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Aftermath of Romans Conquering (furyon/ Adobe Stock)

The Roman Empire’s Pragmatic Puzzle Of Provinces

The popular conception of the Romans, mainly fostered by movies and television, extends to their all-conquering dominance, their armies, gladiators, blood and gore, sex and violence, mad emperors, everything that titillates the imagination in fact, without any glimpse of the more sober and down to earth qualities that the Romans possessed, their pragmatism, their administrative flair, their law making, their readiness to recognize and adopt the better ideas and methods of other people, and their ability to adapt their governmental processes as circumstances changed. These talents enabled the Romans to govern other peoples, not according to rigidly applied unchanging principles, but on a flexible basis, if possible, taking into account the varied customs of the tribes and states that formed the Empire.

Mosaic of Romulus and Remus, founders of Rome. Vittorio Emanuele Gallery (Luciano Mortula-LGM/ Adobe Stock)

Mosaic of Romulus and Remus, founders of Rome. Vittorio Emanuele Gallery (Luciano Mortula-LGM/ Adobe Stock)

Prelude to the Empire

The Empire developed over a very long period, with its roots in the distant Roman past. From rule of the kings of Rome and throughout the Republic during the eighth to the first centuries BC the Romans steadily developed and modified the methods and techniques of administering the territories that came under their rule. From the earliest times the Romans had to deal with their immediate neighbors, fighting them if necessary, though Romans never admitted to aggression on their own part, asserting that all their wars were fully justified, and putting the blame on their adversaries. Their early wars were with nearby Italian cities or tribes, and though the Romans suffered defeats, they doggedly kept on fighting until they won, in the process killing many people, enslaving others, and usually occupying the enemy’s lands.


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