The picture of old age and of aging is multilayered in ancient societies. Wisdom and experience of life as well as stubbornness, avarice, and despondence all are associated with old age. In spite of these pictures ever recurring, there were tremendous differences in terms of how the elderly were integrated in, collaborated with, and were valued by, family, society, and politics. What are the reasons for the position of the elderly having been rather precarious in classical Athens, whereas old age came to be of better repute increasingly both in Rome and in Sparta? In what way did patterns of household and of family, means of transferring the household, inheritance law, privileges in the political system, and war affect the position of the elderly? How did the picture of the elderly change under Christian influence in Late Antiquity? German text.
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