THE NARONA ARCHAEOLOGICAL COLLECTION

ANCIENT NARONA

The ruins of the ancient town of Narona are located in the village of Vid some 4 kilometres west of Metkovic. The town was situated on the hillsides at an altitude of 58 metres and was built according to a Graeco-Illyrian urban concept, spreading in the form of a fan towards the east. Its eastern flank remained unfortified, with the Neretva river forming a natural protective wall. The round towers on the hilltop, which date back to the 4th-3rd c. B.C., represent the relics of the earliest defensive walls. In the mid-3rd c. B.C. the town walls reaching to the Salona-Bigestea-Narona road were built, parts of which have been preserved to the present day. In the 1st c. A.D. the town began to expand eastward, and in the late 2nd c. A.D. its fortifications were reconstructed during the Marcomanni wars.

The earliest written records on Narona were made by Pseudo Skylak and Theopomp who tell us that the river Neretva is navigable up to Narona in which there was an emporium (trading centre) selling imported Greek merchandise. Narona frequently served as a Roman military base for the campaigns against the Delmati. In the late Republican period Narona was the seat of the juridical conventus, i.e. the administrative and judicial centre of the wider region.

During the rule of Emperor Augustus, Narona was granted the status of a colony, and this event marked the beginning of the period of its greatest prosperity. In the 6th century, it is mentioned as a diocesan centre, when in 530 and 533 A.D. the Naronitan Bishop Marcellus took part in the Salonitan synods that were organised during the Ostrogoth reign.

The downfall of Narona occurred in the early 7th c., as evidenced by the coins from the Urbica gold coin hoard that was found at the beginning of this century in the southern part of the Forum.

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