Medium Aevum Quotidianum 35 (1996) 25-34
Medium Aevum Quotidianum 35 (1996) 25-34
MEDIUM AEVUM QU0IIDIANUM 3 5 (Krems 1996)
()TIVM 3/ 1 -2 ( 1 995.), str. 25-34, Z. Janekovic-Römer, „Pro anima mea et predessorum meorum“
UDC: 929.52 (497.5) “ 1 4″
„PRO ANIMA MEA ET
Death and the Family in Fifteenth-Century Dubrovnik
mr. Zdenka Janekovic-Römer
Odsjek za povijest, Zagreb
Na temelju oporuka, posmrtnih govora i drugih izvora, autorica rekonstruira
pogrebne obicaje dubrovackogpatricijata i na taj natin osvjetljava obiteljske strukture
iz novog ugla.
Jhe religiosity o f the Middle Ages obliged people
to prepare for death du ring their whole life, especially
when the moment of the great passage to
eternal life was near. The ritual of Artes moriendi
clearly shows that medieval people were concerned
with their own death.1 A person had to
settle his debts with everybody to clear the soul
before the judgement. The main purpose of the
testament was to make the best preparations for
the end of temporal life. Debts of all kinds had to
be returned to relieve the conscience and to prepare
for Christian death. Bad consciences were
often pushed aside during life, so the testament
gave a last opportunity to make peace with everyone.
2 Charity and gifts to the churches, monasteries
and priests,intended for masses, pilgrimage and
prayers, were meant to secure the soul and to
purchase, if not Paradise, than at least a shortened
1 Ph. Aries, I..:homme devant Ia mort, Editions du Seuil, 1977.
stay in Purgatory. Good deeds and donations for
the soul were regarded as exculpatory circumstances
before the celestial court. The testaments
reveal the feelings of fear, guilt, piety and hope
before making a step inro the unknown. Some
people regret their youth or feel sorry for themselves
for not being able to experience life as they
wanted. Others sound more repentant, because of
an unclear conscience. Their penitence does not
derive from their Iove for other people, but from
fear for themselves. Even the poems reveal how
people were frightened of dying in spite of „the
awareness o f their virtues“.3 Nevertheless, in spite
of this concentration on the proper death encouraged
by the Church, the daily experience of death
was death of other people. Emotional and other
effects of death were especially strong and important
within the family. The memory of the dead is
2 Historical Archives in Dubrovnik (HAD), Testamenta notariac, (Test. not.) X.l, Vol. IX, 4′, 49; Vol. X, 1 ‚; Vol. XI, 65, 157,
220′, 234′-235′; Vol. XII, 102-103′, 1 76-1 76′, 189-191′; Vol. XIII, 29-31′, 5’a-6a, 1 13-1 13′, 147′-148′, 1 64′-166, 202; Vol. XI\
2′-3′, 48′-50, 60-61, 68′-69, 80′-81, 1 13-1 13′, 1 75′-1 76′. This part of the testament is sometimes called Conscientiae. Vol. XI,
207′; Vol. XII, 66-66′.
J Hor eh‘ io sento l’interna mia virtute/ /ehe contra il grave duol si poco vige . . Cerva, Bibliotheca Ragusina, 298.
MEDIUM AEVUM QUOTIDIANUM 3 5 (Krems 1 996)
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among the strengest emotions within the family
and it is of the utmost importance for its tradition
and social status, especially for the nobility. The
differences in the attitudes and feelings about
death arise from the social circumstances, gender
and individual choices. Social aims and personal
feelings were two basic points in forming the attitude
on death in the family. The funerals, the
mass for the dead, orations and grave monuments
expressed the social aspect of death in the family,
ritualised and used it for the prestige o f one’s lineage,
while personal suffering was limited to tears
or crying, testimonial Statements, poems, prayers
Ilija de Crieua, a humanistic poet and nobleman
of Dubrovnik, says in a sermon for his friend that
a Christian shouldn’t be sorry for deceased who
make a step which Ieads to a final purpose and
fulfilment of life. He considered understandable
only the self-pity of the living overwhelmed with
the pain of loss. But there is a eure for this pain,
too: hope and patience in waiting for a reunion in
eternal happines s . 4 This is the attitude of the
Church in humanistic ornamentation. But personal
feelings couldn’t absolutely obey religious or
social rules. The solemn funeral orations give the
ideal picture of the deceased and his family. The
reality, often very different, can be partly reconstmcted
from the testaments. Being official documents,
they, in certain extent, also tend to give
an idealised picture of the personal relations within
the family. But at the same time, they trace each
individual’s feelings, from the top to the bottom
of society. Early fifteenth-century testaments were
short and standardised, mostly so im personal that
they hardly give any information on individual
feelings. On the contrary, eloquent later wills from
the fifteenthcentury reveal, direct!y or indirect!y,
what people really feit. Humanistic concentration
on individuality influenced the thoughts of the
common people very much, s o the testaments
from the beginning of the fifteenthcentury show
considerable psychological change. The lifetime
got its autonomaus earthly value. The rites o f
„good dying“ elaborated i n Artes moriendi governed
people’s behavior in preparations for the
moment of transition, supporting the medieval
concept which concentrated on one’s own death.
At the same time, humanistic ideas opened people’s
minds to a different, less pious experience of
death: losing other people. While these „humanistic“
testaments indicate strengthened sensibilities
toward relations with other people, the influence
of .the Counter-Reformation changed them
into an-expression of s evere introspection and the
examination of one’s conscience. The humanistic
engagement with death of other people was put
aside and the old obsession with the proper death
got a new revivaJ.S
What person feit about the death of a family member
could be individual and unique, but the series
of data shows that there were some patterns. Sorrow
is almost automatically connected with death
in the family, but it was not the only feeling and
its intensity differed. The survivors didn’t all have
the same sentiments toward the dying person, nor
he towards them. The diversity of feelings and the
strength of affection in different familial relations
are striking. People suffer for losing a relative, a
friend, a neighbour, or a priest-confessor, but the
inevitable and eternal separation which death imposes,
causes the most intense pain to devoted
marital couples. Many enamoured husbands and
wives write down their emotions in the testaments,
in painful feeling of loss. Love is expressed not
only with words but with gifts and provision for
the future life.6 In some cases emotionally inspired
husbands provide their wives with more property
and competence than was accustomed. Others,
driven by sexual jealousy, condition their bequest
with the demand for the widow to „guard their
conjugal bed“.7 There are also opposite examples,
• D. Nevenic G rabovac, Oratio funebris humaniste Ilije Crijevica dubrovackom pcsniku Ivanu (Bivu) Gucecic u, ziva antika,
24, 1 974, 1 -2, 333-364.
s Compare: M. Vovelle, La morte nella mentalidc nella pratica religiosa, u: Sociecä, chiesa e vica religiosa nell‘ „Ancien Regime“
ed. C. Russo, Guido – Napoli 1 976, 234.
