History of Old Age

Overview

This book is the first major study of the ways in which old age wasperceived in Western culture and society. Beginning from ancientPalestine and Classical Greece, Minois traces the changingconceptions of the nature, value and burden of the old.

He shows how, in ancient Greece, the cult of youth and beauty, onthe one hand, and the reverence for the figure of the Homeric sage,on the other, created an ambivalent attitude towards the aged. Thisambiquity appears again in the contrast...

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Overview

This book is the first major study of the ways in which old age wasperceived in Western culture and society. Beginning from ancientPalestine and Classical Greece, Minois traces the changingconceptions of the nature, value and burden of the old.

He shows how, in ancient Greece, the cult of youth and beauty, onthe one hand, and the reverence for the figure of the Homeric sage,on the other, created an ambivalent attitude towards the aged. Thisambiquity appears again in the contrast between the active rolethat senior citizens played in Roman politics, and their depictionin satirical literature of the period. Christian literature in theMiddle Ages also played a large part in defining thesociety′s perception of the old, both in the image of therevered holy sage and in the total condemnation of the aged sinner.

Minois traces the increasingly positive image of old age invarious professions from the eleventh to the sixteenth centuries.He shows how, as medical advances lengthened the averagelife–span, more and more old people were seen to take anactive part in the life of the society. Throughout, Minoisconsiders the interrelation of literary, religious, medical andpolitical factors in the social fate of old men and women and theirrelationship with the rest of society.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745662138
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 7/24/2012
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Georges Minois is a member of the CNRS and has been awarded two doctorates in History and Literature.

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Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • 1. The Middle East of Antiquity: The experience of old agebetween myth and history
  • 2. The Hebraic World: From patriach to old man
  • 3. The Greek World: 'Sad Old Age'
  • 4. The Roman World: The old man’s grandeur anddecadence
  • 5. The early Middle Ages: The old man as a symbol in Christianliterature
  • 6. The early Middle Ages: Indifference to age
  • 7. XI and XIII centuries: The social and culturaldiversification of old people
  • 8. XIV-XV centuries: Assertion of the old
  • 9. The XVI century: Humanists and courtiers versus old age
  • 10. The XVI century: The real weight of the old
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
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