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# In Roman times, defeated enemies were generally put to death as crimin

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In Roman times, defeated enemies were generally put to death as crimin  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 09 Dec 2019, 11:05
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New Project RC Butler 2019 - Practice 2 RC Passages Everyday
Passage # 29, Date : 15-FEB-2019
This post is a part of New Project RC Butler 2019. Click here for Details

In Roman times, defeated enemies were generally put to death as criminals for having offended the emperor of Rome. In the Middle Ages, however, the practice of ransoming, or returning prisoners in exchange for money, became common. Though some saw this custom as a step towards a more humane society, the primary reasons behind it were economic rather than humanitarian.

In those times, rulers had only a limited ability to raise taxes. They could neither force their subjects to fight nor pay them to do so. The promise of material compensation in the form of goods and ransom was therefore the only way of inducing combatants to participate in a war. In the Middle Ages, the predominant incentive for the individual soldier to participate in a war was the expectation of spoils. Although collecting ransom clearly brought financial gain, keeping a prisoner and arranging for his exchange had its costs. Consequently, several procedures were devised to reduce transaction costs. One such device was a rule asserting that the prisoner had to assess his own value. This compelled the prisoner to establish a value without much distortion; indicating too low a value would increase the captive’s chances of being killed, while indicating too high a value would either ruin him financially or create a prohibitively expensive ransom that would also result in death.

One such device was a rule asserting that the prisoner had to assess his own value. This compelled the prisoner to establish a value without much distortion; indicating too low a value would increase the captive’s chances of being killed, while indicating too high a value would either ruin him financially or create a prohibitively expensive ransom that would also result in death.

A second means of reducing costs was the practice of releasing a prisoner on his word of honor. This procedure was advantageous to both parties since the captor was relieved of the expense of keeping the prisoner while the captive had freedom of movement. The captor also benefited financially by having his captive raise the ransom himself. This “parole” was a viable practice since the released prisoner risked recapture or retaliation against his family. Moreover, in medieval society, breaking one’s word had serious consequences. When, for example, King Francois I broke his word to the Emperor Charles V in 1525, his reputation suffered immensely.

A third method of reducing costs was the use of specialized institutions to establish contact between the two parties. Two types of institutions emerged: professional dealers who acted as brokers, and members of religious orders who acted as neutral intermediaries. Dealers advanced money for the ransom and charged interest on the loan. Two of the religious orders that became intermediaries were the Mercedarians and the Trinitarians, who between them arranged the ransom of nearly one million prisoners.

1. The primary purpose of the passage is to

(A) discuss the economic basis of the medieval practice of exchanging prisoners for ransom
(B) examine the history of the treatment of prisoners of war
(C) emphasize the importance of a warrior’s “word of honor” during the Middle Ages
(D) explore three ways of reducing the costs of ransom
(E) demonstrate why warriors of the Middle Ages looked forward to battles

2. It can be inferred from the passage that a medieval soldier

(A) was less likely to kill captured members of opposing armies than was a soldier of the Roman Empire
(B) was similar to a 20th-century terrorist in that he operated on a basically independent level and was motivated solely by economic incentives
(C) had few economic options and chose to fight because it was the only way to earn an adequate living
(D) was motivated to spare prisoners’ lives by humanitarian rather than economic ideals
(E) had no respect for his captured enemies since captives were typically regarded as weak

3. Which of the following best describes the change in policy from executing prisoners in Roman times to ransoming prisoners in the Middle Ages?

(A) The emperors of Rome demanded more respect than did medieval rulers and thus Roman subjects went to greater lengths to defend their nation.
(B) It was a reflection of the lesser degree of direct control medieval rulers had over their subjects.
(C) It became a show of strength and honor for warriors of the Middle Ages to be able to capture and return their enemies.
(D) Medieval soldiers were not as humanitarian as their ransoming practices might have indicated.
(E) Medieval soldiers demonstrated more concern about economic policy than did their Roman counterparts.

4. The author uses the phrase “without much distortion” (Highlighted) in order

(A) to indicate that prisoners would fairly assess their worth
(B) to emphasize the important role medieval prisoners played in determining whether they should be ransomed
(C) to explain how prisoners often paid more than an appropriate ransom in order to increase their chances for survival
(D) suggest that captors and captives often had understanding relationships
(E) to show that when in prison a soldier’s view could become distorted

5. All of the following are mentioned in the passage as actions that were taken to ensure that ransoming prisoners was a profitable operation EXCEPT

(A) each prisoner was made to designate the amount of ransom to be paid for his return
(B) prisoners were released on the condition that they guaranteed that their
ransoms would be paid
(C) professional intermediaries were employed to facilitate the smooth exchange of prisoner and ransom at a price to the prisoner
(D) religious orders acted as impartial mediators by arranging the trade-off of ransom and prisoner
(E) medieval rulers promised to aid soldiers in their efforts to collect ransom

6. In the author’s opinion, a soldier’s decision to spare an adversary’s life be linked historically to

(A) the economic relationship of the warring states
(B) the case with which a soldier could capture and subsequently imprison his enemy
(C) the economic gain from taking an enemy prisoner rather than killing him in combat
(E) the desire for soldiers to uphold their word of honor

