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150 Reviews possible influences on the jurists' intellectud development and of their place within the inteUectud world of eleventh-century Europe in general. This is a brilliant and exciting book which should be in every library, and from which scholars of dl aspects of medievd inteUectud Ufe, as weU as of law itself, will profit John H. Pryor Department of History University of Sydney Sears, E., The ages of man. Medieval Interpretations of the Life Cycle, Princeton, P.U.P., 1986; pp.235; 98 plates; R.RP. A U S $132.00. In a speech quoted perhaps too often, Hamlet referred to the world as a stage and to a man's acts as comprising seven ages from that of the infant 'mewing and puking in the nurse's arms', to the seventh, which was 'second chUdishness and mere oblivion'. In seeking to cdl up the performance he desired, Hamlet pressed an old idea into service as Elizabeth Sears demonstrates in this book. The seven or, dtematively, the four ages of man (only very occasiondly did women merit their own schemes) form a pervasive grid through which learned people viewed the aging process in the Middle Ages. The notion of four ages, pueritia, adolescentia, iuventus and senectus, provided a satisfying correspondence with other antique tetrads such as the four humours, temperaments, elements, winds and seasons. Through the permutations of such tetrads,reinforcedby the medievd popularity of Gdenic medicine, the life of man codd be seen to mirror the structure of the cosmos; a microcosm nestled at the centre of the macrocosm. Sevens dso dominated thinking about the stages of life. If four ages were weU suited to reinforcing the view of man's place in the universe, seven ages dlowed similar speculation as to man's place in history and the passing of time. The seven ages are what Hamlet recdled. They consisted of infantia, puericia, adolescentia, iuventus, etas, senectus and senium, with some variations. Seven ages conesponded to the seven planets (Mercury, Venus, Moon, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn), the seven days of the week, the seven virtues and vices and the seven Uberal arts. Fourteenth andfifteenthcentury representations of the seven ages, such as that with which Guariento decorated the church of the Eremitani in Padua in the 1360s, demonstrate the easy partnership the theme formed with astrologicd ideas, sometimes of great sophistication. Guariento showed the swift moon presiding over chUdhood, scholarly Mercury governing schooldays (books for boys and the spindle for girls), Venus presiding naturally over the courting couple, the sun governing the prime of life, Mars ruling mature Reviews 151 prosperity and anxious striving for security, Jupiter overseeing the contentment of the elderly when a man could turn to learning and a woman to her prayer beads, and mdeficent Saturn seeing out the end of life. Augustine popularised a six part system with a conelation between the sue ages of the world in biblicd history and the six ages of man. For reasons upon which Sears does not elaborate, the tetradic system was most popular up to the twelfth century with the hebdomadal taking its place during the later Middle Ages. The profoundly influentid idea that the life and constitution of man reflected the history and constitution of the universe are themes which Sears does much to Uluminate. Few ideas sum up so nicely the profound anthropocentrism of western civilisation. Four, seven and six ages of man, not to mention three,five,eight ten and twelve part schemes, remdned cunent until thefifteenthcentury, when Sears ends her survey, and of course, as Hamlet demonstrates, well beyond. One is appdled to assume on Sear's evidence that the topos inveigled its way into the writing of evey scholar from the faU of R o m e to the Rendssance who paused to contemplate the receding of his hairline. The awesome prolixity of materid generated by medievd familiarity with the idea gives Sears's book both its strength and its weakness. Occasiondly the text lapses into an encyclopedic rendition of authors, images and media through which the ages of man were represented. There is plenty of opportunity for collecting useful bits of information about a wide range of topics from favoured...