ETHNIC GROUPS AND REGIONS IN THE EASTERN EUROPEAN ROMAN EMPIRE

EUROPEAN PROVINCES OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE


Dacian captive

1) Western.
Spain (205-19 B.C.).
Gaul (France, Belgium, parts of Germany, 120-17 B.C.).
Britain (A.D. 43-84).

2) Central.
Rhaetia et Vindelicia (roughly Switzerland, northern Italy15 B.C.).
Noricum (Austria, Slovenia, 15 B.C.).
Pannonia (western Hungary, eastern Austria, northern Croatia, north-western Serbia, northern Slovenia, western Slovakia and northern Bosnia and Herzegovina. A.D. 10).

3) Eastern.
Illyricum (northern Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and coastal Croatia, 167-59 B.C.).
Macedonia (northern Greece, modern Macedonia, 146 B.C.).
Achaia (western Greece, 146 B.C.).
Moesia (Central Serbia, Kosovo, northern modern Macedonia, northern Bulgaria and Romanian Dobrudja 20 B.C.).
Thrace (northeast Greece, A.D. 40).
Dacia (Romania, A.D. 107). \~\

Greeks Versus 'Barbarians'

Dr Neil Faulkner wrote for the BBC: “In the east, change was limited. Here, long before, urban civilisation had taken root and for some centuries this had been of a distinctively Greek (or 'Hellenistic' character). Though the Romans had once caricatured the Greeks as effete and decadent, this was changing by the late first century AD. The Romans increasingly admired and imitated Greek cultural achievement. [Source: Dr Neil Faulkner, BBC, February 17, 2011 |::|]

“The change is symbolised in imperial portraits. Unlike their clean-shaven predecessors, second century emperors, starting with Hadrian (117 - 138 AD) sported the Greek-style beards of 'philosopher-kings'. |In fact, so far from the east being Romanised, it was more a case of the west being Hellenised. A uniform elite culture that was both Roman and Greek was thereby forged. This became the developed language of rank, status and 'good taste' in the Roman empire's golden age. |::|

“In the western provinces, on the other hand, there was often a sharp contrast between traditional native culture and Roman innovations. |In Spain, France, Belgium and Britain, for example - all areas with a strongly Celtic culture - the archaeology of the Roman period looks very different from that of the preceding Iron Age: Rectangular houses instead of round ones; towns with regular street-grids instead of hilltop enclosures curling round the contours; mosaics, frescoes and naturalistic sculptures instead of wooden idols, golden torcs and enamelled bronzework. “

Greek Influences on Rome


Roman Emperor Claudius striking a Zeus pose

Arguable the most powerful foreign influence on Rome came from Greece. We might say that when Greece was conquered by Rome, Rome was civilized by Greece. These foreign influences were seen in her new ideas of religion and philosophy, in her literature, her art, and her manners. [Source: “Outlines of Roman History” by William C. Morey, Ph.D., D.C.L. New York, American Book Company (1901), forumromanum.org \~\]

It is said that the entire Greek Olympus was introduced into Italy. The Romans adopted the Greek ideas and stories regarding the gods; and their worship became more showy and elaborate. Even some of the superstitious and fantastic rites of Asia found their way into Rome. These changes did not improve the religion. On the contrary, they made it more corrupt. The Roman religion, by absorbing the various ideas of other people, became a world-wide and composite form of paganism. One of the redeeming features of the Roman religion was the worship of exalted qualities, like Honor and Virtue; for example, alongside of the temple to Juno, temples were also erected to Loyalty and Hope. \~\

Roman Philosophy: The more educated Romans lost their interest in religion, and betook themselves to the study of Greek philosophy. They studied the nature of the gods and the moral duties of men. In this way the Greek ideas of philosophy found their way into Rome. Some of these ideas, like those of the Stoics, were elevating, and tended to preserve the simplicity and strength of the old Roman character. But other ideas, like those of the Epicureans, seemed to justify a life of pleasure and luxury. \~\

Roman Literature: Before the Romans came into contact with the Greeks, they cannot be said to have had anything which can properly be called a literature. They had certain crude verses and ballads; but it was the Greeks who first taught them how to write. It was not until the close of the first Punic war, when the Greek influence became strong, that we begin to find the names of any Latin authors. The first author, Andronicus, who is said to have been a Greek slave, wrote a Latin poem in imitation of Homer. Then came Naevius, who combined a Greek taste with a Roman spirit, and who wrote a poem on the first Punic war; and after him, Ennius, who taught Greek to the Romans, and wrote a great poem on the history of Rome, called the “Annals.” The Greek influence is also seen in Plautus and Terence, the greatest writers of Roman comedy; and in Fabius Pictor, who wrote a history of Rome, in the Greek language. \~\

As for art, while the Romans could never hope to acquire the pure aesthetic spirit of the Greeks, they were inspired with a passion for collecting Greek works of art, and for adorning their buildings with Greek ornaments. They imitated the Greek models and professed to admire the Greek taste; so that they came to be, in fact, the preservers of Greek art. \~\

