The PAX ROMANA or ‘Roman Peace,’ was the long period of peace and stability within the Roman Empire following the devastating civil wars of the late Roman Republic. After Augustus emerged victorious, he instigated cultural initiatives that would define the new Roman Empire. These included architectural, literary, and artistic programs throughout Italy and the provinces. Rome became the undeniable economic, political, and cultural capital of the Western world.
Augustus symbolically closed the doors of the Temple of Janus in Rome, meaning that Roman legions were no longer actively on campaign. The Roman people were now able to turn their attention to peaceful pursuits. An unprecedented period of prosperity followed. Countless temples and monuments were erected in marble and bronze. Aqueducts, roads and baths were constructed, as were libraries and theaters. The population of the Empire, which included most of Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, swelled to nearly 70 million. Over a million lived in Rome itself. Several generations lived in peace and prosperity. Of course many people who had been conquered by the Romans remained subjugated. Uprisings and revolts continued in the provinces. Nonetheless for those that accepted Roman rule, life was good. Roman industries were in full production. Trade brought items from all over the empire to market. Blown glass became commonplace in Roman homes. Terra Sigillata pottery was in use from Britain to Arabia. Roman coinage circulated in an area larger than today’s Euro Zone. Romans in cities all over the Empire enjoyed wine, baths, theater, literature, and countless other entertainments.
The exhibition, PAX ROMANA, focuses on the prosperity of the typical citizen of the Roman Empire during the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. On display are objects of daily life, including, glass, pottery, coins, keys, dice, storage vessels, and tools. More important objects include marble statuary, painting, and mosaics that adorned the villas of the wealthy. Personal items include perfume bottles, brooches, inscriptions, miniature statuary, and gold jewelry.