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.

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