6 Test. not. Vol. IX, 97-98, 130′-132′, 152′; Vol. X, 1 10-1 1 1 ‚, 1 12′-1 13′; Vol. XI, 160′- 1 6 1 , 226-226′; Vol. XII, 62′-63, 89‘-90, 150-
151 ‚ ; Vol. XIII, 4′-5′; 29-31′, 43′-44′; Vol. XIV, 21-22, 32′-33, 96-96‘, 1 3 1 ‚-134. Vol. XX, 86′-87.
7 Test. not. Vol. XI, 63, 1 00, 1 60′-161; Vol. XII, 35′-36′, 39‘-40, 71 ‚, 1 94′; Vol. XIII, 122′-126′; Vol. XIV, 13′-14, 95, 1 1 4- 1 1 5.
11EDIUM AEVUM QUaTIDIANUM 35 (Krems 1996)
OTIVM 3/1 -2 ( 1 995.), str. 25-34, Z. Janekovic-Römer, „Pro anima mea et predessorum meorum“
when husbands entrust their souls and estate completely
into their wife’s hands, without giving any
written orders about it. It seems that it doesn’t
depend on social status and the question of power
over property, because such cases can be found
both among peasants and nobles.8 These all are
different manifestations of strong conjugal bonds,
regardless of whether the reaction was magnanimous
or not. In the fifteenth century it was also
customary to write poems written on the death of
the beloved spouse. Men remernher the beauty
and gentleness of the deceased and teil about the
pain that whips the heart, the solitude and trials
without her. The only comfort they find is the
hope for „eternal spring“ which awaits faithful
couples at the end of the journey. Beginning from
the sixteenth century, the figure of the deceased
woman appears on tombstones among commoners,
but not among nobles, who were much more
obliged with familial demands and were not allowed
to express their personal feelings in this
When it comes to children, parents, brothers, and
sisters, the emotions must also have been very
strong, but the words are rarely so intense and
passionate as among spouses. Fraternal love is
often mentioned in the context of maintaining the
fraterna and taking care of testator’s wife and children.
10 Sometimes we can find gent!e farewells
given by the parents, especially mothers. Most of
them feit the need to make a proper farewell with
their children and give them a last blessing. Every
now and than, reading the testaments, we come
across an affectionate mother who prefers one of
the children who was especially good to her.
Mothers are willing to forgive and show affection
even to those children who gave them trouble,
because they value Iove higher than obedience.
They even fought in court for the rights of children
disinherited by their father. 1 1 .0n the contrary,
fathers prefer to talk about obedience, the
duty and the family traditions and not ab out Iove.
They worry about family unity, concordance, Status,
continuity, and, above all, about the estate.
They plead with their sons to stay tagether and
preserve the patrimony. In order to ensure the
patrimony, busband usually transmitted property
rights on his wife, counting that she will execute
his will to the last detail. Sons were obliged to stay
tagether in a fraterna at least until their mother’s
death. In that way testator insured the unity, on
condition that his widow didn’t remarry. 13 In care
for the future of the lineage and estate, fathers
didn’t hesitate to express resentment towards their
sons and even disinherit disobedient ones. Rare
were the words of forgiveness, regrets, apology or
blessin g.14 More often they talk about anger with
sons who set apart from the joint family, those who
wanted to move out of Dubrovnik, and particularly
those who were careless with money. They
8 Test. not. Vol. XIII, 14’a-1 5’a; Vol. XIV, 8-8′. K. Jirecek, Beiträge zur ragusanischer Literaturgeschichte, Archiv für slavische
Philologie 2 1 , 1 8 99, 530.
9 Seraphinus Maria Cerva, Bibliotheca Ragusina in qua Ragusini scriptOt·es eorumque gesta et scripta recensentur. Editionem
principem curavit et prooemium conscripsit Stephanus Krasic. Zagrabiae, Academia scientiarum et artium Slavorum mcridionalium
1975, 297-298. I. Crijevic , Ecce immaturo, in: V. Gonan, V. Vrarovic , Hrvatski latinisti, Zagreb 1969, 428-43 1 .
C . Fiskovic , Splitska renesansna sredina, Mogucnosti 3-4, Split 1 9 76, 346.
10 Test. not. Vol. XI, 50, 233-234; Vol. XII, 79-80, 87′-88′.
11 Test. not. Vol. IX, 2 1 2-212′; X, 124‘. Vol. XIV, 1 29-129′; Vol. XII, 94′-95, 1 38′-139; „Et non sia alguno ehe piglia admiratione
de quello ehe lasso al dieto Nieolo mio figlio, per ehe benehe io habia zenerato eussi li altri figlioli eomo el dicto Nieolo. Tarnen
verso me alguno de Li altri non ha ufato honor et reverentia figliale, saluo es so Nicolo, el qua! sempre me fo obediente et studioso
da farme ogni piaeere et eontentamento . “ Vol. XXIV, 1 2 1 . Andriola de Caboga hired an attorney fighting for her son’s inheritance
„ne puer ille qui ita earissimus erat dieto suo genitori remaneat tarn inhumane sine juridica et Deo et m•mdo indebita
privatione bonorum quondam patris sui.“ HAD, Procurae notariae XXX, Vol. I, 9 1 . Z. Janekovic-Römer, Rod i grad, Dubrovnik
1994, 1 1 4.
