Manual The Local Magistrates of Roman Spain (Phoenix Supplementary Volume)

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With notes by the Rev. H. H. Milman

Advanced search Search history. Browse titles authors subjects uniform titles series callnumbers dewey numbers starting from optional. See what's been added to the collection in the current 1 2 3 4 5 6 weeks months years. After the first occupation of the island by Ti.

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Sempronius Gracchus, the consul of , we hear of campaigns fought there and in Corsica each year down to and including , always under the command of a consul. In Rome took what proved to be the momentous step of increasing the number of praetors elected annually to four, two to continue as previously with primary responsibility for urban jurisdiction, two to be sent abroad, to Sicily and Sardinia.

It is interesting to note that Solinus, writing in the third century AD, regards this as the date at which each of the two islands Sicily and Sardinia became a provincial It is impossible to be certain why this change was made at this point, but it is likely that it was in some way connected with the disruption caused by the war with Teuta and the Illyrian dynasts. Seen with hindsight, the Illyrian expedition of looks like a relatively small-scale punitive raid, a natural stage in the development of Roman aggressive imperialism.

Polybius, writing in the next century, preserves something of the sense of surprise that must have been felt by the Greek world at this 'first crossing under arms of the Romans into Illyria and this part of Europe'. Thiel, A history of Roman sea-power before the second Punic war Amsterdam , , argues for the disappearance of the institution between and Staatsverwaltung I 2 , , 43 T h e increase in numbers is reported by Livy, per. Valerius, alteram C. Flaminius praetor sortiti sint. Spain and Roman imperialism had driven the Carthaginians from Sicily and invaded Sardinia. In particular, it was an amphibious operation which involved both consuls, whose predecessors from down to had been largely involved with Sardinia; and, more importantly, it also required a fleet.

Fulvius Centumalus, commanded a fleet of ships, a number only just short of the entire Roman fleet at the Aegates Islands in the battle that ended the first Punic war. If, as is probable, Roman ships stationed at Lilybaeum were withdrawn to fight in the Adriatic in , this might well have drawn attention to the need for a regular succession of magistrates with imperium, and thus led to the regular appearance of the two areas on the annual list of provincial Whatever the reason, it was not until that praetors were sent to Sicily and Sardinia.

It was not until that date that the presence of Roman troops and a Roman commander, which is always essential to the notion of a provincia, was established on a permanent basis. The renewal of the war with Carthage, and the first assignment of Hispania occurred less than ten years later. The imperium of a Roman magistrate is not a vague abstraction. Even though imperium itself is a word of uncertain origin, indefinable in content and at times almost magical in its connotations, it is always attached to particular individuals, holding particular offices or commissions within the state;49 its application, that is to say, is usually precisely defined, and always in principle susceptible of definition.

Central to this definition of application is the provincia. From the beginning of the emergence of the idea of Roman power, of the Roman empire, on a world-wide scale, the provincia described and defined the particular task given to a holder of imperium. The process by which the provincia became a province, with all that that word implies of legal, fiscal and administrative responsibilities, was not only the redefinition of the task of the holder of imperium, but also the formulation of what the empire was perceived to be.

The examination of this process as it took place in Spain between and 81 BC requires an analysis of the activity of the men who commanded 47 Already by , negotiations showed clearly the likelihood of war in Illyria so Harris, War and imperialism Meyer, Romischer Staat und Staatsgedanke3 Zurich ii7ff.

Spain and Roman imperialism there in that period, and to whom the provinciae Hispaniae were allotted by the senate. For this reason, after an account of the state of Spain before the arrival of the Romans, this book consists of an investigation of the magistrates and pro-magistrates sent out by the senate to employ the power and authority given them by the senate and people of Rome within the confines of the Iberian peninsula.

