Under the Roman Empire

    About 229 BC the Illyrian navy of Queen Teuta was plundering Roman commercial shipping. This forced the Roman Senate to declare war on Illyricum. The war gave Rome an excuse to use Illyricum as a beachhead for conquest of the Adriatic regions. In 227 BC Queen Teuta agreed to peace, and by 168 BC Illyricum was under Roman control. In 165 BC Illyria's last king, Gentus, was defeated and brought to Rome as a captive. The brave and warlike Illyrians forced the Roman occupation to maintain a large military force. Records show that Caesar Augustus garrisoned at least two legions in Albania to maintain order.
    Rome influenced Albania more than the previous Grecian Empire: The arts flourished and Latin words found their way into the Albanian language. Even today, one can occasionally find ancient Roman coins.



    The remains of a Roman amphitheater exist in modern day Durr√ęs, a site of gladiatorial games. Tradition tells us that this may have been the site of Titus' martyrdom. Archeologists discovered a lion pit, identified by the characteristic feeding "window" (a hole in the roof) and distinctive rounded corners near the exit. The switch-back exit needed rounded corners since the lions rushed into the arena with such haste. Otherwise, they would injure themselves on the sharp edges of a square corner.