Senatorial Province

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Roman provinces under Trajan (117 AD)
  • "Senatorial" Province
  • Imperial Province
  • Clientele States
  • Modern research traditionally describes a Roman province as a senatorial province , which was at least formally subject to the disposal of the senate during the imperial era . In theory, however, sovereignty lay with the Roman people; the provinces were therefore referred to in antiquity as "public provinces" (provinciae publicae) or "provinces of the Roman people" (provinciae populi Romani) , in contrast to the provinces that were directly under the emperor since Augustus (" imperial provinces ", provinciae) Caesaris ) and were administered by legati Augusti .

    The Senate determined, usually by lot, the governor of the provinces, who carried the title of proconsul , even if he had not yet been consul but only praetor . Only the rich provinces of Asia and Africa received a former consul as governor. They were each supported by a quaestor and a legate ( several in Asia and Africa ). The governorship in the two consular provinces was considered the culmination of a senatorial career.

    The "senatorial" provinces were usually the inner provinces on the Mediterranean . With the exception of the province of Africa , there were no legionary troops in them , only weak auxiliary troop associations . Shortly after the beginning of the sole rule of Augustus in 27 BC BC the Roman provinces were divided into public and imperial provinces. When the princeps left the administration of the pacified territories to the Senate and thus underlined his claim to have renewed the res publica , he, together with the endangered provinces, also retained command of about nine tenths of the army, as ancient authors such as Cassius Dio correctly recognized .

    At the death of Augustus in 14 there were the following provinciae publicae:

    The number of ten provinces corresponds to the number of former magistrates eligible as governors each year (two consuls and eight praetors).

    For a short time from 66/67 AD the province Sardinia et Corsica belonged to the provinciae publicae as a replacement for Achaea (Greece), which was temporarily released from the provincial administration by Nero . From the year 165 Lycia et Pamphylia was also a provincia populi Romani .


    • Werner Eck : Province. Your definition from a political-administrative point of view . In: Werner Eck: The administration of the Roman Empire in the high imperial era . Vol. 2. Reinhardt, Basel 1998, ISBN 3-7245-0962-6 , pp. 167-185.
    • Fergus Millar : “Senatorial” provinces: an institutionalized ghost . In: Ancient world 20 (1989), pp. 93-97.