Under the firm hand of Augustus (27 b.c.e.-14 c.e.) the Mediter­ranean world was submitted to a comprehensive administrative reform that led to stability, security, and peace (the famous pax romana). Army and Senate were brought under control. Frontiers were rectified and made easily defensible. The existing seaways and an extended network of paved roads over land effectively bound the empire together.

The early emperors were intent on consolidating the huge territory entrusted to them, with its western extensions and eastern conquests, comprising over thirty-five provinces, a territory the size of the United States. They were also intent on maintaining and developing the system of government they had inherited. There was no civil war after 69 although frontier provinces (e.g., Syria-Palestine) were often on the brink of open revolt. Second-century emperors were generally good rulers.

The cumulative effect of centuries of Roman hegemony left its mark on Western history and amounted to a considerable advance in the domains of culture and civilization. In particular, Romans bequeathed to generations to come eminent achievements as adminis­trators, jurists, and engineers.
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