The Romans invaded Tripolitania (the region around Tripoli) in 106 BCE. Ptolemy Apion, the last Greek ruler, bequeathed Cyrenaica to Rome, which formally annexed the region in 74 B.C. and joined it to Crete as a Roman province. By 64 BC, Julius Caesar's legions had established their occupation, and the Romans had thus unified all three regions of Libya. As a Roman province, Libya was prosperous, and reached a golden age in the 2nd century AD, when the city of Leptis Magna rivalled Carthage and Alexandria in prominence. For more than 400 years, Tripolitania and Cyrenaica were wealthy Roman provinces and part of a cosmopolitan state whose citizens shared a common language, legal system, and Roman identity. Roman ruins like those of Leptis Magna, extant in present-day Libya, attest to the vitality of the region, where populous cities and even smaller towns enjoyed the amenities of urban life - the forum, markets, public entertainments, and baths - found in every corner of the Roman Empire. Merchants and artisans from many parts of the Roman world established themselves in North Africa, but the character of the cities of Tripolitania remained decidedly Punic and, in Cyrenaica, Greek. Tripolitania was a major exporter of olive oil, as well as a centre for the gold and slaves conveyed to the coast by the Garamentes, while Cyrenaica remained an important source of wines, drugs, and horses. The bulk of the population in the countryside consisted of Berber farmers, who in the west were thoroughly "punicized" in language and customs.
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