Dalmatia (Roman province)

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Provincia Dalmatia
Province of the Roman Empire

32 BC–480 AD
Location of Dalmatia
Province of Dalmatia highlighted
Capital Salona
Historical era Antiquity
 •  Illyrian Wars 220 BC - 168 BC
 •  Established 32 BC
 •  Disestablished 480 AD
Today part of  Croatia
 Bosnia and Herzegovina
The Roman empire under Hadrian (ruled 117-38), showing the imperial province of Dalmatia in southeastern Europe
Province of Dalmatia highlighted
Dalmatia in the 4th century

Dalmatia was an ancient Roman province. Its name is probably derived from the name of an Illyrian tribe called the Dalmatae which lived in the area of the eastern Adriatic coast in Classical antiquity. It encompassed much of present-day Albania, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo etc, an area significantly larger than the current region of Dalmatia.


The region was the northern part[1] of the Illyrian kingdom between the 4th century BC until the Illyrian Wars in the 220s BC and 168 BC when the Roman Republic established its protectorate south of the river Neretva. The area north of the Neretva was slowly incorporated into Roman possessions until the province of Illyricum was formally established c. 32-27 BC.

Independent Dalmatia - Extent of Marcellinus' Control (454-468) and Julius Nepos' Control (468-480).

The Dalmatia region then became part of the Roman province of Illyricum. Between 6 and 9 AD the Dalmatians raised the last in a series of revolts together with the Pannonians, but the rebellion was finally crushed, and in 10 AD Illyricum was split into two provinces, Pannonia and Dalmatia. The province of Dalmatia spread inland to cover all of the Dinaric Alps and most of the eastern Adriatic coast. Dalmatia was the birthplace of the Roman Emperor Diocletian, who, upon retirement from Emperor, built Diocletian's Palace near Salona in today's Croatia.[2]

German historian Theodore Mommsen wrote (in his The Provinces of the Roman Empire) that coastal Dalmatia and its islands were fully romanized and Latin speaking by the 4th century.[3]

Croatian historian Aleksandar Stipčević writes that analysis of archaeological material from that period has shown that the process of romanization was rather selective. While urban centers, both coastal and inland, were almost completely romanized, the situation in the countryside was completely different. Despite the Illyrians being subject to a strong process of acculturation, they continued to speak their native language, worship their own gods and traditions, and follow their own social-political tribal organization which was adapted to Roman administration and political structure only in some necessities.[4]


Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found. In 475, Dalmatia came under the rule of the deposed Roman Emperor Julius Nepos. After the Western Roman Empire collapsed in 476, with the beginning of the Migration Period, Nepos continued to rule Dalmatia until his death in 480, when it was governed for several months by Ovida, before being conquered by Odoacer. Dalmatia was ruled by the Ostrogoths up to 535, when Justinian I added the territory to the Byzantine Empire. Later, the Byzantines formed the Theme of Dalmatia in the same territory.


Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found. The first modern account of Roman Dalmatia in English was J.J. Wilkes, Dalmatia (Harvard University Press) 1969. Wilkes surveys Illyricum and Dalmatia, in its Romanized aspects, to the end of Antiquity, based primarily on the evidence of inscriptions and the ancient historians.

Episcopal sees

Episcopal sees of the Roman province of Dalmatia Inferior that are listed in the Annuario Pontificio as titular sees include:[5] (suffragans of ?Salona)

Episcopal sees of the Roman province of Dalmatia Superior that are listed in the Annuario Pontificio as titular sees include:[5]


  1. Thomas Kelly Cheyne and John Sutherland, BlackEncyclopaedia Biblica: A Critical Dictionary
  2. C. Michael Hogan,"Diocletian's Palace", The Megalithic Portal, Andy Burnham ed., 6 October 2007.
  3. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  4. A. Stipčević, Iliri, Školska knjiga Zagreb, 1974, page 70
  5. 5.0 5.1 Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2013 ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), "Sedi titolari", pp. 819-1013

External links