks at the fate of abandoned newborns (expositi) who were picked up and reared by someone other than a parent, usually for future use as slaves. Particular attention is given to the legal conflicts that ensued when, as sometimes happened, parents attempted to recover a child they had abandoned years before. The possibility of conflict was augmented by the peculiar characteristics of the Roman paternal power (patria potestas), which held that a paterfamilias (whether a birth father or a slavemaster) maintained legal power over children and slaves even after abandoning them.