Ancient Rome , a PROVINCE (
Latin : provincia, pl. provinciae) was
the basic, and, until the
Tetrarchy (293 AD), largest territorial and
administrative unit of the empire's territorial possessions outside of
Italy . 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. This exception was
unique, but not contrary to Roman law, as Egypt was considered
Augustus' personal property, following the tradition of earlier,
Latin term provincia also had a more general meaning,
* 1 Republican provinces
* 1.1 List of Republican provinces
* 2 Imperial provinces during the Principate
* 2.1 List of provinces created during the Principate
* 3 Late Antiquity
* 4 Primary sources for lists of provinces
* 4.1 Early
Roman Empire provinces
* 4.2 Late
Roman Empire provinces
* 5 See also
* 6 Notes
* 7 References
* 8 External links
Latin word provincia originally meant any task or set of
responsibilities assigned by the Senate to an individual who held
imperium ("right of command"), which was often a military command
within a specified theater of operations . 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
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
geographically defined. Republican provinces were administered in
one-year terms by the consuls and praetors who had held office the
previous year and who were invested with imperium.
Rome started expanding beyond
Italy during the
First Punic War . The
first permanent provinces to be annexed were
Sicily (Sicilia ) in 241
Sardinia ) 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 annual 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 imperial autocracy .
LIST OF REPUBLICAN PROVINCES
* 241 BC – Sicilia (Sicily) taken over from the
annexed at the end of the
First Punic War .
* 237 BC –
Sardinia ; these two islands were taken over
Carthaginians and annexed soon after the
Mercenary War , in
238 BC and 237 BC respectively.
* 197 BC –
Hispania Citerior ; along the east coast of the
Iberian Peninsula ); part of the territories taken over from the
* 197 BC -
Hispania Ulterior ; along the southern coast of the
Iberian Peninsula ); part of the territories taken over from the
Carthaginians in the Second Punic War.
* 147 BC – Macedonia ; mainland Greece. It was annexed after a
rebellion by the
Achaean League .
* 146 BC – Africa ; modern day
Tunisia and western
Libya ; home
Carthage ; annexed after the destruction of
Third Punic War
Third Punic War .
* 129 BC – Asia ; formerly the
Kingdom of Pergamon in western
Anatolia (modern Turkey) by its last king, Attalus III, in 133 BC.
* 120 BC –
Gallia Narbonensis (southern France); prior to its
annexation it was called
Gallia Transalpina (Gallia the other side of
the Alps) to distinguish it from
Gallia Cisalpina (Gaul this side of
the Alps, in northern Italy). It was annexed following attacks on the
allied Greek city of Massalia (
* 67 BC – Creta et Cyrenae ;
Cyrenaica was bequeathed to Rome in
78 BC. However, it was not organised as a province. It was
incorporated into the province of Creta et Cyrenae when
annexed in 67 BC.
* 63 BC – Pontus et
Bithynia ; the
Kingdom of Bithynia (in
Anatolia - Turkey) was bequeathed to Rome by its last
Nicomedes IV in 74 BC. It was organised as a
Roman province at
the end of the
Third Mithridatic War (73-63 BC) by
incorporated the eastern part of the defeated
Kingdom of Pontus
Kingdom of Pontus into
it in 63 BC.
* 63 BC –
Syria at the end of the Third
* 58 BC –
Cilicia was created as a province in
the sense of area of military command in 102 BC in a campaign against
piracy. The Romans controlled only a small area. In 74 BC
Pamphylia (to the east) were added to the small Roman possessions in
Cilicia came fully under Roman control towards the end of the
Third Mithridatic War - 73-63 BC. The province was reorganised by
Pompey in 63 BC.
Cyprus was annexed and added to this province in 58
* 46 BC - Africa Nova (eastern
Numidia - Algeria), Julius Caesar
Numidia and the new province called Africa Nova (new
Africa) to distinguish it from the older province of Africa, which
become known as Africa Vetus (Old Africa).
Gallia Cisalpina (in northern
Italy ) was a province in the sense of
an area of military command, but was never a province in the sense of
an administrative unit. During Rome's expansion in
Italy the Romans
assigned some areas as provinces in the sense of areas of military
command assigned to consuls or praetors (not proconsuls or propraetors
as in the case of administrative provinces) due to risks of rebellions
or invasions. This was applied to
Liguria because there was a series
Bruttium and to (
Calabria ) because of perceived risks
of rebellion. In the early days of Roman presence in Gallia Cisalpina
the issue was rebellion. Later the issue was risk of invasions by
warlike peoples east of Italy. The city of
Aquileia was founded to
Italy form invasions. Gaius
Julius Caesar granted the
inhabitants of this region Roman citizenship and incorporated the
region into Italy.
