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The Roman provinces (Latin: provincia, pl. provinciae) were the administrative regions of Ancient Rome outside Roman Italy that were controlled by the Romans under the Roman Republic and later the Roman Empire. Each province was ruled by a Roman appointed as governor.
For centuries it was the largest administrative unit of the foreign possessions of ancient Rome.With the administrative reform initiated by Diocletian, it became a third level administrative subdivision of the Roman Empire, or rather a subdivision of the imperial dioceses (in turn subdivisions of the imperial prefectures).
The English word province comes from the Latin word provincia.In early Republican times, the term was used as a common designation for any task or set of responsibilities assigned by the Roman Senate to an individual who held imperium (right of command), which was often a military command within a specified theatre of operations. In time, the term became the main designation for a territorial jurisdiction in newly acquired regions of the Roman Republic.
The Latin term provincia had an equivalent in eastern, Greek-speaking parts of the Greco-Roman world. In the Greek language, province was called eparchy (Greek : ἐπαρχίᾱ, eparchia). That term was used both colloquially and officially, in Roman legal acts that were issued in the Greek language. In the same time, provincial governor was called eparch (Greek : ἔπαρχος, eparchos).
A province was the basic and, until the Tetrarchy (from AD 293), the largest territorial and administrative unit of the empire's territorial possessions outside Roman Italy.
Provinces were generally governed by politicians of senatorial rank, usually former consuls or former praetors.A later exception was the province of Egypt, which was incorporated by Augustus after the death of Cleopatra and was ruled by a governor of only equestrian rank, perhaps as a discouragement to senatorial ambition. That exception was unique but not contrary to Roman law, as Egypt was considered Augustus's personal property, following the tradition of the kings of the earlier Hellenistic period.
Under the Roman Republic, the magistrates were elected to office for a period of one year, and those serving outside the city of Rome, such as consuls acting as generals on a military campaign, were assigned a particular provincia, the scope of authority within which they exercised their command.
The territory of a people who were defeated in war might be brought under various forms of treaty, in some cases entailing complete subjection (deditio). The formal annexation of a territory created a province, in the modern sense of an administrative unit that is geographically defined. Republican-period provinces were administered in one-year terms by the consuls and praetors who had held office the previous year and were invested with imperium.
Rome started expanding beyond Italy during the First Punic War. The first permanent provinces to be annexed were Sicily in 241 BC and Sardinia and Corsica in 237 BC. Militarized expansionism kept increasing the number of these administrative provinces until there were no longer enough qualified individuals to fill the posts.
The terms of provincial governors often had to be extended for multiple years (prorogatio), and on occasion, the Senate awarded imperium even to private citizens (privati), most notably Pompey the Great.Prorogation undermined the republican constitutional principle of annually-elected magistracies and the amassing of disproportionate wealth and military power by a few men through their provincial commands was a major factor in the transition from a republic to an imperial autocracy.
Cisalpine Gaul (in northern Italy) was occupied by Rome in the 220s BC and became considered geographically and de facto part of Roman Italy,but remained politically and de jure separated. It was legally merged into the administrative unit of Roman Italy in 42 BC by the triumvir Augustus as a ratification of Caesar's unpublished acts (Acta Caesaris).
In the so-called Augustan Settlement of 27 BC, which established the Roman Empire, the governance of the provinces was regulated. Octavian himself assumed the title "Augustus" and was given to govern, in addition to Egypt, the strategically-important provinces of Gaul, Hispania and Syria (including Cilicia and Cyprus).
Under Augustus, Roman provinces were classified as either public or imperial, depending on whether power was exercised by the Senate or the emperor. Generally, the older provinces that had existed under the Republic were public. Public provinces were, as they had been under the Republic, governed by a proconsul, who was chosen by lot among the ranks of senators who were ex-consuls or ex-praetors, depending on the province that was assigned.
The major imperial provinces were under a legatus Augusti pro praetore , also a senator of consular or praetorian rank.Egypt and some smaller provinces in which no legions were based were ruled by a procurator (praefectus in Egypt), whom the emperor selected from non-senators of equestrian rank.
During the Principate, the number and size of provinces also changed, through conquest or the division of existing provinces.The larger or most heavily garrisoned provinces (for example Syria and Moesia) were subdivided into smaller provinces to prevent one governor from holding too much power.
