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Bill Thayer

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Book I
Note G

This webpage reproduces a section of
Italy and Her Invaders

Thomas Hodgkin

published by the Clarendon Press

The text, and illustrations except as noted,
are in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
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Book I
Chapter 14

Book 1 (continued)

Vol. I
Note H

On the Division of Illyricum

The division of the Empire between East and West on the accession of the sons of Theodosius, though it was possibly meant to be less complete than some preceding partitions,​1 proved to be the final one. It is worth while to indicate the line of division, which is sufficiently accurately traced for us in the Notitia. In Africa it was the well-known frontier marked by 'the Altars of the Philaeni,' which separated Libya (or Cyrenaica) on the East from Africa Tripolitania on the West. Modern geographers draw exactly the same line (about 19° E. of Greenwich) as the boundary of Barca and Tripoli.

On the Northern shore of the Mediterranean the matter is a little more complicated. Noricum, Pannonia, Savia, and Dalmatia belonged to the West, and Dacia — not the original but the later province of Dacia — to the East. This gives us for the frontier of the Western Empire the Danube as far as Belgrade, and on the Adriatic the modern town of Scutari. The inland frontier is traced by geographers some 60 miles up the Save from Belgrade, then southwards by the drina to its source and so across the mountains to Scutari. Thus Sclavonia, Croatia, and Dalmatia in the Austrian Empire, and Croatia, most of Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Montenegro in the state which was lately called Turkey in Europe, belonged to the Western Empire. The later province of Dacia, which fell to the Eastern share, included Servia (Old and New), the south-east corner of Bosnia, the north of Albania, and the west of Bulgaria. By this partition the Prefecture of Illyricum, as constituted by Diocletian, was divided into two nearly equal  p678 parts. The north-western half, which we may call, speaking roughly, the Austrian (including Austria's recent acquisitions in the direction of Bosnia), was given to Rome, while the south-eastern, or the Turkish and Greek half, fell to the dominion of Constantinople.

What makes the subject somewhat perplexing to the student is the tendency to confuse Illyricum the province and Illyricum the prefecture. The former was nearly identical with the province afterwards called Dalmatia (Modern Dalmatia + Bosnia + Herzegovina), and was allotted almost in its entirety to the Western Empire. The latter reached, as we have seen, from the Danube to Cape Matapan. It is of this that historians are thinking when, in describing the territorial changes of this period, they speak of Eastern and Western Illyricum.

Some modern writers have represented that this division of Illyricum was a grievance which Old Rome had against New at the close of the fourth century. Tillemont (Histoire des Empereurs, V.157) has shown that the division was made by Gratian at the time of the accession of Theodosius. It is nowhere, I believe, mentioned by contemporary historians as a cause of quarrel, and in fact, looking back to the Diocletianic scheme of division, it would rather seem as if the East were entitled to complain at not having the whole of the Prefecture of Illyricum than the West at having to relinquish a part.

It seems clear from Jordanes (Getica li and lii) that at the time of the three Ostrogothic brother-kings (452‑474) both Pannonia and Illyricum (which apparently here = Dalmatia) belonged to the Eastern Empire. But under Theodoric they are Western again. Our information as to all these changes is still far from complete.

The Author's Note:

1 'Archadius et Honorius germani utrumque imperium divisis tantum sedibus tenere coeperunt.' Marcellini Chronicon, s. a. 395. Marcellinus, however, is by no means a contemporary authority, having written in the middle of the sixth century.

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