The Importance Of Aries's View Of Childhood

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Aries argues that these portrayals show Jesus as a small version of an adult – the faces have very ‘grown up’ features and the bodies are elongated and developed like an adult.
This view is reinforced, says Aries, by the study of medieval children’s clothing, which was generally simply smaller versions of what was fashionable for adults. Infants wore baby clothes which were generally the same for boys and girls, but at about the age of seven people moved on to smaller versions of adult outfits.
Perhaps most controversially, Aries and other historians associated with his view have tended to see childhood in medieval times as having less emotional loading or significance to their parents. The suggestion is that parents, especially fathers, were
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The Case for Continuity
Many writers agreed with Aries’s perspective, but his work also attracted a wide range of critiques. Other historians attempted to show that his central idea that ‘in medieval society the idea of childhood did not exist’ was wrong. These are represented in diaries, autobiographies and other first-hand accounts, which she examined for the period 1500 to 1700. better, says Pollock, to study what people actually did, what their experience actually was, and this suggests much more similarity between families of the past and those of the present day than Aries and his colleagues would assert. She claims that ‘a concept of childhood existed’ and ‘that scholarly acknowledgement of the existence of different stages of childhood was not merely theoretical and that parents invested both material and emotional resources in their offspring’.
Ariès, of course, was not arguing that there was no affection for children in the
Middle Ages. People having no idea about childhood is not the same as people not caring for their children, but Aries maintains that there was a much clearer

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