To what extent were the provincials in the Empire influenced by the Roman way of life

The territory of the Roman Empire was divided into a number of geographical areas called provinces. A governor called a magistrate ruled each province. There were three kinds of governor (praeses – the one who presides). Local political authorities saw to the daily administration. The first province that the Romans took was the Greek city of Sicily and they were hoping to develop a similar system whenever possible. Communities (civitates) without Roman or Latin citizenship were called “taxable” and some “free and allied” but the distinction had little significance. The wealthy would be enrolled in the local order (equivalent to the Roman senate) and it and the local elected magistrates would see to regular administration and collect the taxes.

The provincials in the West and the East were very different compared to each other before romanization took place. In the East, the provinces were built up with large cities and towns and their society was much greater than the Roman Empire due to its length of existence. This meant that the Romans had to be very careful when attempting to romanise these provinces as they could over power them. Each of the provinces would have their own set of rules and culture so for the Romans to make them more like Rome would appear as a blatant disrespect to their way of life.

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The eastern provinces were extremely useful due to their geographic position on the edge of the empire, providing Rome with the first line of defence from the Parthian Empire. As a result, these provinces were powerful allies to have and if at any point they were angered they could have been very dangerous enemies.

The advantage in the provinces having cities and towns already built was that once a good Roman idea was formed, it would spread very quickly and trends would be quick to diffuse through the provinces. It is apparent that to an extent the Romans succeeded in Romanising many of the Eastern provinces. One example of this would be

We can see that the ideas did spread and that to an extent, the Romans succeeded in romanising some of the eastern provinces. An example of this is shown in Pliny’s letters to the Emperor Trajan, as in Book X: 39, he discusses the building of a theatre with a colonnade as well as a public bath. From this we can suggest that the provincials in Pontus and Bithynia at least accepted the Roman way of life because Pliny states that the request to build the bath and rebuild the theatre was funded and undertaken by the people of the respective towns. They may have felt that requesting it would have kept them on the right side of the Emperor, yet they also diverted spending to the projects, indicating that they must have felt it was a good idea.