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Old Age in the Roman World: A Cultural and Social History (POD)

Old Age in the Roman World: A Cultural and Social History (POD)

ISBN 9780801880582
Edition 1
Publication Date
Author(s)
Overview
Classical authors such as Cicero and Plutarch would have us believe that the elderly were revered, active citizens of ancient Rome. But upon closer inspection, it appears that older people may not have enjoyed as respected or as powerful a place in Roman society as has been supposed.In this highly original work, Tim Parkin considers the many issues related to aging and the aged in the classical Roman world. Drawing on both his expertise in demography and his knowledge of ancient history and literature, he coaxes new insights from a variety of sources, including legal documents on the ''rules of age,'' representations of old age in classical literature, epigraphic evidence from tombstones, Greco-Roman medical texts, and papyri from Roman Egypt. Analyzing such diverse sources, he offers valuable new views of old age—not only of men in public life but of men and women in marriage, sexual relationships, and the family.Parkin detects a general lack of interest in old age per se in the early empire, which in itself may provide clues regarding the treatment of older people in the Roman world. Noting that privileges granted to the aged generally took the form of exemptions from duties rather than positive benefits, he argues that the elderly were granted no privileged status or ongoing social roles. At the same time they were both permitted—and expected—to continue to participate actively in society for as long as they were able. An innovative and ambitious work, Old Age in the Roman World paints a compelling, heretofore unseen picture of what it meant to grow old in antiquity. As a work of both social and cultural history, it broadens our knowledge of the ancient world and encourages us to reexamine our treatment of older people today.Reviews''By working with literary and demographical sources, Parkin attempts to clarify what defined 'old' to the Romans, how the elderly were portrayed in Roman literature, and what life may really have been like for the elderly . . . Parkin's work demonstrates just how much classicists tend to forget about the lives of the Romans after they have served their generalships and consulships or given birth to their children.''—T. Davina McClain, Bryn Mawr Classical Review''Old Age in the Roman World is a wonderful book. Parkin's expertise in both modern demography and classical literature provide a unique perspective that will enlighten both classicists and scholars of aging in other time periods.''—Judith Evans Grubbs, Sweet Briar College. 3 line drawings
Overview
Classical authors such as Cicero and Plutarch would have us believe that the elderly were revered, active citizens of ancient Rome. But upon closer inspection, it appears that older people may not have enjoyed as respected or as powerful a place in Roman society as has been supposed.In this highly original work, Tim Parkin considers the many issues related to aging and the aged in the classical Roman world. Drawing on both his expertise in demography and his knowledge of ancient history and literature, he coaxes new insights from a variety of sources, including legal documents on the ''rules of age,'' representations of old age in classical literature, epigraphic evidence from tombstones, Greco-Roman medical texts, and papyri from Roman Egypt. Analyzing such diverse sources, he offers valuable new views of old age—not only of men in public life but of men and women in marriage, sexual relationships, and the family.Parkin detects a general lack of interest in old age per se in the early empire, which in itself may provide clues regarding the treatment of older people in the Roman world. Noting that privileges granted to the aged generally took the form of exemptions from duties rather than positive benefits, he argues that the elderly were granted no privileged status or ongoing social roles. At the same time they were both permitted—and expected—to continue to participate actively in society for as long as they were able. An innovative and ambitious work, Old Age in the Roman World paints a compelling, heretofore unseen picture of what it meant to grow old in antiquity. As a work of both social and cultural history, it broadens our knowledge of the ancient world and encourages us to reexamine our treatment of older people today.Reviews''By working with literary and demographical sources, Parkin attempts to clarify what defined 'old' to the Romans, how the elderly were portrayed in Roman literature, and what life may really have been like for the elderly . . . Parkin's work demonstrates just how much classicists tend to forget about the lives of the Romans after they have served their generalships and consulships or given birth to their children.''—T. Davina McClain, Bryn Mawr Classical Review''Old Age in the Roman World is a wonderful book. Parkin's expertise in both modern demography and classical literature provide a unique perspective that will enlighten both classicists and scholars of aging in other time periods.''—Judith Evans Grubbs, Sweet Briar College. 3 line drawings

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