The Roman Empire: Pax Romana
By: April Carson
During two centuries of relative tranquility and prosperity, known as the Pax Romana (Latin for “Roman Peace”), Ancient Rome flourished. This era was ushered in by Augustus becoming emperor 27 B.C., until Marcus Aurelius's death 180 A.D.. During this time period, political stability and security reigned supreme with very little turmoil among citizens or between nations despite conflicts throughout Europe at the borders to protect against invasions from other countries—allowing Romans a chance to focus on developing their culture without fear of war breaking out around them all too often like before during several decades prior when civil wars were frequent causing Roman Republic downfall after years upon years of dysfunctionality under different rulers that resulted in assassinations which led up to fall of roman empire.
Rome's success in developed region allowed Rome to rule most of Europe with their iron fisted grip, causing roman citizens to return back to Rome while foreigners (such as Greeks) migrated to roman cities creating a meta-ethnic mix before roman citizenship was granted under the banner of "romans all [ethnicity]" which united roman empire under one flag.
During the Pax Romana, the Roman Empire was by no means peaceful. Tyrannical rulers murdered political opponents as Rome brutally put down uprisings in territories such as Judea and Britain. And it continued to expand its empire, which prompted Caledonian chieftain Calgacus to remark that the Romans "create a devastation and term it peace" in his rousing speech before the Battle of Mons Graupius.
One of roman emperors most famous achievements was creating Pax Romana which was known as roman peace meaning that Rome would not be getting attacked by other civilizations thanks to Marcus Aurelius improving the roman military and infrastructure, strengthening Rome's control over roman territories.
The Roman empire was able to maintain a long period of peace and stability, mainly due to the Roman Army's influence around the roman empire. The roman army served as a protective force against foreign invasion while also serving as a deterrent towards potential rivals within Rome's borders. roman society was often militaristic, which helped supply the roman army with skilled recruits from roman citizens as well as provincial soldiers from Rome's vast empire. Still, like all empires throughout history, Rome eventually failed to remain economically and militarily competitive after its peak during the rule of emperors Trajan (ruling 98-117) and Marcus Aurelius (ruling 161-180). The roman economy faced hyperinflation due to excessive coinage mass issued by emperors such as Caligula (ruling 37-41) and Nero who awarded themselves roman titles for life, as well as roman gold reserves that were depleted during roman wars of conquest.
Rome became increasingly totalitarian, with roman authorities exerting control over roman citizens through the roman imperial cult that worshiped emperors while roman statesmen such as Seneca the Younger and Saint Augustine railed against social repression and roman immorality throughout Roman society. These rifts caused major political rifts between roman Senate and roman emperors, leading to roman military rebellions and roman civil wars.
With roman society in perpetual decline for the past 5 centuries, roman rulers such as roman Emperor Aurelian have attempted to further Romanize Rome through measures such as roman re-conquest of Roman and Greek territories.
For many Romans, however, Pax Romana was a golden age of arts, literature and technology. It was a time when the empire doubled in size to stretch from Great Britain to north Africa—and came to include a quarter of the world’s population, according to some estimates.
It is said roman emperors such as roman Emperor Hadrian have even taken roman wives to help keep citizens happy and with the Rome’s borders peaceful. There were rifts between roman Senate and roman emperors, leading to roman military rebellions and roman civil wars.
Through cultural imperialism, the Romans assimilated provinces into Pax Romana. They spread Roman hairstyles and clothing to western regions of the empire by encouraging people there to adopt citizenship in Rome or serve in their Senate. This made a common culture among an educated elite who was encouraged to do so through literature and theater from its capital city which created a more sophisticated urban area than what can be found elsewhere within these eastern countries that were conquered by them as well.
Roman rulers built systems that supported a particular way of life, which was Roman in nature. These included chariot race grounds, forums, amphitheaters and baths, all of which were vital to Roman civic life. The invention of concrete from a combination of volcanic sand, high-grade lime and tiny stones or broken bricks permitted the construction of rounded arches, vaults and domes. The Romans also built sewers that removed waste water from the city to avoid disease and floods after fire damage.
Following the death of Marcus Aurelius, who broke with recent custom by anointing his son Commodus as heir, the Pax Romana came to an end. Commodus' reign was marred by decadence and incompetence, and it ended in 192 A.D. with his assassination, which triggered a civil war that brought an end to the empire's glory days.