Romans vs. Germans Essay
We were assigned to write a five paragraph essay comparing the ancient Romans and the early Germans for social studies class.
Despite being interested in the Roman way of life and moving closer to the Roman Empire, the Germans continued to live in the manner in which they were accustomed. The Romans and Germans each practiced their own ways of living with little influence on one another for many years.The manner in which they trained soldiers and treated enemies, lived in their homes, and wrote their laws were very different. The Romans lived in cities and the Germans lived in the country. The Romans disciplined and trained soldiers intensely and the Germans raised boys to be warriors. The Romans wrote laws and the Germans memorized laws that were chosen by the people.
The Germanic people and Romans trained their soldiers and treated their enemies very differently. Germans began training boys for war when they were young. Young adult males were given spears and a shield in a special ceremony. They were required to carry these weapons with them at all times or risk losing the respect of their fellow men. German fighters were divided into clans which were based on family relationships. The bands of warriors did not make specific plans to fight, but rather roamed the countryside raiding their enemies in surprise attacks. They also believed in leaving their enemies dead on the battlefield.The Romans, however, trained their soldiers for hours. They marched for days and taught their soldiers to build fortresses when they were traveling to protect themselves against attacks. They also were somewhat kind to the people they conquered. They did not tax them, allowed them to become citizens, and let them keep their governments. In return, the Romans asked that the people they conquered to become members of their army.
The Romans and Germans lived in two very different types of homes and environments. The Romans lived in Rome, Italy, which was a very crowded city of almost 1 million people. Pollution, a high cost of living, crime, and few places for people to live made living in Rome difficult for many. Most people lived in 6 story apartment buildings called islands. A shop was often located on the ground floor and upstairs there were dark, windowless, rooms that had no plumbing. Rich Romans lived in multiple story houses that had indoor plumbing and were decorated with expensive stone and jewels. Most Germans lived in villages in the country. Their homes were huts with thatched roofs. The Germans kept animals at one end of their huts while they lived in the opposite end. The heat from the animals kept them warm on a cold winter night. Their furniture consisted of a few wooden tables and chairs.
The Germans and Romans made their laws in different ways. Roman judges often had to write new laws to help them do business with people in territories that they recently conquered. Judges wrote laws with the help of lawyers and other legal writers called juries prudentes. Over time, they developed laws that they felt were fair to everyone in the Roman Empire. They also made their legal rules the same so that everyone was governed in the same manner. The Germans, however, had their laws come from the people. Laws could not be changed without their approval. In addition, laws were never written down, but memorized. Families were expected to teach their children the law to remember when they became adults.
The contrast between the manner in which the Romans and Germans lived their lives was evident in many ways. Law making, living conditions, and the training of soldiers and enemy treatment were completely different for each group. German soldiers were trained at a young age and fought in clans that left dead enemies on the battle field, while Roman soldiers started training and were disciplined heavily. Roman life was very civilized with two general house types for rich and poor, while the Germans lived in villages where they slept with livestock in their huts. The Romans wrote their laws down, while the Germans memorized the laws that were chosen by the people. The Romans and the Germans took years to understand one another and adopt each other's characteristics.