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Original scientific paper

Huius... est omnis reipublicae potestas: Ragusan Patriciate and Distribution of Power (1440-1640)

Zdenko Zlatar

Full text: croatian pdf 258 Kb

page 147-168

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In the period 1358-1808, the Ragusan patriciate performed three distinctive functions: administrative (the counts of Mljet or Konavle, for instance), diplomatic-ceremonial (envoys to the Porte, the Pope, or the king of Spain), and the highest government offices which, according to the Ragusan Statute, could not be held before the age of fifty. All the members of the patriciate took part in all three types of function to a higher or lesser degree and they all thus had their share in governing Dubrovnik at one time or another. The responsibility attached to different duties varied significantly. There was an enormous difference between being a count, or a proveditor of the Cathedral, or, the Rector of the Republic of Dubrovnik, or the count of Konavle. A clear line was drawn between the executive (the Senate, the Rector, the Minor Council, civil judge) and the legislative branch. The article analyses the aforementioned high offices of the State and the frequency with which members of various families held them in relation to their concentration in the Major Council. Although the largest patrician families in the Major Council tended to monopolise most of the high offices (Rector, member of the Minor Council, member of the Senate, civil judge), there were considerable differences between them. Some of the most prominent patrician families were disproportionally over-represented in the highest offices, while others were markedly under-represented. The former were the members of the Gradić, Gundulić, Ðurđević, Crijević, Menčetić, Džamanjić, Rastić, and Bunić families, while the latter belonged to the Kaboga, Sorkočević, Pucić, Ranjina, Bobaljević, and Gučetić families. Despite this disproportion in power-sharing, one cannot speak of an oligarchy which is defined as a minority within a larger group: the most prominent families constituted about half of all the patricians sitting on the Major Council. In addition, the leading families showed no common interest in joining together against the rest of the patrician houses.


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