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ASSERIA Croatia, Yugoslavia.

On the Podgradje hill near Benkovac ca. 30 km E of Zadar. In pre-Roman times a center in S Liburnia for the Asseriates, it was later exempted by Rome from the payment of tribute (Plin. HN 3.143). In the 1st c. A.D. a Roman military post, it developed into a flourishing agricultural center; it was probably granted municipium status under Claudius and enrolled in the tribus Claudia. Its leading citizens were local Liburnian families and Italian immigrants, the latter probably from the nearby colony of lader. Some of the inhabitants received Roman citizenship under Augustus or Tiberius.

The walled city is irregularly shaped; the walls are rusticated ashlar work, predating Roman occupation. Excavations have uncovered the Roman forum, built during the 1st c. A.D. and consisting of a rectangular open area bordered by porticos. A long, narrow building without aisles (probably the city basilica) was built along one of the short sides of the forum. A monumental city gate, in form similar to that of a triumphal arch, was dedicated by one of the local citizens to the emperor Trajan in A.D. 113. The finds from the site are at the Archaeological Museum in Zadar.


H. Liebl & W. Wilberg, “Ausgrabung in Asseria,” JOAI 11 (1908) 18-87PI; J. J. Wilkes, Dalmatia (1969)MP; A. Boëthius & J. B. Ward-Perkins, Etruscan and Roman Architecture (1970)I.


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