Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 30 of 38

Thread: average lifespan of the elite roman class?

  1. #1
    Member Member applebreath's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    169

    Default average lifespan of the elite roman class?

    Thanks,
    Apple.

    edit: I'm referring to death by natural causes, sickness/disease can be lumped in this category too. I'm mainly curious as to how long a rich roman would live if they didn't take too many chances on the battlefield and were "smart" about their health.
    Last edited by applebreath; 11-20-2009 at 16:19.
    Imo, the following "mod" is almost perfect:
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    For installation process, I followed the following: RTW Gold > Alexander > EB 1.1 > 1.2 > Official Fixes > 1.2 Mini Mod Pack 3.1 > LZ3's Custom EB Fix Adaptation > Phalanx Mod > RS Textures > Naval Strat Map Add On > Lysander's Sihunet Formations Adaptations > EOM 4 Carthaginian Governors Edition > Atraphoenix' RS Legions Adaptation For ALEXANDER EB > Getting Rid Of The Giant Trees Mod > (I've also modded the Roman reforms to happen sooner, deleted 7 files/folders to get rid of window lights and torches for night battles, and added 3 SKYMOD_BI .txt files for night lighting.) - The only thing missing is a 12 turns per year mod, maybe 6 tpy instead.

  2. #2
    Villiage Idiot Member antisocialmunky's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    ゞ( ゚Д゚)ゞ
    Posts
    5,972

    Default Re: average lifespan of the elite roman class?

    People back in the day could usually live a pretty long time if they were both rich and lived past a certain age. Ramses lived to his 80s and Menes was gored to death by a Hippo also at around the 80s. Antigonos died in battle close to his 80s.

    But by looking at some of the famous figures in the Late Republic and early Empire, you could probably estimate somewhere in the late 50s early 60s if you include non-natural deaths.
    Fighting isn't about winning, it's about depriving your enemy of all options except to lose.



    "Hi, Billy Mays Here!" 1958-2009

  3. #3
    Member Member Geush's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Binghamton, NY
    Posts
    41

    Default Re: average lifespan of the elite roman class?

    Somewhat related:

    There was an article in the news a few days ago looking at coronary disease in elite Egyptians. They did CT scans of a dozen mummies and found lots of evidence of blockage and its effects.

    Apparently their diet was high in salt and rich in fat, which meant their arteries were totally clogged. They were only living to mid thirties or mid forties, partially as a result of this.

  4. #4
    Member Member applebreath's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    169

    Default Re: average lifespan of the elite roman class?

    That is pretty interesting..

    Quote Originally Posted by antisocialmunky View Post
    But by looking at some of the famous figures in the Late Republic and early Empire, you could probably estimate somewhere in the late 50s early 60s if you include non-natural deaths.
    By "non-natural", are you mainly referring to death by blade?


    How about for the romans that were not in the elite class, so unnatural causes (sickness, blade, etc) would probably play a big role? 30's - 40's, 20's - 30's?
    Last edited by applebreath; 11-20-2009 at 16:24.
    Imo, the following "mod" is almost perfect:
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    For installation process, I followed the following: RTW Gold > Alexander > EB 1.1 > 1.2 > Official Fixes > 1.2 Mini Mod Pack 3.1 > LZ3's Custom EB Fix Adaptation > Phalanx Mod > RS Textures > Naval Strat Map Add On > Lysander's Sihunet Formations Adaptations > EOM 4 Carthaginian Governors Edition > Atraphoenix' RS Legions Adaptation For ALEXANDER EB > Getting Rid Of The Giant Trees Mod > (I've also modded the Roman reforms to happen sooner, deleted 7 files/folders to get rid of window lights and torches for night battles, and added 3 SKYMOD_BI .txt files for night lighting.) - The only thing missing is a 12 turns per year mod, maybe 6 tpy instead.

  5. #5
    The Rhetorician Member Skullheadhq's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Antioch
    Posts
    2,267

    Default Re: average lifespan of the elite roman class?

    Probably not 20-30, but mayme if you take child deaths into calculation it will be something like 20-30 I suppose.
    "When the candles are out all women are fair."
    -Plutarch, Coniugia Praecepta 46

  6. #6
    Member Member Shylence's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    North By Northwest
    Posts
    147

    Default Re: average lifespan of the elite roman class?

    I would suppose that for the med' The poorest non slave classes could survive to 40s at least, well i would expect only a few of the very poorest would be alive after 50.

    It would not surprise me, that for the ruling class of romans, there would be people in their 80s.

    These people would me more phiscally active than most of us so i would think they were physically quite fit. and if they were rich enough to have the better diets. I'm sure of 80s for the richest strata of roman society.
    As I walked through the Glenshane Pass I heard a young girl mourn
    The boy form Tamlaghtduff 'she cried 'is two years dead and gone'
    How my heart is torn apart this young man to lose
    Oh I'll never see the likes again of my young Francis Hughes ....

