Ancient Rome Vs Early Europe Essay Research

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Ancient Rome Vs Early Europe Essay, Research Paper Compare & Contrast Aspects of Life & Society in Ancient Rome, Compared With Those in Early Modern Europe. Throughout history, we have seen the rise and fall of incredible civilizations, societies and ideas. As the Romans prevailed over Europe for one thousand years (from roughly 500 BC to 500 AD), the early modern Europeans from about the 1400’s to the 1800’s put forward some ideas which were key in the development of our modern world. Had Europe progressed considerably one thousand years after the fall of the Roman Empire? This essay will examine this debated issue by establishing and comparing daily life in both societies. Due to the fact that marriage was an important political aspect in ancient Rome and that

no religious beliefs prevented divorce, it was common for the marriage of aristocrats to be dissolved. Couples could separate for personal or political reasons. Augustus demanded that Tiberius divorce his wife and marry his widowed daughter Julia instead. “Among lower class people who had no political affiliation, the divorce rate was probably lower.”1 Romans seemed to view marriage as more of an arrangement then a romantic fulfilment. Women were encouraged to stay married since strict laws would award the custody of the children to the husbands in case of divorce. Augustus was bothered by the marriage patterns of the aristocrats due to its effect on the birthrate and the image of Rome. Augustus therefore passed a series of laws which made divorce, adultery and bachelorhood

extremely distasteful. These laws brought unhappiness to his own family when his daughter and granddaughter committed adultery. Roman families were generally small. The aristocrats worried about the chance for their offspring to hold public office and the inheritance which they would receive. Even lower income families seemed to have few children. Low fertility, high infant mortality, 1. RichardGreaves et al. Civilizations of the West. (N.Y.:Addison-Wesley, 1997) p. 160. the exposure of unwanted babies, the infrequency of sexual relations between husband and wife and even contraceptive methods were all factors which affected the low Roman birthrate. Abortion was legal but quite dangerous due to the lack of medical technology. Couples would generally abandon their children if they

were unwanted. Even after Christian agitators attempted to outlaw this practice, babies continued to be abandoned. Before the 1700’s in early modern Europe, the three generation family among the aristocracy which involved ownership and inheritance was quite common. However, the lower class generally lived in nuclear or conjugal units. Except for parts of eastern Europe, most couple married in their mid-twenties in order to properly establish households. This type of family unit was disadvantageous to the lower class due to the fact that economic hardships were more common if a spouse would become unemployed. The large family network was key for the higher class to assume and maintain control. However, the influence of relatives among the higher class couples led to many

internal disputes. Arranged marriages were quite common in early modern Europe. Young people often had no say in determining who they were going to wed, for matrimony was a collective family decision based on key financial issues. Whereas aristocrats usually married in their early twenties to facilitate property settlements, normal people usual married around the age of 28. “By the middle of the sixteenth century, the idea of matrimony seemed to shift from a financial arrangement to a settlement based on love and children.”2 The rise of the nuclear family among the aristocrats also led to more successful relationships between spouses; however, the man was considered to be the king of the house. In case of an unsuccessful marriage, divorce was illegal. Only in rare situations