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

Venetian Dalmatia

Venetian Dalmatia and Albania

Venetian Chronology (1500 – 1797)

1499 – 1503

The Ottoman – Venetian War in which the Ottomans conquered numerous Venetian Levantine holdings and seriously threatened Dalmatia by ravaging the Dalmatian countryside.


The League of Cambrai

An alliance against Venice is formed with the goal of curbing Venetian hegemony on the Italian peninsula. The leader of the alliance was the Pope Julius II, and other signatories were the French King Louis XII, the Emperor Maximilian I Habsburg, the Spanish king Ferdinand II Aragon, the Dukes of Ferrara and Savoi, and the Marquis of Mantua.


14 May

The Battle of Agnadello

The League of Cambrai defeats Venice heavily, but the “Serenissima” avoided utter ruin only through skilled diplomacy. Soon after, the League of Cambrai imploded and fell apart followed by new European conflicts and alliances involving, among others, Venice.


10 January

The great fires consume Rialto.

1537 – 1540

The Third Ottoman – Venetian War included the siege of the island Corfu, which was successfully defended by Venetians. Ottoman forces once again heavily raided Dalmatian countryside.

1570 – 1573

The War of Cyprus was the Fourth Ottoman – Venetian War. The Holy Alliance was formed against the Ottomans, and the Christian forces managed to defeat the Ottomans in 1571 at Lepanto, in one of the most famous naval battles of history, but ultimately Venice had to concede Cyprus to Ottomans. Dalmatia saw further advance by the Ottomans who gained a small, but significant territory near the coastal cities.


6 October

The Battle of Lepanto


Venice houses around 175.000 souls, which was its highest number in history that ranked it as one of the largest cities in Europe. The same year saw the plague epidemic that took lives of about a quarter of all inhabitants.

1605 – 1607

The conflict erupted between the Pope and Venice over control of church holdings and clergy on Venetian lands. It resulted in an interdict issued by the Pope Paul V in 1606, against Venice.


Galileo Galilei presents his telescope in Venice.

1615 – 1617

The conflict called the War of Gradisca or the Uskok War between Venice and Habsburgs erupted.

1645 – 1669

Venice and the Ottomans wage yet another war, called the Cretan War or the War of Candia. While Venice recorded many successes campaigning through Dalmatia, it eventually lost on the main battlefield, the Crete. The Ottomans, who later reclaimed the territory lost in Dalmatia apart from the fortress Klis, captured the island.

1684 – 1699

Instigated by the Ottoman defeat at the walls of Vienna in 1683, Venice launches a new campaign against the Ottomans. The conflict called the Morean War brought Venice significant territorial gains on the Peloponnese, as well as in Dalmatia, the so-called “acquisto nuovo”.

1714 – 1718

The Ottoman Empire starts the last war against Venice, called the Second Morean War or the Little War. Because of war campaigns, Venice lost its possessions on the Peloponnese, but gained new territory in Dalmatia, which it called “acquisto nuovissimo”.

After these events, Venice occupies a passive role on the political and military battlefields of 18th century Europe.


The French invade the territory of the Venetian Republic and lay sieges against its towns.


16 May

The Venetian Republic officially ceases to exist as it subordinates itself to French rule.

18 October

The Peace of Campo Formio signed between France and Austria, among other things, divided the territory of the former Venetian Republic between the two. Austria gained Venice and its former overseas territories, while France acquired the “Terraferma” territory.

The Bay of Kotor in the 18th Century

The Bay of Kotor area was, together with a part of today’s Montenegrin and Albanian littoral, a part of Venetian Eastern Adriatic acquisitions grouped in a territorial-administrative unit called Albania Veneta. A provveditore with his residence at Kotor ran the province. Even though he had military, political, judicial and administrative authority, he was subordinated to general provveditore in Zadar, and, in some matters, directly to Venetian Doge and the Senate. At Budva, podestà governed, while another provveditore headed Herceg Novi after the Venetian conquest of 1687.

