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Reorganization of Asia Minor, 129-126 BC

Author(s) : Panagopoulou Katerina (5/30/2002)
Translation : Velentzas Georgios

For citation: Panagopoulou Katerina, "Reorganization of Asia Minor, 129-126 BC",
Encyclopaedia of the Hellenic World, Asia Minor
URL: <http://www.ehw.gr/l.aspx?id=7229>

Αναδιοργάνωση της Μικράς Ασίας, 129-126 π. Χ. (3/11/2008 v.1) Reorganization of Asia Minor, 129-126 BC (10/2/2008 v.1) 

1. Historical Framework

Following the will of Attalus III (138-133 BC), king of Pergamon, his kingdom was bequeathed to the Romans posthumously (133 BC). After the acceptance of this inheritance, Rome gained access to a fertile region, ready to be exploited by the senators and the Roman entrepreneurs.1 Taking advantage of the occasion, tribunus Tiberius Gracchus suggested that the Roman colonists and part of the King Attalus’ treasure should be appropriated.

Aristonicus (died in 128 BC), the illegitimate son of King Eumenes II (197-159 BC), staged a revolt suppressed by general M. Perperna (consul in 130 BC). However, the latter died and the administrative reorganisation of the new province was assigned to M. Aquilius (consul in 129 BC) and ten delegates of Rome before it was ratified through a senate edict.

2. Reconstruction of Asia Minor

In brief, the new regulations were as follows:

a. Τhe largest part of the kingdom of Attalus was annexed to Rome as a new Roman province called Asia. Furthermore, the road system was developed by Μ. Αquilius, who reconstructed the roads in the southern part of the Kingdom of Pergamon and attempted to connect the different parts of the province of Asia with Ephesus, which was intended to become the major harbour of the province. In commemoration of this project he erected mileposts with his name and title in Greek and Latin: Μ. Αquilius M. f. Consul.2 Finally he reconstructed a third road, which led to the north from Smyrna to Hadramyttium.3 In this way, Μ. Αquilius managed to connect the major harbour of the province with the hinterland and the Euphrates River and secured the unobstructed communication among the great cities of the western Asia Minor coast, thus creating the necessary conditions for the development of commerce in the area.4

b. Some of the less fertile areas were ceded to local rulers (i.e., Lycaonia to the king of Cappadocia). The fate of Phrygia Major remained uncertain for more than a decade before finally the district formed a confederation.5

c. Some cities of the new province were proclaimed free (liberae), while the revolted cities were forced to pay taxes.

d. Gaius Gracchus reorganised the tax system and imposed the tithe on the arable land and other fees for pastures. The measure must have included all the cities, whether free or enslaved. There were several autonomous cities, although Rome probably avoided intervening directly in the internal affairs of the cities.

1. Magie, D., Roman Rule in Asia Minor to the End of the Third Century after Christ 1 (Oxford 1950), pp. 3-52.

2. About the road system of Aquilius, see RPhil 33 (1899), from p. 293 onwards (Hassoulier); Magie, D., Roman Rule in Asia Minor to the End of the Third Century after Christ 1 (Oxford 1950), pp. 157-158.

3. Magie, D., Roman Rule in Asia Minor to the End of the Third Century after Christ 1 (Oxford 1950), pp. 157-158.

4. Magie, D., Roman Rule in Asia Minor to the End of the Third Century after Christ 1 (Oxford 1950), pp. 157-158.

5. Phrygia Major was claimed by the kings of the Pontus and Bithynia. Aquilius, possibly bribed by the king of the Pontus, prevailed. He was later tried by the Senate


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