Syria was an early Roman province, annexed to the Roman Republic in 64 BCE by Pompey in the Third Mithridatic War, following the defeat of Armenian King Tigranes the Great. Following the partition of the Herodian kingdom into tetrarchies in 6 CE, it was gradually absorbed into Roman provinces, with Roman Syria annexing Iturea and Trachonitis.
The Roman province of Judea incorporated the regions of Judea, Samaria, and Idumea, and extended over parts of the former regions of the Hasmonean and Herodian kingdoms of Israel. It was named after Herod Archelaus's Tetrarchy of Judea, but the Roman province encompassed a much larger territory.
The capital of Roman Syria was established in Antioch from the very beginning of Roman rule, while the capital of the Judaea province was shifted to Caesarea Maritima, which, according to historian H. H. Ben-Sasson, had been the "administrative capital" of the region beginning in 6 CE.
Judea province was the scene of unrest at its founding in 6 CE during the Census of Quirinius and several wars were fought in its history, known as the Jewish–Roman wars. The Temple was destroyed in 70 CE as part of the Great Jewish Revolt resulting in the institution of the Fiscus Judaicus. The Provinces of Judaea and Syria were key scenes of an increasing conflict between Judaean and Hellenistic population, which exploded into full scale Jewish–Roman wars, beginning with the Great Jewish Revolt of 66–70. Disturbances followed throughout the region during the Kitos War in 117–118. Between 132–135, Simon bar Kokhba led a revolt against the Roman Empire, controlling parts of Judea but seemingly not Jerusalem, for three years. As a result, Hadrian sent Sextus Julius Severus to the region, who brutally crushed the revolt. Shortly before or after the Bar Kokhba's revolt (132–135), the Roman Emperor Hadrian changed the name of the Judea province and merged it with Roman Syria to form Syria Palaestina, while Jerusalem was renamed to Aelia Capitolina, which certain scholars conclude was done in an attempt to remove the relationship of the Jewish people to the region.
Only circumstantial evidence links Hadrian with the name change, and the precise date is not certain. The common view that the name change was intended to "sever the connection of the Jews to their historical homeland" is disputed.