digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:

Agriculture

Applied sciences

Arts

Belief

Business

Chronology

Culture

Education

Environment

Geography

Health

History

Humanities

Language

Law

Life

Mathematics

Nature

People

Politics

Science

Society

Technology

Roman SPQR banner.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Ancient Rome
Periods
Roman Constitution
Ordinary magistrates
Extraordinary magistrates
Titles and honours
Precedent and law

A Roman governor was an official either elected or appointed to be the chief administrator of Roman law throughout one or more of the many provinces constituting the Roman Empire. A Roman governor is also known as a propraetor or proconsul.

The generic term in Roman legal language was Rector provinciae, regardless of the specific titles, which also reflect the province's intrinsic and strategic status, and corresponding differences in authority.

By the time of the early empire, there were two types of provinces — senatorial and imperial — and several types of governor would emerge. Only proconsuls and propraetors fell under the classification of promagistrate.

Duties of the governor[edit]

Aside from these financial duties, the governor was the province's chief judge. The governor had the sole right to impose capital punishment, and capital cases were normally tried before him. To appeal a governor's decision necessitated travelling to Rome and presenting one's case before either the Praetor Urbanus, or even the Emperor himself, an expensive, and thus rare, process. An appeal was unlikely to succeed anyway, as a governor wouldn’t generally take the chance of convicting someone contrary to the Emperor's wishes. The governor was also supposed to travel across his province to administer justice in the major towns where his attention was required.

Finally, and most importantly, he commanded the military forces within the province. In the more important provinces, this could consist of legions, but elsewhere, there were only auxiliaries. As a part of his standing orders the governor had the authority to use his legions to stamp out organized criminal gangs or rebels in the area without need for the Emperor's or Senate's approval.

Every governor had at his disposal a diversity of advisors and staff, who were known as his comites (Latin for "companions"); the number of these depended on the governor's social standing and rank. These comites would serve as the governor's executive council, with each supervising a different aspect of the province, and assisting the governor in decision making. In the provinces with a significant legionary presence, the governor's second-in-command was usually a quaestor, a man elected in Rome and sent to the province to serve a mainly financial role, but who could command the military with the governor's approval. In other provinces, governors themselves appointed non-magistrate prefects or procurators to govern a small part of the province and act as their second-in-command.

Republican governors[edit]

During the era of the Roman Republic, the council was in of appointing governors to Rome's provinces. This was done by appointing promagistrates to serve, either by random casting of lots or by senatus consultum (advice of the Senate); however, these appointments were not formally binding on a legal basis and could be nullified by Roman assemblies.

The governor's level of authority was determined by what type of imperium he possessed. Most provinces were governed by propraetors who had served an annual term in the praetorship the year before. The provinces governed by propraetors were usually the more tranquil ones, where chances of revolt or invasion were small, but in some cases propraetors would be given command of more troubled provinces.

Provinces that lay on the empire's borders, thereby requiring a permanent military garrison, were governed by proconsuls who had served a term as consul (the highest rank of magistrate) the year before their governorship. They were given the authority to command provinces with actual Roman legions, rather than just using the militia.

These promagistrates held equality with other magistrates with the same level of imperium and were attended by the same number of lictors. Generally speaking, they had autocratic power within their provinces. A provincial governor almost possessed unlimited authority and often extorted vast amounts of money from the provincial population—but, though he retained immunity from prosecution as long as he held his imperium, once he left office he became vulnerable to prosecution for his actions during his term.

Imperial governors[edit]

Imperial provinces[edit]

After Augustus established the principate, the Emperor himself was the direct governor of Rome's most important provinces (called imperial provinces) and, even in the provinces he did not directly govern, was senior to other provincial governors through holding imperium maius, or supreme imperium. In imperial provinces, the Emperor would appoint legates to govern in his name. The Emperor had sole say in the appointing of these legates, who were lower in rank than other provincial governors, as officially they were only representatives of the province's true governor, the Emperor.

The principate did not totally do away with the system of selecting proconsuls and propraetors. In provinces with one legion, a legate bearing praetorian imperium, thus being a propraetor, not only governed the province in the Emperor’s name, but also controlled the legion himself. However, in provinces with more than one legion, each legion was commanded by its own legate with praetorian imperium, while the province as a whole was commanded by a legate with consular imperium, who had general command over the entire army stationed there, as well as administering the province as a proconsul.

Appointment to these governorships was completely at the whim of the Emperor and could last anywhere from 1 to 5 years.

