Rationale and background

The classical literary sources were and remain of immeasurable value in reconstructing important historical events. The Roman conquest of the area between the Mediterranean and the Danube, now the Republic of Croatia, has been (and still is) discussed primarily in reference to the Roman literary sources. The numerous works of classical historians are invaluable for knowledge of the Roman history of these regions, which at first were a part of the province of Illyricum. Later, the area contained parts of regio X and the provinces of Dalmatia and Pannonia. The integration of prehistoric societies into the Roman world was and remains an important scientific topic. The autochthonous communities, starting with those on the Apennine peninsula, came into contact with the Roman conquerors, starting a dynamic interaction of civilians and military. The new government led to the establishment of a civilian infrastructure, the introduction of administration, the beginnings of urbanization, and the construction of military installations. The new mobility did not merely restructure the lives of the local inhabitants, but also changes the landscape and environment. The legions, the auxiliary units, the sailors and the immigrant civilians all needed accommodation, food, and various goods and services. Such new requirements led to changes in the regional economies, the social structure, and culture. The manner in which the changes, modifications, or even rejections of previous political and economic, as well cultural and religious legacies occurred differed between the provinces, and similarly within each province. Research to the present has indicated the impact of soldiers on the changes that occurred in the newly conquered regions.

The military camps in certain provinces were systematically planned and placed strategically, so as to enable faster logistics and communication. In line with these aims, the Romans built two legionary fortresses near the Adriatic coast: Burnum and Tilurium. Between them they also erected several forts for auxiliaries. At one moment 15000 soldiers were located in the area between the Krka and Cetina Rivers, whose functioning required water, food, equipment, speedy communications, and entertainment.

On the borders of the Empire on the Rhine and Danube, the concentration of soldiers was also considerable. The Croatian part of the Roman Limes on the Danube is 188 km long. It was composed of the river and military fortifications from Batina to Ilok.

The inscriptions from the studiedmilitarysites in PannoniaandDalmatia will be analysed in order to obtain useful informationthat will enhanceproject results. The epigraphic analysis covers onomastics, origin, age, years of military service, military ranks and positions and the familiarrelationships. This analysis will provide the data on thesoldiers’ families as well as the impact ofsoldiers on the non-militarypopulation livingin thevicinity of militarysites. Also, all the soldiers of the Pannonianand Dalmatianoriginwho wererecruited intothe Roman armyand sentoutside their homeprovinces will be listed. In thisway, we will be ableto studythe impactof indigenous peoplesin the Roman military. It will also give an insight into the problemof displacementof the local peoplefrom theirhome areain purpose ofthesuccessful integrationof conqueredareas in theRoman world.

The project aim is to investigate the extent of impact of the military crews, camps, and harbours on the civilian population and their settlements, local trade, and the economy as a whole. The implementation of archaeological data in congruence with literary sources has shown that a more balanced view can be achieved. It has been shown that such a methodological approach can result in more extensive information about questions to which the sources cannot give answers. Thanks to archaeological data, it has been established that no overreaching conclusions can be made about integration, as it depended on factors that played different roles in different milieus. Such investigation has never been undertaken in Croatia, and the results of this research would fill the informational gaps that exist for this region of the Empire through the analysis of the largest possible amount of information about the life and activities of Roman military.

The project leader is the tenured Professor and Head of the Chair of Provincial Roman and Early Christian Archaeology, whose research has focused on the problems of provincial Roman archaeology. The many years of successful research on the part of the project leader and all the participants in the project guarantees the sustainability of the proposed approach and the successful implementations of the project objectives.