Age, in Law, the time of competence to do certain acts. The period before a person reaches twenty-one is termed infancy, and during that time all contracts, other than contracts for necessaries, made by the infants are void. A boy at fourteen, however, and a girl at twelve may make a legal marriage. Between the ages of fourteen, when the infant is said to have arrived at partial discretion, and twenty-one, the boy or girl is fully responsible for criminal acts. At twenty-one full age in both sexes is reached.
In Archeaology the antiquarians divided the period of man's existence on the earth into three ages, the stone age, the bronze age, and the iron age. The first is subdivided into the Palaeolithic and Neolithic ages.
Age is also used to denote particular periods of time distinguished by particular characteristics. Hesiod made five ages: the Golden Age, governed by Saturn, characterised by simplicity and peace; the Silver Age, governed by Jupiter, distinguished by licentiousness and profanity; the Brazen Age of Neptune, which was warlike, savage, and wild; the Heroic Age in which a desire for higher things comes in; and the Iron Age governed by Pluto, when justice, truth, and honour had altogether vanished. We also speak of the Dark Ages, the Middle Ages, etc. Shakespeare divides the life of man into seven ages (As You Like It, ii. 7).