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Map of the Roman Empire - Illyricum
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Ancient Illyricum In Roman times Illyricum was a Roman province. The Bible mentions Illyricum in Romans 15:19 and at that Illyricum was the official Roman name of the province though later it was called Dalmatia. The boundaries included: The Drilon river in the north, Istria (modern Croatia) in the west, the Sava river (modern Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Salona was its capital.
Rom. 15:19 - Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.
Illyrĭcum or Illyris, more rarely Illyria (τὸ Ἰλλυρικόν, Ἰλλυρίς, Ἰλλυρία), included, in its widest signification, all the land west of Macedonia and east of Italy and Rhaetia, extending south as far as Epirus, and north as far as the valleys of the Savus and Dravus, and the junction of these rivers with the Danube. This wide extent of country was inhabited by numerous Illyrian tribes, all of whom were more or less barbarous. They were probably of the same origin as the Thracians. (See Indo-European Languages.) The country was divided into two parts. Illyris Barbăra or Romāna, the Roman province of Illyrĭcum, extended along the Adriatic sea from Italy (Istria), from which it was separated by the Arsia, to the river Drilo, and was bounded on the east by Macedonia and Moesia Superior, from which it was separated by the Drinus, and on the north by Pannonia, from which it was separated by the Dravus. It thus comprehended a part of the modern Croatia, the whole of Dalmatia, almost the whole of Bosnia, and a part of Albania. It was divided in ancient times into three districts, according to the tribes by which it was inhabited—Iapydia, the interior of the country on the north, from the Arsia to the Tedanius; Liburnia, along the coast from the Arsia to the Titius; and Dalmatia, south of Liburnia, along the coast from the Titius to the Drilo. The Liburnians submitted at an early time to the Romans; but it was not till after the conquest of the Dalmatians, in the reign of Augustus, that the entire country was organized as a Roman province. From this time the Illyrians, and especially the Dalmatians, formed an important part of the Roman legion. - Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. New York. Harper and Brothers.
Maps are essential for any serious study, they help students of Roman history understand the geographical locations and historical backgrounds of the places mentioned in historical sources.
ILLY´RICUM (τὸ Ἰλλυπικόν: Eth. and Adj. Ἰλλύριος, Ἰλλυρικός, Illyrius, Illyricus), the eastern coast of the Adriatic sea.
1. The Name.
The Greek name is ILLYRIS (Ἰλλυρίς, Hecat. Fr. 65; Plb. 3.16; Strab. ii. pp. 108, 123, 129, vii. p. 317; Dionys. Per. 96: Herodian, 6.7; Apollod. 2.1.8; Ptol. 8.7.1), but the more ancient writers usually employ the name of the people, οἱ Ἰλλύριοι (ἐν τοῖς Ἰλλυρίοις, Hdt. 1.196, 4.49; Scyl. pp. 7, 10). The name ILLYRIA (Ἰλλυρία) very rarely occurs. (Steph. B. sub voce Prop. 1.8. 2.) By the Latin writers it generally went under the name of “Illyricum” (Caes. Gal. 2.35, 3.7; Varr. R. R. 2.10.7; Cic. Att. 10.6; Liv. 44.18, 26; Ovid, Ov. Tr. 1.3. 121; Mela, 2.3.13; Tac. Ann. 1.5, 46, 2.44, 53, Hist. 1.2, 9, 76; Flor. 1.18, 4.2; Just. 7.2; Suet. Tib. 16; Vell. 2.109), and the general assent of geographers has given currency to this form.
2. Extent and Limits.
The Roman Illyricum was of very different extent from the Illyris or οἱ Ἰλλύριοι of the Greeks, and was itself not the same at all times, but must be considered simply as an artificial and geographical expression. for the borderers. who occupied the E. coast of the Adriatic, from the junction of that gulf with the Ionic sea, to the estuaries of the river Po. The earliest writer who has left any account of the peoples inhabiting this coast is Scylax; according to whom (100.19--27) the Illyrians, properly so called (for the Liburnians and Istrians beyond them are excluded), occupy the sea-coast from Liburnia to the Chaonians of Epirus. The Bulini were the northernmost of these tribes, and the Amantini the southernmost. Herodotus (1.196) includes under the name, the Heneti or Veneti, who lived at the head of the gulf; in another passage (4.49) he places the Illyrians on the tributary streams of the Morava in Servia.
