History is powerful. It teaches you what works, what doesn’t, and why people behave the way they do. It may even help to predict the future.

In the year 305 AD, the Roman Emperor Diocletian retired to the lands of his birthplace on the eastern edge of the Adriatic. Seeking to be near the community he grew up in, he built a fortified villa on the coast only a few kilometers from the ancient city of Salona. This compound housed 9,000 people, to include servants and its own military garrison.

As was common in Roman construction during that period, the center of the villa had an open-air courtyard called a peristyle. I captured this 360° photo of the peristyle in Diocletian’s palace on a pre-Christmas morning in 2016.

Diocletian’s Palace has evolved over the centuries to become the epicenter of the Croatian city of Split. Even before Christopher Columbus voyaged to the New World, this peristyle had been the backdrop for over 1,000 years of human experience.

Imagine the historical lessons we could learn from the people who have walked over this limestone. Upon learning them, would we behave differently? Would we make better decisions to improve our lives and the lives of those around us?


If you’re inclined to answer these questions, or if you’re feeling a bit like Dr. Indiana Jones, perhaps you’d like to delve into this 1960s research paper on the archaeological discoveries of the Peristyle. Or, if you’re feeling like you might want to explore Diocletian’s Palace yourself, check out Tricia’s post on a walking tour of this UNESCO attraction, and have a look at one of my earlier videos:

Cover photo: “Dusk in The Peristyle of Diocletian’s Palace” © Tricia A. Mitchell

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