Final Draft Roman Empire Essay # 1

Final Draft Roman Empire Essay # 1 - 1 JC Stiassni History...

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JC Stiassni History of the Roman Empire A.D. 138-400 Essay Group B Dr Sophie Lunn-Rockliffe And Dr Micaela Langellotti Candidate number: N30732 Word Count: 2,386 Pure, Fool’s or Debased Gold: Roman Empire’s Golden Age Known by historian Edward Gibbon as a Golden Age, 2nd Century A.D. Roman Empire was characterized by long periods of relative peace and stability 1 . Rome also maintained enormous networks of trade and commerce covering all of the Mediterranean, the Nile region, Syria, most of Western Europe and England 2 . However, not all was prefect in this golden realm. Government leaders and wealthy Romans felt no need to adapt to domestic and foreign events, and innovation, intellectual debate languished 3 . Also, Rome transitioned from maintaining peace through diplomatic resolve of provincial issues, to forceful and violent quelling of discontent. This policy shift assured short-term peace and prosperity, but sowed seeds for long-term deterioration of the Roman Empire. Thus we are left to ponder the following question: Was this Second Century truly a golden age, or something else entirely? I will argue the beginning of the Second Century was a time when Roman security remained largely unchallenged, and this dominance shifted as domestic and foreign policies changed toward the later half of the period. I will examine the policies of Emperors Hadrian, Antoninus, and Lucius and Marcus Aurelius (co-emperors), and show, while Hadrian favored greater cooperation between Rome and its provinces and sought to maintain not expand the empire, the other 1 Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (New York Penguin Books, 2000) 9. 2 Mary Boatwright, Hadrian and the Cities of the Roman Empire (Princeton University Pres, 2000) 3. 3 Edward Yoder, “A Second Century Scholar” The Classical Journal 33 (Feb. 1938) 281. 1
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Emperors did not continue this path of diplomacy and moderation. Thus the beginning of this period was known for peace between Rome and it provinces and an attempt to balance Rome's domestic and foreign matters, while the later saw greater antagonism towards non-Romans and increased conflicts throughout its far-flung Empire. By the Second Century A.D., Rome had won a large number of territories, and over sixty million lived within the boundaries of its Empire 4 . This was an impressive feat, but many of its leaders were unsure of how this vast array of provinces could be governed and trading routes maintained 5 . When Hadrian, Publius Adelius Hardianus , became Emperor in A.D. 117, issues of severe disunity and disorganization were manifest throughout the Empire. For example, Emperor Trajan led his final military campaign along the eastern edge of the Roman Empire, and gained previously unconquered territory 6 . However, the campaign is also known for large-scale revolts, unrest from Assyrians, Parthians, and Armenians 7 . When Trajan passed away, Hadrian was thrust into service, but did not hesitate to stabilize the Empire. He made trips to
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This note was uploaded on 05/25/2011 for the course HISTORY 110 taught by Professor Ericcline during the Spring '11 term at GWU.

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Final Draft Roman Empire Essay # 1 - 1 JC Stiassni History...

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