  7. #7
    The drunken Duke Member Suraknar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Travelling the aether of the Interwebs ;)
    Posts
    633

    Default Re: average lifespan of the elite roman class?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shylence View Post
    These people would me more phiscally active than most of us so i would think they were physically quite fit. and if they were rich enough to have the better diets. I'm sure of 80s for the richest strata of roman society.
    Oh yeah specially if they visited Pompey quite often too
    Duke Surak'nar
    Η ΤΑΝ Η ΕΠΙ ΤΑΣ

    ~ Ask not what modding can do for you, rather ask what you can do for modding ~
    ~ Everyone dies, not everyone really fights ~

  8. #8
    The Creator of Stories Member Parallel Pain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Sitting on the Throne of My Empires
    Posts
    380

    Default Re: average lifespan of the elite roman class?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shylence View Post
    I would suppose that for the med' The poorest non slave classes could survive to 40s at least, well i would expect only a few of the very poorest would be alive after 50.

    It would not surprise me, that for the ruling class of romans, there would be people in their 80s.

    These people would me more phiscally active than most of us so i would think they were physically quite fit. and if they were rich enough to have the better diets. I'm sure of 80s for the richest strata of roman society.
    Physical activity doesn't mean as much as you think. We have the benefit of modern medicine in vaccine and antibiotics, as well as diet planning, healthcare system, santitation (and ours is a lot better than theirs), sterialized operation instruments, etc. Modern government has the ability to implement and properly reinforce quarantines, they didn't. And the diet of the modern middle class is better than ancient elite's.

    I read somewhere they did a tally of all Roman royalties (emperors and families) and took their average lifespan of the people who died a natural cause. It was 31 years. Meanwhile the average people was 25.

    This is the case, with a difference of within five years depending on circumstances, of all pre-industrialized society.

    Most of the deaths are going to occur to young children before the age of five to seven. After that the survivors in the ruling classes on average live to late fourties and early fifties. The rest of the population on average lived to mid 30s.

    The long living rulers are the exception, not the rule. In fact one of the reason their reign was so good and eventful is because they lived so long to see their wishes carried out.
    Last edited by Parallel Pain; 11-20-2009 at 23:45.

  9. #9
    Villiage Idiot Member antisocialmunky's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    ゞ( ゚Д゚)ゞ
    Posts
    5,972

    Default Re: average lifespan of the elite roman class?

    Keep in mind that while modern scientific advances have helped control disease, its not the vaccines and medical treatments that save the most lives, but its basic sanitation and diet which many elite classes had.

    Once you get that in place, medical treatment takes care of most of the rest. The Romans did have a fair knowledge of medicine around the Early Empire/Late Republic and had a few hospitals for a very brief window with segregated wards(quarantine), instrument sterilization, and running water.

    While modern society has a better understanding of everything, you shouldn't sell the ancient short like that.

    PS. Also, 'average lifespan' is a relatively crude measure. The more accurate statistics are along the lines of 'how long do people live if thee live past 15.' If you throw in infant morality, it will usually drag the average lifespan down considerably to the point where it does not represent the actual age of the population.

    I would be curious to see a population break down like:

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	asset_upload_file322_5854.jpg 
Views:	1775 
Size:	10.6 KB 
ID:	273  
    Fighting isn't about winning, it's about depriving your enemy of all options except to lose.



    "Hi, Billy Mays Here!" 1958-2009

  10. #10
    The Creator of Stories Member Parallel Pain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Sitting on the Throne of My Empires
    Posts
    380

    Default Re: average lifespan of the elite roman class?

    Quote Originally Posted by antisocialmunky View Post
    Keep in mind that while modern scientific advances have helped control disease, its not the vaccines and medical treatments that save the most lives, but its basic sanitation and diet which many elite classes had.

    Once you get that in place, medical treatment takes care of most of the rest. The Romans did have a fair knowledge of medicine around the Early Empire/Late Republic and had a few hospitals for a very brief window with segregated wards(quarantine), instrument sterilization, and running water.

    While modern society has a better understanding of everything, you shouldn't sell the ancient short like that.

    PS. Also, 'average lifespan' is a relatively crude measure. The more accurate statistics are along the lines of 'how long do people live if thee live past 15.' If you throw in infant morality, it will usually drag the average lifespan down considerably to the point where it does not represent the actual age of the population.
    Eh no. Well yes and no. Pre-modern death by typhoid, smallpox, plague, and many other diseases reached even the highest level. Disease was the number two killer, behind famine. Famine wouldn't effect the elite as much. However though disease wouldn't hit the elite class as heavily, they still did quite heavily. All these would be treatable or preventable in modern days, but not latter days. Segregated wards are not the effective epidemic quarantine of city-wide, province-wide, or even country-wide that government now days has the ability of imposing, and without these epidemics spread like wildfire.
    Even when there wasn't an epidemic attack, without anti-biotics infections were deadly, and there was no way to prevent smallpox, which was super deadly. Even more so when diet was not balanced. Unlike today food back then change with the season, and even the kings of an island would be eating mostly fish (which is actually a good thing), while many elites gorged themselves on game and meat and die from it (indirectly).
    And sure they had running water. We have running SANITIZED water.