Nearly four centuries long Venetian presence on the shores of the Eastern Adriatic coincided with the constant Ottoman occupancy of the hinterland. Their relations were, ever since the 15th century, characterized by military conflicts, political instabilities and constant border changes. Ottoman incursions from Herzegovina resulted in the conquest of Herceg Novi and Risno in 1482 – 83, and Grblja about 10 years later. At the southern tip of the Bay, the Ottoman army conquered Bar and Ulcinj in 1571. To summarize, Venetian borders in the Bay were, until the second half of the 17th century, reduced to a narrow coastline that followed the demarcation line Oštro – Verige – Perast, and which included Kotor and Dobrota, the peninsula Luštica, Budva and the area of Paštrovići in the south east. The border was not singular and well determined, even in the Bay of Kotor, as it was rather interspersed with Venetian and Ottoman possessions.

The second half of the 17th century in the Bay is characterized by war. Mainly by the Cretan (1645 – 69) and the Morean War (1684 – 99). Although the Bay was never the main battlefield, its territory was the target of a few military campaigns (principally the unsuccessful Ottoman sieges of Perast in 1654 and Kotor in 1657). The Morean War, as well as subsequent events, represent a kind of a turning point in the political, military and economic history of the Bay. Even though the main military operations avoided it, the Bay was still very significant to the survival of Venetian acquisitions. Specifically, the fragmentation of the Bay territory, the distance from other Venetian territories in Dalmatia and the constant threat from the hinterland, hindered the Venetian economic and trading efforts. Therefore, one of the main Venetian goals was combining said territories into a whole. Regardless of the Ottomans attacking Perast (1685), and laying sieges to St. Stefan, Lastva and Budva (1686), the principal events of Morean War, with long lasting effects, were Venetian conquests of Risan (1684) and Herceg Novi (1687). The Peace of Karlowitz (1699) and further demarcations (Linea Grimani) confirmed Herceg Novi and Risan, as well as the northwestern part of the Bay’s littoral, as Venetian territories. Grouping the Venetian acquisitions around the Bay created the necessary prerequisite for further economic and social development of that area, which will reach its peak, as we shall see, in the 18th century. Frequent migrations were one of the consequences of constant warfare, and they mostly occurred from the interior to the coastline. They were conditioned on unfavorable war and economic circumstances and they significantly altered the religious structure of the population. Although the Venetian government officially sanctioned and endorsed the re-population of war-torn territories, the influx of Montenegrin and Herzegovinian settlers became so intense during the Cretan and Morean Wars that the Venetians tried to impose numerous proclamations and restrictions. The largest migration activities were linked to Herceg Novi and Risan, where the settlers inhabited abandoned Muslim houses. The situation became especially dire after 1699, when the Peace of Karlowitz returned some of the conquered territory to the Ottomans, triggering massive migrations to Venetian-owned possessions around Herceg Novi. The special administrative function of a super intendant was introduced to oversee the border territories and to resolve the problems of the newly settled population. Super intendants were usually excellent soldiers hailing from notable families, and more than once the function remained hereditary (for example, with the families Bolica, Vraćen/Vrachien, Bubić). Their service was recorded in the border areas around Herceg Novi, in the Main, Pobor and Braić areas, near Budva, and at the St. Miholjski zbor area (five villages near Tivto).

The Morean War was a turning point in the history of social and economic relations in the Bay, because of the achieved territorial unification and the demographical changes. Until the 17th century, the leaders of the Bay’s political, cultural and economic life were the Kotor’s noble families (Bizanti, Bolica, Drago, Buća/Buchia). Since the middle of the 17th century and especially in the 18th century, the leading position was assumed by the seafaring and merchant families living in small coastal settlements – Perast, Dobrota and Prčanj. Their personal rise, but also the economic and political ascension of their places of origin, was closely tied to the numerous accolades, privileges and rewards they attained through active duty and brave deeds in the Venetian anti-Ottoman service. The precondition was the administrative independence from Kotor – receiving the status of independent municipalities – that Perast, Prčanj and Dobrota achieved during the 16th century, and at the turn of the 18th century.

