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North of the Rhine and Danube Rivers there lived people known to the Romans as Germans, and often called the barbarians. One of the meanings of the word "barbarian" refers to people who are uncivilized in the sense that they are primarily pastoral and semi-nomadic; they lack a written language; and they possess little in the way of government except in time of war, which may be frequent, since warfare and hunting are usually the chief preoccupation of the males. What agriculture barbarians have generally is carried on by women and slaves. This description fits their northern neighbors at the time the Romans first came in contact with them and for centuries thereafter. [excerpt]


This is a part of Section I: Athens, Rome, and Jerusalem: Background of Western Civilization. The Contemporary Civilization page lists all additional sections of Ideas and Institutions of Western Man, as well as the Table of Contents for both volumes.

More About Contemporary Civilization:

From 1947 through 1969, all first-year Gettysburg College students took a two-semester course called Contemporary Civilization. The course was developed at President Henry W.A. Hanson’s request with the goal of “introducing the student to the backgrounds of contemporary social problems through the major concepts, ideals, hopes and motivations of western culture since the Middle Ages.”

Gettysburg College professors from the history, philosophy, and religion departments developed a textbook for the course. The first edition, published in 1955, was called An Introduction to Contemporary Civilization and Its Problems. A second edition, retitled Ideas and Institutions of Western Man, was published in 1958 and 1960. It is this second edition that we include here. The copy we digitized is from the Gary T. Hawbaker ’66 Collection and the marginalia are his.