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Folk life and Customs in Reljković's "Satyr". (At the Occasion of the 200th Anniversary of the Second Edition)

Maja Kožić

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 2.292 Kb

str. 7-66

preuzimanja: 578


Puni tekst: engleski pdf 2.292 Kb

str. 66-66

preuzimanja: 533



Matija Antun Reljković, the most prominent Croatian supporter of the ideas of the Enlightment, was born in 1732. in Svinjar (nowadays Davor), a little Slavonian village in the Military Border area. Although being in military service for most of his life, he left a considerable literary heritage to succeeding generations. His literary efforts had a single purpose: to enlighten the peasant population of Slavonia which, after Turkish withdrawal in 1699. was in a state of extreme poverty and backwardness. Since Reljković himself was of a peasant background and spent almost all of his life in close, everyday touch with Slavonian folk, he was an excellent informant on folk life and customs on the Slavonian Border. An abundance of important and interesting ethnographic data in the „Satyr or the Wild Man" — the only original work of Reljković with references to contemporary folk life — attracted this author and stimulated her to make an account of it. Although Reljković was an ethnographer quite unintentionally and by chance (his primary purpose was to educate), the „Satyr" offers an exhaustive and rounded picture of the folkways in the 18th century Slavonian Military Border area. „Satyr or the Wild Man" includes historical and geographical data; descriptions of the Border villages, of houses and homesteads, as well as accounts of food and beverages, costumes and decorations, folk medicine etc. Reljković paid special attention to two aspects of life: economy and social relations. He was particularly concerned about extended families — zadruge — which at that time began to fall apart. He is not very profuse when describing folk customs; some of them as for instance two forms of collective labor moba and sprega, were just mentioned. But, on the other hand, many of his verses deal with wedding ritual and superstitions connected with it. Several other customs were also described in detail in the „Satyr", such as prelo, kolo and divan (spinning—, dancing—, and talking—parties). To his mind they were foreign imports with a very negative effect on the Slavonian folk. These tree customs he considered Turkish, and called them „devilish Turkish schools". For Reljković, Turks were generally responsible for all troubles in Slavonia. Reljković's „Satyr or the Wild man" was published for the first time in 1762 in Dresden. As the book was well received and the whole edition was sold out soon, he prepared a second, enlarged edition which appeared in Osijek in 1779. The author of this paper intends to commemorate the 200th anniversary of that second edition and to remind readers of the important place Reljković has in Croatian cultural heritage and of his, not yet fully explored, contribution to Croatian ethnology.

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