IMPERIAL PROVINCES DURING THE PRINCIPATE
Roman Empire at its greatest extent, under
imperial provinces are shaded green, senatorial provinces are shaded
pink, and client states are shaded gray
In the so-called Augustan Settlement of 27 BC, which established the
Roman Empire , the governance of the provinces was regulated. Gaius
Julius Caesar Octavianus , having emerged from the
Roman civil wars as
the undisputed victor and master of the Roman state, officially laid
down his powers, and in theory restored the authority of the Roman
Senate . Octavian himself assumed the title "
Augustus " and was given
to govern, in addition to Egypt, the strategically important provinces
of Gaul ,
Cyprus ). Under
Augustus, Roman provinces were classified as either public or
imperial, meaning that their governors were appointed by either the
Senate or by the emperor. Generally, the older provinces that existed
under the Republic were public. Public provinces were, as before 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 which province 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 where no legions
were based were ruled by a procurator (praefectus in Egypt), whom the
emperor selected from non-senators of equestrian rank. The status of a
province could change from time to time. In AD 68, of a total 36
provinces, 11 were public and 25 imperial. Of the latter, 15 were
under legati and 10 under procuratores or praefecti.
During the Principate, the number and size of provinces also changed,
either through conquest or through the division of existing provinces.
The larger or more heavily garrisoned provinces (for example
Moesia ) were subdivided into smaller provinces to prevent any single
governor from holding too much power.
LIST OF PROVINCES CREATED DURING THE PRINCIPATE
* 30 BC - Aegyptus ; Taken over by
Augustus after his defeat of Mark
Cleopatra VII of Egypt in 30 BC. It was the first imperial
province in that it was Augustus' own domain as the Egyptians
recognised him as their new pharaoh . Its proper initial name was
Alexandrea et Aegyptus. It was governed by Augustus' praefectus
Alexandreae et Aegypti.
* 27 BC – Achaia (southern and central Greece),
it from Macedonia (senatorial propraetorial province).
* 27 BC –
Hispania Tarraconensis ; former
(northern, central and eastern Spain) created with the reorganisation
of the provinces in
Augustus (imperial proconsular
* 27 BC -
Hispania Baetica ; former
Hispania Ulterior (southern
Spain ); created with the reorganisation of the provinces in Hispania
Augustus (senatorial propraetorial province).
* 27 BC -
Extremadura in Spain), created
with the reorganisation of the provinces in
Hispania by Augustus
(imperial proconsular province).
* 27 BC - Illyricum ,
Illyria and southern
Pannonia in 35-33 BC. Created as a senatorial province in 27 BC.
Pannonia was conquered during the Pannonian War (14-10 BC).
Subdivided into Dalmatia (a new name for Illyria) and Pannonia, which
were officially called Upper and Lower Illyricum respectively in 9 BC,
towards the end of the
Batonian War - initially a senatorial province;
it became an imperial propraetorial province in 11 BC, during the
Pannonian war. It was dissolved and the new provinces of Dalmatia and
Pannonia were created during the reign of
Vespasian (79-79). In 107
Pannonia was divided into
Pannonia Superior and
Pannonia Inferior -
imperial provinces (proconsular and propraetorial respectively).
* 27 BC or 16-13 BC –
Aquitania (south-western France) province
created in the territories in Gaul conquered by Julius Caesar; there
is uncertainty as to whether it was created with Augustus’ first
visit and the first census on Gaul or during Augustus’ visit in
16-13 (imperial proconsular province).
* 27 BC or 16-13 BC -
Gallia Lugdunensis (central and part of
northern France) province created in the territories in Gaul conquered
by Julius Caesar; there is uncertainty as to whether it was created
with Augustus’ first visit and the first census on Gaul or during
Augustus’ visit in 16-13 (imperial proconsular province).
* 27 BC or 16-13 BC -
Gallia Belgica (
Holland south of the River
Rhine, Belgium, Luxembourg, part of northern France and Germany west
of the Rhine; there is uncertainty as to whether it was created with
Augustus’ first visit and the first census on Gaul or during
Augustus’ visit in 16-13 (imperial proconsular province).
