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SENIA (Senj) Croatia, Yugoslavia.

A Liburnian port on the N coast of the ancient province of Dalmatia. It had a good harbor and was one of the few places from which a road passed across the great barrier of the Velebit mountain into Iapudian interior. It served as a base for Octavian's operations against the Iapodes in 35 B.C. (App. Ill. 16-19). Its role as a place for the exchange of goods between the Liburnian coast and the Iapudian interior was heightened in the Roman period. It was a crossroads town on the coastal road that passed Aquileia, Tergeste, Tarsatica, Iader, and Salona and which led N toward Siscia in Pannonia. Listed as an oppidum by Pliny (HN 3.140), the town became under Octavian either a colonia or municipium. The inscriptions attest the existence of a college of Augustales, which in Dalmatia was usual in the colonies. The town was settled by natives and by traders from Italy and the Eastern provinces, among them a Jew from Tiberias in Palestina, the first one known in the ancient Dalmatia. These people introduced the cults of Mithras, Serapis, and the Magna Mater. In the 2d c. A.D. there was a customs office (portorium publicum Illyrici). The city was fortified with the walls. The Temple of Liber near the present cathedral has been excavated as well as the foundations of other cult buildings, most probably of the Magna Mater because the fragments of her statue were found. In A.D. 239 the governor L. Domitius Gallicanus Papinianus reconstructed the city baths. The foundations and installations of these baths were found at a place called Stele. Everywhere under the present city the foundations of the Roman buildings are found. On the periphery of the town several necropoleis have been excavated. The Roman town seems to have survived until the arrival of Croats in the 7th c.

The archaeological material is preserved in the Senj City Museum.


J. Klemenc, “Senj u prethistorijsko i rimsko doba,” Senj (1940) 1-10; I. Degmedžić, “Arheološka istraživanja u Senju,” Vjesnik za arheologiju i historiju dalmatinsku 53 (1950-51) 251-62; A. Glavčić, “Arheološki nalazi iz Senja i okolice,” Senjski zbornik 2 (1966) 383-420.


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