The Adriatic communication area
Functional structure of Roman imperial port cities and their facilities along the Italic and Dalmatian coasts
After the establishment of the province of Dalmatia by Augustus in AD 9 and the decrease of piracy, many Italic families expanded into the port cities and the hinterland of the eastern Adriatic. In conjunction with local elites, their economic activities contributed significantly to the prosperity of the region. Favourable environmental conditions, established technological know-how and the possibility of logistical connections to terrestrial trade routes and the hinterland were just as important as regional and inter-regional political developments and trans-Adriatic family contacts in establishing an ‘Adriatic communication area’. Building on the results of our earlier work on Tyrrhenian coastal ports in the Roman Imperial period, the present project seeks to analyse and establish the relative importance of these different factors with a view to addressing the role that coastal ports in the east and west Adriatic played in regional and inter-regional trade. The starting point for assessing the economic efficiency of these ports is to study their architecture, their infrastructural integration into the remainder of the town and the use of or access to resources in the surrounding areas.