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PROVI´NCIA This term had originally no geographical signification, but denoted the functions prescribed for a Roman magistrate by law, custom, or agreement (e.g. urbana provincia, Liv. 31.6). Whether it is derived from provincere (as is suggested by Festus) or is an abbreviated form of providentia, is a moot point among scholars and need not be discussed here. Naturally enough it was employed to express a hostile district or territory assigned to a Roman general as the field of his operations, and thence acquired its special geographical meaning as a country outside Italy under Roman dominion and governed by a magistrate of Rome.

The Roman State, in its complete development, consisted of two parts with distinct organisations, Italy and the Provinces. Its provincial dominions commenced with Sicily, which became a Roman province B.C. 241 (Cic. in Verr. 2.1, 2): Sardinia was added six years later, and the two Spains B.C. 179: by the time at which the Republic gave place to the Empire the Roman sway had been extended over Gaul, Illyricum, Macedonia, Greece, parts of Africa, and most of Asia: in B.C. 50 there were fourteen provinciae, a list of which is given by Mr. Watson in his edition of Cicero's Letters, p. 237, note. The [p. 2.507]organisation of a new territory, on its conquest, did not proceed upon uniform and inflexible lines. The conquering general as a rule sketched its main principles, subject to the approval of the senate (Plut. Marc. 23; Appian, de Bell. Civ. 2.9), though in very important cases the latter sent a commission of its own members, usually ten in number, with instructions for his guidance (Liv. 45.17; Appian, de reb. Hisp. 99, de reb. Pun. 135; Sallust, Sal. Jug. 16; Plut. Luc. 35, 36). The forma provinciae was thus given either by a magisterial decree issued by the commanding consul or other magistrate in virtue of his imperium, or by a senatusconsultum, which in both cases was loosely known as a lex and named after its immediate author. The first regulations for Sicily, for instance, were made by Marcellus (Liv. 25.40), but more comprehensive and minute provisions were laid down. B.C. 131 by P. Rupilius (Cic. in Verr. 2.16, 39; V. Max. 6.9, 8): similarly we read of a Lex Pompeia in Pontus and Bithynia (Plin. Ep. 10.83, &c.), a Lex Lentuli in Cyprus (Cic. Fam. 13.4. 8), and a Lex Mummia in Achaia. The arrangements made by such ordinances concerned primarily the fields of finance and judicature, and invariably comprised a very minute division of the country into districts for purposes of taxation. But when they had secured themselves against rebellion by extinguishing leagues and combinations which might endanger their supremacy, and provided for the collection of the revenue, the Romans, so far as they found it possible, left pre-existing institutions intact. In Sicily, for instance, the Lex Hieronica, the judicial and financial regulalations established by Hiero the ally of Rome, were maintained in their entirety, and no Roman governor, according to Cicero (in Verr. 3.6, 12-15), was known to violate them till the time of Verres. [DECUMAE] The same policy was followed in Egypt (Marquardt, Röm. Staatsverwaltung, 1.279-296) and in the Greek East. It is of the organisation of Sicily that we have the fullest knowledge, from the large notices of the subject in the Verrine orations of Cicero, The island was divided into an eastern and a western district, with Syracuse as the capital of the former and Lilybaeum of the latter: a quaestor resided at each, receiving. from the Roman Aerarium the sums necessary for the administration of his district, and collecting the taxes, except those which were let out by the censors at Rome. The towns were not all treated in the same manner. Messana, Tauromenium, and Netum were made FOEDERATAE CIVITATES and retained their land. Five other cities, among them Panormus and Segesta, were. “Liberae et Immunes,” --that is, they paid no tithe; but it does not appear whether they were free from the burdens to which the foederatae civitates as such were subject by virtue of their foedus with Rome. Seventeen conquered towns forfeited their land, which was restored (as Possessio, not in absolute ownership) on condition of their paying the decumae and scriptura. The towns which paid tithe were called by the general name of Stipendiariae. The settlement of the municipal constitutions of the towns was generally left to the citizens; but in some instances, as in that of C. Claudius Marcellus and Alesa, a constitution was given by some Roman, at the request, as it appears, of the town. The Senate and the People still continued as the component parts of the old Greek cities. Cicero, (in Verr. 2.55, 137, &c.) mentions a body of 130 men, called Censors, who were appointed to take the census of Sicily every five years after the Roman fashion. The island was also bound to furnish and maintain soldiers and sailors for the service of the state, and to pay tributum for the carrying on of wars; and Rome also appropriated the Portoria or harbour dues, which were let out to persons in the metropolis to farm. The governor might take provisions for the use of himself and his cohors on condition of paying for them. In the condition of the two Spanish provinces there was greater diversity. Pliny (Plin. Nat. 3.7) mentions Coloniae, Municipia or Oppida Civium Romanorum, Latini veteres or towns “Latio antiquitus donata,” Foederati. and Oppida Stipendiaria. The distribution of the, provincial territory into fora or conventus for judicial purposes, which is spoken of below, seems to have sometimes caused great confusion, especially in the East. Strabo remarks (xiii. p. 629) that the boundaries of Phrygia, Lydia, Caria, and Mysia were confused, and that the Romans had added to the complication by not attending to the subsisting national divisions, but making, the administrative divisions (διοικήσεις): different, in which are the Fora (ἀγοράς, MS.) and the administration of justice. The word ἀγορὰ probably represents conventus (as to the reading, see Casaubon's note).

