Roman province of
Egypt (Latin: Aegyptus,
pronounced [ae̯ˈɡʏptʊs]; Greek: Αἴγυπτος Aigyptos
[ɛ́ːɡyptos]) was established in 30 BC after Octavian (the future
emperor Augustus) defeated his rival Mark Antony, deposed Queen
Cleopatra VII, and annexed the
Ptolemaic Kingdom of
Egypt to the Roman
Empire. The province encompassed most of modern-day
Egypt except for
Sinai Peninsula (which would later be conquered by Trajan).
Aegyptus was bordered by the provinces of Creta et Cyrenaica to the
West and Iudaea (later Arabia Petraea) to the East.
The province came to serve as a major producer of grain for the empire
and had a highly developed urban economy. Aegyptus was by far the
wealthiest Eastern Roman province, and by far the wealthiest
Roman province outside of Italia. In Alexandria, its capital, it
possessed the largest port, and the second largest city of the Roman
1 Roman rule in Egypt
2 Roman government in Egypt
5 Social structure in early Roman Egypt
Egypt (33 AD–4th century)
7 Later Roman
Egypt (4th–6th centuries)
8 Episcopal sees
9 Sassanian Persian invasion (619 AD)
10 Arab Islamic conquest (639–646 AD)
13 Further reading
14 External links
Roman rule in Egypt
Maps of Roman Egypt
Northern Africa under Roman rule
Roman Empire during the reign of
Hadrian (117 – 138). Two
legions were deployed in the imperial province of Ægyptus (Egypt) in
the year 125.
As a key province, but also the 'crown domain' where the emperors
succeeded the divine Pharaohs,
Egypt was ruled by a uniquely styled
Praefectus augustalis ('Augustal prefect'), instead of the traditional
senatorial governor of other Roman provinces. The prefect was a man of
equestrian rank and was appointed by the Emperor. The first prefect of
Aegyptus, Gaius Cornelius Gallus, brought Upper
Egypt under Roman
control by force of arms, and established a protectorate over the
southern frontier district, which had been abandoned by the later
The second prefect, Aelius Gallus, made an unsuccessful expedition to
Arabia Petraea and even Arabia Felix. The
Red Sea coast of
Aegyptus was not brought under Roman control until the reign of
Claudius. The third prefect, Gaius Petronius, cleared the neglected
canals for irrigation, stimulating a revival of agriculture. Petronius
even led a campaign into present-day central
Sudan against the Kingdom
of Kush at Meroe, whose queen Imanarenat had previously attacked Roman
Egypt. Failing to acquire permanent gains, in 22 BC he razed the city
Napata to the ground and retreated to the north.
From the reign of
Nero onward, Aegyptus enjoyed an era of prosperity
which lasted a century. Much trouble was caused by religious conflicts
between the Greeks and the Jews, particularly in Alexandria, which
after the destruction of
Jerusalem in 70 became the world centre of
Jewish religion and culture. Under
Trajan a Jewish revolt occurred,
resulting in the suppression of the Jews of
Alexandria and the loss of
all their privileges, although they soon returned. Hadrian, who twice
visited Aegyptus, founded
Antinoöpolis in memory of his drowned lover
Antinous. From his reign onward buildings in the Greco-Roman style
were erected throughout the country
Antoninus Pius oppressive taxation led to a revolt in 139, of
the native Egyptians, which was suppressed only after several years of
fighting. This Bucolic War, led by one Isidorus, caused great damage
to the economy and marked the beginning of Egypt's economic decline.
Avidius Cassius, who led the Roman forces in the war, declared himself
emperor in 175, and was acknowledged by the armies of Syria and
On the approach of Marcus Aurelius, Cassius was deposed and killed and
the clemency of the emperor restored peace. A similar revolt broke out
in 193, when
Pescennius Niger was proclaimed emperor on the death of
Pertinax. The Emperor
Septimius Severus gave a constitution to
Alexandria and the provincial capitals in 202.[clarification needed]
Caracalla (211–217) granted Roman citizenship to all Egyptians, in
common with the other provincials, but this was mainly to extort more
taxes, which grew increasingly onerous as the needs of the emperors
for more revenue grew more desperate.
