08 June 2018
The magazine Nova Evropa (New Europe) was published in Zagreb from 1920 until 1941. Initially it was a weekly periodical, then for 10 years Nova Evropa was issued as a 10-day and bimonthly magazine, and from 1930 as a monthly publication. The founder and editor of Nova Evropa over the whole period was Milan Ćurčin.
Exceptionally and almost uniquely in interwar Yugoslavia, Nova Evropa was printed in the two scripts of the Serbo-Croatian language, Roman and Cyrillic. Contributions were either published in the original script or were transliterated into the other at the editor’s discretion, regardless of the contributor’s manuscript, nationality or background. This was done not only for commercial reasons but also with the aim of bringing together different literatures in the newly-created Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later renamed Yugoslavia).
Christ (detail) by Ivan Meštrović. Nova Evropa, 23 December 1920. P.P.4839.fid.
The Yugoslav Nova Evropa was modelled on a British political and current affairs journal, Robert William Seton-Watson’s weekly review The New Europe (1916-20; P.P.3611.abk.). Ćurčin was equally inspired by Seton-Watson’s engaged, informed and critical journalism as by the British press and journalism in general, whose traditions and values he adopted while working in London during the First World War. The liberal, open and progressive political journalism that Nova Evropa had as its high ideal was subsequently promoted in a multicultural society whose traditions, however, were different to British ones.
Like its London predecessor, the Zagreb Nova Evropa advocated the revival of a new Europe in accordance with the League of Nations’ proposals for international cooperation and collective security; reduction of armaments and open diplomacy; an international court and economic, social and cultural cooperation between nations. Nova Evropa was against isolation and provincialism in Yugoslavia and argued for close cooperation with the neighbouring countries as well as for constructive and peaceful international policy, for national self-determination, and the equality of nations in a post-war Europe.
Marko Marulić by Meštrović. Nova Evropa of 1 July 1924.
While following Seton-Watson’s advice on political journalism, Nova Evropa diversified its editorial concept by welcoming contributions on social, economic and cultural life in the country, neighbouring countries and the rest of Europe. Nova Evropa developed the complex structure of a journal that was open to various topics in any discipline of social sciences, arts, humanities and sciences, and that scrutinized society, economy and politics in high-quality contributions. For example, special thematic issues were dedicated to various domestic topics from the geography and anthropology of the country to the life of immigrants inside and outside the country, and to broader international and current affairs topics such as the Ukrainian question, conditions in Russia, national minorities, prominent public figures, etc.
The central political and cultural concept discussed in Nova Evropa was the Yugoslav question. This political concept was seen in Nova Evropa as an agreement of peoples united by their own will, equal and free in a common national state. Some researchers argue, not quite rightly, that Nova Evropa advocated integral Yugoslav pan-nationalism (Yugoslavness) despite the different ethnic groups and minorities in the country. For Nova Evropa the creation of the Yugoslav state was the irreversible final achievement of all Yugoslavs, but in the cultural sense, however, Yugoslavness was presented as a mosaic of colours and variations, as a celebration of diversity. Nova Evropa of 26 February 1927 pronounces:
Therefore: Yugoslav civilization is one and properly bound together; and Yugoslav culture - mosaic, contrast, diversity. Civilization is a unification and equivalence of segments, culture is a federation of untouched and free elements, according to their programme and their will.
Nova Evropa argued for a concept of ‘Open Yugoslavness’ which was closely related to the idea of social justice, equality, tolerance and ethics. This vision of Yugoslavia and a new Europe bore a close resemblance to the vision of Tomáš Masaryk whose ideas Nova Evropa promoted and celebrated.
This ideology of open Yugoslavness was also advanced through the visual arts and the works of the leading Yugoslav artist Ivan Meštrović, a Croatian sculptor and one of the founders of Nova Evropa. Other prominent Yugoslavs and founders of Nova Evropa were Ćurčin’s magazine co-editors Laza Popović and Marko Kostrenčić, and well-known Yugoslav scholars and writers such as Jovan Cvijić, Josip Smodlaka, Milan Rešetar, Ivan Prijatelj, Tihomir Ostojić, Julije Benešić, Miodrag Ibrovac and Milan Grol among others. In 22 years about 1000 authors published over 3450 contributions in the magazine.
In addition to the magazine, special editions of Nova Evropa were published as offprints or separate publications; in total 19 such editions were produced and at least two editions remained unpublished.
The British Library holds a full set of Nova Evropa: 426 issues, in total about 10,000 pages, bound in 34 volumes.
In the interwar period Nova Evropa fostered constructive criticism of the dominant political culture and made an important contribution to the growth of critical and independent thought in Yugoslav society. It worked tirelessly in bringing peoples and communities closer together by understanding and celebrating their cultural differences. It had a distinctive mission to inform the public about events at home and abroad and to collect information and sources about the recent past for future historians. Nova Evropa is not only a useful source for a student of Yugoslav history and culture today; it is a critically important archive for the understanding of the fundamental cultural and political questions of interwar Yugoslavia.
Milan Grba, Lead Curator South-East European Collections
Ljubomir Petrović, Jugoslovenska država i društvo u periodici 1920-1941 (Belgrade, 2000) YF.2010.a.24536.
Jovo Bakić, Ideologije jugoslovenstva između srpskog i hrvatskog nacionalizma: 1914-1941 (Zrenjanin, 2004) YF.2006.a.37642.
Marija Cindori-Šinković, Nova Evropa:1920-1941: bibliografija (Belgrade, 2010) YF.2012.a.15665
Marko Nedić, Vesna Matović (editors), Nova Evropa 1920-1941: zbornik radova (Belgrade, 2010) YF.2012.a.18758.
16 April 2018
For almost two hundred years Montenegro was unknown to the world and, like the rest of what was then European Turkey, a forgotten country without a history. Montenegro was rediscovered in the west in the 19th century during hard and long independence struggles of the peoples living under the Ottoman Empire.
‘The Eastern Question’ was an umbrella term coined in the west for the complexities surrounding the uprisings of the oppressed peoples within the Ottoman Empire, the external wars against the Ottomans, and the rivalries of the European powers for control over the territories of the declining Ottoman Empire.
These events periodically renewed outside interest in the Ottoman Empire, its peoples and European provinces, inspiring the first travel accounts and histories, and establishing Montenegro on the map.
Significant features of some of the early works about Montenegro are their contemporary cultural observations as well as the publication of important historical sources such as international agreements, written records, and the first law-codes of Montenegro. Western accounts were published to inform the public, to mark and celebrate important anniversaries or events, and some of the books were written with scholarly ambition and scientific purpose.
Characteristically the first historical accounts of Montenegro, published in the Serbian language, drew on oral history traditions and on personal memories and experiences. Some early historians were in the service of the ruling prince-bishops of the Petrović-Njegoš dynasty and had unfettered access to the archives, which contained official correspondence and documents, chronicles and annals, as well as the first printed history of Montenegro published in St Petersburg in 1754,Vasilije Petrović Njegoš’s Istoriia o Chernoi Gory (9475.b.44.)
The above maps of Montenegro show the geographical and administrative division of 19th-century Montenegro into two main historical regions: Old Montenegro and The Hills. Old Montenegro consisted of four districts (‘Nahija’): Katunska (I), Crmnička (II), Riječka (III), Lješanska (IV). The Hills also consisted of four districts: Bjelopavlići (V), Piperi (VI), Morača (VII), Kuči (VIII). Each nahija in turn consisted of clans, represented on these maps by their individual names. Montenegrin clans comprised extended family groupings (‘Bratstvo’), made up of individual families.
Montenegro was landlocked and surrounded by the Ottoman provinces of Bosnia, Herzegovina and Albania; to the south Montenegro bordered the Kingdom of Dalmatia, part of the Austrian Empire.
Most 19th century history books on Montenegro describe four distinctive periods in the history of Montenegro: the mediaeval period to the end of the 14th century followed by two periods, one from 1516 to 1697, and the other from 1697 to 1850, and then the contemporary period from 1850 onwards.
