Antunini in the Placa: The Spatial Arrangement of Members of the Confraternity of St Anthony along Dubrovnik’s Placa (15th Century) Cover Image

Antunini na Placi: prostorni razmještaj članova Bratovštine sv. Antuna duž dubrovačke Place u 15. stoljeću
Antunini in the Placa: The Spatial Arrangement of Members of the Confraternity of St Anthony along Dubrovnik’s Placa (15th Century)

Author(s): Irena Benyovsky Latin, Zrinka Pešorda Vardić, Ivana Haničar Buljan
Subject(s): Diplomatic history, Economic history, Local History / Microhistory, Political history, 13th to 14th Centuries, 15th Century, 16th Century
Published by: Hrvatski institut za povijest
Keywords: Dubrovnik; Placa (Stradun); Antunini; merchants; 15th century; communal houses;

Summary/Abstract: Th e article analyses the spatial arrangement of members of the elite Dubrovnik confraternity of St Anthony along the main Dubrovnik street-square Placa (today’s Stradun) during the 15th century. Th is confraternity, founded in the mid-14th century, brought together the most distinguished and most powerful merchants of Dubrovnik, and the sources sometimes refer to it as the “scuola dei mercadanti”. At the same time, it was an institutional hub for the Dubrovnik commoner elite: wealthy and influential merchants, and public officials (chancellors, notaries, doctors, teachers) who, due to the closure of the ruling noble class after the serrata of the Major Council in the 1330s, could not participate in the bodies of political governance. However, this secondary elite of Dubrovnik, as the Antunini can indeed be called, sustained the trade and economy of Dubrovnik together with the nobility during the golden age of the Republic in the 15th and 16th centuries. Th e article analyses the spatial distribution of the Antunini, with a particular focus on the most representative part of the city. Th e central question is how the social mobility of this group of people was mirrored in space. What do changes in terms of space – continuities and discontinuities in rooms rented for economic purposes, presence in certain parts of the city, the continuity of housing and residence, residential mobility, and the level of possession – speak about the social movements in Dubrovnik during its “golden age”? Following a chronological presentation of Placa’s development into the main communication line in the city, we have used the register of leases of municipal houses as the main source for our analysis, given that the Dubrovnik authorities applied, as in the Italian cities, the system of leases in the distribution and use of municipal real estate, built from the mid-14th century. Leasers of elite business premises along Placa have been prosopographically identified, with a focus on the members of the confraternity of St Anthony, which showed a strong presence of Antunini in the best locations. It turned out that the most prominent, and in terms of business most powerful Antunini, rented municipal houses from the beginning of the 15th century in the eastern, elite part of Placa – east of the church of Petilovrijenac and the mint, all the way to the Sponza Palace and St Blaise’s church. Moreover, our analysis of the housing arrangement of this social group has shown that the northern part of the city, the sestiere of St Nicholas (today’s Prijeko) can indeed be considered an Antunini neighbourhood, which is hardly surprising given that residences were still available there in the 14th and 15th centuries, and that the district could receive new enterprising people, as most of the Antunini were. But in spite of the great concentration of residents in Prijeko, many of these people, in accordance with their growing social status and economic power, soon acquired representative houses in other parts of the city, including its elite areas and next to the noble houses. And whereas in the sphere of governance and political decision-making there were fixed borders between the social strata, symbolized by every call of the bell to the meetings of the Major Council, in which the commoner elite could not participate, here, in the area of entrepreneurship, and for many residence as well, there were no barriers preventing the commoners from living wall to wall with the nobility, sharing the prestigious space of Placa and the city’s sestieri, as well as the daily rhythm of Dubrovnik’s golden and less golden days.

  • Issue Year: 2018
  • Issue No: 55
  • Page Range: 57-138
  • Page Count: 82
  • Language: Croatian