Pax Romana

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Roman Empire at its greatest extent with the conquests of Trajan
Roman Empire at its greatest extent with the conquests of Trajan

Pax Romana (27 BCE-180 CE), Latin for "the Roman peace" (sometimes Pax Augusta), was the long period of relative peace experienced by the Roman Empire. The term stems from the fact that Roman rule and its legal system pacified regions, sometimes forcefully, which had suffered from the quarrels between rival leaders. It was Augustus Caesar who led Rome into the Pax Romana.


[edit] Characteristics

During this time the Romans still fought a consistent number of wars against neighboring states and tribes, most notably the Germanic tribes and Persians. There was also still political unrest among the noble families. Nonetheless, the Pax Romana was an era of relative tranquility in which Rome endured neither major civil wars, such as the perpetual bloodshed of the third century AD, nor serious invasions, such as those of the Second Punic War three centuries prior.

This period is considered to have lasted from 27 BC, when Augustus Caesar declared an end to the great Roman civil wars of the first century, until either 180 AD, when emperor Marcus Aurelius died, or the death of his son, Commodus, in 192 AD. It was a time in which Roman commerce thrived, unhampered by pirates or marauding enemy troops. It was not always peaceful; rebellions frequently appeared, but were quelled. For example, British tribes (Queen Boudica and the Iceni) rebelled against harsh Roman rule in 60 AD and at least 150,000 people lost their lives, a figure which does not include the massacre and starvation after the British defeat.

Additionally, both border skirmishes and Roman wars of conquest happened during this period. Trajan embarked on a series of campaigns against the Parthians during his reign and Marcus Aurelius spent almost the entire last decade of his rule defending the frontiers of the Empire. Indeed, one might argue that Rome was constantly involved in some conflict or another during the "Pax Romana." However, the interior provinces remained largely untouched by warfare, thus giving the empire the semblance of peace.

[edit] The "Five Good Emperors" of the Pax Romana

Marcus Aurelius
Marcus Aurelius

[edit] See also

The term Pax Romana influenced the description of other real or fictional periods of stability and peace in regions of the world. See for instance:

[edit] Alternative History

  • Pax Germanica (alternative history if Germany had won World War II)

[edit] Notes

[edit] External links