Recent research has done much to highlight the pivotal role played by the early modern humanists in the development of nationalist discourse.1 When humanists wrote national histories, in Luka Špoljarić’s words,
“they created national myths of origin, praised their respective national characters, cataloged their national heroes and saints, delineated their national territories, and so forth. The goal was, of course, to assert the superiority of their nation over others. The Italian humanists were the ones who started this trend. Biondo Flavio’s (1392–1463) Italia Illustrata (Italy illuminated), a work that soon became the model of national history writing, sang praises of the geography, famous men, and history of Italy, ‘the foremost of the provinces of the world.’ Before long, such claims instigated manifold responses across Europe: the French upheld Paris and its university as the true center of European learning; Germans turned to Tacitus to stress their purity and uncorrupted morals; and Hungarians celebrated Attila the Hun and his military exploits. When Croatian humanists entered this international fray, they boasted of their ancient Dalmatian or Illyrian roots.”2
Indeed, Croatian humanists, though slavophone, considered their nation to be indigenous to the region, the descendants of ancient Illyrians. For this reason, in their Latin texts they often referred to both the historical and contemporary population of their kingdoms—the kingdoms of Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia, and Bosnia—as Illyrici, the Illyrians. Accordingly, they called their homeland, at this time divided between various political powers (the Republic of Venice, the Ottoman Empire, the Habsburg Monarchy, and the Republic of Dubrovnik), Illyria or Illyricum, reviving in this way the ancient Roman administrative term for the region (which included the territory that stretched north to the Danube and roughly corresponded with modern Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, northern Albania, northern Serbia, and western Hungary), and thus seeking to anchor their history and identity deep in the ancient world.3 In addition to this narrow vision of their homeland, an Illyria sensu stricto, some Croatian humanists also presented Illyria as an integral part of the wider Slavic world, a nation that included the Orthodox Southern Slavs, like the Serbs and Bulgarians, as well as the Czechs, Poles, and Russians in the north. In this way, this small group of intellectuals from a narrow strip of land at the frontier of Catholic Europe sought to provide their community with prestige and historical legitimacy and promote the cause of their nation, which faced with an existential threat from the Ottoman expansion.
Illyrianism, the nationalist discourse of Croatian humanists, appeared first in the mid-fifteenth century just as the Croatian-Dalmatian branch of the European Republic of Letters began to emerge.4 However, the most well-developed and influential texts that promoted the Illyrian ideology date to the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries: a chorography, the Oratio de origine successibusque Slavorum (1532) by Vinko Pribojević of Hvar, and a history, Il Regno degli Slavi (1601) by Mauro Orbini of Dubrovnik. In these works the two authors described and glorified the history of the Illyrian nation, presenting it as an integral part of the wider Slavic world tied together by the same language. This allowed the two humanists not only to appropriate famous historical figures of ancient Illyria as their national heroes, like St. Jerome of Stridon, St. (Pope) Caius, or Roman Emperor Diocletian, but also Emperor Constantine (born in the province of Dacia Mediterranea, i.e., modern Serbia), King Vukašin of Serbia, and King Sigismund I the Old of Poland and Lithuania.5 By presenting the Illyrian nation as part of the wider Slavic world and highlighting such heroes, the Croatian humanists tried to bolster the prestige and service record of their nation in the wars against the Ottomans. It was then that this utopian Pan- Slavic Illyrianism eventually appealed to the Eastern policy makers of the papal curia.
The Illyrian discourse permeated a significant number of works of Croatian historiography and literature, but only a few works of art. The most important were created in Italy in two Illyrian institutions: the fresco cycle in the Church of St. Jerome of the Illyrians in Rome (executed in 1590 under the patronage of Pope Sixtus V)6 and the fresco cycle in the Illyrian-Hungarian College in Bologna (executed in 1700 under the patronage of a bishop of Zagreb).7 The frescoes in the Illyrian church in Rome are particularly important to highlight here. Three large wall paintings, each on one wall of the presbytery, depicted three scenes from the life of St. Jerome: his ordination in Antioch, his discussion on the Scriptures in Bethlehem (with men wearing turbans), and his disputation with St. Gregory of Nazianzus and St. Basil the Great, the Cappadocian Fathers (Fig. 5.1). The very selection of these Eastern episodes from St. Jerome’s life implied the theological complementariness and reciprocity of both Christian traditions, Eastern and Western, and sent a message stressing the unity of the Church to the Illyrian priests. Another cycle of frescoes in the same church occupied three lunettes. The lunette of the presbytery depicts the Dalmatian Popes Caius and John IV, who symbolize the sacredness of the Illyrian soil; one of the transept lunettes depicts Sts. Cyril and Methodius, the ninth-century Greek missionaries to the Slavs, and the other transept lunette depicts Sts. Domnius and Rainerius, the archbishops of Salona-Split who held the title of primas Dalmatiae totiusque Croatiae.
This essay focuses on Ivan Tomko Mrnavić, a prominent Illyrian prelate in Urban VIII’s Rome, a man who, thirty years after they were completed, celebrated masses under the frescoes in St. Jerome as the president of the Illyrian congregation of the church. What is particularly interesting about Mrnavić is that although he was a prolific author whose works built on the tradition of Croatian Illyrianism developed by Pribojević and Orbini, he also made significant efforts to promote Illyrianism visually. This essay analyzes the meaning of the artworks he commissioned and traces Illyrianism’s performative power, uncovering Mrnavić’s role in the promotion of the cult of St. Caius, both in Rome and in distant Zagreb.
1 Ivan Tomko Mrnavić and His Coat of Arms
Ivan Tomko Mrnavić (1580–1637) was born in Šibenik in then Venetian Dalmatia into a humble Catholic family whose father was an immigrant from Ottoman Bosnia.8 After he graduated from the Jesuits’ Collegio Romano in Rome, he became a diocesan priest in his native city of Šibenik. It is here that Pope Urban VIII unsuccessfully sought to appoint him bishop, ultimately bowing to the Venetian authorities’ strong objections to Mrnavić because he was, as they put it, a Morlacco and an allievo della setta dei Gesuiti. Subsequently, the pope sent him to Zagreb, the Croatian political center in the Hungarian-Croatian Kingdom under Habsburg rule, where he became a canon. The climax of Mrnavić’s career came in 1631 when he was appointed bishop of Bosnia (a titular see at that time).
However, Ivan Tomko Mrnavić spent much of his time in Rome. He was the five-time president of the Congregation of St. Jerome of the Illyrians in Rome in various periods between 1615 and 1635,9 and from 1622 he worked for the Holy See’s Congregatio de Propaganda Fide as an adviser for Illyrian holy books. On behalf of the Holy See, Mrnavić also traveled through Dalmatia, Croatia, Hungary, and Poland, including Ottoman Bosnia and other Ottoman parts of the region. In addition to serving the Church as a priest and an adviser, he wrote tirelessly: his works include historiography, hagiography, and fiction, most of it with subject matters related to the history of Illyria or Illyricum from antiquity onwards.
Mrnavić’s Illyrianism was the Illyrianism of Catholic Reform.10 During that period, the Holy See was occupied with translating holy books for Illyria—Congregatio de Propaganda Fide engaged Croatian priests for that task; Mrnavić was one of them. They had to choose a language variety that would be appropriate for as many South Slavs as possible, including the Orthodox and Muslims. Language was seen as an important tool for the desired unification of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. Also, the example of the Croatian liturgy in the vernacular, which was an exception to the rule in the Catholic Church, was seen as an example that might be helpful in attracting the Orthodox to the Catholic Church.
Ivan Tomko Mrnavić enjoyed a considerable reputation in Rome during the 1620s and 1630s. He published eleven books in nine years, with original title pages and frontispieces, under the aegis of notable dignitaries and printed by reputable printers. On the one hand, this sustained activity earned him inclusion in Leone Allacci’s Apes Urbanae sive De viris illustribus (1633), a biographical lexicon of authors resident in Rome in Urban VIII’s time.11 On the other hand, from an art-historical point of view, a testimony to his growing reputation comes from his involvement in the creation of two works of art commissioned by his acquaintances, who were powerful and enterprising cardinals during that time. Thus, in 1628 Mrnavić was invited by Cardinal Giulio Sacchetti (who was expected to succeed Pope Urban VIII) to his newly built villa in Castel Fusano near Ostia to write epigraphs for marble plaques distributed all over the building. Additionally, Mrnavić was also responsible for the iconography of the Sacchetti villa’s gallery of maps (made by Pietro da Cortona and his assistants).12 As another example, in 1635 Mrnavić inspired the vice-chancellor of the Holy See and the pope’s nephew Cardinal Francesco Barberini to present the Zagreb cathedral with the silver and gilt reliquary bust of its patron, St. Stephen, the King of Hungary (Fig. 5.2). This highly accomplished work of Roman Baroque metal sculpture, made by papal silversmith Francesco Spagna, was based on models attributed to Alessandro Algardi (the head) and Gian Lorenzo Bernini (the plinth).13 In addition to the distinguished artists involved, the mere size of the reliquary, measuring over one meter in height and eloquently signaling the cost of the material used for it, demonstrates the high esteem in which Francesco Barberini held Mrnavić.
