Pax Romana (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Latin term meaning “Roman Peace,” the Pax Romana was a period of relative calm throughout the Mediterranean from the reign of Caesar Augustus (27 b.c.e.-14 c.e.) to that of Marcus Aurelius (161-180). Under the competent reign of Augustus, who became ruler of the Greco-Roman world after defeating Cleopatra and Marc Antony’s forces at Actium in 31 b.c.e., the system of imperial administration and trade that made the Pax Romana possible was established. According to many authorities, a true Pax Romana was not established until the death of the Emperor Domitian in 96 c.e. In the words of the great English historian Edward Gibbon, “If a man were called to fix the period in the history of the world during which the condition of the human race was most happy and prosperous, he would . . . name that which elapsed from the death of Domitian to the accession of Commodus” (96-180). While the era was not nearly as utopian as Gibbon suggests, it did create a respite from major warfare that facilitated the spread of Judaism and Christianity as well as the preservation and eventual transmission of classical culture.
(The entire section is 191 words.)
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