Greeks in Italy

The Greeks established colonies at Sicily and Tarentum, and on the western coast as far as Naples (Neapolis) in Campania. So completely did these coasts become dotted with Greek cities, enlivened with Greek commerce, and influenced by Greek culture, that this part of the peninsula received the name of Magna Graecia. [Source: “Outlines of Roman History” by William C. Morey, Ph.D., D.C.L. New York, American Book Company (1901), forumromanum.org ]

The Greek city states set up a number of colonies in Italy, known then as Magan Graecia (Great Greece), often on the sites of established towns. The first known Greek settlement was established on Pithekoussai, an island off of present-day Naples, in 770 B.C. A few years later colonies were established in Sicily and southern Italy. Many of the early settlers were poor farmers looking for a better life the same way immigrants from Europe came to America in the 19th century to seek their fortune.

Two important concepts in the development of mankind---democracy and the construction of cities in a grid pattern---are believed to have evolved in the Greek colonies in Italy. Archimedes and Pythagoras came from Italy and many of the great Greek philosophers that preceded Socrates, were also from the west. The Sicilian city state of Syracuse crushed an invasion from Athens in 413 B.C.

The Greek peninsula first came under Roman rule in 146 B.C. after the Battle of Corinth when Macedonia became a Roman province, while southern Greece came under the surveillance of Macedonia's prefect. However, some Greek poleis managed to maintain partial independence and avoid taxation. The Kingdom of Pergamon was in principle added to this territory in 133 B.C. when King Attalus III left his territories to the Roman people in his will. However, the Romans were slow in securing their claim and Aristonicus led a revolt with the help of Blossius. This was put down in 129 BC, when Pergamon was divided among Rome, Pontus, and Cappadocia. [Source: Wikipedia +]

Greece, initially economically devastated, began to rise economically after the wars. The Greek cities of Asia Minor recovered more quickly at first than the cities on the Greek peninsula, which were heavily damaged by the forces of Sulla. The Romans invested heavily however, and rebuilt these cities. Corinth became the capital of the new province of Achaea, while Athens prospered as a center of philosophy and learning. +


Greek colonies in Italy and Sicily in red about 400 BC


Romans Take Over Macedonia and Greece

The Greek peninsula first came under Roman rule in 146 B.C. after the Battle of Corinth when Macedonia became a Roman province, while southern Greece came under the surveillance of Macedonia's prefect. However, some Greek poleis managed to maintain partial independence and avoid taxation. The Kingdom of Pergamon was in principle added to this territory in 133 B.C. when King Attalus III left his territories to the Roman people in his will. However, the Romans were slow in securing their claim and Aristonicus led a revolt with the help of Blossius. This was put down in 129 BC, when Pergamon was divided among Rome, Pontus, and Cappadocia. [Source: Wikipedia +]

Athens and other Greek cities revolted in 88 B.C. and the uprising was crushed by the Roman general Sulla. The Roman civil wars devastated the land even further, until Augustus organized the peninsula as the province of Achaea in 27 B.C. +

Greece, initially economically devastated, began to rise economically after the wars. The Greek cities of Asia Minor recovered more quickly at first than the cities on the Greek peninsula, which were heavily damaged by the forces of Sulla. The Romans invested heavily however, and rebuilt these cities. Corinth became the capital of the new province of Achaea, while Athens prospered as a center of philosophy and learning. +

Macedonian Wars

The Macedonian Wars (214–148 B.C.). The Macedonian Wars were a series of conflicts fought by the Roman Republic and its Greek allies in the eastern Mediterranean against several different major Greek kingdoms, with the main one being Macedonia. They resulted in Roman control or influence over the eastern Mediterranean basin, in addition to their hegemony in the western Mediterranean after the Punic Wars. Traditionally, the "Macedonian Wars" include the four wars with Macedonia, in addition to one war with the Seleucid Empire, and a final minor war with the Achaean League (which is often considered to be the final stage of the final Macedonian war): 1) First Macedonian War (214 to 205 B.C.); 2) Second Macedonian war (200 to 196 B.C.); 3) Seleucid War (192 to 188 B.C.); 4) Third Macedonian War (172 to 168 B.C.); 5) Fourth Macedonian War (150 to 148 B.C.). [Source: Wikipedia +]

The most significant war was fought with the Seleucid Empire, while the war with Macedonia was the second, and both of these wars effectively marked the end of these empires as major world powers, even though neither of them led immediately to overt Roman domination. Four separate wars were fought against the weaker power, Macedonia, due to its geographic proximity to Rome, though the last two of these wars were against haphazard insurrections rather than powerful armies. Roman influence gradually dissolved Macedonian independence and digested it into what was becoming a leading global empire. The outcome of the war with the now-deteriorating Seleucid Empire was ultimately fatal to it as well, though the growing influence of Parthia and Pontus prevented any additional conflicts between it and Rome. +

