Ancient Rome vs. Ancient Egypt

By Emily Gooden


Ancient Rome

Romans worshiped many mythological gods such as Zeus, Mercury, Venus, Neptune and Mars. Each of these gods had some kind of power and they ruled something (ex: Neptune is the god of the sea). Once a Roman had passed away, it was believed that their soul would journey across the River Styx to reach the underworld.

Many of these beliefs changed however once Christianity was made the official religion of Rome in the fourth century by Emperor Constantine. Previously, Christians had been arrested and even put to death for being Christians.

Ancient Egypt

The Ancient Egyptians had many gods and goddesses. They built temples for their gods and worshiped them daily. They considered their Pharaoh not only their king but a god as well and his priests were close to gods too.

They believed heavily in an afterlife which required the body to be perfectly preserved, thus the mummification performed to protect the body. In addition to this, they magically built the pyramids to bury their pharaohs in to help them on their journey of the afterlife.


Ancient Rome

Once free from their masters, the Etruscan conquerors in 509 B. C. who had ruled over the Romans for hundreds of years , the Romans established a government called a republic, in which citizens elected representatives to rule on their behalf. A republic is quite different from a democracy, in which every citizen is expected to play an active role in governing the state.

The Roman government was also one which other nations looked up to and respected. Even the United States' government is partially modeled after the Roman's governmental system.

Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egypt, was ruled by a Pharaoh. The Pharaoh owned everything in the whole country including every house, animal, or piece of jewelry. He was so important that he was considered a god by the citizens of Egypt. His right hand man, the Vizier was also very important. He informed Pharaoh of what was happening in Egypt daily.


Ancient Rome

The ancient Romans put much value into education. The rich went to schools and had private tutors. Those with less money usually still learned vital skills such as reading and writing but with a much less formal of an education. Importantly, schooling and teaching was for boys only! Girls were to remain at home and work around the house doing chores.

Ancient Egypt

The Ancient Egyptians saw education as very important but the number of schools was limited thus making it so that only those of royalty or those that were training to become scribes or priests were allowed to go to school.

Things taught in Egyptian schools were very similar to what we learn now. They taught reading and writing, history, math - using a decimal system based on ten fingers, arithmetic and geometry, astronomy, music, geography, and science.


Ancient Rome

The Romans had many things to do as pastimes, many of which were sports and games. They played board games, gambling games, and games using dice.

They also played and watched sports. Gladiator combats were approximately equivalent to today's football, popularity wise. The Romans would gather in an arena and watch gladiators fight with various weapons until the rest were either wounded or dead. The Circus Maximus was a horse racing event where men in chariots pulled by horses would speed around a track while people kept score using seven eggs and dolphins.

Children often entertained themselves with games such as leapfrog.

Ancient Egypt

They played many sports to pass time. Several common ones are hockey, handball, archery, gymnastics, tug-of-war (without a rope), javelin throw, boxing, weightlifting, high jump, swimming, rowing, and running the marathon.


Ancient Rome

Art was very important to the Roman way of life. Common art forms were sculptures, busts (a sculpture of just one's head), paintings, and mosaics.

Ancient Egypt

Egyptian art told a story to keep their history alive. They used hieroglyphs to write and turned them into art. They often made sculptures and paintings. They made decorative pottery to use as both decoration and storage devices.

Gender Roles

Ancient Rome

Men: The Roman men were the strength of the family. They had many privileges that women weren't allowed access to. They could receive an education, play sports, fight in wars, earn money, govern the nation, etc.. They provided the food for their families to eat through farming and hunting.

Women: The women of Ancient Rome were denied education thus leaving them incapable of writing their stories so there is little to know of what the average woman's lifestyle consisted of. We do know, however, that they did a lot of work around the house such as cleaning, preparing food, caring for the children, etc.. They very rarely even left the house!

Ancient Egypt

These are almost exactly the same as the gender roles for the Ancient Romans.

The Ancient Egyptians believed that each gender was created to specifically fulfill a a certain job as a part of their family.

Men: The Egyptian men were created to go out into the world to provide for the family through both money and food.

Women: The women were to stay at home and prepare the food brought in by her husband as well as clean the house and take care of her children and husband.

