Life in the ancient Rome

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by timojin, May 27, 2016.

  1. timojin Valued Senior Member

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  3. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    The above:
    "Average" is a gross misrepresentation of the body of known data.
     
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  5. timojin Valued Senior Member

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    I agree it is misrepresented but the fact is that all averages in past societies are misrepresented . diseases existed in the past , take as an example of several plagues that killed millions in Europa , so I would believe plagues eliminated millions in the east, and probable in the middle east many people have perished due to hard labor.
     
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  7. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Some anthropologists insist that the primary cause of the shortened lifespan of the Romans was poor nutrition. The cities had grown so large that the transportation system of the era (horse-drawn wagons) could not bring fresh produce to the city-dwellers. (They could bring it, but by the time it got there it was no longer edible, much less fresh.)

    As a result, their diet was deficient in several really important vitamins and minerals. The average lifespan for the common people was about 25.
     
  8. birch Valued Senior Member

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    That is very sad... for some life is torture. Cancer and arthritis before age 20. Subsisting on rotting grains and stale bread. Can you imagine if you are a mother, its better your child died than basically live to suffer and serve another. Even animals live better than that.

    More than anything, i think there really are two camps of humans on this planet. Ones who would exploit people so mercilessly and with no conscience and greedy and those who are humane, fair and sane. One of them you cant believe is human but they are all around us too. The cause of most suffering. Its strange because it makes you wonder who is who but somehow they get power to do these things. Its suspicious.
     
  9. birch Valued Senior Member

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    It means they were suffering and in pain probably all the time. Arthritis in knees and back, sleeping in pain or miserable unrestful sleep. Especially when you have health issues, it even gets more exaggerated in symptoms at night because you are less distracted and pain becomes more acute and raw. Existing just to be used as a tool. Nightmare. No hopes, dreams etc and if it were thats all it could be, empty wishes.

    It makes me angry at the idea or concept of a god very much for any souls who have had to suffer here pain, confusion, misery, fright, sadness, loneliness etc past, present and future.
     
  10. spidergoat Trump rejects intelligence Valued Senior Member

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    Huh?
     
  11. Michael 歌舞伎 Valued Senior Member

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    If you lived in the Roman empire and made it to the age of 10, you had a 50% chance of living to your late 50s! That seems pretty decent. I don't think the life expectancy was this high until recently.
     
  12. birch Valued Senior Member

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    Uh no. That applied to those who were elite and not slaves or working poor which was still basically slavery type conditions.
     
  13. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    This is absolutely not true. Rome was a large urban area whose inhabitants were dependent on food from the agricultural areas that surrounded the city. The only transportation technology was horse-drawn wagons, so it was difficult to bring a balanced diet from those farms to the city dwellers. They were able to deliver grains to the populace, since grains have a long shelf-life, so the city dwellers had enough calories to survive. But they could not deliver the other nutrients which we now know are indispensable to a balanced diet. As a result, everyone except the nobility were limited to an extremely unbalanced diet.

    The average lifespan of a Roman who was not of the nobility was less than 25 years.
     
  14. Randwolf Ignorance killed the cat Valued Senior Member

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    Uh yes.
    Depends on whether you trust these sources:

    Wiki:
    Classical Rome[16] 20–30 If a child survived to age 10, life expectancy was an additional 37.5 years, (total age 47.5 years).

    http://www.brlsi.org/events-proceedings/proceedings/25020
    This may seem surprising on learning that, according to modern demographers, the average life-expectancy in Rome was around the age of 25. This figure is, however, very misleading, mainly because of a very high rate of infant and child mortality. It is estimated that as many as 50% of children may have died before the age of ten. Life expectancy increased dramatically for those who survived the early danger years and the total span of life appears to have been not significantly different than today.

    http://www.revealedrome.com/2012/06/ancient-rome-daily-life-women-age.html
    Major misconception #1: Ancient Romans had very short lives, and if you made it to 35, you were old

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this: “The life expectancy of the average Roman was 35.” What people, including many tour guides, usually draw from this is that 30- and 40-something Romans must have been very venerable indeed.

    Here’s the problem. Aside from the fact that the data is terrible, this 35-year life expectancy is the average. Meaning it factors in the ancient world’s very high child mortality rate: Up to half of all Roman kids died before the age of 10. If you did reach 10, you could expect to live into your 40s or 50s, at least. Then there’s all the Roman men who died in military service… and the women who died in childbirth.

    If you jumped through those hoops and survived your teens, 20s, and 30s, you’d have no reason to think you wouldn’t lead a nice, long life. In fact, those who reached the age of 60 would, on average, die after their 70th birthdays.
     
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  15. birch Valued Senior Member

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    Wow, you make it sound like it was just like today or a walk in the park. Of course some will make it. What i find sober and respectful about the admission in the op is shedding realistic light on peoples lives and not the glamorized way most look at the past focusing on either power or elite and minimizing the horrendous hardships, suffering and brutality most had to live and sweeping it, the uglies and the depraved cost to many lives under the rug. These unnamed forgotten people are also important, not just the famous ones we read about. ok? No one should be surprised by these findings actually. You would be pretty unrealistic to think life back then resembles some hollywood movie about the glories of rome. Life was brutal and nasty. It still is in many ways today, now just compound that even more in the past.