What they did there, and how they related to the peoples and conditions they found, as well as to the city which they had left and to which they would return, is a complex and interesting story in its own right; but it is also more than that. What happened in Spain reveals, in a way which is not true for any other part of the Mediterranean world at that time, the way in which Roman military aggression became, at the hands of the men who practised it, the source of the Roman empire, and how the institutions created by a city-state to wage war provided the structures of the provinces of the imperial republic.

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The peoples they found there and, perhaps even more importantly, the structure of the land in which they fought were more than a mere back-drop to the events of the period. They, more than anything else, determined what it was possible for a Roman commander to do, and so shaped the activity and policy of the men who were to create Roman Spain. The land In no part of the Roman world is the connection between physical geography and political and military control closer or more important for the understanding of their methods and ideas than in Spain. To the north these are bounded by the range of the Cantabrian mountains, which extends eastwards to form the Pyrenees; before this, however, the edge of the meseta has turned south-eastwards along the line of the Sierra de la Demanda, which, after a gap created by the valley of the River Jalon, continues in a broadening cluster of sierras to reach the sea just north of Sagunto, at the northern end of the coastal plain of Valencia.

The eastern edge is formed by the watershed which runs parallel with the Mediterranean coastline behind the plain of Valencia, and divides the relatively short rivers, such as the Turia, the Jiicar and the Segura, which run eastwards into the Mediterranean, from the Tajo and the Guadiana, which run across the mesetas to the Atlantic coast. In 1 In general A. Cary, The geographic background of Greek and Roman history Oxford , on the historical significance of the geography of the peninsula; and, for a general account, Ruth Way and Margaret Simmons, A geography of Spain and Portugal London At the southern edge, the Sierra Morena rises gently from the meseta to drop sharply into the valley of the Guadalquivir the ancient Baetis.

The whole of this high plateau is intersected by two ranges of mountains, one relatively high but broken, dividing the course of the Duero Roman Durius from the Tajo Roman Tagus , the other the smaller Montes de Toledo, standing between the Tajo and the Guadiana Roman Anas.


  • Hispaniae: Spain and the Development of Roman Imperialism, 218-82 BC?
  • Emerging Pathologies in Cardiology: Proceedings of the Mediterranean Cardiology Meeting (Taormina, April 7–9, 2005);
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Today the whole of this area is arid and very difficult to cultivate and, outside the towns and cities, sparsely populated, especially in the north. In part this is due to deforestation, which has taken place in modern times: Strabo talks of most of Spain as inhospitable, with mountains, woods, and plains covered with a light soil with an uneven distribution of water.

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Castile in the sixteenth century was covered by a network of roads carrying goods of all sorts, north and south, and the great herds of sheep that annually passed to and from the summer pastures of the southern meseta from the towns of Old Castile 3 J. Klein, The mesta: a study in Spanish economic history Cambridge, Mass. The northern side of the basin is formed by the Pyrenees. Though the valley broadens from the upper reaches of the river as it flows towards the Mediterranean, the end of the basin is closed off by the Catalan hills, through which the river flows in a steep gorge before it reaches the sea across the mud-flats created by its own delta.

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The result is that although the Ebro rises in an easterly extension of the Cantabrian mountains, a mere 45 kilometres south of the Atlantic coast, and flows into the Mediterranean, the basin itself is barely affected by these stretches of sea. Although lower than the mesetas it has the same 'continental' extremes of climate, with the same aridity, and presents the same difficulties for agriculture.

This area, Andalusia, enclosed between the Sierra Morena at the edge of the meseta to the north, and the mountains of the Baetic Cordillera, the highest in Spain, cutting it off from the Mediterranean, lies open to the Atlantic to the south-west. As a result, though the summers are extremely hot, the winters are mild. Already in antiquity, the soil was renowned for its richness and fertility,8 and remained so despite conquest and reconquest by Vandals, Moslems and Christians from the fifth to the thirteenth centuries AD.