The first provincial governors were praetors specially created for the purpose, in addition to the two praetors who administered justice at Rome (Liv. Epit. 20). They held office for a year only, except in Spain, where a Lex Baebia for some while extended their tenure of it to two years. Between the settlement of Spain and the Sullan reforms five new provinces were created, viz. Macedonia, Africa, Asia, Narbonensis, and Cilicia, and the government of these was provided for by “proroguing” for a year the imperium of the consuls and the two praetors whose functions properly lay in the city, two ex-consuls and two ex-praetors being thus annually available for provincial command. The “prorogation” was effected by a special plebiscitum. The Lex Sempronia of C. Gracchus (Cic. de Prov. Cons. 2 and 7; pro Balb. 27, 61) enacted that the senate should each year determine before the election of the consuls what provinces they were to govern, the object of this being to prevent intrigue and favouritism. Sulla added two praetors to the six already in existence, and enacted that all of them should administer justice in the city during their proper year of office: the provinces, of which there were now ten, were thus in future governed by proconsuls and propraetors, the two former as a rule obtaining those in which the largest number of troops was required (Liv. 41.8). The exact province of each was determined by lot, though the distribution was sometimes arranged by agreement among the persons entitled to them. Sulla's statute made these governorships strictly annual, and required the holder to leave the province within thirty days after the arrival of his successor (Cic. Fam. 3.6); but the first of these rules was practically infringed by the extraordinary commands [p. 2.508]conferred successively on Pompey and Caesar, and by the failure of the senate to provide a successor in time: thus Verres, Fonteius, and Q. Cicero were three years each in Sicily, Gaul, and Asia respectively (Cic. Div. in Caec. 4, 11; pro Font. 10, 32; ad Qu. Frat. 1, 1). A law of Pompey (Sueton. Jul. 28; D. C. 40.56), passed B.C. 52, enacted that provinces should be given only after an interval of five years from a man's original tenure of office in Rome: this was re-enacted by Augustus after its repeal by Julius Caesar (D. C. 42.20, 53.14), who also ordained that a consular province should be held for two, a praetorian for one year only (Cic. Phil. 1.8, 19; 2.42, 109, &c.; D. C. 43.25). The governor might not leave Rome until he had been invested with the imperium in the ordinary manner, and had offered the usual prayers and sacrifices (Cic. Fam. 1.9, 25; in Verr. 5.13, 34; Caesar, Caes. Civ. 1.6): he could display the insignia of his rank, especially the fasces, as soon as he was outside the city gates (D. C. 53.13), but might not exercise any actual powers until he reached his province (Dig. 1, 16, 1, 4, 6). When once he had arrived there, he united in his single person both civil and military authority. The first thing he did was to issue his edict, by which, like the praetor at Rome, he stated the rules of law which he intended to apply and enforce during his year's administration. To a large extent this was based on the lex by which the province had received its original constitution and on the edicts of the governor's predecessors (Cic. Att. 5.2. 1, 11, 6.1, 2; ad Fam. 3.8, 4); but large portions of the Edictum Urbanum gradually crept into the provincial edicts, and the law of the provinces was thus slowly but steadily Romanised. Cicero, for instance, when proconsul of Cilicia, says that as to some matters he framed an edict of his own, and as to others he referred to the Edictum Urbanum, on which he proclaimed that he should base his decisions where no regulations of his own had been made (ad Att. 6.1, 15); so, too, he observes (in Verr. 1.46, 118) that the rules established by the praetor urbanus as to inheritance had been regularly transferred into their annual edicts by the governors of Sicily long before the time of Verres. Other topics with which the edict of a provincial governor dealt were the position of the publicani, and the law of civil procedure, debt, and usury.

