PAX ROMANA (
Latin for the "") was the long period of relative
peacefulness and minimal expansion by the Roman military force
experienced by the
Roman Empire after the end of the Final War of the
Roman Republic and before the beginning of the Crisis of the Third
Century . During this time, the Roman empire reached its peak land
mass area and its population grew up to 70 million people. Since it
was established by
Augustus , it is sometimes called PAX AUGUSTA. Its
span was approximately 206 years (27 BC to AD 180), from the time of
Augustus becoming emperor to the death of Emperor
Marcus Aurelius .
* 1 Overview
* 2 Analogous peaces
* 2.1 In fiction
* 3 References
* 4 External links
Fresco of a relaxed seated woman from
Stabiae , 1st century AD
Pax Romana is said to have been a "miracle " because prior to it
there had never been peace for so many centuries in a given period of
Walter Goffart wrote: "The volume of the Cambridge
Ancient History for the years A.D. 70–192 is called 'The Imperial
Peace', but peace is not what one finds in its pages". Arthur M.
Eckstein writes that the period must be seen in contrast to the much
more frequent warfare in the
Roman Republic in the 4th and 3rd
centuries BC. Eckstein also notes that the incipient Pax Romana
appeared during the Republic, and that its temporal span varied with
geographical region as well: "Although the standard textbook dates for
the Pax Romana, the famous “Roman Peace” in the Mediterranean ,
are 31 BC to AD 250, the fact is that the Roman Peace was emerging in
large regions of the Mediterranean at a much earlier date: Sicily
after 210 ; peninsular Italy after 200 ; the
Po Valley after 190 ;
most of Spain after 133 ;
North Africa after 100 ; and for ever longer
stretches of time in the Greek East ."
The first known record of the term
Pax Romana appears in a writing by
Seneca the Younger in 55 AD. The concept was highly influential, and
the subject of theories and attempts to copy it in subsequent ages.
Arnaldo Momigliano noted that "
Pax Romana is a simple formula for
propaganda , but a difficult subject for research ." In fact, the
"Pax Romana" was broken by the
First Jewish–Roman War , the Kitos
War (also in Judea, 115–117), the Bar Kokhba Revolt (also known as
the Third Jewish–Roman War), the
Roman–Parthian War of 58–63
Roman–Parthian War of 58–63 ,
Trajan's Roman–Parthian War of 113, the Dacian Wars , various
battles with Germanic tribes, including the Teutoburg Forest , and
Boudica 's war in Britain in AD 60 or 61.
Pax Romana began when Octavian (Augustus) defeated Mark Antony
Cleopatra in the
Battle of Actium
Battle of Actium on 2 September 31 BC and became
the Roman emperor. He became princeps , or first citizen. Lacking a
good precedent of successful one-man rule,
Augustus created a junta of
the greatest military magnates and stood as the front man. By binding
together these leading magnates in a coalition, he eliminated the
prospect of civil war . The
Pax Romana was not immediate, despite the
end of the civil wars, because fighting continued in
Hispania and in
Alps . Nevertheless,
Augustus closed the
Gates of Janus (a
ceremony indicating that
Rome was at peace) three times, first in 29
BC and again in 25 BC. The third closure is undocumented, but Inez
Scott Ryberg (1949) and Gaius Stern (2006) have persuasively dated the
third closure to 13 BC with the commissioning of the
Ara Pacis . At
the time of the
Ludi Saeculares in 17 BC the concept of Peace was
publicized, and in 13 BC was proclaimed when
Augustus and Agrippa
jointly returned from pacifying the provinces. The order to construct
Ara Pacis was no doubt part of this announcement.
Augustus faced a problem making peace an acceptable mode of life for
the Romans , who had been at war with one power or another
continuously for 200 years. Romans regarded peace not as an absence
of war, but the rare situation which existed when all opponents had
been beaten down and lost the ability to resist. Augustus' challenge
was to persuade Romans that the prosperity they could achieve in the
absence of warfare was better for the Empire than the potential wealth
and honor acquired when fighting a risky war.
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.
Augustus died in 14 AD many other Roman emperors ruled during
this time. The last five emperors of the
Pax Romana were considered
Five Good Emperors ".
List of periods of regional peace
The prominence of the concept of the
Pax Romana led to historians
coining variants of the term to describe other systems of relative
peace that have been established, attempted, or argued to have
existed. Some variants include:
More generically, the concept has been referred to as pax imperia,
(sometimes spelled as pax imperium ) meaning imperial peace,
or—less literally—hegemonic peace.