Public provinces[edit]

While the Emperor had sole authority in provinces with legions, public provinces were provinces where the Senate had the right to appoint governors. These provinces were away from the Empire's borders and free from the likelihood of rebellion, and so had few, if any, legions stationed in them (thus lessening the chance the Senate might try to seize power from the Emperor).

These provinces were under the authority of proconsular or propraetorian senators invariably styled 'proconsul', with little need for intervention by the Emperor (although the Emperor had the power to appoint these governors if he wished). Most public provinces, since they were not under the direct authority of the Emperor, did not grant the governor legions to command. There was one exception to this rule, the province of Africa, where there was always at least a single legion to protect the province from Berber tribes.

Augustus decreed that at least ten provinces would be held by the authority of the Roman people through the agency of the Senate. Though all ten were "proconsular", only two of these provinces (Asia and Africa), were actually governed by senators with proconsular imperium, the remaining eight being governed by propraetors. The two proconsular governors served for one year, while the eight praetors served typically for up to 3 years. Each of these men had six lictors who served as bodyguards and also as a symbol of authority and a mark of their position.

Equestrian procurator[edit]

The Emperor also had under his control a number of smaller, but potentially difficult provinces that did not need an entire legion. These provinces were put under the control of governors of equestrian status. New conquests generally fell into this equestrian category, but most were later changed in status to reflect the changing conditions of Rome's growing empire. Thus, on conquest a province would become a procuratorial province until it was decided that it should become either an imperial or senatorial province and thus governed by either a propraetor or proconsul. Like the other imperial provinces, the equestrian governors could serve any length of time up to 5 years, or even longer.

Much like the senatorial province of Africa, the equestrian province of Aegyptus (Egypt) was an exception to the general rule of legions only being stationed in imperial provinces. Egypt was not a normal province; it was considered the personal possession of the Emperor, and its governor, the praefectus Aegypti, was considered the hold the highest ranking equestrian post during the early empire. Later, the post would fall second to that of the praetorian command, but its position remained highly prestigious.

Though the practice of appointing equestrians to help manage provinces officially began with Augustus, governors from years before had appointed procurators to help them govern. However, it was not until the reign of Claudius that these procurators received the powers of a governor. Though by definition the procurators were prefects, a procuratorship was a more formal way of denoting a prefect’s authority to govern. It is important to note that procurators were not magistrates, so did not own imperium, and merely exercised the Emperor’s, or governor's, authority with his approval.

Late imperial governors[edit]

The provincial governors were the most important officials in the Roman administration for it was they who were responsible for tax collection, justice in the first instance and public order in the first instance. They received, from the Prefectures, the tax demands three times a year, which they circulated to the municipalities.

Under the Dominate, i.e. the Late Roman Empire, the Roman Emperor Diocletian began in AD 293 reforms of the provincial administration that were completed under the Emperor Constantine the Great in 318. Diocletian set up 12 dioceses (later several were split; see under Roman province), originally two to four for each of the four co-emperors under the short-lived Tetrarchy (two senior Augusti, each above a Caesar), each governed by a Vicarius who substituted for or acted on behalf of the praetorian prefect. Each diocese comprised several Roman provinces, now rather known as eparchy, each under the authority of a provincial governor (see above), of various ranks and carrying a series of titles, including republican relics such as Proconsul and novelties such as Corrector provinciae, Moderator Provinciae, Praeses provinciae Although the Vicarius's authority was supreme within his diocese, he was under the authoirty of Praetorian Prefect whose power he partook of (see below) or the Emperor himself.

Diocletian began and Constantine completely removed military command from the governors (and some related competences. In those provinces where soldiers were stationed, the dux (Latin for leader) commanded border military units. Some duces commanded units in several provinces: they were watched by the diocesan vicars. Field units were commanded by a Comes (companion from which we get count) and later by supreme military commanders, the magistri militum (masters of the soldiers).

Emperor Constantine completed Diocletian's reforms and organized the Roman Empire into four pretorian prefectures late in his reign, actually the former territorial circumscriptions of the former four imperial tetrarchs to which each praetorian prefect had acted as chief of staff: the Prefecture of the Gauls, the Prefecture of Italy and Africa, the Prefecture of Illyricum, and the Prefecture of Oriens, with each administrated by an imperially appointed Praetorian prefect. The Prefect of each Prefecture was the highest civilian officer, being subordinate only to the Emperor(s) Prefects were the superiors of the vicars and governors. He was the chief appellate judge, head of the administration of the prefecture, chief finance officer and chief tax collector (the collection was actually done at municipal and village levels).

