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A Contribution to the Biographies of Some of Kačić's Knights and to the Origins of the Population of Their Territories
Puni tekst: pdf (937 KB),
Str. 191 - 224
When friar Andrija Kačić Miošić put into verse Razgovor ugodni (“Pleasant Conversation”) he stated as one of the motivations for his writing “to keep alive for many centuries the famous names of the knights, to preserve these and to keep the memory of their heroism.” The work was very popular because Kačić dedicated his verses not only to individuals from aristocratic circles but also to heroes from the people – free peasantswarriors. The first person whose war deeds during the prolonged conflicts with the Turks made him deserving of being mentioned by the poet was Petar Radić Šare from Suhi Dolac, a village in the western part of the Dalmatian hinterland. In battle Petar killed five foes in duels while two others he captured – all of these were named. The second prominent warrior was Ilija Radić also from Suhi Dolac, the third was Ivan Valižić, probably from Ljubitovica, and the fourth was Martin Despotović Čolak (“One-armed”). For him it is stated that he overcame fifteen foes – but unnamed. All of them participated in the war between the Holy League and the Ottoman Empire (1684–1699) under the command of the commanders Janković and Nakić, during which war the Ottomans were driven back from the greater part of today’s Dalmatia. On the basis of facts from Venetian cadastres one is able to establish the size of their land holdings and the number of animals (horses, cows, etc.) in their possession. They were either the wealthiest or amongst the wealthiest farmers in their villages. Besides this, additional data pertaining to Petar Radić show that he was in the top ranks of the army hierarchy even before the beginning of the war. Owing to the fact that all of Petar’s foes were individually named it was possible to approximately identify almost each one of them. Ahmed was a well-know violent person, Mehmed-aga was also a member of the feudal, administrative layer of the Ottoman state while Tursulović and Ahmed Čolak can also be connected to the usurpation group which made the moves that brought about the war. It has to be emphasized that duels were valued by both sides and that engagement in them separated a person from the anonymous soldiers. Further research has uncovered that Petar’s ancestors had also engaged in a series of former conflicts with the Ottomans either directly or as “uskok” soldiers (frontier soldiers) either clandestinely or as their supporters. The Vlachs began to settle the area between Velebit and Biokovo in the 14th century.
Organized into shepherd’s settlements they became vassals of the Croatian duke, that is, the king or the lords of the Šubić and Nelipić family and afterwards of the Kurjaković family. During the seasonal movements of their flock they used the winter pastures in the south of the Dalmatian hinterland while during the summer they went to the pastures on Dinara and the surrounding mountains. Although initially the coastal cities were fiercely against their presence on their territory, in the 15th century a mutual so-existence gradually came into being. However, the incursion of the Ottomans disturbed this state of things because the Vlachs, due to the war, lost their winter pastures. Because of this a segment of the Vlachs temporarily moved to today’s western Herzegovina where the Ottomans incorporated them into the military-economic system of the Ottoman empire. After the fall of Sinj and Knin in 1522, the Vlachs returned to the Dalmatian hinterland where they continued their biseasonal way of cattle raising. From that time shepherd settlements named Vojnići, Popovići and Vratkovići find mention within the hinterland area of Trogir and Šibenik county and in the Cetina river area. As Ottoman subjects they were engaged as mercenaries in the military system so that the “uskoks” treated them as the targets of their diversions in the Klis Ottoman area. On the other hand, some of the inhabitants of these shepherd settlements openly joined the “uskoks” or clandestinely aided the efforts to liberate Klis at the end of the 16th century. The problem of the status of these Vlachs became aggravated because of the unsolved questions of the Venetian-Turkish border on the hinterland part of Trogir district. Namely, they worked the land whose nominal owners were Trogir patricians but the local Turkish lords did not recognize this referring to the factual state of things. When the Candian war broke out, the Vlachs allied themselves with the Venetian Republic but because their removal was improperly organized only a smaller part of them fled to the liberated territory around Klis. Only the favorable outcome of the war between the Holy League and the Ottoman Empire enabled a solution of their status but because of the establishment of the border they lost the greater part of their summer pastures. The division of the shepherd settlements which was in place all the time up to this period, disappeared because of the arrival of new displaced persons from the region of western Herzegovina and southwestern Bosnia but also because of the administrative reorganization carried out by the Venetian Republic.
Islamization within the area of the western Dalmatian hinterland had almost no success. Three factors can account for this. The first is the distance of the area from the main fortresses and cities with a Muslim population and administrative apparatus. The second was the activity of the Franciscans on Visovac and the third was the official status of the Vlachs which the inhabitants of the shepherd settlements had within the larger part of the area under Otoman government. When the Turkish rulers started implementing outright violence, during the Candian war and the war between the Holy League and the Ottoman Empire, the Vlachs joined the Venetian Republic and directly contributed to the liberation of a large part of today’s Dalmatia.
Vlachs; the epic; migrations; transhumance; Islamisation; the Morean War
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