Emperor Diocletian introduced a radical reform known as the tetrarchy (284–305), with a western and an eastern senior emperor styled Augustus , each seconded by a junior emperor (and designated successor) styled caesar .Each of these four defended and administered a quarter of the empire. In the 290s, Diocletian divided the empire anew into almost a hundred provinces, including Roman Italy. Their governors were hierarchically ranked, from the proconsuls of Africa Proconsularis and Asia through those governed by consulares and correctores to the praesides . The provinces in turn were grouped into (originally twelve) dioceses, headed usually by a vicarius , who oversaw their affairs. Only the proconsuls and the urban prefect of Rome (and later Constantinople) were exempt from this, and were directly subordinated to the tetrarchs.
Although the Caesars were soon eliminated from the picture, the four administrative resorts were restored in 318 by Emperor Constantine I, in the form of praetorian prefectures, whose holders generally rotated frequently, as in the usual magistracies but without a colleague. Constantine also created a new capital, named after him as Constantinople, which was sometimes called 'New Rome' because it became the permanent seat of the government. In Italy itself, Rome had not been the imperial residence for some time and 286 Diocletian formally moved the seat of government to Mediolanum (modern Milan), while taking up residence himself in Nicomedia. During the 4th century, the administrative structure was modified several times, including repeated experiments with Eastern-Western co-emperors.
Detailed information on the arrangements during this period is contained in the Notitia Dignitatum (Record of Offices), a document dating from the early 5th century. Most data is drawn from this authentic imperial source, as the names of the areas governed and titles of the governors are given there. There are however debates about the source of some data recorded in the Notitia, and it seems clear that some of its own sources are earlier than others. Some scholars compare this with the list of military territories under the duces , in charge of border garrisons on so-called limites , and the higher ranking Comites rei militaris, with more mobile forces, and the later, even higher magistri militum.
Justinian I made the next great changes in 534–536 by abolishing, in some provinces, the strict separation of civil and military authority that Diocletian had established.This process was continued on a larger scale with the creation of extraordinary Exarchates in the 580s and culminated with the adoption of the military theme system in the 640s, which replaced the older administrative arrangements entirely. Some scholars use the reorganization of the empire into themata in this period as one of the demarcations between the Dominate and the Byzantine (or the Later Roman) period.
This article concerns the period 19 BC – 10 BC.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to ancient Rome:
Gallia Lugdunensis was a province of the Roman Empire in what is now the modern country of France, part of the Celtic territory of Gaul formerly known as Celtica. It is named after its capital Lugdunum, possibly Roman Europe's major city west of Italy, and a major imperial mint. Outside Lugdunum was the Sanctuary of the Three Gauls, where representatives met to celebrate the cult of Rome and Augustus.
Hispania Tarraconensis was one of three Roman provinces in Hispania. It encompassed much of the northern, eastern and central territories of modern Spain along with modern northern Portugal. Southern Spain, the region now called Andalusia, was the province of Hispania Baetica. On the Atlantic west lay the province of Lusitania, partially coincident with modern-day Portugal.
In ancient Rome a promagistrate was an ex-consul or ex-praetor whose imperium was extended at the end of his annual term of office or later. They were called proconsuls and propraetors. This was an innovation created during the Roman Republic. Initially it was intended to provide additional military commanders to support the armies of the consuls or to lead an additional army. With the acquisitions of territories outside Italy which were annexed as provinces, proconsuls and propraetors became provincial governors or administrators. A third type of promagistrate were the proquaestors.
An imperial province was a Roman province during the Principate where the Roman Emperor had the sole right to appoint the governor. These provinces were often the strategically located border provinces.
Gallia Narbonensis was a Roman province located in what is now Languedoc and Provence, in Southern France. It was also known as Provincia Nostra, from its having been the first Roman province north of the Alps, and as Gallia Transalpina, distinguishing it from Cisalpine Gaul in Northern Italy. It became a Roman province in the late 2nd century BC. Gallia Narbonensis was bordered by the Pyrenees Mountains on the west, the Cévennes to the north, the Alps on the east, and the Gulf of Lion on the south; the province included the majority of the Rhone catchment. The western region of Gallia Narbonensis was known as Septimania. The province was a valuable part of the Roman Empire, owing to the Greek colony of Massalia, its location between the Spanish provinces and Rome, and its financial output.