13 Test. not. Vol. IX, 82-82′, 1 18-1 19, 1 2 1 ‚-123, 202‘-203; Vol. X, 77-81 ‚; Vol. XI, 27′-28, 1 1 2′- 1 1 3 , 1 3 1 ; Vol. XII, 139′-1 40, 192-
1 92‘; Vol. XIII, 1 4’a-15’a, 101 ‚-1 03′; Vol. XIV, 8-8′. J anekovic Römer, Rod i grad, 32-33, 135-136, 202-202‘.
14 Test. not. Vol. XIII, 3 1 ‚-37; 1 79-180.
MEDIUM AEVUM QUOTIDIANUM 35 (Krems 1 996)
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could get nothing but words of resentment, even
curses, from their fathers.15 It seems that, even
facing death, the pater familias was, in general, led
by a wish to secure, perpetuate and celebratepatrilinea,
while others took more liberty to behave
according to their feelings. The Iack of words
doesn’t necessarily mean the Iack of feelings, but
it certainly testifies about the restraints and tensions
of these relationships . 1 6 Loyal s on s a n d
daughters express their Iove for the deceased parents
by building them a decent grave monument
or giving donations for their souls. Children show
equal respect to both parents, but the expressio·ns
of Iove are almost always reserved for mothers.17
Grown up sons were often divided between the
devotion for the late father and eagerness for the
long-expected power over the estate. Those who
died young, under the patria potestas, had to beg
their father to pay the modest legacies for the salvation
of their soul. They feit insecure, because
they had no proper means and were left completely
at the mercy and conscience of the father. It was
not only the matter of salvation but also of their
wife and children’s future Jives. This Iack of independence,
caused by laws on property and social
customs, aggravated relations between fathers and
s o ns in life and in death. 18 Sometimes people,
mostly nobles, express much more Iove for their
friends than for the family members. Due to imposed
marriages without real love and long periods
of absence from town, some men were s o
alienated from their families that, i n the best case,
they fulfilled their duty to it, but could give no
Iove. The family was a frame of the individual’s
life, but not an absolute! one.19
When it comes to more distant relatives, emotions
are not so strong. The sense of unity and personal
gratitude moved people to help one another in
life and in death. In general, warnen show their
feelings much more than men do, remembering
not only their children, parents, s iblings and
spouses, but also remote relatives and friends. If
they are allowed they tend t o give away their
clothes and jewelry “per amore“. If they were poor,
they would still remember their beloved with pieces
of bed-clothes, furniture or pottery.20 It’s obvious
how the testators, regardless of gender,
count on relatives to take care of their earthly affairs
and to help their soul on the journey of salvation.
In the businesses of this life they relied on
male relatives, but in the matters of eternity they
confided in female devotion. They usually leave
little gifts to these women as a sign of gratitude and
memory. Some testators silently expect gratitude,
but others explicitly say that gifts are payment for
the prayers. Daughters, sisters and aunts in eight
female monasteries of Dubrovnik, perhaps hardly
remembered during their lifetimes, became
more interesting as death was approaching, as
suitable intermediaries between God and the dying
sinner. Male relatives in the Church, especially
those who were high in ecclesiastic hierarchy,
were not so popular, because they were not s o
keen t o pray devotedly for the souls o f their lay
relatives as the nuns were. Furthermore, there was
often a conflict going on over property matters or
power. Only if there were no relatives to rely
upon, people sought this kind of help outside the
familial circle. It became accustomed to pay a poor
and pious elderly woman, preferably a widow, who
could be trusted that she would keep her promise
and say her prayers as ordered. One nobleman
wrote that he had confidence in his mother’s
prayers for his soul, but after her death, some oth-
15 Test. not. Vol. IX, 1 1 6, 1 65, 202; Vol. X, 1 3′-14′; Vol. XI, 75′, 1 92, 220‘-221 ‚; Vol. XII, 6-6′, 37-37′, 83-83′, 89′-90, 1 04- 1 04′,
1 46-147; Vol. XIII, 1 34- 1 34′, 164′-166; Vol. XIV, 1 6- 1 7, 1 75′- 1 76′. Jirecek, Beiträge, 529.
16 Test. not. Vol. IX, 72′-73; Vol. XII, 1 99′-200′.
17 Codex diplomaticus regni Croatiae, Sclavoniae et Dalmatiae, Vol. XII, 295. Test. not. Vol. XXIV, 37‘.
18 Test. not. Vol. X, 1 23-1 23′; Vol. XI, 84, 197-198; Vol. XII, 27, 120′; Vol. XIII, 29-2 1 ‚, 1 9’a-2 1 a, 94′-95′, 97-97′.
19 The noble Vuksa de Babalio spend most of his life in diplomatic mission, avoiding his family. But, in his testament he expresses
regrets only for the troubles he gave to his best friend and companion Nicola de Resti. He praiscs his friend’s loyalty
and hclp and hopes that he will forgive him, because otherwise his soul could never rest in peace. Test. not. Vol. XVI,
1 39-1 40′.
20 Test. not. Vol. IX, 33-34′, 40′, 85-86, 89-89′, 95-95′, 142′-143, 1 89′-1 90′; Vol. XI, 72-73′; Vol. XII, 34-34′, 1 96′-197; Vol. XIII,
1 3 7-1 3 7′, 1 5 3 – 1 53′; Vol. XIV, 30-30′, 35-35′, 90′-9 1 .
„MEDIUM AEVUM QUOTIDIANUM 35 (Krems 1 996)
OTIVM 3/1-2 ( 1 995.), str. 25-34, Z. J anekovic-Römer, „Pro anima mea et predessorum meorum“
er good women should be found and brought to
live in his house in order to pray for him.21 On the
other side, there is evidence of negligence about
the orders written in the will. The pleas and threats
to the trustees show that the living were inclined
to forget the fears of the dying. The latter plead
for their family member’s loyalty and reminded
them that by helping other people’s souls, they
will contribute to their own redemption when the
time comes. Some don’t stick to pleading but add
the threat of disinheritance if the testament is not
to be executed in the erdered rimeY But, as the
living usually live like they have all the time in the
world, those pleas were in many cases easily forgotten.
