Old age in the Dark Ages: the status of old age during the early Middle Ages.

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  • Author(s): GILLEARD, CHRIS
  • Source:
    Ageing & Society. Oct2009, Vol. 29 Issue 7, p1065-1084. 20p.
  • Document Type:
    Article
  • Additional Information
    • Subject Terms:
    • Author-Supplied Keywords:
      Christian Church
      early Middle Ages
      life expectancy
      old age
    • Abstract:
      This paper reviews the position of old age in the societies of post-Roman Europe, from the fifth to the 10th centuries. Drawing on both primary and secondary literary and material sources of the period, I suggest that living beyond the age of 60 years was an uncommon experience throughout the early Middle Ages. Not only was achieving old age a minority experience, it seems to have been particularly concentrated among the senior clergy. This, together with the growing importance of the Christian Church as the institution that stabilised post-Roman society, the decline of urban living and its attendant culture of leisure and literacy, and the transformation of kinship into a symbolic 'family under God' contributed to a more favourable status for old age, or at least one that was particularly favourable for older men. This was based not so much upon the accumulation with age of wealth and privilege, but upon the moral worth of old age as a stage of life. The early Middle Ages, the so-called 'Dark Ages ', was in this respect a relatively distinctive period in the history of old age. With all around instability and the future uncertain and often threatening, survival into old age was a rare but frequently revered attainment. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
      Copyright of Ageing & Society is the property of Cambridge University Press and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)
    • ISSN:
      0144-686X
    • Accession Number:
      10.1017/S0144686X09008630
    • Accession Number:
      44446227
  • Citations
    • ABNT:
      GILLEARD, C. Old age in the Dark Ages: the status of old age during the early Middle Ages. Ageing & Society, [s. l.], v. 29, n. 7, p. 1065–1084, 2009. DOI 10.1017/S0144686X09008630. Disponível em: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=hch&AN=44446227. Acesso em: 28 nov. 2020.
    • AMA:
      GILLEARD C. Old age in the Dark Ages: the status of old age during the early Middle Ages. Ageing & Society. 2009;29(7):1065-1084. doi:10.1017/S0144686X09008630
    • APA:
      GILLEARD, C. (2009). Old age in the Dark Ages: the status of old age during the early Middle Ages. Ageing & Society, 29(7), 1065–1084. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0144686X09008630
    • Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date:
      GILLEARD, CHRIS. 2009. “Old Age in the Dark Ages: The Status of Old Age during the Early Middle Ages.” Ageing & Society 29 (7): 1065–84. doi:10.1017/S0144686X09008630.
    • Harvard:
      GILLEARD, C. (2009) ‘Old age in the Dark Ages: the status of old age during the early Middle Ages’, Ageing & Society, 29(7), pp. 1065–1084. doi: 10.1017/S0144686X09008630.
    • Harvard: Australian:
      GILLEARD, C 2009, ‘Old age in the Dark Ages: the status of old age during the early Middle Ages’, Ageing & Society, vol. 29, no. 7, pp. 1065–1084, viewed 28 November 2020, .
    • MLA:
      GILLEARD, CHRIS. “Old Age in the Dark Ages: The Status of Old Age during the Early Middle Ages.” Ageing & Society, vol. 29, no. 7, Oct. 2009, pp. 1065–1084. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1017/S0144686X09008630.
    • Chicago/Turabian: Humanities:
      GILLEARD, CHRIS. “Old Age in the Dark Ages: The Status of Old Age during the Early Middle Ages.” Ageing & Society 29, no. 7 (October 2009): 1065–84. doi:10.1017/S0144686X09008630.
    • Vancouver/ICMJE:
      GILLEARD C. Old age in the Dark Ages: the status of old age during the early Middle Ages. Ageing & Society [Internet]. 2009 Oct [cited 2020 Nov 28];29(7):1065–84. Available from: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=hch&AN=44446227