How did the Romans keep law and order in the countries they conquered?

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At the height of its powers the Roman Empire as well as the Roman Republic were in possession of a great deal of territory that stretched from places such as Britain in the west and Egypt in the east. This territory was often inhabited by a wide variety of different...

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At the height of its powers the Roman Empire as well as the Roman Republic were in possession of a great deal of territory that stretched from places such as Britain in the west and Egypt in the east. This territory was often inhabited by a wide variety of different peoples who more often than not had different cultures. Therefore the maintenance of Roman law was an ever present concern for those at the head of the Roman governmental structure. In both the empire and the republic, there were two main ways in which the wide expanse of Roman territory was kept under Roman rule.

The first way that this was accomplished was through the subdivision of territory. No one man could effectively govern the entirety of the Roman territory. Therefore all of the territory that was under the control of the Romans was divided into provinces. Each province had a managing governor who would ensure that day to day activities ran smoothly and that law and order were maintained. These governors were drawn from the political upper classes. Therefore they had a deep and direct connection to the ruling classes of Rome and therefore a stake in the continuation of the status-quo.

The second main way in which order was maintained was through the strategic use of citizenship. As the area under Roman rule expanded so did its population. This population was either on the inside, citizens, or on the outside, non-citizens. Therefore as the empire or republic expanded those in control expanded who was a citizen. As more people and people of different cultures became citizens and received the benefits of being a Roman citizen they became more invested in ensuring that no trouble was caused, for now they too were part of the system—they too were now on the inside.

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