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Achaea was a province of the Roman Empire, consisting of the modern-day Peloponnesemarker in southern Greecemarker and bordered on the north by the provinces of Epirus and Macedonia. The region was annexed to the Roman Republic in 146 BC following the sack of Corinthmarker by the campaign of Roman general Lucius Mummius. L. Mummius was awarded the cognomen "Achaicus" as "conqueror of Achaea" for his actions.

For 60 years, Greece was competently administered by Rome, as a Senatorial province. Some cities, such as Athensmarker and Spartamarker, even retained their self-governing status within their own territories. Then, in 88 BC, Mithridates VI Eupator, king of Pontus, began a campaign against Rome and won the support of many of the Greek city-states. Roman legions under Lucius Cornelius Sulla forced Mithridates out of Greece and crushed the rebellion, sacking Athens in 86 BC and Thebesmarker the following year. Sulla's depredations on Greek works of art were notorious. Roman punishment of all the rebellious cities was heavy, and the campaigns fought on Greek soil left the heart of central Greece in ruins. The commerce of Achaea was no longer a rival to that of Rome. Athens did remain a respected intellectual center, though it was outshone by Alexandriamarker.

After the defeat of Antony and Cleopatra, about 31 BC, the Emperor Augustus separated Macedonia from Achaea, though it remained a Senatorial province, as under the Republic. In AD 15, Emperor Tiberius, responding to complaints of mismanagement by the Senatorial proconsul made Achaea and Macedonia Imperial provinces. They were restored to the Senate at part of Emperor Claudius' reforms in AD 44. Over time, Greece would slowly rebuild, culminating during the reign of the Hellenophile Emperor Hadrian (117-138). Along with the Greek scholar Herodes Atticus, Hadrian undertook an extensive rebuilding program. He beautified Athens and restored many of the ruined and depressed Greek cities.


Copper, lead, and iron mines were exploited in Achaea, though production was not as great as the mines of other Roman-controlled areas, such as Noricum, Britannia, and the provinces of Hispania. Marble from Greek quarries was a valuable commodity. Educated Greek slaves were much in demand in Rome in the role of doctors and teachers, and educated men were a significant export. Achaea also produced household luxuries, such as furniture, pottery, cosmetics, and linens. Greek olives and olive oil were exported to the rest of the Empire.


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