So far as we can judge from Cicero's Letters and from Caesar's work on the war in Gaul, the former of which in particular are a storehouse of information upon the affairs with which a provincial governor was occupied, he was principally engaged with matters military and judicial. At one time he was administering justice at various centres; at others he was busy with an army exterminating bands of robbers or reducing a rebellious population. Even when the province was in profound peace he would find enough to do, as commander-in-chief, in filling up his legions with fresh levies, or directing the arrangements for billeting his troops during the winter. But the less he was occupied with active military operations, the more time could he give to the administration of justice. For judicial purposes each province was divided into a number of departments called Fora or Conventus, which latter term also denoted the chief city or place “in quem conveniebant” as well as the assize or court over which the governor presided, and which was attended by the Romans who resided in the district, and generally by all persons who had any business to settle there. It may perhaps be doubted whether this organisation was at all precise during the republican period, though even then certain towns seem to have been regarded as centres where the governor might conveniently spend some time and hold a court (forum or conventum agere, Liv. 31.22;--Cic. in Verr. 5.11, 28; ad Att. 5.16). Before the time of Gaius conventus had also acquired the meaning of the time during which the assize lasted (Gaius, 1.20). In Cilicia, during Cicero's administration, Tarsus and Laodicea were conventus; in Baetica there were four, in Lusitania five. The procedure in civil causes seems to have been much the same as that in vogue at Rome during the formulary period [ACTIO]; at least the governor appointed a judex or judices to try each cause, usually from the Roman citizens who attended the assize; for him to hear and decide the case in person, so far as we can judge from the instance of Verres, was considered improper or unconstitutional (Cic. in Verr. 5.9, 22). Within the free and allied towns the governor had not strictly any civil jurisdiction; they had their own law, their own courts, and their own municipal magistrates, though it not unfrequently happened that these privileges were set at nought. For instance, Cicero tells us (in Verr. 2.22, 53) that Verres treated with contempt an apparently well-founded claim on the part of the citizens of Bidis in Sicily to have their legacy cases determined by their own municipal law. The relations between the jurisdiction of the governor and that of the local magistrates were usually defined by the Lex Provinciae: by the so-called lex of Rupilius, Sicilians who belonged to the same town had their disputes settled according to its laws: citizens of different towns had theirs decided by judices appointed by the governor: in case of differences between an individual and a community, the senate of any Sicilian town might act as judices, if the parties did not choose to have as judices the senate of their own town: if a Roman sued a Sicilian, a Sicilian was judex; if a Sicilian sued a Roman, the judge was a Roman: but no one could be judex who belonged to the governor's cohors. Disputes between the lessees of the tithe and the Aratores were decided according to the Lex Hieronica (Cic. in Verr. 2.13, 32). By the Lex Rubria de Gallia Cisalpina the magistrates of the municipia were authorised to decide all civil suits in which the sum involved did not exceed 15,000 sesterces, and the same provision occurs in the Lex Julia municipalis. The governor's judicial assistance was also largely needed for the legitimation of certain dispositions, such as manumissions, adoptions, and emancipations (jurisdictio voluntaria). His criminal jurisdiction was in the nature of that exercised under martial law: he decided in person on the guilt or innocence of the accused, though under the advice of a consilium formed from the leading Roman citizens of the neighbourhood [p. 2.509]Cic. in Verr. 1.29, 73; 2.29, 71; 5.21, 55), and over a condemned criminal he had power of life and death, though if he were a Roman citizen he enjoyed the right of provocatio to the tribuni plebis, which enabled him to remove the matter to Rome (Plut. Caesar, 4).

The nature of the taxes paid by the provincial subjects of Rome has been alluded to in speaking of the organisation of Sicily, but this subject cannot be understood without some knowledge of the tenures by which land in the provinces was held. The general principle was that provincial soil belonged, as a whole, to the Roman state (ager publicus), and could not be owned ex jure Quiritium by individuals, but only “possessed” (Cic. Att. 6.1, 12; Gaius, 2.7). The great bulk of the taxes was levied on these “possessions” in the hands of the provincials, who from this point of view are termed Stipendiarii; though some of the ager publicus was differently treated, being either sold outright by the state, which imposed a nominal tax in order to show that it did not waive its right of property in the soil (ager privatus vectigalisque), or let out by the censors at Rome to tenants for life, who paid both decumae and scriptura (grazing tax, Varro, de Re Rust. 2.1, 16). The tax levied on the Stipendiarii was either tithe (decumae), or stipendium. The first was not common, being found only in Sicily and Sardinia, and for some little while in Asia. The second was charged both on the land (tributum soli), in which case it was sometimes paid in money, as in Macedonia; sometimes in kind, as in Pontus and Cyrene; and on persons (tributum capitis), who were taxed on account of their incomes, trades,and professions. Besides these sources of income, the Romans derived large sums from the customs' dues (portoria), ship-money, mines, &c. No taxes were paid to the state by the free and allied towns, but this exemption does not seem to have extended to the Roman colonies and municipia or the “oppida Latio donata.”

The practice of letting out the taxes to publicani to farm is well known, and it often happened that a firm of these capitalists engaged to pay the state a fixed sum per annum for five years in exchange for all the taxes of a province--vectigal, decimae, scriptura, portoria, &c. In such cases it would seem that the publicani paid the money over directly to the quaestors at Rome: but all taxes which were not farmed were collected by and paid to the quaestor of the province or its districts, an officer who was assigned to his province by lot, and not appointed by the governor. In theory the quaestor had the entire management of financial matters, though he was often largely interfered with by the governor, who decided, according to his own view of the local requirements, what sums should be transmitted to Rome, and who had power to remit taxation (Cic. in Verr. 4.9, 20; ad Fam. 3.7). Though properly a financial officer, he had jurisdiction in matters which fell under his official cognisance, like the aediles at Rome (Gaius, 1.6) and the early Exchequer authorities in England; and he had to give a full account of his receipts and expenditure on his return from the province (Cic. in Verr. 1.14, 36). After the passing of a Lex Julia (B.C. 61) the governor was bound to deposit two copied of his accounts in the two chief cities of his province, and to forward one (totidem verbis) to the Aerarium (Cic. Fam. 2.1. 7, 5.20; ad Att. 6.7). The governor might even delegate his own powers to a quaestor, either in toto (e. g. Cic. Att. 6.6, 3) or for a special purpose, such as the administration of justice (e. g. Suet. Jul. 7).