  • A list of the provinces within the dioceses and the dioceses within the prefectures can be found on the Roman provinces page.

See also[edit]

Sources and references[edit]

External links[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_governor — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
116115 videos foundNext > 

ASL CBS 27 Jesus has a trial before the Roman Governor - Story

Copyright DOOR International www.doorinternational.com John 18:28-38, Luke 23:5-16, Matthew 27:15-22, John 19:1-15, Matthew 27:24-31 Story 27 of the Know God...

ASL CBS 27 Jesus has a trial before the Roman Governor - Engagement

Copyright DOOR International www.doorinternational.com More information and Engagement questions for John 18:28-38, Luke 23:5-16, Matthew 27:15-22, John 19:1...

ASL CBS 27 Jesus has a trial before the Roman Governor - Introduction

Copyright DOOR International www.doorinternational.com Introduction to John 18:28-38, Luke 23:5-16, Matthew 27:15-22, John 19:1-15, Matthew 27:24-31 Story 27...

The Roman Governor of Judaea

Audio Book available on: http://norbertomercado.blogspot.com Book III of "In The Shadow Of The Roman Empire" explores the story of the Roman Governor of Juda...

Let's Play Grand Ages: Rome - Ep38: Governor of Rome

Glory is ours!

WITH THE LIONS OF ROME Trailer - 168 Film Project - 2014

WITH THE LIONS OF ROME - Synopsis ROME 62 A.D. A Roman Governor is envious of his younger sister after she demonstrates miraculous powers. Come to find, she ...

Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno on the New Jersey Capitol Report Part 2

New Jersey Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno was a guest on the New Jersey Capitol Report with Steve Adubato and Rafael Pi Roman.

BURSA - Thermal Tourism

SPAS From Rome to the Byzantines A letter written by Plinius, the first Roman governor of Bursa appointed by the Emperor Trajan early in the second century A...

Clive Barker's Jericho - Governor Cassius Vicus

Clive Barker's Jericho - Roman Empire chapter - Governor Cassius Vicus.

The Battle Against Rome - PART 2/2

Arminius -- born as the son of a Cheruscan, abducted as a pawn of the Romans, and raised as a soldier, he returns to subdued Germania under Emperor Augustus....

116115 videos foundNext > 

7 news items

 
History
Fri, 25 Jul 2014 13:37:30 -0700

The site was constructed from timber sometime around A.D. 80. on the orders of Gnaeus Julius Agricola, the Roman Governor of Britain. It was later fortified and rebuilt from stone during the Antonine period in the second century. The newer citadel ...

The Weekly Standard

The Weekly Standard
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 20:47:01 -0700

Rome did not make a territorial province out of southern Greece—with a Roman governor present every year to judge causes and collect taxes—until 27 b.c.. This tale of conquest, and disenchanted reconquest, is the story Robin Waterfield tells here.
 
IPPmedia
Sun, 27 Jul 2014 00:30:00 -0700

With due respect to the honorable Commission, if this structure has to crucified, we should not do it as a reaction to the shouts of the scribes and high priests accompanied by their claques or based on an appeasing offer from an ambivalent Roman ...
 
Patheos (blog)
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 04:12:40 -0700

In the world of the day, Jesus of Nazareth, as a carpenter's son from a backwater, was not only a legal but a moral non-entity, while both the Sanhedrin and the Roman Governor were imbued with divine authority; and therefore, such a lowlife disturbing ...
 
Aleteia
Thu, 03 Jul 2014 11:00:03 -0700

In the midst of persecution, Christian theologian and apologist Tertullian wrote to the Roman governor of Carthage in AD 212, “[I]t is a fundamental human right, a privilege of nature that every man should worship according to his own convictions ...
 
RenewAmerica
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 14:11:15 -0700

The Roman general, Pompey, conquered Judea in the First century BC and made Gaza a free "polis" but in 61 AD the Roman Governor, Gavinius, evicted the Jews. In the subsequent war against Roman occupation of Judea, between 67 and 70 AD, Jewish ...
 
malaysiandigest.com
Tue, 08 Jul 2014 17:11:15 -0700

Norman Fernandez (PIC: malaysia-chronicle.com)JOHOR BARU: FORMER Johor DAP deputy chairman Norman Fernandez said he would have a fairer chance before Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor who had Jesus crucified, than at DAP's disciplinary ...
Loading

Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Talk About Roman governor

You can talk about Roman governor with people all over the world in our discussions.

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!