St/Sveti Vlaho – Vlachs in the history of Croatia – the dalmatian / Ragusan language


Saint Blaise (St. Vlaho), identified by medieval Slavs with the pagan god Veles, is the patron saint of the city of Dubrovnik and formerly the protector of the independent Republic of Ragusa.

Saint Blaise's Church, Dubrovnik - September 2017.jpg
The Sveti Blaza church from Dubrovnik is one of the main sights of the city. It was built in 1715 by the Venetian architect Marino Gropelli (1662-1728) on the foundations of the badly damaged Romanesque medieval church.

Saint Blaise or Saint Blaise has been the patron saint of Dubrovnik since 972, when the Republic of Dubrovnik became the property of his relic. To this day, only two relics have survived, an arm and a head preserved in the cathedral.
Saint Blaise made a strong impression on the hearts of the people of Dubrovnik when he saved them from the attack of the Venetians. At that time (10th century) he appeared to a parish priest in Dubrovnik and revealed to him that a friendly visit by the Venetians was only a pretext with which they wanted to gain the territory of Dubrovnik. Thus, St. Blaise also became a symbol of freedom for the people of Dubrovnik, and as such we meet him even on the Dubrovnik flag. In Dubrovnik, his statues adorn all the entrance doors, all the towers and also the city walls. The most beautiful statue of St. Blaise is a gilded statue from the 15th century in the church of St. Blaise . On this statue, Blaž holds Dubrovnik from the times before the earthquake.
The feast of St. Blaise is on February 3 and the whole of Dubrovnik celebrates this day. A very special ritual was introduced with a procession in which the relics of St. Blaise are carried.

Statue of Saint Vlaho over Pile Gate - the entrance of Dubrovnik Old Town -  License, download or print for £6.20 | Photos | Picfair

Blessed, bishop and martyr, St.Vlaho lived 300 years after Christ. He was first a doctor and then a bishop in Armenia. When Emperor Licinius began to persecute Christians, Blaise was also arrested. On the way to the judge, Blaž was asked by a mother to heal her son, who had a fishbone stuck and had almost suffocated. Blaž prayed over the young man, blessed him and returned the healed to his mother. That is why Christians recommend themselves to St. Blaise for all diseases of the neck; Blaise’s blessing of the throat is well known.
The name Blaž comes from the adaptation of the Latin version of the name (Blasius), and the Dubrovnik name Vlaho is derived from the Greek word Vlasios. Survivors (after the attack of the Avars and Slavs ), and frightened inhabitants at the beginning of the 6th century by the earthquake-stricken famous city of Epidaurus , fled to the desolate cliff of Laus , Raus , Rausium , Rhagusium , to continue living and working there.
In 610 . Pope Boniface IV turned the pagan Pantheon in Rome , which until then worshiped 14 pagan gods, into a Christian temple dedicated to the Mother of God and fourteen Christian martyrs, helpers in distress, who died during the reigns of the emperors Decius and Diocletian and among them was St. Blasius – Sv. Vlaho and so began to spread his worship in the west and in Dubrovnik.

Bandijera Sv. Vlaho – the main flag of the Republic of Dubrovnik

Worship of the patron saint of St. Vlaho remained unchanged during the turbulent times of Dubrovnik’s history. He united the people of Dubrovnik, nobles and serfs, citizens and merchants, to think the same and strive for the same, to keep this small independent state free and perform such great deeds in every branch of human skills. Everyone and everything was subordinated to higher goals and no one was allowed to indebt the Republic too much, to be honored too much. Throughout the duration of the Republic, St. Vlaho was the supreme leader, coins with his image were minted, ships sailed under his flag, his statues watched over the walls, his pictures were seen from all angles and prevented many misdeeds and crimes.

Vlachs in the history of Croatia: In the Middle Ages the term Vlach was primarily an exonym that referred to Romance-speaking pastoralist communities in the mountains. Due to their specific lifestyle,[2] the term acquired a social-professional (shepherds) connotation. In the 13th and 14th centuries the shepherds of the Balkans were called Vlachs (Vlasi). While the Slavic communities managed to form national identities founding regional provinces and kingdoms, Romance-speaking Vlachs didn’t manage to form a national identity and were prone to assimilation.[9] However, even if they were prone to national, linguistical and cultural assimilation with the Slavs, they did contribute to their respective communities. 
The Vlachs mentioned in medieval documents up until the 16th century, before the Ottoman invasion and migrations, were the progeny of romanized Illyrians and Thraco-Romans. Some Romance-speaking groups were autochthonous in Croatia and assimilated with Slavs, some were assimilated but preserved their identity and name, while some other groups migrated from Herzegovina to Dalmatia in very late 14th century.[16]