It is evident that the Gallic invasions, of which there are several traditions, threw the whole of these districts and their tribes into such confusion, that it is impossible to harmonise the statements of the Periplus of Soylax, or the far later Scymnus of Chios, with the descriptions in Strabo and the Roman historians.
In consequence of this immigration of the Gauls, Appian has confounded together Gauls, Thracians, Paeonians, and Illyrians. A legend which he records (Illyr. 1) makes Celtus, Illyrius, and Gala, to have been three brothers, the sons of the Cyclops Polyphemus, and is grounded probably on the intermixture of Celtic tribes (the Boii, the Scordisci, and the Taurisci) among the Illyrians: the lapodes, a tribe on the borders of Istria, are described by Strabo (iv. p.143) as half Celts, half Illyrians. On a rough estimate, it may be said that, in the earliest times, Illyricum was the coast between the Naro (Neretva). and the Drilo (Drin), bounded on the E. by the Triballi. At a later period it comprised all the various tribes from the Celtic Taurisci to the Epirots and Macedonians, and eastward as far as Moesia, including the Veneti, Pannonians, Dalmatians, Dardani, Autariatae, and many others. This is Illyricum in its most extended meaning in the ancient writers till the 2nd century of the Christian era: as, for instance, in Strabo (vii. pp. 313--319), during the reign of Augustus, and in Tacitus (Tac. Hist. 1.2, 9, 76, 2.86; comp. Joseph. B. J. 2.16), in his account of the civil wars which preceded the fall of Jerusalem. When the boundary of Rome reached to the Danube, the “Illyricus Limes” (as it is designated in the “Scriptores Historiae Angustae” ), or “Illyrian frontier,” comprised the following provinces:--Noricum, Pannonia Superior, Pannonia [2.36] Inferior, Moesia Superior, Moesia Inferior, Dacia, and Thrace. This division continued till the time of Constantine, who severed from it Lower Moesia and Thrace, but added to it Macedonia, Thessaly, Achaia, Old and New Epirus, Praevalitana, and Crete. At this period it was one of the four great divisions of the Roman empire under a “Praefectus Praetorio,” and it is in this signification that it is used by the later writers, such as Sextus Rufus, the “Auctor Notitiae Dignitatum Imperil,” Zosimus, Jornandes, and others. At the final division of the Roman empire, the so-called “Illyricum Orientale,” containing the provinces of Macedonia, Thessaly, Epirus, Hellas, New Epirus, Crete,and Praevalitana,was incorporated with the Lower Empire; while “Illyricum Occidentale” was united with Rome, and embraced Noricum, Pannonia, Dalmatia, Savia, and Valeria Ripensis.
A. ILLYRIS BARBARA or ROMANA, was separated from Istria by the small river Arsia (Arsa), and bounded S. and E. by the Drilo, and on the N. by the Savus; consequently it is represented now by part of Croatia, all Dalmatia, the Herzegovina, Monte-Negro, nearly all Bosnia, and part of Albania.
