Illyro-Roman is a term used in historiography and anthropological studies for the Romanized Illyrians within the ancient Roman provinces of Illyricum, Moesia, Pannonia and Dardania. The term 'Illyro-Roman' can also be used to describe the Roman settlers who colonized Illyricum. The remnants of the Illyro-Romans, called Vlachs in literature, were absorbed by the western South Slavs and Albanians.
The Illyrian tribes were considered barbarians by both the Romans and the Hellenic peoples in the southern Balkans. They considered them among the vast group of barbarian peoples such as the Gauls, Germans and Dacians. The conquest of Illyria in 168 BC, along with that of Epirus, consolidated the Roman domain over the Adriatic Sea. The mountainous geography of the region meant that the region was hard to subdue, but by 9 CE the Great Illyrian Revolt had been quelled and from then on the region would supply large numbers of non-citizen soldiers to the Roman Auxilia.
During the Empire
The Romanization of these barbarian peoples eventually transformed them into the most valuable soldiers of the Late Roman Army, with a substantial portion of the officials and generals coming from a northern balkanic background, such as Illyria, Dalmatia, Pannonia and Moesia. One emperor, Decius, several usurpers and during the reign of Gallienus, who started the professionalization of the high command of the army, large numbers of soldiers achieved high rank within the army. They took the place which the Senatorial order had had the privilege of holding since the time of Augustus, 250 years earlier, the command of the legions and armed provinces.
Illyricum was heavily colonized by the Romans beginning in the third century BC. The Romans founded the cities of Acruvium, Cibalae, Mursa, Narona, Siscia, and established colonies at Salona, Sirmium, Epidaurum, Aequum, Iader, Rhizon, and in many other cities. These cities were colonized by Roman war veterans.
The "Illyrian emperors"
It was from this group that the most successful emperors of the time came from and it was they who brought the Crisis of the Third Century to an end. Examples include Claudius II Gothicus, Aurelian, and Probus. The creator of the Tetrarchy Diocletian and his fellow Tetrarchs Maximian, Constantius Chlorus (father of the first Christian emperor Constantine) and Severus II were also of Illyro-Roman background.
Romance linguistical remnants
- Arthur Evans (2006). Ancient Illyria: An Archaeological Exploration. I.B.Tauris. ISBN 978-1-84511-167-0.