Posted: August 29th, 2013
Augustus and Pax Romana
Pax Romana is a Latin word that literally means the Roman Peace. It was a period in the Roman Empire that had relative peace. There was minimal military force expansion and this period lasted for approximately two hundred years. The leader who is attributed to having established this period was Caesar Augustus. Through this period, there was economic growth, art and architectural development and the commerce flourished. Augustus contribution to the Pax Romana period became a foundation to the Western rule in the past and Today.
As earlier identified, Augustus is mostly credited for establishing this period. This period began after he won the Battle of Actium by defeating Marc Anthony. Since he could not succeed using the one-man rule, he formed a junta of which he placed himself as the front man. The junta was formed by joining the two great military magnates. This was a form of eliminating civil war. Even though this did not mark the end of civil wars (there was a civil war in the Alps and Spain) and Pax Romana did not begin immediately, it paved the way for its existence. By closing the Gates of Janus (Roman ceremony marking world peace) thrice, the Period slowly came into being. Through propaganda, he was able to convince the citizens that peace was better and more flourishing than obtaining wealth through dangerous wars (Matz & Lawrence 150).
The above only took place between the 27 B.C and 14 AD, the period, which Augustus ruled. Nevertheless, this strong foundation made this period last for another 160years. Due to its strong foundation, the period successful lasted through the Commodus rule. This is because he misruled despotically and with dispendious excesses. This ruling made the roman politics be unstable in the middle of the Germanic invasions. When Cosmmodus was assassinated, the crisis was resolved, and the peace period continued.
This period was faced by many challenges even by the succeeding rulers. However, most of them followed the actions of Augustus in order to maintain this peace. When a crisis came up they sometimes made lavish ceremonies in order to close the Gates of Janus. In other cases, coins with Pax on the reverse were issued to the citizens as a way of encouraging them to choose peace over war. Literature that advocated the advantages of the Pax Romana were also established. All these enabled this era to last until the fall of the Julio-Claudian and the Nero line.
It is important to note that this period was called the peace period because there were law and civil order thus lesser civil wars and other wars that came due to lack of these concepts. Due to this great foundation, most of the Western laws are formed from the Roman law. The founders of the United States spoke of establishing the Augustan Age when they decided to establish the Office of the president (Matz & Lawrence 216). This meant that they recognized the works done by this emperor, the effectiveness of his concepts during his time and the centuries after.
Caesar Augustus contributions to the Pax Romana were not only effective during his reign, but they were also effective in the succeeding reigns. They are greatly recognized in the modern ruling and thus incorporated in the making of some European laws. Although there are other rulers who played their role in making sure that this period was established for the longest time, he laid down the basics and the concepts. His persistent nature and propaganda were also helpful in making sure that the people got a hold of his concepts, even though they were not effected immediately as expected.
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