Magazine article The Spectator

Ancient & Modern

Magazine article The Spectator

Ancient & Modern

Article excerpt

THE BBC television series I, Caesar, detailing the careers of six of Rome's most notable emperors, has just ended. Is 'empire' what the final consequence of economic and monetary union (EMU) will be? For as Chancellor Kohl never ceases to point out, EMU cannot possible work unless a single, central policy, imposed on all national interests, drives it. So Rome imposed its interests on a huge area from Britain to Syria, from the Rhine-Danube to Egypt.

The purpose of the Roman empire was to maintain Rome - its emperor, army, city and auctoritas - in the fashion to which it had become accustomed. The provinces did this by paying taxes and providing bases and men for Rome's legions. Responsibility here was devolved downwards from the emperor (who set Rome's financial and military targets) to his provincial governors, and they in turn devolved it on to the province's regions.

A region's local, wealthy elite was the key here. Rome's first move in creating a new province was always to offer them plum administrative jobs, hand in hand with an impressive, sustained programme of urban rebuilding on a Roman scale (forums, temples, baths, theatres, aqueducts and so on). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.