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Old 10-03-2011, 05:45 AM   #1
Soldier of Macedon
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Default Territorial Administration of the Balkans after the Roman Conquest

The Macedonian Kingdom had fought against the Roman Republic in a series of wars from 214 BC to 168 BC, when it eventually lost is independence. The Romans assumed control of Macedonia and divided the kingdom into four seperate client republics that were forbidden from interacting with one another, with their capitals in Amphipolis, Salonika, Pella, and Pelagonia. Thrace and Illyria (south of Neretva), which had often been under the sway of the Macedonian Kingdom, subsequently acknowledged Roman rule in the region and remained as client sates.

The situation in Macedonia remained relatively peaceful for the next two decades, until an individual claiming to be the son of the last Macedonian king led a short-lived uprising that was crushed by the Romans in 148 BC. To assert their authority and control even further, in 146 BC the Romans transformed Macedonia into one of their administrative provinces, which also included parts of the terrorities that surrounded it.

By 74 BC, the Romans had defeated the Dacians several times and began to assert themselves in their lands. By 27 BC southern Illyria and Dalmatia became the province of Illyricum, and in 16 BC Noricum also became a province but still held the title of kingdom. Illyricum was eventually expanded to the north in 9 BC after the Pannonian War. Moesia became a province in 6 AD, and around the same time the Great Illyrian Revolt broke out, but was crushed by the Romans around 10 AD. Consequently, Rome dissolved the province of Illyricum and divided it into two provinces, Pannonia and Dalmatia. After one of the last Thracian rulers was murdered by his wife in 46 AD, Thrace too became a Roman province. Below is how the administrative landscape looked during this period:

Dacia was first included as a Roman province in 106 AD and would be restructured a number of times in subsequent years due to various rebellions and invasions. The attention of the military was heavily focused in the area for well over the following century, until Dacia was evacuated by 271-5 AD.

During the reign of Diocletian and no later than 305 AD, Thrace was divided into four seperate provinces known as Thracia, Haemimontus, Rhodope and Europa - all of which belonged to the Diocese of Thrace, which in turn belonged to the Prefecture of the East. In total there were twelve dioceses created by Diocletian including the Diocese of Moesia, which covered most of the Balkans and Crete.

Although formally known as the provinces of Pannonia and Dalmatia, the western Balkans were still referred to as Illyricum. It became the Prefecture of Illyricum in 318 AD, joining Gaul, Italy-Africa, and the East, as one of the four praetorian prefectures into which the empire was eventually seperated.

No later than 337 AD, the Diocese of Moesia was split into the Diocese of Dacia and the Diocese of Macedonia with its capital in Salonika - and which also included Macedonia Prima and Secunda (both generally forming part of the overall Macedonian province), Epirus, Thessaly, Achaea and Crete. In 347 AD, the two new dioceses joined the Diocese of Pannonia to make up the Prefecture of Illyricum, which basically covered most of the previous Diocese of Moesia.

In 379 AD the administrative centre of Illyricum was shifted from Sirmium to Salonika, the capital of the Diocese of Macedonia. Illyricum underwent several changes from its creation and at its greatest it reached from Noricum to Crete, including most of the Balkans except Thrace, which belonged to the Prefecture of the East. The map below displays its boundaries:

After the death of Theodosius in 395 AD the Roman Empire began to fragment, but as a prefecture, although with altering boundaries, Illyricum managed to survive until the 600's AD. The invasion of various peoples including those who would come to be known as 'Slavs' meant that the (east) Roman Empire lost control of the Balkans, and in their place, a number of autonomous enclaves were established. In this environment, and facilitated by a common linguistic ancestry with the Paleo-Balkan languages, the Slavic language was adopted by the inhabitants of those autonomous enclaves. The below map shows a generally accurate depiction of the region (the southern limits would surely be wider at their greatest extent) during the 700's AD:

What all of the above demonstrates is that conditions for national, cultural and linguistic unity among Macedonians in Macedonia and surrounding territories were evident after the fall of the Macedonian kingdom and throughout the Roman period, because there were seldom ever any political boundaries that segregated the Macedonian people aside from the early (and brief) division under Rome. These conditions were in existence at the time of the invasions of the 6th century, after which most of the Balkans was found in enclaves free from Roman rule.
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