CHAPTER XLIV. ROMAN ROADS. - PROVINCES.
The Romans were famous for their excellent public roads, from thirteen to fifteen feet wide. The roadbed was formed of four distinct layers, placed above the foundation. The upper layer was made of large polygonal blocks of the hardest stone, fitted and joined together so as to make an even surface. On each side of the road were footpaths strewn with gravel. Stone blocks for the use of equestrians were at regular distances, and also milestones telling the distance from Rome.
There were four main public roads: -
1. VIA APPIA, from Rome to Capua, Beneventum, Tarentum, and Brundisium.
2. VIA LATÍNA, from Rome to Aquínum and Teánum, joining the Via Appia at Beneventum.
3. VIA FLAMINIA, the great northern road. In Umbria, near Ocriculum and Narnia, a branch went east through Spoletium, joining the main line at Fulsinia. It then continued through Fanum, Flaminii, and Nuceria, where it again divided, one branch going to Fanum Fortúnae on the Adriatic, the other to Ancóna, and from there along the coast to Fanum Fortúnae, where the two branches, again uniting, passed on to Ariminum through Pisaurum. From here it was extended, under the name of VIA AEMILIA, into the heart of Cisalpine Gaul, through Bononia, Mutina, Parma, and Placentia, where it crossed the Po, to Mediolánum.
4. VIA AURELIA, the great coast road, reached the west coast at Alsium, following the shore along through Etruria and Liguria, by Genua, as far as Forum Julii, in Gaul.
After the conquest of Italy, all the additional Roman dominions were divided into provinces. Sicily was the first Roman province. At first Praetors were appointed to govern these provinces; but afterwards persons who had been Praetors at Rome were appointed at the expiration of their office, with the title of PROPRAETOR. Later, the Consuls also, at the end of their year of office, were sent to govern provinces, with the title of PROCONSUL. Such provinces were called Provinciae Consuláres. The provinces were generally distributed by lot, but their distribution was sometimes arranged by agreement among those entitled to them. The tenure of office was usually a year, but it was frequently prolonged. When a new governor arrived in the province, his predecessor was expected to leave within thirty days.
The governor was assisted by two QUAESTORS, who had charge of the financial duties of the government. Originally the governor was obliged to account at Rome for his administration, from his own books and those of the Quaestors; but after 61 B. C., he was obliged to deposit two copies of his accounts in the two chief cities of his province, and to forward a third to Rome.
If the governor misconducted himself in the performance of his official duties, the provincials might apply for redress to the Senate, and to influential Romans who were their patrons.
The governor received no salary, but was allowed to exact certain contributions from the people of the province for the support of himself and his retinue, which consisted of quaestors, secretary, notary, lictors, augurs, and public criers. His authority was supreme in military and civil matters, and he could not be removed from office. But after his term had ended, he could be tried for mismanagement.
Many of the governors were rascals, and obtained by unfair means vast sums of money from the provincials. One of the most notorious of these was Verres, against whom Cicero delivered his Verrine orations.
At the time of the battle of Actium there were eighteen provinces; viz. Sicilia (227 [Footnote: The figures in parentheses indicate the date at which the province was established.]), Sardinia and Corsica (227), Hispania Citerior (205), Hispania Ulterior (205), Illyricum (167), Macedonia (146), Africa (146), Asia (133), Achaia (146), Gallia Citerior (80), Gallia Narbonensis (118), Cilicia (63), Syria (64), Bithynia and Pontus (63), Cyprus (55), Cyrenaica and Crete (63), Numidia (46), and Mauritania (46).
Under the Emperors the following sixteen were added: Rhoetia, Noricum, Pannonia, Moesia, Dacia, Britannia, Aegyptus, Cappadocia, Galatia, Rhodus, Lycia, Judaea, Arabia, Mesopotamia. Armenia, and Assyria.