In my opinion, Mrnavić owed some of his reputation to his self-promotion skills. For example, he fashioned his identity as a Bosnian noble on the basis of his self-constructed genealogy, according to which he stemmed from the medieval Bosnian family Mrnjavčić, whose famous descendant happened to be the fourteenth-century king of Serbia, Vukašin Mrnjavčić.14 The inspiration was certainly his father’s Bosnian origin, but a blending of his own Dalmatian family with a medieval Bosnian one, whose descendant was king of Serbia, had symbolic potential, as this geography of genealogy covered considerable territory, with Bosnia at its core. Indeed, Mrnavić saw Bosnia as the lynchpin of a possible post-Ottoman state in the region, as documented in one of his reports written for the Holy See.15 In this report he also praises Bosnia by recounting the story of the Vatican painting Saints Peter and Paul and the Baptism of Constantine (accompanied by an Illyrian inscription), which, according to him, was donated to the Vatican basilica by the last Bosnian queen.16 At the time, the painting was thought to date from Constantine’s reign, which greatly added to its significance, though modern scholarship considers it a late thirteenth-century donation from the Serbian Queen Helen of Anjou.17 In fact, the mere mention of that icon shows Mrnavić’s awareness of the power of images and their discursive potential in claiming legitimacy for Illyricum.
Ivan Tomko Mrnavić used every opportunity to give his Bosnian noble identity a visual dimension, and his main devices—acting like so many “shop windows”—were the title pages and frontispieces of his books. There, he would regularly add to his surname the adjective Bosnensis (in books in Latin) or Bošnjanin (in books in Croatian). What is more, he would often display his coat of arms, which has a curious shape and iconology.18 Mrnavić’s coat of arms (see figs. 5.3–5 and 5.8) is filled with a thick cross bearing a crowned, crucified-like eagle; the cross is surrounded by four smaller fire steels or fire strikers (Germ., Feuerstahl; Cro. kresivo or ognjilo; Serb. ocilo), one in each quadrant. After he became the bishop of Bosnia, his coat of arms received an addition in the upper part of the cross—a crescent and a star placed one upon the other. Mrnavić adopted his coat of arms from (what was believed to be) King Vukašin’s coat of arms, reproduced for the first time in the history book Il Regno degli Slavi (Pesaro, 1601) by Mauro Orbini, the Ragusan Benedictine monk. The crescent-and-star motif is also derived from Orbini’s book, where it features in the center of the coat of arms of the Kingdom of Bosnia.19 Both coats of arms from Orbini’s book were recent inventions that came down from the Korjenić-Neorić Armorial, which was made in 1595 as an alleged mid-fourteenth-century original for the Korjenić-Neorić family from Slano (Republic of Ragusa; Dubrovnik).20 This family belonged to local clans who were the descendants of Bosnian small nobility who left the Kingdom of Bosnia following its defeat by the Ottomans to settle in the Republic of Ragusa. There they achieved wealth in the naval business, while also working for the Spanish and Neapolitan courts. However, not being eligible to obtain nobility status in the Republic of Ragusa, they turned to the Spanish court and commissioned the Armorial in order to prove their links with medieval Balkan elites (and indeed, it was accepted as a proof). Subsequently, the Korjenić-Neorić Armorial became an influential reservoir of South Slavic heraldic designs—in the first quarter of the eighteenth century the cross and fire steels composition (the coat of arms of Serbia in the Armorial) became the coat of arms of the Metropolitanate of Karlovci, the center of the Orthodox Church in the Habsburg Monarchy, before it became the coat of arms—or its constituent parts—of modern Serbian states.21 In contrast, the crescent-and-star motif was to become the visual symbol of the 1830s Croatian National Revival, also known as the Illyrian movement; the motif ended up on the coat of arms of the Republic of Croatia in 1990 as one of five small shields crowning the main shield.22
On the one hand, the cross and fire steels composition can be interpreted as a Byzantinizing form, since it resembles the emblem of the Palaiologos dynasty (the so-called tetragrammic cross with four stylized Greek letters beta, used since the thirteenth century). Likewise, the fire-steel motif is an ornament of late Roman and Byzantine origin. On the other hand, the crescent-and-star motif from the coat of arms of the Kingdom of Bosnia is more universal, as it can be found in twelfth-century Croatia as well as in twelfth-century Byzantium and fourteenth-century Poland (leliwa). Finally, the motif—albeit with a different orientation—was to become the symbol of the Ottoman Empire, and subsequently of Turkey (before it became the symbol on the flag of several Muslim states).
Mrnavić exhibited his coat of arms in five of his books. The title page of Osmanšćica (Rome, 1631; see fig. 5.3) can be singled out here (it is a history drama in Croatian which narrates the Ottoman defeat by the Polish army at the 1621 battle of Hochim and its aftermath that led to a conspiracy in Constantinople in which sultan Osman II would be murdered by his janissaries).23 The coat of arms’ shield is composed of segments of two ellipses and set within an elaborately designed early Baroque cartouche, which is framed by the oval inscribed in the rectangle. The cartouche is topped by a putto in a careless position inside the crown.
Other examples of Mrnavić’s Illyrianism made visual are two portrait engravings in his book Indicia vetustatis et nobilitatis familiae Marciae vulgo Marnavitiae (Rome, 1632). The first one depicts the oval portrait of King Vukašin framed by an aedicule and is reminiscent of portraits from Renaissance illustrated books on famous men from the past (Fig. 5.4).24 The other portrait depicts Mrnavić’s bust inside an oval frame; the sitter, bishop of Bosnia at the time, is depicted as a focused and determined bearded man dressed in simple clothes as if a monk rather than a high-ranking ecclesiastic (Fig. 5.5). Both portraits are provided with Mrnavić’s coat of arms. These images are rare examples of Illyrian iconography in Roman seventeenth-century art.
With its Byzantinesque cross with fire steels framed by a Baroque shield and cartouche, Mrnavić’s coat of arms had a very distinctive form and would have been striking in the eyes of the ecclesiastical high society of Rome.
2 Ivan Tomko Mrnavić and the Making of Two Illyrian Churches in Rome
In 1630, when Mrnavić was presiding over the Congregation of St. Jerome of the Illyrians in Rome,25 a marble plaque was put above the inner door of the congregation’s church (Fig. 5.6).
The inscription on the plaque, undoubtedly authored by Mrnavić, reads:
“To Pope Urban VIII, who has with fatherly love embraced the Illyrian nation which has been already gathering in faith for two hundred years in this temple which Sixtus V later built from its foundations. He [Urban VIII] brought peace to the said Congregation, built from foundations the church of Saint Caius Illyrian pope and martyr, decorated the baptistery of Saint Constantine, Illyrian Emperor, purified the Illyrian books of sacred mysteries, brought back the alumni to the Illyrian College in Loreto and endowed them with immortal beneficences. The Illyrian nation gratefully erects this monument to its protector Alessandro Cesarini, the cardinal and the deacon of the Holy Roman Church in the year of our Lord 1630.”26
What is curious in this list of Urban VIII’s beneficences to the Illyrian nation is the mention of two fabbriche: the building of the little-known Church of St. Caius and the renovation of the well-known Lateran baptistery. As far as it is known, these campaigns have not been recorded in contemporary sources as having been linked to the Illyrian nation (unlike the other deeds for which Urban VIII is thanked in the inscription). However, the author of the inscription perceived these projects in this manner and intended for the beholder to understand them as such.
2.1 The Church of St. Caius the Illyrian Pope and Martyr
According to extant documentation, in 1631 Urban VIII commissioned the building of the Church of St. Caius in Rome in Via Porta Pia (now Via XX Settembre) in the vicinity of the Church of St. Susanna.27 In 1880 the Church of St. Caius was demolished due to the construction of the Ministry of War. In the literature on the church a curious assertion has been repeated, without citing a source, that the pope commissioned this building at the behest of Dalmatian nobles. As we will see, this story can be traced back to around 1700, but a somewhat different prototype originated in 1628.