The personnel of a provincial administration comprised also (1) legati, of whom there were usually three in a consular, one in a praetorian province: they were appointed by the senate, very often on the nomination of the governor, who would entrust them with minor military commands or assign them a district to look after, with civil jurisdiction; (2) comites, appointed by the governor himself, and maintained at the public charge, presumably on the supposition that they discharged secretarial functions and employed their time in learning the business of administration; (3) praefecti, three in number, whom the governor seems to have employed principally as military lieutenants; and lastly a large miscellaneous body of lictors, praecones, scribae, haruspices, &c., whose duties are too unimportant to be here detailed.

Those who have read the Verrine orations of Cicero will remember what a gloomy picture he draws of the condition of the provinces under Roman rule. “It is difficult,” he says in his speech for the Lex Manilia (100.22), “to describe into what hatred we have been brought by the wrongdoing and lust of the governors whom we have sent among foreign peoples during these years.” Pay was first attached to the office of proconsul or propraetor by Augustus (D. C. 53.15; Sueton. August. 36), so that under the Republic the governor had to pay himself as best he could during his tenure of power; and the boast of Verres recorded by Cicero (in Verr. 4.1, 14) is ample proof that a magistrate whose conscience was not over-tender found numerous opportunities of filling his own pockets. The old rule that a governor and his retinue must pay for their lodging and entertaiment was seldom observed, and his progresses through the province, to say nothing of the Legationes liberae, entailed vast expenditure on its inhabitants: the extortions practised by himself and his subordinates were even outdone by those of the publicani, who farmed the taxes, and the negotiatores or money-lenders; and in many of the provinces, especially in Greece and Asia, protracted wars had inflicted miseries on the people from which they could hardly hope for recovery. Practically no remedy for all these evils was afforded by the nominal control of the senate, which had the right of deciding on the number of troops which a governor should have under his command, and of altering or overriding his policy, and which, if he did not follow its instructions, could refuse to sanction his arrangements, or to grant him a triumph or supplicatio even after a successful war. But, towards the end of the Republic, it is patent that, so far from controlling the provincial governors, the senate was itself ruled by such men as Sulla, Pompey, and Caesar. The strongest check upon the misconduct of a governor ought in reality to have been found in statutory enactments. A number of these (a Lex Valeria, a Lex Julia, and Leges Porciae) were designed to protect [p. 2.510]Roman citizens residing in the provinces from ill-treatment by him. The Lex Calpurnia (B.C. 149), the first statute against repetundae or extortion, was followed by a Lex Acilia (B.C. 125) and a Lex Servilia (B.C. 111) dealing with the same offence, the former of which was especially severe; and the Lex Julia defined the requisitions which a governor might make upon the inhabitants of his province without payment. The laws on the subject of Majestas and Peculatus were also weapons which on occasion might be turned against governors who abused the trust confided to them. But when we consider the condition of things described to us by Cicero, we cannot but be struck by the smallness of the result obtained by prosecutions under these statutes. There can be little doubt that this is to be explained by the political use which was made of the judicia. Between the times of C. Gracchus and Sulla, while the knights were sole judges in criminal trials, their sympathies with the publicani would prejudice them against the cause of the provincials: the venality of the senators, whom Sulla substituted for the knights, was shameless and notorious, though according to Appian (de Bell. Civ. 122) not more so than that of the knights themselves: in any case the senate would do its best to screen a governor for whom it was itself mainly responsible, and whose condemnation would in a way condemn itself. Some improvement was perhaps effected by the Lex Aurelia (B.C. 46), which divided the judicia between the senators, knights, and tribuni aerarii: but it was in the Empire that the provincials first found relief from oppression, and redress for wrong inflicted on them by Roman magistrates.

