chapter  9
5 Pages

FINAL THOUGHTS

This survey of the family in the later Roman Empire has attempted to accomplish two things. First, it has sought to present an overview of how men and women of late antiquity conceived of the family and its role in relation to the larger social forces that affected it. It has, moreover, tried to give some indication of how people actually seem to have behaved in the period roughly covering the fourth to sixth centuries CE. Second, this study has tried to show that the success of Christianity in actually altering behavior was remarkably limited. In such a synthesis, some things will inevitably be anachronistic: the motivations for a canon to be issued at Arles in 314 would be quite different from one produced at Agde in 506. Nevertheless, if one can speak of late antiquity as a roughly singular era, then one can certainly offer some generalizations for the period.