Wie cool war Altsein früher? - Geschichte des Alters | Terra X
History knows many ways of dealing with the elderly. In some cultures, old age is considered the high point of life. In others, the elderly are a burden. When in the past were people considered old? How was the end of life? Did people have to work themselves to death? Or was being old even better in the past? Our appearance changes with age. How did the people in the story handle it? In Greek comedy, the handling is quite disrespectful. Because in ancient Greece looking old is not an option. Contradicts the ideal of beauty of the time. The elderly in particular like to be teased.
The actors' costumes and props emphasize their physical disabilities. And grotesque theater masks are supposed to show how ridiculous old people look. When the actor takes the stage dressed as a rickety old man, the audience rages with gloating and amusement. The stage figure of the ridiculous old man is so popular that he is even immortalized on valuable vases. The Romans, on the other hand, often represent age in a respectful way: tombstones from the 1st century BC display the ideal of beauty. Men's wrinkles radiate the dignity of old age. The Steinmetz simply gives women flawless, youthful facial features.
It does not show that women have had a long and strenuous life, but rather, on the contrary, refinement, smooth facial features, beauty are shown. In the fight against wrinkles, some Roman women use a formula from ancient Egypt. The most important ingredient is the fenugreek seed. The plant is now even recommended for Parkinson's disease. Annette Schiffner knows the beauty secrets of women in ancient Rome. She takes these fenugreek seeds and pulverizes them in a stone mortar. And then this powder is crushed with water, everything is heated over the fire until an oily paste is formed. And this paste then represents the rejuvenating ointment, so to speak.
The cream is said to have found quick sales, especially among the high society of the time. It seems: wanting to maintain a youthful appearance is a timeless beauty ideal. The Middle Ages treated appearance in old age differently. The clothing depends on the respective status, be it farmer, noble or knight. And young women wear different clothes than older or old women. "And how far along are you with your Spring Festival dress?" "Almost done, look!" "Should I help?" "Yes, sure." "That can be a little shorter to show your calf jewelry. You're still young." Perhaps an effect that we are still familiar with today, that one would not expect in an early medieval society.
Older women, who are already over 40, that's actually the first big turning point, are wearing a heavier veil. They apparently wore not only the long skirts, but perhaps also thicker veils or a thicker hood than is the case with young women. The colors of their robes also change among women in courtly society. Unlike men, they often wear dark clothing in old age. In their twilight years, they cover up and hide their appearance with their clothes, preferring to leave the showy robes to the younger ones. Did the ancients have more power in history? In Sparta, the military power of ancient Greece, the majority are ruled by elders.
The council of elders, Gerusia, determines the fate of the Spartans: it decides on the laws, sometimes even on life and death. You can only be accepted there after the age of 60. But do older people really make better decisions? Crystal intelligence can also increase with age. And that makes up all that is experiential knowledge or what we would colloquially call wisdom. In short, it can be said: the younger ones are faster, but the older ones know the shortcuts. The Romans also have a council of elders. They call it the Senate. It meets regularly in the Roman Forum.
Only public officials who have already finished their career are accepted. This means that only older and experienced men have political power. But the elders also set the tone in Roman families: it can happen that a very old head of the family at 90 years old can still dispose of his son, who is now 70 years old, under private law and can do all kinds of regulations. for him, he can forbid anything. In other words, the children had to constantly ask the patriarch for permission. They cannot lead a self-determined life while the father is alive. The cult of the Father extends even beyond death.
Ancestor worship is a matter of honor for the Romans. They proudly stage their origins. The Roman politician and writer Cicero documents how the elderly viewed themselves. In his work "De Senectute" he only writes about old age and concludes: "I do not miss the powers of a young person even now. As little as I missed the power of a bull or an elephant when I was young." Another passage says: "Older people retain their spiritual gifts, and this applies not only to famous and honored personalities, but also to the quiet and private. Life. "In old age, Cicero and the Romans valued an advantage over the young: more life experience and wisdom.
In the Middle Ages, the elderly could even become rulers, as in the lagoon city of Venice. In 1192, the merchant Enrico Dandolo was elected Doge. He is 85 years old and blind. No one he expects a long term, but Dandolo held power successfully for 13 years, bringing an army of crusaders under his command at the age of 95. Their destiny is what was then the largest and richest city in Christendom: Constantinople. Enrico Dandolo is said to have directly participated in the conquest of the city in 1204. When he dies, he is buried in the Hagia Sofia in Constantinople.History knows many ancient rulers: in Egypt, Ramesses II reigns at the age of 90.
