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Life of a Roman Child Quiz


ROMAN CHILDREN QUIZ:
On Saturday 25 January 2009, I gave an illustrated talk at the British Museum called 'A Day in the Life of a Roman Child'. Here is a quiz to get you thinking about life for children in the late first century.

1. In Roman times, unwanted babies were often abandoned. Which of the following category of newborns were usually NOT abandoned?
a) sickly babies
b) crippled or deformed babies
c) girls from poor families
d) boys from wealthy families

2. A newborn baby was usually placed at the father's feet. What did the father do next?
a) Take in on his knees, to show it was his child and not another man's
b) Take it in his arms and kiss it, to show he loved it
c) Put a signet ring on its baby finger, to show it was his heir
d) Toss it back to the mother, to test her reflexes


3. Babies of rich parents were often given to a wet nurse. What is a 'wet nurse'?
a) A woman who was skilled at bathing babies
b) A nurse who was 'wet', i.e. who wouldn't talk back to the parents
c) A woman able to suckle the baby so the mother didn't have to
d) The word 'wet' is Latin for 'children'; a 'children's nurse' is another word for 'nanny'

4. Babies were often wrapped in 'swaddling clothes'. What are swaddling clothes?
a) strips of cloth that kept the baby's arms pinned tightly against its body
b) a cocoon of soft linen which kept the baby warm but allowed movement of the limbs
c) a tiny tunic made of a single piece of cloth, with no seams that could rub baby's delicate skin
d) clothes made of unwashed sheep's wool; the natural oil in the wool kept out water

5. The most famous baby from Roman times to have been wrapped in swaddling clothes was...

a) Julius Caesar
b) Mark Anthony
c) baby Cleopatra
d) Jesus Christ

6. Well-educated Roman children were expected to learn which other language in addition to Latin?
a) Hebrew
b) Greek
c) Aramaic
d) Etruscan


7. Much of our evidence about children's toys in Roman times is gleaned from artefacts, frescoes and mosaics. Which ONE of the following is NOT attested.
a) dolls
b) marbles
c) dice
d) balls
e) skateboard
f) mini chariot

8. In Roman times, formal education was mainly for rich, upper-class boys. If you didn't have a private tutor, your school would probably have been located...
a) in the noisy forum
b) in the peaceful graveyard outside the town walls
c) in a special room of the baths called a studarium

d) in the temple of Minerva, the goddess of wisdom

9. In the first century AD, the legal age of marriage for girls was:
a) 10 years old 
b) 12 years old
c) 14 years old
d) 16 years old

10. When a boy was about 16, he put on the toga praetexta. What was the toga praetexta?
a) a silken cloak with a hood, to show he was old enough to travel

b) a cotton cloak with a red stripe, to show he was old enough to run for senate
c) a woolen cloak like a big blanket, to show he was legally a man
d) a toga which showed he could read and write Latin texts

11. The Roman equivalent of attending secondary school (high school) was having lessons with:  
a) a senator (to learn politics)
b) a rhetor (to learn public speaking)
c) a stonemason (to learn how to write inscriptions)
d) a priest (to learn proper Roman rites and rituals)

12. If you were a rich, highborn boy you might finish off your studies with a year abroad. Which of the following was NOT a popular place of study in the first century AD?
a) Athens
b) Alexandria
c) Londinium
d) Rhodes

 



The Answers!

1. In Roman times, unwanted babies were often abandoned. Which of the following category of newborns were usually NOT abandoned?
d) boys from wealthy families

2. A newborn baby was usually placed at the father's feet. What did the father do next?
a) Take in on his knees, to show it was his child and not another man's

3. Babies of rich parents were often given to a wet nurse. What is a 'wet nurse'?
c) A woman able to suckle the baby so the mother didn't have to

4. Babies were often wrapped in 'swaddling clothes'. What are swaddling clothes?
a) strips of cloth that kept the baby's arms pinned tightly against its body

5. The most famous baby from Roman times to have been wrapped in swaddling clothes was...

d) Jesus Christ (Luke 2:7)


6. Well-educated Roman children were expected to learn which other language in addition to Latin?
b) Greek

3romanmarbles.jpg7. Much of our evidence about children's toys in Roman times is gleaned from artefacts, frescoes and mosaics. Which ONE of the following is NOT attested.
e) skateboard

8. In Roman times, formal education was mainly for rich, upper-class boys. If you didn't have a private tutor, your school would probably have been located...
a) in the noisy forum


9. In the first century AD, the legal age of marriage for girls was:
b) 12 years old

10. When a boy was about 16, he put on the toga praetexta. What was the toga praetexta?

c) a woolen cloak like a big blanket, to show he was legally a man

11. The Roman equivalent of attending secondary school (high school) was having lessons with:  
b) a rhetor (to learn public speaking)

12. If you were a rich, highborn boy you might finish off your studies with a year abroad. Which of the following was NOT a popular place of study in the first century AD?
c) Londinium (modern London was fairly uncivilised in the first century AD)