The roman society permitted abortion in ancient times

An exploration on the official stand of the church in historical context Abortion in Pagan context Often abortion is regarded as a contemporary issue only. However, even before the birth of Christ, in Greek and Roman society abortion was commonplace. In an attempt to understand Christian feelings and attitudes, we first need to observe abortion in its pagan context.

The roman society permitted abortion in ancient times

Share Abortion was practiced on a regular basis among the poor, slave, merchant and royal classes. To ancient peoples and the Romans an abortion was amoral.

There is also another instrument in the shape of a spike, by which the actual death is managed in this furtive robbery of life. Romans agreed with the Greek view of abortion. Some of the most eminent and respected Greek philosophers encouraged and condoned abortion.

Aristotle BC encouraged abortion because he feared population explosion. He had tried to curb lax morals and encourage marriages by implementing in 18 BC a law making adultery a crime and 27 years later in 9 AD he enacted Lex Papia Poppaea to promote and reward marriage because the number of Roman men who were unmarried was greater than the number of married men.

He blamed the low birth rate on abortion, homosexuals and on men who preferred the licentiousness of the single life to the responsibilities of married life and children. As Caesar, Augustus saw lax morals and low birthrate as threats to the Roman State.

He publicly addressed this problem in the Forum. For is there anything better than a wife who is chaste, domestic, a good house-keeper, a rearer of children; one to gladden you in health, to tend you in sickness, to be your partner in good fortune…. And is it not a delight to acknowledge a child who shows the endowments of both parents, to nurture and educate it at once the physical and spiritual image of yourself so that in its growth another self lives again?

I love you and praise you… …he then went over to the other crowd of unmarried men …. O, what shall I call you? But you are not performing any of the offices of men. But for all that you are doing, the city is perishing. But you are undertaking to blot out this name altogether….

Moreover, you are destroying the State by disobeying its laws and you are betraying your country by rendering her barren and childless….

The roman society permitted abortion in ancient times

For it is human beings that constitute a city…not houses or porticos or market-places empty of men. About 1, years before Caesar Augustus, an Egyptian Pharaoh had ordered the killing of all the male babies of his Jewish slaves because he feared an army of slaves rising up against him or an army of slaves leaving their country: Then a new king…came to power in Egypt.

Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country. Why have you let the boys live? And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own.

Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: The Egyptian, Greek and Roman cultures blamed their ills upon the proliferation of children or the dearth of children.

In The Republic ac Plato argues that in the ideal state governed by Philosopher Kings, women should be forced to have an abortion when the city-state becomes too populous. The pagan practice of abortion bolstered by the idea of the primacy of the State over individual liberties is deeply engrained in all heathen cultures.

But as with all generalities, there are always exceptions. Who would have overthrown the kingdom of Priam Troy if Thetis, goddess of the seas, had not been willing to bear her fruit until the term allotted by nature?

If Ilia had smothered the twins she bore within her Romulus and Remusthe founder of the ruling city of the world Rome would never have been born. If Venus had slain Aeneas in the womb, the earth would have been bereft of Caesars.

Why with cruel hand tear away the fruit ere it be ripe? O women, why will you desecrate your entrails with the instruments of death? Why offer dread poisons to infants yet unborn? The Armenian tigresses behave not thus, nor dares the lioness destroy an offspring of her own….

Many a time she slays herself who slays her offspring in the womb. What to make of pagan Ovid whose name is forever linked to promiscuity and licentiousness. The early Christian apologist Minucius Felix c. Saturn aka Greek Kronos did not expose his children but devoured them.

They even burn their sons and daughters in the fire as sacrifices to their gods.


The law of Moses, indeed, punishes with due penalties the man who shall cause abortion, inasmuch as there exists already the rudiment of a human being which has imputed to it even now the condition of life and death, since it is already liable to the issues of both, although, by living still in the mother, it for the most part shares its own state with the mother.

But if any harm follows the death of mother or childthen you shall give life for life.Jul 20,  · Abortion in ancient history Ancient Greece and Rome Roman couple; Abortion was accepted in both ancient Rome and Greece.

Bible times. The Old . To ancient peoples and the Romans an abortion was amoral. There was nothing in Roman law or in the Roman heart that said, “It is wrong to kill your baby in the womb.” Tertullian, the early Christian apologist, describes how doctors of the time performed abortions.

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words. 2 pages. Company. About Us; Contact;. The Status of Women in Greek, Roman and Jewish Society by Elisabeth M Tetlow from Women and Ministry in the New Testament,Paulist Press, pp 5 - Republised on our website with the necessary permissions Introduction. Abortion too was commonplace, and caused the deaths of large numbers of women, as well as infertility in a great many others, and it has become increasingly evident that the city of Rome never, at any stage in her history, had a self-sustaining population, and numbers had continuously to be replenished by new arrivals from the countryside.

Abortion in the Ancient and Premodern World. Search the site GO. History & Culture. Women's History Laws & Women's Rights History of Feminism Important Figures Key Events & Milestones We know abortion was practiced in biblical times from the passage in Numbers (note 1) where alleged infidelity is tested by giving an abortifacient potion to.

History of abortion - Wikipedia