Stable and Peaceful Empire

Antoninus Pius’ reign is known for no major revolts or military invasion. Though his army successfully invaded southern Scotland and constructed an Antonine Wall for the defense of conquered territory.

His reign was the most peaceful in the entire history of the Roman Empire.

Effective Administrator

Antoninus was an effective administrator, leaving his successors a large surplus in the treasury.

Antoninus gave more freedom to his regional governor in dealing with provincial matters of war and peace. He is virtually unique among emperors in solving various crises without leaving Italy even once during his reign.

Antoninus Pius Achievements
Antoninus Pius Achievements

The Emperor also famously suspended the collection of taxes from cities affected by natural disasters. He provided financial aid to Rome and Narbona when fire destroyed part of the city.

In 140 AD, he offered hefty financial grants for rebuilding and recovery of various Greek cities after two serious earthquakes.

Antoninus also ingratiated himself with local Greek elites. He explicitly exempted local intellectuals such as philosophers, teachers, rhetoricians and physicians from any duties.

Massive Civil Construction Projects

Antoninus was regarded as a skilled administrator and as a builder.

He expanded to the people of Rome the free access to drinking water. He also built bridges and roads throughout the Empire and still managed to leave behind a sizable public treasury of around 2.7 billion sesterces.

Reformation of Law

Antoninus did take a great interest in the revision and practice of the law throughout the empire.

Although Antoninus was not an innovator in the matter of Law, he made drastic improvements in Roman law.

Rather than follow the absolute letter of the law; he reforms were driven by concerns for humanity and equality.

He introduced into Roman law many important new principles based upon this notion. Antoninus ordered that these officers should not treat suspects as already condemned.

He also asked officers to keep a detailed copy of their interrogations, to be used in the possibility of an appeal to the Roman governor.

He prohibited the application of torture to children less than fourteen years, though this rule had exceptions. He also limited the use of torture in examining slaves. He also stopped the practice of use of torture as a means of obtaining evidence to financial cases.

Improving the life of Slaves

Antoninus passed law which facilitates the enfranchisement of slaves. He forbade killing of a slave by his/her master without previous trial. He also forbade selling of female slaves forbidding their further employment in prostitution.

Organizing Games in Rome

In 148 AD, Antoninus hosted magnificent games in Rome on the nine-hundredth anniversary of the foundation of Rome.

The celebration lasted a number of days, and a host of exotic animals were killed, including elephants, giraffes, tigers, rhinoceroses, crocodiles and hippopotami.

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