Illyris Romana was divided into three districts, the northern of which was IAPYDIA, extending S. as far as the Tedanius (Zermagna); the strip of land extending from the Arsia to the Titius (La Kerka) was called LIBURNIA, or the whole of the north of what was once Venetian Dalmatia; the territory of the DALMATAE was at first comprehended between the Naro and the Tilurus or Nestus: it then extended to the Titius. A list of the towns will be found under the several heads of IAPYDIA, LIBURNIA, and DALMATIA
B. ILLYRIS GRAECA, which was called in later times EPIRUS NOVA, extended from the river Drilo to the SE., up to the Ceraunian mountains, which separated it from Epirus Proper. On the N. it was bounded by the Roman Illyricum and Mount Scordus, on the W. by the Ionian sea, on the S. by Epirus, and on the E. by Macedonia; comprehending, therefore, nearly the whole of modern Albania. Next to the frontier of Chaonia is the small town of AMANTIA and the people of the AMANTIANS and BULLIONES. They are followed by the TAULANTII who occupied the country N. of the AOUS--the great river of S. Macedonia, which rises in Mount Lacmon, and discharges itself into the Adriatic--as far as Epidamnus. The chief towns of this country were APOLLONIA and EPIDAMNUS or DYRRHACHIUM In the interior, near the Macedonian frontier, there is a considerable lake, LACUS LYCHNITIS, from which the Drilo issues. Ever since the middle ages there has existed in this part the town of Achrida, which has been supposed to be the ancient LYCHNIDUS and was the capital of the Bulgarian empire, when it extended from the Euxine as far as the interior of Aetolia, and comprised S. Illyricum, Epirus, Acarnania, Aetolia, and a part of Thessaly. During the Roman period the DASSARETAE dwelt there; the neighbouring country was occupied by the AUTARIATAE who are said to have been driven from their country in the time of Cassander, when they removed as fugitives with their women and children into Macedonia. The ARDIAEI and PARTHINI dwelt N. of the Autariatae, though not at the same time, but only during the Roman period. SCODRA (Scutari), in later times the capital of Praevalitana, was unknown during the flourishing period of Grecian history, and more properly belongs to Roman Illyricum; as Lissus, which was situated at the mouth of the Drilo, was fixed upon by the Romans as the border town of the Illyrians in the S., beyond which they were not allowed to sail with their privateers. Internal communication in this Illyricum was kept up by the VIA CANDAVIA or EGNATIA the great line which connected Italy and the East--Rome, Constantinople, and Jerusalem. A road of such importance, as Colonel Leake remarks (North. Greece, vol. iii. p. 311), and on which the distance had been marked with milestones soon after the Roman conquest of Macedonia, we may believe to have been kept in the best order as long as Rome was the centre of a vigorous authority; but it probably shared the fate of many other great establishments in the decline of the empire, and especially when it became as much the concern of the Byzantine as of the Roman government. This fact accounts for the discrepancies in the Itineraries; for though Lychnidus, Heracleia, by and Edessa, still continued, as on the Candavian Way described by Polybius (ap. Strab. vii. pp. 322, 323), to be the three principal points between Dyrrhachium and Thessalonica (nature, in fact, having strongly drawn that line in the valley of the Genusus), there appears to have been a choice of routes over the ridges which contained the boundaries of Illyricum and Macedonia. By comparing the Antonine Itinerary, the Peutingerian Table, and the Jerusalem Itinerary, the following account of stations in Illyricum is obtained:--
Dyrrhachium or Apollonia.
Trajectus Genusi Skumbi river.
Ad Dianam Skumbi river.
Candavia Skumbi river.
Tres Tabernae Skumbi river.
Pons Servilii et Claudanum Tie Drin at Struga.
Patrae The Drin at Struga.
3. Physical Geography.
The Illyrian range of mountains, which traverses Dalmatia under the name of Mount Prolog, and partly under other names (Mons Albius, Bebius), branches off in Carniola from the Julian Alps, and then, at a considerable distance from the sea, stretches towards Venetia, approaches the sea beyond Aquileia near Trieste, and forms Istria. After passing through Istria as a lofty mountain, though not reaching the snow line, and traversing Dalmatia, which it separates from Bosnia, it extends into Albania. It is a limestone range, and, like most mountains belonging to that formation, much broken up, hence the bold and picturesque coast runs out into many promontories, and is flanked by numerous islands.
