There's a map I've seen that shows four separate provinces for the Alpes, including Alpes Poeninae and Alpes Graiae. However, everywhere else I've looked, I haven't been able to find any information that corroborates the map. Everything else has seemed to imply that they were the same province.

My question is: was there ever a point where they were separate provinces like the map shows? What were the years of their existence? Or is the map incorrect and were they always the same province?

  • 1
    I haven't found any authoritative evidence one way or the other. Livius.org lists them separately. Other sources list "Alpes Graiae et Poeniniae". The "Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World" shows "Alpes Graiae" but not "Alpes Poeninae".
    – njuffa
    Jul 7, 2018 at 19:58
  • 3
    It's possible that the combined province formally annexed by Augustus in 14 AD subsequently became two distinct provinces. Also, as provinces and their boundaries were in frequent flux, this question really needs a date of interest in order to be answerable. Jul 7, 2018 at 22:04
  • The map's legend says it depicts the situation as of AD 210, so I would assume the asker is interested in that particular time frame. In the ideal case the asker would clarify this question to state the relevant time frame explicitly.
    – njuffa
    Jul 8, 2018 at 1:33
  • njuffa - while I would be interested in knowing if the map of 210 CE is correct, I'd be more interested in knowing what were the dates of the existence of the two provinces, so if one split from the other, what date did that occur, and which one came first. However, if an answer could show there ever (or never) was a point in the history of the Roman Empire where the two provinces were distinct, that would suffice as an answer.
    – Curious
    Jul 8, 2018 at 3:34

1 Answer 1


The map is indeed correct. Britannica mentions that the Alpine adminstration underwent several changes over the years, until the time of Diocletian:

Farther north, Alpes Graiae (Graian Alps), administered within changing borders, was organized by Claudius as a province that included the Swiss Valais. He founded a capital at Forum Claudii (perhaps present-day Aime, about 20 miles [32 km] from the Little Saint Bernard Pass, which the province was to guard). Alpes Graiae was often combined with Alpes Poeninae (Pennine Alps), farther north and east, which guarded the Great Saint Bernard Pass. The administration of these northern Alpes seems to have fluctuated until Diocletian reorganized the whole provincial system.

According to here, page 807 says the following regarding the reform of the Roman diocese by Diocletian:

The Alpine provinces were rearranged: the Graie and Poeninae were united, with Moutiers for centre; the Alpes Maritimae (capital Embrum) remained unchanged, but the Cottiae became a district of Italy.

The same is mentioned in the wikipedia article regarding Alpes Poeninae although specifics are not mentioned:

The Vallis Poenina district was merged with the Alpes Graiae or Alpes Atrectianae district to form the Alpes Graiae et Poeninae province.

So all 4 districts mentioned in the map were separate districts before the Diocletian reforms, though admittedly I haven't confirmed if they existed in AD 210 (yet), and were later rearranged into new provinces/districts as is the case with Alpes Graiae et Poeninae.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.