Quarterly scientific journal

History of abandoned infants in Greece

Maria Athanasopoulou , Mariana Drakopoulou


It is since mythology to classical ages in Greece, since Medieval Ages to the end of the 19th century in Smyrna and in Athens, that history indicates the abandonment of the infants as a phenomenon always existing. A time flashback and the research of the phenomenon through the historic examples contribute unequivocally to the remonstrance of the social facts in each era. Aim: The aim of this study was to critically review all the historical data and the evidence from the international and Greek literature and to explore the factors that are accountable for to the infant’s abandonment and especially in Greece. Method: A critical literature search was performed using of MEDLINE and CINAHL (1990-2008) databases. The literature review referred to historical data related to the care of the abandoned infants since ancient Greek times. Conclusion: The literature review leads to the conclusion that the detection of the historical sources combines a “mosaic” which reflects the multiple needs of the Greek society, with target to encounter the infant abandonment. The ways used each time in order the phenomenon to be faced, not rarely were doubted. Still they stand as the salutary solutions for the abandoned infants and they are explained and established through the social background of each era and through the needs serviced each time.

Keywords: Abandoned infants, public nursery, abandoned infants in Greece

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