“All the single ladies” will not be surprised nor will their male and gender fluid counterparts: there was never a time in history without persons who lived the single life, however defined. What is surprising is that the single life has received comparatively scant scholarly attention, especially in the premodern period. Indeed, as Christian Laes observes, “sociocultural research on the single life in the Roman empire has been virtually absent so far” (21). Once one considers how to define “the single life,” however, the relative scarcity of scholarly investigation becomes easier to fathom. What is “the single life?” In his detailed and sophisticated introduction to this important volume Christian Laes makes...

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