in this period was tried the experiment of maintaining profound and lasting peace over the large area comprising the interior prov inces. Prominent among the results was a material prosperity which had at least the ap pearance of being very great. Another result was the development of the virtues' Men "'became chaste, tender-hearted, loyal, reli gious, capable of infinite endurance in a good cause" (Seeley, 'Roman Imperialism> ). They began to regard women as their equals, to treat children and slaves humanely, to show kindness even to animals, and in spite of gladiatorial con tests, to abhor bloodshed. Morals, at their lowest ebb in the Rome of Nero, were rapidly purified by the coming in of the best families from the provinces, so that under the Good Emperors morality in the capital reached a high level. The spirit of the age expressed itself not only in the private and social virtues, but also in the Civil Law, which rested upon the principles of justice, kindliness and equality among men.
The unimaginative Romans failed to produce a literature of the highest rank. In the late republic lived Lucretius, a poet of real genius, and Cicero, the versatile author of orations, philosophic works and private correspondence. The Augustan Age created the epic and rural poetry of Virgil, the 'Odes> and 'Satires' of Horace on social and moral topics, and Livy's stately history of the republic. The most splendid Latin writers of the age of the Good Emperors were the satirist Juvenal and Tacitus, the historian of the early empire. Among the most famous writers in the Greek language in the first two centuries A.D. Were Strabo the geographer, Pausanias, author of a 'Tour of Greece,' Appian, the historian, and Plutarch, the biographer of eminent men. Hellenism con tinued to be the chief liberalizing and refining force in the empire. Its highest intellectual product from Roman soil was stoicism, which found its best expression in the writings and character of Marcus Aurelius.
IX. From Limited Monarchy to Despot ism; the Reorganization of Diocletian and Constantine; the Barbarian Invasions and the Decline of the Empire, 180-500 A.D. Writers generally agree in making the decline begin with the reign of Commodus (180-192 A.D.), though disintegrating forces had long been in operation and though for generations after ward the empire at times, as under Septimius Severus and Diocletian, showed great recuper ative power. The century which intervened be tween the death of Marcus Aurelius and the ac cession of Diocletian (180-284 A.D.) we may re gard as a period of revolution. The happiness of the Roman world under the Good Emperors had been chiefly due to the wisdom of a succession of rulers who were able to secure the good will of the Senate and of the populace of Rome, the subordination of the pretorians and of the army and the respect of surrounding nations.
The weak, brutish Commodus allowed these nicely adjusted forces to conflict, and the re suit was civil war and anarchy. The revolu tion, sweeping away the influence of pretorians, populace and Senate, almost of Rome itself, brought new principles of government into play. The emperor was to be a despot of the Oriental type,— a God on earth,— who sur rounded himself with stately splendor, and gov erned through a complex bureaucracy. He appointed a colleague, and two Caesars were named as heirs of the emperors, all four digni taries being men of eminent military ability. The empire was reorganized in prefectures, dioceses and provinces under appropriate mag istrates. These arrangements, chiefly the work of Diocletian (284-305 A.D.), and Constantine (sole emperor 324-337 A.D.), were in the main permanent. In making better use of the re sources of the empire for the purposes of de fense the new organization brought fresh strength, but rivalry between the emperors again caused civil wars with all their evil con sequences. Under Constantine, who removed the capital to Byzantium, thereafter called Con two imperial offices were again vested in one person. After that date there were i often two or more emperors; and the division of the empire into East and West for administrative purposes acquired a new sanction at the accession of Arcadius and Honorius, sons of Theodosius (395 A.D.). Even then the empire was a unit, ruled by two colleagues; and i when in 476 A.D. Romulus °Augustuluso was deposed at Rome and the imperial trappings were sent to Constantinople, people understood merely that the collegial government had once more given way to unity in the imperial office.
Meanwhile from the heart outward through every limb the empire was falling to decay. The most obvious cause was economic. Judged by any modern standard, the empire as a whole was poor. It is true that parts of it, espe cially in the Orient, were wealthy; but through out the West were vast undeveloped regions, whose administration and protection formed a perpetual burden on the imperial treasury. The emperors made heroic efforts to improve these territories; but in doing this they ex hausted the productive areas. With modern means their task would have been simple; but there were practically no machines in Roman times. Consequently everything had to be done by hand; and under the circumstances it was impossible to produce enough useful materials to make good shortages in the less developed parts of the empire and those losses that were caused by drought and pestilence, in addition to providing the necessities of life for the armies, the hosts of officials and the idle poor in all the cities. In other words, the industries were not sufficiently developed for the maintenance of so vast an empire.