Late Antique and Early Byzantine fortifications in Bosnia and Herzegovina (hinterland of the province of Dalmatia)
By Perica Špehar
Höhensiedlungen zwischen Antike und Mittelalter – RGA-E Band 58 (2008)
Introduction: The Western Balkans came under Roman rule during the reign of Augustus, when the region of Dalmatia was established, stretching from the Arsia (Rasa) river in Istria in the north to the town of Lissus (Ljes) in the south, and including Kvarner (the bay of Rijeka). In the north, the province of Dalmatia bordered the province of Pannonia Superior along a line lying slightly to the south of the course of the river Sava. In the east it bordered the province of Moesia Superior along a line that goes from the confluence of the Kolubara river through Cacak and Mt. Sara to the Lissus. The borders established during the 1st century did not change significantly, apart from the separation of a part of the territory around the bay of Kotor and Skadar at the end of the 3rd or beginning of the 4th century to form the province of Prevalis, while in the east the province of Dalmatia bordered the province of Moesia I, most probably along the course of the river Drina.
Geographically, the province of Dalmatia can be divided into two zones: the coastal and the mountainous regions. The karst coastland is distinguished by its indented coastline and many islands and bays, but with a small number of fertile fields suitable for agricultural activity. North of the Adriatic coastal area, stretching to the Sava basin, numerous mountains rise to over 1800 meters, covered with deciduous and coniferous woodland. However, the pronounced mountain landscape of the hinterland of the province of Dalmatia also has many fields and meadows, situated at the feet of the mountains, which encircle them. These geographical characteristics created varying climatic differences, so that the coastal region has a Mediterranean climate, whereas the hinterland is dominated by a characteristic moderate continental climate.
The territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina today is situated on part of the area occupied by antique Dalmatia, bordered by the river Drina in the east, the Sava to the north, and the Una in the west, although it should be noted that a smaller part of the territory lies on the west side of the Una, and in the high mountains in the south. In other words, the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina today includes most of the hinterland of the former province of Dalmatia.