xviii, 488 pages,  pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
Part I: Ancient patterns. Rome : the historical skeleton ; Rome : literary flesh and blood ; Fathers of the Church and parents of children -- Part II: The early Middle Ages. Variations on familiar patterns ; A Christian innovation : oblation ; Demographic overview -- Part III: The High Middle Ages. New demographics : 1000-1200 ; Oblation at its zenith ; The thirteenth century: abandonment resumes ; Literary witnesses -- Part IV: The later Middle Ages. Continuities and unintended tragedy ; Conclusions.