The Roman province of Asia

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The Roman province of Asia was an administrative province annexed in the late Roman Republic era. Ephesus, Sardis, Pergamon and Aphrodisias had been the most prominent cities of the province. A proconsul was in charge of the Asian province.

The Roman province of Asia
The Roman province of Asia

The word Asia comes from the old Greek meaning eastern lands. Calling Anatolia ”eastern land” was logical since the motherland Greece is located on the west of Anatolia.

Asia province of the Roman Empire occupied the same are of what once called Lydian kingdom. Battle of Magnesia taking place in 190 BC which resulted in Romans crushing the armies of Antiochus III the Great allowed creation of Asia province. Asia had Bithynia to the north, Galatia to the east and Lycia to the south.

Equestrian order (can be interpreted as knights) was given the right to collect taxes in Asia. This had grave consequences for the people of Asia since Equites didn’t care about the ability of people paying highly rated taxes and when they couldn’t pay, Equites took their possessions.

Mithridates VI of Pontus and his armies fuelled by the hatred against Roman Empire attacked the Roman province of Asia and occupied a big portion of it in the year 88 BC. It is known that 80,000 to 150,000 Roman citizens were slaughtered by Mithridates VI of Pontus. Occupation finished by commander Lucius Cornelius Sulla in three years.

The golden age of Asia started with the emperor Augustus who ruled between 63 BC and 14 AD. Emperor temples were erected, more wealth and power were gained in the cities of Asia on the upcoming 200 years.

A long-lasting series of epidemics started the decline of Asia province. The first of these epidemics was Antonine Plague. Later the Gothic invasions and fall of the Roman authority pushed the province even further down. Eventually the mighty Roman Empire were divided into two pieces by emperor Diocletian led the demise of the Asian province of the Roman Empire.

Valeriya Gülday

I have been living in Turkey for more than ten years. I finished my education abroad on linguistics. Russian and Turkish are my native languages, and I am also fluent in English and Mandarin Chinese. I am on the senior year of tour guiding faculty and soon I wish I will be guiding all over Turkey!

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