Distribution of the testament was often
delayed through years and decades.23 In the villages
it was understood that those who inherited the
house and the land were obliged to the soul of the
tes tator.24 I n spite o f everything, very often it
happened that the execution of relatives‘ last wills
took part only when the person in charge faced
death himself. Even in that moment some people
lacked generosity, calculating to a lastgrossus how
much are they obliged to give for the distribution
of neglected testamentsY Numerous law suits
concerning the distribution o f the testamentary
Iegates testify about this problem. Fight over the
property sometimes even surpassed legal means,
and turned to threats, quarrels and physical assaults.
Sometimes the government intervened,
forcing t he family to execute the testament.26
Testators turned to different ways to avoid dependency
on negligent relatives. In the 1 3 th and even
in the 1 4t h century, the wealthy nobles used to
build c h u rches and monasteries and endowed
them with land and other necessities. In return,
monks were obliged to pray and say masses for
their souls. Other, less wealthy, people would give
a vineyard or a „solt-pan“ with the same purpose.
All the obligations of the monastery were written
in a necrology, so that prayers and masses would
be given as orderedY These arrangements functioned
very well, until the law forbade giving real
estate to the Church.28 After that, it was permissable
to give the income from land, but the responsibility
for it was in the hands of the testator’s
family. There were attempts to avoid relatives and
put the monasteries in charge of the money, but
the sta.te discouraged that.29 So, the change o f
poli tical relations between the S t a t e a n d the
Church jeopardised the best interests of dying
people, frightened for their souls‘ fate in Pu rgatory.
The solution was found in the treasury of the
Republic. State treasurers were nominared as
trustees of testaments of people who had no relatives.
But, during the fifteenthcentury, more and
more people wanted them to execute their testamentary
legacies or at least to control their relatives.
As the aristocratic regime strengthened, the
familial foundations were losing their previous
significance. Finally, the noble councils erdered
that all these bequests must be entrusted with the
treasurers .3° From then on, obligations towards
the souls of deceased people were registered in
11 Test. not. Vol. IX, 4′-9, 40, 1 89′; Vol. X, 12′-13; XI, 65-67; Vol. XII, 138′-139, 196; Vol. XIII, 1 9’a. HAD, Distributiones
testamenterum (Dis. test.) X.2, Vol. VII, 1 1 8 – 1 1 9′, 160′- 1 62′, 230; Vol. IX, 35. Jirccek, Beiträge, 524-528.
22 Test. not. Vol. IX, 3, 48′, 72′-73, 142; Vol. X, 5 1 , 9 1 – 9 1 ‚, 95-95′; Vol. XI, 26′, 228-231′; Vol. XII, 58, 63, 77′-78′, 87′-88′, 103;
Vol. XIII, 142‘-143; Vol. XIV, 1 0 1 ‚- 102.
23 Dis. test. Vol. VI, 130, 146′, 1 48′; Yol. VII, 24-24′, 60-60′; Vol. VIII, 1 02, 266‘.
24 Test. not. Vol. IX, 15-1 5′; Vol. XIII, 50’a-5 1 ‚a. Jirecek, Beitr“ge, 521, 523, 528, 529.
25 Test. not. Vol. IX, 4′-9, 49-49′, 72′, 2 1 8′; Yol. X, 12′, 14′, 28′; Vol. XI, 41, 1 30′, 1 70′; Vol. XII, 57‘-58; Yol. XIII, 3 1 ‚-37, 122′;
Yol. XIV, 50′-51′, 70-71, 88′, 1 75′.
26 Test. not. Vol. XI, 1 69-1 69‘. Acta Consilii Rogaterum III, Vol. III, 1 2 7-127′, 136. Z. Janekovic-Römcr, Rodbinski odnosi,
u dalm;ninskom drustvu XIII. i XIV. stoljeea, Historijski zbornik 1992? ???, 1 90-1 9 1 .
27 See: V. Novak, Necrologium Ragusinum, Zbornik radova FF-a u Bcogradu XI-1, 1970, 149-173.
28 Dis. test. Vol. VII, 58′-59′, 74′, 9 1 – 9 1 ‚, 97′-99‘.
2’1 Test. not. Vol. XI, 228-2 3 1 ‚.
10 J. Gelcich, Menumenta Ragusina, Libri reformationum, MSHSM, vol. XIII, tom II, Zagreb 1 882, 50. Test. not. Vol. XIII,
65-65′, 1 79-180. Liber omnium reformationum (LOR), cd. A. Solovjev, SANU, Zbornik za IJK, III od., knjiga VI, Beograd
1 936, 51 -52. Compare: Kent, Hausehold and Lineage in Renaissance Florencc, The Family Life of the Capponi, Ginari
and Rucellai, Princeron University Press, 1977, 99-108.
:MEDIUM AEVUM QUOTIDIANUM 35 (Krems 1996)
OTIYM 3/1-2 ( 1 995.), str. 25-34, Z. Janekovic-Römer, „Pro anima mea et predessorum meorum“
new obituaries, kept in the treasury of the cathedraJ.
31 In the 1 6t h cemury there were 107 foundations.
That was the beginning of the big foundation
governed by the state, Opera pia. It was
functioning so weil that the money from them was
regularly given as the testators wanted until the
French occupation in 1 807.32
On the social level, the emotional stroke of death
in rhe family was c:asc:J by ritual. Social differences
influenced the behaviour and the attitudes regarding
death considerably. In upper classes death
of a family member was used for a ritualised social
statement, because of the permanent need to
emphasise the social hierarchy. It might be said
that the noble families „used“ the death of family
members as a way of underlining their origin, traditions,
and social importance. Their solemn funerals
and magnificent family vaults were meant
to raise the consciousness of their privileged position
in the eyes of the community and to refresh
the sense of unity within the family. In a strict aristocratic
society such as Dubrovnik, wealth was not
the principal sign o f Status, but on the Ievel of
everyday life, it was still very important. That’s
why the funerals and mourning were so pompous
and excessively luxurious. In the second half of the
1 4th, and especially in the fifteen thcen tury, when
the process of aristocratization of the society was
at it’s peak, it became customary that the whole
community was obliged to escort the defunct
noblemen and noblewomen to their graves. The
funeral procession was the living picture of social
hierarchy, led by a rector, after whom marched
councillors and magistrates, other noblemen and
finally citizens, all lined up according to their rank.
