Disability History Lecture 6

Disability and the Roman Antiquity:
Evaluating change and continuity regarding Christianity

Christian Laes is professor Ancient history and Latin at the VUB (Brussels) and the UA (Antwerp) and specializes in the history of mentalities of Roman Antiquity.

The lecture will take place on Thursday December 4th from 16 until 18 o’clock and is co-organized by the Research Group for Ancient History of the KU Leuven (Prof. Mark Depauw and Prof. Katelijn Vandorpe). A reply on the lecture of Prof. Laes will be provided by Korneel van Lommel.

Venue: Vanden Heuvel Instituut room 00.41 – Dekenstraat 2, B-3000 Leuven

This lecture will be based on my recent monograph Beperkt? Gehandicapten in het Romeinse rijk (Davidsfonds, 2014: Impaired: Disabled in the Roman Empire). First of all I will ponder upon some methodological issues of researching the history of disability in Roman Antiquity. After that I have opted for a capite ad calcem approach. The following disabilities will be presented: mental disabilities, eye problems, deafness and muteness, speech impairment and mobility impairment. For each of these impairment I will present concrete case studies on the basis of which some general conclusions will be drawn with regard to the issue of whether the relation between Christianity and the Roman Antiquity should be characterised as continuity or change. Throughout the presentation I will make use of text fragments as well as iconographical evidence.