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The students' blogs have been transferred to 8th grade.

by LRLI teacher: Rye 8th Team

Comparing Germans to Romans


For this post, we were assigned to compare the cultures of Germans and Romans. We were also learning how to write a 5 paragraph essay. We were not supposed to use our opinion, and just state facts. This essay will tell you the different ways of life the Germans and Romans lived.


Compare Germans to Romans Essay

       If you were put in a time machine, and the two places you could choose to go were early Germany and early Rome, which would you choose? You are going to find out the difference between the German’s villages and the Roman’s cities, the Germanic warriors and the Roman soldiers, and finally, the difference in their government, and how people would be punished. You will see that there are huge differences between the two civilizations.

One of the main differences between Germans and Romans is their way of life; especially the fact the Germans had villages, whereas Romans had cities. The Germans depended on their farms and animals. Their houses were long thatched-roof huts with open spaces around them. The family lived in one end, and the animals lived in stalls on the other end. The animals lived so close to the people because the Germans depended on the animal’s body heat to keep their huts warm. Inside of the huts, it was relatively bare. Most people just had wooden tables and benches in their homes, but wealthier Germans also had wall hangings and carpets. The Romans, on the other hand, had big cities. At this time, the cost of living was very high. The rich Romans lived in a domus, which is a house with marble walls, colored stone floors, and windows made of small panes of glass. They also had furnaces to heat the rooms, instead of an animal’s body heat. In the domuses, they also had pipes to distribute water to even the upper floors of their house. The Romans, who were not as wealthy, which consisted of most of the 1 million people who lived in Rome, lived in apartments called islands. The islands were at least 6 stories high. The ground floor was where most shops were. The shops opened onto the street from large arched doorways. The higher up you lived in the apartment, the less you had to pay.

Another big difference between Romans and Germans were the soldiers. Once the Romans set up a republic, they had to protect it by gaining more territory. The reason they were able to gain the territory was because of their army. Unlike the Germans, they had their army organized into legions. Every legion had 5,000 soldiers, who were called legionaries. Those legionaries were then divided up into 60-120 soldiers. Having legions made fighting a lot easier, compared to having a phalanx. The legion was smaller, so they could move faster and more flexibly, unlike soldiers in a phalanx, who fought as a group and could only attack from one direction. The groups in a legion were able to split off the main body and attack from the sides or back. The soldiers were very well trained because they spent hours practicing, they went on long marches every day, and they were healthy and well fed. The Germans did things much differently than the Romans. The men started training when they were still young boys. They spent a lot of their time fighting, hunting, fishing, and making weapons. A ceremony would be held when a boy reached manhood, and he would receive a shield and spear which would be carried at all times. They were divided into clans, which was family based. All the respect and loyalty was given to their military leader called a cheiftain. The cheiftain was originally elected by a group of warriors, but later on it became hereditary. The cheiftain gave the warriors food and shelter.  He also kept the peace among warriors. The Germans really loved war because of their religion. The gods they believed in liked to fight and hunt.

           The final difference between the Romans and Germans is their government and laws. In other words, how they kept the peace and how they dealt with crimes. The Germans thought that they should memorize their laws instead of writing them down, so the parents passed down all the laws to their children, and they would pass them down to their children. The German rulers believed that the only time laws could be changed was if the people approved. Because of over-drinking, Germans would recklessly fight a lot, so courts were set up where judges would listen to each side of the story and decide what would bring peace. The citizens would decide who was guilty and innocent. Oath-helpers would assist someone who was being accused of a crime. They would swear to tell the truth of what really happened, and tried to help the guilty German to be granted innocent. If the German didn’t have an oath-helper, his innocence would be decided during an ordeal. The ordeal was basically torture, where the German would have to walk on hot coals or soak their arm in boiling water. Then, the person would get their hands and feet tied together, and he would be thrown into a lake. If the person sunk, he was innocent, and if he floated, he was guilty. The courts could press charges called wergeld. The amount of money the German had to pay would depend on how bad the crime was. For example, if a German harmed a cheiftain, the wergeld would be higher than if he hurt a warrior. The German citizens would decide if the person guilty should pay the fine or not. This system the Germans used was not very fair to everyone. Wealth and importance depended on the penalty rather than the actual crime, however, the German laws kept peace. The Romans had much different ways of governing their people. First of all, they wrote down all of their laws on the Twelve Tables. The Roman judges wrote down new laws during the Pax Romana. The principles developed for the laws were fair to everyone. They were believed to be established because they were reasonable, not because the government had power to make the Romans obey them. Romans were innocent until proven guilty and Roman laws were standardized, or all equal in all parts of the empire.

           So, do you now know where you would want to go, if you had the option in a time machine? Do you think the Germans and Romans are similar, or different? The Germans lived very simple lives in huts with their farms and families, while the Romans had the opposite. Their fighting styles and groupings were different, as well. The Romans had more job options, like running shops, when the Germans just depended on their farms or trading. Both Romans and Germans were very clever at governing their people, but they did it in very different ways.  Overall, Germans and Romans are completely different societies, but both were fairly successful.


Article posted May 3, 2012 at 10:48 AM • comment • Reads 33 • see all articles

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