Early modern perceptions of old age are dominated by medicine's inability to treat the diseases associated with growing old. This book takes a thematic look at the historical roots of the debate surrounding this process. Though very much a medically-oriented study, this history also covers material of literary, religious and legal derivation. Schafer examines over 160 Latin texts from all over Europe, as well as many in the vernacular - including some from America - to challenge medical conceptions of old age during the early modern period. This is a translated and revised version of Alter und Krankheit in der Fruhen Neuzeit: Der arztliche Blick auf die letzte Lebensphase (Campus, 2004).
Introduction: Geriatrics Today and Yesterday 1 The Knowledge of the Ancients: Ancient and Medieval Accounts of Old Age and Their Importance for Early Modern Europe 2 Between Elderly Care and Life Extension: Galenic Gerocomies to the mid-Seventeenth Century 3 Old Age in the Early Modern University: The Eclecticism of Medical Concepts after 1650 4 Old Women: The Marginalization of a Majority Conclusion: Proto-Geriatrics between Tradition and Innovation