The church was designed by Vincenzo della Greca and built at the expense of the Camera Apostolica.28 The inscription above the portal specified that Urban VIII erected the church on the spot of Pope Caius’s house, which had subsequently been consecrated as a church before falling into ruin. Pope Urban VIII thus erected it anew, bringing the relics of St. Caius to this space and reviving its Titulus and Statio in 1631. The main altarpiece depicted Pope Caius baptizing St. Susanna, painted by Giovanni Battista Speranza. As far as it is known, the paintings ornamenting the two side altars and other images in the church did not refer to St. Caius.29
The façade of St. Caius was represented on the pope’s 1635 annual medal designed by Gaspare Mola, which commemorated the twelfth year of his pontificate.30 It was also represented in the fresco cycle in the Galleria grande di Urbano VIII in the Palazzo Quirinale, which commemorated the nuove fabbriche and restoration campaigns commissioned by the pope (executed by Simone Lagi and Marco Tullio Montagna in 1634–35) (Fig. 5.7).31 Finally, it is also present in another cycle of wall paintings in the Vatican palace depicting twenty-three medaglioni, which celebrated events of the Barberini pontificate (also executed by Lagi and Montagna in 1637–38).32
St. Caius served as the twenty-ninth pope, from 283 to 296 according to the oldest source that mentions him, Catalogus Liberianus (354).33 Other biographical information on his life come from later sources, the most significant one bring the Passio Susannae (circa 450–500), the legend of the beautiful Roman Christian girl whom Emperor Diocletian wanted to marry to his stepson Maximian.34 Susanna lived with her father Gabinius and was close to his brother, Bishop Caius: the two pious brothers were her advisers and consolation. They were also relatives of Emperor Diocletian and were living in neighboring houses in Rome. One day the emperor sent Claudius, a cousin of Gabinius, to ask for Susanna’s hand in marriage for his stepson Maximian, but as a result, Claudius converted to Christianity, together with his wife Praepedigna and their sons Alexander and Cutia. Then the emperor sent Claudius’s brother Maximus with the same mission, but he also became a Christian. They were all baptized by Susanna’s uncle, Caius. When the emperor became aware of this, he ordered the execution of Maximus and Claudius and his family. Then the emperor asked his wife Serena to intercede with Susanna, but to no avail. Suddenly, Maximian came to Susanna’s house with the intention of raping her, but an angel appeared and protected her. Thereupon the emperor sent an agent to her house to force her to sacrifice to Jupiter, but she refused. Then the emperor ordered that she be executed in her home. Serena recovered the body and buried it in the catacombs. After Susanna’s death, Pope Caius regularly visited her home to celebrate mass there. The place became a church and was called ad duas domus (as Gabinius’s house was adjacent to Caius’s). In 499, the Roman synod confirmed a Statio on the site of this church, which was called Titulus Caii. A century later it was renamed Titulus Sanctae Susannae, also called ad duas domus.
The older version of the Liber pontificalis (sixth century) mentions that Pope Caius was ut natione Dalmata, ex genere Diocletiani imperatoris. It is held that this information on the pope’s Dalmatian origin is derived from Passio Susannae and was based on the fact that members of her family were relatives of Diocletian (who was known to have been born in Salona in Dalmatia). The later version of the Liber pontificalis (seventh century) repeats the information about the pope’s Dalmatian origin (and introduces the aforementioned characters of his family). In addition, in this version Pope Caius and his brother Gabinius are mentioned as martyrs, too. As a saint, Pope Caius was given a feast day in the Roman calendar, though there is no information about his cult in Rome or in Dalmatia. He eventually lapsed into oblivion.
However, the memory of St. Caius was revived in the patriotic and historiographic prose of the Croatian Renaissance. In Juraj Šižgorić’s De situ Illyriae et civitate Sibenici (1487, manuscript) there is a chapter entitled “On very few famous Illyrians” (De paucis Illyriorum nominibus)—in it the author agrees with Pliny the Elder who held that among the Illyrians there had been very few illustrious men. However, Šižgorić proudly presented three of them: Emperor Diocletian, Pope Caius, and St. Jerome.35 Vinko Pribojević, in his De origine successibusque Slavorum (Venice, 1532), significantly raised the number of famous Illyrians (the now longer list included Alexander the Great and Aristotle, among others).36 Writing of Pope Caius, Pribojević narrated the story of the pope’s family (Susanna, Gabinius, and so on) and presented Caius as the martyr. Adding to the list of Illyrian viris illustribus, Pribojević also inserted another Dalmatian pope next to Caius, Pope John IV (640–42). Subsequently, this pair of Dalmatian popes would become a recurring motif in Croatian literature of that genre37 and would also enter Croatian early modern political iconography.38 They were symbols of the sacred Illyrian soil that was endangered at the time by the Ottoman expansion. Pribojević’s narrative about the Dalmatian pope, Caius the martyr, his niece Susanna, and their saintly family was then incorporated almost word for word into Mauro Orbini’s Il regno degli Slavi (Pesaro, 1601), the same book from which Mrnavić borrowed his coat of arms.39
Along with this Croatian memory of Caius, the Renaissance popes also made efforts in the same direction. Pope Sixtus V, for example, commissioned the campaign to recover his relics in 1588. Likewise under his patronage, as already been mentioned, Caius would appear in iconography as the new Illyrian patron saint. He was depicted as such for the first time, together with Pope John IV, in the lunette of the presbytery in the Church of St. Jerome of the Illyrians in Rome (attributed to Avanzino Nucci; 1589–90).40 Pope Gregory XV also procured further relics of Pope Caius in 1622.
In 1628 Mrnavić wrote about Pope Caius in his book Unica gentis Aureliae Valeriae Salonitanae Dalmaticae nobilitas (Rome, 1628). In his narrative, Mrnavić merged the story of the Passio Susannae with his knowledge of Emperor Diocletian and his birthplace Salona as well as the place where he died, the palace from which the city of Split arose. The book is dedicated to Cardinal Giulio Sacchetti, who was the cardinal priest of the Church of St. Susanna at the time. In the book Mrnavić made genealogical links between the Sacchetti family and the Aurelia Valeria family from Dalmatian Salona. Moreover, in the laudatory introductory poem Mrnavić praises a certain descendant of Giulio Sacchetti—Andrea Sachhetti—who had happened to be a fifteenth-century bishop of Nagyvárad in the then Kingdom of Hungary before that region fell to the Ottomans (Lat. Varadinum, present-day Oradea in Romania). These were all strategies to involve the Sacchetis in the Eastern question, as well as to subtly propagate the Illyrian cause.
Unlike other saints from her legendary family, Susanna was a popular Roman saint (and there is a major and well-known Roman church dedicated to her), and so the Dalmatian Mrnavić instead emphasized Pope Caius’s importance within this saintly family. This emphasis is clearly visible in the composition of the book’s frontispiece (see fig. 5.8; disegno by Giuseppe Puglia Il Bastaro; incised by Orazio Brunetti),41 which has a monstrance-like shape: St. Caius is depicted in the central oval medallion encircled by nine smaller medallions depicting other members of his holy family; the lower part of the monstrance-shape is occupied by the round Barberini coat of arms, below it there is a significantly smaller image of Mrnavić’s coat of arms, while the very bottom of the monstrance-shape is filled with a curved horizontal cartouche with an inscription that reads: VRBANO SVMMO VNIVERSALIS ECCLIAE PONTIFICI / ANTIQVITATIS ECCLIACAE VNICO RESTITVTORI / IOANNES TOMCVS MARNAVITIVS HVMILITER OFFERT [To Urban, the supreme pontiff of the Universal Church, the unparalleled restorer of the antiquity of the Church, Ivan Tomko Mrnavić humbly presents]. The monstrance-like shape also has four cartouches with inscriptions—three inscriptions communicate some general thoughts on the sainthood, while one is more specific. It reads: Non fecit taliter omni nationi, Psal 147 [He has not done so with any other nation (Ps. 147:20)]. Thus, Mrnavić is suggesting a comparison between the Illyrian nation and the chosen people, the Israelites (Fig. 5.8).
But there is yet another strand to the St. Caius story. In the same year, 1628, a curious avviso was published in Rome entitled Relatione della conquista fatta della galera capitana d’Alessandria, nel porto di Metellino, per opera del capitano Marco Iakimoski, schiavo in detta galera. Con liberatione di 220 schiavi christiani.42 In it, its author in passing reveals that he was aware of the pope’s plan to build the Church of St. Caius three years prior to its construction. The avviso was written by Marko Tomko Mrnavić,43 the little-known nephew of Ivan Tomko Mrnavić, who in the first sentence says he was requested by his uncle to write this story (per obbedire al mio Zio). Indeed, given the anonymity of Marko Tomko Mrnavić on the one hand and the reputation of his uncle on the other hand, but above all, given the proselytizing and Pan-Slavic meaning of the text, the avviso can be safely attributed to Ivan Tomko Mrnavić. The avviso narrates the story of the heroic rebellion of Christian slave oarsmen who, on November 12, 1627, captured a big Ottoman vessel in the Aegean port of Mytilene on the island of Lesbos and made a successful escape to Sicily, where they were warmly received and rewarded by the viceroy. The leader of the Christian slaves was a Pole, Marek Jakimowski,44 while the slaves were predominantly Russian (except for three Greeks, two Englishmen, and one Italian).45 Then, the heroes wanted to come to Rome: Jakimowski chose a delegation of his thirty principal partners and they arrived in Rome on February 16, 1628. In Rome they presented the pope and the Holy See, in a sign of the gratitude to God, with the principal banner of the galley and its gilded light (fanale). Then they hung many other banners in the churches of Rome, particularly in the Church of St. Stanislaus of the Poles, in the Church of St. Susanna—with an agreement that the banner would be kept in the Church of St. Caius after its completion—and finally in the Church of St. Jerome of the Illyrians (at whose hospice they were accommodated at the cost of Cardinal Francesco Barberini, who also gave them confession and Eucharist).46 In addition, they presented trophy-banners to Cardinal Torres, protector of Poland, and also to Signori Carlo and Tadeo Barberini. The pope made Jakimowski a knight, and the ceremony was performed by Cardinal Francesco Barberini, who also gave him religious gifts (regararlo di molte cose diuote). Costanza Barberini and Anna Colonna donated to the wives of the heroes. Then they visited nine pilgrimage churches in Rome and at the end were all invited to a meal by Cardinal Francesco Barberini in the monastery of Santo Stefano Rotondo.
