Juvenile Delinquency in the Graeco-Roman World

Bovver boys in Athens and Rome? Apparently so, according to Robert Garland, who uncovers tales from life and legend to show how high jinks could turn to blows in the classical world.

Some of the most engrossing questions which we can put to the ancient world are precisely those which are of current concern to our own society, whether or not we are able to obtain a very precise answer. The fundamental questions of this investigation are: firstly, did juvenile delinquency exist in the Graeco-Roman world? Secondly, what factors might have contributed towards it? Thirdly, what form did it characteristically take? And fourthly, how was it dealt with?

Discussions of juvenile delinquency in contemporary society have failed to produce a consensus as to what kind of behaviour should be so classified, but the one which is perhaps least contentious is 'any act committed by a juvenile which – according to our legal system – is punishable by law'.

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