Daily Life

Ancient Rome

A Typical Day:

A typical Roman day (for a man) would start off with a light breakfast and then off to work. His work would end in the early afternoon when many Romans would take a quick trip to the baths to bathe and socialize. At around 3 pm they would have dinner which was just as much of a social event as it was a meal!


The family unit was very important to the Romans. The head of the family was the father called the paterfamilias. Legally, he had all the power in the family. However, usually the wife had a strong say in what went on in the family. She often handled the finances and managed the household.


Roman children started school at the age of 7. Wealthy children would be taught by a full time tutor. Other children went to public school. They studied subjects such as reading, writing, math, literature, and debate. School was mostly for boys, however some wealthy girls were tutored at home. Poor children did not get to go to school.


Toga - The toga was a long robe made up of several yards of material. The wealthy wore white togas made from wool or linen. Some colors and markings on togas were reserved for certain people and certain occasions. For example, a toga with a purple border was worn by high ranking senators and consuls, while a black toga was generally only worn during times of mourning. The toga was uncomfortable and hard to wear and was generally only worn in public, not around the house. In later years, the toga grew out of style and most people wore a tunic with a cloak when it was cold.

Tunic - The tunic was more like a long shirt. Tunics were worn by the rich around the house and under their togas. They were the regular dress of the poor

Ancient Egypt

Looking nice and being clean was very important to the Ancient Egyptians. Most everyone, men and women, wore jewelry of some type. The rich wore jewelry made of gold and silver, while the poorer people used copper, but not matter what, everyone wore it!

They also wore make up! Both men and women had a cosmetics case that they would carry with them where ever they went.

Because it was so hot, most people wore white linen clothes. Men wore kilts and women wore a straight dress. Slaves and servants would wear patterned fabrics.

The average family lived in a village of sun baked mud houses. The houses were fairly small with few windows or furniture. They had flat roofs that the people would sleep on in the summer when it was too hot inside.

The main staple of the commoner was bread. They also had fruits, vegetables, lamb, and goats for food. They had clay ovens to cook in and usually used dishes made of clay. The main drink was beer made from barley

Crime and Punishment

Ancient Rome

The Ancient Romans had many different kinds of punishment for many different kinds of crime.

If a slave was in need of punishment, they might be beating or be forced to carry a piece of wood around his/her neck for the next few days.

If it was a fellow Roman citizen that required punishment, depending on the cruelty of the crime, it could result in fines, bonds, retaliation, banishment, slavery, and death. A Roman citizen could not be sentenced to death unless he was found guilty of treason. A Roman citizen had the right to be tried in Rome if accused of treason. If sentenced to death, no Roman citizen could be sentenced to be crucified however.

A few ways of punishment through death were beheading, strangling in prison, throwing a criminal from that part of the prison called Robur, throwing a criminal from the Tarpeian rock, crucifixion, burying a person alive, or throwing a criminal into the river.

Ancient Egypt

There were many laws in Egypt, as there were many punishments for breaking a law. One of the punishments was one hundred strokes of a cane, and if the crime was worse, five bleeding cuts were added. Other punishments included branding, exile, mutilation, drowning, beheading, and burning alive.

The worst crime was tomb raiding because the treasures in the tomb were sacred. A lot of punishments in ancient Egypt were fatal, such as drowning, beheading, and burning alive. The pharaoh usually decided what would happen to the criminal.

Common Occupations

Ancient Rome

  • Farmers - most of the people were farmers. They grew barley to make beer, wheat for bread, vegetables such as onions and cucumbers, and flax to make into linen. They grew their crops near the banks of the Nile River where the rich black soil was good for crops.
  • Craftspeople - There were a wide variety of craftsmen jobs. They included carpenters, weavers, jewelers, leather workers, and potters. How skilled a craftsman was would determine his success.
  • Soldiers - Becoming a soldier was an opportunity for a person to rise in society. Most of the soldiers were footmen. There was a well defined hierarchy in the Egyptian army. In peacetime, soldiers would help with government projects such as moving stone for a pyramid or digging a canal.
  • Scribes - Scribes were important people in Ancient Egypt as they were the only people who knew how to read and write. Scribes came from wealthy families and took years of training to learn the complex Egyptian hieroglyphics.
  • Priests and Priestesses - Priests and Priestesses were responsible for the temples and held religious ceremonies.
  • Ancient Egypt

