However, the Gentle Reader may suspect that I enjoy the book not for its economics, but for historical anachronisms like the above quote. This is not an isolated case as we learn that ancient Romans frequently put the age on tombstones as 120 years. Mr. Clark observes that "No one seems to have thought: ‘This is crazy.’” Mr. Clark reaches the reasonable conclusion that people were "age unaware" and I am prepared to accept that specific ages were not important in the ancient world. I suspect that people would fall into one of four groups: child bearing, not child bearing, able to fight and not able to fight. This segregation covers all genders and ages.
Mr. Clark is incredulous that no one in Parliament called the gentleman a liar. A contemporary example would be a twenty year old soldier testifying today in Congress about his service in the Great War would be met with ridicule, but if he were reporting on events in Iraq, he would meet no derision, because everyone in Congress would know that the conflict in Iraq is current, not a century earlier.
Either we must conclude that until the introduction in the 19th century of compulsory education, only a small percentage of people were not only age unaware, but also time unaware. At the present time, I am not prepared to say that people were time unaware, but I will state that the chronology we have today can not be the same chronological events experienced by the ancients.
Mr. Clark and other researchers (especially philologists) will encounter these anachronisms and oddities of human history. I applaud Mr. Clark for not only noting their appearance in the text (and not in footnotes as some writers are fond of doing), but also commenting upon their disturbing conclusions and aspects.
For the curious reader, a perusal of Google for "forgery medieval tombstones" may indicate that as an occupation, forgery was second only to agriculture.
The full article is here.