In the year 43 B.C. Gallia Cisalpina ceased to be a province: it was incorporated with Italy, though the term Italia was sometimes improperly used to describe it even before this date (Caesar, Bell. Gall. 1.54, 5.1, 6.44, &c.; Cic. Phil. 5.12, 31), and a new organisation was given to it by the Lex Rubria, by which in particular jurisdiction in certain classes of suits was conferred on the municipal magistrates [RUBRIA LEX]. With the establishment of the imperial power under Augustus a considerable change was made in the administration of the provinces, the control of some of which he reserved absolutely to himself, while the rest remained under the nominal management of the senate; this being the origin of the distinction drawn by Gaius (2.21) and others of the older jurists between those provinces which are “propriae populi Romani” and those which are “propriae Caesaris.” The division was modelled in principle upon the older one between consular and praetorian provinces: the “Imperial” provinces were those in which the chances of invasion from without or rebellion within necessitated the presence of considerable forces, especially those which formed the frontiers of the Empire; those in which peace was assured were ostensibly left to the senate (Sueton. August. 47; D. C. 53.12, 14, 54.4; Strabo xvii. p.840). Subject to frequent interchange of provinces (Tac. Ann. 1.76, 80; Sueton. Claud. 25; D. C. 60.24; Capitol. Marc. 22), these arrangements subsisted until the third century. Strabo, in the passage referred to, gives the division into provinces (ἐπαρχίαι) as constituted by Augustus. The provinces of the Populus (δῆμος) were two consular (ὑπατικαὶ) and ten praetorian provinces (στρατηγικαί); the rest of the eparchies, he says, belong to the Caesar. Lusitania is not enumerated among the eparchies of the Populus, and if it was a distinct province it must have belonged to the emperor. The list of provinces in the “Demonstratio Provinciarum” (Mythog. Vat., Bode) mentions the province of Asturia et Gallaeca Lusitania. Dio Cassius (53.12) states the distribution of the provinces by Augustus thus: the provinces of Africa, Numidia, Asia, Hellas (Achaia), with Epirus, Dalmatia, Macedonia, Sicilia, Crete with the Cyrenaica, Bithynia with Pontus, Sardinia and Baetica, belonged to the senate and people (δῆμος and γερουδία). Tarraconensis, Lusitania, all Gallia, Coele Syria, Phoenice, Cilicia, Cyprus, and Egypt belonged to Augustus, who afterwards took Dalmatia from the senate and gave it Cyprus and Gallia Narbonensis in exchange, while Tiberius appropriated Achaia and Macedonia without any compensation (Tac. Ann. 1.76), though they were restored by Claudius (Sueton. Claud. 25). Bithynia became definitely imperial under Hadrian. The provinciae populi were administered for one year according to usage (D. C. 53.12, 14; Strabo, loc. cit.; Sueton. August. 4) by, the old republican magistrates; two of them, viz. Africa and Asia, by ex-consuls; and the rest by ex-praetors. The two oldest consulares cast lots for the consular, the praetors also by seniority for the praetorian provinces, though the title of proconsul belonged generally to these governors without reference to the offices which they had actually held at Rome (Dig. 1, 16). They enjoyed imperium, including unlimited jurisdictio, and the administration of justice must have been their main business, as owing to the nature of the case their military duties must have been quite inconsiderable. In the “provinciae Caesaris” the emperor was himself proconsul, but conducted their government through lieutenants, a “legatus Augusti pro praetore” having in effect the same power and authority here as a proconsul in the provinces of the people (Dig. 1, 18). These legati were selected by the emperor from those who had been consuls or praetors (whence they were called consulares or praetorii) or sometimes from senators of less rank (e. g. D. C. 53.13: Appian, de reb. Hisp. 102; Sueton. August. 23): they held their office at the emperor's pleasure, being mere delegates of his authority. Thus Agricola governed Aquitania for three years, in accordance with Maecenas' advice to Augustus (D. C. 53.23); but Galba was in Spain eight years (Plut. Galba, 4). Sabinus in Moesia seven, and Silius in Gaul apparently at least ten (Tac. Ann. 1.31, 4.18). The theory of delegated authority was not, however, consistently observed; the jurisdiction of a legatus, for instance, not being regarded as mandata, but as belonging to him independently, so that he could himself delegate it to one of his subordinates (Dig. 1, 21, 5, pr.). These imperial governors are in the inscriptions always designated as “legati pro praetore;” but when not viewed as the emperor's agents, they were termed “provinciarum praesides” (Sueton. August. 23, Tib. 42; Vopisc. Prob. 13; Dig. 1, 18, 8, 20, 1, 16, [p. 2.511]9, 6); like the praefectus urbi or praetorio, they were magistrates, but magistrates of the princeps, not of the populus (Dig. 4, 2, 3, 1), though it is true that as all the provinces tended more and more to fall under the emperor's direct control the term praeses came to be applied also to the governors of senatorial provinces (Dig. 1, 18, 1; Sueton. Claud. 17; Lamprid. Alex. Sever. 46). No quaestors were sent to the Imperial provinces, in which the functions entrusted to these officers in districts administered on the old system were discharged by “procuratores Caesaris” (Dig. 1, 19), selected from the knights or the emperor's freedmen, who had jurisdiction in financial matters (Cod. 3, 13, 1): and such procuratores are even found in provinces of the people for the purpose of guarding the interests of the Fiscus in connexion with inheritances, legacies, &c., where too they had in such concerns a jurisdiction concurrent with that of the proconsul. Sometimes an unimportant province, or an outlying portion of a considerable one, was governed by a procurator with the powers of an ordinary governor, as e. g. Judaea by Pontius Pilate (J. AJ 17.13, 5; 18.1, 1, &c.). Egypt received a peculiar organisation from Augustus (Tac. Hist. 1.11; Dig. 1, 17). He placed it under the government of a praefectus Augustalis, who took the place of the Egyptian king with the powers of a Roman magistrate; but the old division of the country into νομοὶ administered by native νόμαρχοι was retained (Plin. Nat. 5.49), and a special magistrate for judicial purposes called juridicus, with the powers of a provincial governor, was assigned to Alexandria.

