May 23: The murderer’s palace

Split

Split! Split! Split! No, I don’t mean gymnastics, I mean the city. Situated along the Croatian coast, Split was made for a sort of retirement home for Diocletian, emperor of the Roman empire from 284 to 305.

Diocletian, born in Salona, Croatia in 244, disowned his parents, who were former slaves, and said he wanted to be emperor. He killed his way to the top of the Roman military, and eventually became emperor. He ruled for 20 years, and decided that he would be the only Roman emperor to retire from being emperor. So, he decided to build a palace for himself right where he was born: in Split. He built the palace with military barracks, temples, and palaces.

The Palace

Starting in the basement of the palace, we saw the throne room, which was also used as Daenerys Targaryen’s throne room in Game of Thrones, where Diocletian would greet people who came to see him. The rooms are unfinished, as the sea water came into the rooms and destroyed much of the walls and decorations. After Diocletian’s demise, families used the rooms as a septic tank, and for thousands of years, they put their “toilet waste” in Diocletian’s palace. What a way to preserve history.

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The Murderer

Diocletian did not believe in Christianity. So much so, that he murdered 6,000 people, many of who were Christians. Both his wife and daughter became Christians, and he murdered them privately in his palace. The “special” people got murdered in the palace. All the rest got murdered out in the Roman amphitheater. All in all, I’m pretty glad I didn’t live in Diocletian’s vicinity.

Hvar

We docked in Hvar, a beautiful seaside town and had calamari and prawns for dinner. Tomorrow, another adventure.

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