One of the indicators of the rise of said places is a demonstration of population trends. By analyzing numerous reports and censuses that were made on the request of general provveditores, one can systematically track the demographic movements of the population. It must be said that the tracking is arduous because the censuses were not uniformed. For example, in some cases the census refers only to the town of Kotor, and in other cases it includes the surrounding landscape. However, in spite of that, one can deduct some basic conclusions from the censuses. From the end of the 15th century until 1750, while the population of Kotor stagnated, or even slightly fell (1510 inhabitants in 1576; 988 inhabitants in 1758), Perast, Prčanj and Dobrota all experienced demographic ascents as their population nearly doubled in that period.

Kotor was a political and administrative center for Venetian acquisitions south of Ragusa. Unlike Perast, Prčanj and Dobrota, which gained their political and economic affirmation under the wing of the Venetian Lion, Kotor had already had (since 1420) communal organization and statutory law. As a part of Venetian overseas territories, Kotor followed the pattern of communal development set by other Eastern Adriatic communes under Venetian rule. The above stated principally concerns the functioning of different administrative bodies – Veliko vijeće (Consilium maius), Malo vijeće, Vijeće umoljenih (the Senate), military commanders, judiciaries, health magistrates and others. The city was run by nobility, acting through Venetian administrative bodies. The nobility was traditionally directed towards investing in and exploiting landed properties in cities’ hinterlands and to the many estates at the field of Grbalj. Merchant activity was primarily focused on overland trade towards Bosnia and Serbia, while the overseas trade was traditionally linked to central and southern Italy’s ports. Kotor nobility invested minimally in seafaring – chiefly by giving credit to mariners, providing merchandise for sale, or as co-owners and owners of ships. This kind of small-risk investment defined later development of seamanship and reduced the competitiveness of mariners hailing from Kotor as opposed to other Bay mariners. Besides managing their landed properties, the Bay nobility invested itself in administrative, political and military services. It is worth noting that in the 17th and 18th centuries Kotor had a pronounced military character, because it was the most important anti-Ottoman center in the Bay and, as such, was endangered more than a few times. Large numbers of soldiers in the city, strict sanitary regulations, frequent epidemics and general instability further thwarted city’s economic development. The developmental stagnation is again evidenced by the statistical data referring to the number of Kotor nobles. According to the Archival sources, mid-16th century Veliko vijeće numbered 140 members. In the first half of the 18th century the number fell between 12 and 18, and in the second half of the 18th century it fell further, somewhere between 8 and 14 members. Likewise, according to the census of Kotor noble families dating from 1782, the city housed 9 noble families with overall 13 adult members. Contrary to Kotor, which at best experienced stagnation in the 18th century, the smaller maritime settlements Perast, Prčanj and Dobrota experienced their economic, social, political and cultural peak. The main precondition for their ascent was achieving their administrative independence. The first to accomplish that feat was Perast, which the sources dating to the end of the 16th century call a municipality (communita). Prčanj and Dobrota acquired municipal status later; the former in 1704, and the latter in 1717. Captain was at the helm of the municipality and the municipal administration included four judges (3 judges at Prčanj until 1771), procurators, castellans and a duke (at Perast). The brotherhoods (casade) and the councils formed the backbone of municipalities. The Bay brotherhoods were made up of the eldest and most reputable families (in Perast and Prčanj were 12, and in Dobrota 26), who, in the 18th century, were the carriers of economic development. Perast was the first to acquire the preconditions for administrative independence and economic growth. Positioned opposite the Cape Verige, near the Ottoman border, it represented a strategically important rampart to the rest of the Venetian acquisitions in the Bay. As a result, it was dubbed the “Keeper of the Bay of Kotor” and it was regarded as an important outpost against the Ottomans. The city was indeed ransacked a couple of times (in 1624 and 1654). Prčanj, on the other hand, gained its administrative independence by being distinctive. Since the 16th century, the Venetians entrusted the official state post on the line Corfu – Kotor – Zadar to Prčanj mariners due to their skill and fast ships. It is considered the oldest postal service on the Adriatic.