The regions of Lika (which mostly involved the Croatian Military Frontier) and Dalmatia were the border area between HabsburgOttoman and Venetian empires, a place of mass migrations and mixing of communities.[11] Raymond D’Aguilers and William of Tyre during the passage of the Crusaders in the 11th century pointed at the difference between the people who live in hilly hinterland, speak Slavic and deal with grooming of the cattle, from those in the coast who still speak Latin language, probably extinct Dalmatian language, and have different customs.[7] In documents from Lika (1433), Cetina (1436), and Zrmanja (1486–87), a century after their first mention in Croatian historical documents, the Vlachs had distinct names and surnames, differed from the Croats. The Vlachs were called as “Vlasi na Hrvateh”,[19] “good Vlachs” (dobri Vlasi), “good men from katuns” (dobri muži katunari), or “royal Vlachs” (Olahi domini nostri regis, Wolachi banatus regni Croatie).
Despite this cross-pollination of language some groups of Vlachs may have remained distinct from the Slavs; historical sources from the 14th-15th century differ Slavs and Vlachs in the area of Kotor, Dubrovnik, Bosnia and Croatia (Slavi et VlachyVlachy et BosgnianiSerbi et Vlachi).[18] In 1345, in Cetina Croati et Olachy are differed, while in a 1436 document, Catholic Vlachs of the county of Cetina (around the town of Sinj) were represented as distinct from both the Croats and the Serbs inhabiting the county.[21] In 1450, in the area of Šibenik were differed Morlachi ac Hervati.[18] In a book by Ragusan historian Ludovik Crijević (1459-1527), Writings on the Present Age, Vlachs (Valachos) were distinguished from other people, and were mentioned as “nomadic Illyrians who in the common language are called Vlachs” and there is also the mention of the present-day surname Kožul/lj in “Cossuli, a kind of Illyrian people considered Romans”.[22] During the Orthodox migration to Žumberak in 1538, general commander Nikola Jurišić mentioned the Vlachs who “in our parts are called as Old Romans” separate from the Serbs and Rascians.[23]

During the 14th century, Vlach settlements existed throughout much of today’s Croatia,[24] but centres of population were focused around the Velebit and Dinara mountains and along the Krka and Cetina rivers.[24] The Vlachs were divided into common Vlachs from Cetina and royal Vlachs from Lika.[25] The Vlach population lived on the territory of noble families; of Nelipić (Cetina–Knin), Šubić (Pokrčje), Gusić (Pozrmanje), and Frankopan (Lika).[26] Between 1400 and 1600 many Vlach families had settled Istria and island of Krk.[27] The Frankopans settled Vlachs on the island of Krk (Dubašnica, Poljica) in the 15th century, and later around Učka.[28] The Venetian colonization of Istria started not later than the early 1520s,[27] and there were several cases when they returned to Dalmatia.[29] They and other Vlachs in northern Istria were called Ćići. The mountain Ćićarija consequently got named after its inhabitants.

Drawing of a Ćić, an Istrian Vlach from 1891.

The Vlach people distinctively lived a nomadic life as shepherds and as traveling merchants on trading routes.[30] They lived in villages, and hamlets called katun (ro. cătun), smaller village-like places in the mountains and lower areas where they dwelled during the transhumant period. The 1436 document (Vlach law) confirmed in Klis by ban Ivan Frankopan beside clear ethnic diversity in the Cetina county showed that there were two social groups of Vlachs, those with villages who pay tax, and those without villages who are nomads and thus obligated to serve in the army as horsemen.[31] According to Stjepan Pavičić (1931), the Romance Vlachs or Morlachs of the Dinara and Velebit lost their Romance language by the 14th or 15th century, or were at least bilingual at that time.[32] The so-called Istro-Romanians, called by themselves Rumeri or Vlasi,[33][34] continued to speak their language on the island of Krk (extinct in the 20th century; recorded Pater Noster) and villages around the Čepić lake in Istria,[32] while other communities in the mountains (Ćićarija) above the lake preserved the Shtokavian-Chakavian dialect with Ikavian accent from the southern Velebit and area of Zadar.[35][36] The documents about Vlachs from Cetina county indicate Chakavian dialect with Ikavian accent.[37] The evidence of their Romance language are toponyms throughout the Dinaric Alps, and many anthroponyms (surnames) with specific Romance roots, and Romanian ending suffixes.[38][39][40] The “Vlach” or “Romanian” traditional system of counting sheep in pairs do (two), pato (four), šasto (six), šopći (eight), zeći (ten) has been preserved in Velebit, BukovicaDalmatian Zagora, and Ćićarija until today.[37][41][42]

Morlach region in the 17th century.

