The Ancient city of Narona
The remains of the ancient city of Narona is situated at the place that we
now call the village of
near Metkovic. Narona is located on a southeast, sunny hillside to the
base of the hill.
Ancient forum (future Museum),
On Narona’s site in pre-historical time, there probably were no meaningful
or important settlements(1).
Enclosed with this statement is that there are no pre-historic materials,
buildings or settlements found. Namely, most of the settlements were
found on the platform of the higher ground. Narona is just like the Greek
settlements spread on the sunny side of the hill(2).
According to historical documents, Narona was first mentioned as an
emporium and triremes
navigation port on Neretva by the Greek historian
The Greek geographer Strabo also provided information that Narona was
mentioned as a trade city by Theopompus, who is also one of the Greek
Launching a trade center upstream as a place where large boats were able
to navigate was necessary due to the extreme importance of receiving and
distributing goods. Most likely, traders from the far away islands of
Chios and Thassos did not use Narona as a trading place like Theopompus
said they did. However, it is proven that the Greek colonies on the
Adriatic Sea did(5).
From the 4th back to the 2nd centuries B.C., there
is no epigraph monument, so we are not sure that there were any living
Greek ethnic groups in this area(6).
In the 2nd century B.C., Narona had developed very urbanize
This we know since the beam with imagery dancers and newly founded
architecture were found beneath the Roman forum(8).
During the 2nd century B.C., Romans became very interested in
Narona. In 156 B.C., Roman soldiers lead by Gaius Marcia Figulus went to
war against the Daors nation. Probably Narona was used as their main
base. Most likely in 135 B.C. even Sever Fulvous Floccus in the war
against Ardies used Narona for the same purpose(9).
Roman soldier were using Narona during the middle of the 1st
century B.C. as well. This we know through the letters sent by Vatinius
According to Varron, during that same time, Narona was the center of a
large court convent(11).
At that time, numbers of Italic’s were living in Narona(12).
After Octavian’s war movement in 33B.C. there is a significant influx of
the population in Narona(13).
Therefore, Narona became a colony, during the Caesar or Augustus Empire.
(14) During the Roman Empire, buildings of public importance were built
in the city like the forum, temples, thermal, theater etc.(15)
The written documentations are not stating a lot about the beginnings of
Christianity in Narona. The first and only written document in regards
to this matter, stats that Narona’s Bishop Marcellus attended two council
meetings in 530 and 533.(16)
From the same documentation, we know that Narona was the Diocese’s main
center. The Church as a foundation, mostly kept the old administrative
division: on the Northwest it was Salona with borders close to the city
of Makarska (Muccur); on the Southeast it was Epidaurum, with the border
slightly farther down from the peninsula of Peljesac including the
Northwest part of the island of Mljet,(17)
island of Lastovo, Ston’s Valley, and on the North the border was all the
way up to city of Mostar.(18)
At the Bishops Council meeting in 533, two more Diocese were founded;
Muccur (Makarska) and Sarsenterum.(19)
It is a fact that Narona as a city existed up to the 7th
century. We know this due to the large finding of money and jewelry from
The new archeological excavation and findings show us that life in Narona
continued even during the 7th century.(21)
Author: Jakov Vucic
– one of the Illyrian tribes
– Greek island located in Aegean Sea
– Roman writer and philosopher
– one of the Illyrian tribes that lived in Neretva
Valley. Their main
location was in Osanici near Stolac, Bosnia
– Roman commercial center/base
– Greek historian and write from the 4th century B.C.
- Greek historian and geographer from the 1st century
– Greek island located in Aegean Sea
- Greek historian from the 4th century B.C.
– large boat with three paddle rows
– Ancient writer from the 1st century B.C.
– Roman (Caesar’s) general. During the wars against Delmati tribe,
used Narona as a military camp.
(1) N. CAMBI 1980,
133.; B. GABRICEVIC 1980, 162.
(2) N. CAMBI 1989a,
39, 40, 50 & 51.
(3) N. CAMBI 1980a,
(4) N. CAMBI 1980a,
(5) N. CAMBI 1989a,
(6) B. GABRICEVIC
1980, p. 164.
(7) N. CAMBI 1989a,
MARIN et alii 1999, In the introduction (VII), the author stated that
during the archeological excavation which was
lead by AM Split in 1997 and 1998, that beneath
the remains of the Roman forum, there were found the remains of the
buildings dating back to the middle of the 2nd
(9) M. ZANINOVIC
1980, p. 176.
(10) M. ZANINOVIC
1980, p. 176.
(11) N. CAMBI 1980a,
(12) N. CAMBI 1980,
(13) M. ZANINOVIC
1980, p. 177.
(14) N. CAMBI 1985,
(15) N. CAMBI 1980,
(16) N. CAMBI 1985,
(17) N. CAMBI 1985,
(18) N. CAMBI 1985,
35, 44, 47 &
The exact site of the Sarsenterum is
unknown. It is believe that it is in Arzano, near Imotski (F. SISIC 1925.
p. 171), west of Mostar (D. BASLER 1972, p.142), in Cim (T. ANDELI”1980,
p. 262) and in Zitomislici (D. BASLER 1990, p. 101-103 (see map))
(20) F. BULIC 1902;
I. MAROVIC 1988,
(21) E. MARIN
2002, p. 40 – 42.
Museum's Foundation Stone
Narona's Sculpture Exhibit