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UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD.

society. Augustus steadily pursued the policy of weakening the influence of

the hereditary aristocracy and strengthening the provincials of the Empire.

No opportunity was lost of extending the rights of citizenship and

developing a national spirit among the out-dwellers of Italy. Taxation was

equalized, municipal privileges freely bestowed, and justice fairly

administered. The partiality which had hitherto been manifested towards the

home state was no longer seen. Even the exemption which Italy had enjoyed

at the expense of the provinces from the presence of a standing army was

annulled, and she was obliged to bear her burden with the rest. To the end

that peace might be maintained under sanction of the sword, nine cohorts

were organized for the army of Italy. Of these regiments three were to

occupy Rome, and the other six to be distributed at convenient points among

the Italian towns. In addition to this army of praetorians, there was a

kind of city guard in the capital, consisting of several additional cohorts

besides the Imperial guard, composed mostly of German soldiers, and

constituting a police which the Emperor might summon at any moment to his

side.

While Augustus did not-could not-exhibit the amazing activities of the

elder Caesar, he nevertheless devoted himself with the greatest assiduity

and energy to the vast business of the Roman state. The municipal

government of the capital was organized on a new basis. The city was

divided into fourteen districts, or "regions," and each of these into wards

or vici. To each vicus a police magistrate was assigned with an adequate

squad of patrolmen and guards. Over all the municipal magistrates was

placed a prefect of the city, a position assigned at the first to the able

and trustworthy Maecenas. To him, also, was entrusted the command of the

city cohorts; and he was held responsible, especially during the absence of

the Emperor, for the order and quiet of the capital.

Augustus gave much attention to the reform of manners and customs. The

habits of the Romans had become greatly depraved by the vices of civil war

and the corrupting influences of luxury. Assiduous efforts were made by the

new administration to restore, at least in some measure, the simpler method

of life, the religious practices and domestic virtues of the olden time.

The temples of the gods were built anew and beautified. New life was

instilled into the priesthood. The Sibylline books were revised, and

extravagant expenditures in religious rites and public celebrations

interdicted by law. Severe penalties were enacted against bribery, and the

political condition purified by wholesome legislation. The domestic tie was

encouraged by making the celibate incapable of inheriting property, and the

childless married man was to lose a part of his estate.

What may be called the physical development of the Empire was carefully

considered. The means of communication from province to province, and

between the provinces and the capital, were diligently improved.

Statistical information was regularly compiled, and the geography of the

kingdom was studied by scholars under the patronage of the Emperor. The

dissemination of intelligence and edicts of authority from the capital to

the remotest part, and the collection of news from the provinces, were

facilitated by the establishment of an efficient post. Wagons and carriers

sped from station to station along the paved and beautiful thoroughfares

which stretched across the Empire, carrying the behests of the central will

to the borders of the state, and bringing back a knowledge of the condition

of outlying territories and distant peoples. Even common travel was so

quickened by the ample means afforded that one might speed a distance of

more than a hundred miles in a day.

In the general improvement of the Empire much encouragement was also given

to commerce. Rome became the Babylon of the West. In her markets were

displayed nearly all the products of the world. The commercial theory of

the state was that the provinces should direct their industrial energies to

the production of the great staples, and that Italy should be the center in

which the lines of traffic should converge. Rome was to be the metropolis

of the nations as well as of the Italian peninsula. Sicily, Sardinia,

Egypt, Northern Africa, Spain, and Gaul were