Please help support the mission of New Advent and get the full contents of this website as an instant download. Includes the Catholic Encyclopedia, Church Fathers, Summa, Bible and more all for only $19.99...
A part of the Kingdom of Croatia according to a convention entered into between Croatia and Hungary. It stretches along the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea from Croatia on the north to Montenegro in the south and is bounded by Bosnia and Herzegovina on the east. The Velebic mountains separate it from Croatia, the highest peaks of which are Sveto brdo (5774 ft.) or Holy Mountain, the dwelling of fairies according to popular legend, Viseruna (5350 ft.) and Vaganski vrh (5563 ft.). The eastern frontier lines are formed by the Dinaric Alps, running parallel to the sea, highest elevation being 5940 ft. The highest peak in Dalmatia is Mount Orjen (6225 ft). The coast is steep and rocky and lined by many islands: Pag, Rab, and Krk on the northern Croatian coast; the first rises to a height of 885 ft., the last to 1338 ft. Islands of lesser importance are Cres, Losinj, Osor, Uljan. On the south lies Brac with the mountains of St. Vid (2574 ft.), Hvar with St. Nicholas (2078 ft.), and Korcula (1879 ft.); lastly Lastovo, Mljet, and Vis. The principal natural harbours are: Zadar, Trogir, Sibenik, Gruz, Peljesac, Kotor, Hvar, Vis, and Mljet. Dalmatia is poor in water, though the rainfalls make temporary lakes. The only rivers of importance are: Krka (Titius) and Cetina (Tilurus) flowing from the Dinara mountains; the former has interesting falls and wild scenery. Neretva (Naro) belongs chiefly to Herzegovina. The climate is warm and healthy. The temperature varies between 57° F. at Zadar, 62° at Hvar, and 63° at Dubrovnik. The prevailing wind is the sirocco or south-east, but the terrible Boora or north-east, may blow at any season of the year. The land is fit chiefly for pasture. Barley, wheat, maize, oats, rye, millet, beeroot, hemp, and potatoes are raised in small quantities. Asses and mules are used as beasts of burden. Mines of coal, asphalt, lignite, salt are under development. Among the industries are the distillation of liquors, the manufacture of oil, tile-burning, the raising of timber, wine-growing, and ship-building. Other products of the country are cheese, honey, silk, and sardines. Railroads are nearly unknown in Dalmatia, although there is urgent need of them. Commerce is further hampered by a bureaucratic administration. Coast navigation is gradually taking on greater proportions and extending through the Adriatic and Mediterranean Seas. The capital of Dalmatia is Zadar, where the Diet meets when convoked by the king. It is composed of forty-three members, and is represented in Vienna by eleven delegates elected by direct vote. The archbishop is a member of the Diet. The head of the Royal Dalmation Government is a governor appointed by the king. Dalmatia is the most neglected country under Austrian rule. The population consists of Croats, who are in the majority, Serbs, Italians, and Albanians (about 10 percent). Croatian is now the official language.
The general educational institutions are public schools (with five classes), while in every village or hamlet there is an elementary school. There are also middle schools or gymnasia (with eight classes), colleges and private institutions, a central seminary for priests at Zadar, and a petit séminaire at Dubrovnik. There are also a naval and an agricultural school. The majority of the inhabitants are Catholics. There are also Orthodox Greeks and a few Jews. There are many magnificent churches and ecclesiastical buildings which date back many centuries to the flourishing times of the Church. The archæological museums at Bihac and Knin contain much historical material illustrating early Christianity and the period of the oldest Croatian rulers. There is a literary society, "Matica Dalmatinska", which publishes valuable books every year. The "Matica Hrvatska", at Zagreb, and the St. Jerome Society do the same for popular books. The Catholic press is represented by weeklies and periodicals such as "Academia Paleoslovenica", at Krk (Veglia). Throughout Dalmatia, including the adjoining islands, as well as on the Croatian coast, the Old Croatian language called Glagolitic is still in use at church services. This comes down from the times of Sts. Cyril and Methodius also. The right to use the Glagolitic language at Mass with the Roman Rite has prevailed for many centuries in all the south-western Balkan countries, and has been sanctioned by long practice and by many popes. The religious orders are well represented in Dalmatia by the Dominicans, Franciscans, Jesuits, and others, as well as by many communities of religious women. In the administration of church affairs the civil authorities accept the principles of canon law. The Concordat was abolished by the laws of 1874, and a civil marriage law was introduced in 1867. The irremovable rectors must contribute to the expenses of worship according to the provisions of the law. The State administers the church property and lays down the conditions for establishing new parishes. The archbishops, bishops, and canons are nominated by the king, and invested by the pope. The ecclesiastical province of Dalmatia was erected by Leo XII in 1828, by the Bull "Locum beati Petri", when the two Archbishoprics of Spljet and Dubrovnik were suppressed, and Zadar was made the see of the archbishop. The province comprises five bishoprics: Sibenik, Spljet, Hvar, Dubrovnik, and Kotor. The Bishopric of Krk was joined by Pope Pius VIII to the province of Goricza. There are 527,500 Catholics in Dalmatia and 80,900 Greek schismatics with two bishoprics at Zadar and in Kotor.
