For over 1,000 years Dalmatia was ruled by Rome.
Dalmatia was an ancient Roman province. 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 it 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.
During the 5th century, one of the last Emperors of the Western Roman Empire, Julius Nepos, ruled his small empire from the palace.
|Generals under Emperor Justinian I|
Theme of Dalmatia
The Theme of Dalmatia was a Byzantine theme (a military-civilian province) on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea in Southeastern Europe, headquartered at Zadar.
Dalmatia first came under Byzantine control in the 530s, when the generals of Emperor Justinian I (r. 527–565) seized it from the Ostrogoths in the Gothic War. The invasions of the Avars and Slavs in the 7th century destroyed the main cities and overran much of the hinterland, with Byzantine control limited to the islands and certain new coastal cities such as Split and Dubrovnik, while Zara (Zadar) became the local episcopal and administrative center, under an archon.
At the turn of the 8th to 9th century, Dalmatia was seized by Charlemagne (r. 768–814), but he returned it to the Byzantines in 812, after the so-called "Pax Nicephori". It is unclear whether the region was under actual rather than nominal Byzantine authority after that; the local cities appear to have been virtually independent. Nevertheless, an archon of Dalmatia is mentioned in the 842/843 Taktikon Uspensky, and a seal of a "strategos of Dalmatia" dated to the first half of the century may indicate the existence of a Dalmatian theme, at least for a short time
|Eastern Roman Theme of Dalmatia|
Established as a theme about 870 AD
Collapse of Byzantine control in 1060s
The traditional date of the establishment of Dalmatia as a regular theme is placed in the early years of the reign of Emperor Basil I the Macedonian (r. 867–886), following the expeditions of Niketas Oryphas.
Around 923, Tomislav of Croatia, the Byzantine Emperor and the two church patriarchs were involved a deal that transferred the control of the Byzantine Dalmatian cities to the new Croatian kingdom. This started a series of similar maneuvers and the Croatian–Bulgarian Wars, during which the Byzantine Emperors of the Macedonian dynasty maintained varying degrees of control over the Dalmatian cities.
In the south, the city of Ragusa (Dubrovnik), still under Byzantine control, started to grow in importance, and its Church diocese was elevated to an archbishopric in 998. In the early 11th century, Byzantine control over Dalmatian cities started to be contested by the Serbian principality of Duklja, whose ruler Jovan Vladimir took control of Bar, near the border with the Theme of Dyrrhachium.
Roman ruins in Dalmatia
His feats were repeated and bested by Stefan Vojislav twenty years later, and in 1034, the Bar diocese was elevated to an archdiocese, but a war with Theophilos Erotikos soon followed. Stefan Vojislav's son Mihailo obtained papal support following the East–West Schism of 1054, further weakening Byzantine influence in Dalmatia.
Except for Dubrovnik and the southern third of Dalmatia, Byzantine control collapsed in the 1060s. Constantine Bodin pledged his support for Pope Urban II, which confirmed Bar's status as an archdiocese in 1089, and resulted in a temporary demotion of the Ragusan diocese. By the end of the 11th century, the Kingdom of Hungary took the Kingdom of Croatia's place in controlling the northern Dalmatian hinterland. Duklja remained largely under Byzantine control, with a series of internal conflicts weakening its leaders.
Byzantine predominance was restored under Emperor Manuel I Komnenos (r. 1143–1180), but vanished after his death and was replaced by Venetian control.
The Byzantine Fortress of Tureta is located in the Kornati Islands - an archipelago of Croatia, also known as the Stomorski islands, is located in the northern part of Dalmatia, south from Zadar and west from Šibenik, in the Šibenik-Knin county. With 35 km in length and 140 islands, some large, some small, in a sea area of about 320 km², the Kornati are the densest archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. The name of the archipelago is the plural form of the name of the largest island, Kornat.
(Byzantine Theme of Dalmatia)
|The Fortress of Tureta|
|Eastern Roman Themes (Military Districts) in 1025 AD|