Pax Romana (
Latin for "Roman Peace") was a 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.
2 Influence on trade
3 Analogous peaces
3.1 In fiction
5 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 [BC], the
Italian Peninsula after 200 [BC]; the Po Valley
after 190 [BC]; most of the
Iberian Peninsula after 133 [BC]; North
Africa after 100 [BC]; and for ever longer stretches of time in the
The first known record of the term
Pax Romana appears in a writing by
Seneca the Younger
Seneca the Younger in 55 AD. The concept was highly influential,
and the subject of theories and attempts to copy it in subsequent
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,
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 and
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
in the Alps. Nevertheless,
Augustus closed the
Gates of Janus
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 publicised, and in 13 BC was proclaimed when
Augustus and Agrippa jointly returned from pacifying the provinces.
The order to construct the
Ara Pacis was no doubt part of this
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.
After Augustus' death in 14 AD, most of his successors as Roman
emperors continued his politics. The last five emperors of the Pax
Romana were considered the "Five Good Emperors".
Influence on trade
Roman trade in the Mediterranean increased during the Pax Romana.
Romans sailed East to acquire silks, gems, onyx and spices. Romans
benefited from large profits and incomes in the Roman empire were
raised due to trade in the Mediterranean.
Pax Romana of the western world by
Rome was largely
contemporaneous to the
Pax Sinica of the eastern world by Han
China, long-distance travel and trade in Eurasian history was
significantly stimulated during these eras.
See also: 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 Saxony) slowly evolved into the later German state. As
a counter-example, the imperial peace of Alexander the Great's empire
dissolved because the Greek city states maintained their political
identity and more importantly, embryos 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 conquering state."
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 Ages was 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
Isaac Asimov's fictional Galactic Empire and
Foundation series refer
to Pax Trattoria 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 Scheherazade. Reim is a nation based on the Roman Empire.
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.
^ 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.
Augustus states in Res Gestae 13 that he closed the Gates three
times, a fact documented by many other historians (See Gates of
^ Scott Ryberg, Inez (1949). "The Procession of the Ara Pacis".
Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome. 19: 77,79–101.
^ 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.
Ronald Syme had suggested a later date (but
Rome was then at
^ Temin, Peter (2013). The Roman market economy. Princeton: Princeton
University Press. p. 13. ISBN 9780691147680.
^ Goldsworthy, Adrian Keith (2016). Pax Romana : war, peace, and
conquest in the Roman world. New Haven: Yale University Press.
p. 392. ISBN 9780300178821. OCLC 941874968.
^ Plott, John C. (1989). Global History of Philosophy. Delhi: Motilal
Banarsidass. p. 57. ISBN 9788120804562.
^ a b Krech III, Shepard; McNeil, J.R.; Merchant, Carolyn, eds.
(2004). Encyclopedia of world environmental history. New York:
Routledge. p. 135. ISBN 9780415937337.
^ 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.
^ 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.
^ a b c
David Gress (1985). Peace and Survival: West Germany, The
Peace Movement & European Security. Hoover Press.
pp. 96–99. ISBN 978-0-8179-8093-1.
^ Ali Parchami (2009). Hegemonic Peace and Empire: The Pax Romana,
Britannica and Americana. Routledge. p. 31.
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
Wikiquote has quotations related to: Pax Romana
United Nations of Roma Victrix History: Pax Romana
Pax Romana Discussion group
Ancient Rome topics
historiography of the fall
Tribune of the Plebs
Frontiers and fortifications
Decorations and punishments
Conflict of the Orders
Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Younger
Quintus Curtius Rufus
Seneca the Elder
Seneca the Younger
Dionysius of Halicarnassus
Eusebius of Caesaria
Phlegon of Tralles
Lists and other
Cities and towns
Wars and battles
Periods of regional and relative peace