ROMANS AND BARBARIANS
THE ROMAN WORLD
THOUGHTS of Imperial Rome conjure up to the mind's eye a picture of war and conquest, of legions marching under the victorious eagle to the subjugation of distant peoples. Yet the real fact which characterizes the first two centuries of the Christian era is the deep peace which descended upon the whole Mediterranean area, and enveloped the greater part of Central and Western Europe. By the time of Augustus the Empire had expanded practically to its fullest extent,1 and the work of his successors was mainly a work of consolidation. Within the great fortified barriers of Rhine, Danube, and Euphrates, a network of roads covered the vast territories of Rome, from the borders of Scotland to the Arabian deserts. Along these roads passed an ever-increasing traffic, not only of troops and officials, but of traders, merchandise, and even tourists. An interchange of goods between the various provinces rapidly developed, which soon reached a scale unprecedented in previous history, and not repeated until a few centuries ago. Metals mined in the uplands of Western Europe, hides, fleeces, and live-stock from the pastoral districts of Britain, Spain, and the shores of the Black Sea, wine and oil from Provence and Aquitaine, timber, pitch, and wax from South Russia and northern Anatolia, dried fruits from Syria, marble from the Aegean coasts, and--most important of all-- grain from the corn-growing districts of North Africa, Egypt, and the Danube valley for the needs of the great cities; all these commodities, under the influence of a highly organized system of transport and marketing, moved freely from one corner of the Empire to the other.
The manufacture of articles for wholesale export received also a great stimulus, and flourishing industries developed in almost____________________