Further impetus towards a more independent role came from the numerous contributions of the Bay officers and soldiers to Venice’s military struggles against the Ottomans. Their more intensive involvement began during the Fourth Ottoman – Venetian War, at the Battle of Lepanto (1571) and continued all the way to the last century of Venetian existence. The Bay soldiers took part in the battles along the whole Venetian – Ottoman front line, but they most actively engaged in the actions that took place near their homes. Chiefly, in the battles near Herceg Novi and Risan in the Morean War. Perast captains, Vicko Bujović and Ivan Burović, distinguished themselves in these battles, and as a reward they received the titles of counts and some estates in the newly conquered territory in 1703 and 1704, respectively. Furthermore, the general provveditore Girolamo Corner rewarded 210 families from Perast for their war contributions, with 2000 Paduan “campo” of land near Herceg Novi. Prčanj captains and commanders Niko Sbutega, Pavao Maras, Vicko Petrov Luković, Luka Lazari and others distinguished themselves in these battles as well. Numerous Perast, Prčanj and Dobrota citizens participated in the Seventh and Last Venetian – Ottoman War (1714 – 1718). Many Dobrotans distinguished themselves at Popov, Carin and Bar in 1717, and Ulcinj in 1718. Mato Vickov Kamenarović especially excelled in 1717 fighting the forces of Albanian Pasha at Bar. Other than on the general level, military successes made an impact on the personal level too. Thus, in the 18th century, the not insignificant number of Bay soldiers, officers and ship captains was rewarded for their faithful and long service with induction into the Order of Venetian cavaliers of St. Mark (branches of families Balović, Bronza, Visković, Đoka, Bane, Radimiri, Ivanović, Zerman and others).

Other than with the Ottomans, the sources scattered throughout the 18th century, note numerous clashes between the Bay soldiers and mariners on one side, and pirates on the other. Between the years 1691 and 1740, according to the list made by Tripo Balović, a 100 Perast ships (tartane, gripovi and fregaduni) were sunk by Ulcinj pirates. The event that happened in 1711 had especially strong ramifications and actually became a diplomatic issue between Venice and the Ottomans. It concerned the murder of captain Luka Vickov Luković who was murdered by Ulcinj pirates when returning from a trip to Durrës. The murder caused a series of subsequent vengeful actions of Prčanj mariners and it took a whole year for the dust to settle. Dobrota mariners notably distinguished themselves in anti-pirate raids. First and foremost, the brave brothers Marko and Josip (Jozo) Ivanović. The first clash with pirates occurred in 1751 near Patras, where Marko Ivanović had, although wounded, defeated Tripolitanian pirates aboard his tartana “Santissimo Crocefisso”. Five years later, the brothers had defeated the pirates under the command of Reisa Hajj Ibrahim in the Athenian port of Piraeus. Marko Ivanović was killed in the battle and the brothers were, on account of their bravery, knighted as Venetian knights of St. Mark.

The development of the municipality was substantially improved and accelerated by various trade and tariff benefits. For example, the residents of Prčanj were exempt from customs regarding the export of candles, dried common bleak, salty eels, and kaštadrina (type of dried meat), to Venice, as well as from payment of duties in the Bay. Likewise, they were freed from paying a certain amount of money to the brotherhood of the Bay navy, and they received on a yearly basis 250 “star” of salt from the Venetian Doge to make salty fish, meat and cheese. Lastly, they sent two emissaries to address the Venetian Senate about the problems facing their municipality.

