Orbis Terrarum and Orbis Romanus
Imperialism possesses its own logic and requires a particular geography. It divides the peoples of the world: some are conquerors; all others are already or yet to be conquered. Neither Roman nor Gaul is likely soon to have forgotten the campaigns of Caesar. A substantial difference in legal rank and a vast emotive gulf will have separated them; nor will Roman attempts to collapse the former necessarily have had any effect on the latter. The integration of the empire presupposed a different geography, a different division of the world.
Yet imperialism would seem essential to the Roman self-image and to Roman political life. It was through victory in war that Caesar had established his preeminence, and it was through warfare once again that Augustus had staked his own claim to charismatic appeal. If success in warfare had remained essential to legitimate the candidacy of would-be emperors, neither Roman nor provincial would have been likely to recognize his stake in their shared community. After all, victories had to come at someone's expense. On an emotive level, the celebration of recent victories could have stirred up bitterness among the subject populations of the provinces; on an intellectual and ideological level, the rhetoric and iconography of such celebrations presumed and must have partially articulated a vision of the geography of the empire and the world. So long as emperors fought wars to add territory and peoples to the empire, they implicitly recognized a system of status distinctions that situated noncitizen residents somewhere between citizens and barbarians. If some provincials had earned seats in the Curia, many were regarded with scorn and condescension little different from that heaped on those outside the empire.
The theology of victory that developed under Augustus issued in a rather different outcome. The incarnation of Augustan victoriousness as Augustan