Children began to be portrayed in Rome with the creation of the empire. When Augustus adopted Gaius and Lucius Caesar as boys and made them his heirs, it became necessary to propagate their likenesses.
However, during the first century child portraits were limited to the imperial family, and this genre would not spread to the rest of the population until the early second century.
Funerary busts were commissioned to mourn the untimely death of a child. Sometimes these images were carved on sarcophagi, where the dead child's likeness was often associated with Eros, the deity that would guarantee him or her a happy existence in the afterlife.