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Augustinianum

Volume 61, Issue 2, December 2021

Elena Zocca
Pages 527-552

Acerba funera. “Pagani” e cristiani di fronte alla morte infantile

The Funus acerbum is a rite typical of traditional Roman religion and therefore it should not be related to the Christian attitude in the face of the death of children. However, although Christians and Pagans had different ideas about the afterlife, they shared rules about respect for graves, a similar timing in the cult of the dead, and often also the same burial places. This article examines the Pagan sphere and the Christian sphere and highlights similarities and differences. Concerning more specifically Christians, it shows their wide range of attitudes towards infant death, also in relation to thorny question of the paedobaptism. In this sense, the influence of Augustine is reduced at both the theoretical level and, especially, at the level of burial practices.