Please add updates or make corrections to the NumisWiki text version as appropriate.
Provinciae. Provinces. - These were territories which the Romans had either conquered in war or obtained possession of by other means. They formed a third part of the empire and for the purposes of government were divided into consular, proconsular, praetorian and praesidial according to the respective rank and dignity of the magistrates appointed to rule over them. The maxim of the Republic at that time being to reshape the countries which it subdued into so many distinct governments. As soon as it acquired them, their laws were were annulled, their own magistrates removed and themselves subjected to the Roman laws. The administration was set according to the extent and importance of the province and a proconsul or a praetor or a praeses was sent from Rome. Each had a quaestor whose business it was to enforce payment of the tributes imposed by the conquerors. In return for the loss of its independence by being reduced to a provincial state (reducta in formam Proviniae), Rome granted the Jus Provinciae, a privilege very inferior to the Jus Italicum and to the Jus Latium. It not only fell short of exempting its inhabitants from tribute, but compelled them to receive their laws and governors from Rome.
Thus during the Republic, the provinces on the Italian peninsula and those at a greater distance from the capital, were altogether under the control of the senate and people. When Augustus became emperor and to serve his own purposes, made a division of the provinces that appeared to break his monopoly of administrative power, but in fact resulted in placing the entirety of the military force of Rome at his sole disposal. To the senate he yielded those provinces which were situated in the center of the empire. He reserved to himself and his successors the frontier areas under the pretence of defending them from attacks of barbarian and other hostile nations. The provinciae suburbanae, as those of Italy were called due to their proximity to Rome, were placed under the authority of annually appointed magistrates sent by the Senatus Populusque Romanus whether proconsuls or praetors. On the other hand, the provinces reserved for the imperial government were presided over by the Legati Augusti, or lieutenants chosen by the prince himself.
Next came the conquered territories which after being molded into provinces came under the direct control of the emperor, as Dion informs us. In this fashion Thrace was made a province during the reign of Vespasian and under Trajan came Dacia and Arabia which increased the number of Caesarean provinces. On the coins of these provinces we do not read the names of the proconsul or of any other popular magistrate, but of the legates of the emperor. On this point Spanheim in his notes on the Caesars of Julian, makes the following remarks on those medals of Trajan which display Dacia in various types as a subjugated nation. "We see these coins with inscriptions not only of VICT DAC and of DACIA CAPTA, but even of DACIA AVGUSTI PROVINCIA; that is to say, according to the custom of Dion that nations or conquered provinces, subsequently to the division made by Augustus, fell no longer within the jurisdiction of the Roman people, but devolved to that of the emperor, and became his provinces, and were therefore governed by his lieutenants, and by Praetors or Proconsuls, except in those changes which the Emperors themselves made on the subject from time to time". Spanheim then cites the well known, but not less interesting coin of the same emperor which bears the legend of Dacia Augusti Provincia with that province being represented by a Dacian seated on a rock with two children near him and with a Roman ensign in his left hand.