7. It can be inferred from the passage that the process of arranging ransoms during medieval times was

(A) more lucrative for medieval soldiers and kings than the winning of spoils
(B) a procedure so costly that it was not economically worthwhile for the captors
(C) futile for the captive since he risked recapture even after his ransom was paid
(D) a potential source of income for others aside from the captors of the prisoners
(E) handled only through Mercedarian or Trinitarian intermediaries

8. Which of the following best describes the organization of the passage?

A. An assertion is made, briefly explained, and then several examples that refute the assertion are given.
B. A hypothesis is offered, carefully qualified, and then supporting data is analyzed.
C. A generally accepted historical viewpoint is presented in order to introduce discussion of its strengths and limitations.
D. A historical analysis is made of a phenomenon and supporting details are offered.
E. A historical dispute is introduced, and the case for one side is examined in detail.

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Last edited by SajjadAhmad on 09 Dec 2019, 11:05, edited 2 times in total.
Updated - Complete topic (640).
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Re: In Roman times, defeated enemies were generally put to death as crimin  [#permalink]

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16 Feb 2019, 02:10
3
In RC, best strategy is to first read the passage very fast,understand the gist and then to refer back to the passage when solving questions.
Also, while solving questions, keep eliminating options.

Q1-
A looks a good answer choice,keep it for now. (remember do not mark the answer until you have evaluated all the options)
B is eliminated because the passage nowhere talks about how prisoners were treated.
Similarly,C,D and E also eliminated because they are irrelevant.

Ans:A

Q2-
Only A is correct as per passage,all other options are irrelevant.

Ans:A

Q3-
A is irrelevant.
B is not directly mentioned, but the second para-'In those times, rulers had only a limited ability to raise taxes. They could neither force their subjects to fight nor pay them to do so' means this could be the answer. Keep it for now (It might be possible that it had been eliminated by someone when first reading, but since other options are also wrong, you will come back to it for sure,unless you get trapped in option E)
C ,D also wrong
E might seem tempting, but it is wrong because it was not the soldiers who demonstrated more concern about economic policy than did their Roman counterparts, but the rulers. So E is eliminated.

Ans:B

Q4-
A is the correct option. This question was pretty straightforward.
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Re: In Roman times, defeated enemies were generally put to death as crimin  [#permalink]

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17 Feb 2019, 00:09
2
1. The primary purpose of the passage is to

(A) discuss the economic basis of the medieval practice of exchanging prisoners for ransom
correct - Given in 1st para
(B) examine the history of the treatment of prisoners of war
No, eventhough treatment of prisoners is given in 2nd para, it is not the primary purpose of passage
(C) emphasize the importance of a warrior’s “word of honor” during the Middle Ages
No, irrelevant
(D) explore three ways of reducing the costs of ransom
No, irrelevant
(E) demonstrate why warriors of the Middle Ages looked forward to battles
No, irrelevant

2. It can be inferred from the passage that a medieval soldier

(A) was less likely to kill captured members of opposing armies than was a soldier of the Roman Empire
Yes,given in 1st para
(B) was similar to a 20th-century terrorist in that he operated on a basically independent level and was motivated solely by economic incentives
No, passage does not talk about terrrorist of 20th centuary
(C) had few economic options and chose to fight because it was the only way to earn an adequate living
No, not fully supported by passage
(D) was motivated to spare prisoners’ lives by humanitarian rather than economic ideals
NO, passage states it was more of an economic need than humanitarian to spare prisoners lives for ransom
(E) had no respect for his captured enemies since captives were typically regarded as weak
No, not supported bypassage

3. Which of the following best describes the change in policy from executing prisoners in Roman times to ransoming prisoners in the Middle Ages?

(A) The emperors of Rome demanded more respect than did medieval rulers and thus Roman subjects went to greater lengths to defend their nation.
No, not supported by passage
(B) It was a reflection of the lesser degree of direct control medieval rulers had over their subjects.
yes, given in 2nd para 2nd line
(C) It became a show of strength and honor for warriors of the Middle Ages to be able to capture and return their enemies.
No, not supported by passage
(D) Medieval soldiers were not as humanitarian as their ransoming practices might have indicated.
they were not humanitarian but that is not the best reason, economic considerations were the best reason for ransoming
(E) Medieval soldiers demonstrated more concern about economic policy than did their Roman counterparts.
it was not the soldiers who demonstrated concern towards economic policy

4. The author uses the phrase “without much distortion” (Highlighted) in order

(A) to indicate that prisoners would fairly assess their worth
yes, supported by last 3 lines of 2nd para
(B) to emphasize the important role medieval prisoners played in determining whether they should be ransomed
No, not supported by passage
(C) to explain how prisoners often paid more than an appropriate ransom in order to increase their chances for survival
No, not supported by passage
(D) suggest that captors and captives often had understanding relationships
No, not supported by passage
(E) to show that when in prison a soldier’s view could become distorted
No, not supported by passage
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Re: In Roman times, defeated enemies were generally put to death as crimin  [#permalink]

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16 Feb 2019, 08:34
Got 4/4 correct in 6:36 min including 2:15 min to read the passage!

