The Roman Empire
The people were happy. This is the underlying cause of the astounding length of time and space that the Roman Empire occupied most of the known western land. Great rulers met their downfall when they put their own status in front of the well being of the people they govern. When the citizens are left high and dry and not regarded as important to their society then this is when there is an overthrow of power and a new ruler comes into play. Citizens had a place in politics, they have lots of entertainment, they had the best army in the world to protect them, and Rome was the place to live and would be that way for many years.
Many leaders come and go but it is the great ones that we remember, the ones that make people enjoy life. The emperors that are not approved by the people are the ones that turn a new leaf of evil once they have a military victory. The thrill of so much power gives them the urge to be the best in the world. They move on and conquer other nations and forget about their own people. Julius Caesar cared about his people and wanted to be the “ruler for the people,” rather than the “ruler of the people.” When he gain power of Rome from the hands of Pompey there was no reign of terror, but a policy to restore economic and prosperity to Rome. This period of time in Rome is known today as the golden age of Roman literacy and development. The minds of the people are expanding. Another example of the Roman citizens’ happiness and prosperity comes during the rule of Caesar’s grandson Octavian, better known to history as Augustus.
Once Augustus rises from the new triumvirate as the ruler of the empire, he introduces different types of social reform that appease the people and keep them on his side. Augustus is a classical man and wanted to bring back the ancient moral to the citizens. He reduced the size of the army and gave soldiers land and money. He imports food and gives it away to the people. Augustus transformed Rome from city of bricks to a city of marble by building temples and basilicas to represent his power as well as his love for the city that he takes care of. At this time people could see that society was prospering and times were great due to a great leader.
Shortly after the rule of Augustus the Colosseum is built under the rule of Vespasian and Titus, completed in 80A.D. The colosseum creates entertainment among the Roman citizens, which keeps them occupied for hundreds of years. The events at the colosseum captivate as well as surprise the citizens. They have never before seen anything like this. Everything from foreign beasts fighting criminals to naval battles on the flooded base of the giant structure. The Roman people became obsessed with this social activity that brought the whole city together. In the third century Emperor Caracalla extended Roman citizenship to every free person who lived in the within the empire. This status symbol could allow one to travel to the far reaches of the land without being harmed by foreign persons. These events in Roman history keep the people’s moral high and their patriotism very strong, along with the protection of their superior army.
The Roman army was in charge of keeping the peace in the different nations taken over by Roman emperors. They formed strongholds at the borders of the empire to secure the citizens and keep them safe. Augustus’ was a prime commander-in-chief. His
army consisted of 150,000 soldiers and roughly 130,000 auxiliary officers who were all noncitizens. After serving for twenty-four years they would receive citizenship. This imperial army would only grow in size over the next few centuries. Under Trajan the army had grown to about 400,000 soldiers. The army’s ability to move across the empire made romanizing of the foreign nations easy. The army kept the empire secure from threatening outside nations and also brought the moral of the citizens to a high point. They were safe from invasion and safe to travel to distant parts of the empire with no fear of being killed by foreigners. The nation was united and peaceful.
The key elements that the Roman Emperors used to keep up a thriving society were the attitudes of the citizens and the ability of the army. Rome had the best of both. The people were happy because they lived in an era of peace, prosperity, entertainment, safety, and most important, under fabulous leadership. Meanwhile the army was keeping the borders safe and fighting for the will of the empire. The imperial army of the first few centuries had the will to win and succeed toward perfection. An aggressive army, intelligent emperors, and the smiles on citizens’ faces are enough to keep a society thriving for centuries just as the Roman society did.