But notwithstanding the epithet “Senatorial” applied to those provinces which were governed by a proconsul, they were in reality hardly less under the control of the emperor from the beginning than those which were “propriae Caesaris:” from him the proconsuls as well as the “legati pro praetore” received instructions and mandata as to the administration (D. C. 53.15; Plin. Ep. 10.64), and in all important matters not already provided for they had to apply to him for advice. Their position in fact was so different from that of a provincial governor under the Republic or of a legate in an imperial province that, according to Tacitus (Tac. Ann. 6.27), Tiberius found it difficult to get competent men to accept the office, which was one of great responsibility, and could be valued only on account of the salary which Augustus attached to it.

The “Romanisation” of the law of the provinces continued to be carried on by edicts, statutes (Ulpian, Reg. 11.18;--Gaius, 1.183, 185; 3.122), imperial enactments (Plin. Ep. 10.71, 72), and senatusconsulta (ib. 77); and even some laws passed for the citizens of Rome were expressly extended to the provincials (e. g. Gaius, 1.47; Ulpian, Reg. 10.20; Dig. 30, 41, 6;--Cod. 7, 9, 3; 7, 71, 4): but the local laws still remained outside Italy the foundation of private rights and duties until the celebrated edict of Caracalla, by which the Roman civitas was early in the third century bestowed upon all free subjects of the Empire. With the fall of the Republic more substantial alterations took place in the matter of taxation. Julius Caesar abolished the decumae in Asia and probably also in Sicily, and under Augustus a complete survey was made of the provinces, extending over more than twenty years, and a census taken of their inhabitants; both of which were of the greatest value in adjusting the taxes upon an equitable basis. The vectigal of the ager publicus or domain land was paid into the Aerarium or the Fiscus, according as the province belonged to the senate or to the emperor, until the time of Vespasian, who took the whole of the domain land under his charge. All the provinces seem now to be charged also with annona, a payment from the land in kind, which was applied to supporting the civil and military officials within them; in this form Africa and Egypt supplied in addition enough corn to feed Rome during one-third of the year (Josephus, Bell. Jud. 2.16,4). The old revenue from poll-tax (tributum capitis), mines, and portoria still continued: to them were added under Augustus new imposts in the 5 per cent. duty on legacies, though this was paid only by Roman citizens in Italy, until the edict of Caracalla, the centesima on res venales, levied apparently throughout the Empire, and a tax of 4 per cent. on all purchases of slaves. The system of farming the taxes was still followed, though with most of its abuses corrected. The emperor also derived large sums from the “patrimonium Caesaris,” or his private estates in the provinces, which were of vast extent; Augustus owned all Egypt, and the Thracian Chersonese belonged to the emperors up to Trajan. The property of condemned criminals was in some cases forfeited to the Aerarium, and later to the Fiscus; and the same was done with bona vacantia and bona caduca under the Leges Julia and Papia Poppaea. But the Aerarium, though nominally the Senatorial Exchequer, was really under the control of the emperor (D. C. 53.16; cf. Tac. Ann. 6.2, “bona Sejani ablata aerario ut in fiscum cogerentur, tanquam referret” ), by whom its officials were appointed; and when the distinction between imperial and senatorial provinces ceased to exist in the time of Severus, it became the treasury of the corporation or municipality of Rome. The really heavy expenses of the State were paid from the Fiscus, which bore the costs of the naval and military forces, the civil organisation, the construction and maintenance of public works, such as roads and aqueducts, the supply of corn to Rome, &c.

After the edict of Caracalla (A.D. 215), little reason remained for preserving the old distinction between Italy and the provinces, which now entailed a grave injustice on the latter, which became liable to the vicesima on legacies and inheritances besides having to pay the old land-tax. Accordingly within half a century Italy itself was subdivided into provinciae, and had to pay tributum equally with the most distant parts of the Empire. Towards the end of the third century Diocletian completely remodelled the provincial organisation by dividing the whole Roman world into twelve διοικήσεις, each of which comprised a number of provinces with new geographical limits: thus in the διοίκησις of Britain there were four provinciae, in that of the Oriens sixteen: the total number was 101. Each διοίκησις was under the administration of a new officer called Vicarius, who was [p. 2.512]answerable only to the praefectus praetorio as lieutenant of the emperor: the governors of the provinciae were proconsuls, consulares, or praesides, and enjoyed different ranks in the hierarchy or peerage of the Empire. The administration of justice was in a way revolutionised by Diocletian's abolition of the formulary procedure in civil causes, which applied to the provinces no less than to Rome, the magistrates being directed to hear and determine all suits in person. The Empire was resurveyed for financial purposes, and all taxation, so far as it affected the land, being based on a division of the soil into juga, each of which, though differing in acreage from others according to its fertility, being rated in the same value; the customs' dues were increased, and the tributum capitis was taken off the towns and levied chiefly on the new class of Coloni. Constantine made further administrative changes by completely separating the civil and military powers, so that the governors of provinces even on the frontiers of the Empire had nothing to do with the troops stationed in them, which were under the command of a general without any civil authority: but Justinian re-united the two sets of functions, at any rate in those provinces in which Constantine's arrangements had not worked satisfactorily (Nov. Just. 8.2, 5; xxiv.--xxxi.; cii., ciii.).

