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Narona, Croatia - Ancient city of Narona

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Statues of Narona

The remains of the ancient city of Narona is situated at the place that we now call the village of Vid near Metkovic. Narona is located on a southeast, sunny hillside to the base of the hill. On Narona’s site in pre-historical time, there probably were no meaningful or important settlements(1). Enclosed with this statement is that there are no pre-historic materials, buildings or settlements found. Namely, most of the settlements were found on the platform of the higher ground.

According to historical documents, Narona was first mentioned as an emporium and triremes navigation port on Neretva by the Greek historian Pseudo Scylax (3). Launching a trade center upstream as a place where large boats were able to navigate was necessary due to the importance of receiving and distributing goods. From the 4th back to the 2nd centuries B.C., there is no epigraph monument, so we are not sure that Greek s lived there(6). In the 2nd century B.C., Narona developed its urban appearance(7), evident by beam with imagery dancers and newly founded architecture found beneath the Roman forum(8).

During the 2nd century B.C., Romans became interested in Narona. In 156 B.C., Roman soldiers lead by Gaius Marcia Figulus went to war against the Daors nation. Most likely in 135 B.C. Sever Fulvous Floccus in the war against Ardies used Narona for the same purpose(9). Roman soldier were using Narona during the middle of the 1st century B.C. as well. This is supported by the letters sent by Vatinius to Cicero(10). According to Varron, during that same time, Narona was the center of a large court convent(11). At that time, numbers of Italic’s were living in Narona(12). After Octavian’s war movement in 33B.C. there is a significant influx of the population in Narona(13). Narona became a colony during the Caesar or Augustus Empire. (14) During the Roman Empire, buildings of public importance were built in the city like the forum, temples, thermal, theater etc.(15)

The first and only written document about the beginnings of Christianity in Narona, states that Narona’s Bishop Marcellus attended two council meetings in 530 and 533.(16) From the same documentation, we know that Narona was the Diocese’s main center. The Church as a foundation, mostly kept the old administrative division: on the Northwest it was Salona with borders close to the city of Makarska (Muccur); on the Southeast it was Epidaurum, with the border slightly farther down from the peninsula of Peljesac including the Northwest part of the island of Mljet,(17) island of Lastovo, Ston’s Valley, and on the North the border was all the way up to city of Mostar.(18) At the Bishops Council meeting in 533, two more Diocese were founded; Muccur (Makarska) and Sarsenterum.(19)

Narona as a city existed up to the 7th century. We know this due to the large finding of money and jewelry from that time.(20, 21)

Statues of Narona

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GLOSSARY:

Ardies – one of the Illyrian tribes

Chios – Greek island located in Aegean Sea

Cicero – Roman writer and philosopher

Daors – one of the Illyrian tribes that lived in Neretva Valley. Their main location was in Osanici near Stolac, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Emporium – Roman commercial center/base

Scylax, Pseudo – Greek historian and write from the 4th century B.C.

Strabo - Greek historian and geographer from the 1st century

Thassos – Greek island located in Aegean Sea

Theopompus - Greek historian from the 4th century B.C.

Trireme – large boat with three paddle rows

Varron – Ancient writer from the 1st century B.C.

Vatinius – Roman (Caesar’s) general. During the wars against Delmati tribe, Vatinius used Narona as a military camp.

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(1) N. CAMBI 1980, 133.; B. GABRICEVIC 1980, 162.

(2, 7) N. CAMBI 1989a, 39, 40, 50 & 51.

(3, 4, 5, 11, 12) N. CAMBI 1980a

(6) B. GABRICEVIC 1980, p. 164.

(8) E. MARIN et alii 1999, In the introduction (VII), the author stated that during the archeological excavation which was lead by AM Split in 1997 and 1998, that beneath the remains of the Roman forum, there were found the remains of the buildings dating back to the middle of the 2nd century B.C.

(9, 10, 13) M. ZANINOVIC 1980, p. 176.

(14, 15, 16, 17, 18) N. CAMBI 1985, p. 34.(19) The exact site of the Sarsenterum is unknown. It is believe that it is in Arzano, near Imotski (F. SISIC 1925. p. 171), west of Mostar (D. BASLER 1972, p.142), in Cim (T. ANDELI”1980, p. 262) and in Zitomislici (D. BASLER 1990, p. 101-103 (see map))

(20) F. BULIC 1902; I. MAROVIC 1988,

(21) E. MARIN and colleague 2002, p. 40 – 42.

Usuful links

http://www.vid.hr/prijevod/narona-engleski.htm, http://www.a-m-narona.hr/en/the-collection/, http://www.world-archaeology.com/component/zine/article/107-.html, http://www.klek.info/hr/narona/povijest-narone.html