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Original scientific paper

TURRIS IN CIVITATE TRAGURII: THE TOWER OF ST NICHOLAS IN THE URBAN TOPOLOGY OF TROGIR

Vanja Kovačić ; Ministarstvo kulture Konzervatorski odjel u Splitu


Full text: croatian pdf 845 Kb

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Full text: english pdf 845 Kb

page 127-150

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Abstract

The cradle of the powerful patrician family of Trogir, the Cegas, was to the west of the Church of St Nicholas of the nuns of St Benedict, where they possessed a number of houses, yards and a tower on the edge of town. On the southern part towards the harbour, the city walls were built between 1380 and 1400, linking the Romanesque towers located outside the line of the earlier defensive perimeter. At the end of the 14th century, conflicts broke out between the pro-Hungarian side and the adherents of Venice, and the Cega family lost some of their houses and estates for having been on the wrong side. When conditions settled down, prominent members of the clan once again held the offices of commune procurators and judges, and the Romanesque Cega tower was restored to the family’s possession. In 1418 Nikola Stjepanov Cega and his wife Matica leased out the tower, but soon after the Venetian conquest of Trogir the tower was roofless and in a ruinous condition. Suffering most in the attack from the sea were the walls and the towers, as well as the Benedictine monastery of St Nicholas and the monumental St Lawrence’s Cathedral in the centre of town. Immediately after they took the town, the Venetian authorities undertook building operations on the construction of the citadel on the western edge of the Trogir peninsula. In a contract signed in the city chancellery in 1420 between the rector, Simone Detrico, and the mason Marin Radojev, the job of examiner was carried out by the nobleman Nikola Stjepanov Cega.

In this difficult period, Dragolin Nikolin from the patrician Domišić clan was elected the cathedral’s master of the fabric. But along with other patricians of the town, he was suspected of having a hostile attitude to the Venetian government. He soon made a contract with the mason Matej Gojković for the big restoration works on the damaged facade of the cathedral and the body of the bell tower. Not long thereafter, he was added to the list of suspected adversaries of Venice from the ranks of the Trogir nobility, along with members of the Sobota, Vitturi and Kažotić families; they were all deported to Venice where they were incarcerated in dire conditions for a number of years. But the Venetian authorities counted Nikola Stjepanov Cega, scion of the old aristocracy and proprietor of the tower by the Maritime Gate, among its loyal supporters and confided him the office of magistrate. His will, read after his death in 1435, said that the main house of this branch of the Cega family was »la caxa con la torea presso della caxa de ser Andrea de Ziga«.

There is no reliable information as to when his widow, Matica Cega, remarried the patrician Dragolin Nikolin Domišić, when he returned to Trogir from his Venetian imprisonment. The former master of the fabric had long since acquired the trust of the canons, and in 1438 acted as judge in a contract signed between the chapter on the one hand and Mistress Nikolota Sobotić about the building of the Chapel of St Jerome in the cathedral. In the early 40s, Dragolin won the confidence of the commune and took part in the envoy that sought the help of the Serenissima for the repair of the city walls. In a Venetian ducal edict concerning the extraction of travertine from the Krka River by Skradin for the vaults of St Lawrence’s in 1442, Dragolin Nikolin is mentioned as the orator of the Trogir commune.

Documents connected with the private life of Dragolin Nikolin in the mid- 15th century are related to the management and sale of real properties, among which was the tower by which the houses of the Cega family were grouped. In the Benedictine convent of St Nicholas in Trogir there is a copy of a contract of 1455 concerning the sale of a tower by the city gate, bordering on the houses of the Cega family, which had been owned by the same family since the second half of the 14th century. Although in 1450 a document is mentioned according to which Dragolin sold »turrim cum suis curia et coquina sive domo« to Master Martin, that sale probably never went through, and the tower was offered to the Benedictine nuns, which must have been a much better guarantee that it would be renovated.

As Dragolin’s wife, during her lifetime Matica commissioned a tombstone for the baptistery of the Cathedral. The inscription contains the last missive of Matica, who left all her assets to the college of canons, which was to celebrate a mass everyday for the salvation of her soul. The inscription does not give the date of her death, but it must have been after 1455, for that year both the spouses are mentioned in the contract of sale of the tower to the Benedictine nuns. The Romanesque tower, the one-time symbol of the Cega clan, became part of the Benedictine convent, and was named St Nicholas’ Tower. The inscription on the gravestone of Matica Dragolinova before the altar of the baptistery, as well as the archival record concerning the beginning of the construction of it in 1460, tends to suggest that the proceeds from the sale of the Cega tower were turned into a legacy for the construction of the baptistery of Trogir Cathedral.

Keywords

Hrčak ID:

193036

URI

https://hrcak.srce.hr/193036

Article data in other languages: croatian

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