According to Encyclopaedia Britannica The First Macedonian War (215–205 B.C.) occurred in the context of the Second Punic War, while Rome was preoccupied with fighting Carthage. The ambitious Macedonian king Philip V set out to attack Rome’s client states in neighbouring Illyria and confirmed his purpose in 215 B.C. by making an alliance with Hannibal of Carthage against Rome. The Romans fought the ensuing war ineffectively, and in 205 B.C. the Peace of Phoenice ended the conflict on terms favourable to Philip, allowing him to keep his conquests in Illyria. [Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica ++]


Greek Temples of Poseidon and Hera in Paestum, Italy


“Philip then began harrying Rhodes, Pergamum, and other Greek city-states of the Aegean. The Second Macedonian War (200–196 B.C.) was launched by the Roman Senate against Philip after he refused to guarantee to make no hostile moves against these states. Philip’s forces were badly defeated by the Romans and their Greek allies in a battle at Cynoscephalae in 197 B.C.. The terms of peace included the loss of most of his navy, payment of a large indemnity to Rome, and the loss of his territories outside of Macedonia. Rome subsequently established a benevolent protectorate over Greece. ++

“Philip’s son and successor, Perseus (reigned 179–168 B.C.), began to make alliances with various Greek city-states and thus aroused the displeasure of Rome. So began the Third Macedonian War (171–168 B.C.), which ended in 168 when the Roman army of Lucius Aemilius Paullus utterly defeated Perseus’ forces at the Battle of Pydna. Perseus was taken back to Rome in chains, and Macedonia was broken up into four formally autonomous republics that were required to pay annual tribute to Rome. This arrangement produced a state of chronic disorder in Macedonia, however, and in 152 B.C. a pretended son of Perseus, Andriscus, tried to reestablish the Macedonian monarchy, thus provoking the Fourth Macedonian War (149–148 B.C.). The Roman praetor Quintus Caecilius Metellus crushed the rebellion with relative ease, and in 146 Macedonia was made a Roman province. It was in fact the first province of the nascent Roman Empire.” ++

“From the close of the Macedonian Wars until the early Roman Empire, the eastern Mediterranean remained an ever shifting network of polities with varying levels of independence from, dependence on, or outright military control by, Rome. According to Polybius, who sought to trace how Rome came to dominate the Greek east in less than a century, Rome's wars with Greece were set in motion after several Greek city-states sought Roman protection against the Macedonian Kingdom and Seleucid Empire in the face of a destabilizing situation created by the weakening of Ptolemaic Egypt. +

Historians see the growing Roman influence over the east, as with the west, not as a matter of intentional empire-building, but constant crisis management narrowly focused on accomplishing short-term goals within a highly unstable, unpredictable, and inter-dependent network of alliances and dependencies. With some major exceptions of outright military rule (such as parts of mainland Greece), the eastern Mediterranean world remained an alliance of independent city-states and kingdoms (with varying degrees of independence, both de jure and de facto) until it transitioned into the Roman Empire. It wasn't until the time of the Roman Empire that the eastern Mediterranean, along with the entire Roman world, was organized into provinces under explicit Roman control. +

Reduction of Macedonia and Greece

“Change of the Roman Policy: We sometimes think that Rome started out upon her great career of conquest with a definite purpose to subdue the world, and with clear ideas as to how it should be governed. But nothing could be farther from the truth. She had been drawn on from one war to another, often against her own will. When she first crossed the narrow strait into Sicily at the beginning of the first Punic war, she little thought that in a hundred years her armies would be fighting in Asia; and when in early times she was compelled to find some way of keeping peace and order in Latium, she could not have known that she would, sooner or later, be compelled to devise a way to preserve the peace and order of the world. But Rome was ever growing and ever learning. She learned how to conquer before she learned how to govern. It was after the third Macedonian war that Rome became convinced that her method of governing the conquered lands was not strong enough to preserve peace and maintain her own authority. She had heretofore left the conquered states to a certain extent free and independent. But now, either excited by jealousy or irritated by the intrigues and disturbances of the conquered people, she was determined to reduce them to a more complete state of submission. [Source: “Outlines of Roman History” by William C. Morey, Ph.D., D.C.L. New York, American Book Company (1901), forumromanum.org \~\]


Roman soldier versus a Greek soldier

New Disturbances in Macedonia: She was especially convinced of the need of a new policy by the continued troubles in Macedonia. The experiment which she had tried, of cutting up the kingdom into four separate states, had not been entirely successful. To add to the disturbances there appeared a man who called himself Philip, and who pretended to be the son of Perseus. He incited the people to revolt, and even defeated the Romans in a battle; but he was himself soon defeated and made a prisoner. \~\

Revolt of the Achaean Cities: The spirit of revolt, excited by the false Philip, spread into Greece. The people once more began to feel that the freedom of Rome was worse than slavery. It is true that Rome had liberated the Achaean captives who had been transported to Italy after the third Macedonian war; but these men, who had spent so much of their lives in captivity, carried back to Greece the bitter spirit which they still cherished. The Greek cities became not only unfriendly to Rome, but were also at strife with one another. Sparta desired to withdraw from the Achaean league, and appealed to Rome for help. Rome sent commissioners to Greece to settle the difficulty; but the Achaean came together in their assembly at Corinth and insulted the Roman commissioners, and were then rash enough to declare war against Rome herself. \~\