  • Farmer - Most of the Romans who lived in the countryside were farmers. The most common crop was wheat which was used to make bread.
  • Soldier - The Roman Army was large and needed soldiers. The army was a way for the poorer class to earn a regular wage and to gain some valuable land at the end of their service. It was a good way for the poor to move up in status.
  • Merchant - Merchants of all sorts sold and bought items from around the Empire. They kept the economy rolling and the Empire rich.
  • Craftsman - From making dishes and pots to crafting fine jewelry and weapons for the army, craftsmen were important to the empire. Some craftsmen worked in individual shops and learned a specific craft, usually from their father. Others were slaves, who worked in large workshops that produced items in large quantities such as dishes or pots.
  • Entertainers - The people of Ancient Rome liked to be entertained. Just like today, there were a number of entertainers in Rome including musicians, dancers, actors, chariot racers, and gladiators.
  • Lawyers, Teachers, Engineers - The more educated Romans could become lawyers, teachers, and engineers.
  • Government - The government of Ancient Rome was huge. There were all sorts of government jobs from tax collectors and clerks to high ranking positions like Senators. The Senators were the wealthy and the powerful. Senators served in their position for life and at times there were as many as 600 members of the Senate.
  • Warfare Techniques

    Ancient Rome


    The Roman army was the support of the Roman Empire and one of the most successful armies in world history. It was well-trained, well-equipped, and well-organized. In order to guard such a large empire, the army took advantage of well built Roman roads to move about the empire quickly.


    The army was divided up into Legions of around 5400 soldiers. Legions were led by a Legate who was usually a Senator or a Governor. Legions were made up of ten groups of soldiers called cohorts. Cohorts were then further divided into groups of 80 men called centuries. The officers, or leaders, of each century were called centurions.


    The government knew the importance of the Roman army and provided them with good armor and weapons. Roman soldiers had armor made of strips of very strong iron. The iron made the armor strong and the strips made it flexible. They also had iron helmets which protected their heads and neck, but still let them have good vision for fighting. All of this iron armor was heavy, so they needed to be strong and in good shape. They also carried tall shields in some cases to defend themselves from flashing swords.


    The Roman soldiers used a variety of weapons including a pugio (a dagger), gladius (a kind of sword), hasta (a spear), javelin, and bows and arrows. The soldiers were trained to fight with their weapons and practiced on a regular basis. They would sometimes spar with each other using wooden swords.

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    Ancient Egypt

    The original Egyptians were farmers, not fighters. They didn't see the need for an organized army. They were well protected by the natural boundaries of the desert that surrounded the empire. During the “Old Kingdom”, if the Pharaoh needed men to fight, he would call up the farmers to defend the country.

    However, eventually the Hyksos people located near northern Egypt became organized. They conquered Lower Egypt using chariots and advanced weapons. The Egyptians knew they now needed an army. They learned how to make powerful chariots and gathered a strong army with infantry, archers, and charioteers. They eventually took Lower Egypt back from the Hyksos.

    From that point Egypt began to maintain a standing army. During the New Kingdom the Pharaohs often led the army into battle and Egypt conquered much of the surrounding land, expanding the Egyptian Empire.

    The head of the Egyptian army was the Pharaoh. Under the Pharaoh were two generals, one who led the army in Upper Egypt and one who led the army in Lower Egypt. Each army had three major branches: the Infantry, the Chariotry, and the Navy. The generals were usually close relatives to the Pharaoh.

    The Egyptian soldiers seldom wore armor. Their main form of defense was a shield. When they did wear armor it was in the form of hardened leather straps.

    The most important weapon in the Egyptian army was the bow and arrow. They could shoot arrows over 600 feet killing lots of enemies from long distance. The foot soldiers (infantry) were armed with a variety of weapons including spears, axes, and short swords.

    Chariots were a very important part of the Egyptian army! They were wheeled carriages pulled by two trained, fast warhorses. Two soldiers rode in each chariot. One would drive the chariot and control the horses while the other would fight using a bow and arrow or spear.


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