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The ''Pax Romana'' (
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an appa ...

Latin
for "Roman Peace") is a roughly 200-year-long timespan of
Roman history The history of Rome includes the history of the Rome, city of Rome as well as the Ancient Rome, civilisation of ancient Rome. Roman history has been influential on the modern world, especially in the history of the Catholic Church, and Roman law ...
which is identified as a period and
golden age#REDIRECT Golden Age The term Golden Age comes from Greek mythology, particularly the ''Works and Days'' of Hesiod, and is part of the description of temporal decline of the state of peoples through five Ages of Man, Ages, Gold being the first a ...

golden age
of increased as well as sustained Roman imperialism, order, prosperous stability, hegemonial power and expansion, despite a number of revolts,
wars War is an intense armed conflict between states, government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In the case of its broad associative definition, g ...
and continuing competition with Parthia. It is traditionally dated as commencing from the accession of
Caesar Augustus Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles througho ...

Caesar Augustus
, founder of the
Roman principate The Principate is the name sometimes given to the first period of the Roman Empire from the beginning of the reign of Augustus Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor, reigning from 27 BC until ...
, in 27 BC and concluding in 180 AD with the death of
Marcus Aurelius Marcus Aurelius Antoninus ( ; 26 April 121 – 17 March 180) was a Roman emperor from 161 to 180 and a Stoicism, Stoic philosopher. He was the last of the rulers known as the Five Good Emperors (a term coined some 13 centuries later by Nicc ...

Marcus Aurelius
, the last of the "
Five Good Emperors 5 is a number, numeral, and glyph. 5, five or number 5 may also refer to: * AD 5, the fifth year of the AD era * 5 BC, the fifth year before the AD era Literature * ''5'' (visual novel), a 2008 visual novel by Ram * ''5'' (comics), an awa ...
". Since it was inaugurated by Augustus with the end of the
Final War of the Roman Republic The War of Actium (32–30 BC) was the last civil war A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war between organized groups within the same Sovereign state, state (or country). The aim of one side may be to take ...
, it is sometimes called the Pax Augusta. During this period of approximately two centuries, the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
achieved its greatest territorial extent and its population reached a maximum of up to 70 million people. According to
Cassius Dio Lucius Cassius Dio (; ) or Dio Cassius ( ''Dion Kassios'')), Cassius Lucius Dio or Cassius Claudius Dio; alleged to have the ' (nickname) Cocceianus was a Roman statesman and historian of Greek and Roman origin. He published 80 volumes of the ...
, the dictatorial reign of
Commodus Commodus (; 31 August 161 – 31 December 192) was a Roman emperor serving jointly with his father Marcus Aurelius from 176 until his father's death in 180, and solely until 192. His reign is commonly thought of as marking the end of a golden pe ...

Commodus
, later followed by the
Year of the Five Emperors The Year of the Five Emperors was 193 AD, in which five men claimed the title of Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different ...

Year of the Five Emperors
and the
crisis of the third century The Crisis of the Third Century, also known as Military Anarchy or the Imperial Crisis (235–284 AD), was a period in which the Roman Empire nearly collapsed. It ended due to the military victories of Aurelian and with the ascension of Dioclet ...
, marked the descent "from a kingdom of gold to one of iron and rust".


Overview

The Pax Romana is said to have been a "
miracle A miracle is a supernatural event that seems inexplicable by physical laws, natural or scientific laws. In various religions, a phenomenon that is characterized as miraculous is often attributed to the actions of a supernatural being, (especiall ...

miracle
" because prior to it there had never been peace for so many years in a given period of history. However,
Walter Goffart Walter Goffart (born February 22, 1934) is an American historian who specializes in Late Antiquity and the European Middle Ages. He taught for many years in the History Department and Centre for Medieval Studies, Toronto, Centre for Medieval Studie ...
wrote: "The volume of the ''Cambridge Ancient History'' for the years AD 70–192 is called 'The Imperial Peace', but peace is not what one finds in its pages". Arthur M. Eckstein writes that the period must be seen in contrast to the much more frequent warfare in the
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the classical Roman civilization, run through public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an indiv ...
in the 4th and 3rd centuries BC. Eckstein also notes that the incipient Pax Romana appeared during the Republic, and that its temporal span varied with geographical region as well: "Although the standard textbook dates for the Pax Romana, the famous “Roman Peace” in the
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa ...
, are 31 BC to AD 250, the fact is that the Roman Peace was emerging in large regions of the Mediterranean at a much earlier date:
Sicily (man) it, Siciliana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = Ethnicity , demographics1_footnotes = , demographi ...