    And I am not selling the ancient short like anything. Here's the quote from my university textbook "An analysis of the ages of 30 emperors (from the 1st to the 7th centuries) who died of natural causes indicates an average live expectancy at birth of 26.3 years." Remaining life expectancy at age 15 was 34.2 years.

    Also my and your numbers are not that different. Excluding infants that died young I estimated life expectancy of the ruling class at age 50 and you at 60.
    I was trying to get at those people (looks above) that says even people living in the slums could readily live to at least 40 years of age and that the average life span (yes he was answering to a thread about the average life span) of the ruling class was in the 80s
    And heck I see no reason to exclude infant deaths as that's also a good sign of social and medical services, food supply, etc.
    Last edited by Parallel Pain; 11-21-2009 at 11:09.

  11. #11
    Arrogant Ashigaru Moderator Ludens's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Posts
    8,655

    Lightbulb Re: average lifespan of the elite roman class?

    Quote Originally Posted by Parallel Pain View Post
    Even more so when diet was not balanced. Unlike today food back then change with the season, and even the kings of an island would be eating mostly fish (which is actually a good thing), while many elites gorged themselves on game and meat and die from it (indirectly).
    While I agree with most of what you say, I have to point out that the diet of medieval peasants was in some ways better than what we have today. Yes, food quality was worse and availability uncertain, but the food was rich in fibers and nutrients. I assume the same applies for farmers of other eras. Nowadays we eat mostly comfort food that contains much energy and flavour, but little else. It's true, though, that elites would have overindulged in the time's equivalent of comfort food, but food quality and availability would have been less of an issue for them.
    Last edited by Ludens; 11-21-2009 at 10:48.
    Looking for a good read? Visit the Library!

  12. #12
    Member Member applebreath's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    169

    Default Re: average lifespan of the elite roman class?

    Quote Originally Posted by Parallel Pain View Post
    Remaining life expectancy ('death of an emperor of natural causes') at age 15 was 34.2 years.
    I don't know too much about this subject, but I still find that hard to believe. I'd have to read more on those sources, looking for underlining causes, to believe that.

    But yes, I'm more looking for how old the rich would live after a certain age and with the knowledge that they took "good" care of themselves. I was thinking more like 60's - 70's. For most of the other people, I was thinking high 30's. Although, I do realize my opinion could be way off.
    Last edited by applebreath; 11-21-2009 at 10:55.
    Imo, the following "mod" is almost perfect:
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    For installation process, I followed the following: RTW Gold > Alexander > EB 1.1 > 1.2 > Official Fixes > 1.2 Mini Mod Pack 3.1 > LZ3's Custom EB Fix Adaptation > Phalanx Mod > RS Textures > Naval Strat Map Add On > Lysander's Sihunet Formations Adaptations > EOM 4 Carthaginian Governors Edition > Atraphoenix' RS Legions Adaptation For ALEXANDER EB > Getting Rid Of The Giant Trees Mod > (I've also modded the Roman reforms to happen sooner, deleted 7 files/folders to get rid of window lights and torches for night battles, and added 3 SKYMOD_BI .txt files for night lighting.) - The only thing missing is a 12 turns per year mod, maybe 6 tpy instead.

  13. #13
    The Creator of Stories Member Parallel Pain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Sitting on the Throne of My Empires
    Posts
    380

    Default Re: average lifespan of the elite roman class?

    Luden you have to remember that peasants, that's the low classes, were starving to death. As for quality, our food certainly isn't rotting or rotten, and we make sure they are properly cooked, stored, preserved (think about it, a Roman Emperor possibily died of food poisoning, what would food be for the average joe?). And we get all kinds of vegetables and fruits and meat all year round while they are restricted by when those vegetables actually ripen (and the average joe won't be getting much meat at all).

    apple that life expectancy (you altered the quote , though I admit it was badly worded ) is the average of a society using demographic model West level 3 (the model that researchers say fits for the Romans) for females. So you have to add like 5 to 7 years for elites and then take away like 2 for average between sexes (females tend to live longer).

    Here's the list of Roman Emperors that were not assassinated or killed in some way. Info's off wiki, with name, age at death, and cause of death when available. Remember this is not just a "rich Roman" but the EXTREME TOP of the society. So you have to decide for yourself how many years to take away for a general "rich Roman". On top of that, this is also sort of life expectancy of people who survived long enough to actually become emperor... (so I say take a few more years for a general class of society)

