Traces of human life on the territory of the present city of Sremska Mitrovica date back 7000 years. However, the organized settlement was founded by the Pannonian Amantini and Celts, so that the Romans found a certain urban physiognomy of the settlement. They also kept the existing name Sirmium.
Certainly, Sirmium went down in history through the great gates of the last decades of the old era, more precisely 34 years ago, when Roman troops conquered these parts. These data place Sremska Mitrovica in one of the oldest cities in our country.
The new era began in a sign of constant unrest that eventually turned into open war. The Illyrians are 6 years AD. raised a great uprising on the territory from Dalmatia to Pannonia, the so-called Pannonian uprising, with an attempt to overthrow Roman rule.
Rome had to seriously count on the dangers that would constantly threaten it from the area of the middle Danube. The Pannonian plain required the organization of strong and reliable defensive points and the presence of significant military forces around a favorable strategic and communication center. That center in Pannonia became Sirmium. The significance and importance that were pointed out to the city, starting from the first century, are a consequence, in the first place of its geographical position. During the Flavian dynasty (69-96) Sirmium became a colony.
Larger military forces reside in the city during Domitian, who led the First Dacian War, and the stay of Emperor Trajan, who spent the winter of 101-102, preparing a decisive attack on the Dacians in the Second Dacian War, has been confirmed.
The military role of Sirmium in the 2nd century was constantly increasing. The restless movements of the Sarmatian tribes along the left bank of the Danube contributed to that, which forced Emperor Marcus Aurelius to form his main military headquarters in Sirmium.
The granting of civil rights to all the inhabitants of the Roman Empire in 212 had a positive effect on the socio-economic and legal life of the city.
The third century is all about a great economic and political crisis that shook the whole of Italy. The most important events take place in the border areas where elite military forces are concentrated. Roman rulers, attracted by barbaric threats from Bačka and Banat, come to the city. In 236, Tsar Maximin prepared operations against Sarmatians in it.
The first-class importance of Pannonia was confirmed in 249 by Decius Trajan, born in the vicinity of Sirmium. That prominent soldier who was a Romanized Illyrian is chosen as the emperor, which sets a precedent for future people of similar origin.
In the year 270, Claudius II (Claudius the Gothic) comes to the city with the aim of waging war against the barbarians, but is prevented by the death caused by the outbreak of the plague epidemic.
From 270 to 275, the country was ruled by the warrior and builder Aurelian, born in Sirmium.
The reign of Emperor Probus, also born in Sirmium from 276 to 282, was linked to these areas by the emperor’s permission to grow vines on the slopes of Fruška gora, as well as the first attempts to drain the wetlands around the city through drainage canals.
Emperor Diocletian stayed in Sirmium on several occasions, from where he managed the war against the Sarmatians for 290 years.
Sirmium reached the highest stage in its rise and development in 293, when Emperor Diocletian divided the kingdom into four parts, the so-called The Tetrarchy and then Sirmium became the capital of one of the four parts of the empire, next to Milan (Milan), Trevesto (Trier) and Nicomedia in Asia Minor.
In the first years of the 4th century, political events were momentarily suppressed by religious conflicts, which were entering their final historical phase. There is a bloody persecution of Christians who pay loyalty to the new faith with their lives.
The first bishop of Sirmium, Irinej, deacon Dimitrije and many of their followers who did not want to renounce the faith of Christ even at the cost of losing their lives, were executed on Diana’s bridge on the river Sava in 304.
Emperor Constantine the Great often stayed in the city where his son Constantius II was born. In 320 he founded the mint.
During several decades of the 4th century, the imperial power in Surmium was strong, because the conditions on the northern borders of the Balkan Peninsula were relatively peaceful.
In 379, Theodosius I was proclaimed emperor in Sirmium, and the following 380 years, Gratian and Theodosius I met to agree on a new division of the territory of the empire. Soon after that year, Sirmium came under the rule of the Western Goths.
Since Emperor Theodosius I divided the empire into two parts before his death, leaving the eastern half to his older son Arcadia and the western half to his younger son Honorius, Sirmium, together with the province of Pannonia, belonged to the western part. This division of the empire also marks the emergence of Byzantium.
In 437, with the marriage of the western emperor Valentinian III, the daughter of the eastern emperor Theodosius II, Sirmium passed to the eastern empire – Byzantium.
Theodosius IV wants to emphasize the importance of Sirmium by moving the seat of the Illyricum prefecture from Thessaloniki to Sirmium. However, the rule of Constantinople in Sirmium did not last long. In 411, the city was conquered by Attila, the leader of the Hun tribes.
After the Hun conquest, Sirmium will remain out of the reach of the Byzantine government for more than a century, being in the hands of various barbarian tribes. At first it was under the rule of the Goths, and after that it belonged to the Gepids for almost a century, who replaced the Eastern Goths with Theodoric at the head. In 567, Justin II annexed Sirmium to Byzantium, but in the following 568, the Avar kagan Bayan wanted Sirmium in his power. After three years of siege, the Avars conquered the city in 582.
This event marks the end of the late antique period in the history of Sirmium, an era in which the city, thanks to its reputation and position, had a prominent place in Byzantine history.
U R B A N I Z A M
Due to topographic conditions, Sirmium was shaped as an elongated rectangle with a rather irregular southern side.
At the transition from the 3rd to the 4th century, Sirmium was in a new architectural movement compared to earlier times, with emphasized pretensions for monumentality and luxury. It was a developed city with a forum, temples, administrative buildings, a granary, bathrooms, a theater or amphitheater, a hippodrome, a waterworks, a sewer and many private buildings.
The number of inhabitants within the defended part of the city with ramparts was between 10,000 and 12,000 inhabitants.