Ooh, That’s Interesting!: The Retired Emperor

I’m starting some new regular features on my blog. Most Wednesdays will be Ooh, That’s Interesting! days. I’ll post some bit of trivia or news or… something that caught my interest. Expect randomness.

Diocletian was Emperor of Rome from 245-311 C.E. He was born under very humble circumstances and worked his way up. He eventually delegated some of his authority, appointing 3 co-emperors. And when he became old and ill, he became the first Roman emperor to retire. He returned to his home in Dalmatia (on the coast of modern-day Croatia) and had a palace built.

After Diocletian died, he was buried there and the palace was abandoned. But several centuries later, some of the locals moved into the palace to defend themselves against invasion. Thirteen hundred years later, people still live in the palace, which is in the city of Split. Diocletian’s mausoleum is now a cathedral, which is ironic, considering he wasn’t fond of Christians.

I’ve spent a few days in the palace. It’s a beautiful and very vital place, full of cafes and shops and kids playing soccer on the ancient limestone sidewalks. Klapa groups sing in the peristyle. We saw a flower show in the cellars. My daughter chased lizards. You should go.

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