Using the six characteristics of the civilization described in Ch 1 (page 5), what are the specific characteristics of Roman Civilization described in this chapter?

Although very similar politically and legally with the United States today, Roman society was vastly different than our own. Compare and contrast Roman society with that of Modern America. Give specific examples for support. (250 words or more)

I need a citation from this book (I DO NOT have it): Western Civilization: A Brief History, Vol. I: to 1715, Jackson Spielvogel, 9th ed

First peer: 50 words or more

  1. Using the six characteristics of the civilization described in Ch 1 (page 5), what are the specific characteristics of Roman Civilization described in this chapter? Use specific examples to support your conclusion.

One of the first characteristics mentioned is the Roman politics which were very elaborate. They had their chief executive officers know as Consuls and Praetors. There were 2 consuls chosen every year and they “administered the government and led the Roman army into battle” (98). They had the right to command or as they called it imperium. The Praetors generally took over only when the Consuls were in battle, but they can do the same thing that Consuls can. His number 1 duty was to execute justice. There were also Quaestors who were assistants to Consuls and Praetors, Aediles who supervised the games and watcher of the food supply. The Centuriate Assembly was the army doing political functions.

There was also a social division of 2 groups- Patricians who were direct descendants of original senators appointed during the King’s time and were considered wealthy landowners. They were the only ones who could be consuls, magistrates, and senators. The Plebeians were those who were poorer, unprivileged and were the larger of the two groups. Both groups could vote but only Patricians could be elected. Everyone can get married but you could not be a Patrician and marry and plebeian. Over time the Plebeians were tired of their lack of involvement and left the states but that made the Roman army weak so to bring them back they created the Tribunes of the Plebs (2 officers who protected the rights of plebeians). Which ten became the council of the plebs.

Roman religion was very involved in everyday life and Romans believed that they were totally dependent on the Gods. “The official state religion focused on the worship of a pantheon of gods and goddesses, including, Jupiter, Juno, Minerva, and Mars” (106). As time moved on, more gods and goddesses were added in and places worshiped new deities. Greek and Roman gods and goddesses were hand in hand (Greek Hermes=Roman Mercury) and this was called the Greco-Roman Religion. Each house had their own God or Goddess and it was the responsibility of the head of the household (the paterfamilias) to make sure that religious obligations were being met in the home.

Romans also depended on Greeks for artistic inspiration. They excelled in architecture and used many Greek styles in their artwork. They also were the first people to use concrete in a huge scale.

second peer:

  1. What were the main socio-economic and political problems Rome faced during the last century of the Republic? How do these problems and the attempts to solve them compare to the partisan politics we face in the United States today?

The main socio-economic and political problems that Rome faced were that the senators running the state were 1) in office for life so they could do anything they wanted with impunity. 2) A majority of the leaders can from a few families. so they would act with their own interest in mind. “Hence, the nobiles constituted a governing oligarchy whose members managed, through landed weath, patronage and intimidation, to maintain their hold over the magistrates and senate and thus guide the destiny of Rome while running the state in their own interests” (Spielvogel 112). The divide between those who had their own ideas vs those who wanted what was best for rome caused a large political fight. (Spielvogel 112). Then to make matters worse farmers were the main source of income for the republic and the Punic Wars destroyed or crippled many farms so most of the farmers just sold off their land so they didnt have to fix it all. That caused the most damage, because of this the nobles of Rome bought up the land but needed serfs or slaves to take care of it, but because military service was extended from 2 to 6 years no one was available and those who were there, could not afford the expensive crops of grapes and olives and farm animals like sheep. (Spielvogel 112). This can compare to today because there is a large gap in wealth, how 1% can control 50% of wealth. This creates many issues like how rome had problems so can the present. When you have such a large disparity and higher taxes on the poorer people create more poor people and the cycle continues until something breaks and it all falls or reform happens before something worse can happen.

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