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Reviews 265 specified parts of the body, which in different ways have been responsible for sin. The final section on Holy Water gets no further than an introductory discussion of the importance of water as one of the four elements. Throughout, Robert's comments and explanations are backed by frequent BibUcal quotation or aUusion to the Fathers, and Sinclair's notes provide the source of these references and allusions, or offer comments where appropriate on linguistic or metrical difficulties. There is something in this text for the linguist, the student of literature and the ecclesiastical or liturgical historian. Robert writes with some verve, a sense of style and a grasp of metaphor, as is particularly evident in the section on Penance and Confession. OveraU the edition has been meticulously prepared and presented, with a good Glossary, whtfe the Introduction lucidly provides considerable detaU for an understanding of the background to the text. Leslie C. Brook Department of French Studies University of Birmingham Rosenthal, Joel T., Old Age in Late Medieval England (Middle Ages Series), PhUadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1996; cloth; pp. xv, 260; R.R.P. US$39.95. Rosenthal's Introduction warns that his study of old age does not qualify as serious demography, but he suggests that it is possible to add to the already impressive number of primarily statistical studies of life expectancy in parts of medieval Europe a perspective which is a 'recognition of the attested contemporary concern with age' (p. 3). The book is divided into four parts. Part 1, 'Some Data and Data Sets', introduces three sets of documents which yield material about old age: Inquisitions Post Mortem; Proofs of Age; and the papers generated by the Scrope-Grosvenor controversy of 1386. Each group of papers has a chapter devoted to them. The discussion of Inquisitions Post Mortem is directed towards extracting material about 'the contemporary perception of age and longevity' (p.10). Despite the inherently interesting nature of the topic, the treatment is 266 Reviews generally rather dry, and there are many tables for those readers with a statistical bent. The analysis concentrates on the age of heirs when coming into then inheritances, and the ages of then predecessors on death. This focus leads naturally to a discussion of Proofs of A g e — a n enquiry which produced such a document was launched whenever a minor hen achieved legal majority. Rosenthal has a strong interest in the role of memory in assisting medieval people to fix dates and ages. H e observes that the testimonies of the aged were disproportionately represented within the Proofs of Age, and notes that 'the elderly were regularly given parts in the ongoing memory-theater at which the needs of government and the rituals of local social structure and interaction—often stretching across the decades or even the generations of the oldest living memories—were merged, recited and then recorded' (p. 43). The third chapter on the Scrope-Grosvenor controversy, which was a dispute as to whether a Cheshire knight, Sir Robert Grosvenor, was entitled to use the arms of the distinguished Sir Richard Scrope, is a rather more interesting affair, though very brief. The fact that 60 of the 207 m e n w h o made depositions for Scrope claimed to be over sixty years old contributed to the impression of reUability of evidence which assisted Scrope to win his case. Part 2, 'Three Generation Families', has three chapters; one on Inquisitions Post Mortem, the second on wiUs and the third on aristocratic genealogies. The power (in social and moral terms) of the fanuly with three living generations is acknowledged, and the living arrangements of such families briefly discussed. Again, the focus is on inheritance, and the profile of third-generation hens which emerges is intriguing, including children of daughters and great-nephews and nieces, many of w h o m inherited at a reasonably advanced age. Less is able to be deduced about grandparent-grandchUd relationships from wills. Some wUls do specificaUy mention grandchildren, but there are confusing elements, including the presence of god-children and their offspring, which make disentangling medieval wiUs quite difficult. Aristocratic genealogies were generally drawn up to exhibit...


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