Sicily
after 210 the
Italian Peninsula The Italian Peninsula (Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Reg ...
after 200 the
Po Valley The Po Valley, Po Plain, Plain of the Po, or Padan Plain ( it, Pianura Padana , or ''Val Padana'') is a major geographical feature of Northern Italy Northern Italy ( it, Italia settentrionale, it, Nord Italia, label=none or just it, Nord, lab ...
after 190 most of the
Iberian Peninsula The Iberian Peninsula , ** * Aragonese language, Aragonese and Occitan language, Occitan: ''Peninsula Iberica'' ** ** * french: Péninsule Ibérique * mwl, Península Eibérica * eu, Iberiar penintsula also known as Iberia, is a peni ...

Iberian Peninsula
after 133
North Africa North Africa or Northern Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Mauritania in th ...

North Africa
after 100 and for ever longer stretches of time in the
Greek East Greek East and Latin West are terms used to distinguish between the two parts of the Greco-Roman world Roman Theatre of Mérida, Spain. The term "Greco-Roman world" (also "Greco-Roman culture" or ; spelled Graeco-Roman in the Commonwealth), ...
." The first known record of the term ''Pax Romana'' appears in a writing by
Seneca the Younger Lucius Annaeus Seneca the Younger (; AD65), usually known as Seneca, was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', ...
in AD 55. The concept was highly influential, and the subject of theories and attempts to copy it in subsequent ages.
Arnaldo Momigliano Arnaldo Dante Momigliano (5 September 1908 – 1 September 1987) was an Italian historian known for his work in historiography, characterised by Donald Kagan as "the world's leading student of the writing of history in the ancient world". Biograph ...
noted that "''Pax Romana'' is a simple formula for
propaganda Propaganda is communication that is primarily used to Social influence, influence an audience and further an Political agenda, agenda, which may not be Objectivity (journalism), objective and may be selectively presenting facts to encourage a pa ...
, but a difficult subject for research." The Pax Romana began when Octavian (Augustus) defeated
Mark Antony Marcus Antonius (14 January 1 August 30 BC), commonly known in English as Mark Antony, was a Ancient Rome, Roman politician and general who played a critical role in the Crisis of the Roman Republic, transformation of the Roman Republic f ...
and
Cleopatra Cleopatra VII Philopator ( grc-gre, Κλεοπάτρα Φιλοπάτωρ}; 69 BC10 August 30 BC) was queen of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Ancient Egypt, Egypt from 51 to 30 BC, and its last active ruler.She was also a diplomat, Ancient ...

Cleopatra
in the
Battle of Actium The Battle of Actium was a naval battle in the , fought between the fleet of and the combined forces of and Queen of . It took place on 2 September 31 BC in the near the promontory of in . Octavian's victory enabled him to consolidate his p ...
on 2 September 31 BC and became Roman emperor. He became
princeps Princeps (plural: principes) is a Latin word meaning "first in time or order; the first, foremost, chief, the most eminent, distinguished, or noble; the first man, first person". As a title, "princeps" originated in the Roman Republic wherein the le ...
, or ''first citizen''. Lacking a good precedent of successful one-man rule, Augustus created a
junta Junta may refer to: Government and military * Junta (governing body), referring to various military governments and other governing bodies ** Military junta, one form of junta * Junta (Habsburg), an administrative body that ruled in personal union ...
of the greatest military magnates and stood as the front man. By binding together these leading magnates in a coalition, he eliminated the prospect of
civil war A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war between organized groups within the same Sovereign state, state (or country). The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independen ...
. The Pax Romana was not immediate, despite the end of the civil wars, because fighting continued in
Hispania Hispania ( ; ) was the Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter in the New Testame ...

