Children in Antiquity

Egyptian Neckalce and Cypriot Figurine

Childhood in antiquity was, at one and the same time, remarkably different and in some ways remarkably similar to childhood as we know it today. While infant mortality was shockingly high in the ancient Mediterranean, and there were marked differences in the lives and experiences of boys and girls, rich and poor, and of free and slave children, the creativity and playfulness of youth is universal. Play is one area where human instinct and creativity offers direct parallels between the ancient past and our own present.

This display of artefacts from the Nicholson Museum collection explores aspects of children’s lives in ancient Greece and Egypt. Themes of birth and infancy, youth, education, play, work, religion, death and burial are brought together to portray the day to day experience of childhood in the ancient world.