A subject with abnormally short stature from Imperial Rome

J Endocrinol Invest. 2001 Jul-Aug;24(7):546-8. doi: 10.1007/BF03343890.


In spite of the rich iconographic and literary documentation from ancient sources, the skeletal evidence concerning individuals of abnormally short stature in the Greco-Roman world is scarce. The necropolis of Viale della Serenissima/Via Basiliano in Rome, mostly referable to the II century AD, recently yielded the skeleton of an individual characterized by proportionate short stature, gracile features suggesting female gender, and delayed epiphysial closure, associated with full maturation of the permanent dentition. These characteristics could be compatible with the phenotype associated with female gonadal dysgenesis. The skeletal individual described here, although poorly preserved, represents the first evidence of a paleopathologic condition affecting skeletal growth documented for the population of ancient Rome.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Height / physiology*
  • Dwarfism / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Rome
  • Skeleton