Hispania
and in the
Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest and most extensive mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt ...

Alps
. Nevertheless, Augustus closed the Gates of Janus (a ceremony indicating that Rome was at peace) three times, first in 29 BC and again in 25 BC. The third closure is undocumented, but Inez Scott Ryberg (1949) and Gaius Stern (2006) have persuasively dated the third closure to 13 BC with the commissioning of the
Ara Pacis The Ara Pacis Augustae (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to ...

Ara Pacis
. At the time of the
Ludi SaecularesThe Saecular Games ( la, Ludi ''Ludi'' (Latin plural) were public games held for the benefit and entertainment of the SPQR, Roman people (''populus Romanus''). ''Ludi'' were held in conjunction with, or sometimes as the major feature of, Religion i ...
in 17 BC the Concept of Peace was publicized, and in 13 BC was proclaimed when Augustus and
AgrippaAgrippa may refer to: People * Agrippa (mythology), semi-mythological king of Alba Longa * Agrippa (astronomer), Greek astronomer from the late 1st century * Agrippa the Skeptic, Skeptic philosopher at the end of the 1st century * Agrippa Meneniu ...
jointly returned from pacifying the provinces. The order to construct the Ara Pacis was no doubt part of this announcement. Augustus faced a problem making peace an acceptable mode of life for the
Romans Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, ...
, who had been at war with one power or another continuously for 200 years. Romans regarded peace, not as an absence of war, but the rare situation which existed when all opponents had been beaten down and lost the ability to resist. Augustus' challenge was to persuade Romans that the prosperity they could achieve in the absence of warfare was better for the Empire than the potential wealth and honor acquired when fighting a risky war. Augustus succeeded by means of skillful propaganda. Subsequent emperors followed his lead, sometimes producing lavish ceremonies to close the Gates of Janus, issuing coins with Pax on the reverse, and patronizing literature extolling the benefits of the Pax Romana. After Augustus' death in AD 14, most of his successors as Roman emperors continued his politics. The last five emperors of the Pax Romana are known as the "
Five Good Emperors 5 is a number, numeral, and glyph. 5, five or number 5 may also refer to: * AD 5, the fifth year of the AD era * 5 BC, the fifth year before the AD era Literature * ''5'' (visual novel), a 2008 visual novel by Ram * ''5'' (comics), an awa ...
".


Influence on trade

Roman trade in the Mediterranean increased during the Pax Romana. Romans sailed East to acquire silks, gems, onyx and spices. Romans benefited from large profits and incomes in the Roman empire were raised due to trade in the Mediterranean. As the Pax Romana of the western world by Rome was largely contemporaneous to the
Pax Sinica ''Pax Sinica'' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Ro ...
of the eastern world by
Han China The Han dynasty () was the second imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu Bang and ruled by the House of Liu The Han dynasty () was the second imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), ...

Han China
, long-distance travel and trade in Eurasian history was significantly stimulated during these eras.


Analogous peaces

The prominence of the concept of the ''Pax Romana'' led to historians coining variants of the term to describe other systems of relative peace that have been established, attempted, or argued to have existed. Some variants include: More generically, the concept has been referred to as ''pax imperia'', (sometimes spelled as ''pax imperium'') meaning ''imperial peace'', or—less literally—''hegemonic peace''.
Raymond Aron Raymond Claude Ferdinand Aron (; 14 March 1905 – 17 October 1983) was a French philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term ''philosopher'' comes from the grc, φιλόσοφος, , translit=philosophos, meaning ' ...
notes that imperial peace—peace achieved through
hegemony Hegemony (, , ) is the political, economic, and military predominance of one state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (new ...
—sometimes, but not always—can become civil peace. As an example, the
German Empire The German Empire or the Imperial State of Germany,, officially '.Herbert Tuttle Herbert Tuttle (1846–1894) was an American historian. Biography Herbert Tuttle was born in Bennington, Vermont Bennington is a New England town, town ...
's imperial peace of 1871 (over its internal components like
Saxony Saxony (german: Sachsen ; Upper Saxon Upper Saxon (german: Obersächsisch, ; ) is an East Central German East Central German (german: Ostmitteldeutsch) is the eastern, non-Franconian languages, Franconian Central German language, part o ...