There was a series of revolts, both military and civilian, through the
3rd century. Under Decius, in 250, the Christians again suffered from
persecution, but their religion continued to spread. The prefect of
Aegyptus in 260, Mussius Aemilianus, first supported the Macriani,
usurpers during the rule of Gallienus, and later, in 261, became a
usurper himself, but was defeated by Gallienus.
Zenobia, queen of Palmyra, took the country away from the Romans when
she conquered Aegyptus in 269, declaring herself the Queen of Egypt
also. This warrior queen claimed that
Egypt was an ancestral home of
hers through a familial tie to Cleopatra VII. She was well educated
and familiar with the culture of Egypt, its religion, and its
language. She lost it later when the Roman emperor, Aurelian, severed
amicable relations between the two countries and retook
Egypt in 274.
Two generals based in Aegyptus, Probus and Domitius Domitianus, led
successful revolts and made themselves emperors.
Alexandria from Domitius in 298 and reorganised the whole province.
His edict of 303 against the Christians began a new era of
persecution. This was the last serious attempt to stem the steady
growth of Christianity in Egypt, however.
Roman government in Egypt
Further information: List of governors of Roman Egypt
Rome overtook the Ptolemaic system in place for areas of Egypt,
they made many changes. The effect of the Roman conquest was at first
to strengthen the position of the Greeks and of Hellenism against
Egyptian influences. Some of the previous offices and names of offices
under the Hellenistic Ptolemaic rule were kept, some were changed, and
some names would have remained but the function and administration
would have changed.
The Romans introduced important changes in the administrative system,
aimed at achieving a high level of efficiency and maximizing revenue.
The duties of the prefect of Aegyptus combined responsibility for
military security through command of the legions and cohorts, for the
organization of finance and taxation, and for the administration of
The reforms of the early 4th century had established the basis for
another 250 years of comparative prosperity in Aegyptus, at a cost of
perhaps greater rigidity and more oppressive state control. Aegyptus
was subdivided for administrative purposes into a number of smaller
provinces, and separate civil and military officials were established;
the praeses and the dux. The province was under the supervision of the
count of the Orient (i.e. the vicar) of the diocese headquartered in
Antioch in Syria.
Emperor Justinian abolished the diocese of
Egypt in 538 and
re-combined civil and military power in the hands of the dux with a
civil deputy (the praeses) as a counterweight to the power of the
church authorities. All pretense of local autonomy had by then
vanished. The presence of the soldiery was more noticeable, its power
and influence more pervasive in the routine of town and village life.
Roman trade with India started from Aegyptus according to the Periplus
of the Erythraean Sea (1st century).
The economic resources that this imperial government existed to
exploit had not changed since the Ptolemaic period, but the
development of a much more complex and sophisticated taxation system
was a hallmark of Roman rule. Taxes in both cash and kind were
assessed on land, and a bewildering variety of small taxes in cash, as
well as customs dues and the like, was collected by appointed
A massive amount of Aegyptus's grain was shipped downriver (north)
both to feed the population of
Alexandria and for export to the Roman
capital. There were frequent complaints of oppression and extortion
from the taxpayers.
The Roman government had actively encouraged the privatization of land
and the increase of private enterprise in manufacture, commerce, and
trade, and low tax rates favored private owners and entrepreneurs. The
poorer people gained their livelihood as tenants of state-owned land
or of property belonging to the emperor or to wealthy private
landlords, and they were relatively much more heavily burdened by
rentals, which tended to remain at a fairly high level.
