Download PDF by at Thane, Paul Johnson, Pat Thane: Old Age: From Antiquity to Post-Modernity (Routledge Studies

By at Thane, Paul Johnson, Pat Thane

According to subject matters comparable to prestige and welfare, outdated Age from Antiquity to Post-Modernity examines the function of the aged in historical past. This empirical examine represents a considerable contribution to either the ancient knowing of previous age in previous societies in addition to the dialogue of the contribution of post-modernism to ancient scholarship.

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Extra info for Old Age: From Antiquity to Post-Modernity (Routledge Studies in Cultural History, 1)

Example text

It is the evident physical disabilities on which the popular literature focuses, highlighting the immediate concerns and fears of what old age will bring, more than on the more ‘philosophical’ vituperationes that concern Cicero. Pliny the Elder (first century AD), like Juvenal, argued that a short life is nature’s greatest gift. How can old age even be considered a part of life, he asks, with all the physical disabilities associated with it? And this is perhaps the dominant attitude or image of old age to come out of the literary sources, both ‘serious’ and ‘popular’, whether by a Cicero or by a Juvenal.

Parkin old may both be called citizens, but it is not altogether an unqualified sense: we must add the reservation that the young are undeveloped, and literally ‘those the old superannuated citizens past their prime’), or we must use some other qualification; the exact term we apply does not matter, for the meaning is clear. What we have to define is the citizen in the strict and unqualified sense, who has no defect that has to be made good before he can bear the name—no defect such as youth or age, or such as those attaching to disfranchised or exiled citizens.

The extent to which old people in ancient society were an integral part of that society or were in some way excluded from full participation depended to a large extent, apart from questions of gender and status, on the degree of capability of the individual; that individual would not be wholly marginalised so long as he or she was still capable of performing some useful function, be it as a statesman or as a childminder. Just as two very distinct attitudes towards the elderly may be discerned, so the differing circumstanceseconomic and social, personal and public—of each individual old person may have led to very different attitudes by other members of society towards him or her.

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