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Roman province

A Roman province (Latin, provincia, pl. provinciae) was the largest territorial and administrative unit of the Roman Empire's foreign possessions (beyond the Italian peninsula). (The word province in modern English therefore has its origins in the term employed 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 AD, 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.


List of Roman provinces in 117 AD

  1. Achaea
  2. Aegyptus
  3. Africa
  4. Alpes Cottiae
  5. Alpes Maritimae
  6. Alpes Poeninae
  7. Arabia Petraea
  8. Asia
  9. Baleares
  10. Bithynia et Pontus (see Bithynia and Pontus)
  11. Britannia
  12. Cappadocia
  13. Cilicia
  14. Creta et Cyrene (see Cyrenaica, Crete)
  15. Cyprus
  16. Dalmatia
  17. Epirus
  18. Galatia
  19. Gallaecia
  20. Gallia Narbonensis
  21. Gallia Aquitania
  22. Gallia Belgica
  23. Gallia Lugdunensis
  24. Germania Inferior
  25. Germania Superior
  26. Hispania Baetica
  27. Hispania Tarraconensis
  28. Italia
  29. Iudaea
  30. Lusitania
  31. Lycia
  32. Macedonia
  33. Mauretania Caesarensis
  34. Mauretania Tingitana
  35. Moesia Inferior
  36. Moesia Superior
  37. Noricum
  38. Numidia
  39. Pannonia Inferior
  40. Pannonia Superior
  41. Pontus et Bithynia (see Pontus, Bithynia)
  42. Raetia
  43. Sardinia et Corsica (see Sardinia, Corsica)
  44. Sicilia
  45. Syria
  46. Thracia

List of Roman Provinces in 395 AD

Prefecture of Gaul

Diocese of Britannia

  1. Maxima Caesariensis
  2. Valentia
  3. Britannia I
  4. Britannia II
  5. Flavia Caesariensis

Diocese of Gaul

  1. Viennensis
  2. Lugdunensis I
  3. Lugdenensis II
  4. Lugdunensis III
  5. Lugdunensis IV
  6. Germania I
  7. Germania II
  8. Belgica I
  9. Belgica II
  10. Alpes Penniae et Graiae
  11. Maxima Sequanorum

Diocese of Vienne

  1. Viennensis
  2. Alpes Maritimae
  3. Aquitanica I
  4. Aquitanica II
  5. Novempopulana
  6. Narbonnensis I
  7. Narbonnensis II

Diocese of Spain

  1. Baetica
  2. Lusitania
  3. Gallaecia
  4. Tarraconensis
  5. Carthaginiensis
  6. Mauretania Tingitana
  7. Baleares

Prefecture of Italy

Diocese of Italy

  1. Venetia and Istria
  2. Aemilia
  3. Liguria
  4. Flaminia and Picenum Annonarium
  5. Alpes Cottiae
  6. Raetia I
  7. Raetia II

Diocese of Rome

  1. Campania
  2. Tuscania et Umbria
  3. Picenum Suburbicarium
  4. Sicilia
  5. Apulia et Calabria
  6. Bruttia et Lucania
  7. Samnium
  8. Sardinia
  9. Corsica
  10. Valeria

Diocese of Pannonia

  1. Pannonia Prima (I)
  2. Pannonia Secunda (II)
  3. Pannonia Savia
  4. Pannonia Valeria ripensis
  5. Dalmatia
  6. Noricum mediterraneum
  7. Noricum ripense

Diocese of Africa

  1. Africa (province)
  2. Byzacium
  3. Numidia
  4. Tripolitania
  5. Mauretania Sitifensis
  6. Mauretania Caesariensis

Prefecture of Illyricum

Diocese of Dacia

  1. Dacia mediterranea
  2. Moesia I
  3. Praevalitana
  4. Dardania
  5. Dacia ripensis

Diocese of Macedonia

  1. Macedonia
  2. Crete
  3. Thessaly
  4. Epirus vetus
  5. Epirus nova
  6. Macedonia Salutaris
  7. Achaea

Prefecture of the East

Diocese of Thracia

  1. Europe
  2. Thracia
  3. Haemimontium
  4. Rhodope
  5. Moesia II
  6. Scythia

Diocese of Asia

  1. Pamphylia
  2. Caria
  3. Lydia
  4. Lycia
  5. Lycaonia
  6. Pisidia
  7. Phrygia Pacatiana
  8. Phrygia Salutaria
  9. Asia
  • Hellespontus

Diocese of Pontus

  1. Bithynia
  2. Galatia
  3. Paphlagonia
  4. Honorias
  5. Galatia Salutaris
  6. Cappadocia I
  7. Cappadocia II
  8. Helenopontus
  9. Pontus Polemoniacus
  10. Armenia I
  11. Armenia II

Diocese of the East

  1. Palestine I
  2. Palestine II
  3. Palestine Salutaris
  4. Cilicia I
  5. Cilicia II
  6. Syria
  7. Syria Salutaris
  8. Cyprus
  9. Phoenicia
  10. Phoenicia Libani
  11. Eufratensis
  12. Osrhoene
  13. Mesopotamia
  14. Isauria
  15. Arabia

Diocese of Aegyptus

  1. Libya Superior
  2. Libya Inferior
  3. Thebais
  4. Aegyptus
  5. Arcadia
  6. Augustamnica

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Last updated: 02-10-2005 15:17:41
Last updated: 02-27-2005 05:06:20