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Average lifespan for people who made it to the age of 10 was 47.5 years.   Say you have a slave who is 45, and is therefore, presumably, something of a banger.

Suppose you are a bit of a bastard and also a tightwad, and  would prefer not to keep spending money on food, accommodation etc for a slave who was frankly always a bit of a lemon.

You aren't allowed to kill them, Hadrian outlawed that.   Your slave has no marketable value.

What do you do?

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natsuko1978
11th Jan, 2016 14:56 (UTC)
One thing that occurs to me is that average ages for "people" (as opposed to "men") will be skewed by deaths in child-birth of many mothers. I seem to recall reading somewhere, that if women survived to the menopause, on the other hand, their life expectancy could very well be into their 70s. (And even with arthritis, I'm sure most old women could still spin and weave on a domestic loom (thinking of the more modern tradition of grannies knitting and crotcheting etc) and even do the laundry, if they didn't have to go to the river and draw the water themselves or do the heavy lifting, don't you think?)

Even with the men, I think the skew to younger average ages had less to do with people being totally clapped out by the time they were 50, and more to do with young men being soldiers, apprentices, doing hard manual labour etc and being killed by what we'd call "industrial accidents" sort of thing, didn't it? The teenage boy learning how to use a scythe had more chance of doing himself a mischief than the guy who had been scything for 20 summers. (Even today, middle-aged men throwing their backs out tends to be more the result of 20 years of too little physical activity and sitting at desks, meaning their deep muscles are not as supportive as they should be - my physiotherapist always swore that most sports injuries were due to people using the wrong muscles and having weak core stability; he was also on the physio team for the local professional club and was always telling stories about how little core strength those supposedly fit young men had.)

Equally, I'd assume that the farm-labourers and industrial-workers you owned were far less likely to make it to "uselessness" than your house-slaves, and the slaves who did the accounts at your dock-warehouses etc who would also be *less* useless merely by reason of age than those who had to do heavy labour, though I guess presbyopia would become a problem for elderly scribes etc. Hmmm.

In general, I'm with you - why not free your useless slaves?

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