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Translations of Napoleon’s Catechism (1806) in Dalmatia and Illyrian Provinces, part one

Teodora Shek Brnardić orcid id ; Hrvatski institut za povijest, Zagreb, Hrvatska

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 240 Kb

str. 7-31

preuzimanja: 455



Coming to power in the Croatian lands the French administration tried to enforce the French state legislation. Among other things, this included the Concordat of 1801 between Napoleon and the Holy See, and Napoleon’s unilateral law supplement in the form of 77 “Organic Articles” came into force in the same year. These documents made the Catholic dioceses in France a kind of imperial administrative bodies supervised by the Ministry of Cult. The article 39 prescribed, from then on, the existence of only one liturgy and only one catechism in all the Catholic churches of the French Empire. This was the foundation for the composition of one universal Catechism for all the Catholic Churches in the French Empire, known as the Imperial Catechism and published in 1806. The state authorities introduced it without the approval of Pope Pius VII. For the first time in the history of catechisms, a secular name was explicitly mentioned with the lesson about the Fourth God’s Commandment. To be sure, it was the name of Emperor Napoleon I. In 1807, Vincenzo Dandolo, general governor of Dalmatia, was the first to order the translation of the Imperial Catechism into the “Illyrian “, that is, Croatian language because Dalmatia became a part of the Kingdom of Italy. This attempt failed because of reviews, which pointed to the bad intelligibility of the translation for ordinary people. In the Illyrian Provinces founded in 1809, the translations in Italian, Slovenian, German and “Illyrian” or Croatian language were either integrally or partly (just a couple of chapters) published at the incentive of civil authorities in 1811 and 1812. They remained without an impact because the Provinces were abolished already in 1813 and Napoleon’s catechism was strictly forbidden by Austrian authorities. Nevertheless, these translation ventures remain very valuable examples of propaganda and the attempt of cultural transfer of Napoleon’s imperial cult into these regions, which will be discussed in this paper.

Ključne riječi

Imperial Catechism; Napoleonic religion; religious education; cultural transfer; cultural imperialism

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