Passage Map:

1) Change in policy from executing prisoners in Roman times to ransoming prisoners in the Middle Ages
2) Reason for that change
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Re: In Roman times, defeated enemies were generally put to death as crimin  [#permalink]

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17 Feb 2019, 11:29
Official Explanation

1. The primary purpose of the passage is to

Explanation

Choice (A) best summarizes the main idea of the first paragraph. While (D) reflects a part of the passage, it does not encompass the main idea of the passage.

2. It can be inferred from the passage that a medieval soldier

Explanation

The first paragraph gives us the information to answer this question. Note the trigger word however that underscores the difference between the Roman era and the Middle Ages.

3. Which of the following best describes the change in policy from executing prisoners in Roman times to ransoming prisoners in the Middle Ages?

Explanation

The best answer can be found in the first line of the second paragraph. Ransom was one of the few ways a ruler could give his subjects what they wanted to get them to do something he wanted.

4. The author uses the phrase “without much distortion” (Highlighted) in order

Explanation

To get the answer, we have to understand the meaning of the quoted words, but it also helps to read the rest of the paragraph. The paragraph describes a ransom value that was neither too low nor too high, therefore making (A) the best answer choice.

Hope it Helps
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Re: In Roman times, defeated enemies were generally put to death as crimin  [#permalink]

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20 Feb 2019, 23:49
For the question no. 4.
why can't B be the answer?
The fact that the prisoners cannot assess too-low or too-high values indicates that they had an important role to play in the ransom process. Deflection on both the sides may result to their death.
While I agree with the choice no. A, there is a doubt concerning option B.
Pl clarify.
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Re: In Roman times, defeated enemies were generally put to death as crimin  [#permalink]

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22 Feb 2019, 04:00
A Prisoner has no power to determine whether he should be killed or ransomed as every prisoner would go to be ransomed. So a prisoner cannot help determine any such role and that's why B is incorrect.

Hope it helps

RUDRAA619 wrote:
For the question no. 4.
why can't B be the answer?
The fact that the prisoners cannot assess too-low or too-high values indicates that they had an important role to play in the ransom process. Deflection on both the sides may result to their death.
While I agree with the choice no. A, there is a doubt concerning option B.
Pl clarify.

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Re: In Roman times, defeated enemies were generally put to death as crimin  [#permalink]

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07 Dec 2019, 19:27

5. All of the following are mentioned in the passage as actions that were taken to ensure that ransoming prisoners was a profitable operation EXCEPT

(A) each prisoner was made to designate the amount of ransom to be paid for his return
(B) prisoners were released on the condition that they guaranteed that their
ransoms would be paid
(C) professional intermediaries were employed to facilitate the smooth exchange of prisoner and ransom at a price to the prisoner
(D) religious orders acted as impartial mediators by arranging the trade-off of ransom and prisoner
(E) medieval rulers promised to aid soldiers in their efforts to collect ransom
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Re: In Roman times, defeated enemies were generally put to death as crimin  [#permalink]

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17 Dec 2019, 08:31
akash7gupta11 wrote:

5. All of the following are mentioned in the passage as actions that were taken to ensure that ransoming prisoners was a profitable operation EXCEPT

(A) each prisoner was made to designate the amount of ransom to be paid for his return
(B) prisoners were released on the condition that they guaranteed that their
ransoms would be paid
(C) professional intermediaries were employed to facilitate the smooth exchange of prisoner and ransom at a price to the prisoner
(D) religious orders acted as impartial mediators by arranging the trade-off of ransom and prisoner
(E) medieval rulers promised to aid soldiers in their efforts to collect ransom

Explanation

5. All of the following are mentioned in the passage as actions that were taken to ensure that ransoming prisoners was a profitable operation EXCEPT

Difficulty Level: Easy

Explanation

We have to find what is not available in the passage.

(A) each prisoner was made to designate the amount of ransom to be paid for his return
A is mentioned in first 2 lines of third paragraph as:
One such device was a rule asserting that the prisoner had to assess his own value.

(B) prisoners were released on the condition that they guaranteed that their ransoms would be paid.
Mentioned in first 2 lines of second last paragraph as:
A second means of reducing costs was the practice of releasing a prisoner on his word of honor.

(C) professional intermediaries were employed to facilitate the smooth exchange of prisoner and ransom at a price to the prisoner
It is mentioned in last paragraph

(D) religious orders acted as impartial mediators by arranging the trade-off of ransom and prisoner.
It is also mentioned in last paragraph.

(E) medieval rulers promised to aid soldiers in their efforts to collect ransom
Never mentioned in anywhere that rulers promised to aid soldiers.
If you think it is mentioned in second paragraph as:
The promise of material compensation in the form of goods and ransom was therefore the only way of inducing combatants to participate in a war.
you are probably reading it in wrong way don't put good + ransom it is only and ransom is a second thing the promised is only for goods and not for ransom.

Hope it helps
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Re: In Roman times, defeated enemies were generally put to death as crimin   [#permalink] 17 Dec 2019, 08:31
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