Roman Empire’s reach and power was at its zenith during the first century B. C. as it was affirmed by Augustus who formalized the indistinct and imprecise boundaries of the empire. According to some estimates, Roman Empire political domain was extended to an area of 4,200,000 km? during the first half of the first century and it encircled three continents i. e. Asia, Europe and some part of Africa. No super power of the 21st century has ruled or conceived of ruling so vast an area.
No central government can be conjured up for so vast a geographical land with diversity of population, cultures, beliefs and values and socio-economic system. Although America remains the superpower that has reach and political influence like Roman Empire and it indirectly controls the international affairs but it ca not directly controls the sovereign nations of the world. The reach and power of the Roman Empire during the 1st century B. C. was solidified with certain political and administrative tools.
It was done by direct military subjugation of the territory and to control by the central political authority based in Rome or by supporting patron monarchies in strategic important buffer zones. In the 21st century, direct subjugation ort geographical conquest is not possible due to the established international realms but superpowers like America controls other states and countries politically and economically. Roman did not only conquer but also organized the subjugated land politically, administratively and socially. For example, Gaul was organized into four separate political domains to facilitate administration.
Same happened with Spain that was distributed into three provinces. In Palestine, there was tussle between local Jews who ruled the lands for thousands of years and the Roman authorities. Despite this religious and social freedom, they had strict control in every affair of life. Due to lack of political independence, Jews used to enjoy, there was always a lack of trust on both parts. This distrust was further aggravated into hatred by harsh treatment of Jews. But Jews social and governing system was divided into two domains i. e. Pharisees and Sadducees.
First were from middle class and were against foreign rule whereas second were wealthy Jews who prospered under the Roman Empire and was in favor of Rome and its policies. So there always remained a power politics in Palestine. Roman Empire established proper political and social institutions. Although emperor reigned supreme but his powers and authority did not go unchecked. The monarchy was substituted by the powerful political institution of Senate. Although its members were selected on the basis of social rank and birth but later it this membership was extended to official or holders of public offices.
By the 1st century, the total number of senator exceeded to 300. Although, the power and sanctity of the senate was nullified in the realm of Augustus but its huge involvement in the affairs of the government remained. The second important political institutions were Consuls. After Tarquinius Superbus, it was established that two elected consuls would replace the king as the joint head of state for a period of one year and could not be elected in succession. They used to share the supreme decision-making authority on monthly basis.
One can easily see the same prototype political institutions in 21st century. American president is like Roman emperor with extensive powers but his power does not go unchecked as American political system has a fine system of check and balance. In British political system, Queen remains a symbolic head where affairs of the state are run by parliament. There was another political provision that in time of emergency, Republic could appoint a person as dictator for a period of six months. Dictator had absolute powers in every state affair. Same is the case in the 21st century.
For example, in November, Pakistan’s head of state declared emergency and became dictator with absolute powers for three months. In addition to political institutions, there were certain social institutions that helped the Roman culture and arts grow i. e. patronage. The wealthy and the rich used to patronage the arts and craft and use to provide the artists and the craftsmen with all the necessities of life. Same happened in the political domain as these wealthy people patronaged politics as well as there was no political party. Same happens in the 21st century but in different form and shape.
Wealthy industrialist and commercial organization patronages the culture and arts as well provide funds for political parties. Furthermore they finance the presidential campaigns. Environmental conditions were not too good in Roman Empire as no deliberate effort was taken on these. In big cities, there was some proper sewerage system and people were pf aware of hygiene and sanitation. Far-off areas in the Empire were not aware of these environmental concerns. Same is the case with today’s world as some part of the world i. e. Western world has good environmental conditions whereas third world countries have not.
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