Overall, the degree of monetization and complexity in the economy,
even at the village level, was intense. Goods were moved around and
exchanged through the medium of coin on a large scale and, in the
towns and the larger villages, a high level of industrial and
commercial activity developed in close conjunction with the
exploitation of the predominant agricultural base. The volume of
trade, both internal and external, reached its peak in the 1st and 2nd
By the end of the 3rd century, major problems were evident. A series
of debasements of the imperial currency had undermined confidence in
the coinage, and even the government itself was contributing to
this by demanding more and more irregular tax payments in kind, which
it channeled directly to the main consumers, the army personnel. Local
administration by the councils was careless, recalcitrant, and
inefficient; the evident need for firm and purposeful reform had to be
squarely faced in the reigns of
Diocletian and Constantine I.
This wealthiest of provinces could be held militarily by a very small
force; and the threat implicit in an embargo on the export of grain
supplies, vital to the provisioning of the city of
Rome and its
populace, was obvious. Internal security was guaranteed by the
presence of three Roman legions (later reduced to two, then one Legio
II Traiana) stationed at the grand capital Alexandria. Each of these
numbered around 5000 strong, and several units of auxiliaries.
In the first decade of Roman rule the spirit of Augustan imperialism
looked farther afield, attempting expansion to the east and to the
south. Most of the early Roman troops stationed there were
Greco-Macedonians and native
Egyptians once part of the dissolved
Ptolemaic army finding service for Rome. Eventually Romans or
Romanized people were a majority.
Social structure in early Roman Egypt
See also: Fayum mummy portraits
Citizen of Roman
Egypt (Fayum mummy portrait)
Bust of Roman Nobleman, c. 30 BC–50 AD, Brooklyn Museum
Possible depiction of the province of
Egypt from the Hadrianeum in
The social structure in Aegyptus under the Romans was both unique and
complicated. On the one hand, the Romans continued to use many of the
same organizational tactics that were in place under the leaders of
the Ptolemaic period. At the same time, the Romans saw the Greeks in
Aegyptus as “Egyptians”, an idea that both the native Egyptians
and Greeks would have rejected. To further compound the whole
situation, Jews, who themselves were very Hellenized overall, had
their own communities, separate from both Greeks and native
The Romans began a system of social hierarchy that revolved around
ethnicity and place of residence. Other than Roman citizens, a Greek
citizen of one of the Greek cities had the highest status, and a rural
Egyptian would be in the lowest class. In between those classes was
the metropolite, who was almost certainly of Hellenic origin. Gaining
citizenship and moving up in ranks was very difficult and there were
not many available options for ascendancy.
One of the routes that many followed to ascend to another caste was
through enlistment in the army. Although only Roman citizens could
serve in the legions, many Greeks found their way in. The native
Egyptians could join the auxiliary forces and attain citizenship upon
discharge. The different groups had different rates of taxation
based on their social class. The Greeks were exempt from the poll tax,
while Hellenized inhabitants of the nome capitals were taxed at a
lower rate than the native Egyptians, who could not enter the army,
and paid the full poll tax.
The social structure in Aegyptus is very closely linked to the
governing administration. Elements of centralized rule that were
derived from the
Ptolemaic period lasted into the 4th century. One
element in particular was the appointment of strategoi to govern the
‘nomes’, the traditional administrative divisions of Egypt.
Boulai, or town councils, in
Egypt were only formally constituted by
Septimius Severus. It was only under
Diocletian later in the 3rd
century that these boulai and their officers acquired important
administrative responsibilities for their nomes. The Augustan takeover
introduced a system of compulsory public service, which was based on
poros (property or income qualification), which was wholly based on
social status and power. The Romans also introduced the poll tax which
was similar to tax rates that the Ptolemies levied, but the Romans
gave special low rates to citizens of metropolises. The city of
Oxyrhynchus had many papyri remains that contain much information on
the subject of social structure in these cities. This city, along with
Alexandria, shows the diverse set-up of various institutions that the
Romans continued to use after their takeover of Egypt.
