Chapter 12

A Roman Province

The kingship of Amyntas was decisive for Galatia because of his vigorous expansion of his territory southwards, the move which had been signalled by campaigns and infiltrations during the previous century and was now accomplished with success. The peoples of Pisidia and the Taurus Mountains were resistant to any outside authority, and Amyntas became very busy in enforcing his own authority, and by extension, that of the Roman Empire, of which his kingdom was a part, over this region. He had been appointed as king by Mark Antony, but deftly changed sides before the Battle of Actium, and so retained his kingship. Indeed, he was killed in 25 BC, either by an enemy ambush or by assassination, while attempting to continue this process.1

At that point the Emperor Augustus determined that the region needed a Roman administration, Amyntas having done much of the necessary hard work. Amyntas’ kingdom was annexed whole and made into the province of Galatia.2 By this time the kingdom had grown so large, and Amyntas had been so militarily successful, that a certain suspicion probably existed in Rome over the intentions of any of Amyntas’ possible successors; his son Pylaemenes was deemed to be too young to rule, which was a perfect excuse to convert the land into a new province. This was to be the fate of many client kingdoms of Rome: if one was successful it would be annexed to prevent its king becoming too powerful; if it was not successful, of course, this was a different problem, and it would be annexed to reform it. There was also the issue of Parthia, looming from the east; more than one client kingdom of Rome took Parthia’s side in a war; therefore, so the thinking went, none of them could be trusted.

The result was a curious provincial region, for the kingdom’s boundaries became those of the province for the next century, but were then extended even further. It included the original three states of Galatia in the northcentre of Anatolia, which had been extended southwards under Deiotaros and then under Amyntas, to take over Lykaonia and eventually even Pamphylia on the south coast. This meant it also included considerable parts of Pisidia as well, those at least which were conquered by Amyntas. The mountainous area had hardly been ‘pacified’, as the Romans might have put it, and it remained a constant problem for any Roman governor for centuries yet, though an early campaigner, P. Sulpicius Quirinus, suppressed the Homodanenses effectively.3

The main solution, partial at any rate, was the same as that adopted by the early Seleukid kings: to develop a system of fortified cities which hemmed in the Pisidian region. Pamphylia was already an urban region with a string of half a dozen cities on or close to the coast who between them occupied the whole region. Along the old Persian Royal Road there were also several cities, mainly founded or developed by Antiochos I and Antiochos II in order, it seems, to control the Galatians, but just as much to hem in the unruly Pisidians – one of the cities, Antioch, was always distinguished from others by the name of ‘towards Pisidia’. Several of these places were now denominated as Roman coloniae, and a whole series of other places were developed to the same status.4 They were settled by detachments of Italians, mainly from provincial areas of Italy, and mainly discharged soldiers, who as Roman citizens in a Roman colony, automatically became the civil rulers, a Roman practice which imitated the Seleukid system.

The province of Galatia therefore developed unevenly, adding Pamphylia in about 6 BC, and was later united with Kappadokia in a large, surely unwieldy, double province. Galatia had a heavily, and increasingly urbanized southern part, which was not really ‘Galatian’ at all, but Greek, and a rural area in the north with only a few cities – the old Galatian territory in the north. The old urban centres of old Galatia – Pessinos, Ankyra, Tavium – all became Roman coloniae as well.5 But this produced a curiously-shaped province; the governors will have necessarily paid most attention to the cities of the south, and to the restless Pisidian borderlands; the old Galatia in the North was perhaps somewhat neglected, which will, no doubt, have suited the chiefs well enough.

The other major imperial concern in Asia Minor was external, in that the empire of the Parthians had expanded into Armenia and now was closer to the province on the east. The border between the Roman and the Parthian Empires in that mountainous area was uncertain, as was the allegiance of Armenia, particularly Armenia Minor.6 A peace with Parthia which was negotiated by Augustus in 20 BC held for a time, but control of Armenia tended to fall into the hands of members of the Parthian royal family, to whom the Armenians felt culturally attracted, and this the Romans inevitably did not like. Armenia’s geographical position in relation to Asia Minor made it seem a constant threat. The mountainous nature of the country made it difficult to campaign in and it was also awkward to discover what was going on there.7

The upland plains of Galatia, Lykaonia and Kappadokia, on the other hand, were largely open country, and so were just the sort of land over which the Parthian cavalry would be able to campaign successfully. This was probably the main reason for uniting them into a single province, the decision of the militarily-alert emperor Vespasian in about AD 71. In addition, this was just the sort of territory, pastoral, poorly urbanized, with a mobile population, which the Romans were at somewhat of a loss to rule successfully. Their governing system was based on cities, which governed themselves and their nearby countryside, distantly supervised by the provincial governors, and in central Anatolia the cities were far apart. At the same time that Galatia and Kappadokia were joined, Pamphylia and Pisidia and the southern cities were separated off into a new province, and joined with Lykia. The governor of the new Galatiaand-Cappadocia province could therefore concentrate his attention on the military frontier, where a distinct and enforceable line of control, the limes, was developed, based on the legions stationed at Satala and Melitene.8 This was a belated recognition that the two parts of Galatia, south and north, were incompatible in social terms.

After the hyper-activity of the Republican civil wars and Augustus’ period of power, events moved much more slowly in the early Imperial period. Partly this was because the east was rarely at the head of concerns for the emperors, who rarely moved out of Rome. It was the internal developments – city founding, Italian immigration, new army garrisons, and so on, and eventually the rearrangement of the provinces – which marked the changes in the Galatian province. But all these developments largely bypassed old Galatia (as opposed to the extensions brought about by Amyntas’ conquests and Augustus’ fiddling.)

Through all the changes, however, the three Galatian states continued as distinct sections of the provinces as they had in the kingdom. Their central cities had their tribal names included in their titles – Ankyra was ‘the Metropolis of Galatia, city of Augustan Tektosages Ankyra’9 – and their highest offices, such as the priests of the imperial cult, were often occupied by men who bore Galatian names. The prime example is the cult at Ankyra, where a list of the priests of the reign of Tiberius is preserved.10 They include Kastor son of King Brigatorius, and Pylaemenes, son of King Amyntas, and four or five men with Galatian names and/or fathers with Galatian names – this out of twenty names, several of which are repeated. The Galatian aristocracy, that is to say, lived on and flourished.

The same is the case with the lords of the countryside, who were partly Italian in name, partly Roman, but often could and did boast of Galatian descent, especially descent from Galatian royalty. These were the successors and descendants of the chiefs and tetrarchs of the previous three centuries. These men (and some women), like Deiotaros and his family, continued in power and wealth and intermarried, so that the rulers of the whole region were connected to each other, and will have had much more influence locally than the Roman governors, who were posted in the province for two years at most.11 They may not have ruled as kings or tetrarchs, but they extolled and controlled the region – that is, most of Asia Minor – as an aristocratic network. These connections and marriages began in Augustus’ reign (though some connections no doubt existed among the Galatian lords earlier), and were fully functional by the time of Claudius and Nero; they remained in existence for at least the next two centuries, and one family eventually reached the rank of emperor (see Appendix). In other words, the order of society which had existed in the time of the independent Galatian states, and was damaged in 189 and in 86 and suffered under Deiotaros, reconstituted itself each time, and flourished again in the Roman Empire, extending itself into neighbouring regions, but still being anchored in Galatia.

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