Inštitut za arheologijo  ZRC SAZU



Papal possessions in the eastern Adriatic


In the correspondence of two Roman bishops, Vigilius (537-555) and Gregory the Great (590-604), one can find information about the Patrimony of St. Peter in Praevalitana (patrimonium Praevalitanum), in Dalmatia (Dalmatiarum patrimonium, patrimonium in Dalmatia) and in Istria together with Ravenna (patrimonium Ravennate et Histrianum). Administrators of the Patrimony of St. Peter in Dalmatia (rectores) were also papal legates in the diocese of Salona (i.e. Dalmatia). As papal representatives, although they ranked among the minor Church orders, they had extraordinary authority over the Dalmatian clerics. From the end of the 6th century there is no more trace in the sources of the papal Patrimonies on the eastern Adriatic coast. However, it is not quite clear whether these estates existed also in the following centuries. The question about whether or not the income from these estates served also for buying back captives and slaves throughout Dalmatia and Istria in the reign of Pope John IV (640-642), still remains open. By the same token, there is no clear picture about when and how the Roman Popes lost their estates on the eastern Adriatic coast.

Keywords: Eastern Adriatic, Dalmatia, Praevalitana, Salona, Papal possession, Pope Vigilius, Pope Gregory

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