Destruction of Corinth (146 B.C.): The war which now followed, for the subjugation of Greece, was at first conducted by Metellus; and afterward by Mummius, an able general but a boorish man, who hated the Greeks and cared little for their culture. Corinth, the chief city of the Achaean league, was captured; the art treasures, pictures and statues, the splendid products of Greek genius, were sent to Rome. The inhabitants were sold as slaves. And by the cruel command of the senate, the city itself was reduced to ashes. This was a barbarous act of war, such an act as no civilized nation has ever approved. That the Romans were not yet fully civilized, and knew little of the meaning of art, is shown by the story told of Mummius. This rude consul warned the sailors who carried the pictures and statues of Corinth to Rome, that “if they lost or damaged any of them, they must replace them with others of equal value.”

“Macedonia reduced to a Province: The time had now come for Rome to adopt her new policy in respect to Macedonia. The old divisions into which the kingdom had been divided were abolished, and each city or community was made directly responsible to the governor sent from Rome. By this new arrangement, Macedonia became a province. The cities of Greece were allowed to remain nominally free, but the political confederacies were broken up, and each city came into direct relation with Rome through the governor of Macedonia. Greece was afterward organized as a separate province, under the name of Achaia.

Trajan’s Conquests in Eastern Europe


Assualt on a Roman fort from Trajan's Column

Since the death of Augustus there had been made no important additions to the Roman territory, except Britain. But under Trajan the Romans became once more a conquering people. The new emperor carried his conquests across the Danube and acquired the province of Dacia. He then extended his arms into Asia, and brought into subjection Armenia, Mesopotamia, and Assyria, as the result of a short war with the Parthians. Under Trajan the boundaries of the empire reached their greatest extent. \~\

Trajan extended the Roman Empire into present-day Romania, Hungary, and Bulgaria in A.D. 106 by defeatingGermanic tribes in two Dacian wars (101-102 and 105-106). To achieve victory Trajan built a bridge across the Danube, a startling achievement for its time. The bridge and battles from the Dacian campaign are immortalized in 200 meters of scenes that spiral around the 100-foot-high Trajan column. The campaign ended when the Dacian king, Decebalus, was overthrown.

After the conquest of Dacia, the region north of the Danube became a Roman province. Rome shifted the majority of its defenses from the Rhine to the Danube, which became heavily fortified to protect Roman territory from hostile Gothic and Germanic tribes in the north.Trajan's bridge was torn down by Hadrian who felt that it might facilitate a Barbarian conquest of Rome. Roman monuments can be found all over Bulgaria and Romania. The Romanian language evolved from the Roman's Latin tongue.

Trajan's armies extended the Roman Empire to the Persian Gulf by capturing Armenia in A.D. 114 and defeating several Middle eastern kingdoms, including the arch rivals of the Romans, the Parthians. Trajan died in 117 without yet receiving the news of these conquests. Qasr Bashir was a Roman fort on the eastern fringes of Roman Empire in present-day Jordan. Covering three quarters of an acre, it embraced stone walls and three-story-high towers and was situated on a low hill surrounded by rocks and sand.

Trajan’s Conquest of the Dacians

Andrew Curry wrote in National Geographic: “Trajan’s war on the Dacians, a civilization in what is now Romania, was the defining event of his 19-year rule. In back-to-back wars fought between A.D. 101 and 106, the emperor Trajan mustered tens of thousands of Roman troops, crossed the Danube River on two of the longest bridges the ancient world had ever seen, defeated a mighty barbarian empire on its mountainous home turf twice, then systematically wiped it from the face of Europe. [Source: Andrew Curry, National Geographic, April 2015 |*|]

“From their powerful realm north of the Danube River, the Dacians regularly raided the Roman Empire. Among Roman politicians, “Dacian” was synonymous with double-dealing. The historian Tacitus called them “a people which never can be trusted.” They were known for squeezing the equivalent of protection money out of the Roman Empire while sending warriors to raid its frontier towns. In A.D. 101 Trajan moved to punish the troublesome Dacians.” He “fortified the border and invaded with tens of thousands of troops. After nearly two years of battle Decebalus, the Dacian king, negotiated a treaty with Trajan, then promptly broke it. Trajan returned in 105 and crushed them. |*|


Dacian chiefs


“Rome had been betrayed one time too many. During the second invasion Trajan didn’t mess around.” On Trajan’s Column, “Just look at the scenes that show the looting of Sarmizegetusa or villages in flames. “The campaigns were dreadful and violent,” says Roberto Meneghini, the Italian archaeologist in charge of excavating Trajan’s Forum. “Look at the Romans fighting with cutoff heads in their mouths. War is war. The Roman legions were known to be quite violent and fierce.” |*|