The first mediaeval state created within the territory of Montenegro was the Principality of Doclea (Duklja), followed by the Principality of Zeta which was an integral part of the mediaeval Serbian kingdom.
The name Montenegro (‘Black Mountain’) probably first appeared during the reign of Ivan Crnojević (1465-90) who moved his residence to the country’s final stronghold, at the foot of the mountain Lovćen, against the invading Ottomans. The period from 1516 to 1697 is the least- known in the history of Montenegro. During this time, while under Turkish domination, the clans of Montenegro were in constant conflict among themselves and against the Ottomans. The clans’ resistance to Turkish rule, however, grew stronger over time, and from 1603 Montenegro became de facto an autonomous province of the Ottoman Empire. The historical record of the period from 1516 to 1697 does not provide much more detail beyond the names of the elective metropolitans of Montenegro and the Montenegrins’ participation in the Venetians’ wars against the Ottomans.
From William Denton, Montenegro: its people and their history (London, 1877) 9136.bbb.45.
A turning-point came with the election of Danilo Petrović, from the Njeguši clan in Katunska nahija, as Metropolitan of Montenegro in 1697, a position he held until his death in 1735. His main efforts were directed towards the unification and emancipation of Montenegro, the implementation of the customary law of the country for clans and individuals in conflict, and the establishment of the Petrović-Njegoš dynasty, which ruled Montenegro from 1697 to 1918. From his time the politics of Montenegro towards the Ottoman Empire were intertwined with its political and military relations with the far-away Russian Empire, the neighbouring Venetians and the Austrian Empire.
Another defining moment in the history of Montenegro was the union of Old Montenegro with The Hills after decisive victories over the Ottoman forces in 1796.
Maps 43625. (17.). Map of Montenegro and its adjacent territory, coloured to show the changing boundaries in the late 1870s. Blue shading represents Montenegro before the war of 1877-8, green shading the increase of territory accorded by the Treaty of Berlin 1878, and the blue line is the border adopted by the Conference of Ambassadors at Constantinople in April 1880.
In 1850 Montenegro became a secular principality under the patronage of the Russian Empire, which was the long-standing sponsor of the metropolitans of Montenegro and of Montenegrin independence and statehood.
In 1876 Montenegro took part in the Serbian war against Turkey that soon culminated in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78 in which Montenegro finally acquired its long-fought independence from the Ottoman Empire and an expansion of its territory.
The war of 1877-1878 in Montenegro, presented in Cassell’s Illustrated History of the Russo-Turkish War (London, 1896) 9136.i.2. You can see the map superimposed on one of present-day Montenegro here.
The population grew constantly during this period. In the 16th century the population of Old Montenegro had been between 20,000 and 30,000, rising to around 50,000 in the 18th century, and by 1835 an estimated 100,000 people lived in Old Montenegro and The Hills. In 1864 the first official census counted just over 196,000 people and in 1878, after the territorial expansion, this figure rose to over 200,000.
A collection of 12 history books in five languages (German, Serbian, French, English and Russian), published between 1846 and 1888 and now digitised by the British Library, offers a fascinating perspective into the growth of knowledge about Montenegro in the 19th century. These books, some of them very rare, remain relevant today as invaluable historical sources and important documents on the basis of which our critical knowledge of the history of Montenegro was created over time.
Milan Grba, Lead Curator South-East European Collections
Mojsije Pajić, V. Scherb, Cernagora (Zagreb,1846) 10210.b.12.
Milorad Medaković, Povestnica Crnegore (Zemun, 1850) 9136.de.13.(1.)
Cyprien Robert, Les Slaves de Turquie, Serbes, Monténégrins, Bosniaques, Albanais et Bulgares (Paris, 1852) 10125.d.19.
Walerian Krasinski, Montenegro and the Slavonians of Turkey (London, 1853) 1155.g.13.
Aleksandar Andrić, Geschichte des Fürstenthums Montenegro (Vienna, 1853) 9135.d.20.(1.)
Dimitrije Milaković, Istoriia Crne Gore (Zadar, 1856) 9134.bb.13.
Henri Delarue, Le Monténégro. Histoire, description, mœurs, usages, législation (Paris, 1862) 10205.bb.17. Serbian translation: Crna Gora: istorija, opis, naravi, običaji, zakonodavstvo, političko uređenje, zvanična dokumеnta i spisi (Podgorica, 2003) YF.2006.a.35818
François Lenormant, Turcs et Monténégrins (Paris, 1866) 9135.aaa.32. Serbian translation Turci i Crnogorci (Podgorica, 2002) YF.2008.a.30613.
William Carr, Montenegro (Oxford, 1884) 9136.c.40.
Pavel Apollonovich Rovinskiĭ, Chernogoriia v eia proshlom i nastoiashchem (St Petersburg, 1888) 10007.t.1.
Sima Milutinović Sarajlija, Istoriia Cerne - Gore od iskona do noviega vremena (Belgrade, 1835) 9135.g.3. Available online from Matica srpska Digital Library.
Gustav Friedrich Hertzberg, Montenegro und sein Freiheitskampf (Halle, 1853) 10126.a.36.
Zakonik Danila Prvog (Novi Sad, 1855). Available online from Matica srpska Digital Library.
Abdolonyme Ubicini, Les Serbes de Turquie: études historiques, statistiques et politiques sur la principauté de Serbie, le Montenegro et les pays serbes adjacents (Paris, 1865) 10126.aaa.43.
Timoleone Vedovi, Cenni sul Montenegro (Mantova, 1869) 10125.aa.43. Serbian translation Bilješke o Crnoj Gori (Podgorica, 2000) YF.2008.a.34135.
Sigfrid Kaper, O Crnoj Gori (Podgorica, 1999) YF.2008.a.34150.
Spiridion Gopčević, Montenegro und die Montenegriner (Leipzig, 1877) 10126.f.6.
Đorđe Popović, Recht und Gericht in Montenegro (Zagreb, 1877) 5759.e.32. Serbian: translation Pravo i sud u Crnoj Gori (Podgorica, 2003) YF.2006.a.11405.
Giacomo Chiudina, Storia del Montenero-Crnagora-da’ tempi antichi fino a’ nostri (Split, 1882) 9136.ee.1.
Jovan Popović-Lipovac, Crnogorac i Crnogorka (Podgorica, 2001) YF.2008.a.34137.
P. Coquelle, Histoire du Monténégro et de la Bosnie depuis les origins (Paris, 1895). 2392.g.4. Serbian translation: Istorija Crne Gore i Bosne (Podgorica, 1998) YF.2008.a.34225.
Il Montenegro da relazioni dei provveditori veneti, 1687-1735 (Roma, 1896) L.R.37.a.10. Serbian translation: Crna Gora: izvještaji mletačkih providura: 1687-1735 (Podgorica, 1998) YF.2008.b.3078
Đorđe Popović, Istorija Crne Gore (Belgrade, 1896) 9135.de.13. Available online from Belgrade University Digital Repository
William Miller, The Balkans: Roumania, Bulgaria, Servia and Montenegro (London, 1896) 9012.a.1/44.
Ilarion Ruvarac, Montenegrina (Zemun, 1899) 9136.f.31.
Pavel Apollonovich Rovinskiĭ, Zapisi o Crnoj Gori (Podgorica, 2001) YF.2009.a.9153.
05 March 2018
In the 19th century Montenegro was one of the least known countries, formally part of European Turkey, but in reality an unconquerable country on the edge of its existence, which presented a constant challenge to the power of the Porte. The Ottoman Turks overran Montenegro with large armies several times, captured the capital Cetinje, burned the villages and crops, but the free mountain people were never subjugated and thus invaders paid dearly in losses for their conquests and retreats. Before its full independence in 1878, the Turkish authorities never recognised the facto autonomous status of Montenegro.
