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Province

PROVINCE. A word of doubtful etymology, it signifies the sphere of duty of a magistrate. The “roads and forest of Italy” for example, were a province, supervised by the appropriate commissioner. With the empire’s gradual acquisition of new lands, spheres of magisterial duty signified increasingly the defense, organization, and government of distant territories; and the word province acquired the geographical significance that became its prime Latin meaning and its exclusive derived meaning. The provinces of Rome in this sense of the word were acquired over a period of more than three centuries. The first was Sicily (241 b.c.). The last were Britain, organized by Claudius, and Dacia, acquired by Trajan. [[Marcus Aurelius]] made a province out of Mesopotamia. Under the settlement of 27 b.c., all provinces were divided into two categories. First there were the imperial provinces, those that required a frontier army and that, in consequence, were kept under the control of the emperor, who