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What a Roman Governor Does

1. To start with, he was responsible for the taxes. As the emperor's personal financial agent, he had to supervise the local authorities and the private tax collectors (the notorious publicans). To facilitate things, a governor could mint coins and negotiate with wealthy institutions (like the Temple in Jerusalem) that could advance the money.

2. His second task was that of accountant: he inspected the books and supervised large scale building projects.

3. Next to these financial tasks, the governor was the province's supreme judge. Appeal was not impossible, but the voyage to Rome was expensive. The Judaea governor was supposed to travel through the three main districts -Samaria, Judaea and Idumea- to administer justice in the assize towns.

4. Finally, he commanded an army. In the more important provinces, this could consist of legions; but the Judaea governor commanded only auxiliary troops. Two cohorts had their barracks in Jerusalem (at the old palace and at the fortress Antonia); a third cohort guarded the Judaea capital, Caesarea; and two cohorts of infantry and one cavalry regiment were on duty throughout the province. Taken together, the prefect commanded 6×500 men: a force to be reckoned with, but not enough when things went seriously wrong. In that case, his superior, the governor of Syria, would have to send a legion, a unit of 5,300 men heavy infantry.

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