In this Christian scholarly article, we are going to answer the question often asked concerning the early church and the Roman Empire, how fast did the Roman empire grow?
After seeing the growth of the Roman empire, we are also going to touch on the Roman government and also see the meaning of Pax Romana.
It is worthy to note that the Christian Church traces its roots back to the Roman empire, hence some say that the Christian Church was even born in the Roman empire.
This great and powerful Commonwealth was surrounded by England, Persia, Sahara, and northwestern Germany.
Hundreds of tribes lived within the Roman borders, and Rome controlled many nations that had history much longer than theirs.
The city of Rome was the center of the empire, and all the power of the government was in the hands of the emperor.
How fast did Rome grow?
Rome was just seven hundred and fifty years old during the birth of Jesus Christ. It was founded as a small village near the banks of the Tiber River in Western Italy.
Gradually, Rome grew to become a town, then a city, and afterward a small State. And by means of wars and treaties with neighboring states, Rome continued to expand.
In 265 B.C, for hundred years after it was founded, Rome became the head of all the Italian peninsula. And in less than a hundred years, it conquered the islands of Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia, Carthage in North Africa, and much of Spain.
Thereupon it moved Eastward and northward to conquer all the remaining lands around the Mediterranean Sea, all of Gaul to the north, and parts of northern Germany.
As Rome continued to expand, about 63 B.C, Palestine came under the control of the empire and became a province in A.D 6.
The Roman Government.
Rome’s territories operated a form of government known as the republic until 27 B.C. In this form of government, the Roman Senate was very powerful, and no single individual had control over the government.
However, in 27 B.C, after civil wars that lasted for more than a hundred years, Rome was given into the hands of Gaius Octavianus, who was Julius Caesar’s nephew.
In history, Octavianus is known as Caesar Augustus, the first and greatest of all the Roman emperors. With him, the republic ended and the empire began. And he reigned from 27 B.C to A.D 14.
He is the Caesar found in Luke 2:1. “In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled”.
The reign of peace began by Augustus only lasted for about two hundred years. And it was during these two centuries that the Christian Church, which arose from the life and ministry of our Lord, became an empire-wide witness to the gospel.
Pax Romana (Roman Peace)
Pax Romana also known as the Roman peace, really made trading and traveling in the empire very easy.
Thus, it was possible to travel from one end of the empire to another by land, sea, and river.
It also encouraged the development of culture in every way possible, and this led to great achievements in literature, architecture, and sculpture.
The study of law was greatly developed, and the economy made it possible for people to become very prosperous throughout the empire.
The Roman army was a symbol of Roman power, Roman law, and Roman peace. And not in the least, there was a common language – Greek – in which one could communicate in the larger part of the empire.