In this chapter, I will present some studies about the experience of children in the monasteries, focussing on Egypt from the fourth to the mid-eighth centuries, trying to shed light on broader reasons for their presence there; using both literature and documentary texts, I will consider some specific topics, combining hagiographical material and monastic rules and children’s experience in monastic environments in papyri and ostraca2. First, I will show some cases of children’s presence in monasteries, for a short or long time, for different and not always clear reasons; second, I will focus on rules they were given, because of the opportunities but also the risks that were linked to their presence and finally, I will focus on their activities, the roles they assumed and the tasks they could carry out, first as children and later as adults. The aim is to illustrate the place of children in monastic communities as servants, disciples, and sons (biological and spiritual) of the monastic families.
Giorda, M.C. (2017). Children in monastic families in Egypt at the end of Antiquity. In C. Laes, V. Vuolanto (a cura di), Children and Everyday Life in the Roman and the Late Antique World (pp. 232-246). Oxford - New York : Routledge.