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In Social Studies class, we have been learning about the Germans and the Romans, and as an assignment we were told to compare the two civilizations in a five paragraph essay. It was to have an intro, body, and conclusion.
A person can get killed in many ways. Beheaded, eaten, stabbed, poisoned, and much, much more. A typical person believes that the Barbarians (Germans) were the type of people who were ignorant, dirty, cold-blooded killers who attacked the innocent. In reality, they were agricultural and tribal warriors. Rome, another ancient civilization, had a different reputation. They were very urban and war-like, so you can imagine the differences between the two civilizations. The Germans were unorganized warriors, and the Romans were a well-organized army. The German government was run very differently than the Roman government. Everyday life in Rome was very busy, while the Germans lived calm, happy lives. This essay will take you deeper into the details of the differences between the Germans and the Romans.
When two armies that have the same fighting abilities fight one another, nothing really interesting takes place. The Germanic warriors and the Roman legions fought one another, and as a result Rome, for the most part, was overthrown. Since this event is anything but boring, it goes to show that the legions and warriors were completely different. Germanic warriors were divided into clans, while the Roman army was divided into legions. These two operating systems are nothing alike, except for the fact that they were fairly small. The German clans were based upon family ties, while Roman legionaries (those in a legion) could not know a single person. The leaders of these fighting systems were also different. Most Roman soldiers were promoted to general because of their social status or place in society. The Germanic clan leader, a chieftain, was elected because he was a loyal, respectful, and brave fighter who could be trusted. There is barely any similarity there, if any. Roman legions were well-trained and knew what to do in battle. The Germanic warriors had no set plan and constantly took many civilizations by surprise by repeatedly raiding and pillaging them. A successful attack for the Germans meant slaves, cattle, and other treasures. A successful attack for the Romans meant more land for their rapidly expanding empire. When two different armies with different abilities fight, the unthinkable happens and history is made, and that is certainly the case with the Germans and the Romans.
For a civilization to be successful, it needs government systems. The German government system was completely different than the Roman system. The Roman people believed that the law came from the emperor, while the Germanic people believed that it came from within the people. Germanic rulers couldn’t pass a law without the people’s consent and feedback, while the Roman emperors had the sole responsibility of decision making. The Germans based their laws on their ancestors’ customs. The Roman law was determined by the Senate during the republic. The Romans had written law, and it is most commonly known as the Twelve Tables. The Germans, instead of writing down their laws, memorized them and passed them down from generation to generation. During the Roman era, when one was accused of a crime, the punishment was almost always death. The Germans had other punishments for those proven guilty by their court system. The German court system set high fines called wergelds and it was the people’s responsibility to collect the money. The law system, in each civilization, also had an intense effect on the way many people lived their lives.
Most Romans lived in Rome. Rome was a very busy city at all hours of the day and night. Germans lived in small villages/kingdoms with open fields and pastures. This fact really sets the scene for how Romans and Germans lived each and every day. The average Roman lived in an apartment-like building called an island. Germans lived in long thatched-roof huts, shared with their animals from the farm. The Roman islands were very crowded and cramped, while the German huts had a lot of open space for their animals to roam, in and around their home and land. It was German law that a guest was always welcome, strangers and friends alike. There wasn’t much of a social classification system to the Germans because of this. Roman daily life on the other hand, was based upon social status. The only contact each class had with each other was the occasional run-in at the baths. The rich Romans spent days at the baths, indulging in gourmet meals prepared by their slaves. The rich Germans added carpets to their home, had a select few items of jewelry, and along with most Germans, hardly ever bathed. The way Germans and Romans lived differed greatly, and it is known. The Germans seemed very subtle and calm rulers in their respective time period, while the Romans were bitter and greedy rulers who only cared about money. The numerous differences are obvious.
The Germanic people and the Roman people were different in many ways. Most important to history though, are the three topics I have described earlier in detail. The German warriors and the Roman army had different fighting systems, techniques, and were divided differently. The German government and the Roman government had different law sources, had different methods of learning the laws, and had different punishments for crime. German and Roman everyday life was different because of housing situations, and social classes. Overall, just different. Different can be good, and bad. The reason the Germans outlived the Romans were not was because of these differences, and in the end that is what set them apart.
Article posted May 3, 2012 at 09:12 AM •
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