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The Atlantic coasts of the north and west are not of immediate concern. The Romans only reached these areas relatively late in the second century BC, both because of their geographical remoteness from the first parts to receive their attention in the east and south, and because of the barriers presented by mountains and meseta, which made them relatively inaccess5 F. Menendez Pidal, Los caminos en la historia de Espana 6 Strabo 3. Madrid Strabo 3. The plains of the east coast, however, were, for the same reasons, of prime importance. The Catalonian plain, enclosed on the west by the eastern extremity of the Pyrenees and by the Catalonian hills, which box in the Ebro valley; the plains of Valencia and Murcia, forming the Spanish Levant; and the smaller coastal plains of Almeria and Malaga, closed in by the high mountains of the Baetic Cordillera, all share a fertility largely due to the alluvial deposits brought down by the mountains which separate them from the interior.

Though the rainfall varies from a moderate but fairly regular amount in Catalonia to a low precipitation in the south, especially around Murcia and Cartagena Roman Nova Carthago and though temperatures are of course higher in the south than in the north, the whole coastline avoids the extremes of temperature and aridity of the central mesetas. The mountain barrier, here as elsewhere in Spain, also presents a major obstacle to communications.

There were ways into the hinterland, especially into the Ebro valley from Tarraco to Ilerda; from Saguntum, through the mountains to the Jalon valley; from the southern end of the plain of Valencia along the route later followed by the via Augusta to Castulo at the head of the Baetis valley; and from Nova Carthago over to the valley of the Genii Roman Singilis and thence to the lower Baetis. Roads also ran across the high mountains of the Baetic Cordillera from Urci in the bay of Almeria to Castulo, and from Malaga ancient Malaca to Cordoba.

None of the ways was an easy route and the main traffic here in the early Roman period must have been along the coast, from the Pyrenees to Nova Carthago. Precision in locating and identifying the tribal units is impossible. Strabo, writing early in Tiberius' reign, complained not only of the prolixity and ignorance of Greek writers on the subject, and of the slavish copying of the Greeks and lack of intellectual curiosity in the Romans, but also of the difficulty of writing with exactness of peoples who were broken up into small political and geographical elements, always likely to extend or contract, to combine together, or to move to another area.

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On the mesetas, and the north and west coasts lived peoples who were semi-nomadic with a basically pastoral economy and who seem to have impinged on their more settled and prosperous neighbours, especially to the south, in the Baetis valley, chiefly through their raiding parties. To this group belonged the Lusitanians, who were to cause such problems to the Romans in the third quarter of the second century, under their leader Viriathus.

These peoples were for the most part Celtic in origin, one section, which lived in the north-eastern corner of the mesetas being known as the Celtiberians, presumably either through mixture between the Celts with the earlier Iberian population, or simply because of their proximity to the Iberians. The Celtiberians seem to have lived largely in scattered villages, though excavations at such centres as Numantia and Termantia show that they also used larger, well-fortified towns. They 12 Strabo 3. For general accounts of the peoples of Spain in this period, see P.

Bosch-Gimpera, El poblamento antiguo y la formation de los pueblos de Espana Mexico ; ed. Menendez Pidal, Historia de Espana 1. Almagro, Origen y formation del pueblo hispano Barcelona Taracena,' Los pueblos celtibericos', in Menendez Pidal [n. On their towns see Strabo 3. Even the name 'Iberia' was used by the ancients to cover different areas, as Strabo observed.

Indeed the Baetis valley was, as its geography would lead one to expect, a separate unit, known as Turdetania, and almost certainly the site of the legendary Tartessos, of whose mineral wealth Greek poets and Hebrew prophets knew at least from the sixth century BC. However, seen from the Roman point of view, these colonies are of more significance in their own right than for their effect on the Iberian population, since it was because of them that Rome was drawn into the affairs of the peninsula.

The Greeks had had settlements down the east coast at least since the sixth century BC; Rhode modern Rosas , the most northerly, was said to have been founded by the Rhodians, but an alternative story made it a 16 Strabo 3. Arribas, The Iberians London, n.

The sources are discussed by A.