Looking for the poor in late antique Rome

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Citations (Scopus)


The legend of the martyrdom of St. Laurence was well known in Late Antique Rome. The site of his burial was commemorated at the time of Constantine with a basilica, where visitors were reminded of his suffering and heroism by an inscribed epigram of Bishop Damasus. The stories narrating the passio of St. Laurence illustrate a profound shift in the way the women and men of Late Antiquity saw their social world, a “revolution of social imagination” in the words of Peter Brown, its most distinguished chronicler. Jerome employs “the poor” as a literary artifice to contrast the failings of Roman society and the virtues of his friends, even when listing in minute detail the misery and ailments associated with destitution. The social dynamics that characterized Late Antique society could be accelerated by moments of crisis, such as invasions and disruptions in the food supply.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPoverty in ancient Greece and Rome
Subtitle of host publicationrealities and discourses
EditorsCarlos Machado, Lucia Cecchet, Filippo Carlà-Uhink
Place of PublicationAbingdon, Oxon
PublisherRoutledge Taylor & Francis Group
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9780367221157
ISBN (Print)9780367221140, 9781032330044
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sept 2022

Publication series

NameRoutledge monographs in classical studies


  • Poverty
  • Rome
  • Late Antiquity
  • Social History
  • Identity


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