These islands appear to have originated on the breaking up of the lower grounds by some violent action, leaving their limestone summits above water. From the salient position of the promontory terminating in Punta delta Planca, they are divided into two distinct groups, which the Greek geographers called ABSYRTIDES and LIBURNIDES. They trend NW. and SE., greatly longer than broad, and form various fine channels, called “canale,” and named from the nearest adjacent island: these being bold, [2.37] with scarcely a hidden danger, give ships a secure passage between them. Cherso, Osero, Lussin, Sansego (Absyrtides), abound with fossil bones. The bone-breccia of these islands appears to be the same conglomerate with those of Gibraltar, Cerigo, and other places in the Mediterranean. The Liburnian group (Λιβυρνίδες νῆσοι, Strab. ii. p.124, vii. pp. 315, 317; “Liburnicae Insulae,” Plin. Nat. 3.30), LISSA (Grossa), BRATTIA (Brazza), ISSA (Lissa), MELITA (Melada), CORCYRA NIGRA (Curzola), PHAROS (Lesina) and OLYNTA (Solta), have good ports, but are badly supplied with drinkable water, and are not fertile. The mountainous tract, though industriously cultivated towards the shore, is for the most part, as in the days of Strabo (l.c.), wild, rugged, and barren. The want of water and the arid soil make Dalmatia unfit for agriculture; and therefore of old, this circumstance, coupled with the excellency and number of the harbours, made the natives more known for piracy than for commercial enterprise. A principal feature of the whole range is that called Monte-Negro (Czernagora), consisting chiefly of the cretaceous or Mediterranean limestone, so extensively developed from the Alps to the Archipelago, and remarkable for its craggy character. The general height is about 3000 feet, with a few higher summits, and the slopes are gentle in the direction of the inclination of the “strata,” with precipices at the outcroppings, which give a fine variety to the scenery.
There is no sign of volcanic action in Dalmatia; and the Nymphaeum near Apollonia, celebrated for the flames that rose continually from it, has probably no reference to anything of a volcanic nature, but is connected with the beds of asphaltum, or mineral pitch, which occur in great abundance in the nummulitic limestone of Albania.
The coast of what is now called Middle Albania, or the Illyrian territory, N. of Epirus, is, especially in its N. portion, of moderate height, and in some places even low and unwholesome, as far as AULON (Valona or Avlona), where it suddenly becomes rugged and mountainous, with precipitous cliffs descending rapidly towards the sea. This is the Khimara range, upwards of 4000 feet high, dreaded by ancient mariners as the Acro-Ceraunian promontory. The interior of this territory was much superior to N. Illyricum in productiveness: though mountainous, it has more valleys and open plains for cultivation. The sea-ports of Epidamnus and Apollonia introduced the luxuries of wine and oil to the barbarians; whose chiefs learnt also to value the woven fabrics, the polished and carved metallic work, the tempered weapons, and the pottery which was furnished them by Grecian artisans. Salt fish, and, what was of more importance to the inland residents on lakes like that of Lychnidus, salt itself, was imported. In return they supplied the Greeks with those precious commodities, cattle and slaves. Silver mines were also worked at DAMASTIUM Wax and honey were probably articles of export ; and it is a proof that the natural products of Illyria were carefully sought out, when we find a species of iris peculiar to the country collected and sent to Corinth, where its root was employed to give the special flavour to a celebrated kind of aromatic unguent. Grecian commerce and intercourse not only tended to civilise the S. Illyrians beyond their northern brethren, who shared with the Thracian tribes the custom of tattooing their bodies and of offering human sacrifices; but through the introduction of Grecian exiles, made them acquainted with Hellenic ideas and legends, as may be seen by the tale of Cadmus and Harmonia, from whom the chiefs of the Illyrian Enchelees professed to trace their descent. (Comp. Grote, Hist. of Greece, vol. iv. pp. 1--10, and. the authorities quoted there; to which may be added, Wilkinson, Dalmatia and Montenegro, vol. i. pp. 38--42; J. F. Neigebaur, Die Sudslaven, Leipzig, 1851; Niebuhr, Lect. on Ethnog. and Geog. vol. i. pp. 297--314; Smyth, The Mediterranean, pp. 40--45 ; Hahn, Albanesische Studien, Wien, 1854.)
4. Race and National Character.
Sufficient is not known either of the language or customs of the Illyrians, by which their race may be ascertained. The most accurate among the ancient writers have always distinguished them as a separatenation, or group of nations, from both the Thracians and Epirots.