* 15 BC –
Raetia (imperial procuratorial province).
* 25BC – Galatia (central
Anatolia , Turkey), formerly a client
kingdom, it was annexed by
Augustus when Amyntas, its last king died.
(imperial propraetorial province)
* 12 BC –
Germania Magna , lost after three Roman legions were
routed in 9 AD.
* 6 AD? -
Moesia (on the east and south bank of the River Danube
part of modern
Serbia , the north of the
Republic of Macedonia
Republic of Macedonia ,
Bulgaria ), Conquered in 28 BC, originally it was a military
district under the province of Macedonia. The first mention of a
provincial governor was for 6 AD, at the beginning of the Batonian war
. In 85
Moesia was divided into
Moesia Superior and
(imperial proconsular provinces).
* 6 AD – Judaea , imperial procuratorial province (renamed Syria
Hadrian , and upgraded to proconsular province).
* 18 AD – Cappadocia (central
Anatolia - Turkey). Imperial
propraetorial (later proconsular) province.
* 42 AD –
Mauretania Tingitana (northern
Morocco ), after the
death of Ptolemy, the last king of Mauretania in 40 AD his kingdom was
annexed. It was begun by Caligula and was completed by
the defeat of the rebels. In 42 AD
Claudius divided it into two
provinces (imperial procuratorial province).
* 42 AD -
Mauretania Caesariensis , (western and central
after the death of Ptolemy, the last king of Mauretania in 40 his
kingdom was annexed. It was begun by Caligula and was completed by
Claudius with the defeat of the rebels. In 42 AD
Claudius divided it
into two provinces( imperial procuratorial province).
* 41/53 AD –
Austria , north-eastern
Bavaria ), it was incorporated into the Empire in 16 BC. It
was called a province, but it remained a client kingdom under the
control of an imperial procurator. It was turned into a proper
province during the reign of
Claudius (41–54) (imperial
* 43 AD – Britannia .
Claudius initiated the invasion of
Britannia. Up to 60 AD the Romans controlled the area south a line
from the River Humber to the Severn Estuary. Wales was finally subdued
in 78. In 78–84 Agricola conquered the north of England and
Scotland. Scotland was then abandoned (imperial proconsular province).
In 197 Septimius Severus divided Britannia into
Britannia Superior and
Britannia Inferior . Imperial provinces (proconsular and propraetorial
* 46 AD –
Thracia (Thrace, north-eastern Greece, south-eastern
Bulgaria and European Turkey), it was annexed by
* 47 AD? - Alpes Atrectianae et Poeninae (between
Augustus subdued its inhabitants, the Salassi, in 15
BC. It was incorporated into Raetia. The date of the creation of the
province is uncertain. It is usually set at the date of Claudius'
foundation of Forum Claudii Vallensium (Martigny), which became its
capital (imperial procuratorial province).
* 63 AD? -
Alpes Maritimae (on the
French Alps ), created as a
protectorate by Augustus, it probably became a province under Nero
Alpes Cottiae became a province (imperial procuratorial
* 63 AD –
Alpes Cottiae (between France and Italy), in 14 BC it
became a nominal prefecture which was run by the ruling dynasty of the
Cotii. It was named after the king Marcus Julius Cottius. It became a
province in 63 (imperial procuratorial province).
* 72 AD –
Commagene , its client king was deposed and Commagene
was annexed to Syria.
* 74 AD –
Lycia et Pamphylia , in 43 AD the emperor
Pamphylia had been a part of the province of Galatia.
Vespasian (reigned AD 69 - 79) merged
Lycia and Pamphylia.
* 83/84 AD –
Germania Superior (southern Germany) The push into
southern Germany up to the
Agri Decumates by Domitian created the
necessity to create this province, which had been a military district
Gallia Belgica when it was restricted to the west bank of the River
Rhine (imperial proconsular province).
* 83/84 AD -
Germania Inferior (
Holland south of the River
Belgium , and part of Germany west of the Rhine) originally a
military district under Gallia Belgica, Created when
was created (imperial proconsular province).
* 106 AD –
Arabia , formerly the Kingdom of Nabataea, it was
annexed without resistance by
Trajan (imperial propraetorial
* 107 AD – Dacia "Trajana" (the Romanian regions of south-eastern
Transylvania , the
Banat , and
Oltenia ), conquered by
Trajan in his
Dacian Wars (imperial proconsular province). Divided into Dacia
Dacia Inferior in 158 by
Antoninus Pius . Divided into
three provinces (Tres Daciae ) in 166 by
Marcus Aurelius :
Porolissensis, Apulensis and Malvensis (imperial procuratorial
provinces). Abandoned by
Aurelian in 271.