In a collection of 18 travel books in six languages (French, Russian, English, Serbian, Italian and Hungarian), published between 1820 and 1896 and recently digitised by the British Library, European visitors to Montenegro recorded a wealth of knowledge about the country and its people.
Woman from Montenegro. From L.C. Vialla de Sommières, Voyage historique et politique au Montenegro (Paris, 1820). 10126.dd.14.
The travel accounts comprise history, topography, statistics and data on human and natural resources, maps and images of Montenegro. They describe the Montenegrins’ way of life and customs, their habits and character, religious ceremonies, superstitions and beliefs, skills, knowledge and ignorance in equal measure. These accounts provide useful insights into the everyday life of Montenegrins, their virtues and weaknesses and their moral values. The observers were equally interested in health and education, economy and trade, political relations, diplomacy and governance, legislation and consequently the life and development of the state of Montenegro.
The Montenegrin man was depicted as a free man and warrior armed at all times with a gun and sabre (yatagan) and the usual ‘strucca’ (struka) over his shoulder, a cover made of canvas or animal skin which he used against the elements or as a sleeping pad. Every Montenegrin wore a moustache, had shaved beard and the fore part of the head, as far as the line of the ear. He wore folding red cap with black lining, a homemade suit of rough cloth, which was long and narrow with tight sleeves and knee-high wide trousers with woollen socks and leather moccasins (opanak). The Montenegrin woman wore colourfully embroidered shirts and decorated outfit with a scarf for married women or a red cap for girls.
Fish was one of the most important products of Montenegro. Crnojević River (Rijeka Crnojevića) and Skadar Lake were abundant in quality freshwater fish. They were exported dried and salted to local markets and to Trieste, Venice and other places. Montenegro held a traditional fishing festival celebrated as a harvest holiday. This was a special occasion celebrated during fishing seasons in the presence of the Montenegrin ruler and dignitaries.
Cattaro (now Kotor). From Andrew Archibald Paton, Highlands and Islands of the Adriatic (London, 1849). 10126.dd.19.
As well as fish, the Montenegrins sold other products three times a week at the market in Kotor, which was the main trading town and a place of supply for Montenegro. Here the Montenegrins mostly traded in wool, goats, wood, dry meat, bacon, fat, lard, honey, wax, turtles, vegetables, livestock, game, eggs, milk, cheese, wheat, corn flour, potatoes etc.
Vladika (Prince-Bishop of Montenegro) Petar II Petrović Njegoš . From John Gardner Wilkinson, Dalmatia and Montenegro (London, 1848). 10290.dd.16.
The title of Vladika was a popular term for the Orthodox Metropolitan of Montenegro who was the spiritual, political and military leader of a theocratic patriarchal country. Petar II Petrović Njegoš successfully continued his predecessor’s reforms of the national customs, government and institutions of Montenegro. He founded the first primary school in Montenegro and a small press for the printing of school and educational material. In this press Vladika Petar II printed his early collection of poetry Pustinjak cetinjski (‘Cetinje hermit’) in 1834.
Tsetinje (Cetinje). From Emily Anne Beaufort, The Eastern Shores of the Adriatic in 1863 (London, 1864). 10126.d.32.
Cetinje monastery, destroyed and rebuilt several times until the mid-19th century, represented on its own the capital of Montenegro. Close to the monastery Vladika Petar II had his residence built (seen in this lithograph to the left of the monastery) which housed his private library and accommodated public administration. This was the beginning of the first town in Montenegro created at the foot of the high mountains which guarded the freedom and independence of this country.
Vojvoda Mirko Petrović epitomises a Montenegrin freedom fighter.He was a hardened military commander who won important battles against the Ottoman forces. A photographic portrait of Vojvoda Mirko was taken in 1863 and he is described in The Eastern Shores of the Adriatic in 1863: “In person he is a remarkable-looking man: very small for a Montenegrine, thin and spare in figure, every line in the closely-shaven face expressing decision, and the small restless eye lighting up in conversation with such a fierce eagle’s glance, that one can fancy how wild and fiery it must be in war. His voice is peculiarly high-pitched and thin, unlike that of his countrymen in general, but when excited in the Senate he managed to give it a hoarse roar that astounded one’s ears.”
First-hand travel accounts were usually published to meet the curiosity of the officials and the public of countries with a political, military, commercial, cultural or general interest in far-away or lesser known countries. Their detailed descriptions and insights remain valuable for researchers today. It can be seen that travel writers were well informed and well acquainted with the existing literature about the subject of their interest. Some travelogues provide useful bibliographies that reveal the body knowledge available at the time of writing. They enable two-way communication with the past and our understanding of the world as it used to be and as it is now. Since 1995 the publishing house CID in Podgorica has specialised in publishing international travel literature about Montenegro in Serbian translation which is an important addition to the British Library collection.
Milan Grba, Lead Curator South-East European Collections
Digitised books not cited in the text:
Egor Petrovich Kovalevsky, Chetyre miesiatsa v Chernogorii (St Petersburg, 1841) 10290.e.22.
Aleksandr Nikolaevich Popov, Puteshestvie v Chernogoriiu (St Petersburg, 1847) 10126.dd.13.
V. M. G. Medaković, Život i običai Crnogoraca (Novi Sad, 1860) 10126.eee.13.
J.M. Neale, Notes, ecclesiological and picturesque, on Dalmatia, Croatia, Istria, Styria, with a visit to Montenegro (London, 1861) 10205.b.7.
Richard Cortambert, Coup d’œil sur le Monténégro (Paris, 1861) 10126.d.10.
Alfred Boulongne, Le Monténégro, le pays et ses habitants (Paris, 1869) 10125.e.23.
R.H.R., Rambles in Istria, Dalmatia and Montenegro (London, 1875) 10210.ee.33.
James Creagh, Over the Borders of Christendom and Eslamiah… (London, 1876) 10125.bb.7.
Alfredo Serristori, La Costa Dalmata e il Montenegro durante la guerra del 1877 (Florence, 1877) 10127.ff.8.
James George Cotton Minchin, The Growth of Freedom in the Balkan Peninsula (London, 1886) 10126.aaa.19.
Adolf Strausz, A Balkan Félsziget (Budapest, 1888) 10125.f.11.
Pierre Bauron, Les Rives illyriennes (Paris, 1888) 10126.g.14.
Robert K. Kennedy, Montenegro and its Borderlands (London, 1894) 010127.a.24.
Giuseppe Marcotti, Montenegro e le sue donne (Milan, 1896) 10126.cc.14.
Vuk Stefanović Karadžić, Montenegro und die Montenegriner (Stuttgart, 1837). 1294.c.3. Serbian translation Crna Gora i Boka Kotorska (Belgrade, 1922). 012216.de.1/161.
Heinrich Stieglitz, Ein Besuch auf Montenegro (Stuttgart, 1841). 1294.c.5. Serbian translation Posjeta Crnoj Gori (Podgorica, 2004). YF.2008.a.34254.
Wilhelm Ebel, Zwölf Tage auf Montenegro (Königsberg, 1842-44). 1426.h.6. Digital copy available from the University of Belgrade Digital Library.
Johann Georg Kohl, Reise nach Istrien, Dalmatien und Montenegro (Dresden, 1851). 10290.a.14. Serbian translation Putovanje u Crnu Goru (Podgorica, 2005). YF.2008.a.30618.
Xavier Marmier, Lettres sur l’Adriatique et le Montenegro (Paris, 1854). 10205.bb.23. Serbian translation of Marmier’s Lettres and other works relating to Montenegro Pisma o Jadranu i Crnoj Gori (Podgorica, 1996). YF.2008.a.40694.
William F. Wingfield, A tour in Dalmatia, Albania, and Montenegro, with an historical sketch of the Republic of Ragusa (London, 1859) 10215.c.25. Available online from Books on Google.
