Topics for this Section:


In the 3rd Century AD, Asia Minor had been under Roman control for at least two centuries. The varieties of experience and lifestyle described in the introduction are still to be observed. By the late 3rd century, Asia Minor had developed recognizable political and cultural unity. The reasons for this development are many, but decisive must have been the stability of Roman administration and the process of Romanization. Nevertheless, it must be stressed that the Romanization of Asia Minor meant ultimately the promotion and adoption of the Hellenistic culture. Indeed, even before the arrival of the Romans Hellenistic culture had already established itself firmly in this region. In many ways the Hellenistic culture had in its own way a profound influence on the development of Roman culture. In contrast to what happened in the western provinces, there were hardly any significant imports of Roman culture or of the Latin language.

When one considers the spread of Roman authority in Asia Minor, it is manifest that it did not evolve in a linear fashion. Rome long supported the power of client princes in central Anatolia in order to create a buffer zone between itself and in more eastern rivals ( Persia / Parthia). Only in the late first century was Asia Minor thoroughly absorbed into the Roman provincial system and “Romanized”.

The imperial cult and temples erected to honor the emperors were to be found in every province. Both were reckoned as critical vehicles to support the integration of the provincial populations and to encourage a bond with Rome. In brief, the imperial cult was a critical aspect of Romanization.