Saxony
) slowly evolved into the later German state. As a counter-example, the imperial peace of
Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king (''basileus ''Basileus'' ( el, βασιλεύς) is a Greek term and title A title ...

Alexander the Great
's empire dissolved because the Greek
city states A city-state is an independent sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French ''souverain'', which is ultimately derived from the Latin word ''superānus'' ...
maintained their political identity and more importantly, embryos of their own armed forces.
Aron Aron may refer to: Characters * Aron (comics), from the Marvel Universe comic ''Aron! HyperSpace Boy!'' * Aron (Pokémon), in the ''Pokémon'' franchise * Aron Trask, from John Steinbeck's novel ''East of Eden'' * Áron or Aaron, the brother of M ...
notes that during the Pax Romana, the Jewish war was a reminder that the overlapping of the imperial institutions over the local ones did not erase them and the overlap was a source of tension and flare-ups. Aron summarizes that, "In other words, ''imperial peace'' becomes civil peace insofar as the memory of the previously independent political units are effaced, insofar as individuals within a pacified zone feel themselves less united to the traditional or local community and more to the conquering state." The concept of Pax Romana was highly influential, and attempts to imitate it occurred in the
Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

Byzantine Empire
, and in the Christian West, where it morphed into the
Peace and Truce of God The Peace and Truce of God ( lat, Pax et treuga Dei) was a movement in the Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the in ...
(''pax Dei'' and ''treuga Dei''). A theoretician of the imperial peace during the Middle Ages was
Dante Aligheri Dante Alighieri (), probably baptized Durante di Alighiero degli Alighieri and often referred to simply as Dante (, also ; – 1321), was an Italian poet, writer and philosopher. His ''Divine Comedy The ''Divine Comedy'' ( it, Divina ...
. Dante's works on the topic were analyzed at the beginning of the 20th century by
William Mitchell Ramsay Sir William Mitchell Ramsay, FBAFBA may refer to: * Federation of British Artists * Federal Bar Association * Fellow of the British Academy * Filsports Basketball Association * First Baptist Academy (Houston, Texas), United States * First Bapti ...
in the book ''The Imperial Peace; An Ideal in European History'' (1913).