The meaning of the name Dalmatia or Delmatia, which is of Arnautic origin, is "land of shepherds" (delminium — pasture for sheep). The earliest mention of the name occurs at the time of the fall of the southern Illyric kingdom, 167 B.C. The people who dwelt near the rivers Neretva and Krka formed a league against the advancing Romans. Their principal town was Delminium, on the present plain of Sinj, or possibly Duvno in Herzegovina, and after that city the tribes called themselves Delmati, or Dalmati, 170 B.C. The islands were peopled by the Greeks; but the mainland by the Illyrians. The Dalmatian league soon came into conflict with the Romans. In 153 B.C. the Roman Senate sent envoys to negotiate with the Dalmatians, but they returned complaining that they were received in an unfriendly manner, and that they would have been killed if they had not secretly escaped. During the next year war broke out. Finally Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica conquered the land and demolished the city of Delminium. The Romans' success was incomplete; they must subdue the neighbouring Illyrians and Celts if they wished to retain the whole of Dalmatia. The two new consuls had to march from Gaul to Illyrium and occupy the city of Segestica, now Sisak, thence to invade Dalmatia and capture the city of Salona. The consul Metellus carried out this plan, defeated the enemy in 118 B.C., and celebrated a triumph at Rome, receiving the title Dalmaticus (117). The Roman Senate now created the large province of Illyricum, extending southward to the River Drim, northward as far as the Julian Alps and the River Sava. The principal strategic point and fortress in this new province was the city of Salona (Solin). But the Dalmatians did not patiently bear the Roman yoke and tribute. Many uprisings broke out until the time of Octavian, who came to Illyricum in 40 B.C., and subjugated all the tribes; he made the rivers Drava and Danube the northern boundaries of the Roman possessions and sailed on them in his triremes. Later, when emporer, he broke the power of the Dalmatian and Pannonian tribes who tried again to throw off the Roman rule. The insurrection started in the year 6 B.C. and ended in A.D. 9. The power of the rebels was crushed and their country devastated. Since the Punic wars Rome had not been in as critical a situation as during this insurrection suppressed by Tiberius.
From this date begins the Romanizing of Illyricum. This province now received the name of Dalmatia and comprised all the land south of the River Sava, within which were many famous watering places, such as Aquæ Jassæ (the Varazdinske toplice of today), Aquæ Balissæ (Lipik in Croatia), and much mineral wealth exploited by them, as appears from their remains today. The Roman rule in Dalmatia ended with the entry of Christianity and the invasion of the northern nations. The Romans persecuted the Christians in Dalmatia and Pannonia, but they flourished nevertheless. St. Paul sent his disciple Titus to Dalmatia, who founded the first Christian see in the city of Salona and consecrated it with his blood A.D. 65. St. Peter sent St. Domnius. Salona became the centre from which Christianity spread. In Pannonia St. Andronicus founded the See of Syrmium (Mitrovica) and later those of Siscia and Mursia. The cruel persecution under Diocletian, who was a Dalmatian by birth, left numerous traces in Old Dalmatia and Pannonia. St. Quirinus, Bishop of Siscia, died a martyr A.D. 303. St. Jerome was born in Strido, a city on the border of Pannonia and Dalmatia. After the fall of the Western Empire in 476, peace never came to Dalmatia. She successively fell into the power of Odoacer, Theodoric, and Justinian. The Goths were Arians, but they did not persecute the Catholics. Two provincial church councils were held at Salona — 530 and 532. The Western Empire was succeeded by the Ostro-Goths, after whose fall in 555 Dalmatia came under Byzantine power. In A.D. 598 the khan of the Avars advanced from Syrmium through Bosnia, devastated Dalmatia, and demolished forty cities. In A.D. 600 appeared the Slavs, who entered Dalmatia. Pope Gregory the Great wrote to Maxim, Archbishop of Salona: "Et de Slavorum gente, quæ vobis valde imminet, affligor vehementer et conturbor. Affligor in his quæ iam in vobis patior; conturbor quia per Istriæ aditum iam Italiam intrare coeperunt".
