The Romann provincia of Syria, as it was under Augustus, consisted of three different regions, of which one was an enclave physically separate from the others. The first was northern Syria, stretching across from the Mediterranean coast, and the two ports of Laodicea and Seleucia, through Antioch to the Euphrates. The second was the Phoenician coast, which in its northern part backed into the mountain-chain now called the Jebel Ansariyeh and in the south onto Mount Lebanon and then the hills of Galilee. Provincial territory seems indeed to have extended south not only to Ptolemais-Akko but beyond Mount Carmel to the small town of Dora.
Then, isolated beyond Anti- Lebanon was the ancient city of Damascus, and further south at least some of the cities of the Decapolis. All these regions could be characterised in general terms as areas dominated by Greek cities. Being now under Roman direct rule, they strongly contrasted with the kingdoms of Commagene to the north and Emesa on the upper Orontes, various dynasties whose territories were located on and around Mount Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon, the kingdom of Herod and the Nabataean kingdom with its capital at Petra. Whether there were more profound contrasts between these different zones, in language, culture or ethnic identity, remains to be seen.
As the military evolution of the provincia shows, the single Roman governor of this early period was firmly based in Antioch, and his legions were all also grouped in northern Syria. The Roman presence was thus shaped by the major city-foundations of Seleucus Nicator at the end of the fourth century BC: Seleucia, where Seleucus was buried, Laodicea, Antioch and Apamea. Any
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Publication information: Book title: The Roman Near East, 31 B.C.-A.D. 337. Contributors: Fergus Millar - Author. Publisher: Harvard University Press. Place of publication: Cambridge, MA. Publication year: 1993. Page number: 236.
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