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Split (Split-Dalmatia, Croatia)

Last modified: 2023-07-03 by
Keywords: croatia | split | dalmatia | splitsko-dalmatinska | split | st. duje | diocletian |
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Not in use (see below)
by Zeljko Heimer, 24 September 1999

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I located a photo at <>.
Do yo recognize the symbol ? Is it a flag ?
Dov Gutterman, 23 September 1999

Yes, I can identify it. It is the coat of arms of the city of Split. It is a rectangular "shield" with representation of the old city - the Diocletian's Palace with characteristic tower of St. Duje, the patron of the city, which is also represneted in the sinister shield, while there is the Croatian chequy shield in dexter. The Croatian chequy is often left blue-white, but obviously this is not the official policy . The stone relief with the Coat of Arms is set in the main entrance to the palace at some time (certainly before 1990, but possibly much before). also, it may be worth of mentioning that the same Coat of Arms was used during the socialist period with the fivepointed red star in place of the Croatian chequy (not in shield form), as I can prove from some post-cards of 1970's.
However, this coat of arms does not apear on the flag, even if there is the law enforcing cities to have mono-coloured flags with coa on it. Possibly, the flag of the city is not officially adopted after 1990. What they use is blue flag with white representation of the Palace, somewhat differently artistically designed the on the coat of arms.
But, lately it seems that only a specific variation of that flag is used where the white palace is made of word Split repeated several times and toped with number 1700 - this being the logo of 1700 years of Split celebration. I have not been able to get good image of this, though.
Zeljko Heimer, 24 September 1999

The coat of arms of the city of Split pictures in a rectangular shield the part of the northern walls of the Diocletian's palace, as it was in the middle age, and in the middle above the walls the belfry of the Cathedral. In the upper corners are two shields, dexter the historical coat of arms of Croatia and sinister a shield picturing the city patron St. Dujam. The coat of arms is bordered with the Gothic cheques.
The oldest confirmation that Spilt used the rectangular coat of arms are dated to the early 14th century. Stonecuttings are preserved from 14th and 15th century showing the same coat of arms with the shields around the belfry at any time showed the central rulers to which Split was paying alliance. Latte the coats of arms of the city are used also withotu these shields, and at different times in different artistical shapeing. In 19th and 20th century the coat of arms was sometimes shaped as clasical heraldical shield, as a rule without the shields around the belfry. After the World War II the coat of arms is not used any more until 1969 when the new coat of arms design was adopted, now with socialist emblems, that are replaced with St. Dujam image in 1991.
The flag was never officially adopted. When needed a blue flag with white Diokletian's palace depiction is sometimes used.
I may add that the info I got is many thanks to Milan Ivaniaevic, who was prepairing an exhibition for the Eastern 2004 in Split. The data is based on a scientific article and a series of official gazettes:
C. Fiskovic, Najstariji kameni grbovi grada Splita, Vjesnik Hrvatskoga arheoloakoga druatva, nova serija, 17, Zagreb 1936, str. 183 ? 194. Slu~beni glasnik Opcine Split, 16, 7, Split 1969 (18. travnja), str. 103. Slu~beni glasnik Opcine Split, 21, 3, Split 1974 (27. veljace), str. 41, clanak 5. Slu~beni glasnik Opcine Split, 24, 8, Split 1978 (16. lipnja), str. 131, clanak 5. Slu~beni glasnik Opcine Split, 37, 6, Split 1991 (23. travnja), str. 1, clanak 2. Slu~beni glasnik Grada Splita, 39 (1), 11, Split 1993 (29. prosinca), str. 3, clanak 6.
In all of the above official gazettes the flag is not defined nor mentioned at all.
Zeljko Heimer, 1 April 2004

Diocletian (Caius Aurelius Valerius Dioceles Diocletianus, 245-313) was proclaimed emperor in 284. He appointed Maximian (Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maximianus, 250-310) emperor of the Western Roman Empire in 286 and kept the Eastern Roman Empire for himself. In 293, Diocletian set up the system of tetrarchy, with the two emperors (augusts) helped by two caesars (Constance Chlore and Galere). Diocletian did a big reform of the Empire, grouping the provinces into dioceses [which are, incidentally, the origin of the current administrative divisions in France and probably elsewhere) and reforming the army, justice and finances. He also launched a big campaign of persecution against the Christians in 303 and abdicated in 305. Diocletian was born near Salona and retired there. Salona was the capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia, and is today the city of Solin, in the outskirts of Split.
After Diocletian and Maximian's abdication, the tetrarchy turned into anarchy. Caesar Constance Chlore (Marcus Flavius Valerius Constantius, 225-306) died in Eboracum (York) during the reconquest of Britain. His son Constantine(Caius Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus, 270/288?-337) was proclaimed emperor. He defeated his father-in-law Maximian in 310, Maxence in 312 ("In hoc signo vinceres) and the Esatern august Licinius (Flavius Valerius Licinius Licinianus, 250-324) in 324. August Galerius (Caius Galerius Valerius Maximianus, 250-311) had succeded to his father-in-law Diocletian but died in 311. Eventually, Constantine restored the unity of the Roman empire and established a centralized monarchy of divine essence.
Ivan Sache, 2 April 2004

Flag in Use

by Zeljko Heimer, 9 October 2001

I have reported earlier that Split does not use its normal flag, even if sometimes it is quoted as blue with white representation of the Diokletian's Palace. Since early 1990's only flag in actual use, in all occasions that would normaly be reserved for the civic flag, is the flag of the celebration of the 1700th anniversary of the city. It was celebrated in 1996, but the actual celebrations of this big anniversary begun in early 1990's and are lasted much after 1996. Still today it seems that the only flag in use is this celebration flag.
The flag is vertical, blue with white logo of the celebration - which is in turn based on the civic emblem - the Diokletian's Palace with a characteristic tower of the Cathedral of St. Dujam (parton killed by the same Roman emperor Diokletian in whose palace the core of Split emerged, and the kathedral was built over the emperor's mausoleum). This time it is formed by the numerals 1700 and multiple inscriptions SPLIT topped with a cross.
Zeljko Heimer, 9 October 2001

Coat of Arms

by Zeljko Heimer, 1 April 2004

Previous Coat of Arms

by Zeljko Heimer, 1 April 2004

With the end of the World War II the use of the coat of arms of Split ceased in practice in any form, and it was only in 1969 that the new version was adopted, with the emblems of the time. To dexter of the belfry is set the historical Croatian chequy shield, while to sinister there is in a shield argent a mullet of five gules. The official descriptions were changed slightly in 1974 and 1978, but that did not affect the drawing. This coat of arms was formally abolished with the adoption of the new design in 1991.
Zeljko Heimer, 1 April 2004

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