ATG Quirkies: Girls and Dolls in the Roman Empire

by | Apr 1, 2021 | 0 comments

Interestingly, this post in JSTOR Daily argues that the dolls that elite Roman girls played with as children were a lot like the modern Barbie doll.

(Roman ivory doll from the mid-2nd century AD – via Wikimedia Commons)

Classic scholars like Fanny Dolansky think that “these toys carried strong messages about girls’ expected roles in society. Like modern Barbies, they mirrored the body ideals of Roman times, in this case small breasts and wide hips. Because they resembled adult women, they were likely intended to help young girls contemplate their future as wives and mothers.

Dolls also wore miniature rings, jewels, and sometimes even removable clothing, which young girls might have used to learn about their own bodies and to practice dressing themselves...”

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