The deceased was honoured with a death mass and
solemn oration.33 As the coffin was carried open,
according to Mediterranean customs, the clothes
of the deceased were an important sign of family
31 Test. not. Vol. XII, 1 89′.
welfare to the living who were walking in the procession.
In most of the cases noble corpses were
dressed in festive clothes and decorated with jewelry.
Very rarely pious nobles, mostly women,
ordered that they should be buried in nuns‘ or
monks‘ dresses, as a symbol of humility. This was
a sign of an authentic piety and inner faith. In the
fifteenthcentury such cases are rare, while in the
following one this custom was much more widespread,
because of the new kind of devotion influenced
by the strong Counter-Reformation movement
in the city. But before that, the obsequies and
funerals were used mostly with profane aims in
mind.34 What counted mostly in the fifteenthcentury
was the political ritual of the procession, the
luxury and humanistic oration which praised the
deceased and his lineage. Other customs, like the
old and widespread Mediterranean custom of kissi.
ng the dead and keening over him, as weil as rowb
mg a eard as a sign of grief, dirges, beating one’s
breast and tearing one’s hair were considered inappropriate
for those of noble rank. But this mixture
of pompous social ritual, popular customs,
and loud grief was not eradicated during the fifteenthcentury.
35 Only the new piety of the 1 6th
century changed that. Giving a funeral sermon for
his uncle, Renaissance poet Ilija de Crieua expresses
the attitude that, since the deceased was a man
of virtue and received all the needed sacraments
before he died, the black clothes, the Iamentation,
and other „unchristian“ customs are not needed.
At the same time funeral rites and expenses were
regulated by sumptuary laws.36 Solemn funerals
were important as an occasion for the demonstration
of Status and prestige, but the tombs kept
remembrances for posterity, showing a family’s
significance and tradi tion. For nobles, family
tombs were among the most important signs of
their condition and rank. They were built in the
32 K. Vojnovic, Drtavni riznicari Dubrovacke Republike, Rad 46, Zagreb 1 896, 16-2 1 , 62-63.
33 Philippi de Diversis Situs aedificorum politiae et laudabilium consuetudinum inclyitae civitatis Ragusii, Zadar 1 882. IV, XVIII.
34 S. Razzi, La storia di Raugia. Scritta nuovamente in tre libri. Lucca, Busdraghi 1 595, 122.
35 Diversis, Situs aedificorum, IV, XVIII.
36 D. Nevenic Grabovac, Ilija ampr!ce Crijevic, Posmrtni govor svojem ujaku J uniju Sorkocevicu, Ziva amika, XXVII, 1 977,
1 , 2 3 1 -262. Statut grada Spina, Spin 1985, IV, 65. HAD, Acta Consilii Rogatorum, III, Vol. XXXIII, 1 73′-1 78′. HAD, Liber
rocets XXI, vol. XII, ca. 107. Acta Consilii Maioris, VIII, Vol. XVI, 104′-105. Compare: S. Strocchia, Death and Ritual
m Renaissance Florence, Baltimore-London, 1 992, 67.
MEDIUM AEVUM QUOTIDIANUM 35 (Krems 1 996)
OTIVM 3/1-2 (1 995.), str. 25-34, Z. Janekovic-Römer, „Pro anima mea et predessorum meorum“
memory of the deceased, but had more meaning
for the living. The monuments and the inscriptions
on their gravestones express mundane glory more
than anything eise. They marked their tombs with
familial coats of arms, while commoners put signs
with religious or professional meanings on theirs,
following the instructions from theArtes moriendi.
37 Nobles could also be preoccupied with the
religious notion of death, but their representative
vaults served primarily secular purposes. Chapels,
altars, sculptures, often gold-plated, and, above all,
coats of arms, told a story about the glory of the
lineage. There was a contest going on between
noble families, because very often they ordered
the monument or the Ornaments identical to those
they saw on some other vault. It need not be mentioned
that the replica always tended to surpass the
original. Thus, the ritual of death had its cohesive
value, but at the same time it was a field open for
competition.38 Most of these monumental vaults
were built in the fifteenthcentury, when the aristocratic
regime came to its peak. In the second half
of the century the building of new graves abated
because all the noble families already had them.
Many nobles ordered in their last wills that the
remains of their ancestors should be buried in the
new grave, wanting to emphasise the symbolic
meaning.39 The family vaults and chapels were
inherited from generation to generation and were
among the most important symbols of unity and
power of the lineage. In addition, they donated
money for altars, paintings, and other things for
the church where their vaults were, emphasizing
their power and wealth even more.4° For commoners,
the symbolic worth of family graves was not
as important as for nobles, but they also understood
its meaning for the sense of familial continuity.
In the numerous lawsuits on the ownership
of graves, they presented an argument in their
favour, „nomina antiquarum suorum “ who constructed
the vault.41 Rich mcrchants who were imitating
the life style of nobles sometimes built similar
vaults. They didn’t have real p ower, so they
could compensate their desire for prestige only by
the symbols of privileged status. If they wanted to
improve their social status, they could do it only
by wealth, flamboyance, and luxury in life and in
death, because they were politically powerless.42
Social differences had to be emphasized by luxurious
graves for another reason. Churches were
burial places open to all people, rich and poor,
weak and powerful, so laying side-by-side with the
poor, rieb and powerful people could distinguish
themselves only by the magnificence of their
vaults.43 Those who had the possibility tended to
be buried tagether with other family members, to
be joined i n death as in life. Many testators mention
their wish to lay next to their wife or husband,
or their „antichi“. If that was impossible, the burial
place of the previously deceased family members
was given a special donation.44 In spite of all the
conflicts that could arise, the family tradition was
very rarely put in question. Somebody explicitly
ordered not to be buried with his family was a sign
J7 HAD, Acta Consilii Minoris V, Vol. VI, 228. C. Fiskovic, Srednjovjekovna sku!ptura u samostanu Male brace u Dubrovniku,
Zagreb 1985, 476-479. Gelcich, Dello sviluppo civile di Ragusa considerato ne‘ suoi monumenti istorici ed artistici, Memorie
e studi, Ragusa, Pretner, 1 884, 25.
