Praetorian prefecture of Illyricum

Praetorian prefecture of Illyricum

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The praetorian prefecture of Illyricum
Illyria
In classical antiquity, Illyria was a region in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula inhabited by the Illyrians....

was one of four praetorian prefecture
Praetorian prefecture
The praetorian prefecture was the largest administrative division of the late Roman Empire, above the mid-level dioceses and the low-level provinces. Praetorian prefectures originated in the reign of Constantine I The praetorian prefecture was the largest administrative division of the late Roman...

s into which the Late Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 was divided.

The administrative centre of the prefecture was Sirmium
Sirmium
Sirmium was a city in ancient Roman Pannonia. Firstly mentioned in the 4th century BC and originally inhabited by the Illyrians and Celts, it was conquered by the Romans in the 1st century BC and subsequently became the capital of the Roman province of Lower Pannonia. In 294 AD, Sirmium was...

 (318-379), and, after 379, Thessalonica. It took its name from the older province of Illyricum
Illyricum (Roman province)
The Roman province of Illyricum or Illyris Romana or Illyris Barbara or Illyria Barbara replaced most of the region of Illyria. It stretched from the Drilon river in modern north Albania to Istria in the west and to the Sava river in the north. Salona functioned as its capital...

, which in turn was named after ancient Illyria
Illyria
In classical antiquity, Illyria was a region in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula inhabited by the Illyrians....

, and in its greatest expanse encompassed Pannonia
Pannonia
Pannonia was an ancient province of the Roman Empire bounded north and east by the Danube, coterminous westward with Noricum and upper Italy, and southward with Dalmatia and upper Moesia....

, Noricum
Noricum
Noricum, in ancient geography, was a Celtic kingdom stretching over the area of today's Austria and a part of Slovenia. It became a province of the Roman Empire...

, Crete
Crete
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traits...

, and most of the Balkan peninsula
Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

 except for Thrace
Diocese of Thrace
The Diocese of Thrace was a diocese of the later Roman Empire, incorporating the provinces of the eastern Balkan Peninsula The Diocese of Thrace was a diocese of the later Roman Empire, incorporating the provinces of the eastern Balkan Peninsula The Diocese of Thrace was a diocese of the later...

.

Administrative history


Unlike the other three "classical" prefectures that are mentioned in the Notitia Dignitatum
Notitia Dignitatum
The Notitia Dignitatum is a unique document of the Roman imperial chanceries. One of the very few surviving documents of Roman government, it details the administrative organisation of the eastern and western empires, listing several thousand offices from the imperial court down to the provincial...

(Gaul
Praetorian prefecture of Gaul
The praetorian prefecture of the Gauls was one of four large praetorian prefectures into which the Late Roman Empire was divided.- History :...

, Italy-Africa
Praetorian prefecture of Italy
The praetorian prefecture of Italy ) was one of four large Praetorian prefectures into which the Late Roman Empire was divided. It comprised the Italian peninsula, the Western Balkans, the Danubian provinces and parts of North Africa...

 and the East
Praetorian prefecture of the East
The praetorian prefecture of the East or of Oriens was one of four large praetorian prefectures into which the Late Roman Empire was divided...

), the early administrative history of Illyricum as a prefecture during the 4th century was a matter of it being abolished, re-established and divided several times.

Initially the territories comprising the later prefecture belonged to the central Prefecture of Italy, Illyricum and Africa
Praetorian prefecture of Italy
The praetorian prefecture of Italy ) was one of four large Praetorian prefectures into which the Late Roman Empire was divided. It comprised the Italian peninsula, the Western Balkans, the Danubian provinces and parts of North Africa...

, when it was established in 337 following the division of the Empire among the sons of Constantine the Great. It seems that the three dioceses of Macedonia
Diocese of Macedonia
The Diocese of Macedonia was a diocese of the later Roman Empire, forming part of the praetorian prefecture of Illyricum. Its capital was Thessalonica....

, Dacia
Diocese of Dacia
The Diocese of Dacia was a diocese of the later Roman Empire, in the area of modern Serbia and western Bulgaria. It was subordinate to the Praetorian prefecture of Illyricum...

 and Pannonia
Diocese of Pannonia
The Diocese of Pannonia , from 379 known as the Diocese of Illyricum, was a diocese of the Late Roman Empire. The seat of the vicarius was Sirmium.-History:...

 were first grouped together in a separate praetorian prefecture
Praetorian prefecture
The praetorian prefecture was the largest administrative division of the late Roman Empire, above the mid-level dioceses and the low-level provinces. Praetorian prefectures originated in the reign of Constantine I The praetorian prefecture was the largest administrative division of the late Roman...

 in 347 by Constantius II
Constantius II
Constantius II , was Roman Emperor from 337 to 361. The second son of Constantine I and Fausta, he ascended to the throne with his brothers Constantine II and Constans upon their father's death....

