Youth in ancient Rome was an exciting and turbulent phase of life. For the Romans youth was a clearly defined period between childhood and adulthood and it was of crucial importance. However, little critical attention has been paid to this subject. In this book Emiel Eyben treats Roman antiquity from 200 BC to AD 500, and attempts to provide a survey of the perceptions the ancients had of youth and of the role of this age group in a wide variety of domains - philosophy, literature, education, the law, the army, politics, leisure, amorous pursuits and family life.
Professor Eyben’s portrait of youth stresses ferocitas (hot-headedness) as its most characteristic feature. The young Roman of the upper-class was submerged in an imbroglio of ideas and revolts. In the public sphere the youth began his integration into adult society through engagement in politics, commitment to the army and pleading in the Forum. At the same time a youth might withdraw from the adult world into a private domain of leisure and contemplation. In his mental world a central place was taken by rhetoric, philosophy and poetry; in his emotional life by friendship and love. Eyben examines the complex interaction of these worlds and the conflicts that a Roman youth would face associated with issues of power, money, morals and emancipation.
This book provides an original and synoptic representation of the youth of Roman antiquity and discusses the various ways in which the world of the young was transformed and changed. It will be of considerable interest to many scholars, including classicists and ancient historians, as well as to the general reader.