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Roman provinces

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The province incorporated into the Empire was determined by an appropriate act (lex provinciae) of its situation. The same separately regulated the situation of individual Roman cities included in the province. Some of them were provided only by the army, others did not pay taxes and had their own judiciary. Unregulated matters were supplemented with the edicts of the governor.

The main task of the province was to keep Rome, or rather the Roman people, which was most often manifested in the so-called grain tribute. But the residents were also required to provide other personal benefits. As it can be assumed, collecting the above-mentioned taxes was quite a lucrative activity, especially since the authorities themselves often allowed for some, which does not mean small, abuses. To prevent this from happening, in 149 BCE under Lex Calpurnia a tribunal was established for the acceptance of bribes by officials (queationes perpetuae de rebus repetundis).

The word provincia meant a certain range of powers of attorney that had been transferred to him.

The Roman Empire in 117 CE with the division into senatorial and imperial provinces (marked in green).

The period of the republic

Roman Senate decided about the allocation of powers of attorney in the scope of provinciae, and only by drawing lots. The provincial government was received for a year, but the Senate could also give prorogatio imperii. There was also an allocation of provinces without the draw procedure (extra sortem), but this custom was very rarely used.
The province was initially headed by praetors. Their number depended on the number of provinces. In 227 BCE their number was increased to 4, and in 197 BCE, as a result of the incorporation of two Spanish provinces, it was increased to 6. In special cases, i.e. in the event of war, it was decided to entrust the conduct of provincial affairs to one of consuls. After 146 BCE, as a result of the new provinces, i.e. Africa and Macedonia, it was decided to slightly modernize the provincial allocation system, introducing the institution of extending the governorship of the so-called prorogatio imperii.
The governor also administered justice with the help of a council (consilium) composed of representatives of Roman citizens living in the province. There was no appeal instance against the governor’s verdict.

Roman Italia

Italy has never been a Roman Province. Italy was the administrative part of the Apennine Peninsula. Officially, the territory of Italy belonged to Rome and had a special status. (more )

In the provinces, governors were accompanied by legatii, having some military and parliamentary powers. Their number was variable and dependent on the needs of a given province. The financial affairs of the province were handled by the quaestor. A large group in the viceroy’s surroundings was, however, a group of freeloaders, euphemistically called “companions” (contubernales) and “friends” (comites), who were recruited from representatives of young aristocratic families.
The first, more important ordering of matters related to the governorship falls only during the rule of the dictator Sulla. Sulla has opted for the rule that only former consuls (proconsuls) and former praetors (proclaimers)can become governors. Immediately after leaving office, they obtained prorogatio imperii and went to the province assigned to them. In the original assumptions, the governor’s term was one year, but over time it was decided to extend this period, usually up to 3 years, so that the custom would soon become a binding practice.

Empire period

Following the assumption of imperial dignity by Octavian Augustus, the Roman provinces were divided into two types:

  • imperial provinces – provinces whose nominal governor (in the rank of proconsul) on behalf of the senate and the Roman people was the emperor himself. In practice, the administration of the imperial provinces was exercised by legates freely appointed and dismissed by the emperor. These provinces were most often the borders of the Roman Empire, and legions under the direct authority of the emperor were stationed on them.
  • Senate provinces – these provinces were owned by the Roman people and were far from Limes and therefore not endangered – therefore, no legions were stationed there, which was to limit the possibility of the Senate taking power away from the emperor. Only Senate had the power to appoint governors (proconsul).

Roman provinces

In 14 CE, the senate provinces (provincia populi Romani) were:

The imperial provinces (provintiae Caesaris) were at different times:

The formation of the province

Chronologically the first province is Sicily, followed by Corsica and Sardinia, acquisitions of the Roman Empire after the First Punic War. A further expansion of the borders was followed by another confrontation with Carthage, the Second Punn War when it was Roman expanded into two Spanish provinces organized in 197 BCE: Further Spain(Ulterior) and Closer(Citerior).
The following years abounded in newer and newer territorial acquisitions. The struggles between Rome and Macedonia in the 2nd century BCE resulted in the creation of the province of Macedonia in 148 BCE A little later, in 146 BCE, as a result of The Third Punic War Africa was founded on the ruins of the defeated Carthage.

Roman Empire during the reign of Emperor Hadrian.
The territorial development of the Roman state is an unprecedented event in our cultural circle. It has never happened before or after that one country took over the entire known world. The Roman legions conquered all the lands around the Mediterranean Sea and reached there, especially in the north, where the inhabitants of the Mediterranean had never ventured before. It was not without reason that the Romans called the Mediterranean Sea Mare Nostrum, meaning “Our Sea”. At the peak of the state’s development, it united all lands under Roman rule.
Author: Andrei Nacu | Under Creative Commons Attribution license - On the same terms 3.0.

In the same year, part of Greece was incorporated into Macedonia. These territories were separated only in 27 BCE, creating, together with Epirus, the province of Achaia. In 129 BCE the lands of the Pergamon kingdom were turned into the province of Asia. In the same year, as a result of the conquests on the Illyrian coast, some of the captured lands were incorporated into the province of Macedonia.
Soon the Roman state also included new lands to the northwest. Earlier, at the end of the 3rd century BCE, a strip of land called Pre-Alpine Gaul (Gaul Cisaplina) was conquered, which as a province were organized only around 81 BCE, and later Gaul of the Trans-Alpine also called Narbonne Gaul (Galia Narbonensis), which in 121 BCE was organized into a new province (Gaul). The last conquest of these lands came under Julius Caesar.

The expansion of Rome definitely fell on the 1st century BCE. It was then that a number of lands in the eastern territory were captured. Cilicia was conquered as early as 102 BCE, in 96 BCE Cyrenaica, organized in 66 BCE as Cyrenaica and Crete In 75 BCE Bithynia was taken over, and in 64 BCE the provinces of Syria were organized, the conquest of which had already begun in 66 BCE, as well as Bithynia and Pontus. In 58 BCE Cyprus was incorporated. In 30 BCE Egypt was incorporated into the Empire, and in 25 Galatia.
In the years 16 – 12 BCE the Retia, Noricum, Pannonia, as well as the Alpine provinces were conquered, but only partially.

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