The Ancient Library

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On this page: Prothyron – Protogenes – Provincia



Pr6thjr5n. See house (Greek).

Prot6g6nes. A celebrated Greek painter of Caunus in Caria, who lived for the most part at Rhodeg, in the time of Alexander the Great and his first successors. He died 300 B.C. His poverty seems to have prevented him from attending the school of any of the celebrated masters of his age, for no one is named as his instructor. He long remained poor until the unselfish admiration which his contemporary and brother painter Apelles showed for his works raised him in riper years to great celebrity. His works, owing to the excessive care he bestowed on them, were few in number; but their per­fect execution led to their being ranked by the unanimous voice of antiquity among the highest productions of art. His most cele­brated works were a Besting Satyr, and also a painting representing the Rhodian hero lalysus. On the latter he spent seven or, according to others, as many as eleven years. To insure its permanence he covered it with four distinct coats of paint, so that when the upper coating perished the lower might takes its place [Pliny, N. H., xxxv 101-105].

Provincla. A Roman term implying, (1) a sphere of duty, especially that assigned to a consul or prsetor, within which he exer­cised his imperlum.

(2) A territory acquired by the Romans outside the limits of Italy, subject to the payment of taxes and administered by a governor. Under the Republic, the organiza­tion of a conquered land as a province was managed by the conquering general, with the advice of a commission of ten senators, who were nominated by the Senate and received their instructions from that body. The previous administration was altered as little as possible, so far as it was not in conflict with the interests of Rome. The lex provincial thus established fixed for the future the form of government. The first provinces were Sicily (from 241 B.c) and Sardinia with Corsica (from 231). Their number rose under the Republic to fifteen, i.e. (besides the two already mentioned), the two provinces of Spain (Ulterior and CUertor), Illyria, Maceddnia, Achala, Asia Minor, the two Gauls (Transalplna and Cisalplna), Bithynia, Cyrene and Crete, Cllicla, Sj'ria. Their governors were either propraetors (at first praters) or proconsuls. The Senate decided which provinces were to be consular, which praetorian; and the consuls and praetors had their respective provinces assigned to them by lot. In the

case of the consuls this was done imme­diately after their election ; in the case of the praetors, after their actual accession to office. When their year's office was com­pleted, they proceeded as proconsuls and propraetors to their provinces, and stayed there a year until they were relieved by their successors, unless, as frequently hap­pened, it proved necessary to prolong their imperium.

ft was towards the end of the Republic (52 B.C.), that it became a rule that no consul or prsetor should be allowed to be governor of a province until five years after he had ceased to hold his office. The Senate also settled for every governor his supply of money, troops, ships, and sub­ordinates. These last included one or more legdti, a quaestor, and a numerous staff. In the governor's hands was concentrated the entire administrative power over the province. He commanded the garrison troops, he had the right of raising a levy of Roman citizens and provincials alike, and of making requisitions to obtain the means for war. He also possessed jurisdic­tion in criminal and civil cases, in the former, with power of life and death, except that Roman citizens had the right of appeal (provocdtiO). While it was carefully pre­scribed how much the governors could require from the provincials for the support of their person and attendants, their powers made it possible for them to enrich them­selves by all manner of extortion, and this became the rule to a most extraordinary extent. Against such oppression the pro­vincials had no protection, so long as the governor's office lasted. It was only on its termination that they could in earlier times lay a complaint before the Senate, wbich seldom led to anything; while, after U9 B.C., they had open to them the procedure of bringing a charge of extortion, which was attended with great difficulty and expense. (See repetundarum crimen,) These extortions were repeated anew year after year, together with the exorbitant demands of the tax-collectors (see publi-cani) ; and the governors, when invoked

j against them, in spite of their authority, rarely ventured to interpose, from fear of the equestrian plutocracy. The result was,

i that, at the end of the Republic, the pro­vinces were in absolute poverty. A real improvement in their condition was brought

i about by the regulations enforced under the Empire, when some provinces attained

I a high pitch of prosperity.

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