Lecture title: "Debt and Child Labor in Antiquity: The Case of a Peasant Family from Roman Egypt"
Lecture abstract: "This paper explores the socio-economic strategies of an ancient family as they navigate the challenges of peasant life in Roman Egypt. In particular, I examine the role of child labor, formally contracted out through service agreements (akin to indentured servitude), in helping to keep the family afloat. The source of this unique insight on ancient peasant life is the papyrus archive of Harthotes, a public farmer and priest who lived in the Fayum village of Theadelphia in the time of Augustus. We will explore whether Harthotes’ story can serve as a model for peasant family strategies in Greco-Roman Egypt and the ancient world more generally and see how his family’s use of child labor compares with cross-cultural typologies."