The data on Lika and Krbava in 1712–14 censuses (studied by Croatian historian Marko Šarić) divided pre-modern ethnic groups (etnije) into Orthodox Vlachs listed in the census as Schismatics (Schismatische Wallachen, Walachi, Wolochi), Catholic Vlachs (Bunjevci), Carniolans (Kranjci), Croats and Turks (Catholicizated former Muslims), based on Zagreb bishop Martin Brajković’s earlier groupings.[55][56][57] The statistical categories were minimal to socio-religious and military and economic aspects of the population,[58] but as it includes a list of 713 surnames it is an important source for onomastics, to comprehend the ethnic identity of the population.[59] The majority of nobility in Lika consisted of Catholic Croats, while the vast majority of population were Vlachs (Orthodox).[60] By confessional affiliation the Orthodox (Vlachs) numbered 71% of the total population in Lika and Krbava while Catholics overall 29%.[61] According to ethnic structure by dual model, 87% of Lika-Krbava population belonged to the Vlachs of social and cultural history.[8] According to ethnic structure by model of five nations Orthodox Vlachs numbered 71%, Bunjevci (Catholic Vlachs) 16%, Carniolans 6%, Croats 4% and Turks (Muslims converted to Catholicism) 2%.[62] The future studies have found that at the beginning of the 20th century only 60–64% of the surnames were preserved, with mostly Carniolian surnames vanished.[63] Despite the fact that Velebit Vlachs (Morlacs) were mostly Croats and Catholics, among them exist real Romanians, we see this from their surnames such as “Bučul, Čutul, Prendivoj, Hamet, Kapo, Sebikoč, Cako, Delebrajde, Čepulado.” [68] Pope Gregory IX in letter from 14 November 1234 for king Béla IV of Hungary noted that the “Vlachs, although by name are considered Christians… have rituals which are hostile to the Christian name”. Pope Gregory XI in letter from 1372 for Franciscans in Bosnia ordered to convert Vlachs who live in tents and pastures (Wlachorum… quorum nonnulli in pascuis et tentoriis habitant), also relating to the activity of the Bosnian Church (also see Stećaks). Orthodoxy was also more akin to them rather than feudal Roman Catholicism which dogma did not allow to embrace as many pagan beliefs like in Orthodox Church.[69]

