In E. Badian's book, Roman Imperialism in the Late Republic, he discusses the actions of the Senate, consuls, Caesars, and other officials. The actions of many of these high ranking people are surprisingly not done with traditional imperialistic attitude and motive. The Late Republic may have conquered many lands but only a few conquests had imperialism in mind.
The Rome was expanded considerably between 200 and 27BC. This was predominantly the expansion of the Roman Republic. Rome had extended from the Italian peninsula into, the Balkans, Asia Minor, Gaul, Spain, and North Africa. This map shows the extent of Roman Republic's expansion around the end of the 1st century BC.
This significant expansion seems undoubtedly imperialism at it's finest. The Roman Republic was able to multiply the size of their territory in 200 years by about 6 times. It's comparative to the early Americans idea of the Manifest Destiny except considerably larger.
According to Badian, this massive expansion, annexation, and spread of Rome was imperialism but the motive wasn't to dominate the whole world.
The Senate in the 2nd century BC was faced with the annexation of Greece as a part of Rome. The Romans took many military, government, and social traditions from Greek civilization and Badian says the Senate was aware of this. The annexation of Greece, I thought was quick and rigid before reading this book. Badian says that the Romans as a whole admired the Greeks and there traditions and the Senate didn't want to create a political backlash by being too harsh. The Senate gave Greece a gradual civilized annexation and a very tolerant, almost self-sufficient existence.
It was completely contrary in the conquering of Gaul and the Barbarians which occurred shortly after Greece. The Senate was quick and rigid and sent several...