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Roman Syria

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Roman Syria

For other uses, see Syria (disambiguation).
Syria (Roman province)
Province of the Roman Empire

64 BCE–135 CE
Roman Syria in 64BC highlighted
Capital Antioch
 -  Conquest of Syria-Coele by Pompey 64 BCE
 -  Disestablished 135 CE
Today part of  Lebanon

Syria was an early Roman province, annexed to the Roman Republic in 64 BC by Pompey in the Third Mithridatic War following the defeat of Armenian King Tigranes the Great.[1] Later, after the Bar Kokhba revolt, in 135 CE, Syria province was merged with Judea province, creating the larger province of Syria Palaestina.


The Syrian army accounted for three legions of the Roman army, defending the Parthian border. In the 1st century CE, it was the Syrian army that enabled Vespasian's coup.

Syrian province forces were directly engaged in the Great Jewish Revolt of 66–70 CE. In 66 CE, Cestius Gallus, the legate of Syria, brought the Syrian army, based on XII Fulminata, reinforced by auxiliary troops, to restore order in Judaea and quell the revolt. The legion, however, was ambushed and destroyed by Jewish rebels at the Battle of Beth Horon, a result that shocked the Roman leadership.

The Syrian legion later took part also in the crackdown upon Judaea during the Bar-Kokhba War of 132–136.

In 244 CE, Rome was ruled by a native Syrian from Shahba by the name of Marcus Julius Philippus, more commonly known as Philip the Arab. Philip became the 33rd emperor of Rome upon its millennial celebration.


Syria Palaestina

In the final accords of the Bar-Kokhba Revolt, the province of Syria was expanded to include greatly depopulated Judaea, becoming Syria-Palaestina. From the later 2nd century, the Roman senate included several notable Syrians, including Claudius Pompeianus and Avidius Cassius.

In 193, coastal Coele-Syria was split off the province. In the 3rd century, a Syrian family even attained imperial power, as the Severan dynasty. Syria was of crucial strategic importance during the crisis of the third century. From 260 to 273, Syria was part of the breakaway Palmyrene Empire.


Following the reforms of Diocletian, the two provinces of Syria became part of the Diocese of Oriens.[2] Sometime between 330 and 350 (likely c. 341), the province of Euphratensis was created out of the territory of Syria Coele along the western bank of the Euphrates and the former realm of Commagene, with Hierapolis as its capital.[3]

Syria in the Byzantine Empire

After c. 415 Syria Coele was further subdivided into Syria I (or Syria Prima), with the capital remaining at Antioch, and Syria II (Syria Secunda) or Syria Salutaris, with capital at Apamea on the Orontes. In 528, Justinian I carved out the small coastal province Theodorias out of territory from both provinces.[2]

The region remained one of the most important provinces of the Byzantine Empire. It was occupied by the Sassanids between 609 and 628, then recovered by the emperor Heraclius, but irreversibly lost again to the advancing Muslims after the battle of Yarmouk and the fall of Antioch.[2]

See also


External links

Coordinates: 36°12′N 36°09′E / 36.200°N 36.150°E / 36.200; 36.150

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