Bosnia and Herzegovina, Early history

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Summary

Bosnia and Herzegovina (; Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian Bosna i Hercegovina, ; Cyrillic script: Боснa и Херцеговина), sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina, abbreviated BiH, and in short often known informally as Bosnia, is a country in Southeastern Europe located on the Balkan Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Sarajevo. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for of coastline on the Adriatic Sea surrounding the city of Neum.[https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2060.html F

Details

Bosnia has been inhabited since at latest the Neolithic age. The earliest Neolithic population became known in the Antiquity as the Illyrians. Celtic migrations in the 4th century BC were also notable. Concrete historical evidence for this period is scarce, but overall it appears that the region was populated by a number of different peoples speaking distinct languages. Conflict between the Illyrians and Romans started in 229 BC, but Rome did not complete its annexation of the region until AD 9.

It was precisely in what is now Bosnia and Herzegovina that Rome fought one of the most difficult battles in its history since the Punic Wars, as described by the Roman historian Suetonius.

The Great Illyrian revolt was a rising up of Illyrians against the Romans, more specifically a revolt against Tiberius' attempt to recruit them for his war against the Germans. The Illyrians put up a fierce resistance to the most powerful army on earth at the time (the Roman Army) for four years (AD 6 to AD 9), but they were finally subdued by Rome in AD 9.

The last Illyrian stronghold, of which their defence won the admiration of Roman historians, is said to have been Arduba. Bato of Daesitiates was captured and taken to Italy. It is alleged that when Tiberius asked Bato and the Daesitiates why they had rebelled, Baton was reputed to have answered: "You Romans are to blame for this; for you send as guardians of your flocks, not dogs or shepherds, but wolves." Bato spent the rest of his life in the Italian town of Ravenna.

In the Roman period, Latin-speaking settlers from the entire Roman Empire settled among the Illyrians, and Roman soldiers were encouraged to retire in the region.

The land was originally part of Illyria up until the Roman occupation. Following the split of the Roman Empire between 337 and 395 AD, Dalmatia and Pannonia became parts of the Western Roman Empire. Some claim that the region was conquered by the Ostrogoths in 455 AD. It subsequently changed hands between the Alans and the Huns. By the 6th century, Emperor Justinian had reconquered the area for the Byzantine Empire. The Illyrians were conquered by the Avars in the 6th century.

However, the Illyrians did not entirely vanish from Bosnia and Herzegovina with the arrival of new cultures. A large part of the remaining Illyrian culture intermingled with those of new settlers, some of it is believed to have been adopted by the latter, and some survived up to date, such as architectural remains (e.g. Daorson near Stolac), certain customs and traditions (e.g.tattooing, the 'gluha kola' dances, the 'ganga' singing, zig-zag and concentric circles in traditional decorations), place names (e.g. Čapljina, from 'čaplja', a south Slavic word for 'heron', coincides with 'Ardea', a Latin word for 'heron', and 'Ardea', in turn, bears striking similarity with the name of Ardiaei, the native Illyrian people of the wider Neretva valley region, where the town of Čapljina is situated), etc.

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