It remains to give a short account of the condition and organisation of the provincial towns. In the republican period the vast majority of these were subjected absolutely to the power of the governor, and had no free municipal constitution or independent jurisdiction: these citizens were under the same authorities, financial, judicial, and military, as the purely rural population. Some of them, however, were privileged, though in their immunities there were various degrees. Foederatae civitates, such as Messana and Tauromenium in Sicily, and Gades in Spain, owed no duties to Rome beyond those imposed on them by their treaty with her, though these were often oppressive (e. g. Cic. in Verr. 5.19-24, § § 48-61). Some towns were after their conquest declared free again by a lex or senatusconsultum (populi liberi, such as Termessus in Pisidia, Strabo xvii. p.839, &c.), whereby their citizens became capable of owning land within their territory, and acquired rights of self-government, especially in matters of taxation and legislation: others were liberae et immunes, being released from the taxes usually paid to Rome, and from the liability to have troops quartered on them during the winter months. In many provinces, again, there were colonies, either Latinae or civium Romanorum, for whose relation to the ordinary provincial administration reference should be made to the article on COLONIA; and sometimes towns, without being made to receive a colony, were endowed with the “jus Latii” (e. g. in Gallia Transpadana by Cn. Pompeius, Strabo, B.C. 89), which freed them from the control of the Roman governor (Strabo iv. p.187) and gave them the rights of self-government and having their own coinage, and other privileges described under COLONIA and LATINITAS Under the Empire we find also numerous municipia in the provinces, i. e. towns on which the Roman civitas had been bestowed--e. g. on Gades and other Spanish towns by Julius Caesar (Liv. Epit. cx.; D. C. 41.24, 43.39),whose example was followed by Augustus (Suet. Aug. 47; D. C. 54.25) and his successors. These had the ordinary free municipal constitution of Italian towns, with elected duoviri or quattuorviri, who possessed a tolerably extensive civil and criminal jurisdiction, aediles, quaestors, an ordo decurionum, and assemblies for their citizens: in fact, their condition was much the same as that of the “coloniae civium Romanorum,” except that the latter ranked above them in dignity (Gellius, 16.13). Finally there were towns endowed with the “jus Italicum,” the conception of which arose after the Social war and the statutes it occasioned, and which led to the familiar opposition between municipia, colonise, and praefecturae of Roman citizens in Italy and all other towns whatsoever (e. g. Lex Julia municipalis, ll. 1.42, 143). It does not seem to have been granted with any great freedom (Plin. Nat. 3.25; Dig. 50, 15, 1, 6-8), and apparently only to coloniae and municipia, not to oppida which were merely “stipendiaria” or had the “jus Latii” only; though this is a disputed matter, Puchta (Institutionen, § 95) and Zumpt (Comm. Epigraph. i. pp. 477-491; Studia Romana, pp. 337, 338) denying its possession by municipia in any case, and the latter maintaining that it was sometimes given to mere peregrini. As to its nature also there are considerable differences of opinion. Conceivably it affected the soil, the municipal constitution, the taxes, and the persons of those who inhabited the towns on which it was conferred. The soil would be released from tributum, and subjected to Quiritarian ownership with all its legal incidents. In relation to finance, the citizen of a town possessed of “jus Italicum” would have his name entered in the local census with the formula employed at Rome, and the lists would be incorporated with those of Rome herself (Lex Julia munic. ll. 142-160; Huschke, Census, p. 62); he would further be discharged from the payment of all taxes not paid in Italy, including tributum, annona, and the poll-tax on trades and professions. It would affect the person of the citizen by giving him the benefit of certain laws which applied to Italy alone, or at any rate conferred on persons domiciled in Italy advantages over those domiciled elsewhere (e. g. the rewards given to those who contracted a fruitful marriage by the Lex Papia Poppaea, and the benefits of the Lex Furia de sponsu). These consequences, and these only, are ascribed to a grant of “jus Italicum” by Schwartz (de jure Italico, Exerc. Academ. 1783, 1-37) and Walter (Geschichte des röm. Rechts, § 319); but Savigny (Ueber das Jus Italicum, Verm. Schriften, 1.29-80) and Puchta (loc. cit.) deny the last of the three, and affirm as one of the chief consequences of the “jus Italicum” a free municipal constitution, which, according to Schwartz and Walter, must have belonged to the town already.