Basi Leos II is Emperor of Byzantium with almost 70 years. James I of Aragon sits on the throne at the age of 68. Louis XIV reigns over all of France for almost 77 years. And Elizabeth II is Queen of Great Britain for 70 years. But who took care of the elders? In ancient Greece, care was a private matter. However, the Athenians attach great importance to caring for the elderly. The People's Assembly carefully checks whether you take care of your parents. Anyone running for public office has to put up with relevant questions at a hearing. "Are you applying to be a strategist?" "That's the way he is." "Are your parents still alive?" "My father, yes." "Are you taking good care of him?" "I definitely do." "Do you have witnesses to this?" "My father himself.
He is here, up there." Abandoning elderly parents, not taking care of them, is a negative aspect that is thrown in the face of a candidate and can be the decisive factor for him to be considered unfit for office. Even in the Roman Empire, families took care of the elderly. With Christianity, however, a common responsibility for the needy and people in need develops. With regard to old age, what is decisive is that the idea of charity develops for reasons of mercy and care. So you have to take care of the elderly. And in general it can be said that nothing better could happen to the elderly than to Christianize society.
Hospitals and nursing homes arose from this spirit, such as the Sint-Jans Hospital in Bruges in the 12th century. There, elderly people from poor families are welcomed. "Hello sir, we are looking for a place to stay for my elderly mother." Children are happy if they can place their parents in a nursing home. Then as now, it is a great challenge for older people to say goodbye to their familiar environment and adjust to a new life in old age. Leaving your own home or apartment is very difficult for those affected, but also for family members, who often feel guilty, have a guilty conscience or have the feeling or fear that they will be judged negatively for it.
Hospitals like the one in Bruges ensure a dignified old age. It can house more than 100 residents. You sleep in narrow bunk beds. The nuns take care of the daily care. They take care of the elderly by Christian charity. Everyone who is still in good physical shape is given a task: to help keep the business running. Even in old age it is good to be needed. The monastery pharmacy is the heart of the Bruges Hospital. Ointments, tinctures and teas are made there according to ancient recipes. It is mainly the old women who have the knowledge about medicinal herbs.
What other forms of old age insurance existed in history? Retirees already existed in ancient Rome. A legionnaire receives money or land from the state after his service. A Roman citizen over the age of 60 often no longer has to pay the poll tax. The city of Rome provides him with grain and bread. In this way, the elderly are supported in everyday life. However, in ancient times, few people survived to old age. A quarter of the Romans live to see their 40th year. About five to eight percent live to be 60 years old. Farmers in the Black Forest have known for centuries how old-age security can work.
There, what happens when the farm is handed over to the son is precisely regulated. At the age of 60, the farmer and the farmer's wife retire. You go to the old part. And leave room for the next generation, which will bear the sole responsibility. The delivery is sealed with a contract. In addition to the obligations of the young farmer, it also regulates the rights of the "retired farmer", including the amount of firewood he receives per year. Autonomy is so important to older people because it starts with the fear that you can no longer be independent, that you can no longer make decisions for yourself.
This is a huge fear that older people have that someone else decides for them against their will. However, independence comes at a price: while they can, the old farmers make a living, but the physically demanding work exhausts the elderly. Peasants in the countryside like workers in the city. At the end of the 19th century, industrialization was in full swing. In the factories, everyone has to submit to the rhythm of the new times. Most work until they drop. Piece work does not take age into account. Even beyond 70, workers have to do their jobs. Dropouts earn nothing and are not entitled to sick pay.
At the end of the 19th century, the situation for the elderly in cities like Berlin was catastrophic. Older people, in particular, become unemployed and often end up on the streets. In order to defuse social explosives, pension insurance came into force in the German Empire in 1891. It must guarantee a socially secure life in old age. For the first time, the State appears as a social worker. Even if many still have extra money to earn, old age often means "retirement." At the same time, life expectancy is increasing considerably. In the Western world, at the beginning of the last century, the average age was 48, now it is heading towards 82.
This is mainly due to medical progress. So is it better to get old today after all? Depends on the circumstances. Are you afraid of getting old? And what does age mean to you? Tell us in the comments! And if you liked the video, we expect a like or a subscription.