Starting from the sociological theory according to which childhood is a social construction, that is to say, the identity and status of children, and childhood as a separate phase of life have been created by the society and its views and attitudes towards them, the first chapter (Constructing the Byzantine childhood) focuses in the introductory part on the Byzantine children life´s stages from birth up to the beginning of adolescence and examines the subdivided stages with its specific terminology and characteristics.
The chapter will address also the issues of birth, baptism, breastfeeding, and weaning as important transitional markers in the lives of the Byzantine infants, as there are depicted in the hagiographical sources. I will examine the circumstances of birth, the time and place of the baptism, the chosen names and their significance in the Byzantine mentalities, and the importance of the godparents in children´s lives and in the families’ relationships. The issues of breastfeeding and weaning will be explored in terms of emotional bonds between the children and the mothers, with an emphasis on the importance given by the hagiographers to this practice on children´s development.
The second chapter (Physiognomy and Personality) focuses on the description of the Byzantine children in the narrative sources. My aim is to examine how the Byzantine authors depicted the physical and psychological features of children in the hagiographies. Although in the majority of the hagiographies under consideration the authors do not give a specific physical description of the children, it is important to find out what characteristics have been taken into account by the authors when speaking about children. What children´s attributes were considered worthy to be mentioned in the hagiographical accounts? What features, both physical and psychological are typical for children? In what manner the girls and the boys are described in these texts and what are the differences between their descriptions in terms of psychological features? How the children were depicted in the visual imagery (art)?
The third chapter (Children´s social agencies: Schooling, Playing, Working)...