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For other uses, see Salona (disambiguation).
Roman ruins at Salona, Croatia.jpg
The ruins of Salona
Salona is located in Croatia
Shown within Croatia
Alternate name Salon
Location Near Solin, Croatia
Region Dalmatia
Coordinates 43°32′18″N 16°28′28″E / 43.538438°N 16.474342°E / 43.538438; 16.474342Coordinates: 43°32′18″N 16°28′28″E / 43.538438°N 16.474342°E / 43.538438; 16.474342
Type Settlement
Abandoned 7th century
Cultures Greek, Roman
Site notes
Condition In ruins
Salona - amphitheatre

Salona (Ancient Greek: Σάλωνα) was an ancient city on the Dalmatian coast located in modern-day Croatia. The name Salona preserves the language of the early inhabitants of this area whom the Romans called Dalmatae, and considered to be part of a larger group called Illyrians.[1] Salona (or Salon) is situated near today's town of Solin, about 5 km.from Split.

In the first millennium BCE,[2] the Greeks had set up an emporion (marketplace) there.[3] After the conquest by the Romans, Salona became the capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia.[4]

The city quickly acquired Roman characteristics: walls; a forum; a theater; an amphitheater — the most conspicuous above-ground remains today; public baths; and an aqueduct. Many inscriptions in both Latin and Greek have been found both inside the walls and in the cemeteries outside, since Romans forbade burials inside the city boundaries. A number of fine marble sarcophagi from those cemeteries are now in the Archaeological Museum of Split. All this archaeological evidence attests to the city's prosperity and integration into the Roman Empire.

Salona had a mint that was connected with the mint in Sirmium and silver mines in the Dinaric Alps through Via Argentaria. When the Roman Emperor Diocletian retired, he erected a monumental palace nearby. This massive structure, known as Diocletian's Palace, became the core of the modern city of Split.

Salona's continuing prosperity resulted in extensive church building in the fourth and fifth centuries, including an episcopal basilica and a neighboring church and baptistery inside the walls, and several shrines honoring martyrs outside. These have made it a major site for studying the development of Christian sacred architecture.[5]

Salona was largely destroyed in the invasions of the Avars and Slavs in the sixth and seventh centuries CE. Refugees from Salona settled inside the remains of Diocletian's Palace.[6]


  1. ^ John J. Wilkes. Dalmatia. 1969
  2. ^ Solin early history
  3. ^ Excavations at Salona, Yugoslavia, 1969-1972: conducted for the Department of Classics, Douglass College, Rutg, by Christoph W. Clairmont, 1975, ISBN 0-8155-5040-5, page 4, "If we are correct in our interpretation of the earliest finds from Salona, the emporion, even if very small, was a settlement in a strategic position"
  4. ^ John Everett-Heath. "Dalmatia." Concise Dictionary of World Place-Names. Oxford University Press. 2005.
  5. ^ Ejnar Dyggve. History of Salonitan Christianity. 1951. (Summary of most important buildings and possible interpretations); see now A. M. Yasin. "Reassessing Salona's Churches: Martyrium Evolution in Question," Journal of Early Christian Studies 20:1 (2012): 59–112 and recent excavations
  6. ^ Charles George Herbermann, The Catholic Encyclopedia: An International Work of Reference (1913) see also Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus. 1967, De administrando imperio; Greek text edited by Gy. Moravcsik; English translation by R. J. H. Jenkins.rev.ed. : Dumbarton Oaks Center for Byzantine Studies, 1967, 1985 and Thomae Archidiaconi. 2006. Spalatensis Historia Salonitanorum atque Spalatinorum pontificum – Archdeacon Thomas of Split: History of the Bishops of Salona and Split. Damir Karbić, Mirjana Matijević Sokol, Olga Perić and James Ross Sweeney,eds. Budapest: CEU Press.

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