Just as under the Ptolemies,
Alexandria and its citizens had their own
special designations. The capital city enjoyed a higher status and
more privileges than the rest of Egypt. Just as it was under the
Ptolemies, the primary way of becoming a citizen of Roman Alexandria
was through showing when registering for a deme that both parents were
Alexandrian citizens. Alexandrians were the only
Egyptians that could
obtain Roman citizenship.
If a common Egyptian wanted to become a Roman citizen he would first
have to become an Alexandrian citizen. The Augustan period in Egypt
saw the creation of urban communities with “Hellenic” landowning
elites. These landowning elites were put in a position of privilege
and power and had more self-administration than the Egyptian
population. Within the citizenry, there were gymnasiums that Greek
citizens could enter if they showed that both parents were members of
the gymnasium based on a list that was compiled by the government in
The candidate for the gymnasium would then be let into the ephebus.
There was also the council of elders known as the gerousia. This
council of elders did not have a boulai to answer to. All of this
Greek organization was a vital part of the metropolis and the Greek
institutions provided an elite group of citizens. The Romans looked to
these elites to provide municipal officers and well-educated
administrators. These elites also paid lower poll-taxes than the
local native Egyptians, fellahin. It is well documented that
Alexandrians in particular were able to enjoy lower tax-rates on
These privileges even extended to corporal punishments. Romans were
protected from this type of punishment while native
whipped. Alexandrians, on the other hand, had the privilege of merely
being beaten with a rod. Although
Alexandria enjoyed the greatest
status of the Greek cities in Egypt, it is clear that the other Greek
cities, such as Antinoopolis, enjoyed privileges very similar to the
ones seen in Alexandria. All of these changes amounted to the
Greeks being treated as an ally in
Egypt and the native
treated as a conquered race.
The Gnomon of the Idios Logos shows the connection between law and
status. It lays out the revenues it deals with, mainly fines and
confiscation of property, to which only a few groups were apt. The
Gnomon also confirms that a freed slave takes his former master’s
social status. The Gnomon demonstrates the social controls that the
Romans had in place through monetary means based on status and
Egypt (33 AD–4th century)
Part of a series on the
History of Egypt
Early Dynastic Period
1st Intermediate Period
2nd Intermediate Period
3rd Intermediate Period
Twenty-sixth Dynasty of Egypt
Twenty-eighth Dynasty of Egypt
Twenty-ninth Dynasty of Egypt
Thirtieth Dynasty of Egypt
Macedonian and Ptolemaic Egypt
Roman and Byzantine Egypt
30 BC–641 AD
Khedivate of Egypt
Sultanate of Egypt
Kingdom of Egypt
The Patriarchate of
Alexandria is held to be founded by Mark the
Evangelist around 42.
The ancient religion of
Egypt put up surprisingly little resistance to
the spread of Christianity. Possibly its long history of collaboration
with the Greek and Roman rulers of
Egypt had robbed its religious
leaders of authority. Alternatively, the life-affirming native
religion may have begun to lose its appeal among the lower classes as
a burden of taxation and liturgical services instituted by the Roman
emperors reduced the quality of life.
In a religious system which views earthly life as eternal, when
earthly life becomes strained and miserable, the desire for such an
everlasting life loses its appeal. Thus, the focus on poverty and
meekness found a vacuum among the Egyptian population. In addition,
many Christian tenets such as the concept of the trinity, a
resurrection of deity and union with the deity after death had close
similarities with the native religion of ancient Egypt.[citation
needed] Or it may simply have been because branches of the native
religion and Christianity had converged to a point where their
similarities made the change a minor one.
By 200 it is clear that
Alexandria was one of the great Christian
centres. The Christian apologists Clement of
Alexandria and Origen
both lived part or all of their lives in that city, where they wrote,
taught, and debated.