“In the first major battle Trajan defeated the Dacians at Tapae. A storm indicated to the Romans that the god Jupiter, with his thunderbolts, was on their side. The destruction of Dacia’s holiest temples and altars followed Sarmizegetusa’s fall. “Everything was dismantled by the Romans,” Florea says. “There wasn’t a building remaining in the entire fortress. It was a show of power—we have the means, we have the power, we are the bosses.” The rest of Dacia was devastated too. Near the top of the column is a glimpse of the denouement: a village put to the torch, Dacians fleeing, a province empty of all but cows and goats. |*|

“The two wars must have killed tens of thousands. A contemporary claimed that Trajan took 500,000 prisoners, bringing some 10,000 to Rome to fight in the gladiatorial games that were staged for 123 days in celebration. Dacia’s proud ruler Decebalus, when his capital and all his territory had been occupied and he was himself in danger of being captured, committed suicide, sparing himself the humiliation of surrender. His end is carved on his archrival’s column. Kneeling under an oak tree, he raises a long, curved knife to his own neck. Decebalus’s head was brought to Rome.” the Roman historian Cassius Dio wrote a century later. “In this way Dacia became subject to the Romans.”

Dacians and Sarmizegetusa, Their Political and Spiritual Capital

Andrew Curry wrote in National Geographic: “The Dacians had no written language, so what we know about their culture is filtered through Roman sources. Ample evidence suggests that they were a regional power for centuries, raiding and exacting tribute from their neighbors. They were skilled metalworkers, mining and smelting iron and panning for gold to create magnificently ornamented jewelry and weaponry. Dacians fashioned precious metals into jewelry, coins, and art, such as the 17-centimeter-high gold-trimmed silver drinking vessels and 12-centimeter-in-diameter bracelets weighing up to a kilogram. [Source: Andrew Curry, National Geographic, April 2015 |*|]


Sarmizegetusa

“Sarmizegetusa was their political and spiritual capital. The ruined city lies high in the mountains of central Romania. In Trajan’s day the thousand-mile journey from Rome would have taken a month at least. To get to the site today, visitors have to negotiate a potholed dirt road through the same forbidding valley that Trajan faced. Back then the passes were guarded by elaborate ridgetop fortifications; now only a few peasant huts keep watch. |*|

Sarmizegetusa—a terrace carved out of the mountainside—was the religious heart of the Dacian world. Traces of buildings remain, a mix of original stones and concrete reproductions, the legacy of an aborted communist-era attempt to reconstruct the site. A triple ring of stone pillars outlines a once impressive temple that distantly echoes the round Dacian buildings on Trajan’s Column. Next to it is a low, circular stone altar carved with a sunburst pattern, the sacred center of the Dacian universe.

Gelu Florea, an archaeologist from Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, has spent summers excavating the site. The exposed ruins, along with artifacts recovered from looters, reveal a thriving hub of manufacturing and religious ritual. Florea and his team have found evidence of Roman military know-how and Greek architectural and artistic influences. Using aerial imaging, archaeologists have identified more than 260 man-made terraces, which stretch for nearly three miles along the valley. The entire settlement covered more than 700 acres. “It’s amazing to see how cosmopolitan they were up in the mountains,” says Florea. “It’s the biggest, most representative, most complex settlement in Dacia.”

“There is no sign that the Dacians grew food up here. There are no cultivated fields. Instead archaeologists have found the remains of dense clusters of workshops and houses, along with furnaces for refining iron ore, tons of iron hunks ready for working, and dozens of anvils. It seems the city was a center of metal production, supplying other Dacians with weapons and tools in exchange for gold and grain. |*|

“Not far from the altar rises a small spring that could have provided water for religious rituals. Flecks of natural mica make the dirt paths sparkle in the sun. It’s hard to imagine the ceremonies that took place here—and the terrible end. Florea conjures the smoke and screams, looting and slaughter, suicides and panic depicted on Trajan’s Column. |*|

Carnuntum in Austria: Forth Largest City in the Roman Empire


Carnuntum

The Roman city of Carnuntum, which spread out over an area of about 10 square kilometers and had a large legionary fort and an amphitheater that could accommodate 8,000 people, was built on the Danube about 40 kilometers from present-day Vienna. It was occupied from A.D. 14 to 433, when it was sacked by the Huns.

Carnuntum lies on the southern bank of the Danube in present-day Austria. At its height it was the fourth-largest city in the Roman Empire, and home to maybe 50,000 people, including, for a time in A.D. second century the philosopher-emperor Marcus Aurelius. A few remains are visible todaysuch as the monumental Heathen’s Gate and the amphitheater. Most of Carnuntum’s sprawling remains are still buried underground beneath pastures. It recent decades, the site has been threatened by plowing, construction and looting by treasure hunters.

“To study the underground city without disturbing it, Wolfgang Neubauer, director of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology (LBI ArchPro), has been using noninvasive methods, such as aerial photography, ground-penetrating radar systems and magnetometers. In 2011, a team led by Neubauer, identified a gladiator school at Carnuntum, complete with training grounds, baths and cells where dozens of gladiators lived like prisoners.