Example of Vlach/Morlach medieval tombstone

Reference to the existence of Vlachs or Romance-speaking people in Medieval Croatia dates from the early Middle Age; One of the first mention of Vlachs is the 1071 charter by the Croatian King Krešimir IV about the Rab diocese, when on the island of Pag the village Wlasici (today village Vlašići) was mentioned,[70][38][71] but is considered a forgery from the late 12th and early 13th century.[72] In the Libellus Policorion, church cartular dated in the mid 14th century that includes transcriptions of older collected documents about estates of now extinct Benedictine Abbey of St John the Evangelist in Biograd and Saints Cosmas and Damian on the island of Pašman, is mentioned one Kutun (Katun) district.[73] Vlachs can be traced by personal names and peculiarly by ending suffix “-ul” in Dalmatian cities documents since the 10th century.[70][38][74] The sudden appearance of the Vlachian name in the historical documents is due to the official introduction of specific rights in the notary books for taxation and trade only from 1307.[75]
The first collective reference of Vlachs, or Morlachs in some Latin and mostly Venetian and Italian documents, dates from the early 1320s (almost 900 years after Slavic migration); in 1321, a local priest from Dobrinj on the island of Krk granted land to the church (“to the lands of Kneže, which are called Vlachian”),[76] while in 1322 they and people of Poljica were allied to Ban of Croatia, Mladen Šubić, who fought against Croatian pretenders at the Battle of Bliska in the hinterland of Trogir.[77][78] In 1344 are mentioned Morolacorum in lands around Knin and Krbava, within the conflict of counts from Kurjaković and Nelipić families, and that they can shelter their livestock on islands of Rab, Hvar, and Brač.[79] In 1345 are mentioned in the charter by king Louis I of Hungary to Nelipićs, to whom was confiscated Knin in exchange for Sinj and other forst in Cetina county with all “with their inhabitants, Croats and Vlachs”.[2]
In 1352, in the agreement in which Zadar sold salt to the Republic of Venice, in which Zadar retained part of the salt that Morlachi and others exported by land.[80][81] In the 1357 charter of Šibenik was imposed a provision that Vlachs mustn’t use without authority the city lands for pasture.[82] In 1362, the Morlachorum, unauthorized, settled on lands of Trogir but were allowed to use it for pasture for a few months.[83]
In 1383, Vlachs around Šibenik, which partially belonged to the Queen Elizabeth and noble Ivan III Nelipić, were causing problems, and citizens wrote to the Queen asking for help. The Queen warned the Ban of Croatia, Emerik, and ordered him to send Vlachs away from the city lands and take fines from them, from which a part to be given to the citizens.[84] In 1387, when nobles from the family Budislavić from Krbava confirmed with a charter the privileges of the citizens of city Pag, was determined that Vlachs musn’t use the city lands for pasture.[85] In the Statute of Senj dating to 1388, the Frankopans mentioned Morowlachi and defined the amount of time they had for pasture around river Gacka when they descended from the mountains.[86]
Some scholars consider that to the alleged Vlachian migration in the 14th century to the Dalmatian Zagora preceded black death which enabled permanent Vlachian colonization and pasture of animals on desolated land.[87] This migration would be followed with the sudden appearance of stećak tombstones in the Cetina county, showing the cultural specificity of the newly arrived communities. The particular appearance of the stećaks indicate separate socio-cultural identity, to whom afterlife was important, as well socio-professional prosperity for such valuable burials.[87]
In the 1376 and 1454 documents by Republic of Dubrovnik about trade with Bosnian lands are distinguished Vlachi et Bosgnani.[88] In Bosnian documents are first mentioned in c. 1234 by ban Matej Ninoslav, and from 1361 up to 1417 were mentioned royal Vlachs of Bosnian bans and kings.[89][90] On 13 April 1411, Bosnian Duke Sandalj Hranić sold the Croatian town Ostrovica, which was a gift from King Ladislaus of Naples to the Republic of Venice. A year later on 10 April 1412, the Murlachos (probably in service of King Sigismund) captured the Ostrovica Fortress from Venice.[91] In August 1417, Venetian authorities were concerned with the “Morlachs and other Slavs” from the hinterland, that were a threat to security in Šibenik.[92]
In 1405 and 1421, morolakis seu olakonibus and wolachos sugari lived on the lands of Ostrovica Lička, today near Gospić in Lika.[93] During the 15th century, the Vlach population in Croatia expanded so significantly that they were sometimes mentioned as a distinct entity along the Croatians. In 1412 King Sigismund bestowed the Sinj county and Travnik fortress to Ivan III Nelipić, and mentioned that Croats and Vlachs were at his disposal (cum universis Croatis et Vlahis).[24][94] In the so-called Pašman Breviary (1431) were distinguished Croats and Vlachs enslaved by the Turks.[94] On 6 August 1432, the Ragusians reported to King Sigismund that the Turks had invaded into the Croatian lands, and captured many Croats and Vlachs.[95] In 1432, on the order of King Sigismund, Morlachs were required for military service and to gather at the Ban’s camp where they were joined by the “whole of the Croatian Kingdom and co-existing forces of the Vlachs”.[96] In 1433 was released document which defined relation between “good Vlachs” and Church of St. Ivan on the Hill in Lika, mentioning Vlach judicial court, and that “not one Vlach among us brother Croat Vlachs will carry out any evil on the said property”.[94]

Morlachian man and woman from Spalato, Théodore Valerio, 1864.

The sale of Dalmatia on 7 April 1433 by King Sigismund to the Republic of Venice earned him the enmity of Ivan Frankopan. With death of last Nelipić in 1435,[97] Frankopan convinced the Vlachs to side with him by promising them the resurrection of old “Vlach Laws” (previously given by Nelipić’s). Law for parish of Cetina given by Ivan Frankopan on 18 March 1436 distinguishes Vlachs from Croats and Serbs and determines that the Vlachs have their own knez. These laws dated from the middle of the 14th century and included many personal rights for the Vlachs.[98] According to the “Vlach Laws”, Vlachs that chose to follow Frankopan received various privileges, such as serving under Vlach commanders instead of Croatian ones, crimes committed in the town of Sinj would be judged by a Vlach magistrate rather than a Croatian one,[94] the Croatian prince of Cetina would not be permitted to appoint a voivode (prince) over them [99] and Croats were restricted to having only one Vlach as their shepherd. Encouraged by these promises, the Vlachs attacked nearby littoral towns under Venetian control, but in 1436 on behalf of king Sigismund, Ban of Croatia Matko Talovac waged war against Ivan Frankopan who didn’t manage to survive.[97][100]
As they previously supported Frankopan, Vlachs from Cetina now were persecuted, resulting on 2 July 1436 informing the Vlachs of a peace treaty between Talovac and Venice that had been signed that forbade further attacks on Venetian towns, but it wasn’t always respected.[97][100] The persecution was also in part due to the new conflict between Talovac and herzog Stjepan Vukčić Kosača who at the time had capital in Imotski. Kosača managed to conquer in 1440 Omiš and Poljica, but lost them to Venice in 1444. From this time are dated stećaks from Bisko. In 1444 conflicts between Talovac and Vlachs again re-emerge, with estates of Vlachs Mikul Dudanović, Radoj Gerdanić and their siblings being given to the widow of Šimun Keglević. This resulted with the migration of Morlachs from the Talovac estates in Cetina to Poljica under Venice control in 1446.[101]

