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


Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
18 would've maybe been too early. But then again it might make sense -after their service the legionaries would be granted farm land; it's hardly likely that an older man could take proper care of such a concession.

There are several sources that give the enlistment age as anything from early teens to mid 30s, this is one of them:


Finally, the maximum age for joining was around 35 years, whereas the minimum age was about 13 years. But these are extreme examples, most recruits joined between the ages of 18 and 23 years. Note that the service period lasted for 16 to 30 years depending on the branch of the Army."
Sep 2013
Ontario, Canada
Sometimes enlisted men who had just reached the end of their service period would actually re-enlist for another stretch.

There was a Centurion somewhere in Britain who was reported to have died at the age of 80; if he started in his late teens then he would've re-enlisted three times.

The Army was actually a pretty safe place to be: you got a steady diet, lots of exercise, the best medical treatment of the day, and the protection of thousands of swords.

Either that, or be rich. There were plenty of Senators and well-to-do's who lived into the 70's and 80's, and there was one (Servianus) in the reign of Hadrian who was forced by the Emperor to commit suicide at the age of 91.

As has been already pointed out in this thread, the average life expectancy in Rome was around 25... but that was because the numbers are incredibly skewed by the sky-high infant and child mortality rate. Its been estimated that as many as 50% of all children died before the age of 10. If they managed to avoid the pitfalls of disease and violent death and reach adulthood, then they had a pretty good chance of living at least to 46. At which point they'd be considered an elder in Roman society. And if they reached it in good health, then they could easily see another 20 or 30 years, not unlike the human lifespans of today.