.

It remained in existence until 361, when it was abolished by emperor Julian
Julian the Apostate
Julian "the Apostate" , commonly known as Julian, or also Julian the Philosopher, was Roman Emperor from 361 to 363 and a noted philosopher and Greek writer....

, and then existed again from 375-379 under Gratian
Gratian
Gratian was Roman Emperor from 375 to 383.The eldest son of Valentinian I, during his youth Gratian accompanied his father on several campaigns along the Rhine and Danube frontiers. Upon the death of Valentinian in 375, Gratian's brother Valentinian II was declared emperor by his father's soldiers...

. In that year the Diocese of Pannonia (Illyricum occidentale, "Western Illyricum") was again added to Italy as the "Diocese of Illyricum", while Macedonia and Dacia (Illyricum orientale, "Eastern Illyricum") were ruled briefly directly by Theodosius I
Theodosius I
Theodosius I , also known as Theodosius the Great, was Roman Emperor from 379 to 395. Theodosius was the last emperor to rule over both the eastern and the western halves of the Roman Empire. During his reign, the Goths secured control of Illyricum after the Gothic War, establishing their homeland...

 from Thessalonica. During the years (384-395) they too were incorporated in the Italian prefecture, except a short period in 388-391, when the two dioceses formed a separate prefecture.
Only after the death of Theodosius in 395 and the permanent division of the Empire did the Illyricum assume the permanent form which appears in the Notitia, incorporating the dioceses of Macedonia and Dacia, with Thessalonica as capital. However, the Western Empire
Western Roman Empire
The Western Roman Empire was the western half of the Roman Empire after its division by Diocletian in 285; the other half of the Roman Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire, commonly referred to today as the Byzantine Empire....

, especially during the regency of Stilicho
Stilicho
Flavius Stilicho was a high-ranking general , Patrician and Consul of the Western Roman Empire, notably of Vandal birth. Despised by the Roman population for his Germanic ancestry and Arian beliefs, Stilicho was in 408 executed along with his wife and son...

, continued to lay claim to them until 437, when, as part of the dowry of Licinia Eudoxia
Licinia Eudoxia
Licinia Eudoxia was a Roman Empress, daughter of Eastern Emperor Theodosius II and wife of the Western Emperors Valentinian III and Petronius Maximus.- Family :...

, Valentinian III
Valentinian III
-Family:Valentinian was born in the western capital of Ravenna, the only son of Galla Placidia and Flavius Constantius. The former was the younger half-sister of the western emperor Honorius, and the latter was at the time Patrician and the power behind the throne....

 recognized the East's sovereignty over the prefecture. On this occasion, it appears that the prefecture's capital was again moved for a while (437-441) to Sirmium, but the move is debated, as the northern Balkans were at the time ravaged by invasions. Likewise, the intention of Justinian I
Justinian I
Justinian I ; , ; 483– 13 or 14 November 565), commonly known as Justinian the Great, was Byzantine Emperor from 527 to 565. During his reign, Justinian sought to revive the Empire's greatness and reconquer the lost western half of the classical Roman Empire.One of the most important figures of...

 to move the capital to his new city of Justiniana Prima
Justiniana Prima
Justiniana Prima is an archaeological site near today's Lebane in southern Serbia, It was a Byzantine city that served as the seat of an Archbishopric that had jurisdiction of the Central Balkans...

 in the 540s remained unfulfilled.
Following the Slavic invasions in the 7th century, most of the Balkan hinterland was lost by the Byzantines
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

, who only retained control of the parts of Thrace
Thrace
Thrace is a historical and geographic area in southeast Europe. As a geographical concept, Thrace designates a region bounded by the Balkan Mountains on the north, Rhodope Mountains and the Aegean Sea on the south, and by the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara on the east...

 nearest Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

, Thessalonica and its environs, and some coastal strips in Greece. A praetorian prefect
Praetorian prefect
Praetorian prefect was the title of a high office in the Roman Empire. Originating as the commander of the Praetorian Guard, the office gradually acquired extensive legal and administrative functions, with its holders becoming the Emperor's chief aides...

  is attested in the sources as governor of Thessalonica as late as the first years of the 9th century, one of the last survivals of the old Constantinian administrative system in the entire Empire. At that point however, the wars with the rising power of Bulgaria
First Bulgarian Empire
The First Bulgarian Empire was a medieval Bulgarian state founded in the north-eastern Balkans in c. 680 by the Bulgars, uniting with seven South Slavic tribes...

 necessitated a reorganization of the provinces, and Thessalonica was constituted as a distinct theme
Thessalonica (theme)
The Theme of Thessalonica was a military-civilian province of the Byzantine Empire located in the southern Balkans, comprising varying parts of Central and Western Macedonia and centred around Thessalonica, the Empire's second-most important city.-History:In Late Antiquity, Thessalonica was the...

 under a strategos
Strategos
Strategos, plural strategoi, is used in Greek to mean "general". In the Hellenistic and Byzantine Empires the term was also used to describe a military governor...

sometime before 840.