Notitia Dignitatum (Register of Dignitaries), A.D. 400

The Notitia Dignitatum (Register of Dignitaries, c. A.D. 400) is an official listing of all civil and military posts in the Roman Empire, East and West. It survives as a 1551 copy of the now-missing original and is the major source of information on the administrative organization of the late Roman Empire. William Fairley wrote: “The Notitia Dignitatum is an official register of all the offices, other than municipal, which existed in the Roman Empire.... Gibbon gave to this document a date between 395 and 407 when the Vandals disturbed the Roman regime in Gaul. [Source: Notitia Dignitatum (Register of Dignitaries), William Fairley, in Translations and Reprints from Original Sources of European History, Vol. VI:4 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press), 1899].

“The Notitia Dignitatum has preserved for us, as no other document has done, a complete outline view of the Roman administrative system in early fifth century. The hierarchic arrangement is displayed perfectly. The division of prefectures, dioceses and provinces, and the rank of their respective governors is set forth at length. The military origin of the whole system appears in the titles of the staff officers, even in those departments whose heads had, since the time of Constantine, been deprived of all military command.”

Register of Dignitaries in the West


Illyrian footman

Register of the Dignitaries Both Civil and Military, in the Districts of the West:
The pretorian prefect of Italy.
The pretorian prefect of the Gauls.
The prefect of the city of Rome.
The master of foot in the presence.
The master of horse in the presence.
The master of horse in the Gauls.
The provost of the sacred bedchamber.
The master of the offices.
The quaestor.
The count of the sacred bounties.
The count of the private domains.
The count of the household horse.
The count of the household foot.
The superintendent of the sacred bedchamber,
The chief of the notaries.
The castellan of the sacred palace.
The masters of bureaus:
of memorials; of correspondence; of requests.
The proconsul of Africa.
[Source: Notitia Dignitatum (Register of Dignitaries), William Fairley, in Translations and Reprints from Original Sources of European History, Vol. VI:4 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press), 1899].

Six vicars: of the city of Rome; of Italy; of Africa; of the Spains; of the Seven Provinces; of the Britains.
Six military counts: of Italy; of Africa; of Tingitania; of the tractus Argentoratensis; of the Britains; of the Saxon shore of Britain.
Thirteen dukes: of the frontier of Mauritania Caesariensis; of the Tripolitan frontier; of Pannonia prima and ripuarian Noricum; of Pannonia secunda; of ripuarian Valeria; of Raetia prima and secunda; of Sequanica; of the Armorican and Nervican tract; of Belgica secunda; of Germania prima; of Britannia; of Mogontiacensis.
Twenty-two consulars: of Pannonia;
in Italy eight: of Venetia and Histria; of Emilia; of Liguria; of Flaminia and Picenum annonarium; of Tuscia and Umbria; of Picenum suburbicarium; of Campania;of Sicilia.
in Africa two: of Byzacium; of Numidia.
in the Spains three: of Beatica; of Lusitania; of Callaecia.
in the Gauls six: of Viennensis; of Lugdunensis prima; of Germania prima; of Germania secunda; of Belgica prima; of Belgica secunda.
in the Britains two: of Maxima Caesariensis, of Valentia.
Three correctors:
in Italy two: of Apulia and Calabria; of Lucania and Brittii.
in Pannonia one: of Savia.

Thirty-one presidents:
in Illyricum four: of Dalmatia; of Pannonia prima; of Mediterranean Noricum; of ripuarian Noricum,
in Italy seven: of the Cottiau Alps; of Reetia prima; of Raetia secundum, of Samnium; of Valeria; of Sardinia; of Corsica.
in Africa two of Mauritania Sitifensis; of Tripolitana.
in the Spains four: of Tarraconensis; of Carthaginensis; of Tintgjtania; or the Balearic Isles.
in the Gauls eleven: of the maritime Alps; of the Pennine and Graian Alps of Maxima Sequanortim; of Aquitanica prima; Aquitanica secunda; of Novempopulana; of Narbonensis prima; of Narbonensis secunda; of Lugdunensis secunda; of Lugduneasis tertia; of Lugunensis Senonica.
in the Britains three: of Britannia prima; of Ezitannia secunda; of Flavia Caesariensis.

Pretorian Prefect of Illyricum

Under the control of the illustrious pretorian prefect of Illyricum are the dioceses mentioned below: of Macedonia; of Dacia.
The provinces of Macedonia are six: Achaia; Macedonia; Crete; Thessaly; ancient Epirus; new Epirus; and a part of Macedonia salutaris.
The provinces of Dacia are five: Mediterranean Dacia; ripuarian Dacia; Moesia prima; Dardania; Praevalitana; and part of Macedonia salutaris.
[Source: Notitia Dignitatum (Register of Dignitaries), William Fairley, in Translations and Reprints from Original Sources of European History, Vol. VI:4 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press), 1899].

The staff of the illustrious pretorian prefect of Illyricum: A chief of staff,
A chief deputy,
A chief assistant,
A custodian,
A keeper of the records,
Four receivers of taxes; one of these for gold; another for services.
An assistant,
A curator of correspondence,
A registrar,
Secretaries,
Aids,
Notaries.
The pretorian prefect of Illyricum. himself issues [post-warrants].