Even though each described locality has its own unique developmental characteristics, their economic, cultural and political blossoming can be reduced to a few common denominators. Following the unification of the Bay area into a single political entity and the subsiding of the direct Ottoman threat, the prerequisites for their undisturbed development were created. Acquiring the status of independent municipalities, they turned to enterprise and investment for their own benefits. Seeing that the easiest way to achieve their goals, in the context of Venetian maritime strategy, was by combining three different vocations – soldier, mariner and merchant – they turned to the sea. Faithful service during the military campaigns, speed and agility of their mariners and the reliability of their trade routes, enabled them to become an unavoidable factor in the 18th century Adriatic trade and seamanship. Primarily, the above statement applied to Perast, while Dobrota and Prčanj reached their seamanship peak in the second half of the 18th century and in the first half of the 19th century. The main carriers of economic, and, as it later became evidenced, cultural development, were the members of the leading maritime families mostly coming from the old brotherhoods. In Perast the leading families of the 18th century, were Balović, Bujović, Bronza and Burović, in Dobrota, Kamenarović, Radimiri, Dabinović and Tripković, and in Prčanj, Luković, Lazari, Verona and Đurović.

The Perast municipality reached its economic peak a bit earlier than the rest, in the first half of 18th century, while Prčanj and Dobrota took the lead in the second half. According to the statistics, around 1750 Perast held 44 registered ships, 393 mariners and 37 captains and senior naval officers. In the first half of the 18th century Perast held the primacy in trade as well: in between 1733 and 1736 Perast mariners made 465 trips, Prčanj mariners 266, Stoliv mariners 151, Topla mariners 147, Dobrota mariners 118, while Kotor merchants had only 76 trips. The Bay shipping reached its zenith on the eve of collapse of Venice, when the Bay fleet counted 300 ships with about 30.000 seamen. The first nautical school, founded by the renowned Perast maritime theorist Marko Martinović (1663 – 1716), operated in Perast from the end of the 17th century, and it shows that Perast valued professional theoretical education as well as the practical one.

The Bay merchants mainly traded in olive oil from the Bay and the Greece, Montenegrin and Greek cheese, dried meat and fish from the Lake Skadar, grain from Albania, Dalmatian and Greek wine, tallow candles from their own production, meat and leather from hinterland, and honey, cheese, wax, figs and other. The Bay, alongside wheat, mainly imported wine – annual consumption hovered around 6.270.000 liters, of which 4.290.000 was locally produced and the rest was imported, chiefly from Dalmatian islands. As far as exports go, the Bay mariners principally traded with the docks on the Levant, ports of Asia Minor, North Africa, Greece, Italian ports and, naturally, Venice. The leading Bay maritime families had their subsidiaries in other ports – Lukovići on Corfu for the purchase of olive oil; Florio and Verona in Corinth and Thebes for the purchase of cheese. The same merchants excelled in cheese trading in Venice. According to the information from 1799, the families of Prčanj sold to Venice 270 tons of cheese from May 1798 to the end of 1799. The Bay maritime trade was slowed and disturbed by legal restrictions imposed by Venice, primarily, the directive regarding the priority of Venetian market. Such impositions often forced Dobrota and Prčanj mariners (Perast mariners much less) to turn to smuggling.

Apart from trade, the important factor in Bay – Venetian overseas connections, was the Bay involvement in the Croatian Brotherhood of St. George and Tryphon in Venice. Whether they lived in Venice permanently or they came temporarily on business, the Bay area residents had, in the 18th century, an exceptionally important role in Croatian emigration community. Thanks to their reputation and wealth, they enjoyed precedence at the head of the Brotherhood administration.

The end of warring and the calming of the political situation affected the artistic development in the Bay area. Maritime and other economical advances, as well as numerous trips, enabled the acquisition of capital, which in turn endorsed the blossoming of all art forms. The mariners who used their wealth to soothe their personal needs, but also invested large amounts of capital into growth, expansion and renovation of their hometowns, thus enabling the unique artistic blossoming of the Bay had an important role in the development of baroque art.

