The social realities of old age have undergone profound changes since the middle ages. This study shows, however, that the images, attitudes and expectations of old people have changed for less.
Shulamith Shahar shows how the status and social participation of the elderly varied according to gender, social stratum, economic resources, position, level of functioning, and personality, as well as according to regional custom.
The book offers a broad cultural history of old age in medieval western Europe. Shahar examines the images, attitudes and advocated norms used in relation to the elderly and looks at the elderly in various social strata: churchmen and nuns, rulers, small office holders and soldiers, town dwellers and peasants.
A valuable insight into life and society in the Middle Ages, this will prove an invaluable addition to history reading lists.
"'A judicious combination of direct use of primary sources and existing secondary literature... the first [book] to provide a well informed overview.' - Malcolm Barber, University of Reading 'This book offers important information on the Middle Ages that has been lacking until now... the author should be congratulated for a careful and elegant presentation of an important subject.' -Joyce E. Salisbury, University of Wisconsin"