Palace Of Roman Emperor Diocletian In Croatia

Diocletian’s Palace is the ancient palace of Emperor Diocletian in Split. Around 300 AD erected by the Roman emperor Diocletian were he stayed after the withdrawal from the throne (in 305) to death (316). It was built in the bay of the peninsula 5 km southwest of Salona, the capital of the province of Dalmatia. The remains of the palace today are part of the historic center of Split, which is on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in Europe in 1979. Based on data from the Roman maps, famous for its medieval Preris (“Tabula Peutingeriana”), in the bay earlier there was a settlement of Spalatum, which remains and size have not identified. Start of construction of Diocletian’s Palace is not exactly determined.

It is assumed that it was around 295, after the introduction of tetrarchy (rule of four). However, ten years after that decision, when Diocletian abdicated in 305, the palace has not yet been completed, and there are indications that the some mapping took place while the emperor lived in it. By whose architectural idea palace was built and who were its builders, is not known.

However, carved Greek names Zotikos and Pilotas, as well as numerous carved Greek letters indicate that a number of builders was native to the eastern part of the empire, ie. that Diocletian brought with them masters of the East. However, it is very likely that a large proportion of the workforce was of local origin. Basic design came from close range. White limestone is transported from Island Brać and somewhat in Seget near Trogir; tufa was extracted from nearby riverbeds and bricks, while made in Salona and other workshops located nearby. The building as a whole did not have a direct role model in the earlier Roman building. Its originality stems from the basic functions and the adjustment position.

Its shape resembles a castrum – a military camp. The outer walls are almost rectangular, measuring 175-181 x 216 m, and the towers at the corners of the palace follow the tradition of military architecture. Since the palace was far from the nearest large town 6 km (Salona/Split), it was surrounded by wall while interior layout of the palace resembles a military camp – cardo and decumanus, main vertical streets correspond to the main camp at Via Praetoria and via principalis. There are four entrances to the palace. Three from land and one by sea. The whole area of ​​the palace is divided into two parts, but for different purposes. In the northern part of the building location housed the servants, army, warehouses and others. In the south, more luxurious part, that is because of leveling with the north was built over vaulted substructures were objects intended for the imperial family. Neither the facade were not equal.

The most representative was the one south, facing the sea. In the lower part (which is in Diocletian’s time to dash against the sea) there were less open. The east and west facades are similar and undecorated, and the door on them are called ports argentea (Silver Gate) and Porta Ferrea (Iron Gate). The north façade was the main entrance to the palace with double door with architrave – Porta Aurea (Golden Gate), where he lay with arch niches in which there are statues (probably Jupiter and four tetrarchs). Of the two main streets, cardo leads to the peristyle while the open space in front of the Emperor’s residence. On the right side of the peristyle there were three temples. The first is of Jupiter and the other two are still called Kibel and Venus, although these names are not confirmed.

The palace is in the floor plan designed as a rectangle, but the adjustment of the field, during the construction, imposed minor deviations. On the western, northern and eastern facade there are broken cornices, brackets and some half-columns on the southern end of the sea. The outer walls of the palace, in addition to Western are today mostly well preserved.

Sixteen tower on the mainland walls give the palace memorial to the fort. Today there are partially preserved three corner towers (except the south-west) and the only remains of the octagonal and rectangular.

Either way it’s a beautiful town to visit and you might understand why Roman Emperor Diocletian decided to have a place looking at the Dalmatian seaside in his last days of life.

What do you think?

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