The Bay Baroque period saw the construction of magnificent and representative churches, monasteries and chapels, mariner’s and captain’s palaces and houses, while existing ones were decorated with exquisite paintings, statues and gold works. In accordance with other aspects of development (political, economic, social), the artistic blooming of Baroque Bay is tied to Perast, Dobrota and Prčanj. On the other hand, Kotor, which was originally built in Romanesque and Gothic style, was renovated in Baroque style after the great earthquake in 1667, mainly through numerous decorative elements and ornaments.

The first impulses of Baroque were brought to the Bay by foreign, especially Venetian artists. The most important constructions were created from the sketches of four Venetian architects – Giovanni Battista Fonta, Giuseppe Beati, Bartolomeo Riviera and Bernardino Maccaruzzio. The first two, Beati and Fonta, worked in Perast, which is, due to its large numbers of monumental Baroque structures (14 Baroque churches and 321 private houses), regarded as the most representative Baroque settlement on the Eastern Adriatic shore. The Palace Bujović, the most beautiful Baroque palace in the Bay of Kotor was built according to the sketches drawn by Giovanni Batista Fonta. Today, the palace houses the Museum of the city Perast. Giuseppe Beati sketched the new parish church in Perast. Today, only the sanctuary with side chapels and the wooden model of the church (kept in the vault of St. Nicholas’ Church), remain. Bartolomeo Riviera created in Dobrota, where in 1762 – 1773 he built the new parish church of St. Eustace on the foundations of the old one demolished in 1667. The rich church vault contains the relics of St. Eustace and the turban of the pirate Hajj Ibrahim who was killed fighting the Dobrota mariners Marko and Josip Ivanović. The last in the line of Venetian architects (Maccaruzzi) made the draft for the parish Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Prčanj, which represents the peak of Baroque construction in the Bay area.

The Bay holds the works of a series of local builders as well. In Perast, Ivan Krstitelj Škarpa from the Old Town, built the belfry of the parish church (1691) that was 55 meters tall and is considered as one of the most beautiful examples of a steeple with pyramidal tip on the Eastern Adriatic. Local authors also worked on the renovation and upgrade of the Gospa of Škrpjela church complex, built on an artificial island in front of Perast in 1452. That Marian shrine was upgraded in the first half of the 17th century and it got its final shape in the 18th century thanks to the master builder Ilija Katičić, and masters Vuk Kandiot and Petar from Ragusa. They built, from 1722 to 1725, a Byzantine style dome with three windows and Baroque frames, as well as the round belfry 16 m tall. The primary masters in the Baroque renovation of Kotor cathedral of St. Tryphon – which was damaged by the earthquake in 1667 (it completely destroyed the bell towers and the church’s facade) – were Marko Antun Pavlović, and Ivan and Franjo Karlić.

The most impressive symbols of the Bay Baroque construction were the palaces of sea captains, which were built in all coastal settlements. Besides the capital earned on far away sea trading ventures needed to build grand palaces, the Bay mariners gained an insight to the visual cues of how their housing space should look like. The mariners primarily strived for comfort, safety, practicality and beauty – criterion hard to accommodate. Therefore, the main characteristic of all Bay palaces was simplicity and functionality complemented with diverse Baroque ornaments. Perast, once again, excelled in the number of Baroque palaces. Aside from the already mentioned Bujović palace, Zmajević palace stands out (better known as the “Bishopric”), which was built in 1664 by Bar archbishop Andrija Zmajević (1671 – 1694). The great palace of the family Smeća (Smechia) also stands out. It was built by Petar Smeća at the peak of Smeća family’s prosperity. Dobrota mariners built magnificent palaces too, of which the ones built by the families Tripković, Dabinović and Ivanović stand out. In Prčanj, the families Luković, Verona and Florio built entire palace complexes on the coast. In Kotor, the palaces by Bisanti, Bolica, Paskvali and Pima were built or renovated in the Baroque style. The luxury of the Baroque was especially evident in the interior of said palaces. The richly decorated saloons of Prčanj families Luković and Florio, especially stand out. The desire for comfort and extravagance is evident in the blossoming of numerous summer mansions outside the city walls, of which the most famous ones are Bolica family’s mansion and Buća-Luković mansion near Tivto.