* 103/114 AD
Epirus Nova (in western Greece and southern Albania),
Epirus was originally under the province of Macedonia. It was placed
under Achaia in 27 BC except for its northernmost part, which remained
part of Macedonia. It became a separate province under Trajan,
sometime between 103 and 114 AD and was renamed
Epirus Nova (New
Epirus) (imperial procuratorial province).
* 114 AD - Armenia , annexed by Trajan, who deposed its client king.
Hadrian restored this client kingdom.
* 116 AD - Mesopotamia (
Iraq ) seized from the Parthians and annexed
by Trajan, who invaded the Parthian Empire in late 115. Given back to
the Parthians by
Hadrian in 118. In 198 Septimius Severus conquered a
small area in the north and named it Mesopotamia. It was attacked
twice by the Persians (imperial praefectorial province).
* 116 AD - Assyria ,
Trajan suppressed a revolt by Assyrians in
Mesopotamia and created the province.
Hadrian relinquished it in 118.
* 194 AD -
Syria Coele and
Syria Phoenice , Septimius Severus
Syria into these two units in the north and the south
respectively. Imperial provinces (proconsular and propraetorial
* 193 AD -
Numidia , was separated from
Africa proconsularis by
Septimius Severus (imperial propraetorial province).
* 214 AD -
Osrhoene , this kingdom (in northern Mesopotamia, in
parts of today's Iraq,
Syria and Turkey) was annexed.
* 271 AD -
Dacia Aureliana (most of
Bulgaria and Serbia) created by
Aurelian in the territory of the former
Moesia Superior after his
evacuation of Dacia Trajana beyond the River Danube.
Epirus (in western Greece and southern Albania), it was placed under
Achaia in 27 BC except for its northernmost part, which remained part
of Macedonia. Many of the above provinces were under Roman military
control or under the rule of Roman clients for a long time before
being officially constituted as civil provinces. Only the date of the
official formation of the province is marked above, not the date of
List of Late Roman provinces The
Roman Empire and its
administrative divisions, c. 395
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. In the 290s,
Diocletian divided the Empire anew into
almost a hundred provinces, including
Italy . Their governors were
hierarchically ranked, from the proconsuls of
Africa proconsularis and
Asia through those governed by consulares and correctores to the
praesides . These last were the only ones recruited from the
equestrian class . 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, known 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
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.
Provinces and dioceses were split to form new ones, the praetorian
prefecture of Illyricum was abolished and reformed. In the end, with
the rise of
Odoacer in 476 and the death of
Julius Nepos in 480,
administration of the effectively reduced Empire was permanently
unified in Constantinople.
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. 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 .
Justinian I made the next great changes in 534–536 by abolishing,
in some provinces, the strict separation of civil and military
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
period and the Byzantine (or "Later Roman") period. (As a matter of
scholarly convenience, the medieval phase of the
Roman Empire is today
conventionally referred to as Byzantine , after the original name of
the city Constantine rebuilt into the new capital.)
PRIMARY SOURCES FOR LISTS OF PROVINCES
EARLY ROMAN EMPIRE PROVINCES
Germania (book) (ca. 100)
Geography (Ptolemy) (ca. 140)
LATE ROMAN EMPIRE PROVINCES
Laterculus Veronensis (ca. 310)
Notitia dignitatum (ca. 400-420)
Polemii Silvii (ca. 430)
Synecdemus (ca. 520)
* ^ John Richardson, "Fines provinciae," in Frontiers in the Roman
World. Proceedings of the Ninth Workshop of the International Network
Impact of Empire (Durhan, 16–19 April 2009) (Brill, 2011), p. 2ff.,
and "The Administration of the Empire," in The Cambridge Ancient
History (Cambridge University Press, 1994), vol. 9, pp. 564–565,
Clifford Ando , "The Administration of the Provinces," in A
Companion to the
Roman Empire (Blackwell, 2010), p. 179.
Andrew Lintott , The Constitution of the
Roman Republic (Oxford
University Press, 1999), p. 113ff.;
T. Corey Brennan , The Praetorship
Roman Republic (Oxford University Press, 2000), pp. 626–627.
* ^ Lintott, Con