The story was then retold in a reduced form in the book Sancti Caii Papae et Martyris Acta (Rome, 1628) by the Oratorian Father Cesare Becilli in its last chapter, entitled Vexilla sanctis Caio, Hieronymo, Stanislao, universae Slavorum gentis patronis, oblata (The banners presented to the saints Caius, Jerome, and Stanislaus, patrons of the whole Slavic nation).47 Cesare Becilli omits the detail that the crew was predominantly Russian but keeps the character of the Polish leader Marek Jakimowski. The author points out: “You see, the people who use the Slavic language (as the men of which I am talking about here) or inhabit the regions to which the Slavs spread during their migration worship the holy Dalmatians as their own countrymen.” And then follows a description of the flag in the Church of St. Jerome, otherwise absent from the original text:
“This they themselves professed on the banner in St Jerome’s. Thus while one part of the banner reads:During the reign of Urban Mehmed the tyrantgrows weaker and vanishes as Moon fleeing from the Sun.
The other part has the following:This holy trophy the pious Goth of Tiras, having broken free fromMehmed’s shackles, presents to his national saints.”48
Some seventy years later the story turns up again in Carlo Bartolomeo Piazza’s Eorteorlogio overo le Sacre stazioni romane e feste mobili (1702) and La gerarchia cardinalizia (1703), who even cites Cesare Becilli as his source, although, as we shall see, Piazza’s version of the story has some significant and far-reaching modifications: namely, that the representatives of the self-liberated slaves in Rome were Dalmatian nobles (Marek Jakimowski is not mentioned). In addition, the Dalmatian nobles, having presented the three banners to the three churches, went on to look for remains of the ancient church of St. Caius; Pope Urban, having seen their pious curiosity, himself ordered the search for that ancient site upon which he would build the church anew and translate the banner the Dalmatian nobles had temporarily left in the Church of St. Susanna.49 Ultimately, this story was transferred into Gaetano Moroni’s Dizionario di erudizione storico-ecclesiastica da S. Pietro sino ai nostri giorni (1841),50 which, although never cited in this context, seems to have been the source for the assertion that the Church of St. Caius was commissioned by Pope Urban VIII at the behest of Dalmatian nobles.51
Regarding the prototype story from 1628, written by Marko Tomko Mrnavić at Ivan Tomko Mrnavić’s suggestion, it can be safely assumed that some of the events actually happened.52 However, many parts seem to have been arranged by Mrnavić. In fact, the plot resembles a piece of propaganda literature: the Russian slaves, led by a Polish slave, liberated themselves from Ottoman slavery and came to Rome to present the pope with the Ottoman trophy-banner, while other trophy-banners they brought with them they presented in honor of the saints Stanislaus, Caius, and Jerome, that is to say, one Polish saint and two Illyrian saints. The inclusion of Caius within this cluster of saints is particularly interesting, as it is unlikely that anyone would have wished to make a vow to St. Caius in 1628, given that prior to 1631 there was not a single altar dedicated to him in either Dalmatia or Rome, and he seems to have been virtually unknown. Moreover, the delegation of self-liberated slaves who came to Rome was accommodated at the Hospice of the Illyrian Congregation of St. Jerome, adjacent to the Church of St. Jerome of the Illyrians (and not at the Polish hospice in Rome). The role of the Orthodox Russians in the story seems particularly uncertain.
It is possible to recognize in this story the Pan-Slavic trends of the Holy See’s Eastern policy at that time, in which a pivotal role was assigned to Croatian clergy and to the Croatian language. All this was based on the belief that Dalmatia was the cradle of all Slavs and consequently that the Croatian language was the most beautiful of all Slavic languages, their purest prototype. The idea behind the Catholic Pan-Slavism was to engage Russia and Poland in the liberation war against the Ottomans; and the wished-for outcome of such a great campaign, the eventual union of the Catholic and the Orthodox Churches. The father of this Pan-Slavism was Vinko Pribojević, who spent some time in Poland and who, in his work, transferred from Polish literature the story of three brothers from Croatia, Czech, Lech, and Rus, who became the forefathers of the Czechs, Poles, and Russians; he also praised the Polish king, as well as the Russian city of Novgorod, whose citizens speak a language that is, as he put it, so similar to Dalmatian. Pan-Slavism became a tool of the papal Eastern policy, especially during the pontificate of Clement VIII (Ippolito Aldobrandini) from 1592 to 1605. It is interesting to note in this context that the bishop of Hvar, Petar Cedulin, wrote a letter of congratulation to the newly elected Pope Clement VIII in which he calls for the pope to liberate from Ottoman rule “thirteen kingdoms and provinces of the Illyrian language,” by which he meant also Russia and Poland.53 Dating from this period is another curious letter addressed to the Holy See in which an unsigned author asks that the Hospice of the Illyrian Congregation of St. Jerome be changed into a college for Slavs, that is to say, for all Slavs who speak the Illyrian language, which also included the Russians and the Poles.54
That an erudite “restaged” the actual event can also be sensed from the insistence that the standard-trophy destined for the Church of St. Caius should be temporarily left in the Church of St. Susanna; it is not probable that Marek Jakimowski and his companions were aware of the ancient connection between the two saints, their houses, and tituli, as only a well-informed humanist would have been. Mrnavić’s motivation for launching the story was obviously to stage a pro- and Pan-Slavic show for Pope Urban VIII. Indeed it is most probable that he used this story to seed the idea for the Church of St. Caius in the pope’s mind. Whatever the case may be, in 1628 Ivan Tomko Mrnavić had put St. Caius into circulation, three years before the pope commissioned the building of that church.
The reinvention of St. Caius in post-Tridentine Rome was transferred to yet another place linked with Mrnavić: namely, to Zagreb, the Croatian political center where he was also canon of the cathedral chapter at that time.55 In the Zagreb Cathedral Treasury there is a small gilded and silver-plated copper reliquary bust of St. Caius, stylistically attributable to a Roman workshop and dateable to Mrnavić’s time, and very likely brought to Zagreb by him (Fig. 5.9). His ideas fell on fertile soil in Zagreb: he is frequently cited in the first published Croatian history book written by the Zagreb canon and historian, Juraj Rattkay, Memoria regum et banorum regnorum Dalmatiae, Croatiae et Sclavoniae (Vienna, 1652). Moreover, St. Caius appears on the frontispiece of this book (see fig. 5.10),56 which in its composition and iconography is reminiscent of the frontispiece of Unica gentis (see fig. 5.8). However, here the big central oval medallion depicts St. Paul the Apostle who, as the inscription says, “passed through the whole of Illyricum,”57 while the upper register of framing medallions depicts the three highest-ranking saintly prelates who sanctified Illyrian soil: Caius in the middle, flanked by Jerome and Constantine (Cyrill). St. Caius was reused in the iconography of the Zagreb bishopric again in the seventeenth century on the metal cover of the famous Zagreb Missal and finally in the largest commission of that sort, on the wall paintings in the refectory of the Illyrian-Hungarian College in Bologna (painted by Gioacchino Pizzoli in 1700). In these cases, Caius Dalmata also had a political message, which reflected Zagreb’s stand on the affiliation of the territory of Dalmatia, ruled by the Venetian Republic at the time. In modern times, St. Caius disappeared from the iconography of the Zagreb bishopric. By contrast, in Dalmatia his cult appeared in the early eighteenth century, only to be boosted in the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries, developing a local ecclesiastical, rather than nationalistic, hue.58
2.2 The Baptistery of St. Constantine, Illyrian Emperor
In 1624, Urban VIII commissioned the restoration of the Lateran baptistery.59 The architectural work was completed by 1635, while the embellishment of the interior, with wall paintings in the ambulatory, lasted from 1639 to 1649 and was executed under the supervision of Andrea Sacchi. By undertaking the restoration, the pope sought to reinforce the Constantinian legend, according to which the Lateran baptistery lies on the very spot of the imperial palace where Pope Sylvester baptized the emperor. However, according to Constantine’s biographer Eusebius of Caesarea—who is considered more reliable by modern scholars—the emperor was baptized near Nicomedia (present-day İzmir in Turkey), at the place of his death. Constantine’s baptism in Rome at the hands of a pope was an important identity myth for the papacy and the papal states, as was the Donation of Constantine, since both stories emphasized Constantine’s links with the Church of Rome and his impact in the West. Thus, Urban VIII’s restoration campaign of the Lateran baptistery can also be understood in the context of his strategy of reactivating early Christian connotations in Rome, as well as a theatrical statement of the sacrament of baptism, a core element of Counter-Reformation propaganda. The restored Lateran baptistery’s interior appears on the pope’s 1637 annual medal, which commemorates the fifteenth year of his pontificate and was designed by Gaspare Mola (Fig. 5.11). Mola’s medal image of the baptistery was in turn enlarged as part of a cycle of wall paintings in the Vatican palace, consisting of twenty-three painted medaglioni that celebrated events of the Barberini pontificate, made by Lagi and Montagna in 1637.60
As mentioned above, Ivan Tomko Mrnavić included this papal restoration of the Lateran baptistery—which he named Baptistery of Saint Constantine, Illyrian Emperor in the 1630 marble plaque (see fig. 5.6)—on the basis of the belief that Constantine was one of the most famous Illyrians (he was born in Naissus, present-day Niš in Serbia).61 Emperor Constantine had first appeared glorified as a Slav, albeit modestly, in Vinko Pribojević’s De origine successibusque Slavorum (1532). After naming twenty-seven Roman emperors of Slavic origin (ex Slauis), Pribojević added that Emperor Constantine had not been completely without Slavic blood, since his grandfather, Emperor Claudius, was a Dalmatian.62 This claim was also appropriated by Mauro Orbini in Il regno degli Slavi (1601), who argued that Claudius was a Dalmatian, that is to say a Slav, as well as Emperor Constantine’s great grandfather.63 However, Tomko Mrnavić wrote an eighty-pages Life of St. Constantine—it is the longest chapter in his book Regiae sanctitatis Illyricanae foecunditas (The abundance of Illyrian royal sanctity), published by the Vatican print house in 1630 and dedicated to Ferdinand III the Habsburg and Cardinal Francesco Barberini (Fig. 5.12).64 The book otherwise is comprised of twenty-two hagiographies of Illyrian saints of royal blood, including Byzantine and Hungarian saints as well as one Serbian and one Croatian saint.65 A notable word in Mrnavić’s Life of St. Constantine, as it appears on the 1630 plaque, is Sanctus. Mrnavić must have been aware of the fact that Constantine was not a saint in the Catholic Church, in contrast to the Orthodox Church. However, he treated the emperor as a saint so as to aggrandize the status of the Illyrian nation, and perhaps also for the sake of a rapprochement with the Orthodox South Slavs. However, St. Constantine the Illyrian, unlike St. Caius, did not have an iconographic afterlife. In Croatian lands, Constantine was occasionally depicted on the altarpieces but only as an accompanying figure to his mother St. Helen.
