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Pax Romana
Pax Romana is the term used to refer to the long period of peace. This was the peak of the
Roman empire. Under Augustus's rule, this time period saw Rome with influence over 3 million
square miles and nearly 80 million people. During this time, the main form of livelihood was
agriculture. 90% of the Roman population were farmers. Many traded for food or rare materials
for the rich. The road uniting the empire made it extremely easy to trade. People from as far
away as China traded with Rome. One system of money made trade much more universal and
easier to do. This lead to a major increase in the amount of trade. Under the sound rule of
Augustus, the empire was under good control. Viewed as the greatest emperor of Rome,
Augustus built up a civil service that anyone could be a part of. People were happy to have no
war and a steady source of income. They prospered during this period of development.
Despite this period of peace, following Pax Romana was the "third- century crisis", a period
between 235- 284 C.E. The change of rulers led to political, social, and military upheaval.
Economically, the nation took a dive for the worst. Twenty people tried to be Emperor at the
same time. Many were killed or overruled withing months. Many other nations took advantage
of this unrest to attack Roman cities and pillage outlying villages.
The only man who saved Rome was Diocletian. He gained power in 284 C.E. and ruled over
Rome, helping it rebound from the period of chaos. He ruled for over twenty years and ruled
even when bed-ridden. He completely reworked Roman life by setting up maximum prices for
certain goods. He forced people to continue to serve in the jobs they had. He saved the empire
from destruction.
His work was continued by Constantine. Constantine was the first emperor to accept
Christianity. He moved the capital from Rome to Byzantium, soon renamed Constantinople.
More Christian people were accepted and began to live normal lives.