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modern Day Pula (or Pola) in Croatia
Pictures by Antonio Ribic,
kindly provided by Nika Vucemilovic
Another e-mail by the Croatian Latin teacher Nika Vucemilovic has provided insight into a Roman site in Croatia. The pictures were taken by a pupil, Antonio Ribic.
Pula, due to its geographical location, wedged between Italy in the West and Illyria in the east (with Greece beyond it) has been inhabited for more than likely some three thousand years.
But it really came alive in the latter days of the Roman republic, when Julius Caesar made it a Roman colony (46/45 BC). With patrons such as Caesar's father-in-law and Cassius Longinus commissioned to oversee the creation of the colony it is clear that Pula was deemed a place of considerable importance.
However, the involvement of Cassius Longinus was a poisoned chalice. For he was the father of that very Cassius who was part of the assassination plot against Caesar. In the subsequent civil war, Pula therefore sided with Cassius and Brutus against Octavian and Mark Antony. The colony paid dear for its allegiance to the losers and was demolished once Octavian had rid himself of Mark Antony in another civil war.
Yet shortly after its destruction Pula arose again. The very man who had ordered it destroyed, Octavian - now as emperor Augustus, had it rebuilt. Pula continued to grow and enjoy significant wealth and status, as the remaining ruins of the amphitheatre show.
With the eventual collapse of the western empire in the fifth century, Pula saw a period of rule by the Ostrogoths and was then annexed into the eastern Roman empire. Slavic invaders eventually put an end to this rule at the end of the 6th century.
The Triumphal Arch of the Sergius Famliy was erected with the reconstruction of Pula ordered by emperor Augustus. It was to commemorate the victory at the Battle of Actium.
The 'Temple of Augustus' was built between 2 BC and AD 14 in the great reconstruction of the colony.
Ruins of the Roman theatre of Pula
The magnificent amphitheatre of Pula was built in the reign of emperor Vespasian and is the 6th largest such structure still left standing today. It seated 23'000 spectators. Today it is still extensively used for summer theatre and film festivals.
Many thanks to Nika Vucemilovic for sending me these great pictures and to Antonio Ribic who took them.