In the seventh century Dalmatia received the dominant element of its present population, the Croats. In the ninth century we find the Croatian influence at its height, and the Croatian princes recognized as Kings of Dalmatia. At the time of Tomislav there were held two councils at Spljet for the whole of Dalmatia and Croatia. The legates of the Holy See, John, Bishop of Ancona and Leo, Bishop of Præneste, were present. Pope John X wrote a letter to Tomislav, King of the Croats and all the people of Dalmatia. In this he reminded the king of the Anglo-Saxons, to whom Gregory I sent not only Christianity, but also culture and education. The council met in 925 to decide the question of the primacy of the Sees of Nin and Spljet; to re-establish rules of discipline, to settle administrative questions arising from disputes about the boundaries of dioceses, and finally to show the reason for using the Old Croatian language at Mass. On this occasion Bishop Grgur Ninski energetically defended the right of the Croatians to use that language. Pope Leo VI decreed by his Bull that the primate of Dalmatia and Croatia should be the Archbishop of Spljet. All the decisions of the councils were sent to Rome for confirmation. The See of Nin was suppressed in 928, when the See of Spljet renounced the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Constantinople and submitted to the Holy See. At the next council, held 1059-60 at Spljet, permission was given to use the Greek and Latin languages at Mass. The use of the old Croatian language was often forbidden, but never abolished. During the following centuries the history of Dalmatia is closely connected with that of Croatia. In the course of time, however, Venice extended her authority over Dalmatia. Venice never gained the affection of the Dalmatian people. By the treaty of Campo Formio in 1797 she lost Dalmatia, which came under Austrian rule, under which is has continued to the present time with the exception of Napoleonic times (1805-1814). The feeling towards Austria was not friendly, as the outbreak in 1869 shows. This was put down by force of arms in February of the next year. Influential patriots, the members of the home Diet, and the delegates in the Reichstag at Vienna are working to carry out the provisions of the fundamental law requiring the union of Dalmatia with the mother-country, Croatia, which the king promised in a solemn oath at his coronation.
The literature of Dalmatia from its beginning in the eleventh century was inspired by the Catholic Church and remained so until the rise of Humanism. Numerous private and public libraries existed, containing thousands of volumes (1520). The art of printing found its way to Dalmatia as early as the end of the fifteenth century. The first Humanists such as Mencetic, Bobali, Pucic, Gucetic, Marulic wrote in Latin and Croatian and produced many varieties of literature: the drama, lyrics, epics, bucolics, comedies, religious, and gypsy poetry. Dalmatia has in fact been called the cradle of Croatian literature. The city of Dubrovnik was spoken of as another Athens. Architecture flourished greatly, as is proved by the existing monuments.
FORTIS, Travels in Dalmatia (1778); PATON, Highlands and Islands of the Adriatic (1849); LOUVICH, Dei costumi dei Morlaki (1776); KATALINICH, Memorie degli avvenimenti successi in Dalmazia; MITIS, La Dalmazia ai tempi di Lodovico il Grande; (Zara, 1887)l SCHMIDL, Das Königreich Dalmaziani (1843); MASCHEK, Manuale del regno di Dalmazia per l'anno (1875); KOHL, Reisen in Istrien etc. (1850); SCHIFF, Culturbilder aus Dalmazien (Vienna, 1875); DON FRANE BULIC, Hrvatski spomenici (Zagreb, 1888); Academia Slavorum Meridionalium,Documenta pars 2, rescripta et synodalia (Zagreb, 1877); LJUBIC, Listine (Zagreb, 1879-1885); GELCICH, Monumenta Ragusina (Zagreb, 1879-1897); GRUBER, Osvajanje Zadra, Vienac, Zagreb (1882); KLAIC, Hrvatski knezovi od plemena Subic (Zagreb, 1897); SURMIN, Hrvatski spomenici (Zagreb); HORVAT, Hrvatska povjest (Zagreb, 1908); MEDINI, Povjest hrvatske knjizevnosti (Zagreb, 1902); VALLA, Povjest novoga viekai (Zagreb, 1899, 1900); VALLA, Povjest srednjega vieka (Zagreb, 1891, 1893).
APA citation. (1908). Dalmatia. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04606b.htm
MLA citation. "Dalmatia." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04606b.htm>.
Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Mary B. Wingfield.
Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York.
Contact information. The editor of New Advent is Kevin Knight. My email address is webmaster at newadvent.org. Regrettably, I can't reply to every letter, but I greatly appreciate your feedback — especially notifications about typographical errors and inappropriate ads.