Describe the strengths of the Roman Empire at its height during the time of the Pax Romana. What benefits might Roman citizens have experienced between roughly 0 and 180 C.E.?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The Pax Romana was a period of time in Roman Empire history where the Romans experienced relative peace, economic prosperity, and cultural advancements. It took place from 27 B.C.E., when Augustus declared himself Emperor of Rome, until the death of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius in 180 C.E. Though conquests still occurred during the Pax Romana, Roman Emperors brought stability to most of the Mediterranean World within their empire.

There are many benefits for the Romans in this period of time. One major benefit was an economic upturn caused by the trade that occurred during this period. Rome was connected to the Silk Roads on its Western edge, and during a period of stability, Romans enjoyed trade with merchants that carried goods from as far away as the Han capital at Chang'an in China. Romans traded things like metals, olives and olive oil, wine, and wool in exchange for exotic luxury goods like spices, animal skins, and artistic Asian products (art, jewels, jewelry, pottery, etc).

Another benefit Romans experienced during the Pax Romana was cultural. In this period, Roman philosophy had significant gains. One example of a Roman philosophy from this period was stoicism, a Hellenistic concept that emphasized inner morality by being strictly disciplined. The Emperor Marcus Aurelius was a stoic, and a rise in stoicism occurred during the Pax Romana. In addition to philosophy were other cultural advances like road building and aqueducts.

Roman engineering was one of the greatest outcomes of the Pax Romana. The Appian Way, a road that connected Rome to the outreaches of its empire, encouraged trade and consolidation. Aqueducts, which brought water to all major Roman cities, were another engineering feat expanded throughout the Pax Romana. I've attached a picture below of an aqueduct; it was an above-ground system of irrigation that brought water from a reservoir to cities in a completely gravity-fed system. The arches built as part of the aqueducts became symbolic of Roman architecture and engineering structure; these Roman arches were also seen on famous buildings like the Roman Coliseum (Colosseum).

During the Pax Romana, we also see the preservation of many Greek and Hellenistic (a combination of Greek, Persian, and Indian cultures that was made popular during Alexander the Great's reign in the 4th century B.C.E.) cultures and achievements, such as the works of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, the preservation of some Greek dramas and the polytheistic pantheon of gods (Christianity did not become the official religion of Rome until Emperor Constantine declared it so in the early 4th century C.E., although small pockets of Christianity existed by the late Pax Romana), and Hellenistic science and math.

For more visuals, I've attached a few photos of the Appian Way, the Coliseum, and the Roman Empire at the height of the Pax Romana.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Image (1 of 4)
Image (2 of 4)
Image (3 of 4)
Image (4 of 4)
Approved by eNotes Editorial