Alfred Boulongne, Crna Gora: zemlja i stanovništvo (Podgorica, 2002). YF.2008.a.24793
Egor Kovalevskii, Chernogoriia i slovenskiia zemli (St Petersburg, 1872). 12264.f.16. Serbian translation of this and the same author’s Chetyre miesiatsa v Chernogorii (St Petersburg, 1841), as Crna Gora i slovenske zemlje (Podgorica, 1999). YA.2001.a.19183.
Gabriel Frilley, Jovan Vlahović, Le Monténégro contemporain (Paris, 1876). 10126.aaa.1. Serbian translation Savremena Crna Gora (Podgorica, 2001). YF.2008.a.34156.
La France au Monténégro d’après Vialla de Sommières et Henri Delarue. Récits de voyages publiés et complétés par Cyrille (Paris, 1876). 9135.aaa.12.
Alfredo Serristori, Crna Gora i Dalmatinska obala (Podgorica, 2010). YF.2011.a.14503.
Ludvík Kuba, Na Černé Hoře (Prague, 1892). 10125.ee.32. Serbian translation U Crnoj Gori (Podgorica, 1996). YF.2008.a.39380.
Ignat Horica, Na Cerné Hoře (Prague, 1895). 10125.cc.20.
Giuseppe Marcotti, Crna Gora i njene žene (Podgorica, 1997). YF.2008.a.28680.
23 February 2015
Andrija Kačić Miošić (1704-1760) was a Franciscan friar, reader in theology and philosophy at religious schools in Venetian Dalmatia, and a national poet. He wrote three works in his lifetime, all printed in Venice: Elementa peripatethica juxta mentem subtilissimi doctoris Joannis Duns Scoti in 1752, a philosophical textbook derived from the works of John Duns Scotus; Razgovor ugodni naroda slovinskoga (‘Pleasant Conversation of the Slavonic People’); and Korabglicza (‘Little Ark’), a collection of biblical stories and Slavonic chronicles from the beginning of the world to his time which was his last work, published in 1760. The most important of these, for which he is best known, is Razgovor ugodni, an epic history of the Slavonic peoples in prose and in 136 epic poems, first published in 1756 with a definitive second edition in 1759.
The significance of Razgovor ugodni lies not in its literary merit but in the influence it had on generations of Slavonic people in the Balkans. Kačić Miošić wrote mainly in the Ikavian (ikavica) variant of the Štokavian dialect in Latin script, a language which the common people could read and understand as their own everyday spoken language. The Štokavian dialect became the foundation of the literary languages developed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia in the 19th century.
Razgovor ugodni aimed to instruct and inspire the people of the Balkans by their glorious past and to instil the values of national heroism and confidence in the struggle against the Turks. Kačić Miošić wanted the people to remember who they were and where they came from as the important legacy of their honourable past. His poetry did not aim to achieve literary heights, nor did his prose strive for historical accuracy based on documentary evidence. He drew mainly on the available Latin, Italian and Croatian printed sources, as well as on the scarce historical records, but his true inspiration came from his enthusiasm for the Slavonic peoples, especially his admiration for their common efforts in the long struggle against the Turks in the Balkans over a period of two centuries. Kačić Miošić travelled extensively to learn at first-hand about this struggle from people who had orally preserved their national tradition, myths and legends and passed them on for generations. His poetry celebrates the unity, endurance, dignity and faith of the Slavonic peoples and their allies against their oppressors and laments those who have not yet set themselves free.
Razgovor ugodni was therefore inspired by the idealised history, folk tradition and myth of the Slavonic peoples which Kačić Miošić presented passionately to his readers in stylized decasyllabic verses modelled on national folk poetry. No book before or since has seen more editions in Croatian literature. It was referred to as ‘the people’s songbook’ and became an all-time favourite, printed in 64 known editions from 1756 to 2011. Kačić Miošić was the first Croatian writer to whom a monument was erected, in Zagreb in 1891. Razgovor ugodni was printed in 12 Cyrillic editions from 1807 to 1939.
In 1836 one Venceslav Juraj Dunder (a pseudonym for Vjekoslav Babukić published the 10th edition of Razgovor ugodni in Vienna as ‘Novo Vandanje’. An elegant and richly decorated two-volume bibliophile copy of this edition named ‘Carsko Vandanje’, (the imperial edition), was beautifully printed on fine paper with gilded edges, and decorated with an ornament on each page. The volumes were bound by C. G. Müllner’s workshop in Vienna in calf leather, blocked in colours with gilt and black tooling with leaf corner-pieces. (For a more detailed description see the British Library database of bookbindings.) This ‘imperial edition’ was not a complete edition of Razgovor ugodni. It includes 58 poems from the definitive 1759 edition.
This unique copy of Razgovor ugodni was produced as a presentation copy for Tsar Nicholas I of Russia. In the period of national revivals in 1830-40s Kačić Miošić was celebrated and reprinted as a national poet whose vision was the Slavonic peoples’ interdependence and the common purpose of unity and collaboration for cultural and political progress, freedom and emancipation. It is evident from this presentation copy that Dunder shared Kačić Miošić’s sentiments and his understanding of the mutual Slavonic ties and goals.
There are three manuscript inscriptions in the second volume on ornamented flyleaves. The first is in Russian, dated 24 June 1835 and recommending the book to the Tsar as a learned work created in the “Slavonic homeland.” The second is a Croatian dedication to the Tsar, and the third is Dunder’s six-page discussion of the “Serbo-Illyrian language” and the correct reading of the new orthography.
Both volumes bear the stamp “Bibliothèque de Tsarskoe Selo” (left) which reveals the book to have been part of the private library of Tsar Nicholas I at Tsarskoe Selo near St Petersburg. It must have left the Russian Imperial Library in or before 1933 as it was advertised for sale on 20-21 June 1933, with other treasures from Austrian and Russian Imperial libraries, by the auction house of Gilhofer and Ranschburg. It is entry no. 227 in the catalogue of the sale (11910.t.27.) and images of the front cover and spine of volume one are shown in plate 21. The book was valued at 160 Swiss francs. The Zagreb daily Obzor reported on the auction and appealed to the public to raise 2000 Yugoslav dinars for the purchase of “the lavish edition” of Kačić Miošić.
Razgovor ugodni was partly translated into Latin by Emericus Pavić (1716-1780), a Franciscan from Buda, in 1764 (Descriptio soluta et rythmica regum, banorum, cæterorumque heroum Slavinorum seu Illyricorum; 9475.b.9.). This translation led to a wider interest in Kačić Miošić’s works. Alberto Fortis’s translations into Italian from Razgovor ugodni introduced Kačić Miošić’s poems to Western readers for the first time during the Romantic period.
The British Library holds a significant collection of Razgovor ugodni collected over a period of over 160 years, from 1847 to the present day. This comprises nine 19th century editions of Razgovor ugodni, seven in Latin and two in Cyrillic scripts:
Dubrovnik, 1826; RB.31.b.368. A facsimile reprint of an 1801 Venice edition, with an additional poem “Pisma od Napoleona” (Letters from Napoleon);
Vienna, 1836; RB.23.b.7396. The ‘imperial edition’, discussed above;
Zadar 1846; 12264.aa.10.
Zagreb, 1851; 11303.l.25. A inexpensive edition called “Pjesme” (Poems) printed in the spirit of Kačić Miošić to be affordable by ordinary people;
Zagreb, 1862; 12265.cc.6. Another inexpensive edition with Babukić’s introduction revealing that he had prepared Razgovor ugodni for publication in Vienna in 1836 under the pseudonym “V. J. Dunder”
Zagreb, 1876; 11586.df.18. The first of several of Lavoslav Hartman’s (later Kugli and Deutsch, then St[jepan] Kugli) editions;
Zagreb, 1886; 011586.ff.55
The first of the two Cyrillic editions that the library holds (011586.f.74.) printed in Zemun in 1849-50 in two volumes with the title Србско-народне витежке пјесме (‘Serbian-folk chivalrous poems’), is a selection from Razgovor ugodni. The other (012265.e.5/81.) was printed in Pančevo in 1890 in the Braće Jovanović bookshop’s popular series Narodna biblioteka (National library) and was presented together with 250 books from this series to the Library by the Serbian Legation in 1920.
