History of Old Age

History of Old Age

From Antiquity to the Renaissance

Book - 1989
Rate this:
History of Old Age is the first major study of the ways in which old age has been perceived in western culture throughout history. Georges Minois paints a vast fresco, starting with the first old man to relate his own story--an Egyptian scribe some 4500 years ago--and ending with the deaths of Elizabeth I and Henry IV in the sixteenth century. Tracing the changing conceptions of the nature, value, and burden of the old, Minois argues that western history during this period is marked by great fluctuation in the social and political role of the aged.

Minois shows how, in ancient Greece, the cult of youth and beauty on the one hand, and the reverence for the figure of the Homeric sage, on the other, created an ambivalent attitude toward the aged. This ambiguity appears again in the contrast between the active role that older citizens played in Roman politics and their depiction in satirical literature of the period. Christian literature in the Middle Ages also played a large part in defining society's perception of the old, both in the image of the revered holy sage and in the total condemnation of the aged sinner.

Drawing on literary texts throughout, Minois considers the interrelation of literary, religious, medical, and political factors in determining the social fate of the elderly and their relationship to society. This book will be of great interest to social and cultural historians, as well as to general readers interested in the subject of the aged in society today.
Publisher: Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 1989
ISBN: 9780226530314
Characteristics: viii, 343 p. ; 24 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

There are no comments for this title yet.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at MARINet

To Top