Could Diocletian be viewed as a national hero for Croatia?

Maki

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
3,566
Republika Srpska
It's fascinating that he chose to connect the Nemanjić dynasty to the disgraced Licinius (and by extension Constantine) rather than taking a more direct route to Constantine himself.
Perhaps he wanted to make a parallel between Despot Stefan Lazarević and Stefan Nemanja, the founder of the Nemanjić dynasty.

Despot Stefan was connected to the Nemanjić dynasty through a woman, his mother Milica (though Milica's descent from the Nemanjić dynasty is disputed nowadays) and according to the genealogy Stefan Nemanja was connected to Constantine the Great through a woman, Constantia.
 

Davidius

Ad Honorem
Dec 2010
4,993
Pillium
We visited Diocletian’s palace in Split last year and I definitely got the impression that the locals value it for its history and for the tourist income but don’t feel it is ‘of’ them.
Ask about the various statues of fire and brimstone priests and bishops from the Middle Ages and you wake a fire in the locals but bring up the Romans and it’s “meh, we were a part of that, I suppose”.

So no, not a candidate for national hero.
 
Jan 2019
62
Eastern Europe
The concept of nation-states didn't exist then, not even close. The area that roughly corresponds to Croatia in the modern day had no concept of being such 1,800 years ago.
I wonder how it worked. Were people tied to towns and villages, but other territory was free or something?
 

pikeshot1600

Ad Honorem
Jul 2009
9,958
We visited Diocletian’s palace in Split last year and I definitely got the impression that the locals value it for its history and for the tourist income but don’t feel it is ‘of’ them.
Ask about the various statues of fire and brimstone priests and bishops from the Middle Ages and you wake a fire in the locals but bring up the Romans and it’s “meh, we were a part of that, I suppose”.

So no, not a candidate for national hero.
Manufacturing a national hero out of Diocletian seems too much like the 19th century German nationalists manufacturing one out of Arminius. "Herman the German" is as questionable as "DioCroatian."

"Herman the Cheruscan" would not have got much nationalist traction.
 
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pikeshot1600

Ad Honorem
Jul 2009
9,958
I wonder how it worked. Were people tied to towns and villages, but other territory was free or something?
Along the Adriatic coast there would have been a difference from the more rugged and primitive interior. The sea connected Dalmatia and so on to Italy and also the Mediterranean. These locations would have had more of a "Roman" identity. At least one can envision a greater sense of Roman civic identity because of the closer connection. In the interior, it probably remained more tribal than civic. The Balkans, for instance, have remained somewhat tribal until quite recently.
 

Shtajerc

Ad Honorem
Jul 2014
6,743
Lower Styria, Slovenia
He wasn't Croat and the Croats are not trying to portray him as one. People of Split are wuite fond of him, I guess, plus he's useful for tourism. Otherwise the Romans can be a pain in the butt. I know in my home city people quickly get annoyed when a road gets repaired downtown or they want to make a new building because they always find some Medieval, Roman or Celtic stuff and then the archaelogical excavations make the whole project take much longer than people think is readonable.


Along the Adriatic coast there would have been a difference from the more rugged and primitive interior. The sea connected Dalmatia and so on to Italy and also the Mediterranean. These locations would have had more of a "Roman" identity. At least one can envision a greater sense of Roman civic identity because of the closer connection. In the interior, it probably remained more tribal than civic. The Balkans, for instance, have remained somewhat tribal until quite recently.
Some coastal cities, towns and villages and some islands were Dalmatian (Romance speakers) and Istriot, while the hinterland (sometimes the coast as well) would be Slavic. Later on these Romance speakers either became slavicised or started identifying as Italians. I don't know how much the Dalmatians identified as Romans once Byzantine rule was gone. They sure had a lot of contact with the Venetians, but those weren't sporting a Roman identity either, nor did the Ragusans, I think?
 
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Scaeva

Ad Honorem
Oct 2012
5,630
Manufacturing a national hero out of Diocletian seems too much like the 19th century German nationalists manufacturing one out of Arminius. "Herman the German" is as questionable as "DioCroatian."

"Herman the Cheruscan" would not have got much nationalist traction.
There's also the slight problem of Arminius getting defeated by Germanicus at the Weser River - not to mention that the victorious Roman army including Batavians and Flavus, a Roman auxiliary officer who also happened to be Arminius' brother. Flavus' son Italicus would later become chieftan of the Cherusci.

I suppose for 19th century nationalists however defeat and opponents among both other Germanic tribes and Arminius' own people, some of whom served in Roman armies, were no barriers to elevation to "German" hero status.
 
Oct 2018
1,548
Sydney
Random Diocletian/Dalmatia fact: the earliest known office held by Constantius I (Constantine's father) was governor of Dalmatia. He held it during the reign of Carus (282-283) and may have still been governor when in 285 Diocletian marched into the Balkans against Carinus. If this is the case, the loyalty he showed to Diocletian over Carinus in his capacity as governor of Dalmatia was a crucial moment in his career, and could explain why he named his next son Dalmatius (Constantine had already been born).