Historical carers

I’m with Fannia the stoic philosopher here - and she was a Carer, and a real rebel: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fannia

Fannia is recorded in the writings of Pliny the Younger as a woman of fortitude and respectability. As with her grandmother, Fannia is described as a political rebel in her own right. She was married to Helvidius Priscus and followed him twice into exile, once by Nero for sympathising with two outcasts (Brutus and Cassius), then by Vespasian for opposing his reign.

Eventually, Fannia herself was exiled in 93 AD for instigating the creation and publication of a biographical book about her husband under the rule of Domitian.
The execution of Herennius Senecio for his own involvement gives us insight into this “mild” sentence of hers. During the trial of Senecio, he blamed the book on Fannia as she had asked him to write it, a statement that Fannia confirmed. She was asked if, and confirmed that, she had given Senecio her husband’s diaries. Pliny writes that “she did not utter a single word to reduce the danger to herself.” When her possessions were seized, Fannia managed to save the diaries and biography of her husband and even took them with her into exile.

“In 103 AD, Pliny recorded that Fannia had “contracted this illness.” She had been nursing a relative (Junia) from an unnamed “serious illness” and, since Junia was a Vestal Virgin, she had been obliged to leave Vesta’s hearth and go into the care of a matron. Whilst taking care of her, Fannia herself fell ill, and is described by Pliny thus: “She has constant fever and a cough that is getting worse; she is emaciated and generally in decline. Only her spirit is vigorous, worthy of her husband.”[2] Though Pliny the Younger was regularly prone to exaggeration,[citation needed] his repeated expressions of worry suggest that the illness was one from which Fannia did not recover.” Was Fannia the first recorded Carer of history?

The fossil record shows that Neanderthals and their competitors were caring for others in the family who had been severely injured - that dates around 250,000-500,000 years ago. Here’s one example: Scientists find sign cave dwellers took care of elderly (phys.org)

I’ve seen a report that suggests caring started even earlier - around 1.5m years ago, but so far have only found a Daily Mail reference for that, so I’ll keep looking.

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I didn’t realise that humans were around 1.5M years ago, but looking at the House of Lords, maybe I was mistaken.

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That sort of timeframe fits the hominids, I believe. I’ve finally found an article by the authors that covers this: (PDF) From Homininity to Humanity: Compassion from the Earliest Archaics to Modern Humans (researchgate.net)

It’s an interesting read.

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“Culturally specific emotions, such as the Japanese amae - a kind of sweet dependance on people close to you (Markus and Kitayama 1999: 237, Parkinson, Fischer and Manstead 2005: 35, Doi 1973, Morsbach and Tyler 1986), do exist, but these are nonetheless based on common roots. It is clear that key emotions developed in an evolutionary context and play broadly similar social roles in cultures across the world from modern western societies to ethnographically documented ones (Ekman and Friesen 1971, Ekman 1992, Parrott 2001: 176, Parkinson, Fischer and Manstead 2005: 59, Wulff 2007: 41, Briggs 1998).”
Yes, I tend to agree that mutual intergenerational support is probably hard wired into most species. My interest in mushrooms and symbiosis with trees shows that mutual dependencies appear to be integral to all species: and often between them. Older, dying trees ‘give up’ nutrients via the complex fungal/ chemical networks to younger trees, and so, ad infinitum.
This makes total sense: Mutual Self Interest.
(By the way, the net nanny doesn’t like that word… dy
ng trees: and isn’t that ironic: we cannot even speak openly of the other end of the birth process here without some alien algorithm interfering)
Have an oyster mushroom… the old tree may not like it, but I love them, and the forest will flourish!