T. G. Tucker

Silius was a noble, with a nobleman's privileges and also his limitations. The class next in rank below his consisted of the "knights," of whom something has already been said. It will be remembered that these men of the "narrow stripe" were the higher middle class, who conducted most of the greater financial enterprises of Rome and the provinces.

The reception accorded to my Life in Ancient Athens has led me to write the present companion work with an eye to the same class of readers. In the preface to the former volume it was said: "I have sought to leave an impression true and sound, so far as it goes, and also vivid and distinct.

These topics bring us naturally to the consideration of the chief amusements and entertainments of Rome and of those parts of the empire which were either fairly romanized or else contained a large number of resident Romans.

The subject of this book is "Life in the Roman World of Nero and St. Paul." This is not quite the same thing as "Life in Ancient Rome" at the same date. Our survey is to be somewhat wider than that of the imperial city itself, with its public and private structures, its public and private life. The capital, and these topics concerning it, will naturally occupy the greater portion of our time and interest.

We will assume that Silius is a married man, and that his wife is a typical Roman dame worthy of his station in life. Her name shall be Marcia, or, if she possesses more than one, Marcia Sabina.

The best means of realising the extent of the Roman Empire in or about the year 64 is to glance at the map. It will be found to reach from the Atlantic Ocean to the Euphrates, from the middle of England - approximately the river Trent - to the south of Egypt, from the Rhine and the Danube to the Desert of Sahara. The Mediterranean Sea is a Roman lake, and there is not a spot upon its shores which is not under Roman rule. In round numbers the empire is three thousand miles in length and two thousand in breadth.

Unlike too many couples of the same class, Silius and Marcia are blessed with children. We will assume that there are two, a boy, whose full name shall be Publius Silius Bassus, and a girl, who is to be called Silia Bassa. It is perhaps to be regretted that there is not a third, for in that case the father would enjoy to the full certain privileges granted by law to parents who so far do their duty by the state. As it is, he will in the regular course of things receive preference over childless men, when it comes to candidature for a public office or to the allotting of a governorship.

Of the administration in Rome and throughout the provinces enough will be said in the proper place. Meanwhile we may look briefly at one or two questions of interest which will presumably suggest themselves at this stage. Since all this vast region now formed one empire, since Roman magistrates and officers were sent to all parts of it, since trade and intercourse were vigorous between all its provinces, it will be natural to ask, for example, by what means the traveller got from place to place, at what rate of progress, and with what degree of safety and comfort.

In the older days of Roman history the fighting forces had been a "citizen army," called out for so long as it was needed, and levied from full and true Roman citizens. In the imperial times with which we are here dealing it had become a standing army. Soldiering was a profession, for which the men volunteered, and, so far as Roman citizens were concerned, it was now seldom, if ever, the case that military service required to be made compulsory on their part.

Syndicate content