Edict of Milan
Edict of Milan in 313,
Constantine I ended the persecution of
Christians. Over the course of the 5th century, paganism was
suppressed and lost its following, as the poet Palladius bitterly
noted. It lingered underground for many decades: the final edict
against paganism was issued in 435, but graffiti at
Philae in Upper
Egypt proves worship of
Isis persisted at its temples into the 6th
century. Many Egyptian Jews also became Christians, but many others
refused to do so, leaving them as the only sizable religious minority
in a Christian country.
No sooner had the Egyptian Church achieved freedom and supremacy than
it became subject to a schism and prolonged conflict which at times
descended into civil war.
Alexandria became the centre of the first
great split in the Christian world, between the Arians, named for the
Alexandrian priest Arius, and their opponents, represented by
Athanasius, who became Archbishop of
Alexandria in 326 after the First
Council of Nicaea rejected Arius's views. The Arian controversy caused
years of riots and rebellions throughout most of the 4th century. In
the course of one of these, the great temple of Serapis, the
stronghold of paganism, was destroyed.
Athanasius was alternately
Alexandria and reinstated as its Archbishop between five
and seven times.
Egypt had an ancient tradition of religious speculation, enabling a
variety of controversial religious views to thrive there. Not only did
Arianism flourish, but other doctrines, such as
Manichaeism, either native or imported, found many followers. Another
religious development in
Egypt was the monasticism of the Desert
Fathers, who renounced the material world in order to live a life of
poverty in devotion to the Church.
Egyptian Christians took up monasticism with such enthusiasm that the
Valens had to restrict the number of men who could become
Egypt exported monasticism to the rest of the Christian world.
Another development of this period was the development of Coptic, a
form of the Ancient
Egyptian language written with the Greek alphabet
supplemented by several signs to represent sounds present in Egyptian
which were not present in Greek. It was invented to ensure the correct
pronunciation of magical words and names in pagan texts, the so-called
Greek Magical Papyri. Coptic was soon adopted by early Christians to
spread the word of the gospel to native
Egyptians and it became the
liturgical language of Egyptian Christianity and remains so to this
Christianity was quickly accepted by the people who were oppressed in
first-century Roman Egypt. Christianity eventually spread out west to
the Berbers. The Coptic Church was established in Egypt. Donatist
Christianity blended with local African religious practices and
beliefs. Donatus and some other African bishops stepped out of line
according to the Romans and the Romans persecuted the Christians in
Northern Africa. Since Christianity blended it with local traditions
it never truly united the people against Arabian forces in the seventh
and eight centuries. Later on in the seventh and eighth centuries,
Christianity spread out to Nubia. 
Egypt (4th–6th centuries)
A map of the Near East in 565, showing Byzantine
Egypt and its
Further information: Diocese of Egypt
The reign of Constantine also saw the founding of
Constantinople as a
new capital for the Roman Empire, and in the course of the 4th century
the Empire was divided in two, with
Egypt finding itself in the
Eastern Empire with its capital at Constantinople. Latin, never well
established in Egypt, would play a declining role with Greek
continuing to be the dominant language of government and scholarship.
During the 5th and 6th centuries the Eastern Roman Empire, today known
as the Byzantine Empire, gradually transformed itself into a
thoroughly Christian state whose culture differed significantly from
its pagan past.
The fall of the Western Empire in the 5th century further isolated the
Egyptian Romans from Rome's culture and hastened the growth of
Christianity. The triumph of Christianity led to a virtual abandonment
of pharaonic traditions: with the disappearance of the Egyptian
priests and priestesses who officiated at the temples, no-one could
read the hieroglyphs of Pharaonic Egypt, and its temples were
converted to churches or abandoned to the desert.
The Eastern Empire became increasingly "oriental" in style as its
links with the old Græco-Roman world faded. The Greek system of local
government by citizens had now entirely disappeared. Offices, with new
Byzantine names, were almost hereditary in the wealthy land-owning
families. Alexandria, the second city of the empire, continued to be a
centre of religious controversy and violence.
