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2015 | 10. Widoki na starość. Interdyscyplinarne studia gerontologiczne | 87-97

Article title

Starość w kulturach Wschodu Starożytnego na przykładzie wybranych tekstów literackich



Title variants

Old Age in Ancient Near Eastern Cultures according to Selected Literary Sources

Languages of publication



The aim of this article is to present and describe the supposed image of old age and elders, as well as features ascribed to them, that can be found in preserved literary sources from the areas of ancient Mesopotamia, Anatolia and Ugarit. The main part of this article is based on the data contained in cuneiform sources that were written in Sumerian, Akkadian and Ugaritic. Most non-literary sources (i.e., legal and economic texts, royal inscriptions or correspondence) were ignored, as were also Biblical and Egyptian texts. The main result of this short survey is quite ambiguous. On the one hand, it seems that societies from the Fertile Crescent area were oriented towards the vitality and youthfulness as the most important factors in human's life. In fact, they are hardly any pieces of art, where old people are depicted, or any pieces of literature dedicated to them. On the other hand, these short and acare textual fragments, which are available to us, can be interpreted as showing old age in quite an optimistic way. Although old people don't have strength and very good health, they have great wisdom instead, and as such can be a very useful and appreciated part of society.


  • Uniwersytet Wrocławski


Document Type

Publication order reference


YADDA identifier

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