Venetian sculptor Francesco Cabianca’s works are noteworthy. He resided in Kotor between 1704 and 1708, when he sculpted the Reliquary of the Cathedral of St. Tryphon – one of the most representative examples of Baroque statuary. Cabianca also made the altars in the churches of St. Clare and St. Joseph, and the marble shrine in the Franciscan Church of St. Anthony in Perast. Regarding the local sculptors, it is worth to note the Virgin’s relief in the Church of the Holy Ghost in Kotor, carved by the sculptor Desiderije of Kotor.

Unlike construction works and sculpting, where foreign artists dominated, the leading figure of Baroque painting is undoubtedly a local painter, Tripo Kokolja from Perast (1661 – 1713). His painting opus is tied to imaging the Church of Lady of Škrpjela, which he painted according to instructions from the benefactor Andrija Zmajević. Alongside Kokolja, in and out of the Bay, worked some other local painters: Petar Kosović, Marko Radoničić, Mihovil Florio, Antun Petar Mazarović (who painted in Warsaw and Vienna), and Gianantonio Lazari (who painted in Venice). It is generally assumed that the Venetian painter Ivan Franjo count Soliman (the author of the paintings for Dobrota parish church of St. Eustace) hails from Budva, and was probably a member of a branch of a distinguished family from the Bay knighted into the Cavaliers of St. Mark for their valiant services for Serenissima. Portraitist Alessandro Longhi and Pietro Antonio Novellio are amongst the foreign painters worth noting. The Bay area churches hold numerous gold and silver objects (chalices, crucifixes, candlesticks, monstrance), as well as the luxurious mass vestments that testify to the richness and the rich cultural-artistic heritage of the area.

However, Baroque literature does not follow the intense development of other, above mentioned, arts. The Bay writers and poets follow their Ragusan role models as they try out different themes, such as love poetry, historical epics, religious drama, etc. The Bay Baroque poetry was local in character – written in Croatian language and for the local populace. On the other hand, prose writers wrote in Croatian as well as Italian, because their works enjoyed a broader readership. Likewise, apart from the known, successful and less successful authors, the Bay literature was marked by many anonymous writers, mostly mariners.

The famous Renaissance and Baroque model of a warrior and a poet – the one that sheds blood with his left hand and holds ink with his right – characterized the Bay area literature as well. The best example is perhaps provided by Julije Balović from Perast (1672 – 1727). Besides distinguishing himself fighting pirates, this ship scribe authored few important handbooks and manuscripts, chronicled Perast and collected folk poetry. His most famous work is Pratichae schrivanesche (Venezia 1693 and 1695) – two maritime handbooks with infallible instructions into merchant, war and military action. The work is also of some calligraphic value, especially the drawings of sailboats and the scenes of clashes with pirates. It also holds contributions of Italian, Croatian, Albanian, Greek and Turkish dictionaries. Unavoidable place in the cultural history of the Bay belongs to the Bar and Zadar archbishop Vicko Zmajević (1670 – 1745). His theological-dogmatic debates, Letters, his poetry, all written in Italian, Latin, Croatian and Albanian language, as well as his sermons gathered in a collection called “Razgovor duhovni”, place him side to side with the greatest intellectuals of his age.

The famous mariner, maritime theorist and pedagogue Marko Martinović (1663 – 1716) was an author as well. Other than his practical and theoretical lectures, which he held in Perast for Russian cadets, he was known for the text that detailed folk customs. He described the conquest of Herceg Novi as well. The life story of Ivan Krušala (d. 1735) is also interesting. He was captured as a boy when Venice conquered Mistra (Mistras) on the Peloponnese. Later he authored two epics in Italian. The first detailed his travel through Russia and China, which he undertook as a member of a Russian mission to the Chinese Emperor. The second epic, “Spievanje dogodjaja boja peraškoga na 15. svibnja 1654.”, celebrates the victory of Venice and Perast over the Ottomans in the Cretan War.

2,531 total views, 2 views today