Cyril, the patriarch of Alexandria, convinced the city's governor to
expel the Jews from the city in 415 with the aid of the mob, in
response to the Jews' alleged nighttime massacre of many
Christians. The murder of the philosopher
March 415 marked the final end of classical Hellenic culture in
Egypt. Another schism in the Church produced a
prolonged civil war and alienated
Egypt from the Empire.
The new religious controversy was over the nature of Jesus of
Nazareth. The issue was whether he had two natures, human and divine,
or a combined one (hypostatic union from His humanity and divinity).
This may seem an arcane distinction, but in an intensely religious age
it was enough to divide an empire. The
Miaphysite controversy arose
after the First Council of
Constantinople in 381 and continued until
Council of Chalcedon
Council of Chalcedon in 451, which ruled in favour of the position
that Jesus was "In two natures" due to confusing Miaphytism (combined)
with Monophystism (single).
The Monophysite belief was not held by the miaphysites as they stated
that Jesus was out of two natures in one nature called, the "Incarnate
Logos of God". Many of the miaphysites claimed that they were
misunderstood, that there was really no difference between their
position and the Chalcedonian position, and that the Council of
Chalcedon ruled against them because of political motivations alone.
The Church of
Alexandria split from the Churches of
Constantinople over this issue, creating what would become the Coptic
Orthodox Church of Alexandria, which remains a major force in Egyptian
religious life today.
Egypt and Syria remained hotbeds of
Miaphysite sentiment, and organised resistance to the Chalcedonian
view was not suppressed until the 570s.
Egypt nevertheless continued to be an important economic center for
the Empire supplying much of its agriculture and manufacturing needs
as well as continuing to be an important center of scholarship. It
would supply the needs of the
Byzantine Empire and the Mediterranean
as a whole. The reign of Justinian (527–565) saw the Empire
Rome and much of
Italy from the barbarians, but these
successes left the empire's eastern flank exposed. The Empire's "bread
basket" now lacked for protection.
Ancient episcopal sees of the
Roman province of Aegyptus Primus (I)
listed in the
Annuario Pontificio as titular sees,  suffragans of
the Patriarchate of Alexandria :
Butus (near Desuq? Com-Casir?)
Coprithis (Cabrit, Cobrit)
Phatanus (El-Batanu, El-Batnu)
Mariotes (Lake Mariout)
Metelis (Kom el-Ghoraf)
Petra in Aegypto (Hagar-En-Nauatiyeh)
Taua (Thaouah? near Ebiar?)
Ancient episcopal sees of the
Roman province of Aegyptus Secundus (II)
listed in the
Annuario Pontificio as titular sees :
Cynopolis in Aegypto
Cynopolis in Aegypto (Banâm Benâ)
*Diospolis Inferior (*Tell el-Balamun)
Pachnemunis (Kom el-Khanziri)
Phragonis (Tell-El-Faraïn, Côm-Faraïn)
Sassanian Persian invasion (619 AD)
Byzantine Empire in 629 after
Heraclius had reconquered Syria,
Egypt from the Sassanid Empire.
Roman–Persian Wars and Sasanian Egypt
The Persian conquest of Egypt, beginning in AD 619 or 618, was one of
the last Sassanid triumphs in the Roman-Persian Wars against
Byzantium. From 619 - 628, they incorporated
Egypt once again within
their territories, the previous (much longer) time being under the
Khosrow II Parvêz had begun this war in retaliation for
the assassination of Emperor Maurice (582–602) and had achieved a
series of early successes, culminating in the conquests of Jerusalem
A Byzantine counteroffensive launched by Emperor
Heraclius in the
spring of 622 shifted the advantage, and the war was brought to an end
by the fall of Khosrow on 25 February 628 (Frye, pp. 167–70).
