Chapter 6 - The Pax Romana

    Augustus's settlement (31 B.C.-A.D. 14)

    1. Augustus's goal was to reestablish the republic after years of civil war, to demobilize the army, and to meet the threat of the barbarians.
    2. The principate and the restored republic
      1. Augustus created a constitutional monarchy but did not give the senate power equal to his own.
      2. Augustus became princeps civitatis, "the First Citizen of the State," and held other offices, particularly that of magistrate.
      3. His control of the army was the main source of his power.
        1. Augustus controlled deployment of the soldiers and paid their wages.
        2. He founded colonies of soldiers, which helped unite the Mediterranean world and spread GrecoRoman culture.
    3. Augustus's administration of the provinces
      1. Augustus encouraged selfgovernment and urbanism.
      2. The cult of Roma et Augustus gave the empire unity.
    4. Roman expansion into northern and western Europe
      1. Augustus continued Caesar's push into Europe.
        1. In Gaul he founded towns and built roads.
        2. He extended Roman rule into Spain, Germany, and eastern Europe.
        3. The city of Lyons in France is an example of how Romans used expensive building projects to bring about a merger of Roman and native culture and government.
        4. Romans did not force their culture on others.
      2. The Romans' relations with barbarians varied from cooperation to hostility.
    5. Literary flowering
      1. The Augustan Age was a golden age of Latin literature.
      2. Roman writers celebrated the dignity of humanity and the range of its accomplishments.
        1. Virgil wrote about the greatness and virtue of Rome in his masterpiece, the Aeneid.
        2. Ovid's poems tell of festivals, religious rites, and other aspects of popular religion.
        3. Livy's history of Rome is one of Rome's great legacies to the modern world.
        4. Horace praised the simple life and the pax Romana.
    6. By sharing power with his adopted son, Augustus created a dynasty.

    The coming of Christianity

    1. Roman rule in Judaea caused a climate of hostility and anxiety for many Jews.
    2. The colony of Judaea suffered during the Roman civil wars, and Jewish resentment of Rome increased.
    3. Hatred of King Herod and Roman taxes, harsh enforcement of the law, and religious interference led to civil war in Judaea.
    4. Two antiRoman movements existed: Zealot extremists, who fought Rome, and militant believers in the apocalypse, who believed that the coming of the Messiah would end Roman rule.
    5. Pagan religious cults were numerous, including the official state cults, the old traditional cults, and the new mystery cults, which met the needs of the people for security and emotional release.

    The life and teachings of Jesus

    1. Jesus was raised in Galilee--which was exposed to many peoples, ideas, and trade.
      1. People have long disagreed as to who Jesus was and what he intended to do.
        1. The main records of his life are the four gospels of the New Testament.
        2. But they were written long after his death and do not agree.
    2. Jesus was a teacher who claimed to be the Messiah of a spiritual kingdom.
      1. His teachings were in the Jewish tradition, but he refused to preach rebellion against Rome.
      2. Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect, was worried about maintaining civil order, so he sentenced Jesus to death.
    3. Jesus's followers claimed that he had risen from the dead--to promise immortality to Christians.
      1. His followers met in congregations to discuss the meaning of the life of Jesus.
    4. Paul of Tarsus transformed the Jesus cult and made it applicable to all.
      1. He broadened Christianity's appeal to nonJews ("Gentiles") and women.
      2. He taught that Jesus died to save sinners.
      3. Paul taught that Jesus was sent to save Gentiles, not Jews.
      4. The catacombs, or cemeteries, near Rome testify to both the toleration of Christianity and how it spread.
    5. The appeal of Christianity
      1. Christianity was attractive for many reasons.
        1. It was open to common people.
        2. It held out the promise of salvation and forgiveness.
        3. It gave each person a role and a sense of importance in working for God's plan.
      2. Christianity gave its followers a sense of community, and it stressed the importance of the individual.

    The JulioClaudians and the Flavians (27 B.C.-A.D. 96)

    1. For fifty years after Augustus's death, all emperors of Rome came from the JulioClaudian dynasty.
      1. Claudius created a system of imperial bureaucracy so he could delegate power.
      2. The army, especially the Praetorian Guard, began to interfere in politics. The Year of the Four Emperors proved the Augustan settlement a failure.
    2. The Flavian dynasty
      1. Vespasian created a monarchy and suppressed rebellions, destroying the state of Judaea in the process.
      2. Domitian won additional new territory for the empire.

