provincial reforms

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fairer system of taxation

  • Augustus carried out a number of censuses to gain a clearer idea of the resources of the empire. 
  • by assessing the wealth of the provincials etc he was able to increase the total revenue without causing any hardship. 
  • 2 types of taxation
  • direct- Tributum soli- a tax on land and fixed property
  • tributum capitis- a poll tax, which included tax on property other than land.
  • indirect-portoria- 5% on goods crossing certain frontiers, the empire being divided into 9 districts./tax on sale (2-4%) and manumission of slaves (5%)
  • death duties paid by Roman citizens in the provinces
  • grain needed for governor and his staff. 
  • imperial provinces- direct taxes were collected by an imperial PROCURATOR of equestrian rank- independent of the governor.
  • indirect taxes were collected by contractors who were carefully scrutinised. 
  • senatorial provinces- QUAESTOR in charge of collection- still used publicani. ALL SCRUTINISED
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greater care in choice and control of governors


recruited from: 

ex consuls/ ex praetors- equestrian class

official title: legati propraetore/ praefecti

method of appointment: 

by augustus from the best men available- they may have already been governors of senatorial provinces.

length of office:

normally 3 years- as long as Augustus wished. 

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greater care in choice and control of governors


recruited from: 

ex consuls/ ex praetors 

official title: proconsuls 

method of appointment:

assigned by lot ten years after holding the consulship/ assigned by lot 5 years after holding the praetorship

length of office: 

officially one year but sometimes longer. 

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greater care in choice and control of governors

  • standard of governors did improve
  • the men were drawn from men of proven administrative skills- however some argue that 'they were still grossly extravagant and looked to the provinces to pay their debts and re-establish their fortunes.' 
  • despite this- Augustus made sure that they were more strictly controlled. 
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salaries and allowance

  • during republic- governor recieved an annual grant from the senate to cover his expenses- included paying tropps and staff etc. NO SALARY but could demand payments from provincials etc EXTORTION 
  • under Augustus they wer provided with salaries- a large but fixed salary. they were also provided with travel allowances. 
  • - this meant they had less of a reason to extort money. 
  • the development of the regular civil service also helped in creating a large body of experienced officials to help the governors- they no longer needed to rely on private representatives/ publicani. 
  • however the imperial provinces most likey had the best officials as augustus himself was able to select them. 
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improved communication

  • improvement in communication between Rome and the provincials.
  • this was achieved through an improved and extended imperial courier service- post horses and regular intervals along the main roads of the empire- allowed augustus to get more frequent and reliable reports from the provinces. 
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imperial procurators

  • careful supervision of the governors was carried out by Augustus' procurators.
  • the procurators handled financial affairs and also acted as provincial spies- they moved between provinces. 
  • occasionally augustus used the procurators to assess senatorial provinces as well as imperial. 
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provincial councils

provincial concilia: 

  • organised to conduct the worship of Rome and Augustus- played a part in controlling the governors. 
  • composed of reprasentatives from each of the provinical cities/ major communities.
  • their chief function was to elect a high priest and conduct games and sacrifices.
  • they also became forums to discuss matters of the community- could involve complaints on governor/ about any legislation introduced by him that they disagreed with. they might even organise a governors prosecution at the end of his office. 
  • under the julio-claudian emperors- these concilias had the right to go directly to the emperor or the senate with their complaints. 
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judicial punishment

  • punishment of corrupt officials carried out more quickly under augustus.
  • an offedner in an imperial province was recalled immediately and punished by the princeps.
  • an offending official in a senatorial province was brought to trial before the senate.
  • it is possible that Augustus introduced this practise.- 
  • senate was lenient towards its own members but augustus may have attended their sessions to make sure that corrupt officials recieved just punishment. 
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greater responsibility given to local communities.

  • Rome's administration  of the provinces was carried out though the independent and self-governing local communities. Rome benefited in 3 ways from ecouraging local responsibility:
  • they could concentrate on maintaining peace and protecting the frontiers.
  • roman officials recieved greater co-operation from the provincials.
  • loyalty to Rome was assured.
  • SPREAD OF URBANISATION: citizenship was eagerly sought. cities varied in status according to the degree of citizenship. 
  • 'stipendiary' cities- majority of provinces
  • 'latin' cities- midway between citizen and non citizen- some privalges. Later able to become municipia and their magistrates to become roman citizens.
  • municipa: - existing cities thta had been given roman citizenship- mainly western provinces.
  • colonies of Roman verterans- some immune from the tributum capitis. 
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  • egypt never administered as a regular province.
  • augustus kept it under close control- regarded as part of his personal property.
  • governed by an equestrian officer or prefect-its 3 legions commanded by equestrian prefects as opposed to senatorial legates- all subordinate officers were also equestrian. equestrian prefects were granted imperium. 
  • no senators/ equites were alllowed to enter egyot without Augustus' permission- it was a vital grain source and strategically important in meditrranean. 
  • not composed of self-governing communities. the whole country was run from Alexandria by a complex, centralised bureaucracy. all officials who assisted the prefect had ptolemaic titles. 
  • egyptians were expected to meet a certain grain quota each year- rpovided at least 1/3 of Rome's needs.
  • male egyptians between 16 and 60 were expected to pay a poll tax.
  • Augustus was more conservative than Caesar about giving Roman citizenship to provincials- he was interested in their welfare.
  • there were many provincial inscriptions honouring Augustus and reffering to him as a saviour- this proves his importance to them. 
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