The proposed project would fill lacunae in scientific knowledge about the role of Roman military in the processes of integration into the Roman world on the territory of present-day Croatia. Competent answers to four questions can be obtained from implementation of the project objectives:
1.The actual impact of the Roman military on the changes that occurred would be investigated. So far more than 120 legionary fortresses have been noted throughout the Empire, along with several hundred forts and numerous sea and river harbours where the military were stationed. Scholars have investigated them for over a century, which has led to exceptional results. These consist of important insights, not merely about the strategy of the Roman advance and the organization of the Roman army but also their role in the conquered areas as well as their impact on local economic changes. Knowledge has been expanded about the spiritual life of soldiers, various aspects of their everyday life, and the life of civilians in military environments. This research project intends to provide answers to the question of what role the Roman military played in the region of Croatia and did it differ from the patterns known from other areas. This project will cover the area of the Delmataean limes as well as the area of the Croatian part of the Danube limes.
The Delmataean limes is a system of Roman legionary fortresses and forts found among the mountain massive of the Dalmatian coastal hinterland. Between the legionary fortresses at Burnum and Tilurium the Romans raised several forts: Promona, Kadina glavica, Magnum and Andetrium. This line of defense ends with the fort at Bigestae on the river Trebižat, north-west of Narona. Both the name of this defensive line and its dating have been the subject of much debate.
The Croatian part of the Danube limes stretched from Batina Skela (Ad Militare) to Ilok (Cuccium) and it was 188 km long. It consisted of five castles: Batina (Ad Militare), Zmajevac (Ad Novas), Dalj (Teutoburgium), Sotin (Cornacum) and Ilok (Cuccium). In addition to these castles, there were several smaller strongholds that have not yet been archaeologically attested or located with certainty: Aureus Mons, Lug (Albanum?), Vardarac (Donatianae?), Kopačevo, Nemetin (Ad Labores?), Sarvaš, Bijelo Brdo and Aljmaš. Insights about these sites were provided by ancient written sources and stray finds. Archaeological survey of these sites, carried out by this project, would enable to determine the degree of integration among the local Pannonian communities. They probably came into contact with Romans during Octavian’s or Tiberius’ military campaign in Pannonia. Roman army in this area was followed by craftsmen and traders, so the obtained data could show the degree of cultural, economic and social interaction between the local population and the Romans.
2.The best example of how theindigenous population of Illyricum influenced the Roman way of warfare is liburna, a very effective warship which originated in the area where the Liburnians lived. This type of ship became the standard Roman warship used by the two most important Roman fleets, classis Ravennatium and classis Misenatium. They were founded by the Emperor Augustus, who was well aware of their effectiveness in the battle of Actium. Waging war as Roman allies the Liburnians, because of their ships and naval skills, played a key role in Octavian’s victory over Mark Antony. On the example of Liburnians and their relationship with the Romans, the duality of the romanization process can be best observed. On the one hand there are the Liburnians, who among peoples from Illyricum, accepted the Roman civilization at the most. On the other hand there are the Romans, who adopted liburnian type of ship, which served in further development of the Roman way of war, and thus the Roman conquest.
3.Croatia is the only country in Europe that is bordered by both the Danube and the Mediterranean. The specific and unique geographic position played an important role in historical events in this part of Europe, and in many ways determined the mobility of people and the movement of goods and ideas. This position is characterized by four significant geographic features. The first is the sea. The Adriatic is a large Mediterranean gulf where people and goods have circulated since prehistoric times, bringing with them the current civilizational legacy. The second is the mountain chain of the Dinarides, which extend from the eastern Alps towards the southeast in the same direction as the coastline and the islands. Thanks to the existence of only a few narrow mountain passes communication with the interior was difficult. The third characteristic of this region that extends from the Adriatic to the Danube is the exceptionally fertile Pannonian plain, surrounded by dense forests. Its resources played an important role in the chronology of settlement, and the Romans immediately exploited its economic potential upon their arrival. The fourth characteristic is the Danube River that passes through central and southern Europe and in antiquity represented the border between the Romans and the barbarians. This project wants to provide an answer to the question of how much impact the specific geographical position had on actual events.
4.The degree of integration into the Roman Empire of the region that is now the Republic of Croatia must also be sought in comparison with events in other parts of the Empire. The process of integration into the Roman world should have proceeded according to an expected pattern: the autochthonous communities come into contact with the new arrivals, in the form of the military, but also civilian settlers. This is when the dynamic interactions occur that alter the protohistoric world, landscape, and living space of the local inhabitants. This population lived in harmony with the natural and climatic conditions with only minimal interventions to the environment. This was changed dramatically with the arrival of the legions, the auxiliary units, the sailors, and the accompanying civilians, who all required dwellings, food, and various goods and services. Changes in the local economies of the Empire occurred because of this new mobility. The research carried out in the proposed project would show how all such processes occurred in this region between the Danube and the Mediterranean.
The scientific research that would be carried out as a part of the proposed project would utilize methodological procedures that are used by the archaeological profession. The results that would be gained from the proposed analyses would fill informational gaps, as such research has never been undertaken in Croatia. The obtained data would be utilized at the international level to affirm the Croatian region as a part of the Mediterranean and Danube basin.
To ensure that the scientific results of as high quality and quantity as possible, the research project will organize an archaeological database and archaeological archive that would be continuously filled through the utilization of two archaeological methods:
1. Archaeological survey, performed by gathering as much relevant information as possible:
A1: The collection of archival documentation (historical maps and plans), early archaeological publications, unpublished reports from conservation offices, old preliminary reports from excavations, reports from more recent archaeological rescue excavations, topographic maps, aerial photographs, photogrammetric images, digital terrain models (DTR), archaeological field survey, as well as searches through museum holdings.
A2: Field walking with the aid of topographic maps of the sites.
A3: The analysis and interpretation of the data obtained from the survey.
2. The classification and evaluation of the existing archaeological information with the application of the variable of geographic origin.
B1: The collection of existing archaeological data in published scientific and professional publications.
B2: The analysis of published archaeological material in the context of geographic origin.
All the information obtained by these two methods will be evaluated and interpreted, which will result in new, previously unknown information and knowledge that will enable providing answers to the questions and goals of this project.
The resultant data would be stored in a computer database that could serve interested scholars in their research. In this manner, the relevant data from Croatia would be included in future investigation at the international level.
Through the implementation of these project objectives, Croatian and international scholars would finally have at their disposal solid scientific results about the changes that occurred as a result of the Roman penetration from the Mediterranean coast to the Danube River in the period from the first contact of Illyricum with Rome until the end of the Marcomannic Wars.
The objective of the proposed project is to investigate and obtain scientific information to aid in solving as yet unanswered questions about the significance of the Roman military in changes that took place in the period from the first contacts with Rome (229 BC) to the end of the Marcomannic Wars (AD 180), as well as their impact on the local economy in what is now the Republic of Croatia. Successful implementation of the project could also provide answers about the actual impact of the specific geographic position extending from the Mediterranean to the Danube.