After the restoration of the Peristyle in Split (2003-2013)

written by Joško Belamarić


Robert Adam and his ‘Myrmidons’ completed their architectural survey of Diocletian’s Palace in Split in five weeks of field work. It took him seven years to prepare his book Ruins of the Palace of the Emperor Diocletian at Spalato in Dalmatia (1764). Adam was the first to analyse and interpret not only the form, but the original function of individual parts of the Palace, so we are indebted to him for the majority of the names (Peristyle, Vestibule, Cryptoporticus...). Unlike most of his predecessors (Paladio, Fischer von Erlach) who made drawings and attempted to interpret only the original design of the palace, Adam saw a gigantic palimpsest in it. He was fascinated by the organic whole of the medieval urban structure that clung to the authoritarian imperial architecture like a poison ivy.