    Augustus - Age 75
    Tiberus - Age 77 (possibily assassinated)
    Claudius - Age 63 (possibly assassinated)
    Vespesian - Age 69 Intestinal inflammation which led to excessive diarrhea
    Titus - Age 41 Illness
    Nerva - Age 67 Stroke
    Trajan - Age 63 Edema
    Hadrian - Age 62 Heart Disease?
    Antoninus Pius - Age 74
    Lucius Verus - Age 39 Food poisoning/plague/smallpox
    Marcus Aurelius - Age 58
    Septimius Severus - Age 65 Illness
    Gordian III - Age 19 (possibly unnatural causes)
    Hostilian - Age 21~ Plague (possibily smallpox)
    Valerian - Age 60 (died while in captivity)
    Claudius Gothicus - Age 56 Plague (possibily smallpox)
    Marcus Claudius Tacitus - Age 76 (possibly assassinated)
    Carus - Age 56 death by lightning?
    Diocletian - Age 66
    Constantius Chlorus - Age 56
    Galerius - Age 51 Disease
    Constantine I - Age 65 Illness
    Constantius II - Age 44 Illness
    Jovian – Age 32 (Carbon monoxide poisoning)
    Valentinian I - Age 54 Burst blood vessel in the skull while angrily yelling at people
    Theodosius I - Age 48 due to Edema
    Arcadius - Age 31
    Honorius - Age 38 Edema
    Theodosius II - Age 49 Riding accident
    Constantius III - unknown (birthdate not known)
    Marcian - Age 60 Disease (possibily gangrene)
    Olybrius - Age 41 Edema
    Romulus Augustus - unknown (birthdate not known)
    Leo I - Age 73 Dysentery
    Zeno - Age 66
    Anastasius I - Age 88
    Justin I - Age 77
    Justinian I - Age 81 (got the plague but survived)
    Justin II - Age 58

    Total: 39 (unknown age 2, known 37)
    Cause of Death
    Disease excluding edema and “falling ill” after age 60: 9 or 10 (23~25.6%)
    Edema: 4 (10.2%)
    Not listed: 10 (25%)

    Average life span out of 37 = 57.2 years
    Standard Deviation = 16.3
    Average life span excluding longest surviving 4 and shortest surviving 4 = 58.4 years

    Having 1/4 to 1/3 of natural deaths resulting from some form of disease sounds about right for pre-modern times (did someone say they had great medicine and health care systems back then?).
    Last edited by Parallel Pain; 11-21-2009 at 11:46.

  14. #14
    Arrogant Ashigaru Moderator Ludens's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Posts
    8,655

    Lightbulb Re: average lifespan of the elite roman class?

    Quote Originally Posted by Parallel Pain View Post
    Luden you have to remember that peasants, that's the low classes, were starving to death. As for quality, our food certainly isn't rotting or rotten, and we make sure they are properly cooked, stored, preserved (think about it, a Roman Emperor possibily died of food poisoning, what would food be for the average joe?). And we get all kinds of vegetables and fruits and meat all year round while they are restricted by when those vegetables actually ripen (and the average joe won't be getting much meat at all).
    I guess you misinterpreted my post: I didn't write their food was better in every way, only that the basic ingredients of their diet were healthier than what nobles ate, or what we eat. The actual quality of the ingredients was worse, although peasants wouldn't eat rotten food unless there was nothing else available, and weren't entirely ignorant on how to preserve and prepare it either.

    Quote Originally Posted by Parallel Pain View Post
    Remember this is not just a "rich Roman" but the EXTREME TOP of the society. So you have to decide for yourself how many years to take away for a general "rich Roman".
    Zero? The job of emperor entailed quite a bit more stress and risk than that of the average nobleman, and a noble would certainly not want for food or medical care. I guess it all depends on how much difference "good" versus "the best" food/medicine makes.
    Looking for a good read? Visit the Library!

  15. #15
    πολέμαρχος Member Apázlinemjó's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Sopianae
    Posts
    683

    Default Re: average lifespan of the elite roman class?

    Quote Originally Posted by Parallel Pain View Post
    Average life span out of 37 = 57.2 years
    Standard Deviation = 16.3
    Average life span excluding longest surviving 4 and shortest surviving 4 = 58.4 years
    Wow, in Hungary the average life span for males is around 69-70, and those Romans lived more than a millenia and a half ago so it's not bad.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    Finished essays: The Italian Wars (1494-1559), The siege of Buda (1686), The history of Boius tribe in the Carpathian Basin, Hungarian regiments' participation in the Austro-Prussian-Italian War in 1866, The Mithridatic Wars, Xenophon's Anabasis, The Carthagian colonization
    Skipped essays: Serbian migration into the Kingdom of Hungary in the 18th century, The Order of Saint John in the Kingdom of Hungary

  16. #16
    Formerly Wigferth Ironwall Senior Member Philipvs Vallindervs Calicvla's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Isca
    Posts
    11,111

    Default Re: average lifespan of the elite roman class?

    Quote Originally Posted by Parallel Pain View Post
    Luden you have to remember that peasants, that's the low classes, were starving to death. As for quality, our food certainly isn't rotting or rotten, and we make sure they are properly cooked, stored, preserved (think about it, a Roman Emperor possibily died of food poisoning, what would food be for the average joe?). And we get all kinds of vegetables and fruits and meat all year round while they are restricted by when those vegetables actually ripen (and the average joe won't be getting much meat at all).

    apple that life expectancy (you altered the quote , though I admit it was badly worded ) is the average of a society using demographic model West level 3 (the model that researchers say fits for the Romans) for females. So you have to add like 5 to 7 years for elites and then take away like 2 for average between sexes (females tend to live longer).