JS HAD, Diversa cancellariae XXV, Vol. XVI, 1 2 1 . HAD, Diversa notariae, XXVI, Vol. XXXIII, 136′-137; Vol. C IV, 2. C.
Fiskovic, Nai gradicclji i kipari XV. i XVI. sroljeea u Dubrovniku, Zagreb 1947, 1 3 1 -132.
J9 HAD, Testamenta Opera Pia III, 326′. Test. not. Vol. XI, 2-2′. Petrovic, Sepulkralni spomenici u srednjovjekovnom Dubrovniku,
in: Likovna kultura Dubrovnika 15. i 16. stoljeca, Znanstveni skup uz izlozbu Z!atno doba Dubrovnika, Zagreb
1 9 9 1 , 134.
40 Test. not. Vol. IX, 1 1 4′-1 1 5′; Vol. XI, 134′-136; Vol. XII, 48′-49′, 87′-88′.
41 The Small Council was entitl.ed to decide who has the right to put his inscription on ehe grave in question. Acta Consilii
Minoris, Vol. VI, 1 45, 252′, 263.
42 Diversa Cancellariae, Vol. XXIV, 190; Vol. XXVI, 160; Vol. XXVII, 136; Vol. XXXIII, 1 36′; Vol. XXXV, 1 76′, 1 77. Test.
not. Vol. VI, 1 1 3, 130; Vol. VIII, 88-88′; Vol. XII, 36, 1 77′, 192, 194′; Vol. XV, 1 0 1 ‚, 1 08
•J Later, this was changcd, and ehe social hierarchy became apparent even beyond the death. That was especially clear in the
sorroundings of ehe town, where churches and chapels were mcant for nobles, ehe graves along ehe church walls wcre also
reserved to eminent people, while peasants were buried in ehe ordinary cemetery.
44 Test. not. Vol. IX, 1 1 4′- 1 1 5′; Vol. XI, 134′; Vol. XII, 1 15′; Vol. XIII, 4′; Vol. XXIV, 157-158. Jirecek, Beiträge, 5 1 9 .
MEDIUM AEVUM QUOTIDIANUM 35 (Krems 1996)
OTIVM 3 / 1 -2 ( 1 995.), str. 25-34, Z. Janekovic-Römer, „Pro anima mea et predessorum meorum“
of family disorder, or a very daring individual
The strong sense of family unity began to show on
the graves o f the aristocracy, and afterwards it
spread to the lower classes, first!y due to imitation
and the desire for the social prestige, and then due
to changed notions of the family in the whole o f
the society. But, i n the Middle Ages, and even in
the dawn of the modern period, in the lower social
classes, the sense of death was primarily dictated
by religious atti tudes. When they were
brougbt face to face with death, they were concerned
with the evaluation of their life and the
expectations of eternity. The tombs of the poor
were often anonymous, until, in the fifteenthcentury,
it became obligatory to engrave the names of
the deceased on them. The inscription on these
graves usually mention only the name of the first
owner, with the added formula „cum heredibus
suis“. Often a profession is also mentioned or symbolized
with its characteristic tools or weapons. 46
Confraternities had common nameless graves,
marked only with numbers, the names written
elsewhere in the o fficial documents. There was no
pomp in it what-so-ever and religious aims surpassed
social ones. Their aim was to die confessed,
to give everyone what belonged to them and, if it
was possible, to choose the place of their burial. 47
Of course, upper-class members of society could
also be very pious and concerned with ultimate
matters, but the importance of the familial traditions
led them to different practices and customs.
Their demanding social posi.tion didn’t allow thern
to deal with death of the family mernber in private.
The bequests for the souls of the ancestors manifest
the sense of family and lineage. The masses
for the deceased, as they were repeated through
years and decades, becarne masses for all the ancestors.
As time passed, the mernory of the person
who founded the trust fund weakened, but the
memory of his lineage rernained. Being aware of
that, most of the testators order them „pro anima
mea etpredecessorum meorum „.48 The sense of lineage
was so strong that even illegitimate descendants
tended to leave their estate to the Iegitimare
line. In his testarnent written 1 477, Larnpre de
Sorgo ordered that his house should be inherited
only by the nobles of the Sorgo family, expressing
strong feelings of affiliation, although he, being
an illegitimate son of a noble, had no rights to
the noble status nor to the family’s heritage.49
Chroniclers emphasise that funeral speeches did
not praise only the virtues of the defunct, but also
of his entire farnily. They say that the grieving
relatives, especially descendants, should find comfort
in the excellence of their lineage, supponed
by the deceased deeds and virtues. Through the
lineage, great ancestors rernain living and they always
set an example to the new generations.50
In the fifteenthcentury Dubrovnik personal and
social attitudes towards death within the family
created two hierarchies: a hierarchy of feelings and
a hierarchy of social irnportance. In both approaches
secular purposes were fundamental, according
to the humanistic philosophy of the time
and the politics of the noble governrnent. Religious
attitude was a kind of amalgam between
them. Piety and thoughts about sin and salvation
•s Such was a demand made by Fedcric de Gondola who wanted to be buried with his illegitimate wife and sons and not with
his noble family. Test. not. Vol. XXXIII, 2.
•• Acta Consilii Minoris, Vol. VI, 145, 228; Vol. VII, 108. C. Fiskovic, Likovna bastina Stena, Anali Zavoda za povijesne znanosti
IC JAZU u Dubrovniku XXII-XXIII, 1985, 86.‘ 89.
47 ? ? ? ?\. Petrovic, Sepulkralni spomenici, 127. Jirecek, Beiträge, 501 -502. Test. not. Vol. VIII, 1 ‚; Vol. XI, 86, 1 0 1 .