The Vlachs of Lika were ruled by Croatian princes and bishops, while Vlachs who lived along the Cetina river were more autonomous and were governed by Vlach princes, dukes and judges. They also paid more favorable taxes and were free from paying for pasture for their cattle. However, they were not completely free citizens and faced restrictions such as prohibitions on becoming court witnesses, jurors and officers. Their rights were contained in the “Vlach Paper” from 1476, which itself is an extension of the “Vlach Laws” from 1436. Both of these were written in Cyrillic and kept in the Franciscan monastery in Trsat.[102] Also, during this period, large numbers of Vlachs were traded or used as gifts between Croatian nobles, and local churches.[103]
In the summer of 1448 during warfare around Šibenik city’s authority complained in Venice about Morlachs and Croats who subordinate with Ban of Croatia.[104] In 1463, in the župa of Vrlika were mentioned Vlachs from the de genere Thwlich (Tulić), gifted by the King Matthias Corvinus to the local Croatian nobel Ivan Čubretić.[105] In 1481, by the king some Vlachs were settled in Lika.[106] In 1486-87 were mentioned at the Zrmanja river region, around the Kegalj-grad, because of land disputes with nobles Keglević.[107] In the late 1480s are mentioned in Dubašica and Poljica on island Krk, “corvati et morlacchi“.[108] In 1504 document from Krk mentions “…every Christian, nobleman and peasant, Vlach or Croat”.[108] In the 1504 document about war tributes, besides from Vrlika, were also mentioned Vlachs from Knin (Tinninienses), Obrovac (Obrowacz) and Nutjak.[109]
Another group or Vlachian term besides Morlachs was Ćići (ger. Tschitsche). In the early 15th century was mentioned as a surname in Istria, while in 1463 by priest Fraščić as a group who under Ivan Frankopan plunder Istrian territory beneath mountain Učka.[110] In 1499, the Carinthian parish priest Jakob Urnest mentioned a territory Czyschnlandt between Croatian and Bosnian kingdoms, which some consider to be the Cetina river region in southern Croatia.[111] In penal records of Trieste from the year 1500 contain an inscription of an accused who, when asked of his home country, replied Ciccio da Segna (Senj), while another man declared himself as Ciccio da S. Michele di Leme (Lim valley in Istria).[112][113] In 1523 and 1527, in the estate of Lupoglav were settled Tschizen aus Krabatten.[114] In 1528, Tschitschen were mentioned in regard of possible settling in Modruš and other lands as a resistance against Martolosi.[115] In 1530, they were prohibited to purchase grain in Novo Mesto and Metlika in Lower Carniola.[116] In 1539, royal commissioner Erasmo von Thurn submitted a request by Ćići to King Ferdinand if they could be given some deserted land on karst and Istria.[116] Also, previously in 1530 general commander Nikola Jurišić mentioned Vlachs who were commonly called Ćići (Valachi, quos vulgo Zytschn vocant),[110] while Slovenian diplomat Benedikt Kuripešič in his travel through Bosnia mentioned his use of Zitzen and Zigen as exonym, along Vlach and Martolosi, for the Serbs and Orthodox immigrants in Bosnia which came from Smederevo and Greek Belgrade (Smedraw and griechisch Weussenburg).[110][117][118] In October 1538, captain of Bihać Erazmo Thurn wrote to King Ferdinand I that Ćići from Istria (die issterreichischen Zittschen), who were around Ottoman occupied Obrovac, moved to king’s land with many men and 40,000 cattles.[119]

Vlach migrations to the Austrian Empire from the Ottoman Empire, and vice versa, were generally caused by the loss of financial status or privileges of Vlach laws,[23] rather than from any form of ethnic or religious persecution.[120] Usually the migrations were caused or performed in periods after turbulent events, like Battle of Mohács (1526), the conquest of Dalmatia (1522), Lika and Krbava (1527-28), and subsequent battles.[121]