The ancient Illyrians are unquestionably the ancestors of the people generally known in Europe by the name Albanians, but who are called by the Turks “Arnauts,” and by themselves “Skipetares,” which means in their language “mountaineers,” or “dwellers on rocks,” and inhabit the greater part of ancient Illyricum and Epirus. They have a peculiar language, and constitute a particular race, which is very distinct from the Slavonian inhabitants who border on them towards the N. The ancients, as has been observed, distinguished the Illyrians from the Epirots, and have given no intimations that they were in any way connected. But the Albanians, who inhabit both Illyricum and Epirus, are one people, whose language is only varied by slight modifications of dialect. The Illyrians appear to have been pressed southwards by Slavonian hordes, who settled in Dalmatia. Driven out from, their old territories, they extended themselves towards the S., where they now inhabit many districts which never belonged to them in former times, and have swallowed up the Epirots, and extinguished their language. According to Schafarik (Slav. Alt, vol. i. p. 31) the modern Albanian population is 1,200,000.
Ptolemy is the earliest writer in whose works the name of the Albanians has been distinctly recognised. He mentions (3.13.23) a tribe called ALBANI (Ἀλβανοί) and a town ALBANOPOLIS (Ἀλβανόπολις), in the region lying to the E. of the Ionian sea; and from the names of places with which Albanopolis is connected, it appears clearly to have been in the S. part of the Illyrian territory, and in modern Albania. There are no means of forming a conjecture how the name of this obscure tribe came to be extended to so considerable a nation. The latest work upon the Albanian language is that of F. Ritter von Xylander (Die Sprache der Albanesesn oder Skhipetaren, 1835), who has elucidated this subject, and established the principal facts upon a firm basis. An account of the positions at which Xylander arrived will be found in Prichard (The Physical History of Mankind, vol. iii. pp. 477--482).
As the Dalmatian Slaves have adopted the name Illyrians, the Slavonian language spoken in Dalmatia, especially at Ragusa, is also called Illyrian; and this designation has acquired general currency; but it must always be remembered that the ancient Illyrians were in no way connected with the Slave races. In the practice of tattooing their bodies, and offering human sacrifices, the Illyrians resembled the Thracians (Strab. vii. p.315; Hdt. 5.6): the [2.38] custom of one of their tribes, the, Dalmatians, to, have a new division of their lands: every eighth year (Strab. l.c.), resembled the well-known, practice of the Germans, only advanced somewhat further to-wards civilised life. The author of the Periplus. ascribed to Scylax (l.c.) speaks of the great influence enjoyed by their women, whose; lives, in consequence, he describes as highly licentious. The Illyrian, like the modern Albanian Skipetar, was always ready to fight for hire ;. and rushed to. battle, obeying only the instigation of his own love of fighting, or vengeance, or love of blood, or craving, for booty. But as soon as the feeling was satisfied, or overcome by fear, his rapid and impetuous rush was succeeded by an equally rapid retreat or flight. (Comp. Grote, Hist. of Greece, vol. vi. p. 609.) They did not fight in the phalanx, nor were they merely ψιλοί; they rather formed an intermediate class between them and the phalanx. Their arms were short spears and light javelins and shields ( “peltastae” ); the, chief weapon, however, was. the μάχαιρα or Albanian knife. Dr. Arnold has remarked (Hist. of Rome, vol. i. p. 495),--“The eastern coast of the Adriatic is one of those ill-fated portions of the earth which, though placed, in immediate contact with civilisation, have remained perpetually barbarian.” But Scymnus of Chios (comp. Arnold, vol. iii. p. 477), writing of the Illyrians about a century before the Christian era, calls them “a religious people, just and kind to strangers, loving to be liberal, and desiring to live orderly and soberly.” After the Roman conquest, and during its dominion, they were as civilised as most other peoples reclaimed from barbarism. The emperor Diocletian and St. Jerome were both Illyrians. And the palace at Spalato is the earliest existing specimen of the legitimate combination of the round arch and the column; and the modern history of the eastern shores of the Adriatic begins with the relations established by Heraclius with the Serbs or W. Slaves, who moved down from the Carpathians into the provinces between the Adriatic and the Danube. The states which they constituted were of considerable weight in the history of Europe, and the kingdoms, or bannats, of Croatia, Servia, Bosnia, Rascia, and Dalmatia, occupied for some centuries a political position very like that now held by the secondary monarchical states of the present day. The people of Narenta, who had a republican form of government, once disputed the sway of the Adriatic with the Venetians; Ragusa, which sent her Argosies (Ragosies) to every coast, never once succumbed to the winged Lion of St. Mark; and for some time it seemed probable that the Servian colonies established by Heraclius were likely to take a prominent part in advancing the progress of European civilisation. (Comp. Finlay, Greece under the Romans, p. 409.)
