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Romans rather despised beggars

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Roman piggy bank in the shape of a homeless girl reaching for coins
Roman piggy bank, made of bronze, in the shape of a homeless girl reaching for coins. Dated 25-50 CE | Photo: Mary Harrsch

Ancient Romans rather despised beggars and believed that they were closer to slaves than to fellow citizens. If someone was supported, it was only for political gains.

The Roman religion did not encourage the poor either. The situation began to improve with the development of Christianity in the Empire. Even Emperor Julian the Apostate was said to regret that the Romans professing ancient Roman faith lacked the custom of helping the poor, so characteristic of Christians.

  • Madejski Paweł, Żebracy i żebractwo w starożytnym Rzymie przedchrześcijańskim, s.103. [w.] Kostuch Lucyna, Ryszewska Katarzyna (red.), Zbytek i ubóstwo w starożytności i średniowieczu, Kielce 2010

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