Split celebrated its 1,700th birthday in 2005, an anniversary that marked the dual event of the city's founding and the completion of Diocletian's magnificent palace in A.D. 305. Diocletian deliberately chose this tract of land near ancient Salona, thereby securing a location that could provide the best of both country and city pleasures for his retirement years. As emperor emeritus in Split, Diocletian might not have had the power of a sitting Roman emperor, but he still had some clout. (It didn't hurt that he claimed to be a descendant of the god Jupiter and that he still had many loyal followers in the area.)
When in Split, Diocletian was just 6km (4 miles) from Salona, close enough so that he could easily visit Dalmatia's provincial center of power and stick his finger in affairs of state. Off duty, Diocletian retreated to the Split palace where he maintained the illusion of imperial position by receiving heads of state and other important visitors, who paid lavish homage to the former emperor.