Bogumil Hrabak emphasized that not all cattle breeders and shepherds in the Balkans were called Vlachs, an example being the Arbanasi.[161] According to Zef Mirdita, there’s a clear distinction between the Serb ethnic community and the Vlachs as seen in Serbian medieval documents mentioning “Vlachs” separately from “Serbs”, and for example the prohibition of intermarriage between Serbs and Vlachs by Emperor Stefan Dušan (in Dušan’s Code).[162][163] However, as argued by John V. A. Fine Jr., “a more detailed examination of the code shows that it was in fact occupational”.[2] Mirdita noted that the Vlachs were always mentioned as an ethnic group and were in the process of Slavicization which wasn’t completed in the 15th century.[164][165] On the basis of documents from the 13th to the 15th century it is evident that the Vlachs were considered by the Serbs as “others” i.e. different from themselves.[166]  In a study about Western Balkans household and families, Austrian historian of historical anthropology Karl Kaser argued a Catholic Vlach origin of Bunjevci who became absorbed in Croat community while Orthodox Vlach was absorbed in Serbian community.[168] Hrabak emphasized that South Slavic scholarship and Serbian nationalists tried to neglect or minimize the contribution of Vlachs in their ethnogenesis and history because the old-Balkan element insulted their idea of pure Slavs. Jaroslav Šidak noted that due to receiving derogatory connotation in Historija naroda Jugoslavije II (1959) the issue was avoided by writing a lowercase “vlachs” in the meaning of a social term.[173] Some international scholars like Noel Malcolm consider that Bosnian Serbs have a large element of non-Slavic ancestry (Vlachian) and that national concept of Croats and Serbs are 19th- and 20th-century constructs.[157] Mirko Valentić claim that the Vlachs were Serbianized only in the 19th century.[9] The War in Croatia lasted from 1991 until 1995.[183][184] Croatian historian Drago Roksandić claimed in 1991, before the war escalated, that until today, the “Vlach question” (Vlaško pitanje) had caused and still caused many disagreements between experts and non-experts in ex-Yugoslavian countries, as well as in the other Balkan countries with Vlach communities.[185] The Vlach heritage has had a remarkable impact on modern Serbs, Croats and Bosnians.[186]

Dalmatian langa dalmata, dalmatoItalianlingua dalmatica, dalmatico; Croatian: dalmatski) is an extinctRomance language that was spoken in the Dalmatia region of present-day Croatia, and as far south as Kotor in Montenegro. The Ragusan dialect of Dalmatian, the most studied prestige dialect, was the official language of the Republic of Ragusa for much of its medieval history until it was gradually supplanted by other local languages. Dalmatian speakers lived in the coastal towns of Zadar (Jadera), Trogir(Tragur, Traù), Spalato (SplitSpalato), Ragusa (DubrovnikRaugia, Ragusa), and Kotor (Cattaro), each of these cities having a local dialect, and on the islands of Krk (Vikla, Veglia), Cres (Crepsa), and Rab (Arba). Almost every city developed its own dialect. Most of these became extinct before they were recorded, so the only trace of these ancient dialects is some words borrowed into local dialects of today’s Croatia and Montenegro.[4]
Ragusan is the Southern dialect, whose name is derived from the Romance name of Dubrovnik, Ragusa. The Maritime Republic of Ragusa had a large and important fleet, by the 15th century numbering about 300 ships.[5] The language was threatened by the Slav expansion, as the Ragusan Senate decided that all debates had to be held in the lingua veteri ragusea (ancient Ragusan language) and the use of the Slav was forbidden. Nevertheless, during the 16th century, the Ragusan Romance language fell out of use and became extinct.
Dalmatian evolved from the vulgar Latin of the Illyro-Romans. It was spoken on the Dalmatian coast from Fiume (now Rijeka) as far south as Cottora (Kotor) in Montenegro. Speakers lived mainly in the coastal towns of Jadera (Zadar), Tragurium (Trogir), Spalatum[7] (Split), Ragusa (Dubrovnik) and Acruvium (Kotor), and also on the islands of Curicta (Krk), Crepsa (Cres) and Arba (Rab).
The oldest preserved documents written in Dalmatian are 13th century inventories in Ragusa (Dubrovnik). Dalmatian is also known from two Ragusan letters, dated 1325 and 1397. The available sources include roughly 260 Ragusan words. Surviving words include some 260 Ragusan words like pen (pâine) ‘bread’, teta (tată) ‘father’, chesa (casă) ‘house’, and fachir (a face) ‘to do’, which were quoted by the Dalmatian, Filippo Diversi, Rector of the republic of Ragusa in the 1430s.