There are four 20th-century editions of Razgovor ugodni in the Library of which it is worth mentioning a critical edition of both the 1756 and 1759 editions, published in Zagreb in 1942 (Ac.741/14.); and a 1946 edition (11588.bb.8.) which was one of 500 Yugoslav books donated by the Yugoslav government to the Library in April 1948.
The Library also holds a critical edition of the 1760 edition of Kačić Miošić’s Korabljica (Little Ark) published in 1945 (Ac.741/14.). We continue to collect works by and about Kačić Miošić as a highlight of our Croatian collections. The most recent acquisitions include a new critical edition of Razgovor ugodni (Zagreb, 2006: YF.2007.a.19001).
Milan Grba, Curator South-Eastern European Collections
Digital versions of Razgovor ugodni
Trieste [i.e. Dubrovnik], 1831 (from the National Library of Austria)
Dubrovnik, 1839 (from the National Library of Austria)
Vienna, 1836 [vol. two only] (from the National Library of the Czech Republic)
Zadar, 1851 (from the University of Wisconsin – Madison)
Zagreb, 1862 (from Harvard University)
Digital versions of Korabglicza
Venice, 1782 (from the National Library of the Czech Republic)
Dubrovnik, 1833 (from the National Library of the Czech Republic)
Fortunato Karaman, Andrija Kačić Miošić e i suoi canti. (Pula, 1889). 11840.aaa.25.(6.)
Danilo A. Živaljević, “Andrija Kačić Miošić slovinski pesnik”. Letopis matice srpske, 1892, III, 171, pp. 1-36. Ac.8984.
Vojislav M. Jovanović, “Deux traductions inédites d’Albert Fortis”. Archiv für Slavische Philologie, 1909, Bd. xxx. Hft. 4. Sonderabdruck, -596. 011586.g.94.(5.).
Nikola Žic, “Carsko izdanje Kačićeva razgovora” . Obzor, 1933, 147, p. 3. MFM.MF693
Gašpar Bujas, Kačićevi imitatori u Makarskom primorju do polovine 19. stoljeća. (Zagreb, 1971). Ac.741/19
Francesco Saverio Perillo, Rileggendo Kačić: tra storia e folklore. (Bari, 1979). YF.2004.a.17241
Andriia Kachich Mioshich i bŭlgarite. Editor Rumiana Bozhilova. (Sofia, 2000). YF.2012.a.21898
Stipe Botica, Andrija Kačić Miošić. (Zagreb, 2003). Includes a bibliography of Andrija Kačić Miošić (pp. -319). YF.2005.a.29437
Fra Andrija Kačić Miošić i kultura njegova doba. Editor Dunja Fališevac. (Zagreb, 2007). YF.2008.a.10573
06 February 2015
Across much of Europe it is carnival time. Another year of sheer fun and exuberance. Although its exact timing varies from place to place, the main events usually take place during February. The old, pagan tradition was for evil spirits to be shooed away in anticipation of the new spring cycle. In later times these rituals were frowned upon by the Christian Church but tolerated when they took place in the period before the beginning of Lent. A central feature has always been masks and masquerading. They provided a way for people to try to understand and exert influence on their natural surroundings. Some also believed that masks had magical powers allowing wearers to connect with their ancestors and with the spirit world.
Čoroje, a carnival character from the Dubrovnik region in the early 19th century From Notizie istorico-critiche sulle antichità, storia e letteratura de' Ragusei (Ragusa, 1802) British Library 10129.ee.18.
Slovenia and Croatia are two countries where the traditions are preserved and interest remains strong. Slovenia’s major event is the festival Kurentovanje, held in Ptuj, its oldest city. Here the central carnival figure in the parades is the Kurent, a high-spirited demon, dressed in sheepskin. The leather masks of Kurents from different villages will have their own individual features but most are decorated with colourful flowers and ribbons, and with prominent long red tongues. Attached to the costumes are cow bells and as the Kurents pass through the streets they shake their bodies to sound the bells.
They also carry sticks with hedgehog skins attached to the tips. The origin of the Kurent is not completely understood but its purpose appears to have been to chase away winter and bring good fortune to the countryside for the season ahead. As well as participating in the parades, groups of Kurents visit houses and farms in the area. Where they are welcomed they will bring good luck, where they are not, they roll themselves on the ground and this means bad luck will follow. The Kurent has inspired authors and artists alike.
For those who cannot attend the carnival itself, the museum in Ptuj castle has an excellent permanent display of masks and costumes.
In Croatia in more recent times the festive season of carnival has become punctuated by masked balls and parades like the one in the city of Rijeka. Of its older customs, the best preserved are the Zvončari, the bell men, now included in UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The Croatian town of Kastav and its surrounding area are home to the Zvončari. The rich ethnographic history of this area is somewhat comically described in Ivo Jardas’s Kastavština, written in Chakavian dialect. The Zvončari are best known as performers of pagan carnival magic.
On their visits to neighbouring villages they move in rows of two or three, merging towards each other, sounding their huge bells. The sound is overwhelming and leaves one with a mixture of feelings, from excitement and fear, to curiosity and thrills. On their backs they wear long sheep fur while their hats, klobuk or krabujosnica, are the real sign of the spring to come. Abundantly colourful displays of hand-made, paper flowers are interspersed with fir tree or asparagus branches, and ribbons. The hats were first introduced after the First World War, when one half of the Kastav region fell under Italian rule and animal-like masks were banned. This explains why today Zvončari from the west wear hats and Zvončari from the east wear the masks. Although over the years the nuances of costume went through many a transformation, the custom itself looks like it’s here to stay.
Lora Afric, Cataloguer Southern Slavonic Langauges, and Barbara Hawes, Curator Scandinavian Studies
Niko Kuret, Maske slovenskih pokrajin. (Ljubljana, 1984.) X.421/27014
O pustu, maskah in maskiranju: razprave in gradiva. (Ljubljana, 2003.) YF.2011.a.21529
Ivo Jardas, Kastavština: građa o narodnom životu i običajima u kastavskom govoru, in Zbornik za narodni život i običaje, knj. 39. (Zagreb, 1957.) Ac.741/15
Lidija Nikočević, Zvončari i njihovi odjeci. (Novi Vinodolski, Zagreb, Pazin, 2014.) YF.2015.a.2654
Gary Edson, Masks and masking: faces of tradition and belief worldwide. (London, 2005.) YC.2006.b.904
Masque et carnaval dans la litterature europeenne, ed. Edward Welch. (Paris, 2002.) YA.2003.a.11995.
05 November 2014
On 10 December 2014 Esperantists worldwide will be reflecting on the 60th anniversary of the Montevideo Resolution. This resolution in support of Esperanto was passed by the General Conference of UNESCO in Montevideo, Uruguay, on 10 December 1954, and authorised the Director-General “to follow current developments in the use of Esperanto in education, science and culture, and, to this end, to co-operate with the Universal Esperanto Association in matters concerning both organizations”. The Montevideo Resolution would not have been possible without enormous efforts by a great enthusiast for the international language, Ivo Lapenna (photo above with kind permission from the Lapenna Foundation).
The conference in Montevideo produced poems about its heroes and anti-heroes in Esperanto (by William Auld, Kalman Kalocsay, Reto Rosetti, Marjorie Boulton and Geraldo Mattos). Photographs from the conference and poems about it are to be found here. The “anti-hero of Montevideo” - Danish philologist Andreas Blinkenberg, who opposed the acceptance of the resolution - lives on forever in Esperanto poetry and spoken language (blinkenbergo).
Ivo Lapenna was born on 5 November 1909. A native of Split (then the part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire), he received a very good education and in 1933 gained his PhD in Law in Zagreb and later became a professor of International Law at Zagreb University. During the Second World War Lapenna worked for the Resistance Forces. In 1949 he emigrated from Yugoslavia to Britain via France, became a British citizen in 1962, and worked as a professor of law in London. He was also a qualified teacher of the cello.
