Rome peaked between 27 B.C. and 180 A.D. This time was
called Pax Romana, which means Roman Peace. The government
was able to control all of Rome. It did not matter if the
emperor was weak or incompetent, for the government was
able to hold the empire together under such dictators.
Government officials also received salaries as well as
respect, so those with great ability, though lacking in
wealth, could afford to become an official.
During this time provincial governors lost power and were
less corrupt. Any citizen could appeal to the emperor over
one of the governor's rulings. Spain and Gaul benefited
greatly and built small replicas of Rome. There were no
direct taxes, and the wealthy took so much pride in their
cities that they often gave money to the city's government
so it could build things for the public, such as public
buildings, streets, schools and entertainment.
Roman law also expanded and the concept of "innocent until
proven guilty" was introduced. New laws were passed, and
judges interpreted old ones so they would fit in more than
they had originally. American judges do the same today.
Rome also built a great army. This army guarded Rome from
outside attacks. The army was mostly made up of citizens
who would serve for 20 years. Non-citizens were able to
enlist for 25 years, and at the end of their service, they
were given citizenship.
Since much land was worn out by farming in southern Italy
and Greece trade was encouraged. Roads were built and a
postal service was established. Instead of slaves,
colonus', or tenant farmers, grew crops. It was often
cheaper for a landowner to free a slave and then make him a
colonus, for then the land owner did not have to feed or
clothe the person anymore. There was also trade from China
and India for glass, spices. silk, and other luxuries.
The living conditions during Pax Romana for the majority,
who were poor, were deplorable. The lived in wooden
apartments, which were liable to collapse or catch on fire.
The rich citizen, on the other hand, had two houses and a
Romans science was unremarkable compared to our own. Their
architecture, on the other hand, was quite amazing. The
rich had running water, and there were sewer systems. They
also made use of the arch and the dome.
Roman education was not public, like ours, but private.
Education cost money, as was common in cultures before
modern times. It was divided into an elementary school, a
secondary school, and a college level school. What you
could major in depended on your location.
Though advanced for that point in time, Romans were not
without their barbaric side. Often for entertainment they
would set animals against gladiators or even gladiators
against other gladiators for amusement. The crowd would
decide whether a gladiator should live or die. Romans also
enjoyed plays as the Greeks did, and had playwrights of its
In all, the Roman culture set the basis for many western
concepts, and was the most powerful empire of its time.