In 1897, the scholar Matteo Bartoli, himself a native of nearby Istria, visited a burbur (‘barber’ in Dalmatian) Tuone Udaina (ItalianAntonio Udina), the last speaker of any Dalmatian dialect, to study his language, writing down approximately 2,800 words, stories, and accounts of his life, which were published in a book that has provided much information on the vocabulary, phonology, and grammar of the language. Bartoli wrote in Italian and published a translation in German (Das Dalmatische) in 1906. The Italian language manuscripts were reportedly lost, and the work was not re-translated into Italian until 2001. Just one year later, on 10 June 1898, Tuone Udaina was accidentally killed at 74 in a roadwork explosion.[8][9]

if compare with real prononciation of arhaic romanian than dalamtian and romanian look even more similar

In the most recent classification from 2017 it was classified by the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History with the Istriot language in the Dalmatian Romance subgroup.[10] It was once thought to be a language that bridged the gap between Romanian and Italian, but it was only distantly related to the nearby Romanian dialects, such as the nearly extinct Istro-Romanian spoken in nearby IstriaCroatia. Some of its features are quite archaic. 
Vlachs (Aromanians) from Herzegovina and Dalmatia were known as “Caravlachs” during Turkish occupation. “Cara” means black in Turkish and North in Turkish geography. Translated into Greek, the name became Morlachs (from Mauro Vlachs).[11] Vlachs or Morlachs spoke a language close to Romanian.[12] Vlachs or Morlachs spread into all Dalmatian areas including Adriatic isles and towns. The majority were Slavicized and many of them were Islamized or Catholicized.[13] Today there are only a dozen Morlachs in Croatia and they have lost their maternal Romance spoken language.

Borders of the Republic of Ragusa, from 1426 (encompassing also the area labelled "Neum" until 1718)
Borders of the Republic of Ragusa, from 1426 (encompassing also the area labelled “Neum” until 1718)

According to the De administrando imperio of the Byzantine emperorConstantine VII Porphyrogennetos, the city was founded, probably in the 7th century, by the inhabitants of the Roman city of Epidaurum (modern Cavtat) after its destruction by the Avars and Slavs c. 615.[10] Some of the survivors moved 25 kilometres (16 miles) north to a small island near the coast where they founded a new settlement, Lausa. It has been claimed that a second raid by the Slavs in 656 resulted in the total destruction of Epidaurum.[11] Slavs settled along the coast in the 7th century.[12] The Slavs named their settlement Dubrovnik. The Romance (“Latin”) and Slavs held each other antagonistically, though by the 12th century the two settlements had merged. The channel that divided the city was filled, creating the present-day main street (the Stradun) which became the city centre. There are recent theories based on excavations that the city was established much earlier, at least in the 5th century and possibly during the Ancient Greek period (as per Antun Ničetić, in his book Povijest dubrovačke luke). The key element in this theory is the fact that ships in ancient time traveled about 45 to 50 nautical miles per day, and mariners required a sandy shore to pull their ships out of the water for the rest period during the night. An ideal combination would have a fresh water source in the vicinity. Dubrovnik had both, being halfway between the Greek settlements of Budva and Korčula, which are 95 nautical miles (176 km; 109 mi) apart. During its first centuries the city was under the rule of the Byzantine Empire.[10] The Saracens laid siege to the city in 866–67; it lasted for fifteen months and was raised due to the intervention of Byzantine Emperor Basil I, who sent a fleet under Niketas Ooryphas in relief. Ooryphas’ “showing of the flag” had swift results, as the Slavic tribes sent envoys to the Emperor, once more acknowledging his suzerainty. Basil dispatched officials, agents and missionaries to the region, restoring Byzantine rule over the coastal cities and regions in the form of the new theme of Dalmatia, while leaving the Slavic tribal principalities of the hinterland largely autonomous under their own rulers; the Christianization of the Croats and the other Slavic tribes also began at this time.[13] With the weakening of Byzantium, Venice began to see Ragusa as a rival that needed to be brought under its control, but an attempt to conquer the city in 948 failed. The citizens of the city attributed this to Saint Blaise, whom they adopted as their patron saint.[14] The city remained under Byzantine domination until 1204, with the exception of periods of Venetian (1000–1030) and later Norman (1081–1085, 1172, 1189–90) rule.[10] In 1050, Croatian king Stjepan I (Stephen) made a land grant along the coast that extended the boundaries of Ragusa to Zaton, 16 km (10 mi) north of the original city, giving the republic control of the abundant supply of fresh water that emerges from a spring at the head of the Ombla inlet.[14] Stephen’s grant also included the harbour of Gruž, which is now the commercial port for Dubrovnik.[14]  The official language until 1472 was Latin. Later, the Senate of the Republic decided that the official language of the Republic would be the Ragusan dialect of the Romance Dalmatian language, as opposed to the Slavic vernacular (Croatian), which was also forbidden for use in senatorial debate. In January 1348, the Black Death struck the city and decimated the urban population.[22]
With the great Portuguese explorations which opened up new ocean routes, the spice trade no longer went through the Mediterranean. Moreover, the discovery of the Americas started a crisis of Mediterranean shipping. That was the beginning of the decline of both the Venetian and Ragusan republics. On 6 April 1667, a devastating earthquake struck and killed over 5,000 citizens, including many patricians and the Rector (CroatianknezŠišmundo Getaldić. The earthquake also levelled most of the city’s public buildings, leaving only the outer walls intact. Buildings in the Gothic and Renaissance styles – palaces, churches and monasteries – were destroyed. Of the city’s major public buildings, only the Sponza Palace and the front part of the Rector’s Palace at Luža Square survived. Gradually the city was rebuilt in the more modest Baroque style. With great effort Ragusa recovered a bit, but still remained a shadow of the former Republic.