Eastern Roman Empire in 39 BC


Count of the Sacred Bounties

Under the control of the illustrious cou n t of the sacred bounties.
The count of the bounties in Illyricum,
The count of the wardrobe,
The count of gold,
The count of the Italian bounties,
Accountants:
The accountant of the general tax of Pannonia secunda, Dalmatia and Savia,
The accountant of the general tax of Pannonia prima, Valeria, Mediterranean and ripuarian Noricum.
The accountant of the general tax of Italy,
The accountant of the general tax of the city of Rome,
The accountant of the general tax of the Three Provinces, that is, of Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica,
The accountant of the general tax of Africa,
The accountant of the general tax of Numidia,
The accountant of the general tax of Spain,
The accountant of the general tax of the Five Provinces,
The accountant of the general tax of the Gauls,
The accountant of the general tax of the Britains. [Source: Notitia Dignitatum (Register of Dignitaries), William Fairley, in Translations and Reprints from Original Sources of European History, Vol. VI:4 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press), 1899].

Provosts of the storehouses:
In Illyricum:
The provost of the storehouses at Salona in Dalmatia,
The provost of the storehouses at Siscia in Savia
The provost of the storehouses at Savaria in Pannonia prima,
In Italy:
The provost of the storehouses at Aquileia in Venetia,
The provost of the storehouses at Milan in Liguria,
The provost of the storehouses of the city of Rome,
The provost of the storehouses at Augsburg in Raetia secunda.
In the Gauls:
The provost of the storehouses at Lyons,
The provost of the storehouses at Arles,
The provost of the storehouses at Rheims,
The provost of the storehouses at Trier.
In the Britains:
The provost of the storehouses at London.

Procurators of the mints:
The procurator of the mint at Siscia,
The procurator of the mint at Aquileia,
The procurator of the mint in the city of Rome,
The procurator of the mint at Lyons,
The procurator of the mint at Arles,
The procurator of the mint at Trier.

Procurators of the weaving-houses:
The procurator of the weaving-house at Bassiana, in Pannonia secunda -removed from Salona,
The procurator of the weaving-house at Sirmium. in Pannonia secunda,
The procurator of the Jovian weaving-house at Spalato in Dalmatia,
The procurator of the weaving-house at Aquileia in Venetia inferior,
The procurator of the weaving-house at Milan in Liguria,
The procurator of the weaving-house in the city of Rome,
The procurator of the weaving-house at Canosa and Venosa in Apulia,
The procurator of the weaving-house at Carthage in Africa,
The procurator of the weaving-house at Arles in the province of Vienne,
The procurator of the weaving-house at Lyons,
The procurator of the weaving-house at Rheims in Belgica secunda,
The procurator of the weaving-house at Tourney Belgica Secunda,
The procurator of the weaving-house at Trier in Belgica secunda,
The procurator of the weaving-house at Autun- removed from Metz,
The procurator of the weaving-house at Winchester Britain.
Procurators of the linen-weaving houses:
The procurator of the linen-weaving house at Vienne in the Gauls,
The procurator of the linen-weaving house at Ravenna in Italy.

Procurators of the dye-houses:
The procurator of the dye-house at Tarentum in Calabria,
The procurator of the dye-house at Salona in Dalmatia
The procurator of the dye-house at Cissa in Venetia and Istria,
The procurator of the dye-house at Syracuse in Sicily,
The procurator of the dye-houses in Africa,
The procurator of the dyeihouse at Girba, in the Province of Tripolis,
The procurator of the dye-house in the Balearic Isles in Spain,
The procurator of the dye-house at Toulon in the Gauls.
The procurator of the dye-house at Narbonne.

Procurators of the embroiderers in gold and silver:
The procurator of the embroiderers in gold and silver at Arles,
The procurator of the embroiderers in gold silver and at Rheims,
The procurator of the embroiderers in gold and silver at Trier,

Procurators of the goods despatch:
For the Eastern traffic:
The provost of the first Eastern despatch, and the fourth [return],
The provost of the second Eastern despatch, and the third [return],
The provost of the second [return] despatch, and the third from the East,
The provost of the first (return] despatch, and the fourth from the East.
For the traffic with the Gauls:
The provost of the first Gallic despatch, and the fourth [return].
The counts of the markets in Illyricum.

The staff of the aforesaid illustrious count of the sacred bounties includes:
A chief clerk of the whole staff,
A chief clerk of the bureau of fixed taxes,
A chief clerk of the bureau of records,
A chief clerk of the bureau of accounts,
A chief clerk of the bureau of gold bullion,
A chief clerk of the bureau of gold for shipment,
A chief clerk of the bureau of the sacred wardrobe,
A chief clerk of the bureau of silver,
A chief clerk of the bureau of miliarensia,
A chief clerk of the bureau of coinage, and other clerks,
A deputy chief clerk of the staff, who is chief clerk of the secretaries,
A sub-deputy chief clerk who has charge of the goods despatch.


