Roman province

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Image:Roman Empire Map.png
Map of the Roman Empire, with the provinces, after 120.

In Ancient Rome, a province (Latin, provincia, pl. provinciae) was the basic, and until the Tetrarchy (circa 296), largest territorial and administrative unit of the empire's territorial possessions outside of the Italian peninsula (long without full citizenship). The word province in modern English has its origins in the term used by the Romans.

Provinces were generally governed by politicians of senatorial rank, usually former consuls or former praetors. A later exception was the province of Egypt, incorporated by Augustus after the death of Cleopatra: it was ruled by a governor of equestrian rank only, perhaps as a discouragement to senatorial ambition.

Under the Roman Republic, the governor of a province was appointed for a period of one year. At the beginning of the year, the provinces were distributed to future governors by lots or direct appointment. Normally, the provinces where more trouble was expected — either from barbaric invasions or internal rebellions — were given to former consuls, men of the greatest prestige and experience. The distribution of the legions across the provinces was also dependent of the amount of danger that they represented. In 14, for instance, the province of Lusitania had no permanent legion but Germania Inferior, where the Rhine frontier was still not pacified, had a garrison of four legions. These problematic provinces were the most desired by future governors. Problems meant war, and war always brought plunder, slaves to sell and opportunities for enrichment. Sicilia (the island of Sicily) constituted the first Roman province from 241 BC, having been progressively conquered by the Republic during the First Punic War (264–241 BC).

The number and size of provinces changed according with internal Roman politics. During the Empire, the biggest or more garrisoned provinces (example Pannonia and Moesia) were subdivided into smaller provinces in order to prevent the situation whereby a sole governor held too much power in his hands, thus discouraging ambition for the Imperial throne itself.

With the formation of the Principate after the civil wars which ended the Roman Republican period, Augustus retained the power to choose governors for the provinces in which he and his successors held supreme military and administrative control. Thus the more strategically critical provinces, generally located along the contested borders of the Empire, became Imperial provinces. The remaining provinces were maintained as Senatorial provinces, in which the Senate had the right to appoint a governor.


[edit] List of Republican provinces

[edit] The Roman provinces in 120

Roman Imperial Provinces (120)
Image:Roman empire.png
Achaea | Aegyptus | Africa | Alpes Cottiae | Alpes Maritimae | Alpes Poenninae | Arabia Petraea | Armenia Inferior | Asia | Assyria | Bithynia | Britannia | Cappadocia | Cilicia | Commagene | Corduene | Corsica et Sardinia | Creta et Cyrenaica | Cyprus | Dacia | Dalmatia | Epirus | Galatia | Gallia Aquitania | Gallia Belgica | Gallia Lugdunensis | Gallia Narbonensis | Germania Inferior | Germania Superior | Hispania Baetica | Hispania Lusitania | Hispania Tarraconensis | Italia | Iudaea | Lycaonia | Lycia | Macedonia | Mauretania Caesariensis | Mauretania Tingitana | Moesia | Noricum | Numidia | Osroene | Pannonia | Pamphylia | Pisidia | Pontus | Raetia | Sicilia | Sophene | Syria | Thracia |

[edit] List of Roman Provinces - 300 to 476

Emperor Diocletian introduced a radical reform known as the Tetrarchy (284-305), with a western and an eastern Augustus or senior emperor, each seconded by a junior emperor (and designated successor) styled Caesar, and each of these four defending and administering a quarter of the empire.

The scheme was not to last in detail, but 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 second capital, Nova Roma, known after him as Constantinople, and each of these two cities had its own extraordinary governor or Praefectus Urbi. In general, between the acclamation of Diocletian and the formal end of the western Empire in 476, the Empire was recognised as being divided into two, with separate Emperors for the Eastern and Western halves.

Diocletian set up twelve dioceses, each governed by a Vicarius. Three more were created by splits in the fourth century: in the west, Italia was split in two, and in the east Egypt was detached from Oriens.

Detailed information on these arrangements is contained in the Notitia Dignitatum (Record of Offices), a document dating from the early 5th century. It is from this authentic imperial source that we draw most data, 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.

It is interesting to 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.

  • This administrative subdivision was later changed in Byzantine times, with the creation of extraordinary Exarchs and originally military Themas.

[edit] Praetorian prefecture of Galliae

In Latin, Gallia was also sometimes used as a general term for all Celtic peoples and their territories, such as all Britons, while the Germanic and Iberian provinces had a mixed, largely Celtic population. The plural, Galliae in Latin, indicates that all of these are meant, not just Caesar's Gaul (several modern countries).

[edit] Diocese of Galliae

Covered about half of the Gallic provinces of the early empire:

  • in what is now northern France roughly the part north of the Loire (called after the capital Lugdunum, modern Lyon)
  • in Belgium, Luxembourg, the parts of the Netherlands on the left bank (west) of the Rhine
  • Germany on the left bank (west) of the Rhine
  • the Helvetic tribes (parts of Switzerland):

[edit] Diocese of Viennensis

Named after the city of Vienna (now Vienne), and entirely in present-day France, roughly south of the Loire; originally part of Caesar's newly conquered province of Transalpine Gaul, but a separate diocesis from the start.

In the fifth century, Viennensis was replaced by a diocese of Septem Provinciae ('7 Provinces') with similar boundaries.

