What Was The Age Of Death Of Famous Ancient Romans

The Ancient Roman Lifestyle

The Ancient Romans lived in a world vastly different from ours. Their way of life was centered around their religious beliefs and their sense of duty to protect their homeland. The modern age, however, cannot fully comprehend the lifestyle which Ancient Rome was built upon; a lifestyle that led many to an early grave.

The Ancient Roman lifestyle, although complex, was highly productive and exceptional. Roman citizens practiced a combination of farming and herding, trade, craftsmanship, and military involvement, all to support the overall upkeep and splendor of Rome. Furthermore, they held strong family ties and a strong belief in Julius Caesar. Despite this lifestyle, however, it was highly demanding and often led to premature death.

The life expectancy of an Ancient Roman citizen was quite low compared to what we observe in the modern world. Ancient Rome’s healthcare system was no match for the fiercely and chaotic wars that lasted most of its existence. For example, the average life expectancy of a male Roman citizen was just 23 years, while some experts believe the life expectancy of a female was even lower, around 19 years. Moreover, those living in poverty, particularly slaves, were likely to die before the age of 25, regardless of gender.

Notable Aging Roman Citizens

Despite the low life expectancy, there were a few notable exceptions among Ancient Roman citizens who were able to live remarkably long lives. For example, Lucius Verus, a Roman emperor, is known to have lived over 70 years, though his date of death is not 100% certain. Similarly, Emperor Trajan, who was noted for his military successes and his economic and social reforms, is believed to have lived until the age of 63. Other famous long-lived Romans included Julius Caesar who is credited with dying at the ripe age of 56, and Octavia, sister to Augustus Caesar, who is said to have lived for up to 83 years.

Reasons for Early Death

The main reason for the low life expectancy of Ancient Roman citizens was due to the lack of medical knowledge and understanding. Antibiotics and modern medical treatments were not available to treat the number of medical problems that these citizens faced, such as bacterial infections and diseases, which could prove fatal. For example, many Roman citizens would contract malaria, a mosquito-borne disease which has been responsible for the deaths of numerous natives in Roman-ruled provinces. In addition, Ancient Rome also suffered from numerous civil wars and invasions, further exacerbating the already dangerous issues.

Roman citizens also suffered from health problems caused by a poor diet. Too much emphasis was placed on the consumption of meat while vegetables were typically disregarded. Moreover, the food that was available to those living in poverty was particularly inadequate, leading to malnutrition and increased sickness. All of these factors added to the age of death for a typical Ancient Roman citizen.

Commemorating Fallen Citizens

Given the tragedy of early death due to various factors, the Ancient Romans had a unique way of commemorating their fallen citizens. Following the death of a Roman citizen, their friends and family would often create elaborate tombs, erect monuments, and hold funeral celebrations. This was an important part of Ancient Roman culture, as it signified the respect for the deceased, their legacy, and the life that was lost.

Perception of Death in Ancient Rome

Despite the tragedy of early death, the Ancient Romans had an incredibly positive attitude when it came to the final resting place of those who had passed away. They held a strong belief in the afterlife, believing that they were only transitioning to a place beyond the living world and would still be able to interact with their loved ones. This belief was also shared by many of the philosophers and politicians who resided in Ancient Rome. These teachings were further reinforced in public ceremonies, such as death banquets, where friends and families would gather together to celebrate the life of their lost relative.

Death and The Roman Legions

The age of death of Ancient Roman citizens who were part of the legions, the famous military battalions of Rome, was significantly lower than the average citizen. The legions were known for their luxurious lifestyle but also for their strenuous workload and combat-related casualties. This inevitably led to a high mortality rate among legionnaires, with some sources claiming that the average life expectancy was around 20 years. However, in spite of the early death tolls of the legions, the military was typically held in the highest regard due to the immense loyalty and dedication of those who served Rome.

The Mystery of Ancient Rome’s Decline

The limited lifespan of Ancient Roman citizens that was caused by lack of proper medical care, civil wars, and malnutrition contributed to the decline of the Roman Empire. It is difficult to determine if the Roman’s shortened life expectancy was the sole reason for the ultimate collapse of Rome, but this factor certainly played a part. The mystery of Rome’s decline may never be answered, but its legacy as one of the most influential and powerful civilizations in history still remains today.

Modern Day Reflections

Although the Ancient Romans had a much lower life expectancy than modern citizens, there are still similarities between their worldview and our own. We often work hard to achieve success and share similar beliefs in the afterlife. Nevertheless, it is important to recognize the life conditions which led to premature death in Ancient Rome. This awareness can then be applied to the modern world, emphasizing the importance of healthcare and proper nutrition in order to lead healthier, happier lives.

Moshe Rideout is a professional writer and historian whose work focuses on the history of Ancient Rome. Moshe is passionate about understanding the complexity of the Roman Empire, from its architecture to its literature, political systems to social structures. He has a Bachelor's degree in classic studies from Rutgers University and is currently pursuing a PhD in classical archaeology at UMass Amherst. When he isn't researching or writing, he enjoys exploring ruins around Europe, drawing inspiration from his travels.

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