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Layla Nahar
07-14-2012, 01:03 AM
Hi -

Does anybody have an idea how people spoke about age before the modern period? (Or any ideas what I could research to find out more about that?)

Alessandra Kelley
07-14-2012, 01:17 AM
Do you mean "The seven ages of man?" Shakespeare elucidated them in his "All the World's a Stage" speech in Hamlet, but I understand they were standard thinking in the Middle Ages.

Cath
07-14-2012, 01:26 AM
Layla, how are you defining the modern period? Do you mean the period before the 15th century? What class of folks in what culture?

You'll get a lot more valuable answers if you can be more specific.

Medievalist
07-14-2012, 01:55 AM
Hi -

Does anybody have an idea how people spoke about age before the modern period? (Or any ideas what I could research to find out more about that?)

What people?

Where?

When?

In what language?

Layla Nahar
07-14-2012, 02:20 AM
Hey, thanks for your responses. Sorry, I meant the question to be open, but it came out vague. I'm interested in hearing any ideas, like if you know about Medieval Europe and could tell me something - (like did people really say 'I've seen thirty winters'), that would be more than I know now, but I'd also be interested in hearing about about how any tribal cultures approach this, or ancient Rome, for example.

lorna_w
07-14-2012, 05:18 AM
sometimes reckoning (the term probably most useful in a search) was by a catastrophic ("I was born in the second year of the drought") or regnal reckoning ("I was born in the third year of the reign of Caeser Augustus" or whatever) Some cultures have general age groups that you belong to: Child, newly reproductive, parent, old, and you're only counted as a part of the large group.

Is that more of the sort of thing you're looking for?

Layla Nahar
07-14-2012, 05:13 PM
Hi Lorna,

Thank you. Yes, I'm looking for something like that - but I'm wondering what people in those times actually said. Like - would a person look at somebody and think: 'She was a newly reproductive woman' ? I guess they'd have some word for that stage of life.

If anybody has some idea about that, I'd be very grateful to hear it.

LN

Kitti
07-14-2012, 09:17 PM
Like - would a person look at somebody and think: 'She was a newly reproductive woman' ?

They'd probably call her a "youth" around the period of adolescence (as opposed to a child or a baby.)

There's actually a medieval legal process - the "proof of age" - in which people testified as to how old someone else was, usually in the context of that person attaining their majority and some sort of inheritance. A lot of age-reckoning was associational - i.e., "I know that John the Younger is now of age because he was born the same winter my favorite horse died, right before Christmas."