[edit] Diocese of Hispaniae

Hispania was the name of the whole Iberian Peninsula. It covered Hispania and the westernmost province of Roman Africa:

[edit] Diocese of Britanniae

Again a plural

[edit] Praetorian prefecture of Italy and Africa (western)

  • Originally there was a single diocese of Italia, but it got split north-south.

[edit] Diocese of Italia suburbicaria

The name indicates proximity to Rome, 'the' Urbs (capital city).

[edit] Diocese of Italia annonaria

This name refers to reliance on the area for the provisioning of Rome; it included the islands, not considered actually Italian in Antiquity (hence provinces while the peninsular regions still had a superior status), given their different ethnic stock (e.g. Sicily was named after the Siculi) and history of piracy.

[edit] Diocese of Africa

Included the central part of Roman North Africa:

[edit] Prefecture of Illyricum

The Prefecture of Illyricum was named after the former province of Illyricum.

The Prefecture of Illyricum originally included two dioceses: the Diocese of Pannoniae and the Diocese of Moesiae. The Diocese of Moesiae was later split into two dioceses: the Diocese of Macedonia and the last conquest, the Diocese of Dacia.

[edit] Diocese of Pannonia

This was one of the two dioceses in the eastern quarters of the Tetrarchy not belonging to the cultural Greek half of the empire (the other was Dacia), and was transferred to the western empire when Theodosius I fixed the final split of the two empires in 395.

[edit] Diocese of Dacia

The Dacians had lived in the Transylvania area, annexed to the Empire by Trajan. However, during the invasions of the third century Dacia was largely abandoned. Inhabitants evacuated from the abandoned province were settled on the south side of the Danube and their new homeland renamed Dacia accordingly. The diocese was transferred to the western empire in 384 by Theodosius I, probably in partial compensation to the empress Justina for his recognition of the usurpation of Magnus Maximus in Britannia, Gaul and Hispania.

[edit] Diocese of Macedonia

The Diocese of Macedonia was transferred to the western empire in 384 by Theodosius I, probably in partial compensation to the empress Justina for his recognition of the usurpation of Magnus Maximus in Britannia, Gaul and Hispania.

[edit] Prefecture of Oriens

As the rich home territory of the eastern emperor, the Oriens ("East") prefecture would persist as the core of the Byzantine Empire long after the fall of Rome. Its pretorian prefect would be the last to survive, but his office was transformed into an essentially internal minister.

[edit] Diocese of Thrace

The eastern-most corner of the Balkans (the only part outside the Illyricum prefecture) and the European hinterland of Constantinople.

[edit] Diocese of Asiana

Asia (or Asia Minor) in Antiquity stood for Anatolia; this diocese (the name means 'the Asian ones') centred on the earlier Roman province of Asia, and only covered the rich western part of the peninsula, mainly near the Aegean Sea.

[edit] Diocese of Pontus

The name for this is latinized from Greek Pontos: the name of a Hellenistic kingdom derived from Pontos (Euxinos), i.e. the (Black) Sea, earlier used for a major hellenistic kingdom.

Indeed it mainly contains parts of Asia minor near those coasts (as well as the mountainous centre), but also includes the north of very variable border with Rome's enemy Parthia/Persia.

[edit] Diocese of Oriens

The Eastern diocese shares its geographic name with the prefecture, even after it lost its rich part, Egypt, becoming a separate diocese; but militarily crucial on the Persian (Sassanid) border and unruly desert tribes.

It comprised mainly the modern Arabic Machrak (Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Palestine/-Israel and Jordan) except for the desert hinterland:

Further it contained the southeastern coast of Asia Minor and the close island of Cyprus

[edit] Diocese of Aegyptus

This diocesis, comprising north eastern Africa — mainly Egypt, the rich granary and traditional personal domain of the emperors — was the only diocese that was not under a vicarius, but whose head retained the unique title of Praefectus Augustalis. It was created by a split of the diocese of Oriens.

All but one, the civilian governors were of the modest rank of Praeses provinciae.

  • Aegyptus specifically came to designate Lower Egypt, previously two provinces, named after the pagan titles of the two emperors under Diocletian : Aegyptus Iovia (from Jupiter, for the Augustus; with the metropole Alexandria) and Aegyptus Herculia (for his junior, the Caesar; with ancient Memphis)
  • Augustamnica, part of the Nile delta (13 'cities') - the only Egyptian province under a Corrector, a lower ranking governor;
  • Thebais, Upper Egypt; Nubia south of Philae had been abandoned to tribal people
  • Arcadia (also Arcadia Ægypti; not Arcadia in Greece)

Apart from modern Egypt, it also comprised the former province of Cyrenaica, being the east of modern Libya (an ancient name for the whole African continent as well), split in two provinces, each under a praeses again:

[edit] See also

[edit] References

[edit] External links

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bg:Римска провинция ca:Administració provincial romana cs:Římské provincie da:Romerske provinser de:Römische Provinz et:Rooma provintsid es:Administración provincial romana fr:Province romaine ko:로마 속주 it:Provincia romana he:פרובינקיה רומית lt:Romos provincija hu:Római provinciák nl:Romeinse provincie ja:属州 no:Romersk provins pl:Prowincje rzymskie pt:Província romana ro:Provincie Romană ru:Римская провинция sr:Римске провинције sh:Rimske provincije fi:Rooman provinssit sv:Romerska provinser

Roman province

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