Provincial towns which belonged to none of these privileged categories (civitates stipendiariae) had some sort of municipal constitution, and the Romans as a rule interfered but little with arrangements which they found already established, provided they were not a menace to their own supremacy. But such constitutions [p. 2.513]were not free: they did not exclude the jurisdiction of the governor of the province. The towns had their own magistrates of various denominations: in Temnos there were praetors, quaestors, and mensarii (Cic. pro Flacco, 19, 44), names which doubtless are intended to represent Greek titles: in Thyatira there were στρατηγοι: in fact the names of the local magistrates are legion, but their functions are regarded as burdens (munera) rather than as privileges (honores), and there was no local jurisdiction, the administration of justice, civil as well as criminal, being in the hands of the governor alone. Most provincial towns seem to have had elective senates (curiae), an arrangement encouraged by Rome herself, who was adverse to democracies; but to be a “decurio” or senator was burdensome and expensive, and the citizens had to be expressly rewarded for undertaking or getting others to undertake the office. [For details see DECURIONES; DECEM PRIMI.] Under the Empire the electorate was controlled from Rome, no one being permitted the full local franchise unless his income reached a certain minimum; thus Dio Chrysostom (2.43 R) says that at Tarsus, besides the βουηλ̀ and the πλῆθος, “there was no small multitude which stood, as it were, outside the constitution.” The provincial towns had no independent right of legislation, even in relation to municipal affairs, but were obliged to resort to the emperor, as is shown by the number of Rescripts on the subject; and upon nearly all matters which with us are transacted by the corporation or vestry of a town, such as the construction and maintenance of public works, they had to refer to the governor. It does not appear that the religion of the provincials was ever interfered with, nor had it been put under any restraint in the republican period.

The constitution of the provincial towns was affected in the second half of the fourth century by the establishment in all of them of a new office, that of defensores civitatis, plebis, or loci. These magistrates were chosen for five years, which Justinian reduced to two, by all the citizens of the town who possessed the franchise, but no decurio could be elected: their chief function was the protection of the town and its citizens against oppression and injustice at the hands of the imperial officials, as to which they were to address complaints to the governor of the province, or, if he were himself the offender, to the emperor or praefectus praetorio; by reason of their independence in relation to the governor they ranked above all the other municipal magistrates (Cod. 1.55, de Defensoribus). They were even invested with a limited jurisdiction in civil causes, which Justinian extended from matters of the amount of 50 to those of 300 solidi, and from which there was an appeal to the praeses (Nov. 15, 5); and they could appoint tutors where the property of the ward did not exceed a certain minimum in value (Inst. 1.20, 5). In the fifth or sixth century they also acquired a small jurisdiction in criminal matters (Cod. 1.55, 5; Cod. Theod. 1.29, 7; Nov. 15, 6).

The most complete treatment of the Roman provincial organisation and its history is that of Marquardt, Römische Staatsverwaltung, i. pp. 90-425. English readers will find a careful and accurate account of the matter, based upon the best authorities, in Mr. W. T. Arnold's Roman Provincial Administration (Macmillan, 1879), which the writer of this article has found of the greatest service. Reference may also be made to Walter's Geschichte der römischen Rechts, § § 233-248, 308-320, 387-392; Puchta, Institutionen, § § 66-69, 93, 94, 122, 123; Sigonius, de Antiquo Jure Provinciarum, lib. i.-iii.; Savigny, Geschichte des röm. Rechts im Mittelalter, vol. i.; and Goettling's Geschichte der römischen Staatsverfassung.


hide References (58 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (58):
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 1.9
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 3.6
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 5.2.1
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 5.6.1
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 5.6.2
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 6.1
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 6.3
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 6.6
    • Flavius Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, 17.13
    • Flavius Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, 17.5
    • Flavius Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, 18.1
    • Cicero, Against Verres, 2.1.36
    • Cicero, Against Verres, 2.1.73
    • Cicero, Against Verres, 2.2.2
    • Cicero, Against Verres, 2.2.39
    • Cicero, Against Verres, 2.2.71
    • Cicero, Against Verres, 2.4.20
    • Cicero, Against Verres, 2.5.22
    • Cicero, Against Verres, 2.5.28
    • Cicero, Against Verres, 2.5.55
    • Cicero, For Flaccus, 19
    • Cicero, On the Consular Provinces, 2
    • Cicero, Divinatio against Q. Caecilius, 4
    • Cicero, Philippics, 1.19
    • Cicero, Philippics, 1.8
    • Cicero, Philippics, 2.109
    • Cicero, Philippics, 2.42
    • Cicero, Philippics, 5.12
    • Cicero, Philippics, 5.31
    • Suetonius, Divus Julius, 7
    • Caesar, Civil War, 1.6
    • Tacitus, Annales, 1.31
    • Tacitus, Annales, 1.76
    • Tacitus, Annales, 1.80
    • Tacitus, Annales, 4.18
    • Tacitus, Annales, 6.2
    • Tacitus, Annales, 6.27
    • Tacitus, Historiae, 1.11
    • Sallust, Bellum Iugurthinum, 16
    • Suetonius, Divus Augustus, 47
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.25
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.7
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 5.49
    • Pliny the Younger, Epistulae, 10.64
    • Pliny the Younger, Epistulae, 10.71
    • Pliny the Younger, Epistulae, 10.72
    • Pliny the Younger, Epistulae, 10.83
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 45, 17
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 31, 22
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 25, 40
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 41, 8
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 31, 6
    • Gellius, Noctes Atticae, 16.13
    • Plutarch, Lucullus, 35
    • Plutarch, Lucullus, 36
    • Plutarch, Marcellus, 23
    • Valerius Maximus, Facta et Dicta Memorabilia, 6.8
    • Valerius Maximus, Facta et Dicta Memorabilia, 6.9
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