Provinces of the Roman Empire


History of the Provinces of the Roman Empire


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Perspective


In the history of the provinces of the Roman Empire, these were the largest administrative and territorial units of the Roman Empire. As such, provinces were generally governed by Rome’s political upper crust: senators, consuls, and praetors who had held office and were invested with imperium, the right of command. An exception was the province of Egypt, which was absorbed into the Empire by Augustus after Egypt’s Queen Cleopatra died, and was considered his personal property, in the manner of the earlier Hellenistic kings.

Rome began expanding beyond Italy as a consequence of the First Punic War with Carthage, a rival Mediterranean power. Sicilia was added to the empire in 241 BCE, as were Corsica and Sardinia a few years later. Over time, Rome kept expanding until there were no longer enough qualified officials to administer its new possessions.

Emperor Diocletian introduced the tetrarchy in 284 AD. This scheme of governance created a western and eastern emperor, each with a junior emperor. These four emperors ruled a different quarter of the empire, all under Diocletian. Then, he divided the empire again, into almost a hundred provinces.

Although the tetrarchs were soon gone, the four administrative areas were restored in 318 by Emperor Constantine, who also created his own capital, Constantinople. By this time, Rome itself had not been the imperial residence since 286, when Diocletian moved the seat of government to Mediolanum (modern Milan); he himself lived in Nicomedia. Provincial administration continued to evolve in the 4th century, with further variations on the theme of Eastern-Western co-emperors. Provinces and dioceses were split into new ones, much as the prefecture of Illyricum was abolished and reformed. With the rise of Odoacer in 476 and the downfall of the Western Roman Empire, the seat of government of what remained of the empire was permanently transferred to Constantinople, and Rome was left to the barbarians.

In the Eastern Roman Empire, Justinian discontinued the strict separation of civil and military authority that Diocletian had established in some provinces. This process continued with the establishment of the Exarchates in the 580s and ended with the creation of the Byzantine theme system in the 640s. These developments replaced entirely the older administrative arrangements of the provinces.


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Index

Provinces: Index | The Principate | Exploitation | Africa: SocietyCultureCarthage: SocietyCultureReligionPowerEconomy | Arabia: SocietyCulturePower | Armenia | Asia Minor: SocietyReligionPower | Britain: Power | Egypt: SocietyCulture: Medicine | Power | Economy | Gaul: Society: Celtic Gaul: Power: StruggleConquest | Economy | Greece: Regions | Judea: SocietyDispersion | Literature: Josephus | Power: Rebellion | Parthia: CulturePower | Sicily | Spain | Syria



the Principate

The Principate


Africa


Roamn province of Africa

Africa

history of Ancient Rome | Roman Empire | provinces | Africa | culture

Africa: Culture

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Carthage

Africa: Carthage

history of Ancient Rome | Roman Empire | provinces | Carthage | society

Carthage: Society

history of Ancient Rome | Roman Empire | provinces | Carthage | culture

Carthage: Culture

history of Ancient Rome | Roman Empire | provinces | Carthage | religion

Carthage: Religion

history of Ancient Rome | Roman Empire | provinces | Carthage | economy

Carthage: Economy

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Arabia


Roman province of Arabia | culture

Arabia: Culture

history of Ancient Rome | Roman Empire | provinces | Arabia | power

Arabia: Power


Armenia


Roman province of Armenia

Armenia


Asia Minor


Roman province of Asia Minor

Asia Minor

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Britain


Roman province of Britain

Britain


Egypt


Roman province of Egypt

Egypt

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history of Ancient Rome | Roman Empire | provinces | Egypt | culture

Egypt: Culture

history of Ancient Rome | Roman Empire | provinces | Egypt | power

Egypt: Power

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Gaul


history of Ancient Rome | Roman Empire | provinces | Gaul

Gaul

history of Ancient Rome | Roman Empire | provinces | Celtic Gaul

Celtic Gaul

history of Ancient Rome | Roman Empire | provinces | Gaul | power

Gaul: Power

history of Ancient Rome | Roman Empire | provinces | Gaul | conquest

Power: Conquest

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Judea


history of Ancient Rome | Roman Empire | provinces | Judea

Judea

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history of Ancient Rome | Roman Empire | provinces | Judea | literature

Judea: Literature

history of Ancient Rome | Roman Empire | provinces | Judea | literature | Josephus

Literature: Josephus


Parthia


history of Ancient Rome | Roman Empire | provinces | Parthia

Parthia

history of Ancient Rome | Roman Empire | provinces | Parthia | culture

Parthia: Culture

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history of Ancient Rome | Roman Empire | provinces | Parthia | power

Parthia: Power


Sicily


history of Ancient Rome | Roman Empire | provinces | Sicily

Sicily


Spain


history of Ancient Rome | Roman Empire | provinces | Spain

Spain


Syria


history of Ancient Rome | Roman Empire | provinces | Syria

Syria

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