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study on "quality of life" of historic populations

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Joined: 20-May-2007
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  Quote calvo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: study on "quality of life" of historic populations
    Posted: 15-Jun-2009 at 16:54
Has any historian ever made any studies regarding the "quality of life" of pre-modern populations.
"Quality of life" refers to:
- diet of the average citizen
- conditions of living quarters
- state of health in general, infant mortality rate, adult mortality rate, life expectancy etc.
- urban (or rural infrastructure)

While it is true that prior to the 20th century, infant mortality was high and that many people died young due to epidemics, fatigue, childbirth, accidents, and wars; there were still profound differences between civilization and civlization depending on its economic situation.

For example, in Ancient Egypt, life for most people seemed to be precarious and short; in that most peasants subsisted on a very basic diet and few lived beyond 40. In Ancient Greece and Rome, for example, the general well-being and life expectancy seemed to be longer. The ancient Chinese peasants (according to the era) also did not lead a very precarious life in general.

The only historian ever to have made a detailed study on the issue is Walter Scheidel in regard to the Romans; but I've never come across any other studies regarding India, Arabia, Medeival Europe, China, and America.

Does anyone have any idea?


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