ROME NEVER FOUGHT TO IMPOSE a political idea or a religious creed. On the contrary, she left local institutions and manners of thought untouched.
In Rome’s imperial expansion, self defence was accounted the first motive; but trade inevitably followed and the first motive was mingled with that of commercial exploitation. True, reasons of safety safety were sometimes alleged in order to hide greed and ambition.
Rome fought to ‘impose the ways of peace’ and by peace she meant the positive blessings of settled order and security of life and property.
We can’t say that a religion such as the old Roman religion promoted greatly the religious development of man; it carried no intellectual appeal and was therefore unable to contribute a theology. But it is certain that with the associations and habits which clustered round its contribution to Roman character was great. Great men were almost canonized for their characters or for their achievements.
To the beliefs and manners of these days we must ascribe that sense of subordination or obedience to exterior power, whether a god, or a standard, or an ideal, which in one form or another – marked the Roman to the end.
To the same source must be traced the feeling for continuity which preserves the constant, assimilates the new and refused to break with the past. For the future could be be faced with greater security if the values of the past were conserved.