Raymond Aron notes that
imperial peace—peace achieved through hegemony —sometimes, but not
always—can become civil peace . As an example, the
German Empire 's
imperial peace of 1871 (over its internal components like
slowly evolved into the later German state. As a counter-example, the
imperial peace of
Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great 's empire dissolved because the
Greek city states maintained their political identity and more
importantly, embrios of their own armed forces. Aron notes that during
the Pax Romana, the Jewish war was a reminder that the overlapping of
the imperial institutions over the local ones did not erase them and
the overlap was a source of tension and flare-ups. Aron summarizes
that, "In other words, imperial peace becomes civil peace insofar as
the memory of the previously independent political units are effaced,
insofar as individuals within a pacified zone feel themselves less
united to the traditional or local community and more to the
The concept of
Pax Romana was highly influential, and attempts to
imitate it occurred in the
Byzantine Empire , and in the Christian
West , where it morphed into the
Peace and Truce of God (pax Dei and
treuga Dei). A theoretician of the imperial peace during the Middle
Dante Aligheri . Dante's works on the topic were analyzed at
the beginning of the 20th century by
William Mitchell Ramsay in the
book The Imperial Peace; An Ideal in European History (1913).
Isaac Asimov 's fictional Galactic Empire and Foundation series
refer to Pax Trantorica and Pax Imperium.
Pax Soprana is the sixth episode of the
HBO original series The
* In Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic , Reim's Peace is the Reim
Empire's version of Pax Romana, established about 200 years prior to
the series by Empress Scherazade. Reim is a nation based on the Roman
* In Fallout: New Vegas Caesar aims to use his Roman-style army to
create a new
Pax Romana across the wasteland.
* First episode of season 4 of Gotham is known as "Pax Penguina ".
* ^ A B C "The Pax Romana". www.ushistory.org. Retrieved
* ^ A B C "Pax Romana". Britannica Online Encyclopedia.
Walter Goffart (1989). Rome\'s Fall and After. Hambledon Press.
p. 111. ISBN 978-1-85285-001-2 .
* ^ Arthur M. Eckstein (2011) . "Conceptualizing Roman Imperial
Expansion under the Republic: An Introduction". In Nathan Rosenstein
and Robert Morstein-Marx. A Companion to the Roman Republic. John
Wiley & Sons. p. 574. ISBN 978-1-4443-5720-2 . CS1 maint: Uses editors
parameter (link )
* ^ Ali Parchami (2009). Hegemonic Peace and Empire: The Pax
Romana, Britannica and Americana. Routledge. p. 25. ISBN
* ^ A B Momigliano, Arnaldo (1942). "The Peace of the Ara Pacis"
(PDF). Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes. 5: 228–231.
doi :10.2307/750454 .
JSTOR 750454 .
* ^ Davis, Paul K. (1999). 100 Decisive Battles from Ancient Times
to the Present: The World’s Major Battles and How They Shaped
History. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 63. ISBN 1-5760-7075-1 .
Augustus states in Res Gestae 13 that he closed the Gates three
times, a fact documented by many other historians (See Gates of Janus
* ^ Scott Ryberg, Inez (1949). "The Procession of the Ara Pacis".
Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome. 19: 77,79–101. doi
* ^ A B C Stern, Gaius (2010) . Women, children, and senators on
Ara Pacis Augustae: A study of Augustus\' vision of a new world
order in 13 BCE. ProQuest. ISBN 978-0-549-83411-3 .
* ^ Sir
Ronald Syme had suggested a later date (but
Rome was then
* ^ Tatah Mentan (2010). The State in Africa: An Analysis of
Impacts of Historical Trajectories of Global Capitalist Expansion and
Domination in the Continent. African Books Collective. p. 153. ISBN
* ^ Hyo-Dong Lee (2013). Spirit, Qi, and the Multitude: A
Comparative Theology for the Democracy of Creation. Oxford University
Press. p. 12. ISBN 978-0-8232-5501-6 .
* ^ Stephen Ross (2004). Conrad and Empire. University of Missouri
Press. p. 76. ISBN 978-0-8262-1518-5 .
* ^ A B
Raymond Aron (2003). Peace and War: A Theory of
International Relations. Transaction Publishers. pp. 151–152. ISBN
* ^ A B C
David Gress (1985). Peace and Survival: West Germany, The
Peace Movement & European Security. Hoover Press. pp. 96–99. ISBN
* ^ Ali Parchami (2009). Hegemonic Peace and Empire: The Pax
Romana, Britannica and Americana. Routledge. p. 31. ISBN
James Brown Scott (2002) . Law, the State, and the
International Community. The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd. pp. 223–224.
ISBN 978-1-58477-178-4 .
* ^ "The imperial peace; an ideal in European history". Internet
* United Nations of