The Roman Period Collection

The Roman Period Collection comprises material evidence of culture from the period of Roman rule, collected on the entire Istrian Peninsula. Rome came into direct contact with the Histri, the autochthonous inhabitants living on the Peninsula, in the last decades of the 3rd century BC. The wars for supremacy in the northern Adriatic lasted, with varying fortunes, until 177 BC, when after months of an exhausting siege, the Roman army conquered Nesactium, the main Histrian settlement and the seat of king Epulon. During the 2nd and 1st centuries BC, the Histri, through barter, gradually adopted Italian products and customs, without significantly changing their traditional way of life. A turning point in the Romanization of Istria occurred in the period of Caesar, in the middle of the 1st century BC. At that time a survey and cadastral partition of arable land were conducted, which was then annexed to the newly established Roman towns. The old Histrian hillfort settlements and ports on the western coast of Istria, Pola and Parentium, became colonies with Roman citizens and lively social, religious and commercial centers. They were settled by newcomers from Italy as well as by numerous slaves born in distant Greek, eastern and African provinces, whose descendants were in line to acquire Roman civil rights in the course of several generations, creating thus a cosmopolitan atmosphere typical for Roman port cities.

In a short period of time, these Roman colonies were able to introduce a monetary economy based on the Roman single currency and measurement system, adopting the Latin alphabet and language, Roman and Greek names, customs and beliefs. Pula had become the biggest, richest and most important city in Istria, boasting no less than two theaters and an amphitheater. The Forum temples and city gates together with the arch of the Sergii and the protective walls represent an additional attraction Pula had to offer. A wide variety of goods and materials, manufactured products, as well as slaves, animals and every other conceivable merchandise came to Istria from all corners of the Mediterranean as a result of maritime trade. The collection therefore includes Egyptian alabaster vases, plates produced in northern Africa and central Italy, amphorae and oil lamps from Greek islands, statuary carved either from white Greek marble or white-gray marble stemming from the shores of the distant Marmara Sea. Olives and olive oil, along with amphorae, fish products, wine, wool, and white limestone suitable for building, were the main goods exported from Istria to northern Italy and the provinces of Pannonia and Noricum, using sea, land and river routes. Minor utilitarian items made of pottery, stone, iron and bronze, vessels, equipment and implements useful both in households and in daily life were made for local use in workshops located in Istrian towns and isolated agricultural estates.


Silvana Petešić – Curator,  Head of the Collection

Dr. Sc. Alka Starac – Museum Counsellor

Aska Šopar - Curator



Information, consultations and questions:

Silvana Petešić – Curator, Head of the Collection
tel: 052/351-311

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