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I'm presently reading a book on roman syria. at the end of the 1st century bc and during the 1st century ad, parts of the roman province of syria were directly occupied by the romans. Others were ruled by client kings. from what i've read, Pompei has taken this kind of arrangement from the ancient seleucids and marc antony and augustus have improved it.

what remains unclear to me is why Pompei did this. why did he not impose direct rule on the whole province of syria. what's the point of having client kings. you'll see that the romans were not satisfied either. emperors like vespasian and successors were quick to eliminate these client kingdoms. some gave the romans more troubles than benefits, like for instance herod who had some encounters with his nabatean neighbours;

I think direct rule is more easy to do in syria than in for instance gaul or germania.
they could have taken over the administrative structure which the seleucids used to administer their states. i think there were enough officials to do so. or am i wrong? when vespasian or his successors took over a kingdom, you'll see for instance that armies of the client kings were made a part of the roman auxilia. so direct rule could be done administratively...

so again, what's the point of having client kings instead of imposing direct rule?
Quote:what's the point of having client kings instead of imposing direct rule?

Remember that Pompey was operating under the republican system. If he imposed direct rule the senate would have to appoint a governor from its own number, and that senator would have access to all the wealth of the east and would become fabulously powerful.

Pompey had just survived a first round of civil wars, and knew how much trouble over-powerful senators could be. By appointing client kings he left the eastern power and wealth in the hands of non-Romans who could not make a bid for power and, more importantly, owed allegiance principally to him rather than to the senate.
I am not at all certain that there is an easy answer. To establish complete Roman rule would require a large commitment of permanently stationed legions. Whereas with a client state, its military could be used to protect borders, thus requiring a smaller contingent of Roman troops. The Roman military was quite advanced in mobility, thus fewer legions were required. Keep in mind that a Roman legion with its support and auxiliary was expensive to maintain. This was a constant problem for Rome.

Syria stood between Persia and the Roman Empire. So it was a critical frontier. My educated guess is that Rome was willing to sacrifice the military of a client state and then come behind to "clean up". The situation was quite different in Gaul, which abutted Italy.

Rome treated different locations of the Empire differently, all with an eye of protecting the Empire. As I say, this is just an educated guess. But as a historian, I think it is logical.

Publius Quinctius Petrus Augustinus
(aka Pierre A. Kleff, Jr.)
Path of least resistance at the time/conservation of manpower. I am sure the client kings paid an appropriate amount of "reparations" or "protection money" for the privilege of being client kings