The Constantine chapter in the Regiae sanctitatis is not the only place in the book where the emperor is mentioned; he also appears in the dedicatory chapter to Ferdinand III Habsburg, where Ferdinand is referred to as the king of Hungary, Dalmatia, Croatia, and Slavonia. There, Mrnavić praises the Habsburg king, arguing that his dynasty stems from Constantine the Great. According to Mrnavić, the Habsburgs were also the legitimate heirs to both the apostolic kings of Hungary and the rulers of Dalmatia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Thrace, and Macedonia, all of whom were direct successors of Emperor Constantine.66 These genealogies were not innocent. Mrnavić’s book was intended to inspire the Habsburgs to conquer and rule Illyria. The frontispiece of Regiae sanctitatis exhibits military iconography alongside a portrait of the young Ferdinand III in the upper medallion (see fig. 5.12).
Similarly noticeable in the frontispiece of Regiae sanctitatis is a coat of arms at the bottom, another curious creation of Mrnavić. The coat of arms is divided into four “squares”: Arpad stripes referring to the Kingdom of Hungary, at top left; the coat of arms of Dalmatia, at top right; the coat of arms of Croatia, at bottom left; and a unique combination of the double cross, which refers to Hungary, and the coat of arms of Slavonia, at bottom right. In the center of this composite coat of arms is a small coat of arms of Austria. It is interesting to note that the Illyrian coats of arms dominates this arrangement of Illyrian and Hungarian heraldry.
With the 1630 marble plaque (see fig. 5.6) above the entrance door of the Church of St. Jerome of the Illyrians, Mrnavić wanted to represent the two papal building campaigns in the Illyrian key in order to promote the Illyrian cause. As far as the building of the Church of St. Caius in Rome, this Illyrian key may have well been present in the pope’s mind also. As we have seen, three years prior to the building of the church Ivan Tomko Mrnavić, who was close to the pope, wrote about Pope Caius as a famous Illyrian and included a frontispiece imbued with the Illyrian iconography, dedicated the work to the pope (see fig. 5.8), and caused the avviso be written by his nephew, in which St. Caius was envisaged as a Pan-Slavic saint. It is therefore quite likely Mrnavić encouraged the pope to build the little Church of St. Caius in Rome. However, with respect to the Lateran baptistery it is unlikely that its Illyrian connotation triggered its renovation by the pope. The Lateran baptistery itself had been imbued with enough significant connotations for the pope, which easily justified its renovation. However, Mrnavić seized the opportunity to rename it boldly as the Baptistery of St. Constantine the Illyrian Emperor to promote the Illyrian cause further and to increase the potential Catholicization of the Illyrian territory symbolically.
Pope Caius and Emperor Constantine being portrayed as great Illyrians were figments of Croatian Renaissance literature and historiography, and we can imagine Ivan Tomko Mrnavić proudly witnessing these churches being built or renovated in Rome by order of the Supreme Pontiff—proud enough to advertise them in marble. Ultimately, the visual formulations of Illyrianism conceived in Urban VIII’s Rome by Mrnavić—the books and frontispieces, the churches, and coat of arms—testify to an effort to mobilize and merge Western and Eastern Christian traditions, at a particular moment when Croatian nationalism and papal Eastern policy converged.
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. Relatione della conquista fatta della galera capitana d’Alessandria, nel porto di Metellino, per opera del capitano Marco Iakimoski, schiavo in detta galera. Con liberatione di 220 schiavi christiani. Tomco Marnauitio, Marco[ Tomko Mrnavić, Marko] Roma: Lodovico Grignani, . 1628
Tomcus Marnavitius, Ioannes [Tomko Mrnavić, Ivan]. Villa Sacchetta Ostiensis cosmographicis tabulis et notis per Joannem Tomcum Marnavitium illustrata (…). Roma: Lodovico Grignani, 1630.
Tomcus Marnavitius, Ioannes [Tomko Mrnavić, Ivan]. Indicia vetustatis et nobilitatis familiae Marciae vulgo Marnavitiae. Roma: Typis Vaticanis, 1632.
Tvrtković, Tamara. Između znanosti i bajke—Ivan Tomko Mrnavić [Between scholarship and fairy tale—Ivan Tomko Mrnavić]. Zagreb: Hrvatski institut za povijest; Šibenik: Gradska knjižnica Juraj Šižgorić, 2008.
Zirpolo, Lilian H. “The Villa Sacchetti at Castelfusano: Pietro da Cortona’s Earliest Architectural Commission.” Architectura, no. 1 (1996): 166–184.
Zirpolo, Lilian H. Ave Papa Ave Papabile: The Sacchetti Family, Their Art Patronage, and Political Aspirations. Toronto: Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, 2005.
Caspar Hirschi, The Origins of Nationalism: An Alternative History from Ancient Rome to Early Modern Germany (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012).
Luka Špoljarić, “Nicholas of Modruš and His De Bellis Gothorum: Politics and National History in the Fifteenth- Century Adriatic,” Renaissance Quarterly 72, no. 2 (2019): 460.
Illyricum was an ancient Roman name for the province that comprised the eastern Adriatic coast and its hinterland (Dalmatia) and the territory that stretched north of it to the Danube (Pannonia). The territory roughly corresponds with modern Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, northern Albania, northern Serbia, and western Hungary. After Diocletian’s administrative reforms, Illyricum came to comprise the whole of the Balkan Peninsula, except for Thrace. When South Slavs came to that area between the seventh and ninth centuries, they formed their states (such as Croatia, Dioclea, Serbia, and so on) and the name Illyricum went out of use.
For Croatian early modern Illyrianism, see Zrinka Blažević, Ilirizam prije ilirizma [Illyrianism before Illyrianism] (Zagreb: Golden marketing—Tehnička knjiga, 2008), 214–38. Cf. also John V.A. Fine, When Ethnicity did not Matter in the Balkans (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2009).
For the Illyrian topoi and the place of Pope Caius and Emperor Constantine within the Illyrian topological scheme, see Blažević, Ilirizam, 88–113; “How to Revive Illiricum? Political Institution of the Illyrian Emperors in Early Modern Illyrism,” in Welche Antike? Konkurrierende Rezeptionen des Altertums im Barock, ed. Ulrich Heinen, 1:431–44 (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2011).
Milan Ivanišević, “Hrvatska crkva svetoga Jeronima u Rimu” [Croatian Church of St. Jerome in Rome], in U križu je spas—Zbornik u čast nadbiskupa-metropolita mons. Ante Jurića, eds. Marin Škarica and Ante Mateljan (Split: Crkva u svijetu, 1997), 407–45; Jasenka Gudelj, “San Girolamo dei Croati a Roma: Gli Schiavoni e il cantiere sistino,” in Identità e rappresentazione. Le chiese nazionali a Roma, 1450–1650, eds. Alexander Koller and Susanne Kubersky-Piredda (Roma: Campisano, 2015), 297–325; Daniel Premerl, “Nacionalni sveci u ranom novom vijeku—ikonografija identiteta” [National saints in the early modern period—Iconography of identity], forthcoming.
Daniel Premerl, Bolonjske slike hrvatske povijesti—Politička ikonografija zidnih slika u Ilirsko-ugarskom kolegiju u Bolonji [Bolognese images of Croatian history—Political iconography of wall paintings in the Illyrian-Hungarian College in Bologna] (Zagreb: Leykam international, 2014).
Mrnavić’s biography in this essay, unless otherwise noted, is based upon Tamara Tvrtković, Između znanosti i bajke—Ivan Tomko Mrnavić [Between scholarship and fairy tale—Ivan Tomko Mrnavić] (Zagreb: Hrvatski institut za povijest; Šibenik: Gradska knjižnica Juraj Šižgorić, 2008), 12–44.
