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Original scientific paper

Diary of the Journey to the Ukraine and Turkey of the Ambassador for Tribute of the Republic of Dubrovnik, Matthew Gundulić, in the Years 1672–1674

Stjepan Krasić

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In this study we will publish the diary of the Ambassador of the Republic of Dubrovnik, Matthew Gundulić (1636—1684) written in Italian on the occasion of the delivery of the tribute of 12,500 ducats owed to the Turks by the Republic of Dubrovnik to secure freedom from molestation in their internal affairs. The author of the diary was the son of the famous Croatian poet of Dubrovnik John Gundulić (1589—1638) who had filled all the more important political posts in the Republic of Dubrovnik.
Together with another ambassador of Dubrovnik Orsat Sorkočević, on the 28th of May, 1672, Gundulić left for Adrianopolis, the summer residence of the Sultan, Muhamed IV (1648—1687) to turn over to him the tribute and also to treat of some bilateral problems. On their arrival they learned that a few days before the Sultan had left the place, at the head of an army to aid the Cossacks in their battle for independence from Poland. They arrived before the walls of Kameniec Podolski in the Ukraine when the Turks had just begun to besiege, took part in the capture of the city and accompanied the Turkish army to Lwow to which the Turks at once set siege. There they were received by the Sultan and delivered to him the tribute but were not in an opportunity to treat of the other matters.
On order from the Senate of the Republic of Dubrovnik the ambassadors parted company in the Bulgarian city of Ruse; Sorkočević went to Sofia and Gundulić proceeded to Constantinople. His diplomatic itinerary went on for two more years in all the commercial centers of the Turkish Empire.
The importance of the diary of Ambassador Gundulić consists in the fact that it contains his observations of the many countries he had visited on his journeys. He describes lots of details of the places like habits and dresses of local inhabitants, streets, bridges, churches, mosques etc, then matters of a military character like the situation of fortresses and varied military posts etc. He pays lot of attention to the description of the siege and taking of the city Kameniec Podolski by the Turks, including the morale of their armies and the evaluation of their true powers.
This diary and another of his, describing the conditions under which the Catholics lived in the Turkish Empire, Gundulić took with him to Rome in 1675 and consigned it to Abbot Stephen Gradić (1613—1683), diplomatic representative of the Republic of Dubrovnik to the Holy See and Prefect of the Apostolic Library at the Vatican. He, on his own, informed the Holy See and the Royal Court of France about the contents of the diaries, seeking in this way to obtain for the Catholics of Turkey, not alone some economic aid but, especially, some political and diplomatic action to alleviate their difficult state of life.


diary, Mato Gundulić, diplomacy

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