The British Library holds books written and edited by Ivo Lapenna in various languages. The oldest of these was published in Croatian in Zagreb, then in Yugoslavia: Ujedinjene Nacije (‘The United Nations’; Zagreb, 1946; 8012.aa.23). Books about law in English followed in the 1960s: State and Law: Soviet and Yugoslav theory (London, 1964; 8184.d.47/1) and Soviet penal policy: A background book (London, 1968; X.208/864). By the time of writing the last book Ivo Lapenna held the title of “Reader in Soviet Law, London School of Economics and The School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University of London”.
Lapenna learned Esperanto as a teenager in 1928 and was an energetic and outspoken promoter of the language all his life. In 1955 he became General Secretary of the Universala Esperanto Asocio (UEA/World Esperanto Association) and between 1964 and 1974 served as its President. He was not re-elected during the 59th World Congress of Esperanto in Hamburg in 1974, which created a lot of friction among Esperantists. Lapenna himself called the events in Hamburg “the communist putsch”. His colourful and complicated personality continues to provoke discussions in the Esperanto world up to the present day. Although Esperanto was planned by Zamenhof as a “neutral language” for all, the World Esperanto Association was functioning in the real world, and during the Cold War tensions among various national Esperanto associations sometimes rose very high. Even the article about Ivo Lapenna in the Esperanto-language Wikipedia (Vikipedio) gives a warning about the “non-neutrality of the article”.
There are, however, a few things that all Esperantists do agree about Lapenna: he was an outstanding orator and the first author of a book about the art of oratory in Esperanto. His Retoriko (‘Oratory’; Paris, 1950) was republished several times (the British Library holds the second and third editions: Rotterdam, 1958; X5/5240 and Rotterdam, 1971; YF.2011.a.24046).
Most of the books written and compiled by Lapenna, among them the monumental encyclopedic work (written in collaboration with Ulrich Lins and Tazio Carlevaro) Esperanto en perspektivo: faktoj kaj analizoj pri la internacia lingvo (‘Esperanto in Perspective: Facts and Analyses about the International Language’; London-Rotterdam, 1974;) are in Esperanto and about Esperanto. The British Library Esperanto Collections hold the following books:
Elektitaj paroladoj kaj prelegoj (‘Selected Talks and Lectures’; two editions: Rotterdam, 1966; YF.2005.a.664; and Rotterdam, 2009; YF.2010.a.877);
Kritikaj studoj defende de Esperanto (‘Critical Studies in Defence of Esperanto’; Copenhagen, 1987; YF.2006.b.2670);
Hamburgo en retrospektivo : dokumentoj kai materialoj pri la kontraŭneŭtraleca politika konspiro en UEA (‘Hamburg in retrospective: documents and materials about the anti-neutrality political conspiracy in the UEA’; 2nd edition; Copenhagen, 1977; YF.2008.a.11937);
La Internacia Lingvo: faktoj pri Esperanto (‘The International Language; Facts on Esperanto’; London, 1954; F9/8716);
Aktualaj problemoj de la nuntempa internacia vivo (‘Current Problems of Contemporary International Life’; Rotterdam, 1952; YF.2010.a.16344).
Some of his books were translated into other languages. The whole bibliography of the original works and their translations is available in: Concise Encyclopedia of the Original Literature of Esperanto by Geoffrey Sutton (New York, 2008; YC.2008.a.12495).
After his retirement Ivo Lapenna moved to Denmark. Even the date of his death – 15 December 1987 – the year of the 100th anniversary of La Unua Libro – is linked to the love of his life, Esperanto: Zamenhof was born on 15 December. Books and pamphlets in his memory appeared soon after his death: Memore al Ivo lapenna (‘Ivo Lapenna in Memoriam’; Copenhagen, 1988; YF.2010.a.9052); Eseoj memore al Ivo Lapenna (Essays in memory of Ivo Lapenna; Copenhagen, 2001; awaiting shelfmark). In 1984 the Lapenna Foundation was created in Copenhagen, aiming to keep alive the memory of Ivo Lapenna’s outstanding life, to promote the international language Esperanto, and to contribute to respect for human rights worldwide.
Olga Kerziouk, Curator Esperanto Studies
04 June 2014
The Balkan Day Seminar at the British Library on 13 June will celebrate among others the life and literary accomplishments of Marko Marulić (Marcus Marulus Spalatensis, 1450-1524) who was the central figure of a humanist circle from Split and the most highly-praised Croatian personality of his time. Marulić has remained an inspiration to many generations in Croatia up to the present day, an author of considerable international influence and standing.
Marulić wrote mainly treatises on Christian morality drawing on the scriptures, and as a lay person of wide interests he found inspiration for his work in ancient scholarship and in humanist literature. Marulić’s significant and long-lasting legacy consists of Latin and Croatian epic poetry.
De institutione bene vivendi per exempla sanctorum (‘Instructions on How to Lead a Virtuous Life Based on the Examples of the Saints’), is a collection of moral tales and anecdotes from the Old and New Testaments. The first edition was printed in Venice in 1507. During the 16th and 17th centuries it was printed in 15 known editions, giving proof of the popularity of this book. The above is a title page of the printer Adam Petri’s exquisite 1513 edition.
Euangelistarium (Evangelistary) is a seven-book treatise on Christian ethics, considered as Marulić’s main theological work and printed in 15 known 16th century editions. The copy pictured above, printed by Eucharius Cervicornus in Cologne in 1529, belonged to Henry VIII and contains his manuscript notes; it came to the British (Museum) Library as part of the Old Royal Library.
Henry VIII’s annotations in his copy of the Evangelistary (843.k.13.), with marginal notes and a drawing of a pointing hand to highlight the printed text, which reveals the king’s interest in theology.
De humilitate et gloria Christi (‘Christ’s Humility and Glory’) is Marulić’s third major work on moral theology, printed with the aim of providing useful examples for a virtuous life. The copy pictured above was printed in Venice by Bernardino Vitali in 1519.
Latin was used in the Croatian lands until the mid-19th century, when the vernacular gradually replaced it in administration and as a literary language. Šime Jurić’s Latin bibliography, Iugoslaviae scriptores Latini recentioris aetatis: Pars 1, Opera scriptorum Latinorum natione Croatarum usque ad annum MDCCCXLVIII typis edita (Zagreb, 1968-71, ZF.9.b.735), lists over 4500 Croatian Latin works and works about Croatia to 1848. Croatiae auctores Latini, a digital collection of Croatian Latinists and Latin texts about Croatia, provides information on about 180 authors and Latin texts from a 10th-century epitaph to Ton Smerdel’s collection of poems Pontes lucentes (Zagreb, 1962, 11566.a.10.) and Ivan Golub’s Latin poems published in 1984. Over 50 Croatian Latin writers of all periods are represented in the British Library collection in the original and in subsequent editions and reprints.
‘Carmen de doctrina Domini nostri Iesu Christi pendentis in cruce’ (‘A Dialogue between a Christian and Christ hanging on the Cross’) is a poem originally printed in the first edition of Marulić’s De institutione (Venice, 1507) and reprinted afterwards in all the Latin editions as an appendix. It was translated into English by Philip Howard (St Philip Howard), 13th earl of Arundel (1557-95) and serves as an introduction to his translation of An Epistle in the person of Christ to the faithfull soule by Johannes Justus Lansperger, which was secretly printed in England some time before 1595; the British Library’s copy (1019.c.35.) is pictured below.
In the late 15th and early 16th century poetry evolved in Croatian in addition to Latin. Marulić is the author of the first printed secular work in Croatian, an epic, Judita, based on the Book of Judith, ‘u versih hrvacki složena’ (‘in Croatian verses’), printed in Venice in 1521. Judita is written in the Ikavian variant of the Čakavian dialect (čakavsko-ikavski). Marulić wrote this epic for people who couldn’t understand Latin: ‘Tuj historiju čtući, ulize mi u pamet da ju stumačim našim jazikom, neka ju budu razumiti i oni ki nisu naučni knjige latinske aliti djačke.’
