Hybrid Rosshofgasse (Schnitz), Seminarraum S 01 / online via Zoom
Fachbereich Alte Geschichte, Sabine Huebner
A Beggar’s Banquet: Investigating the Lives and Movements of Marginalised Groups in the Ancient Roman City
People living in the street in great destitution and required to resort to using different strategies in order to «beg» for money are a common part of every modern urban landscape, as they have been since antiquity. Far from being limited to classic «beggars», these individuals can encompass (e.g.) itinerant street performers, philosophers, quacks or dream interpreters, all hoping to earn a coin. Nevertheless, they have always remained an invisible group to ancient historians and archaeologists alike, since we do not have any material remains of their lives preserved and their voices remain silent in the textual sources. As a result, so far, only little interest has been shown in the research of this lowest stratum of Roman society. The images commonly assumed to be of «beggars» are not explicitly linked to this group of people, however, most of these show various discriminating attributes, such as disabilities, emaciation, old age, ragged clothes or the performance of unprestigious activities, which are clearly «Othering» these individuals from the social norm. The textual sources are just as ambiguous: written exclusively from an upper-class perspective, the marginalized poor are mentioned rarely and with varying terminology, making it hard to distinguish certain groups from one and another. In my MA thesis I aim to connect the images on various media depicting individuals associated with forms of begging to the textual sources mentioning any kinds of people that were itinerant or living in the street, trying to survive. I will attempt to define different discrimination patterns towards these people and outline intersections between the groups. Furthermore, I will investigate possible locations, movements and survival strategies of the marginalized poor within a cityscape.
Meeting-ID: 670 3043 2472
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