Lugdunum was an important Roman city in Gaul, established on the current site of Lyon. The Roman city was founded in 43 BC by Lucius Munatius Plancus, but continued an existing Gallic settlement with a likely population of several thousands. It served as the capital of the Roman province of Gallia Lugdunensis and was an important city in the western half of the Roman Empire for centuries. Two emperors, Claudius and Caracalla, were born in Lugdunum. In the period 69–192 AD, the city's population may have numbered 50,000 to 100,000, and possibly up to 200,000 inhabitants.
Italia was the homeland of the Romans and metropole of Rome's empire in classical antiquity. According to Roman mythology, Italy was the ancestral home promised by Jupiter to Aeneas of Troy and his descendants, who were the founders of Rome. Aside from the legendary accounts, Rome was an Italic city-state that changed its form of government from Kingdom to Republic and then grew within the context of a peninsula dominated by the Gauls, Ligures, Veneti, Camunni and Histri in the North, the Etruscans, Latins, Falisci, Picentes and Umbri tribes in the Centre, and the Iapygian tribes, the Oscan tribes and Greek colonies in the South.
Roman Gaul refers to Gaul under provincial rule in the Roman Empire from the 1st century BC to the 5th century AD.
Illyricum was a Roman province that existed from 27 BC to sometime during the reign of Vespasian. The province comprised Illyria/Dalmatia in the south and Pannonia in the north. Illyria included the area along the east coast of the Adriatic Sea and its inland mountains, eventually being named Dalmatia. Pannonia included the northern plains that now are a part of Serbia, Croatia and Hungary. The area roughly corresponded to the part or all of territories of today's Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Slovenia.
Consularis is a Latin adjective indicating something pertaining to the position or rank of consul. In Ancient Rome it was also used as a noun to designate those senators who had held the office of consul or attained consular rank as a special honour. In Late Antiquity, the title became also a gubernatorial rank for provincial governors.
Dalmatia was a Roman province. Its name is derived from the name of an Illyrian tribe called the Dalmatae, which lived in the central area of the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. It encompassed the northern part of present-day Albania, much of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo and Serbia, thus covering an area significantly larger than the current Croatian region of Dalmatia. Originally this region was called Illyria or Illyricum.
The history of the Roman Empire covers the history of ancient Rome from the fall of the Roman Republic in 27 BC until the abdication of Romulus Augustulus in AD 476 in the West, and the Fall of Constantinople in the East in AD 1453. Ancient Rome became a territorial empire while still a republic, but was then ruled by Roman emperors beginning with Augustus, becoming the Roman Empire following the death of the last republican dictator, the first emperor's adoptive father Julius Caesar.
Cappadocia was a province of the Roman Empire in Anatolia, with its capital at Caesarea. It was established in 17 AD by the Emperor Tiberius, following the death of Cappadocia's last king, Archelaus.
Bithynia and Pontus was the name of a province of the Roman Empire on the Black Sea coast of Anatolia. It was formed during the late Roman Republic by the amalgamation of the former kingdoms of Bithynia and Pontus. The amalgamation was part of a wider conquest of Anatolia and its reduction to Roman provinces.
Cilicia was an early Roman province, located on what is today the southern (Mediterranean) coast of Turkey. Cilicia was annexed to the Roman Republic in 64 BC by Pompey, as a consequence of its military presence in the east, after pursuing victory in the Third Mithridatic War. It was subdivided by Diocletian in around 297, and it remained under Roman rule for several centuries, until falling to the Islamic conquests.
The wars of Augustus are the military campaigns undertaken by the Roman government during the sole rule of the founder-emperor Augustus. This was a period of 45 years when almost every year saw major campaigning, in some cases on a scale comparable to the Second Punic War, when Roman manpower resources were stretched to the limit. This period also saw expansion through diplomacy and annexation, without the direct use of military force. The result was a major expansion of the empire that Augustus inherited from the Roman Republic, although the attempted conquest of Germania ended in defeat despite the enormous deployment of resources involved. As a result of these campaigns, the Roman Empire assumed the borders it would hold, with a few modifications, for its entire history.
Lists of Ancient Roman governors are organized by the provinces of the Roman Republic and the subsequent Roman Empire, which lasted from 27 BC to 476 AD, but whose eastern part continued to 1453 AD.