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From Hutton Webster's, Early European History (1917); edited for this on-line publication, by ELLOPOS
IX. THE EARLY EMPIRE: THE WORLD UNDER ROMAN RULE, 31 B.C.-l80 A.D.
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THE MUNICIPALITIES OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE
PREVALENCE OF CITY LIFE
The world under Roman rule was a world of cities. Some had earlier been native settlements, such as those in Gaul before the Roman conquest. Others were the splendid Hellenistic cities in the East. Many more were of Roman origin, arising from the colonies and fortified camps in which citizens and soldiers had settled.  Where Rome did not find cities, she created them.
 Several English cities, such as Lancaster, Leicester, Manchester, and Chester, betray in their names their origin in the Roman castra, or camp.
SOME IMPORTANT CITIES
Not only were the cities numerous, but many of them, even when judged by modern standards, reached great size. Rome was the largest, her population being estimated at from one to two millions. Alexandria came next with more than half a million people. Syracuse was the third metropolis of the empire. Italy contained such important towns as Verona, Milan, and Ravenna. In Gaul were Marseilles, Nîmes, Bordeaux, Lyons—all cities with a continuous existence to the present day. In Britain York and London were seats of commerce, Chester and Lincoln were military colonies, and Bath was celebrated then, as now, for its medicinal waters. Carthage and Corinth had risen in new splendor from their ashes. Athens was still the home of Greek art and Greek culture. Asia included such ancient and important centers as Pergamum, Smyrna, Ephesus, Rhodes, and Antioch. The student who reads in his New Testament the Acts of the Apostles will get a vivid impression of some of these great capitals.
Cf. The Ancient Greece * The Ancient Rome
Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) * Western Medieval Europe * Renaissance in Italy