Pax Romana (Roman Peace)
The Pax Romana (Roman Peace) was a period of relative peace, tranquility, stability and minimal expansion by military forces across the Roman Empire throughout the Mediterranean world. It lasted for over 200 years, beginning with the reign of Caesar Augustus (27 BCE – 14 CE). He was praised for inaugurating this so called world peace. It was aimed at securing law, order, and security within the empire.
Caesar Augustus was the first and greatest Roman Emperor (31 B.C. – A.D. 14). Having replaced the republic with an imperial form of government, he expanded the empire to include the entire Mediterranean world and ushered in the golden age of Roman literature and architecture. His empire protected and governed individual provinces, permitting each to make and administer its own laws while accepting Roman taxation and military control. However, Augustus faced some trouble making peace an acceptable mode of life for the Romans, who had been at war with one power or another continuously for 200 years prior to this period. The Romans regarded peace not as an absence of war, but the rare situation that existed when all opponents had been beaten down and lost the ability to resist.
His challenge was to persuade Romans that the prosperity they could achieve in the absence of war was better for the Empire than the potential wealth and honor acquired from fighting. 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.
Keener, Craig S. The IVP Bible Background Commentary. New Testament. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993.
Zondervan NASB Study Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1999.
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