List of known praefecti praetorio per Illyricum


  • Vulcacius Rufinus
    Vulcacius Rufinus
    Vulcacius Rufinus was a Roman politician, related to the Constantinian dynasty.- Biography :A pagan, Rufinus was the brother of Neratius Cerealis, of Galla , and of the mother, of unknown name, of Maximus...

     (347-352)
  • Anatolius (-360)
  • Florentius
    Florentius (prefect)
    Florentius was a Roman praetorian prefect under the Caesar Julian and later a consul, before falling from grace when Julian became emperor.- Life :...

     (360)
  • Sextus Claudius Petronius Probus
    Sextus Claudius Petronius Probus
    Sextus Claudius Petronius Probus was a leading Roman aristocrat of the later 4th century, renowned for his wealth, power and social connections.-Family:...

  • Quintus Clodius Hermogenianus Olybrius
    Quintus Clodius Hermogenianus Olybrius
    Quintus Clodius Hermogenianus Olybrius was a Roman politician, praefectus urbi of Rome in 368–370 and Roman consul in 379...

     (378-379)
  • Vettius Agorius Praetextatus
    Vettius Agorius Praetextatus
    Vettius Agorius Praetextatus was a wealthy pagan aristocrat in 4th-century Roman Empire and a high priest in the cults of numerous gods...

     (384, also Praetorian Prefect of Italy)
  • Flavius Eutychianus (396-397)
  • Anatolius (397-399)
  • Herculius (408-410)
  • Leontius (412-413)
  • Flavius Iunius Quartus Palladius
    Iunius Quartus Palladius
    Flavius Iunius Quartus Palladius was a politician of the Western Roman Empire, who held the Praetorian prefecture of Italy, Illyricum and Africa for six years and was also consul in 416.- Life :...

     (416-421, also Praetorian Prefect of Italy)
  • Gessius
    Gessius
    Gessius was a politician of the Eastern Roman Empire, brother of the Empress Aelia Eudocia.- Life :Gessius was born in Athens, son of the pagan and sophist philosopher Leontius, and brother of Valerius and Athenais. In 421 Athenais changed her name in Aelia Eudocia and married the Emperor...

     (some time between 421 and 443)
  • Flavius Anthemius Isidorus
    Anthemius Isidorus
    Flavius Anthemius Isidorus was a politician of the Eastern Roman Empire, the maternal uncle of the Western emperor Anthemius.- Biography :...

     (424)
  • Flavius Simplicius Reginus (435)
  • Eubulus (436)
  • Thalassius (439)
  • Apraeumius (441)
  • Eulogius (ca. 451)
  • Valentinianus (452)
  • Callicrates (468-469)
  • Iohannes
    Iohannes (consul 467)
    Iohannes was a politician of the Eastern Roman Empire.- Biography :His family came from Lychnidus. In 467 he was consul posterior, chosen by the Eastern court, together with Illustrius Pusaeus...

     (472)
  • Basilides
    Basilides (patricius)
    Basilides was a Byzantine official, who held the office of magister officiorum during the reign of Justinian I . He was a member of the commission responsible for forming the Corpus Juris Civilis. - Biography :...

     (529)

See also

  • Diocese of Illyricum
  • Diocese of Dacia
    Diocese of Dacia
    The Diocese of Dacia was a diocese of the later Roman Empire, in the area of modern Serbia and western Bulgaria. It was subordinate to the Praetorian prefecture of Illyricum...

  • Diocese of Macedonia
    Diocese of Macedonia
    The Diocese of Macedonia was a diocese of the later Roman Empire, forming part of the praetorian prefecture of Illyricum. Its capital was Thessalonica....

  • Roman provinces
  • Illyricum (Roman province)
    Illyricum (Roman province)
    The Roman province of Illyricum or Illyris Romana or Illyris Barbara or Illyria Barbara replaced most of the region of Illyria. It stretched from the Drilon river in modern north Albania to Istria in the west and to the Sava river in the north. Salona functioned as its capital...

  • Illyria
    Illyria
    In classical antiquity, Illyria was a region in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula inhabited by the Illyrians....


Sources


External links