Tomko Mrnavić was president in 1615–16, 1624, 1626–27, 1630–32, and 1635. Josip Burić, Iz prošlosti hrvatske kolonije u Rimu [From the history of the Croatian colony in Rome] (Rim: Knjižnica Novog života, 1966), 74.
For Mrnavić’s Illyrianism, defined as a fusion of “curial” and the Habsburg “imperial” Illyrianism, see Blažević, Ilirizam, 214–38.
Leo Allatius [Leone Allacci], Apes Urbanae sive De viris illustribus (Roma: Lodovico Grignani, 1633), 166. Leone Allacci was a Greek-born Roman theologian and scholar. His biography was written by Stjepan Gradić (Stefano Gradi), the well-known Ragusan in the Vatican. For more on Allacci, see Domenico Musti, “Allacci, Leone,” in Dizionario biografico degli Italiani, vol. 2 (Roma: Treccani, 1960), available online.
Francesco Petrucci holds that Mrnavić was not responsible for the models for maps of different regions of the world that were duplicated by Pietro da Cortona and his assistants on the walls of the gallery (as was held by previous researchers); rather, he was responsible for the iconography and texts that accompany the maps:
“Per quanto riguarda invece le carte geografiche, esse furono dipinte sotto la supervisione di Johannes Tomco Marnavič, che le illustrò nel suo fascicolo Villa Sacchetta Ostiensis cosmograficis tabulis et notis … (1630). Il Tomco ebbe l’8 febbraio 1629 un compenso di 26 scudi per aver pagato due calligrafi che avevano posto le iscrizioni nella galleria, dovendo ‘sodisfare dua servitori che hanno scritto nella Galleria del sudetto Casale’; una somma abastanza alta, che potrebbe comprendere anche una consulenza generale nel programma iconografico, ma non un’assistenza cartografica come ritiene la Zirpolo”; Francesco Petrucci, “I cicli decorativi di Castel Fusano: La nascita della pittura barocca in casa Sacchetti,” (in Carla Benocci, Pietro da Cortona e la villa di Castel Fusano dai Sacchetti ai Chigi (Roma: Artemide, 2012), 103, 73–124.) In addition, Carla Benocci concludes that Pietro da Cortona was not the architect of the Villa Sacchetti (as was held by previous researchers); he was only responsible for the villa’s wall paintings. Carla Benocci, Pietro da Cortona e la villa di Castel Fusano dai Sacchetti ai Chigi (Roma: Artemide, 2012), 41–72, 175–77, 182–84.
Lilian Zirpolo describes the gallery as follows:
“On the north-eastern wall are the then four known continents—America, Africa, Europe, and Asia—hence the four corners of the world. Below each are corresponding river gods in grisaille—Marañon, Nile, Danube, and Euphrates, respectively. On the opposite wall, between the windows, are maps of the seventeenth-century world powers, also with grisaille figures representing their corresponding rivers—Spain/Tagus, France/Rhone, Italy/Po, and Germany/Rhine. Below the Triumph of Ceres, on the north-western wall, are Great Britain and the Thames and the Agro Romano with the Tiber. On the south-eastern wall, below Bacchus, are maps of the Agro Fiorentino with the Arno and Sicily with Fonte Aretusa. Monochromatic medallions on the window soffits feature mythological scenes and related symbolic references. Finally, six of the seven wonders of the ancient world are displayed below the windows (the Egyptian pyramids were ommited) and two vedute—a landscape with a castle and a coastal view—are featured above the side entrances to the gallery”; Lilian H. Zirpolo, Ave Papa Ave Papabile: The Sacchetti Family, Their Art Patronage, and Political Aspirations” (Toronto: Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, 2005), 79–81, 93.
See also Lilian H. Zirpolo, “The Villa Sacchetti at Castelfusano: Pietro da Cortona’s Earliest Architectural Commission,” Architectura, no. 1 (1996): 171–76; Ioannes Tomcus Marnavitius [Ivan Tomko Mrnavić], Villa Sacchetta Ostiensis cosmographicis tabulis et notis per Joannem Tomcum Marnavitium illustrata (…) (Roma: Lodovico Grignani, 1630).
Daniel Premerl, “Artwork by Papal Silversmith Francesco Spagna for Zagreb Cathedral: Reliquary Bust of St Stephen the King,” in Scripta in honorem Igor Fisković, eds. Miljenko Jurković and Predrag Marković (Zagreb, Motovun: University of Zagreb—IRCLAMA and Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, 2015), 341–47. For a more extensive version of the aforementioned article (with the same conclusions), see Daniel Premerl, “Szent István király zágrábi ereklyetartó mellszobra,” in István, a szent király, eds. Terézia Kerny and András Smohay (Székesfehérvár: Székesfehérvári egyházmegyei múzeum, 2013), 47–63, 293, 502. See also Danko Šourek, “Ad imitationem angelicae, apostolicaeque coronae Ungaricae. Prilog ikonografiji krune na prikazima svetih kraljeva u zagrebačkoj katedrali,” [A contribution to the iconography of the crown on the images of the holy kings in Zagreb Cathedral], Peristil, no. 54 (2011): 177–86.
Mrnavić wrote extensively on his genealogy in Ioannes Tomcus Marnavitius [Ivan Tomko Mrnavić], Indicia vetustatis et nobilitatis familiae Marciae vulgo Marnavitiae (Roma: Typis Vaticanis, 1632). For incredible genealogies, see Roberto Bizzocchi, Genealogie incredibili (Bologna: Il Mulino, 2009).
“Il regno di Bosna nato dalla rouina di quello di Dalmazia, di cui longo tempo erasi mantenuta positione e prouintia, con mettersi in libertà sotto il dominio di proprij principi chiamati bani, quali per molti anni con autorità regia, et indenpedente lo ressero, e poi agrandito dalle cineri della monarchia Rasciana e Seruiana con aquisto di titoli et ornamenti regali, e finalmente depresso et estinto dalla tirannide turchesca; è paese situato nelle viscere dell’Illirico”; Karlo Horvat, “Tri doslije nepoznata rukopisa Ivana Tomka Marnavića, biskupa bosanskoga (1631.–1639.),” Glasnik Zemaljskog muzeja u Bosni i Hercegovini, no. 21 (1909), 354.
“E finalmente è cosa notabile a questo proposito, che se bene la chiesa romana tenga diverse pitture, et imagini di santi, offertigli da diversi regi e regni, nulla di meno di niuna altra si vede facio tanta stima, come di quella che dall’esterminato regno porto a Roma l’ultima regina Catharina, rapresentante le vere imagini SSti Pietro e Paulo, con il battesimo di Constantino, soprascritta con caratteri Illirici, espresisui del nome delli principi apostolici; poiche questa sola ordinariamente si tiene e riverisce sopra l’altare maggiore della basilica vaticana, non per altro forse, che per testimonianza, che questo regno, piu propriamente d’ogni altro è proprieta patrimoniale della sede apostolica”; Horvat, “Tri doslije nepoznata rukopisa,” 359.
Rosa D’Amico, “Icona dei santi Pietro e Paolo,” in Il Trecento adriatico. Paolo Veneziano e la pittura tra Oriente e Occidente, eds. Francesca Flores d’Arcais and Giovanni Gentili (Milano: Silvana Editoriale, 2002), 116–17.
For a more extensive discussion on Mrnavić’s coat of arms, see Daniel Premerl, “Ivan Tomko Mrnavić and His Coat of Arms: Self-Presentation of an Illyrian Noble,” Radovi Instituta za povijest umjetnosti, no. 42 (2018), 109–24.
Mauro Orbini, Il Regno degli Slavi (Pesaro: Girolamo Concordia, 1601), 274, 344; and for the modern reprint, see Mauro Orbini, Il Regno degli Slavi, eds. Sima Ćirković and Peter Rehder and introduction by Sima Ćirković (München: Verlag Otto Sagner, 1985).
Stjepan Ćosić, Ideologija rodoslovlja: Korjenić-Neorićev grbovnik iz 1595. [Ideology of heraldry: Korjenić-Neorić armorial from 1595] (Zagreb: Nacionalna i sveučilišna knjižnica; Dubrovnik: Hrvatska akademija znanosti i umjetnosti—Zavod za povijesne znanosti u Dubrovniku, 2015).
Dragomir M. Acović, Heraldika i Srbi [Heraldry and Serbs] (Beograd: Zavod za udžbenike, 2008), 98–110.
Ivo Banac, Grbovi—biljezi identiteta [Coats of arms—Tokens of identity] (Zagreb: Grafički zavod Hrvatske, 1991), 52–54; Dubravka Peić Čaldarović and Nikša Stančić, Povijest hrvatskoga grba [History of Croatian coat of arms] (Zagreb: Školska knjiga, 2011), 152–62, 201–10; Mate Božić and Stjepan Ćosić, “Nastanak hrvatskih grbova” [Origin of Croatian coats of arms], Gordogan, nos. 35–36 (2017): 36, note 81.
The same plot is used by Ivan Gundulić in his epic Osman. Dunja Fališevac, “Osmanšćica,” in Hrvatska književna enciklopedija [Encyclopaedia of Croatian literature], ed. Velimir Visković (Zagreb: Leksikografski zavod Miroslav Krleža, 2011), 3: 273.