The Illyrians do not appear in history before the Peloponnesian War, when Brasidas, and Perdiccas retreated before them, and the Illyrians, for the first time, probably, had to encounter Grecian troops. (Thuc. 4.124-128.) Nothing is heard of these barbarians afterwards, till the time of Philip of Macedon, by whose vigour and energy their incursions were first repressed, and their country partially conquered. Their collision with the Macedonians appears to have risen under the following circumstances. During the 4th century before Christ a large immigration of Gallic tribes from the westward was taking place, invading the territory of the more, northerly Illyrians, and driving them further to the south. Under Bardylis the Illyrians, who had formed themselves. into a kingdom, the origin of which cannot be traced, had extended themselves, over, the towns, villages, and plains of W. Macedonia (Diod. 16.4; Theopomp. Fr. 35, ed. Didot.; Cic. de Off. 2.1. 1; Phot., Bib. p. 530, ed. Bekker; Liban. Orat. xxviii. p. 632). As soon as. the young, Philip of Macedon, came, to the; throne, he. attacked these hereditary enemies. B.C., 360, and pushed his successes so vigorously, as to reduce to subjection all the tribes to the E. of Lychnidus. (Comp. Grote, Hist. of Greece, vol. xi. pp. 302--304.). A state was formed the capital. of which was probably near Ragusa, but the real Illyrian. pirates with whom: the Romans came; in collision, must have occupied the, N. of Dalmatia. Rhodes was still a maritime power; but by B.C. 233 the Illyrians had become formidable in the Adriatic, ravaging the coasts, and disturbing the navigation of the allies of the Romans. Envoys were sent to Teuta, the queen of the Illyrians, demanding reparation: she replied, that piracy was the habit of her people, and finally had the envoys murdered. (Plb. 2.8; Appian, App. Ill. 7; Zonar. 8.19; comp. Plin. Nat. 34.11.) A Roman army for the, first time crossed the Ionian gulf, and concluded a peace with the Illyrians upon honourable terms, while the Greek states of Corcyra, Apollonia, and Epidamnus, received their liberty as a gift from Rome.
On the death of Teuta, the traitor Demetrius of Pharos made himself guardian of Pineus, son of Agron, and usurped the chief authority in Illyricum : thinking that the Romans were too much engaged in the, Gallic wars, he ventured on several piraticalacts. This led to the Second Illyrian War, B.C. 219, which resulted in the submission of the whole of Illyricum. Demetrius fled to Macedonia, and Pineus was restored to his kingdom. (Plb. 3.16, 18; Liv. 22.33; App. Ill. 7, 8; Flor. 2.5; D. C. 34.46, 151; Zonar. 8.20.) Pineus was succeeded by his uncle Scerdilaidas, and Scerdilaidas by his son Pleuratus, who, for his fidelity to the Roman cause during the Macedonian War, was rewarded at the peace of 196 by the addition to his territories of Lychnidus and the Parthini, which had before belonged to Macedonia, (Plb. 18.30, 21.9, 22.4; Liv. 31.28, 32.34.) In the reign of Gentius, the. last. king of Illyricum, the Dalmatae revolted, B.C. 180; and the praetor L. Anicius, entering Illyricum, finished the war within thirty days, by taking the capital Scodra, (Scutari), into which Gentius had thrown himself, B.C. 168. (Plb. 30.13; Liv. 44.30-32, 45.43; Appian, App. Ill. 9; Eutrop. 4.6.) Illyricum, which, was divided into three parts, became annexed to Rome. (Liv. 45.26.) The history of the Roman wars with DALMATIA, IAPYDIA, and LIBURNIA, is given under those heads.
