- Illyricum (Roman province)
Roman provinceof Illyricum replaced the formerly independent kingdom of Illyria. It stretched from the Drilon river in modern Albaniato Istria( Croatia) in the west and to the Savariver ( Croatia) in the north. Salonae(near modern Splitin Croatia) functioned as its capital.
Roman Navy's first crossing of the Adriatic Seain 229 BCinvolved Rome's first invasion of Illyria, the First Illyrian War.
The Roman Republic finally conquered the kingdom of Illyria in 168 BC by defeating the army of the Illyrian king Gentius. From 167 BC, southern Illyria became a formally independent Roman protectorate. The region had considerable strategic and economic importance for the Romans. It possessed a number of important commercial ports along its coastline, and had
gold-mines in its interior regions. Illyria also became the starting point of the Via Egnatia, the great Roman roadthat ran from Dyrrachium(modern Durazzo), on the Adriatic, to Byzantiumin the east.
In 59 BC the "
Lex Vatinia" assigned Illyricum (together with Cisalpine Gaul) as a "provincia" (zone of responsibility rather than a "province" as understood today) to Julius Caesar. The Roman administration did not establish a province until Octavian's wars in Illyricum in the period 35-33 BC: the first mention of the province of Illyricum occurs in the context of Augustan settlement of 27 BC.
As the Romans expanded their power in the region through a series of campaigns known as the Pannonian War or as the Pannonian wars (Bellum Pannonicum, 12-9 BC), fought against group of peoples known as the
Pannonians, they enlarged the province of Illyricum. After crushing a revolt of Pannoniansand ( also Dalmatians) Daesitiates— known as the rebellion of Bato("Bellum Batonianum", 6-9 AD) — subsequent to 10(some scholars such as Jeno Fitz move this date to middle-late Claudian era "c." 20-35), Roman administrators dissolved the province of Illyricum and divided its lands between the new provinces of Pannoniain the north and Dalmatiain the south. But the name continued in use to refer to the region. The emperor Diocletianset up the Praetorian prefecture of Illyricumas one of four prefectures that he established; it encompassed Pannonia, Noricum, Crete, and the whole Balkan peninsula except Thrace.
The region's native peoples won renown for their military prowess and they became an important source of manpower for the
Roman army. Several notable Roman emperors came from the region, including Aurelian, Claudius II, Constantine Iand Diocletian, as well as the Byzantine emperors Anastasius I and Justinian I.
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