‘Plebeian aristocrats’: the social structure of the St. Anthony Confraternity in the late medieval Dubrovnik (Ragusa) Cover Image

“Pučka vlastela”: Društvena struktura dubrovačke bratovštine Sv. Antuna u kasnom srednjem vijeku
‘Plebeian aristocrats’: the social structure of the St. Anthony Confraternity in the late medieval Dubrovnik (Ragusa)

Author(s): Zrinka Pešorda Vardić
Subject(s): History
Published by: Hrvatski institut za povijest
Keywords: confraternity; Dubrovnik; Ragusa; Middle Ages; social structure; commoners; matriculation book

Summary/Abstract: In the late Middle Ages, the Ragusan confraternity of St. Anthony had the reputation of the most distinguished and most prestigious confraternity in the city. From its beginnings in the mid-fourteenth century until the fall of the Dubrovnik Republic, the St. Anthony confraternity occupied an important part of Ragusan history. Membership in the confraternity became synonymous with the emerging class of wealthy citizenry, also known as cittadini. Using the preserved confraternity statute and the matriculation book (Matricula), the author analyses the social structure of the confraternity, which also reflected the social structure of cittadini. As the research has shown, the membership consisted of wealthy commoners (mostly merchants), foreigners in the service of the public administration (chancellors, notaries, physicians and teachers) as well as nobles and their illegitimate offspring. Female membership was limited to participation in the religious aspects of the confraternity life. By contrast, participation of wealthy commoners and nobles in the fraternity had a somewhat political aspect. Commoners were otherwise excluded from the active political life in the city, so the confraternity served as a kind of ‘power replacement’. The author also addresses the issue of ‘ennobling’ of the confraternity from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries onwards. The wealth and social prestige made the confraternity a closed, hereditary circle that formed the secondary elite of the Ragusan society.

  • Issue Year: 2007
  • Issue No: 33
  • Page Range: 215-237
  • Page Count: 22
  • Language: Croatian