In B.C. 27 Illyricumn was under the rule of a. proconsul appointed, by the senate (D. C. 53.12): but the frequent attempts of the people to recover their liberty showed the necessity of maintaining a strong force in the country ; and in B.C. 11 (D. C. 54.34) it was made an imperial province, with P. Cornelius Dolabella for “legatus” ( “leg. pro. pr.,” Orelli, Inscr. no. 2365, comp. no. 3128; Tac. Hist. 2.86; Marquardt, in Becker's Röm. Alt. vol. iii. pt. i. pp. 110--115). A large region, extending far inland towards the valley of the Save and the Drave, contained bodies of soldiery, [2.39] who were stationed in the strong links of the chain of military posts which was scattered along the frontier of the Danube. Inscriptions are extant on which the records of its occupation by the 7th and 11th legions can still be read. (Orelli, nos. 3452, 3553, 4995, 4996; comp. Joseph. B. J. 2.16; Tac. Ann. 4.5, Hist. 2.11. 85.) There was at that time no seat of government or capital ; but the province was divided into regions called “conventus:” each region, of which there were three, named from the towns of SCARDONA, SALONA, and NARONA was subdivided into numerous “decuriae.” Thus the “conventus” of Salona had 382 “decuriae.” (Plin. Nat. 3.26.) IADERA, SALONA, NARONA, and EPIDAURUS were Roman “coloniae;” APOLLONIA and CORCYRA “civitates liberae.” (Appian, App. Ill. 8; Plb. 2.11.) The jurisdiction of the “pro-praetor,” or “legatus,” does not appear to have extended throughout the whole of Illyricum, but merely over the maritime portion. The inland district either had its own governor, or was under the praefect of Pannonia. Salona in later times became the capital of the province (Procop. B. G. 1.15; Hierocles), and the governor was styled “praeses.” (Orelli, nos. 1098, 3599.) The most notable of these were Dio Cassius the historian, and his father Cassius Apronianus.
The warlike youth of Pannonia and Dalmatia afforded an inexhaustible supply of recruits to the legions stationed on the banks of the Danube; and the peasants of Illyricum, who had already given Claudius, Aurelian, and Probus to the sinking empire, achieved the work of rescuing it by the elevation of Diocletian and Maximian to the imperial purple. (Comp. Gibbon, c. xiii.)
After the final division of the empire, Marcellinus, “Patrician of the West,” occupied the maritime portion of W. Illyricum, and built a fleet which claimed the dominion of the Adriatic. [DALMATIA] E. Illyricum appears to have suffered so much from the hostilities of the Goths and the oppressions of Alaric, who was declared, A.D. 398, its master-general (comp. Claudian, in Eutrop. 2.216, de Bell. Get. 535), that there is a law of Theodosius II. which exempts the cities of Illyricum from contributing towards the expenses of the public spectacles at Constantinople. (Theod. cod. x. tit. 8. s. 7.) But though suffering from these inroads, casual encounters often showed that the people were not destitute of courage and military skill. Attila himself, the terror of both Goths and Romans, was defeated before the town of Azimus, a frontier fortress of Illyricum. (Priscus, p. 143, ed. Bonn; comp. Gibbon, c. xxxiv.; Finlay, Greece under the Romans, p. 203.) The coasts of Illyricum were considered of great importance to the court of Constantinople. The rich produce transported by the caravans which reached the N. shores of the Black Sea, was then conveyed to Constantinople to be distributed through W. Europe. Under these circumstances, it was of the utmost consequence to defend the two points of Thessalonica and Dyrrhachium, the two cities which commanded the extremities of the usual road between Constantinople and the Adriatic. (Tafel, de Thessalonica, p. 221; Hullman, Geschich. des Byzantischen Handels, p. 76.) The open country was abandoned to the Avars and the E. Slaves, who made permanent settlements even to the S. of the Via Egnatia ; but none of these settlements were allowed to interfere with the lines of communication, without which the trade of the West would have been lost to the Greeks. Heraclius, in his plan for circumscribing the ravages of the northern enemies of the empire, occupied the whole interior of the country, from the borders of Istria to the territory of Dyrrhachium, with colonies of the Serbs or W. Slaves. From the settlement of the Servian Slavonians within the bounds of the empire we may therefore date, as has been said above, the earliest encroachments of the Illyrian or Albanian race on the Hellenic population of the South. The singular events which occurred in the reign of Heraclius are not among the least of the elements which have gone to make up the condition of the modern Greek nation. [E.B.J]
Map of the Roman Empire - Places