Military Life and Warrior Images in Croatian Borderlands from the 16th Century until 1918

Methodology

The project team conducts research based on the collection and processing of archival materials (parish records, muster rolls, registers, censuses, land registers, cadastres in Croatian and foreign archives) that – despite their vast volume – have so far been mainly neglected by both domestic and foreign historians and researchers from other disciplines. Considering the contents of these sources research focusses on actual people, their activities and destinies. It therefore does not deal for the most part with classic military or war history, but follows the number and impact of this group within the political and social context of their living environment. The archival materials that make it possible to realize the set project tasks are very comprehensive and require several months of research in above all Croatian, Austrian and Italian archives (there are several hundreds of record boxes referring directly to Croatian soldiers and officers who served among Austrian and Venetian troops).

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The research and detailed study of archival materials that was conducted by senior members of the project team (this is supported by relevant publications written by them) during the last couple of years confirm that it is entirely possible – on the basis of concrete records – to provide specific data on personal characteristics of soldiers and officers from Croatian borderlands in foreign military troops. Since the research topic proposed in this project (exploration of personal data etc) is only sporadically covered by modern historiography it is the aim of this project to present – prosopographically – actual, concrete persons that served in the armed forces of Austria, Venice and the French Empire; both through constructing databases that include every soldier and officer mentioned in muster rolls and similiar lists, and through composing (if possible) complete biographies of them.

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Names, surnames, birth origin, religion, military rank and position, mobility (transfer from one unit to another), as well as different personal data (stature, hair color, age) make a personal, direct and concrete approach possible. So far this methodological approach has been ignored, and the aim of this project is to apply it on a more advanced level. Both the scientific as well as wider general public will be informed of the concrete contribution (by name, and not just general and non-specific) of soldiers and officers from Croatian borderlands to Austrian, Venetian and French troops, their everyday life and expertise in warfare. The project results and outcomes will be equally – interdisciplinary – relevant for both the Croatian as well as foreign Humanities and Social Sciences.

The aim of the historian skills workshops and use of volunteers for the transcription of materials and data entry is to encourage and utilize the potential of history graduates, doctoral students and unemployed persons with a degree in history, but also senior citizens interested in the research subject. The project will facilitate a direct knowledge transfer, aspiring to generate research that will be beneficial on a scientific, cultural, social and economic level (e.g. the inclusion of unemployed historians).

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