48 Test. not. Vol. IX, 72′-73, 1 1 4′-1 1 5‘.
49 Test. not. Vol. XVI, 77.
so Razzi, La storia di Raugia, 125. Cerva, Bibliotheca Ragusina, 463. Georgius Benignus, Oratio funebris habita pro magnifico
et generoso senatore Junio Georgio patritio Rhagusino in aede Divi Francisci XIII. Ca!. Martias MCCCCLXXXXVIIII,
Bogisiceva biblioteka u Cavtatu, Ink. 5, a2r-a6r. Cerva, Aelius Lampridius, Aelius Lampridius Cervinus Poeta Laureatus
Sigismondo Georgio philosophiae professori salutem, u: Georgius Benignus, Oratio funebris habita pro magnifico et generoso
senatere Junio Georgio patritio Rhagusino in aede Divi Francisci XIII. Ca!. Manias MCCCCLXXXXVIIII, Bogisiceva
biblioteka u Cavtatu, lnk. 5, al r-al v. Nikola Naljeskovic, Djela, Pet stoljeea hrvatske knjizevnosti, knj. 9, Zagreh 1 965, 49.
11EDIUM AEVUM QUOTIDIANUM 35 (Krems 1996)
()T IVM 3/1-2 (1995.), str. 25-34, Z. Janekovic-Römer, „Pro anima mea et predessorum meorum“
overwhelmed some people confronted with their
own death. But, when it came to other people, all
kinds of feelings, interests and customs appeared
in the minds of the dying person and the members
of his family. Finally, occupation with thoughts
about life and the living on a person’s death bed
influenced attitudes on the proper death, involving
more and more feelings about others in it.
MEDIUM AEVUM QUOTIDIANUM 35 (Krems 1996)
OTIVM 3/1-2 ( 1 995.), str. 25-34, Z. J anekovic-Römer, „Pro anima mea et predessorum meorum“
„Za dusu svoju i svojih predaka“.
Smrt i obitelj u Dubrovniku u 15. stoljecu
S a z e tak
Smrt nekog od clanova imala je raznolike, jake implikacije na obitelj i zajednicki iivot. U temelju tih razliCitosti
5U 5 jedne strane drustveni cimbenici, a 5 druge o5obni odno5i i o5jeeaji. 05obito u visokim drustvenim
5lojevima, meau plem5tvom, primjetno je »koristenje« smrti nekog od clanova kao prvorazrednog drustvenog
dogaaaja i prilike za ritualno iskazivanje statusa obitelji i roda. Odatle sveeane pogrebne povorke, zadusnice,
raskosno ialovanje i velicanstvene obiteljske grobnice. Sva oCitovanja pre5tiia imaju prvenstveno svjetovnu
i vremenitu svrhu, casteCi kroz pokojnike kontinuitet roda. Uplitanje driavnog rituala u vlasteoske pogrebne
ceremonije istice i velica paliticke prednosti Citavog staleia. Bogati pucani oponasali su vlasteoski sjaj u iivotu
i u smrti, nastojeCi tim znakovima povlastenog statusa nadoknaditi nedo5tatak prave moCi. Siromasniji
pucani, nemajuci potrebu u5pona u drustvenoj hijerarhiji, pred 5mrcu 5u zaokupljeni 5udbinom duse na onom
i obitelji na ovom svijetu.
Osjdaji koji 5e pojavljuju u 5lucaju smrti razlikuju ne samo po 5a5vim 05obnim kriterijima, nego i po opcenitoj
prirodi pojedinih odnosa meau bliinjima i roaacima. Jako ljud5ki osjdaji na kraju ipak nisu podloini znanstvenom
raselanjivanju, do jednog se 5tupnja uopcavanja moie dospjeti. Serije oporuka pokazuju odreaene
obrasce ponasanja koji uoblica·vaju odno5e u obitelji na drustvenoj razini, ulazeCi tako u polje intime i diktirajuCi
ga djelomicno. Kada se ti osjdaji protegnu na siri plan preci – ego – potomci, oni prelaze 5 o5obne na
drustvenu razinu i tu se zatvara krug koji povezuje osobno i javno i5tom 5·vrhom, vise vremenskom nego ·vjecnom.
Priprema za dobru smrt i vjer5ki osjecaji niposto ne mogu biti zapostavljeni, no oni se odnose prije svega na
osobni 5usret 5a 5mrcu. Ipak, i neposredno pred tim trenutkom 5amrtnici su zaokupljeni ljudima i 5vijetom
koje ostavljaju. iivuCi su u jos veeoj mjeri usmjereni vremenitim ciljevima i osjecajima, isku5tveno
doiivljavajuCi smrt kao ne5tanak drugoga.
l\1EDIUM AEVUM QUOIIDIANUM 35
V O RWO RT
Alltagsgeschichte ist ein Forschungsbereich, der nicht nur in starkem Maße interdisziplinären
Ansätzen und Methoden verbunden ist, sondern auch im besonderen von wissenschaftlicher
Kooperation bestimmt wird. Aus diesem Grunde freut es uns umso mehr,
daß wir Ihnen mit diesem Heft das Ergebnis einer solchen Zusammenarbeit präsentieren
zu können, die sich im Rahmen der Lehrtätigkeit der Herausgeber an der Central European
University in Budapest entwickelt hat. Otium, die kroatische Zeitschrift fiir Alltagsgeschichte,
und Medium Aevum Quotidianum, die in Österreich erscheinende internationale
Zeitschrift für Alltagsgeschichte und Geschichte der Sachkultur des Mittelalters,
bieten Ihnen hiermit eine gemeinsame Ausgabe, die vor allem Beiträge von Historikern aus
dem mitteleuropäischen Raum – aus Deutschland, Kroatien, Österreich, Slowenien und
Das Generalthema des Heftes bezieht sich auf die Problemkreise „Familie und Alltag“ mit
besonderem Bezug auf „Familie und Tod“. Es werden dabei Fragestellungen angesprochen,
die für eine allgemeine Alltagsgeschichte ausgesprochene Relevanz besitzen.
