The Romans took control of Illyria, which contained the area later referred to as Dalmatia, after defeating its king around 168 B.C. The people of the area, however, were brave and warlike, and caused the Romans a great deal of trouble through their piracy. It took a series of battles carried out by Octavian, just a few years before he became the first Emperor, to quell the piracy and completely subjugated the people around 33 B.C.
Illyricum became a Roman province in 27 B.C. Around 10 A.D. it was dissolved and divided into Pannonia in the north and Dalmatia in the south. Dalmatia encompassed parts of modern-day Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Croatia and other nearby countries. The New Testament, unfortunately, does not record the names of any cities within this provincial territory.
"At first it (the province) was placed under the (Roman) Senate: but it was soon found to require the presence of large masses of soldiers. The Emperor took it into his own hands, and inscriptions are still extant on which we can read the records of its occupation by the seventh and eleventh legions.
"Dalmatia . . . was a district in the southern part of this province; and after the final reduction of the Dalmatian tribes, the province was more frequently called by this name than by that of Illyricum."
New Testament references
The province of Illyricum (Dalmatia) is referenced only twice in the King James Bible. The first is Apostle Paul's declaration to Christians in Rome that he travelled far and wide in order to preach the gospel.
For I (the Apostle Paul) will not presume to speak about anything that Christ has not worked out by me for the obedience of the Gentiles, through word and work, through the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Spirit of God; so that in a circuit from Jerusalem to Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ (Romans 15:18 - 19, HBFV throughout).
The second mention of Dalmatia is in reference to Titus, one of Paul's trusted co-workers, leaving him to travel to the province.
For Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present age, and has gone to Thessalonica; Crescens, to Galatia; Titus, to Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is profitable to me for the ministry of the Word (2Timothy 4:10 - 11).