Egyptians had no love of the emperor in
Constantinople and put up
little resistance. Khosrow's son and successor,
Kavadh II Šêrôe
(Šêrôy), who reigned until September, concluded a peace treaty
returning territories conquered by the Sassanids to the Eastern Roman
The Persian conquest allowed
Miaphysitism to resurface in the open in
Egypt, and when imperial rule was restored by Emperor
629, the Miaphysites were persecuted and their patriarch expelled.
Egypt was thus in a state of both religious and political alienation
from the Empire when a new invader appeared.
Arab Islamic conquest (639–646 AD)
The Mediterranean world in 650, after the
Arabs had conquered Egypt
and Syria from the Byzantines.
Main article: Muslim conquest of Egypt
An army of 4,000
Arabs led by
Amr Ibn Al-Aas
Amr Ibn Al-Aas was sent by the Caliph
Umar, successor to Muhammad, to spread Islamic rule to the west. Arabs
Egypt from Palestine in December 639, and advanced
rapidly into the Nile Delta. The Imperial garrisons retreated into the
walled towns, where they successfully held out for a year or more.
Arabs sent for reinforcements, and in April 641 they besieged and
captured Alexandria. The Byzantines assembled a fleet with the aim of
recapturing Egypt, and won back
Alexandria in 645. The Muslims retook
the city in 646, completing the Muslim conquest of Egypt. 40,000
civilians were evacuated to
Constantinople with the imperial fleet.
Thus ended 975 years of Græco-Roman rule over Egypt.
Mummy Mask of a Man, early 1st century AD, 72.57, Brooklyn Museum
Funerary masks uncovered in Fayoum, 1st century.
Hadrian coin celebrating Ægyptus Province, struck c. 135. In the
Egypt is personified as a reclining woman holding the sistrum
of Hathor. Her left elbow rests on a basket of grain, while an ibis
stands on the column at her feet.
Zenobia coin reporting her title as queen of
Egypt (Augusta), and
showing her diademed and draped bust on a crescent. The obverse shows
a standing figure of Ivno Regina (Juno) holding a patera in her right
hand and a sceptre in her left hand, with a peacock at her feet and a
brilliant star on the left.
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Provinces of the early
Roman Empire (117 AD)
Bithynia and Pontus
Corsica and Sardinia
Crete and Cyrenaica
Lycia et Pamphylia
Italy was never constituted as a province, instead retaining a
special juridical status until Diocletian's reforms.
Roman provinces (4th–7th centuries AD)
As found in the Notitia Dignitatum. Provincial administration reformed
and dioceses established by Diocletian, c. 293. Permanent
praetorian prefectures established after the death of Constantine I.
Empire permanently partitioned after 395. Exarchates of Ravenna and
Africa established after 584. After massive territorial losses in the
7th century, the remaining provinces were superseded by the theme
system in c. 640–660, although in Asia Minor and parts of
Greece they survived under the themes until the early 9th century.
Western Empire (395–476)
Diocese of Gaul
Alpes Poeninae et Graiae
Diocese of Vienne1
Diocese of Spain
Diocese of the Britains
Diocese of Suburbicarian Italy
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Lucania et Bruttii
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Diocese of Annonarian Italy
Liguria et Aemilia
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Diocese of Africa2
Africa proconsularis (Zeugitana)
Diocese of Pannonia3
Eastern Empire (395–c. 640)
Diocese of Dacia
Diocese of Macedonia
Macedonia II Salutaris
of the East
Diocese of Thrace5
Diocese of Asia5
Diocese of Pontus5
Armenia III (536)
Armenia IV (536)
Galatia II Salutaris5
Diocese of the East5
Palaestina III Salutaris
Phoenice II Libanensis
Syria II Salutaris
Diocese of Egypt5
Quaestura exercitus (536)
1 Later the Septem Provinciae
2 Re-established after reconquest by the Eastern Empire in 534 as
the separate Prefecture of Africa
3 Later the Diocese of Illyricum
4 Placed under the
Quaestura exercitus in 536
5 Affected (i.e. boundaries modified, abolished or renamed) by
Justinian I's administrative reorganiz