April 5, 2013

The April 2 Health & Science article “Bones from time of Christ reveal a brutal history,” describing the archaeological remains from a bog site in Denmark, rightly pointed out that the Germanic people of the Iron Age engaged in some pretty appalling behavior. However, lest we forget, they were fighting the Romans, a culture also known for its barbarity.

While the Romans are often credited with developing “civilization” (a debatable point in itself), they also invented crucifixion and decimation (in which Roman soldiers were punished by drawing lots, and every 10th soldier was beaten or stoned to death by the other nine in his group) and routinely executed or sold into slavery noncombatants.

Modern people would be hard-pressed to choose whether they wanted to live with the Romans or the Germans, each of whom had good and bad points as a society.

Susan Johnston, Washington

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