A digital version of Judita (Venice 1522, 2nd edition) is available from the Croatian National and University Library digital heritage.
Vita Divi Hieronymi (Life of St Jerome) is an autograph work by Marulić dating from 1507. This is the title leaf of a codex on fine vellum which comprises 42 folios held in the British Library (Add. MS 18.029).
For further information about Marulić, his bibliography and digital versions of his works, visit The Marulianum Marko Marulić Institute in Split, Croatia. For the British Library’s holdings see our Marulić catalogue.
Milan Grba, Lead Curator Southeast European Studies
Marko Marulić, Judita. S drvorezima i inicijalima iz drugog izdanja, 1522. Predgovor napisao M. Kombol. Tekst Judite i tumač Marcela Kušara revidirao V. Štefanić. (Zagreb, 1950) 11588.g.10.
Branko Franolić, Works of Croatian Latinists recorded in the British Library General Catalogue. 2nd, enlarged ed. (Zagreb, New York, 1998). 2719.e.3669.
A. Clarke, ‘Henry VIII and Marko Marulić’s Evangelistarium’ Colloquia Maruliana 20 (2011), pp. 167-175. ZF.9.a.2999
M. Grba, ‘Marko Marulic and the British Library’ Colloquia Maruliana 20 (2011), pp. 197-226. ZF.9.a.2999
30 May 2014
Primož Trubar (or Primus Truber, 1508-1586) was the founder of the Slovenian literary language, a Protestant priest and a leader of the Protestant Reformation in the Slovenian lands. Trubar was the author of the first printed book in the Slovenian language, a Catechism and Primer (Tübingen, 1550) intended for the education of all Slovenians.
Trubar’s literary and cultural legacy will be celebrated at the forthcoming Balkan Day seminar at the British Library on 13 June 2014.
As a Protestant priest Trubar believed that religious books should be written in a language that people could read and understand. He based the Slovenian literary language on the central Slovenian dialect spoken in his birthplace near Ljubljana, the provincial capital of Carniola. Trubar’s literary engagement becomes all the more important knowing that before him the Slovenian literary tradition was virtually non-existent and the German language was progressively introduced in administration and in church services in place of Latin. Trubar’s literary and educational activities aimed at the Slovenian people had achieved a long-term impact on the Slovenian national written heritage and cultural tradition during and long after the suppression of Protestant church activities in the Slovenian lands.
The image above is a title page of Trubar’s main work, a translation of the New Testament, which he accomplished over a period of 20 years from 1557 to 1577. Trubar used Latin for the Slovenian alphabet which most people could read and write. The only differences between Latin and Slovenian scripts were the new characters in the Slovenian Latin script for Slovenian sounds which did not exist in Latin and German languages. On the title page above, sh represents Slovenian sounds š and ž.
Trubar’s total output as an author, translator and editor consists of 26 Slovenian books; his last work was printed posthumously in 1595. His heterogeneous work included catechisms, primers, poems, prayers, devotional books, parts of the Old and New Testaments, theological interpretations, and a book of Protestant regulations. His opus is nearly a half of the total Slovenian Protestant book production of about 56 books. The Slovenian and Croatian Protestant books which survived the Counter-Reformation period are very rare today, preserved in only a small number of copies.
The British Library holds 13 of Trubar’s most important books, including the complete New Testament and the Catechism (Tübingen, 1575; C.110.b.6.) in Slovenian Latin, and in the Croatian Cyrillic and Glagolitic alphabets. Some of Trubar’s books (C.110.a.15.(1- 4)) came to the Library in 1753 as part of the foundation collection of Sir Hans Sloane, but the majority were acquired in the 1840s and the last acquisition of an original edition by Trubar, a complete New Testament in Cyrillic (Urach, 1563, C.51.e.8.), a valuable and extremely rare book, was in 1953.
The Library’s collection of Trubar’s books is also very important for the study of Croatian Protestant literature and culture in the 16th century. Baron Hans von Ungnad, Freiherr von Sonnegg (1493-1564), a former provincial governor of Styria (Štajerska in Slovene), established a Bible Institute with a printing press in Urach near Tübingen (1560-1564). Trubar was appointed as a director of the Institute which employed nine people. Its main aim was to produce Protestant books and to spread the Gospel to people of all faiths in Croatia, Dalmatia, Slavonia, Bosnia, Serbia, Bulgaria, and as far as Constantinople. To achieve this goal Trubar employed two Croatian Protestants, Stjepan Konzul Istranin (1521-1579) and Antun Dalmatin (d.1579), who translated his religious works into Croatian in the Glagolitic and Cyrillic alphabets. To complement this South-Slavonic enterprise, two Serbian Orthodox monks from Serbia and Bosnia, Matija Popović and Jovan Maleševac, were employed to proofread the Cyrillic script of Konzul’s and Dalmatin’s translations.
The British Library holds nine items from the Urach press in Glagolitic and Cyrillic scripts, all the Konzul and Dalmatin translations of Trubar’s works: Catechism and Primer (1561, C.110.a.15(1-4)), translations of Liturgical Epistles and Gospels (1562, C.65.l.9.), a compilation from the Augsburg Confession (1562, C.27.e.8. and C.27.e.10.), and the translation of the New Testament (1563, C.24.a.18. and C.51.e.8.). The books of the Urach press which bear the Tübingen imprint are of great bibliographic rarity and, although printed in about 25,000 copies, only about 250 are known to have survived to the present day in some 50 European collections.
The title page of Trubar’s Primer which included a small catechism, Tabla za dicu, in Dalmatin’s translation and transcription into Cyrillic in the Ikavian (ikavica) variant of the Čakavian dialect of the Croatian language in Cyrillic script, considered also as Western Cyrillic.
The Library also holds a significant collection works about Trubar and Slovenian Protestant books and culture in the 16th century, acquired over a period of 170 years from 1844 to the present day. The collection includes works about Trubar in Slovenian, German and other languages; reprints and facsimile and bibliophile editions of Trubar’s works; and other primary source materials such as correspondence; there are transcriptions into modern languages and translations, collections and anthologies, fiction and poetry, biographies and bibliographies, exhibition catalogues,and anniversary books including the most recent celebration of the 500th anniversary of Trubar’s birth in 2008.
Milan Grba, Lead Curator of Southeast European Studies
Digital versions of Trubar’s books and further references from the Memmingen city archive.
Digital version of Trubar’s posthumous book published by his son in 1595 from the Slovenian Digital Library.
19 May 2014
Nauk krstjanski za narod slovinski (‘Christian Doctrine for Slavonic People’) is an early Bosnian and Herzegovinian printed book, printed in Venice in 1611 by the Bosnian Franciscan Matija Divković (1563-1631). The book is a compilation from the catechisms published by Jacobus Ledisma (1519-1575) and Roberto Bellarmino, translated from Latin into Bosnian, arranged and interpreted by Divković. Divković’s typographical achievements and his Christian Doctrine will be discussed at the forthcoming Balkan Day seminar at the British Library on 13 June 2014.
On the title leaf above Divković explains that he wrote his book to be useful for both clerics and lay people. Under the image of the resurrected Christ, the imprint gives the place and the year of printing, the name and address of the printer, “Pietro-Maria Bertano by the church called Santa Maria Formosa”. The title leaf bears the ownership stamp of the British Museum Library, now the British Library, dated 10 January 1849, the date of purchase from the London bookselling firm of Rodd. This is the only known copy in Britain and the only edition from Bertano’s press in the British Library.
The image above shows Jesus preaching to his apostles. The text on this leaf and the rest of the Christian Doctrine identifies Divković’s book as a typical work of the Counter-Reformation aimed at the revival of the Roman Catholic Church.
