“Have you any Bread and Wine?” Conflict and Reciprocity in a Traditional Children’s Game

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Fionnán Mac Gabhann


In this article, I examine the traditional children’s game Roman Soldiers as a vehicle through which children contemplated community amid sectarian strife. Drawing on published and archival sources from Ireland, Britain, and the Americas, I suggest that children played with, critiqued, and, at times, subverted the conflicts that engulfed their societies through this game. In the process, children frequently highlighted the necessity of reciprocity for the maintenance of communal accord.


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Author Biography

Fionnán Mac Gabhann, Indiana University, Bloomington

Fionnán Mac Gabhann holds an MLitt in folklore and ethnology from University College Dublin and is a current PhD student in the Department of Folklore & Ethnomusicology, Indiana University. His doctoral research focuses on the performance of history and the utilization of tradition and memory in Gaelic-speaking Ireland.


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