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Post Ragusa and Dubrovnik: A Re-Writing of History?
Created by John Eipper on 07/11/13 4:38 AM

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Ragusa and Dubrovnik: A Re-Writing of History? (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy, 07/11/13 4:38 am)

(I'm very happy that WAIS is back on line!)

In reference to the pertinent comment of JE to my post of 9 July, concerning what the Croatian history textbooks say about the Yugoslavian coup of April 27, 1941, unfortunately I do not have any documentation as I do not speak Croatian, but I can give you a fair idea on how the Croatians view history.

Let's go back to the Free and Sovereign Italian Republic of Ragusa (Dubrovnik). As I pointed out in an earlier post, it had an Italian majority until 1898, after which time the majority was Croatian. The name Dubrovnik comes from the name of a Croatian tribe called Dubroni, from Dubrava, which in their language means forest. This tribe was Catholic, but as they were inland close to schismatic enemies at the end of the 11th century, they asked for protection from the Republic of Ragusa, which remained faithful to the "asylum rights."  Ragusa granted the Dubroni the possibility of moving to the shore in front of the old city, originally founded on a small Island, Lausa, later connected to the mainland. This installation became the village of Dubrovnik, but it never had any cultural influence as Ragusa always remained with its Latin, and after 1472, Italian culture.

Now from Croatian tourist books we can read that even if the official name was Respublica Ragusina, it is to be understood as Dubrovnik, and that by the 14th century the republic was completely Croatian. (But what about the official Italian language from 1472? Bah.)

On the grounds of the Palace of the Rettore, there is a monument made by Pierpaolo Giacometti in 1638 in honour of the sailor Michele Prazatto, indicated as "Michaeli Prazatto Benemerito civi ex SC MDCXXXVIII," but this guy has now become known as Miha Pracat, the poet Giovanni Gondola of the 17th century has become Ivan Gundulic, the scholar Ruggiero Giuseppe Boscovich (1711-1787) has become Ruder Josip Boskovic, the painter Nicola Diodati, or Nicolò Ragusino, has become Bozidarevic, but in his case he is claimed not only by Croats but also by the Serbians, the architect Pasquale De Micheli has become Paskoje Milicevic, and so on. Of course these are not the only examples of annexation of culture and cancellation of history.

JE comments:  The construction of Croatian national identity is a controversial (and bloody) topic that I wish I knew more about.  Interestingly, history's most famous Croat, Josip Broz/Tito, was not a nationalist at all but a pan-Yugoslav.  I've remarked before on the pages of WAIS that one step in the creation of Croatian nationalism has been its linguistic divorce from Serbian.  The Serbo-Croatian language that I read about in my youth no longer officially exists.


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