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Discuss the view that consolidation rather than expansion was the prime objective of Roman foreign policy between 69 and 211 AD From studying Roman frontier policy it seems clear that the image of the Roman army as great conquerors sweeping through vast areas of the known ancient world is a view which is probably more typical of the period of Augustus reign rather then any subsequent long-term expansion policies of any of the later emperors Indeed it was Augustus who envisaged an imperium sine fine but it seems that after AD 69 emperors did want to consolidate and bring the existing empire together rather than extend its frontiers It is possibly easier to see the retardation in Roman conquest after AD 69 not as a long-term political strategy but as the result of individual emperors responding to the specific difficulties and problems which faced them It was a mixture of economic political and social factors coupled with the underlying policy of consolidation that brought about the downturn in Roman expansion rather than a coherent effort to extend Roman boundaries The best way of evaluating the objectives of Roman foreign policy is to examine the infrastructure of the frontier system and assess its significance One of the main reasons why it is more likely that the Romans followed a consolidatory frontier policy is because of a desire to safeguard the boundaries of the empire This can be seen from the defensive measures of certain emperors who sought to guard the empire from the threat of invasion Probably the best example of this is the emperor Hadrian He took notice of the threats to the empire which had occurred during his predecessor Trajans reign His policies were nearly exclusively consolidatory and were on the whole attempts to divide the barbarians from us Hadrians greatest legacy was without doubt the wall that bears his name After the Romans suffered serious defeats at the hands of
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