    Here's the list of Roman Emperors that were not assassinated or killed in some way. Info's off wiki, with name, age at death, and cause of death when available. Remember this is not just a "rich Roman" but the EXTREME TOP of the society. So you have to decide for yourself how many years to take away for a general "rich Roman". On top of that, this is also sort of life expectancy of people who survived long enough to actually become emperor... (so I say take a few more years for a general class of society)

    Augustus - Age 75
    Tiberus - Age 77 (possibily assassinated)
    Claudius - Age 63 (possibly assassinated)
    Vespesian - Age 69 Intestinal inflammation which led to excessive diarrhea
    Titus - Age 41 Illness
    Nerva - Age 67 Stroke
    Trajan - Age 63 Edema
    Hadrian - Age 62 Heart Disease?
    Antoninus Pius - Age 74
    Lucius Verus - Age 39 Food poisoning/plague/smallpox
    Marcus Aurelius - Age 58
    Septimius Severus - Age 65 Illness
    Gordian III - Age 19 (possibly unnatural causes)
    Hostilian - Age 21~ Plague (possibily smallpox)
    Valerian - Age 60 (died while in captivity)
    Claudius Gothicus - Age 56 Plague (possibily smallpox)
    Marcus Claudius Tacitus - Age 76 (possibly assassinated)
    Carus - Age 56 death by lightning?
    Diocletian - Age 66
    Constantius Chlorus - Age 56
    Galerius - Age 51 Disease
    Constantine I - Age 65 Illness
    Constantius II - Age 44 Illness
    Jovian – Age 32 (Carbon monoxide poisoning)
    Valentinian I - Age 54 Burst blood vessel in the skull while angrily yelling at people
    Theodosius I - Age 48 due to Edema
    Arcadius - Age 31
    Honorius - Age 38 Edema
    Theodosius II - Age 49 Riding accident
    Constantius III - unknown (birthdate not known)
    Marcian - Age 60 Disease (possibily gangrene)
    Olybrius - Age 41 Edema
    Romulus Augustus - unknown (birthdate not known)
    Leo I - Age 73 Dysentery
    Zeno - Age 66
    Anastasius I - Age 88
    Justin I - Age 77
    Justinian I - Age 81 (got the plague but survived)
    Justin II - Age 58

    Total: 39 (unknown age 2, known 37)
    Cause of Death
    Disease excluding edema and “falling ill” after age 60: 9 or 10 (23~25.6%)
    Edema: 4 (10.2%)
    Not listed: 10 (25%)

    Average life span out of 37 = 57.2 years
    Standard Deviation = 16.3
    Average life span excluding longest surviving 4 and shortest surviving 4 = 58.4 years

    Having 1/4 to 1/3 of natural deaths resulting from some form of disease sounds about right for pre-modern times (did someone say they had great medicine and health care systems back then?).
    So overall a Roman nobleman could expect to live to about 60. If you want to consider "non Imperials" look at the Bishops of the later Empire, Augustine lived to 74 and died during a siege (possibly from bad sanitation).

    Another point to consider, the term of service for Imperial Soldiers was around 25 years (depending on unit, even the Praetorians did 22), the diploma of citizenship issued to Auxillaries came after 26 years, and we know many were issued because they survive today.

    So, assuming joining at 16: 16 + 26 = 42 and upwards on completion of term of service. Ergo, soldiers could expect to live that long and some years after, given that many did only marry after their service was completed. Don't forget, there are lots of things you can do to avoid disease that the Romans knew about (i.e. quarantine and hygene), and it's important to understand that the "average" includes the careless, stupid and unlucky.
    "If it wears trousers generally I don't pay attention."


  17. #17
    Satalextos Basileus Seron Member satalexton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    1,180

    Default Re: average lifespan of the elite roman class?

    ...and the careless, stupid and unlucky still live today....




    "ΜΗΔΕΝ ΕΩΡΑΚΕΝΑΙ ΦΟΒΕΡΩΤΕΡΟΝ ΚΑΙ ΔΕΙΝΟΤΕΡΟΝ ΦΑΛΑΓΓΟΣ ΜΑΚΕΔΟΝΙΚΗΣ" -Lucius Aemilius Paullus

  18. #18
    The Creator of Stories Member Parallel Pain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Sitting on the Throne of My Empires
    Posts
    380

    Default Re: average lifespan of the elite roman class?

    Quote Originally Posted by Philipvs Vallindervs Calicvla View Post
    So overall a Roman nobleman could expect to live to about 60. If you want to consider "non Imperials" look at the Bishops of the later Empire, Augustine lived to 74 and died during a siege (possibly from bad sanitation).

    Another point to consider, the term of service for Imperial Soldiers was around 25 years (depending on unit, even the Praetorians did 22), the diploma of citizenship issued to Auxillaries came after 26 years, and we know many were issued because they survive today.

