We are now ready to enlarge on our picture of universalism, of Rome's reaction to the problem of how to treat non-Romans. The need of a better perspective on the question of reconciling the realities of empire and the ideals of humanitas had prompted the conceptualisation of humanitas Romana in the second century. We have also looked at Cicero's position, but mainly from the point of view of his presentation of universalism within the confines of domestic politics. It is now time to look at what was actually happening to non-Romans in the external sphere, and at what the Romans were doing about it.
The Roman response to the ill-treatment of non-Romans was driven by two ideas. One, as already observed, was maiestas populi Romani minuta. Romans guilty of brutality towards non-Romans were seen to have diminished the majesty of Rome, to have destabilised her delicately balanced hegemony. 1 This notion gave precise legal definition to the moral values underlying humanitas and provided machinery for the protection of those values.
The other concept was a more narrowly focussed version of the same idea. One of the most troublesome threats to the imperial image was posed by the insatiable appetite of Roman officials for other people's property. Exacting money 2 from non-Romans, frequently using brutality on a scale prejudicial to maiestas p. R., stirred the conscience of the nation and inspired laws punishing the culprits and restoring to the despoiled what had been taken from them. These extortion laws, these leges repetundarum, achieved a partial coalescence with maiestas and provided Rome with a blueprint for international morality. The system was not an