For illustrated books from the Renaissance on famous men from the past, see Francis Haskell, History and Its Images (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1993), 26–79; Milan Pelc, Illustrium imagines: Das Porträtbuch der Renaissance (Leiden, Boston, Köln: Brill, 2002).
For the history of the Confraternity, the Hospice, and the Chapter of St. Jerome of the Illyrians in Rome, see Burić, Iz prošlosti; Giorgio Kokša, S. Girolamo degli Schiavoni (Roma: Marietti, 1971). For the architecture and the arts of the complex, see note 6.
“Urbano Octavo Pontifici Maximo / quod patris affectu complexus nationem Illyricam / a CC annis in hoc templo postea a Sixto V / a fundamentis extructo congregatam / eidem congregationi tranquillitate reddita / domo Sancti Caii Papae et martyri Illyrici a fundam excitata / baptisterio sancti Constantini Imperatoris Illyrici illustrato / sacrorum misteriorum libris Illyricis purgatis / alumnis Illyriorum Lauretano Collegio restitutis / immortalibus beneficiis affecerit / Alexandro Sacrae Romanae Ecclesiae Diacono Cardinali Caesarino protectore eadem natio grati animi hoc monumentum ponit / Anno Domini MDCXXX.” I am grateful to Zrinka Blažević for the transcription and the translation.
In the nineteenth century the plaque was removed from its original position to the room adjacent to the sacristy of the church. It has been reproduced and translated into Croatian in Juraj Magjerec, Hrvatski zavod sv. Jeronima u Rimu [Croatian College of St. Jerome in Rome] (Rim: Tiskara Papinskog sveučilišta Gregoriane, 1953), 28–30. The original position of the plaque is confirmed by the description in Descrizione di Roma moderna (Roma: Libreria di Michelangelo e Pier Vincenzo Rossi, 1697), 477 (“[…] la quale havendo anco ricevuto molti beneficij dal Pontefice Urbano VIII. volle eternarne la memoria con l’iscrizzione collocata sopra la porta interiore”).
Mariano Armellini, Le chiese di Roma dal secolo IV al XIX (Roma: Tipografia vaticana, 1891), 819; Giovanni Biasiotti, “L’antica chiesa di S. Caio in Via XX settembre,” in Atti del Primo congresso nazionale di studi romani, edited by Carlo Galassi Paluzzi (Roma: Istituto di Studi Romani, 1929), 1:828–33; Oskar Pollak, Die Kunsttätigkeit unter Urban VIII (Wien, Augsburg, Köln: Dr. Beno Filser Verlag, 1928), 1:30–35.
For Vincenzo Della Greca, see Tiziana Acciai, “Della Greca, Vincenzo,” in Dizionario biografico degli italiani, vol. 37 (Rome: Treccani, 1989), available online.
Biasiotti, “L’antica chiesa,” 829.
Lucia Simonato, ‘Impronta di Sua Santità’—Urbano VIII e le medaglie (Pisa: Edizioni della Normale, 2008), 292–94, 430–31.
Laura Laureati, “‘18. Sala dei Bussolanti’ and ‘18.1 Veduta della chiesa di San Caio,’” in Il patrimonio artistico del Quirinale: Pittura antica—La decorazione murale, eds. Laura Laureati and Ludovica Trezzani (Milan: Electa, 1993), 176–77, 179.
Lucia Simonato, “Medaglioni dipinti in Vaticano: Un episodio di fortuna visiva della medaglistica barberiniana,” in I Barberini e la cultura europea del seicento, eds. Lorenza Mochi Onori et al. (Roma: De Luca editori d’arte, 2007), 231–48.
Francesco Scorza Barcellona, “Caio, santo,” in Enciclopedia dei Papi (Roma: Treccani, 2000), available online; Milan Ivanišević, “Prvi papa iz Dalmacije” [The first pope from Dalmatia], in Salonitansko-splitska crkva u prvom tisućljeću kršćanske povijesti, eds. J. Dukić et al. (Split: Crkva u svijetu—Splitsko-makarska nadbiskupija, 2008), 169–96.
Michael Lapidge, The Roman Martyrs (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018), 270–86.
Juraj Šižgorić [Georgius Sisgoreus], O smještaju Ilirije i o gradu Šibeniku/De situ Illyriae et civitate Sibenici (Šibenik: Muzej grada Šibenika, 1981), 22–23. The book contains the original Latin text and its Croatian translation by Veljko Gortan.
Pribojević wrote it as a speech he gave in his native Hvar in 1525. For the printed edition, see Vincentius Priboevius [Vinko Pribojević], De origine svccessibvsque Slavorvm (Venetia: Ioannes Antonius et fratres de Sabio, 1532). For the printed edition in Italian, see Vincenzo Pribevo [sic], Della origine et successi de gli Slavi (Venezia: Aldo Manuzio il Giovane, 1595). Croatian editions that contain the original Latin text and its Croatian translation appeared in 1951, 1991, and 1997. I used Vinko Pribojević, O podrijetlu i zgodama Slavena/De origine successibusque Slavorum, trans. Veljko Gortan, introduction by Grga Novak (Split: Književni krug, 1991), 74–75, 135–36. On Vinko Pribojević and his work, see Domagoj Madunić, “Strategies of Distinction in the Work of Vinko Pribojević,” in Whose Love of Which Country?: Composite States, National Histories and Patriotic Discourses in Early Modern East Central Europe, eds. Bálazs Trencsény and Márton Zászkaliczky (Leiden: Brill, 2010), 177–202.
Blažević, Ilirizam, 110. This pair of Dalmatian popes was mentioned in the thirteenth-century Historia Salonitana by Thomas the Archdeacon.
Daniel Premerl, Bolonjske slike, 65–71.
Orbini, Il Regno, 176–77.
Ivanišević, “Hrvatska crkva,” 435–36; Premerl, Bolonjske slike, 66–68; Gudelj, “San Girolamo,” 310–13.
For a more detailed discussion on the engraving, see Premerl, “Ivan Tomko,” 112–14.
Bronislaw Bilinski, “Memorabile impresa di Marco Jakimowski—220 schiavi cristiani liberati e portati a Roma nel 1628,” Strenna dei Romanisti, no. 41 (1980), 77–91.
Marko Tomko Mrnavić was Marko Tomko Scocci (Scozzi, Scocius, Skočić), a priest and since 1630 the canon of the Šibenik cathedral chapter. When Ivan Tomko Mrnavić obtained the canonicate in Zagreb he renounced his Šibenik canonicate in favor of his nephew Marko, which was conferred by Pope Urban VIII. Marko Tomko Scocci was the firstborn son of Ivan Tomko Mrnavić’s sister Margarita and her husband Šanto Scocci (Santo Scozzi; Sanctus Scocius; Svetoje Skočić); they married on February 11, 1609. Marko Tomko Scocci published two odes in Latin in honor of his uncle—again under the name Marko Tomko Mrnavić—at the beginning of his uncle’s book Regiae sanctitatis Illyricanae foecunditas (Rome, 1630). Also, he accompanied his uncle during the Apostolic visitation of the Pauline monasteries in the Kingdom of Hungary and the Kingdom of Poland (1633). The last few things known about Marko Scocci is that in his uncle’s will he was bequeathed a clock with an image of the Crucifix in ebony (1636). Antonio Giuseppe Fosco, Vita di Giovanni Tonco-Marnavić (Sebenico: Tipografia della Curia vescovile, 1890), 11, 32, 47; Iva Kurelac and Tamara Tvrtković, “Biskup o Biskupu—kritika Foscove analize i transkripcije oporuke Ivana Tomka Mrnavića” [Bishop on bishop: Critical review of Fosco’s analysis and transcript of Ivan Tomko Mrnavić’s will], Historijski zbornik 64, no. 1 (2011): 43–44, 33; Kristijan Juran, “Trgovci, pomorci, obrtnici i medicinski djelatnici u Šibeniku od 1620. do 1630. godine” [Merchants, sailors, craftsmen and medical staff in Šibenik from 1620 to 1630], Šibenik od prvog spomena—Zbornik radova s međunarodnog znanstvenog skupa 950 godina od prvog spomena Šibenika, ed. Iva Kurelac (Šibenik: Muzej grada Šibenika; Zagreb: Hrvatska akademija znanosti i umjetnosti, 2018), 295 (note 257). Cf. also Ferdo Šišić, “Kako je vizantinski car Justinijan postao Slaven (Ivan Tomko Mrnavić)” [How Byzantine Emperor Justinian became a Slav], Nastavni vjesnik, 9 (1901): 395–96, 406; Tvrtković, Između znanosti, 24–25, 31, 42.
“Trouauasi tra i Schiaui Christiani ferrati sopra la Galera, Marco Iakimoski, suddito del Rè di Polonia, natiuo de Baro, Terra della Podolia, antico nido di Gethi, ouero Gotthi, chiamati di già Tirogethi, dal fume Tiras […]. Questo, come persona ben nata, & educata ne gli essercitij militari, inanti fusse stato preso da Turchi, nell’vltime guerre di Polonia […]”; Marco Tomco Marnauitio (Marko Tomko Mrnavić), Relatione della conquista fatta della galera capitana d’Alessandria, nel porto di Metellino, per opera del capitano Marco Iakimoski, schiavo in detta galera. Con liberatione di 220 schiavi christiani (Roma: Lodovico Grignani, 1628), without pagination (i.e., 3).