    So, assuming joining at 16: 16 + 26 = 42 and upwards on completion of term of service. Ergo, soldiers could expect to live that long and some years after, given that many did only marry after their service was completed. Don't forget, there are lots of things you can do to avoid disease that the Romans knew about (i.e. quarantine and hygene), and it's important to understand that the "average" includes the careless, stupid and unlucky.
    Eh no. Read what I wrote. They knew quarantine and hygiene sure, but ours are WAY better. ONE THIRD of Roman EMPERORS who died of natural causes died of diseases. What's the percentage of population of Europe that the black death killed? One third! What a great difference between imperial medical facility and quarantine control and what the average joe can get don't you think?.

    I personally think the rest of noblemen (who already survived 30~40 years) would have been worse off by one or two, though Ludens has a point. And sure Augustine represent the average for all Roman nobles just like Augustus represent the average for all Roman emperors .

    I see no reason to exclude counting shorter-lived emperors. They were not careless or stupid. And if they were unlucky the long-lived ones were just lucky. If you're going to do preferential sampling to push the number higher I could do preferential sampling and push the number lower

    Soldiers still living at age 42 and then marrying is no surprise as the number already shown. Once again using West level 3, on average they would've has 19 years more to live. These are the bunch that were already lucky enough to already survive disease for 42 years, making them pretty set. However fatherless people, or complete orphans, were common.
    On percentage of people who is still alive at the age of 15 (48 732 out of 100 000) reaching the age of 40 (31 208 out of 48 732) is 64%
    What's the chance of a person enrolling at age 16 finishing his tour of duty? I say 75%. And disease would claim 90% of the deaths. At least they were saved from famine thanks to imperial logistics and pillaging.

    You guys have to remember that throughout history one of the reasons that some people are remembered and not others is because these rulers were lucky enough to rule long and reign long, so had a long time to make their impact felt. That does not mean all were as lucky.

    You also have to remember using age of both Saints and Emperors automatically exclude a lot of the people of the same class. An imperial prince who died at age 35 of typhoid while his dad was still in office is not counted. Meanwhile a monk who started to travel and spread the word at age 40 but died after 1 year of travel would not be made a saint because his impact was deemed not enough (or not at all). By making a list of emperors I'm already doing preferential sampling in favor of longevity, and the number still doesn't reach 60.

    Also once again I'm not saying these people had bad lives or were short lived. They definitely done well (though looking at all other pre-modern civilizations the difference over time is well within 10 years). I'm saying for those people who think they lived as long as us or longer...
    And Apázlinemjó, this is not the average life span, or even the average live span of people who survived to 15, but more like people who survived to age 30 to 35.
    Last edited by Parallel Pain; 11-21-2009 at 18:17.

  19. #19
    Villiage Idiot Member antisocialmunky's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    ゞ( ゚Д゚)ゞ
    Posts
    5,972

    Default Re: average lifespan of the elite roman class?

    Quote Originally Posted by Parallel Pain View Post
    Eh no. Well yes and no. Pre-modern death by typhoid, smallpox, plague, and many other diseases reached even the highest level. Disease was the number two killer, behind famine. Famine wouldn't effect the elite as much. However though disease wouldn't hit the elite class as heavily, they still did quite heavily. All these would be treatable or preventable in modern days, but not latter days. Segregated wards are not the effective epidemic quarantine of city-wide, province-wide, or even country-wide that government now days has the ability of imposing, and without these epidemics spread like wildfire.
    Even when there wasn't an epidemic attack, without anti-biotics infections were deadly, and there was no way to prevent smallpox, which was super deadly. Even more so when diet was not balanced. Unlike today food back then change with the season, and even the kings of an island would be eating mostly fish (which is actually a good thing), while many elites gorged themselves on game and meat and die from it (indirectly).
    And sure they had running water. We have running SANITIZED water.
    Well you said the Romans didn't have A, B, and C which I was replying to. No one is disputing the fact that mdoern socieites have better understandings and ways to combat disease.

    Running water is usually good enough if you're not pooing into it up stream or dumping chemicals into it up stream or it isn't riddled with horrible bacteria(which it probably wasn't or else they wouldn't have relied on that particular source). Since Rome brought much of its water from other places, that should be fine. The elites also had plumbing so the removal of poopies wasn't a big issue for them. People still use those same water sources and most developed areas still rely on the same types of water sources. Where do you get your water? Either from an aquifer via well or ground water reserves which in modern times contain chemicals from run off or other sorts of pollution.

    And I am not selling the ancient short like anything. Here's the quote from my university textbook "An analysis of the ages of 30 emperors (from the 1st to the 7th centuries) who died of natural causes indicates an average live expectancy at birth of 26.3 years." Remaining life expectancy at age 15 was 34.2 years.
    I'm refering later republic/early empire. You're referencing empire only statistics so there's a certain disconnect there.

    Also my and your numbers are not that different. Excluding infants that died young I estimated life expectancy of the ruling class at age 50 and you at 60.
    I was trying to get at those people (looks above) that says even people living in the slums could readily live to at least 40 years of age and that the average life span (yes he was answering to a thread about the average life span) of the ruling class was in the 80s
    And heck I see no reason to exclude infant deaths as that's also a good sign of social and medical services, food supply, etc.
    Yes but its a thread about how long people usually lived. Not when they die or the quality of healthcare. If you count infant morality. You pull the average age of the population downwards so in my mind, its not representative of what you would see if you were transported to that time.

