From Academic Kids
Pax Romana, Latin for "the Roman peace," is the long period of peace experienced by states within the Roman Empire. The term stems from the fact that Roman rule and its legal system pacified regions, sometimes forcefully, which had suffered from the quarrels between rival leaders. During this time Rome still fought a number of wars against neighbouring states and tribes, most notably the Germanic tribes and Parthia. It was an era of relative tranquillity, in which Rome endured neither major civil wars, such as the perpetual bloodshed of the first century BC, nor serious invasions, such as those of the Second Punic War a century prior.
This period is generally considered to have lasted from 29 BC, when Augustus Caesar declared an end to the great Roman civil wars of the first century, until 180 AD, when emperor Marcus Aurelius died. It was a time in which Roman commerce thrived, unhampered by pirates or marauding enemy troops. It was not peaceful; rebellions frequently appeared, but were mostly quelled.
The Temple of Janus stood in the Roman Forum. The temple had doors on both ends, and inside the temple was a statue of Janus, the two-faced god of boundaries. The temple doors were closed in times of peace and open in times of war. Plutarch, in Life of King Numa, wrote:
- Janus also has a temple at Rome with double doors, which they call the gates of war; for the temple always stands open in time of war, but is closed when peace has come. The latter was a difficult matter, and it rarely happened, since the realm was always engaged in some war, as its increasing size brought it into collision with the barbarous nations which encompassed it round about. But in the time of Augustus it was closed, after he had overthrown Marc Antony; and before that, when Marcus Atilius and Titus Manlius were consuls, it was closed a short time; then war broke out again at once, and it was opened.
The Ara Pacis, or "Altar of peace" was erected by Augustus to celebrate the Pax Romana.