Dies trifft besonders auf verschiedene Verbindungen zwischen ‚privatem‘ und ‚öffentlichem‘
Raum zu. Dusan Kos (Ljubljana) setzt sich mit adeligen Begräbnisritualen in Kärnten,
Zdenka Janekovüe-Römer (Zagreb) mit denen des Adels von Dubrovnik auseinander.
Erhard Chwoyka (Saarbrücken) behandelt das Motiv des „Ungleichen Paares“ vom 15.
bis zum 17 .Jahrhundert. Michael Mitterauer (Wien) konzentriert sich auf das Problem der
Schwagerehe. Elisabeth Vavra (Krems) untersucht die Reflexionen aufTodesf Quellen des Spätmittelalters und der frühen Neuzeit, während sich Dusan
Mlacovüe (Ljubljana), Katalin Szende (Sopron) und Brigitte Pohl-Resl (Wien) Familienaspekten
in der testamentarischen Überlieferung widmen.
Wir hoffenmit dieser Ausgabe Anstoß und Amegung zu weiterer und verstärkter wissenschaftlicher
Zusammenarbeit im Bereich der Alltagsgeschichtsforschung gegeben zu haben.
Neven Budak und Gerhard Jaritz
Povijest je svakodnevice podrucje istrazivanja koje ne zahtijeva samo u velikoj mjeri interdisciplinamost,
nego je napose odredeno medusobnom suradnjom znanstvenika. Iz tog
razloga posebno nas veseli da ovim sveskom mozemo predstaviti plod takve suradnje, a
koji je nastao kao rezultat nastavnicke djelatnosti izdavaca na Central European University
u Budimpesti. Otium, hrvatski casopis za povijest svakodnevice, i Medium Aevum Quotidian
um, medunarodni casopis za povijest svakodnevice i materijalne kulture srednjeg
vijeka, koji izlazi u Austriji, odlucili su izdati zajednicki broj koji sadrZi priloge povjesnicara/
ki iz srednjoeuropskog prostora: Njemacke, Hrvatske, Austrije, Slovenije i Madarske.
Sredisnja se tema broja odnosi na „Obitelj i svakodnevicu“, s posenim osvrtom na „Obitelj
i smrt“. Pri tom se obraduju pitanja od izrazite vaznosti za opcu povijest svakodnevice.
To se odnosi pogotovo na razlicite veze izmedu „privatnih“ i „javnih“ sfera zivota.
Dusan Kos (Ljubljana) bavi se pogrebnim ritualima koruskog plemstva, a Zdenka Janekovic
(Zagreb) obraduje istu problematiku u vezi s dubrovackim patricijatom. Erhard Chvojka
(Saarbrücken) obraduje motiv „nejednakog para“ od 15. do 17. stoljeca, a Michael
Mitterauer (Bec) problern Ieviratskog braka. Elisabeth Vavra (Krems) proucava promisljanja
smrtnih slucajeva u autobiografskim izvorima kasnog srednjeg i ranoga novog vijeka,
dok se Dusan Mlacovic (Ljubljana), Katalin G. Szende (Sopron) i Brigitte Pohl-Resl
(Bec) posvecuju obiteljskoj problematici u oporukama.
Nadamo se da smo ovim izdanjem dali nov poticaj daljnjem intenziviranju znanstvene
suradnje na polju historije svakodnevice.
Neven Budak i Gerhard Jaritz
Du5an Kos- WILLIAM’S LAST TEMPTATION ………………………………………………………. ……………………………………… 1-24
Zdenka Janekovic-Römer – „PRO ANIMA MEA ET PREDECESSORUM MEORUM“ ……. …. ….. 25-34
Erhard Chvojka- „NU IST SIE JUNK, SO IST ER ALT“ . . . . ………………………………………………………………………… 35-52
Michael Mitterauer-DIE WITWE DES BRUDERS ………………………………………………………………………………………… 53-70
Elisabeth Vavra – “ …W ANN ER NIT GOT WERE, AUCH SO HOCH DOBEN
IM HIMEL SEßE, WELLT ICH SEIN FEINDT WERDEN … “ ………………… 7 1 -8 4
Dusan Mlacovic – THE WORLD DOMINCHIELLUS MEC::IGNA …………… ………………….. . . . . ………….. 8 5 – 1 0 6
Katalin G . Szende- FAMILIES IN TESTAMENTS ……… ………………………………………………………… .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . … 1 0 7- 1 2 4
Brigitte Pohl-Resl – FAMILY, MEMORY AND CHARITY IN
LATE MEDIEVAL VIENNA ……….. . . . . . . . . . . . . . ……………………. . . . . . . . . . ………………. . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 2 5 – 1 3 2
Dusan Kos – VILHELMOVO POSLJEDNJE ISKUSENJE … .. .. . . . …. .. …. .. .. .. .. ….. …. ….. .. .. .. ….. .. …. ……………… . …. .. .. .. 1-24
Zdenka Janekovic-Römer – „ZA DUSU SVOJU I SVOJIH PREDAKA“ . . ……………. . . . . ……………………… . . . . 25-34
Erhard Chvojka – „I TAKO, ONA JE MLADA, A ON JE STAR“ ……………………………………….. …………………. 35-52
Michael Mitteraue r – BRATOVA UDOVICA ………………………………………………………. …………………….. …………………….. 53-70
Elisabeth Vavra – “ … KADA NE BI BIO BOG I SJEDIO TAKO VISOKO NA NEBU,
POSTAO BIH NJEGOVIM NEPRIJATELJEM .. . “ ……………………………………………….. 71-84
Dusan Mlacovic -SVIJET DOMINCHIELLA MEC::IGNE ……. ………………………………………………………………… 85-106
Katalin G. Szende- OBITELJI U OPORUKAMA . ……………………………. . … ……….. …….. . .. ……… ……. … …. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107-124
Brigitte Pohl-Resl – OBITELJ, MEMORIJA I DOBROTVORNOST U
KASNOSREDNJOVJEKOVNOM BECU ……………… .. .. ……………….. ……………. …………. 125-132