    That is for the elite classes: You would have a population pyramid with a wide base but narrow middle. It would stay semi-stable, and then shrink towards the top.

    So not alot of people die between ages X and Y. Besides I got the impression from:
    "edit: I'm referring to death by natural causes, sickness/disease can be lumped in this category too. I'm mainly curious as to how long a rich roman would live if they didn't take too many chances on the battlefield and were "smart" about their health. "

    That he was asking about how long an adult would be expected to live.
    Last edited by antisocialmunky; 11-21-2009 at 18:10.
    Fighting isn't about winning, it's about depriving your enemy of all options except to lose.



    "Hi, Billy Mays Here!" 1958-2009

  20. #20
    The Creator of Stories Member Parallel Pain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Sitting on the Throne of My Empires
    Posts
    380

    Default Re: average lifespan of the elite roman class?

    Yes but our water is treated to kill almost all bacteria and other bad stuff in it. Their's isn't.

    "Fair enough" about the rest. Average life span of emperors who died a natural death to Marcus Aurelius is 62.5 years, or an increase of about 5 years.
    The fact that the list automatically exclude all deaths of the imperial family before the age of 39 remains unchanged (going by West level 3 female again, out the people who survive at age 15, just above a third would reach age 40).
    Of these 11 emperors, 4 (36.4%) or 5 (45.4%) died of sickness and disease. Oh wow ouch. Looks to me medical ability and sanitation/hygiene actually increased to late empire. So much for decline.

    EDIT: On another note, remaining life expectancy at age 40 is 21.1 years. So these 11 emperors on average only lived 1.4 years more than the average Jane (not Joe) who survived to age 40. Such are the fruits of imperial power
    Last edited by Parallel Pain; 11-21-2009 at 19:42.

  21. #21
    Villiage Idiot Member antisocialmunky's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    ゞ( ゚Д゚)ゞ
    Posts
    5,972

    Default Re: average lifespan of the elite roman class?

    Quote Originally Posted by Parallel Pain View Post
    Yes but our water is treated to kill almost all bacteria and other bad stuff in it. Their's isn't.

    "Fair enough" about the rest. Average life span of emperors who died a natural death to Marcus Aurelius is 62.5 years, or an increase of about 5 years.
    The fact that the list automatically exclude all deaths of the imperial family before the age of 39 remains unchanged (going by West level 3 female again, out the people who survive at age 15, just above a third would reach age 40).
    Of these 11 emperors, 4 (36.4%) or 5 (45.4%) died of sickness and disease. Oh wow ouch. Looks to me medical ability and sanitation/hygiene actually increased to late empire. So much for decline.

    EDIT: On another note, remaining life expectancy at age 40 is 21.1 years. So these 11 emperors on average only lived 1.4 years more than the average Jane (not Joe) who survived to age 40. Such are the fruits of imperial power
    I'm not sure how you're getting better hygene out of those statistics...

    As to emperors, how much of the adult population(in this case 15) reaches the age of 40? 1/3rd? So if you look at the emperors as a special group that survived to adulthood, 1/2 the emperors reaching the age of 40 is better than the general population of 1/3rd.

    However, this is biased. Would be interesting to see that random people with the right genetics cna keep on trucking regardless.
    Last edited by antisocialmunky; 11-21-2009 at 22:47.
    Fighting isn't about winning, it's about depriving your enemy of all options except to lose.



    "Hi, Billy Mays Here!" 1958-2009

  22. #22
    Member Member Dodge_272's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    138

    Default Re: average lifespan of the elite roman class?

    Quote Originally Posted by Geush View Post
    Somewhat related:

    There was an article in the news a few days ago looking at coronary disease in elite Egyptians. They did CT scans of a dozen mummies and found lots of evidence of blockage and its effects.

    Apparently their diet was high in salt and rich in fat, which meant their arteries were totally clogged. They were only living to mid thirties or mid forties, partially as a result of this.
    Yet Ramesses II lived until 90, no wonder people thought he was a God, imagine someone living for three times the average lifespan in modern times!

  23. #23
    The Creator of Stories Member Parallel Pain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Sitting on the Throne of My Empires
    Posts
    380

    Default Re: average lifespan of the elite roman class?

    Quote Originally Posted by antisocialmunky View Post
    I'm not sure how you're getting better hygene out of those statistics...

    As to emperors, how much of the adult population(in this case 15) reaches the age of 40? 1/3rd? So if you look at the emperors as a special group that survived to adulthood, 1/2 the emperors reaching the age of 40 is better than the general population of 1/3rd.

    However, this is biased. Would be interesting to see that random people with the right genetics cna keep on trucking regardless.
    Well first most of these emperors (and most Roman emperors period) became emperor AFTER the age of 30 to 40. Out of these 11 emperors, only Augustus and Lucius Varius became emperor before the age of 40, at ages 36 and 30 respectively. What I am saying is that the dead imperial princes isn't counted in these averages, and if they were the number would go down.