In fiction

*
Isaac Asimov Isaac Asimov (; 1920 – April 6, 1992) was an American writer and professor of biochemistry at Boston University. During his lifetime, Asimov was considered one of the "Big Three" science fiction writers, along with Robert A. Heinlein and A ...
's fictional ''
Galactic Empire Galactic empires are a common trope used in science fantasy Science fantasy is a mixed genre within the umbrella of speculative fiction which simultaneously draws upon or combines trope (literature), tropes and elements from both science fi ...
'' and ''
Foundation Foundation may refer to: * Foundation (nonprofit), a type of charitable organization ** Foundation (United States law), a type of charitable organization in the U.S. ** Private foundation, a charitable organization that, while serving a good cause ...
'' series refer to ''Pax Trantoria'' and ''Pax Imperium''. *''
Pax Soprana "Pax Soprana" is the sixth episode of the HBO Home Box Office (HBO) is an American pay television Pay television also known as subscription television, premium television or, when referring to an individual service, a premium channel, refers ...
'' is the sixth episode of the
HBO Home Box Office (HBO) is an American pay television Pay television also known as subscription television, premium television or, when referring to an individual service, a premium channel, refers to subscription-based television Tel ...
original series ''
The Sopranos ''The Sopranos'' is an American crime drama television series created by David Chase. The story revolves around Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini), a New Jersey-based American Mafia, Italian-American mobster, portraying the difficulties that he f ...
''. *In '' Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic'', ''Reim's Peace'' is the Reim Empire's version of Pax Romana, established about 200 years prior to the series by Empress Scheherazade. Reim is a nation based on the Roman Empire. *In the ''
Street Fighter #REDIRECT Street Fighter , commonly abbreviated as ''SF'' or スト (''Suto''), is a Japanese fighting video game franchise developed and published by Capcom is a Japanese video game developer and publisher. It has created a number of List ...
'' movie, antagonist
M. Bison M. Bison, also known as Dictator (for international tournaments), is a video game character created by Capcom is a Japanese video game developer and publisher. It has created a number of List of best-selling video game franchises, multi-mil ...
's ultimate goal is to unite the world "under the grip of ''Pax Bisonica''". *In '' Fallout: New Vegas'', Caesar aims to use his Roman-style army to create a new ''Pax Romana'' across the Mojave Wasteland. *First episode of season 4 of ''
Gotham Gotham may refer to: Places United Kingdom * Gotham, Dorset, a hamlet near Verwood, Dorset, England * Gotham, Nottinghamshire, England United States * New York City; see Nicknames of New York City * Gotham, Wisconsin * Gotham Comedy Club, a ven ...
'' is known as " Pax Penguina".


See also

*
Comparative studies of the Roman and Han empires Comparisons between the Roman and Han empires involve the comparative study of the roughly contemporaneous Roman Empire and the Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC ...
: ''
Pax Sinica ''Pax Sinica'' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Ro ...
'' *
Mos maiorum The ''mos maiorum'' (; "ancestral custom" or "way of the ancestors," plural ''mores'', cf. English "mores"; ''maiorum'' is the Genitive case, genitive plural of "greater" or "elder") is the unwritten code from which the Ancient Rome, ancient Roma ...
*
Imperialism Imperialism is a policy or ideology of extending rule over peoples and other countries, for extending political and economic access, power and control, often through employing hard power Hard power is the use of military and economics, economi ...

Imperialism
*
Succession of the Roman Empire The continuation, succession and revival of the Roman Empire is a running theme of the history of Europe and the Mediterranean region. It reflects the lasting memories of power and prestige associated with the Roman Empire itself. Several polit ...


References


Further reading

* Burton, Paul. 2011. "Pax Romana/Pax Americana: Perceptions of Rome in American Political Culture, 2000–2010." ''International Journal of Classical Tradition'' 18.1:66–104. * Cornwell, Hannah. 2017. ''Pax and the Politics of Peace: Republic to Principate.'' Oxford Classical Monographs. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press. * Galinsky, Karl. 2012. ''Augustus: Introduction to the Life of an Emperor.'' Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press. * Goldsworthy, Adrian. 2016. ''Pax Romana: War, Peace and Conquest in the Roman World.'' New Haven: Yale University Press. * Hardwick, Lorna. 2000. “Concepts of Peace.” In ''Experiencing Rome: Culture, Identity and Power in the Roman Empire'', Edited by Janet Huskinson, 335–368. London: Routledge. * Lopez, Gennaro. 2002. “Pax Romana/Pax Augusta.” ''Invigilata Lucernis'' 24: 97–110. * Stern, Gaius. 2015. “The New Cult of Pax Augusta 13 BC–AD 14.” ''Acta Antiqua Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae'' 55.1–4: 1–16. * Yannakopulos, Nikos. 2003. “Preserving the Pax Romana: The Peace Functionaries in Roman East.” ''Mediterraneo Antico'' 6.2: 825–905.


External links


United Nations of Roma Victrix History: Pax Romana

Pax Romana Discussion group
{{Paxes
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...
Foreign relations of ancient Rome History of the Roman Empire 1st century BC in international relations 1st century in international relations 2nd century in international relations Augustus 1st century BC in the Roman Empire 1st century in the Roman Empire 2nd century in the Roman Empire Latin political words and phrases Ancient international relations