What was the average life span of a roman plebs person?

Aug 2019
571
North
I suppose we'd need this information in order to explain the rapid spread of christianity among the youngsters in the empire, in the light of the fact that paul propagated that the second coming of jesus christ would be in his life time.
 
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Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,768
Dispargum
The average life expectancy was probably near forty, but you need to take that with a grain of salt. Infant and childhood mortality rates were very high. For every infant who died in his or her first year of life, someone else had to make it to eighty for the average to be forty. If a person survived childhood, they had a pretty good chance of making it past fifty. If a person made it to forty, they had a pretty good chance of making it to at least sixty. There were older people in Paul's day. Perhaps as much as ten percent of the population was over sixty. You can't just assume that because the average life expectancy was forty that everyone died just before turning forty-one.
 
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Aug 2019
571
North
The average life expectancy was probably near forty, but you need to take that with a grain of salt. Infant and childhood mortality rates were very high. For every infant who died in his or her first year of life, someone else had to make it to eighty for the average to be forty. If a person survived childhood, they had a pretty good chance of making it past fifty. If a person made it to forty, they had a pretty good chance of making it to at least sixty. There were older people in Paul's day. Perhaps as much as ten percent of the population was over sixty. You can't just assume that because the average life expectancy was forty that everyone died just before turning forty-one.
So, it may be said that the greatest propellants of the new religion were the younger persons in their prime- around twenty years old? If yes, could this be one of the main reasons why christianity spread so rapidly?
 
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Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,768
Dispargum
I don't think Christianity did spread rapidly. Even 300 years after the crucifixion it had only spread to 10 or perhaps no more than 20 percent of the Roman population. Thereafter it spread more rapidly because Christianity had the support of the Roman state and later of the post-Roman states.
 
Jan 2015
954
England
The average life expectancy was probably near forty, but you need to take that with a grain of salt. Infant and childhood mortality rates were very high. For every infant who died in his or her first year of life, someone else had to make it to eighty for the average to be forty. If a person survived childhood, they had a pretty good chance of making it past fifty. If a person made it to forty, they had a pretty good chance of making it to at least sixty. There were older people in Paul's day. Perhaps as much as ten percent of the population was over sixty. You can't just assume that because the average life expectancy was forty that everyone died just before turning forty-one.
Absolutely, well explained.
 

Belgarion

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,776
Australia
I believe the standard enlistment for a Roman legionary was 25 years. This seems to indicate a fairly long lifespan was normal. The biggest dangers in ancient times were childhood disease and for women, childbirth. if you survived these there was was every chance you would live a reasonably long life, subject to the hazards of the times like death due to warfare, by accident or disease.