    Second, out of 14 emperors who die of disease, 5 comes in the first 11 (45.4%). The rest of 9 comes in the last 28 (32%). In other words on average the chance for an emperor who dies of natural causes coming after Marcus Aurelius dying of disease is less than emperors coming before. Though yes it is very likely due to unrelated reasons, but those numbers still stand. If there isn't an increase in health care and sanitation, there isn't a decrease either until at least after the western empire fell.
    Last edited by Parallel Pain; 11-21-2009 at 23:53.

  24. #24
    Member Member artavazd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    899

    Default Re: average lifespan of the elite roman class?

    Yes the elites of the time lived for a long time. King Tigran (Tigran the Great) died a natural death in his old age (late 70's early 80's)

  25. #25
    The Creator of Stories Member Parallel Pain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Sitting on the Throne of My Empires
    Posts
    380

    Default Re: average lifespan of the elite roman class?

    Meanwhile Lucius Caesar, grandson of Augustus, died at age 18.
    Augustus's line died out less than 70 years after his death.

  26. #26
    πολέμαρχος Member Apázlinemjó's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Sopianae
    Posts
    683

    Default Re: average lifespan of the elite roman class?

    Quote Originally Posted by artavazd View Post
    Yes the elites of the time lived for a long time. King Tigran (Tigran the Great) died a natural death in his old age (late 70's early 80's)
    Aye, Mithridates Eupatór was killed at 71, so these guys had a pretty long lives.
    Last edited by Apázlinemjó; 11-22-2009 at 09:18.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    Finished essays: The Italian Wars (1494-1559), The siege of Buda (1686), The history of Boius tribe in the Carpathian Basin, Hungarian regiments' participation in the Austro-Prussian-Italian War in 1866, The Mithridatic Wars, Xenophon's Anabasis, The Carthagian colonization
    Skipped essays: Serbian migration into the Kingdom of Hungary in the 18th century, The Order of Saint John in the Kingdom of Hungary

  27. #27
    Member Member Uticensis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    86

    Default Re: average lifespan of the elite roman class?

    It seems based on anecdotal evidence (based on numbers given in histories, or found on grave inscriptions) that the life expectancy for the average Roman who survived childhood was late forties-early fifties. But that does not mean that it was unusual for people to live longer. I don't think it would have been surprising for someone to live well into their seventies. And there were some who lived much longer than that. Someone mentioned Augustine lived to 74, but another bishop, who lived slightly before, Hosius of Corduba, one of the bishops who attended the council of Nicaea, lived to be 102. Cicero's first wife, Terentia, lived even longer. Masinissa (who had anything but an easy life) was still leading Numidian armies into his nineties. In his Natural History, Pliny claims that one Roman matron lived to be 115. He actually has a whole chapter on people who lived into their 90's and 100's:
    http://old.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin...=head%3D%23321
    I'm sure that people of lower classes stood less of a chance of living so long, but that does not mean it was impossible. Several of the centenarians that Pliny mentions are dancers (pretty lower as far as Romans were concerned) and in an earlier chapter of the Natural History (7.14) Pliny states that it was not unusual for lower class men(ignobiles vulgaris) to be able to still have children at 75 - implying that a number must have lived at least to that age.

    So while you were much more likely to be struck down early in war, by disease, ect., back then, the upper limit for age was still the same as it is today (i.e. lucky people could still live as long as they do today).
    Last edited by Uticensis; 11-23-2009 at 05:48.

  28. #28
    The Creator of Stories Member Parallel Pain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Sitting on the Throne of My Empires
    Posts
    380

    Default Re: average lifespan of the elite roman class?

    But then the upper age limit doesn't really change, as that's what is PHYSICALLY POSSIBLE to live till.

    It's all luck. And it take more luck for them to live to that age than it takes us, by 15 to 20 years, for those who survive childhood.

    Which is still very good mind you.

  29. #29

    Default Re: average lifespan of the elite roman class?

    One of the assumptions that are being made here is that lower class people had a lower life expectancy. Thats not necessarily true though, being richer doesnt make you healthier. Better sanitation is only needed if you live in a dense enviroment like a city. Imagine tribesmen living from farming and some hunting, having acces to undiluted water sources, etc. Some of the more "primitive people" may actually have a healthier life. The Hadza, a hunter-gatherer people in Tanzania, are a modern example. The live in a lifestyle older than 10,000 years but regularly get older than 60, 70.
    Death from childbirth and disease have more to do with the age of the mother and the enviroment (Filthy stinky cities like Rome) than wealth or availability of sanitation and medication. Didn't greek and roman girls got married of young? that most have severely increased childbirth, the healthiest age for a woman to deliver is 25 (read that somewhere not sure).
    Last edited by alexanderthegreater; 11-24-2009 at 18:15.

  30. #30
    Member Member moonburn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    963

    Default Re: average lifespan of the elite roman class?

    another issue is that with today´s advancement our weak tend to live longer and most of those who nowadays die of natural causes (even tough for me a dude being shoot in the head it´s a natural cause since someone who is shoot in the head will, naturally, die ) beteween the age of 25 and 35 wouldn´t have passe 15

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •