Ancients on Old Age

David Konstan


Greek and Roman literature has bequeathed us a variety of perspectives on old age. Old age, in ancient times before there were palliatives for pain and devices to compensate for failing sense, such as eyeglasses and hearing aids, could be painful and humiliating. At the same time, old age commanded a certain respect, for the wisdom that time and experience brought, and it afforded pleasures of its own, such as memories of former goods. If erotic passion and attractiveness were diminished, this might be considered a benefit rather than a loss. An aged person might still be able to manage personal affairs, and if death was closer, it was not something to be feared, if one had lived a full life. Old age was a stage in life, the final one, but not less valuable for that.


Antiphanes; Cicero; Horace; Lucretius; Mimnermus

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ESPES. The Slovak Journal of Aesthetics (ISSN 1339-1119) is published biannually by University of Presov, Slovakia and the Society for Aesthetics in Slovakia. Registration number of the journal in the Register of Periodical Publications of the Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic: EV173/23/EPP.

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