    That is 'if' which would still be few, get it??? Life was harsh. Very, very harsh for most. There was no proper medicine, doctors, nutrition wasnt understood, slavery was legal and insane brutality was the norm for them and for most etc. Geez..
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2016
  16. birch Valued Senior Member

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    During the war my grandmother had to work in a factory as a child barely surviving herself. One of the girls (still a child herself) was raped, gave birth and ran away. My grandmother had to take care of this infant. There was no milk or formula (out of the question) and she was told to chew some rice and feed the baby that way. She carried him on her back during work and he died at two years old from malnutrition. He had no name and was buried in an unmarked grave. There are many people who are obscure and will never be known or their story told. It is very sad actually.

    And as far as back in the day in rome, a slaveowner could punish their servant by pouring boiled tar to mutilate or kill them if they displeased them. Thats just the tip of the iceberg. This means that consciously this was acceptable behavior among other shitty values in society to witness and par for the course like no big deal. If you consider that type of mentality, then connect the fuking dots that it was a brutal time to exist unless you were extremely lucky, fortunate or at the top!!
     
  17. PhysBang Valued Senior Member

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    One has to be careful about expected lifespan. In the USA, some conservatives have used expected lifespan to lie to minorities. They have claimed that lower life expectancies for minorities mean that Social Security is biased in favor of white men, so minorities should be in favor of conservative plans to destroy the program. In reality, the life expectancy calculations rely so much on infant and child mortality, that one does not find that minority citizens who begin to use Social Security do not gave to receive it less than white men.
     
  18. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    I don't think that's literally true. The average newborn baby might have been unlikely to make it to 30. That's because many didn't make it past their first few years. If you average in the childhood deaths, the mean life expectancy for everyone comes down.

    If somebody lived long enough to be a worker, and wasn't a worker in an extremely dangerous profession like mining or the military, he or she probably lived well beyond 30. Many Romans lived into what we would consider old age. (In ancient literature, 80 was considered a full life.) Romans' hair didn't turn white at 20 or anything like that.

    Certainly the age-demographics of the Roman population were different than our own. There were more infants in their world, since most women of child bearing age spent much of their time pregnant. But many of the infants died in their early years so the big bulge in number of babies soon fell. And the number of elderly retirement-age people in their 70's and older was a lot lower than we see in our own populations, since many diseases and injuries that are treatable now killed people off.

    I don't think that the blessings of God had anything to do with the lengthening of the average lifespan. More relevant is the contribution of medical science to reducing childhood and subsequent mortality. Of course that development, which most of us would consider a good thing, has led to an explosion of the human population on this planet with its own problems.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2016
  19. Michael 歌舞伎 Valued Senior Member

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    I made a mistake, I thought the post was the Roman Empire, not only the city of Rome. I don't know, maybe the lifespan in the city was lower, but, it must have been better than living elsewhere for many, given the migration into the city.
     
  20. Michael 歌舞伎 Valued Senior Member

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    Life was harsh everywhere in the year 27 B.C.E

    That said, Slavery in Rome was a pretty good deal. A large portion of the Roman citizenry were former Slaves. It was part of what made the system work. Work hard, get citizenship, leave citizenship to your children. The incentive of Citizenship was one of the factors that kept the machine moving forward.
     
  21. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    If one uses height and other skeletal evidence such as teeth (median adult height being a very good indicator of prosperity and living standards), there were people in many places living lives of near-modern comfort a long time ago.

    Mean lifespan is so badly skewed by child mortality, combat, and death in childbirth, as to be almost useless as an indicator of prehistoric prosperity.

    Another basic problem is the drop in living standards and health that invariably accompanied the first few centuries of adopting agriculture - that's also when reliable records and historical evidence began to accumulate where we can find it now, so our earliest evidence of living standards usually comes from their nadir. We project back down the curve and assume it was even worse before then. This creates a misleading impression of life in olden times being nasty and brutal and short, and the trend until now being one of continual advance and improvement. What actually appears to have happened was a dramatic fall in living standards wherever agriculture was adopted, and a long, slow recovery to the former standards, over hundreds of years until recently. The really big advance came with the dietary and other improvements following the discovery of the Americas by shipbuilding Eurasians, combining the domesticated animals of Europe with the domesticated plants of the Americas - we're still in that boom.

    For instance: It wasn't until quite recently, in the Netherlands and nearby, that the median height of an adult anywhere on the planet passed the former high bar set by the Northern Cheyenne horse tribes in 1700s - early 1800s North America. They were until recently the most prosperous, healthy, well-living population of humans we knew of, ever.
     
  22. birch Valued Senior Member

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    How do you know this and why do you and many seem inclined to paint a rosier picture or minimize things of the past?? Life is still harsh now, the hell then is unimaginable.

    You dont just live if you get past childhood as there are still diseases you can acquire in adulthood as well as diet would still be important. Ones hair not turning white in their twenties has nothing to do with it. Also, i dont believe the only backbreaking work was mining or military. This has a sterile view of things. Slavery and abusing/killing slaves was legal just as abusing children and lower class. Most lives were considered expendable and cheap and there was no or little regard to safety. They depended on cheap and exploitive labor in their heirarchy just as how slavery was legal in america but they enslaved neighboring tribes as well as their lowerclass were little better off.
     
  23. birch Valued Senior Member

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    That is not true. One could only become free if the slaveowner agrees to such terms as in they just set you free or work for freedom. It didnt mean the owner had to do that anyways. I would imagine many didnt as there was no incentive to do so on the part of the slaveowner. Where is 'many' were prior slaves. I would like official documentation as in proof not just what someone says or guesses even historically. Were there records showing 'most' were freed slaves?
     

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