Slavs invaded and settled the Balkans in the 6th and 7th centuries, traditional historiography, based on DAI, holds that the migration of Serbs and Croats to the Balkans was part of a second Slavic wave, placed during Heraclius’ reign.[37] Romance-speakers lived within the fortified Dalmatian city-states.[32] In 6th century Byzantine historians used the term Vlachs for Latin speakers.[. During the late 9th century the Hungarians invaded the Carpathian Basin, where the province of Pannonia was inhabited by the “Slavs [Sclavi], Bulgarians [Bulgarii] and Vlachs [Blachii], and the shepherds of the Romans [pastores Romanorum]” (sclauij, Bulgarij et Blachij, ac pastores romanorum —according to the Gesta Hungarorum, written around 1200 by the anonymous chancellor of King Béla III of Hungary.[35] Chroniclers John Skylitzes and George Kedrenos wrote that in 971, during battles between Romans and Varangians led by Sveinald (Sviatoslav), that Northern part of Danube were dwelled by sedentary Vlachs and tribes of nomad Pechenegs who lived in tents.[36] George Kedrenos mentioned about Vlachs in 976. The Vlachs were guides and guards of Roman caravans in Balkans.
11th century : Byzantine writer Kekaumenos, author of the Strategikon (1078), described a 1066 revolt against the emperor in Northern Greece led by Nicolitzas Delphinas and other Vlachs.[40] The names Blakumen or Blökumenn is mentioned in Nordic sagas dating between the 11th–13th centuries, with respect to events that took place in either 1018 or 1019 somewhere at the northwestern part of the Black Sea and believed by some to be related to the Vlachs.[41][42] In the Bulgarian state of the 11th and 12th century, Vlachs lived in large numbers, and they were equals to the Bulgarian population.[43]

12th century : The Russian Primary Chronicle, written in ca. 1113, wrote when the Volochi (Vlachs) attacked the Slavs of the Danube and settled among them and oppressed them, the Slavs departed and settled on the Vistula, under the name of Leshi.[44] The Hungarians drove away the Vlachs and took the land and settled there.[45][46] Byzantine historian John Kinnamos described Leon Vatatzes’ military expedition along the northern Danube, where Vatatzes mentioned the participation of Vlachs in battles with the Magyars (Hungarians) in 1166.[48][49] The uprising of brothers Asen and Peter was a revolt of Bulgarians and Vlachs living in the theme of Paristrion of the Byzantine Empire, caused by a tax increase. It began on 26 October 1185, the feast day of St. Demetrius of Thessaloniki, and ended with the creation of the Second Bulgarian Empire, also known in its early history as the Empire of Bulgarians and Vlachs.

Vlach Regions in Balkans and among the South Slaves :
White Wallachia in Moesia[68][need quotation to verify]
Great Wallachia (Μεγάλη ΒλαχίαMegáli vlahía) in Thessaly[68]
Small Wallachia (Μικρή ΒλαχίαMikrí vlahía) in AetoliaAcarnaniaDorida and Locrida[68]
Morlachia, in LikaDalmatia
Upper Valachia of Moscopole and Metsovon (Άνω ΒλαχίαÁno Vlahía) in southern MacedoniaAlbania and Epirus
Stari Vlah (“the Old Vlach”), a region in southwestern Serbia
Romanija mountain (Romanija planina) in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina[69]
Some researchers, like Bogumil Hrabak and Marian Wenzel, theorized that the origins of Stećci tombstones, which appeared in medieval Bosnia between 12th and 16th century, could be attributed to Vlach burial culture of Bosnia and Herzegovina of that times.[73]

Map of Central-Southern Europe during the late Middle Ages/early Modern period by Transylvanian Saxon humanist Johannes Honterus.

About Alex Imreh

http://www.aleximreh.ro http://www.facebook.com/alex.imreh 0742-669918
This entry was posted in ethnogenesis, Linguistic Archeology, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to St/Sveti Vlaho – Vlachs in the history of Croatia – the dalmatian / Ragusan language

  1. Florin says:

    Diferite denumiri pentru a inventa naționalități. Este exact tehnica practicată și în fostul URSS și aplicată romanilor de peste Prut, inclusiv de ucrainieni.

  2. Pingback: Vlasinii – Ius Valahicum | Alex Imreh

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