Here Divković explains that he translated the sacred texts into a “real and true Bosnian language” and further on he mentions “Slavonic language as in Bosnia Slavonic is spoken”. For Divković Bosnian, Slavonic and “our language”, the term he uses throughout the book, are synonyms for one language which is spoken by the people in Bosnia.
The Cyrillic alphabet in the book is printed, in Divković’s words, using “Serbian characters” but Divković’s Cyrillic has at least ten specific characters of this minuscule Cyrillic alphabet, sometimes referred to as Bosnian Cyrillic (Bosančica); for example Divković uses a vertical rectangle symbol for the Cyrillic character ‘в’ (v).
Divković writes mainly in the Jekavian (jekavica) variant of the Štokavian dialect with some Ikavian (ikavica) words added to it. In the Italian imprimatur printed in the Christian Doctrine the language and the alphabet are referred to as Illyric: “in lingua Illirica, & carattere Illirico di Fra Mattheo de Bossna”.
Divković’s Štokavian dialect was widely spoken in the lands which are today Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia, representing one linguistic entity between Slovenian in the west and the Bulgarian in the east.
The above image shows Divković’s other work Sto čudesa (‘One Hundred Miracles’) bound together with the Christian Doctrine but foliated separately. The British Library has an intact copy in octavo format (Venice, 1611; C.38.e.40.). Both parts of the book have numerous misprints, which is understandable since Divković had his Cyrillic letters moulded in Venice by printers who didn’t know the language or the alphabet. A list of corrections is given at the end of the volume.
The One Hundred Miracles is Divković’s free translation of Johann Herolt’s Sermones Discipuli de tempore et de sanctis, cum exemplorum promptuario, ac miraculis Beatae Mariae Virginis.
Divković’s book contains 12 woodcuts, 10 in Christian Doctrine and two in One Hundred Miracles. The image of the Annunciation shown here is printed on the verso of One Hundred Miracles’s title leaf which has the motif of a stork feeding with the inscription “Pietas homini tutissima virtus” (Piety is the surest virtue of man).
Divković’s significance lies in the fact that his works have been widely researched and studied as part of the Bosnian and Herzegovinian, Croatian and Serbian written heritage to the present day. Most recently, to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the first imprint, the Bosna Srebrena Cultural and Historical Institute in Sarajevo published a critical edition of Christian Doctrine and One Hundred Miracles transcribed into Croatian as Nauk kristijanski za narod slovinski and Sto čudesa aliti zlamen'ja Blažene i slavne Bogorodice, Divice Marije. This critical edition was published together with a facsimile of the edition of Divković’s book printed by Pietro-Maria Bertano in Venice in 1611.
The language of his book, the Štokavian dialect, became the basis of the literary languages developed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia in the 19th century. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Divković’s importance goes beyond the religious doctrine and church teachings that he spread in his homeland. His main legacy is his reputation as the first Bosnian typographer who printed the first Bosnian book in the language spoken by the people in Bosnia and in an alphabet that anyone in Bosnia could read.
Divković is the author of four books; all are compilations from Christian literature popular in his time. The above image is a title-leaf of Christian Doctrine known as a “little Christian doctrine” (mali Nauk) printed in Venice 1616. The current research has identified 25 editions of this hugely popular small (16°) format of the work.
The British Library holds a copy printed by Marco Ginami (Venice, 1640-41; C.52.a.7.). It consists of 15 different religious works in prose and verse collected in one volume; one of them is Christian Doctrine, shown here as a constituent part of the work that bears the same title. This copy is one of two copies known to be in existence in Britain. It was acquired in 1889 from Nikola Batistić, a theology scholar and professor from Zadar, Croatia.
Milan Grba, Lead Curator South-East European Collections
Đorđe Đorđević, „Matija Divković: prilog istoriji srpske književnosti XVII veka“. Glas Srpske kraljevske akademije LII (1896), LIII (1898), pp. -139 and -135. Ac.1131/3.
Ralph Cleminson. Cyrillic books printed before 1701 in British and Irish collections :a union catalogue. (London, 2000). 2708.h.903.
Matija Divković. Nauk kristijanski za narod slovinski : Sto čudesa aliti zlamen'ja Blažene i slavne Bogorodice, Divice Marije. Uvodna studija, rječnik i tumač imena Nauka kristijanskoga Darija Gabrić-Bagarić, Dolores Grmača, Maja Banožić. Uvodna studija, transkripcija, rječnik i tumač imena Sto čudesa Marijana Horvat. (Sarajevo, 2013) YF.2014.a.10503.
Matija Divković. Naūk karstianski za narodʹ slovinski /ovi naūkʹ Izdiačkoga iezika ispisa, privede i složi ū iezikʹ Slovinski Bogoćliūbni Bogoslovat︠s︡ʹ P.O. fra Matie Divkovićʹ. (Sarajevo, 2013) YF.2014.a.10504 [Facsimile of the 1611 edition printed in Venice]
03 July 2013
On 1 July 2013 Croatia joined the European Union. One of the events in the Welcome Croatia Festival held in the run-up to 1 July was Neven Jovanović’s lecture at the BL on Croatian Latin Heritage (3 June), where I picked up Flora Turner-Vučetić’s Mapping Croatia in United Kingdom Collections.
Turner-Vučetić shows very effectively how many Croatian artists are hidden under Italian names, one among them Giulio Clovio, more correctly Juraj Julile Klović (1489-1578), and points out his illuminations in the Stuart de Rothesay Book of Hours (British Library Add. MS. 20927).
But there is another British Library connection: the Rt Hon. Thomas Grenville. As is well known, the politician and diplomat bequeathed his collection of over 20,000 volumes of printed books to the British Museum Library in 1846, thanks to the Machiavellian machinations of Anthony Panizzi. What is less known is that he also donated fifty-nine manuscripts (now Add. MSS. 33733-33791).
Add. MS 33733 is a volume illustrating a Spanish text on the Triumphs of Charles V over Suleiman the Magnificent, Pope Clement VII, Francis I, the Dukes of Cleves and Saxony, and the Landgrave of Hesse. Grenville bought it some time before 1817, in London (as he did all his books). The binding is by Charles Lewis, whom Grenville often employed: presumably he made for Grenville, it incorporates a magnifying glass.
Charles V triumphing over his enemies (BL Add. MS 33733)
Grenville died on 17 December 1846; on 28 January 1847, Assistant Librarian W. B. Rye, with the help of eight Museum attendants and three of Grenville’s servants, set about transferring the 20,240 volumes from Grenville’s home at 2 Hamilton Place, Piccadilly, to Great Russell Street. They numbered the shelves, put the books on trays and placed them in a horse-drawn van which had been fitted with planks to form shelves. Each van was accompanied to the British Museum by an attendant who walked close behind it. There were twenty-one vanloads. The book-move took five days.
Rye took the most valuable item, the Clovio manuscript, in a cab: an indication of the importance which attached to it. Modern scholarship has downgraded it to the work of a pupil or follower of Clovio. One wonders if Clovio suffered a dip in appreciation after Grenville’s time: the British Library online catalogue has five books on him from 1733 to 1894, nothing from 1895 to 1961, and thirteen from 1962 to date.
Grenville is not famous for his love of manuscripts, or for his love of visual culture in general, though he did have a Valuable and Unique Collection of Rare Oriental, Sevres, Dresden, Berlin and Chelsea Porcelain (auctioned at Christie & Manson, 15 June 1847).
The Clovio MS is rarely mentioned in the accounts of Grenville’s library, which focus on the printed books. Like the Croatian identity of Juraj Julile Klović, it has stayed in the shadows. Until now.
References: Barry Taylor, ‘Thomas Grenville (1755-1846) and his books’, in Libraries within the Library: the Origins of the British Library’s Printed Collections, ed. Giles Mandelbrote and Barry Taylor (London, 2009), pp. 321-40 [BL shelfmark YC.2010.a.1356]
Barry Taylor, Curator Hispanic Studies
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