NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ972507
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Aug
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0016-9013
Portraits of Aging Men in Late Medieval Italy
Cossar, Roisin
Gerontologist, v52 n4 p553-560 Aug 2012
Purpose: This essay examines the human experience of aging in the distant past by investigating a group of aging men during the 14th century in an Italian city, Bergamo, using notarial "documents of practice" from that community. Studying the aging process and its effects on the lives of people in the medieval era has three-fold significance: it broadens our understanding of aging as a human construct and a human experience, challenges an antihistorical theory of aging, and reinforces the importance of studying the specific experiences of aging individuals in both the past and the present. Design of the study: A qualitative study. Methods of analysis include nominative linkage and an investigation of the physical effects of aging on an individual, as seen in the documents of 1 long-lived notary. Results: Aging clerics and notaries in Bergamo took on positions of increasing authority in the church and related institutions in the last decades of their lives. Implications: The documented activities of a group of affluent men in 14th-century Bergamo suggest that although there was little recorded discussion of "old age" as a life stage in that community, for these men, aging was a real social process with both positive and negative impacts on their lives. Giving a human face to these aging men of the distant past models an approach to the study of the aging process that has relevance for both historians and gerontologists alike.
Oxford University Press. Great Clarendon Street, Oxford, OX2 6DP, UK. Tel: +44-1865-353907; Fax: +44-1865-353485; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Italy