Roman Empire at It peak in the AD 2nd century


Administrative Positions in Europe

Vicar of the Seven Provinces
Under the control of the worshipful vicar of the Seven Provinces:
Consulars:
of Vienne,
of Lyons,
of Germania prima,
of Germania secunda,
of Belgica, prima,
of Belgica secunda.
Presidents:
of the Maritime Alps,
of the Pennine and Graiam Alps,
of Maxima Sequanorum,
of Aquitanica prima,
of Aquitanica secunda,
of Novem populi,
of Narbonensis prima,
of Narbonensis secunda,
of Lugdunensis secunda,
of Lugdunensis tertia,
of Lugdunensis Senonia.
The staff of the aforesaid worshipful vicar of the Seven. Provinces:
[The same as in No. XIX.] [Source: Notitia Dignitatum (Register of Dignitaries), William Fairley, in Translations and Reprints from Original Sources of European History, Vol. VI:4 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press), 1899].

Vicar of the Britains
Under the control of the worshipful vicar of the Britains:
Consulars:
of Maxima Caesariensis,
of Valentia.
Presidents:
of Britannia prima,
of Britannia secunda,
of Flavia Caesariensis.
The staff of the same worshipful vicar is as follows:
[The same as in No. XIX]

Count of Tingitania
Under the control of the worshipful count of Tingitania:
Borderers:
[One prefect of a squadron, and seven tribunes of cohorts.]
The staff of the same worshipful count is as follows:
A chief of staff from the staffs of the masters of the soldiery in the presence; one year from that of the master of the foot, the other from that of the master of horse.
A custodian as above,
Two accountants, in alternate years from the aforesaid staffs.
A chief deputy,
A chief assistant,
An assistant,
A registrar,
Secretaries,
Notaries and other officials.


Roman Empire in AD 460


Duke of the Armorican Tract
Under the control of the worshipful duke of the Armorican and Nervican tract:
[One tribune of a cohort and nine military prefects.] *enumeration omitted
The Armorican and Nervican tract is extended to include the Five Provinces:
Aquitanica prima and secunda, Lugdunensis secunda and tertia.
The staff of the same worshipful duke includes:
A chief of staff from the staffs of the masters of soldiery in the presence in alternate years,
An accountant from the staff of the master of foot for one year,
A custodian from the aforesaid staffs in alternate years
A chief assistant;
An assistant,
A registrar,
Secretaries,
Notaries and other officials.

Consular of Campania
Under the control of the right honorable consular of Campania:
The province of Campania.
His staff is as follows:
A chief of staff from the staff of the pretorian prefect of Italy,
A chief deputy,
Two accountants,
A chief assistant,
A custodian,
A keeper of the records,
An assistant,
Secretaries and other cohartalini, who are not allowed to pass to another service without the permission of the imperial clemency.
All the other consulars have a staff like that of the consular of Campania.

Corrector of Apulia and Calabria.
Under the jurisdiction of the right honorable corrector of Apulia and Calabria:
The province of Apulia and Calabria.
His staff is as follows:
A chief of the same staff,
A chief deputy,
Two accouutants,
A custodian,
A chief assistant,
A keeper of the records,
An assistant,
Secretaries and other cohortalini, who are not allowed to pass to another service without the permission of the imperial clemency.
The other correctors have a staff like that of the corrector of Apulia and Calabria.

President of Dalmatia.
Under the jurisdiction of the honorable president of Dalmatia.
The province of Dalmatia.
His staff is as follows.
[The same as in others]
The other presidents have a staff like that of the president Dalmatia

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons

Text Sources: Internet Ancient History Sourcebook: Rome sourcebooks.fordham.edu ; Internet Ancient History Sourcebook: Late Antiquity sourcebooks.fordham.edu ; Forum Romanum forumromanum.org ; “Outlines of Roman History” by William C. Morey, Ph.D., D.C.L. New York, American Book Company (1901), forumromanum.org \~\; “The Private Life of the Romans” by Harold Whetstone Johnston, Revised by Mary Johnston, Scott, Foresman and Company (1903, 1932) forumromanum.org |+|; BBC Ancient Rome bbc.co.uk/history/ ; Perseus Project - Tufts University; perseus.tufts.edu ; MIT, Online Library of Liberty, oll.libertyfund.org ; Gutenberg.org gutenberg.org Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Live Science, Discover magazine, Times of London, Natural History magazine, Archaeology magazine, The New Yorker, Encyclopædia Britannica, "The Discoverers" [∞] and "The Creators" [μ]" by Daniel Boorstin. "Greek and Roman Life" by Ian Jenkins from the British Museum.Time, Newsweek, Wikipedia, Reuters, Associated Press, The Guardian, AFP, Lonely Planet Guides, World Religions edited by Geoffrey Parrinder (Facts on File Publications, New York); History of Warfare by John Keegan (Vintage Books); History of Art by H.W. Janson Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.), Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Last updated October 2018

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