    The Age of the "Five Good Emperors" (A.D. 96-180)

    1. The age of the Antonines was one of unparalleled prosperity--ushered in by very able emperors..
    2. The Antonines were emperors in fact as well as theory--the emperor became an indispensable part of the imperial system.
      1. The emperors were the source of all authority in the empire.
      2. Hadrian reformed the bureaucracy by making it more professional and organized.
    3. Changes in the army
      1. Under the Flavians the boundaries of the empire became fixed.
      2. More and more soldiers came from the provinces closest to the frontiers.

    Life in the "golden age"

    1. Imperial Rome
      1. The city was huge, and fire and crime were ongoing problems.
      2. The government provided the citizens of Rome with free grain, oil, and wine to prevent riots.
      3. Free, often brutal, entertainment was provided, but the most popular entertainment was chariot racing.
      4. Most Romans worked hard and lived average lives.
    2. Rome and the provinces
      1. Life in the provinces was a new mix of the indigenous people mixing their language and culture with that of Rome--and most people became bilingual.
      2. Roman cultural influence was limited to urban areas while its influence in rural areas was largely economic.
      3. Agriculture flourished on large tracts of land cultivated by free tenant farmers.
      4. Romans left rural native culture alone.
      5. The biggest impact on provinces was the growth of manufacturing.

    Civil wars and invasion in the third century

    1. Commodus's reign led to civil war; over twenty emperors ascended the throne between 235 and 284.
    2. Migrating barbarians on the frontiers found gaps in the Roman defenses.
      1. In A.D. 258, the Goths burst into Europe.
      2. The Alamanni, Franks, Saxons, and other tribes invaded the empire.
    3. Turmoil and impoverishment in farm and village life
      1. The breakdown of the system led to crime and corruption.
      2. Much of the damage was done by officials and soldiers.

    Reconstruction under Diocletian and Constantine (A.D. 284-337)

    1. The end of political turmoil under Diocletian's reign
      1. Diocletian claimed that God had chosen him to rule; his power became absolute.
      2. Because the empire was too big for one person to govern well, Diocletian reorganized it.
        1. Imperial authority was split between two emperors--Diocletian in the east and an augustus in the west.
        2. Each emperor was assisted by a caesar.
        3. The power of the provincial governors was reduced.
        4. Diocletian's division between east and west became permanent.
    2. Inflation and taxes
      1. The monetary system was in ruins and highly inflated.
      2. Diocletian attempted to curb inflation through wage and price controls.
      3. The new imperial taxation system led to a loss of freedom as people became locked into their jobs.
    3. The decline of small farms
      1. Worsening conditions fostered the growth of large, selfsufficient villas.
      2. Small farmers turned to big landlords for protection, in exchange for their land.
    4. The acceptance of Christianity
      1. The emperor Constantine legalized Christianity--he died a Christian in 337.
      2. Scholars today believe that the Christians exaggerated the degree of pagan hostility to them and that most of the stories about martyrs were fictitious.
      3. Many Romans misunderstood Christianity, thinking, for example, that Christian rejection of their gods would harm Rome or that Christians engaged in cannibalism.
        1. They thought the Christians were atheists because they denied the existence of pagan gods.
        2. Because Roman religion was linked to the state, a token ritual to pagan gods was expected.
        3. Hostility to Christians decreased; Emperor Trajan forbade hunting down Christians.
      4. The desperation and stress of the third century caused a short-lived upswing in persecutions.
        1. In 380 Emperor Theodosius made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire; henceforth the Christians began to persecute the pagans for their beliefs.
    5. The construction of Constantinople
      1. Constantine built a new capital for the empire at the site of Byzantium.
      2. The focus of the empire shifted to the east.

    From the Classical World to Late Antiquity (ca. A.D. 200-700)

    1. Did the Roman empire ever really "fall?"
      1. The historian Edward Gibbon pursued the question--but historians today think in terms of transition, not a question of ending.
    2. By A.D. 500 the Mediterranean world had split between the Greek East and the Latin West.
      1. The Latin West fell into disarray and only the Christian Church remained to fill the organizational void.
      2. The Roman East evolved into the Byzantine Empire.
      3. Throughout the Mediterranean there was a merging of paganism, Judaism, and Christianity--as seen in the works of writers such as Augustine of Hippo and Eusebius of Caesaraea.


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