Journal article

The Golden Age for Having Children

T Parkin

Mouseion Journal of the Classical Association of Canada | University of Toronto Press | Published : 2019


Age at first marriage in the Roman world has been the focus of much scholarly discussion, but next to nothing has been said about ancient ideas of the best age for having children, even though this is an issue of demographic import. This study considers the question by looking at the (mostly Greek) sources that offer opinions, and suggests that reasons for the lack of consensus may include a tendency, on the part of Aristotle in particular, to make recommendations based on personal experience first and foremost. Evidence that survives for actual practice suggests that the question of the best age for childbearing was overshadowed by pressure to produce children as soon as decorously possible..

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