The study of Syria as a Roman province has been neglected by comparison with equivalent geographical regions such as Italy, Egypt, Greece and even Gaul. It was, however, one of the economic powerhouses of the empire from its annexation until after the empire’s dissolution. As such it clearly deserves some particular consideration, but at the same time it was a major contributor to the military strength of the empire, notably in the form of the recruitment of auxiliary regiments, several dozens of which were formed from Syrians. Many pagan gods, such as Jupiter Dolichenus and Jupiter Heliopolitanus Dea Syra, and also Judaism, originated in Syria and reached the far bounds of the empire. This book is a consideration, based on original sources, of the means by which Syrians, whose country was only annexed to the empire in 64 BC, saw their influence penetrate into all levels of society from private soldiers and ordinary citizens to priests and to imperial families.
Table of Contents
Introduction/ Roman Syria: The Syrian Scene / Syrians Take Over the Empire / Syria as a Roman Base / Syria and the Army / The Legions / The Auxiliary Regiments – Peoples / The Auxiliary Regiments – Cities / Other Syrian Regiments / Other Military Units / The Export of the Syrian Gods / Summary of the ‘pagan’ religious influence / The Civilians from Syria / Christianity / Concentrations of Syrians in the Empire / Conclusion
John D. Grainger is an independent scholar working in both ancient and modern history. He is the author of several books including Nerva and the Roman Succession Crisis of AD 96–99, Great Power Diplomacy in the Hellenistic World, a biography of Seleukos Nikator, and a three volume history of the Seleukid Empire.