With Dr. Eireann Marshall
Diocletian brought much needed stability to a Roman empire in the third century ravaged by political and economic crisis, as well as by Germanic tribes pressing on the borders. Like so many late antique emperors, Diocletian came from Illyria, an area which produced a series of resilient and creative generals. Traditionally minded Diocletian blamed the problems of his times, in part, on the neglect of the gods and traditions, which is one of the reasons he is best known for his persecution of Christians. At the height of his power, he surprised everyone by retiring to his native country, to a peninsula near his native Salona. The palace he had built in Split is so extensive and well-preserved that it occupies much of the heart of today’s city centre. With its extensive fortification and temples, the palace neatly summarises Diocletian’s character and times.