“[…] hauendo ciurmato la sua Galera Capitana con 220. Christiani, tre de quali erano Greci, doi Inglesi, & vn solo Italiano, il rimanante tutti Russi, ouero Mosconiti […].” Marnauitio, Relatione, without pagination (i.e., 2).
“[…] a’ 16. Di Febraro sono gionti il Capitano con cinque Donne, e trenta principali compagni, quì in Roma sopra il Bergantino, & il giorno seguente, in segno di gratitudine verso il Sig. Iddio, come anco per mostrare l’osseruanza, qualle portano alla Sede Apostolica, hanno presentato a’ piedi di N. Signore lo Stendardo Reale della Capitana, di seta Bianca molto grande, e bello, ricamato con quattro meze Lune grandi, tutte piene di caratteri Arabi, con altri motti ricamati de’ medemi caratteri; & in oltre il Fanale di detta Capitania, fatto d’ottone indorato, assai bello, e grande: hauendo anco appeso molte altre Bandiere per le Chiese di Roma, particolarmente a San Stanislao, Chiesa de’ Signori Polacchi; vn’altro a Santa Susanna, con patto, che quando sia finita Chiesa, che N. Signore fà fabricare a San Gaio Papa, e Martire, sia conseruata in quella. Et in San Geronimo alla Ripetta, nel cui Hospitale della Natione Schiauona, vengono alloggiati, e spesa il liberalmente dalla molta benignità dell’illustrissimo Signo. Cardinale Barberino, essendosi tutti confessati, e communicati sin’hora”; Marnauitio, Relatione, without pagination (i.e., 5–6).
“Ad pedes Summi Pontificis admissi primariae triremis regium vexillum pulcherrime ornatum sibi obtulerunt, a quo et sacra munera et eleemonsynas plurimas receperunt. […] Obtulerunt deinde vexillum aliud Sancti Hieronymi Illyricorum Ecclesiae, aliudque Ecclesiae Sancti Stanislai Polonorum, aliud demum in aede s. Susannae deposuerunt, ut ibidem conservetur donec Ecclesia s. Caii restituta fuerit. Qui enim Slavorum lingua utuntur, ut hi, de quibus loquimur, aut eas incolunt regiones ad quas pergentes Slavi propagati sunt, sanctos Dalmatos ut patrios colunt, quod ipsimet professi sunt in vexillo apud sanctum Hieronymum. Cum enim ipsius altera in parte haec legantur: Urbano imperio semper Maometa tyrannis / languet, velut Luna Sole fugata perit. In altera conspiciuntur ista: Haec Gethatiro pius, Maometis compede fracto, / Numinibus patris sacra trophea dicat”; Cesare Becilli, Sancti Caii Papae et Martyris Acta (Roma: Typographia Reverendae Camerae Apostolicae, 1628), 97–99. I am grateful to Luka Špoljarić for the translation.
Becilli, Sancti Caii Papae et Martyris Acta, 99. See previous footnote.
“Degna di singolar memoria è l’occasione che nacque ad Urbano VIII di ristorare da i fondamenti con erudita liberalità questa al presente vaga chiesa, nel modo, che hora si trova, e fù la seguente. Per una grazia segnalata, ricevuta da i Nobili della Dalmazia, di essere stati liberati dalle mani de Turchi, dai quali erano stati fatti cattivi, fuggendo dal Porto di Mitilene insieme con alcuni altri Cristiani, e dopo varj pericoli di tempeste di Mare, & insidie de i medesimi Turchi, giunti à salvamento in Sicilia, vollero riconoscere la loro Vita da i Santi loro Nazionali, onde portando seco li stendardi della loro fuggitiva Galera a Roma, e rese le grazie a San Pietro, che liberati gli haveva da i vincoli della servitù; Quelli appesero l’uno nella Chiesa di San Girolamo de Schiavoni, e l’altro in quella di San Stanislao de Polacchi; & il terzo in quella di Santa Susanna, non si trovando più la Chiesa antica di San Cajo, si risolsero essi perciò di ricorrere al Papa, e di esporgli il loro pio desiderio, & imbasciata; a quali prestando benigne orecchie, fece cercare conto minuto del sito di questa Chiesa, che già fù casa di San Cajo, e con Pontificia providenza, e liberalità la fabbricò in quei vestigi ruinosi medesimi, ove già anticamente fù fabbricata; nel mezzo di cui vedesi appeso il medesimo votivo Stendardo. Qui S. Cajo, come in Casa sua battezzò molti Gentili, e vi fece diverse funzioni Pontificali. Fù dal medesimo Pontefice Urbano VIII. zelantissimo dell’antiche memorie Sacre di Roma, unita questa Chiesa à quella vicina detta dell’Incarnazione delle Barberine […]”; Carlo Bartolomeo Piazza, Eorteorlogio overo le Sacre stazioni romane e feste mobili (Roma: Gaetano Zenobj, 1702), 221–22; La gerarchia cardinalizia (Roma: Stamparia del Bernabò, 1703), 533–34, 639.
Gaetano Moroni, Dizionario di erudizione storico-ecclesiastica da S. Pietro sino ai nostri giorni (Venezia: Tipografia emiliana, 1841), 11:302.
Armellini, Le chiese, 819; Biasiotti, “L’antica chiesa.”
Bilinski, “Memorabile impresa.”
The letter has been published in Augustin Theiner, ed., Vetera Monumenta Slavorum Meridionalium (Zagreb: Yugoslav Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1875), 2:83–84; See also Oscar Halecki, “The Renaissance Origin of Panslavism,” The Polish Review 3, nos. 1–2 (1958): 9–13; Blažević, Ilirizam, 136–38; Slobodan Prosperov Novak, Slaveni u renesansi (Zagreb: Matica hrvatska, 2009), 799–800.
Burić, Iz prošlosti, 27.
Premerl, Bolonjske slike, 65–71.
Premerl, Bolonjske slike, 32–34; Milan Pelc, “Georgius Subarich sculpsit Viennae—bakrorezac Juraj Šubarić u Beču oko 1650. godine: djela i naručitelji” [Engraver Juraj Šubarić in Vienna around 1650: Works and patrons], Radovi Instituta za povijest umjetnosti 39 (2015): 63–65.
The inscription is a quote from St. Peter Damian and it reads: Sanctus Paulus apostolus. Respice Paulum totum pervagantem Illyricum. Petrus Damiani, Sermo de Sancti Petri et Pauli.
Ivanišević, “Prvi papa,” 169–96.
Data and interpretation of the restoration of the Lateran baptistery are based on Rolf Quednau, “Architettura e iconografia costantiniana a Roma fra rinascimento e moderno,” in Enciclopedia costantiniana (Roma: Treccani, 2013), also available online; Kirsten Lee Bierbaum, Die Ausstattung des Lateranbaptisteriums unter Urban VIII (Petersberg: Michael Imhof Verlag, 2014).
Simonato, “Medaglioni dipinti,” 241; Simonato, ‘Impronta di Sua Santità’, 300–3, 436–37; Lee Bierbaum, Die Ausstattung, 106–9.
Blažević, “How to revive.”
Pribojević, O podrijetlu, 63, 123.
Orbini, Il Regno, 175. Cf. Nebojša Ozimić, “Tradizione, culto e teologie serbe,” in Costantino I, eds. Alberto Melloni et al. (Roma: Treccani, 2013), 2:463–70.
Ioannes Tomcus Marnavitius [Ivan Tomko Mrnavić], Regiae sanctitatis illyricanae foecunditas (Roma: Typis Vaticanis, 1630), 69–149.
Illyrian saints: St. Irene, St. Tryphone, St. Cyrilla, St. Quirinus, St. Hadrianus, and St. Artemia. Byzantine saints: Constantine the Great, his mother Helen and daughter Constantia, Empress Lycinia, St. Metropanus, St. Placidia, St. Stephen, and Emperors Martianus, Glicerius, and Tiberius Constantinus. Hungarian saints: Stephen, Emeric, Ladislas, Elizabeth, and Margaret. Serbian saint: St. Sava. Croatian saint: St. Ivan the Hermit. St. Ivan the Hermit had an iconographic afterlife in Zagreb in the second half of the seventeenth century. See Daniel Premerl and Iva Kurelac, “Sveti Ivan pustinjak u hrvatskoj historiografiji i ikonografiji 17. i 18. stoljeća” [St. John the Hermit in Croatian iconography and historiography of the 17th and 18th centuries], Croatica christiana periodica, no. 69 (2012): 11–31; Premerl, Bolonjske slike, 40–48.
Blažević, “How to revive,” 442.
This research was also supported by two projects with the Croatian Science Foundation: Visual Arts and Communication of Power in the Early Modern Period (1450–1800): Historical Croatian Regions at the Crossroads of Central Europe and the Mediterranean and Visualizing Nationhood: The Schiavoni/Illyrian Confraternities and Colleges in Italy and the Artistic Exchange with South East Europe (15th–18th c.).