Roman Bureaucracy

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    In the section on the Roman Empire, my 8th grade class’s textbook explains that one of the reasons for Pax Romana was the bureaucracy established by Augustus to run the everyday business of the empire. I was unable, though, to explain why this was so significant or what it would have looked like in practice. I couldn’t think of good way to explain it in such a way that a relatively politically-uninterested 14-year-old would understand. What would be the alternatives to having the empire run by bureaucrats? How did ir work before?
    Thanks for considering.

    Jason Jewell

    This might simply be a reference to the assigning of regular oversight of a particular area to a particular official or group of officials rather than trying to deal with things by the Senate and emperor ad hoc as they show up. In a way, that is approaching the problem of governance more efficiently. Without at least a rudimentary bureaucracy in support, Senate appointees like the quaestors might have been overwhelmed as the empire grew. I don’t know if you can attribute the Pax Romana to the advent of bureaucracy, though.

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