Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Quotes on the Italianity of the Quarnaro

Here we have several impartial observations on the Italianity of the Quarnaro, also known as the Quarnero or Carnaro Gulf, taken from English and other non-Italian sources:
“The aforesaid Slavs took the Roman arms and standards and the rest of their military insignia and crossed the river... Once through, they instantly expelled the Romans and took possession of the aforesaid city of Salona. There they settled and thereafter began gradually to make plundering raids and destroyed the Romans who dwelt in the plains and on the higher ground and took possession of their lands. The remnant of the Romans escaped to the cities of the coast and possess them still [today], namely, Cattaro, Ragusa, Spalato, Traù, Zara, Arbe, Veglia and Ossero, the inhabitants of which are called Romans to this day.”
—Emperor Constantine VII, De administrando imperio, 10th century
“Rausium [Ragusa] is mentioned by Porphyrogenitus as one of the Roman cities of Dalmatia, with Asphalatum [Spalato], Tetrangurium [Traù], Diodora [Zara], Vecla [Veglia], and Opsora [Ossero], whose inhabitants in his time were called Romans, while the towns of the interior were possessed by the Slavi.”
—John Gardner Wilkinson, Dalmatia and Montenegro, 1848
“While we are passing the night under Arbe, it will not perhaps be without interest to say a little about the language and culture of this and kindred towns on the islands and coast of Dalmatia. ...in the town Italian is spoken: and I may notice that this is the characteristic of the whole coast on this side of the Gulf; and that not only in the towns which, as Arbe, were long under Venetian rule, but those also which never were thus connected with that republic; such as Fiume...”
—William Frederick Wingfield, A Tour in Dalmatia, Albania and Montenegro, 1859
“The old Latin or Roman population of the cities was not however crushed out of existence by these calamities. ... In the towns of Zara, Traù, Spalato, Ragusa, and Cattaro on the mainland, and those of Arbe, Veglia, and Ossero on the islands, were the Romans, or as they came to be called Dalmatians, in contra-distinction to the Croats or Serbs, speaking their ancient tongue, governing themselves by their old Roman law, electing their own magistrates and bishops, and preserving the traditions of the municipalities of the empire.”
—T. G. Jackson, Dalmatia, the Quarnero and Istria, Volume 1, 1887
“In the islands consequently, at least in their towns, the Latin element is preponderant, and their long continued Italian culture has produced a marked effect on the manners and habits of the inhabitants. Nor must the influence of Latin descent be overlooked; Ossero, Veglia and Arbe are three of the seven places mentioned by Constantine Porphyrogenitus as preserving a Roman population and Roman customs amid the wreck caused by Slavonic conquest... the townsfolk have not yet forgotten, nor are they likely to forget, the difference of their origin from that of the rural population. 'Qui siamo sempre Romani,' ['Here we are always Romans'] said a peasant of Veglia to me... This distinction naturally gained force from contact with the Venetians and the Latin races of Italy who spoke the same tongue; and, though their political connection with Italy has now ceased for nearly a century, there is no diminution in the attachment of the islanders to the Italian language and culture. Within the walls of their cities one might easily imagine oneself in Italy, and one cannot fail to be struck by their superior grace and politeness in comparison with the blunt manners and unpolished address of the rugged though not unkindly Croatians on the mainland. ... The Italian in use is the Venetian, which is spoken with tolerable purity.”
—T. G. Jackson, Dalmatia, the Quarnero and Istria, Volume 3, 1887
“Though sacked and ruined by Attila in the fifth century, and again by the Saracen Saba in the ninth, the city of Ossero survived, and dragged on an obscure existence under the protection of the Eastern Empire and the Venetians. ... In the tenth century the citizens still called themselves Romans, and we find that some of the neighbouring towns still remained Roman though surrounded by Slavonic colonists. ... Ossero, like Nona, is the miserable survival of a Roman city that was once both wealthy and populous. ... The Huns devastated the island in the fifth century, and the Slavs in the ninth, when the remnant of the old Roman inhabitants were driven to the shelter of their city walls, and the country outside was finally occupied by the invaders. ... The present duomo...is a fair specimen of the early Italian renaissance. ... The nave...is divided from the aisles by semicircular arches, which spring directly from composite Italian capitals...”
—T. G. Jackson, Dalmatia, the Quarnero and Istria, Volume 3, 1887
“A short time sufficed to shew that Cherso has no remains of great antiquity to boast, nor any great architectural treasures to display. But it is a very picturesque place indeed, full of old Venetian houses... The Venetian walls still surround the town on the three sides... The Lion of St. Mark which was placed between the two shields has been defaced by some Frank or Teuton supplanter. ... The high altar stands in the archway, and behind is a small square choir for the friars, with some extremely fine stalls of fifteenth century Venetian work very closely resembling those in a side chapel at Parenzo in Istria... The number of fine buildings in its narrow streets recalls the days when it was the seat of the Venetian governor and the home of persons of cultivation and literary attainments.”
—T. G. Jackson, Dalmatia, the Quarnero and Istria, Volume 3, 1887
“Veglia is the largest and most important island in the Quarnero... It was the Cyractica of Strabo, the Curicta of Ptolemy and Pliny, who says it enjoyed the Jus Italicum [Italian Rights], and the Becla of Constantine Porphyrogenitus, who says it contained a city...whose inhabitants were called Romans down to his own day [tenth century].”
—T. G. Jackson, Dalmatia, the Quarnero and Istria, Volume 3, 1887
“During the eleventh century the island [of Veglia] was ravaged repeatedly by Croatian pirates, men were slain, and town walls and buildings thrown down, and it was not till 1133 that any effectual resistance was made. In that year the Vegliesi with aid from the Venetians defeated a powerful armament which had attacked them... That this crowning triumph might never be forgotten Dominicus the bishop established a festival, which the Vegliesi celebrated annually on the 9th of March... The town walls were rebuilt, and the city was put into an adequate state of defence, with the aid of the Venetians and under the superintendence of Duymus or Doimo the count or rector. This Count Doimo is supposed to have been of the family of Frangipani, with whose fortunes the future history of the island was linked. The Frangipani are said to have sprung from the ancient [Roman] patrician house of Anicius...Dante is claimed as the scion of a branch which settled at Florence...Among the branches of the family tree we read with surprise the names of Gregory the Great, Thomas Aquinas, Innocent III, Francis of Assisi, and Benedict with his sister Scholastica. One branch of the family settled at Venice... The connexion of the family with Veglia is said to have begun with a Frangipani of the Venetian branch, who accompanied Pietro Orseolo II in his expedition, and received a grant of the island on condition of defending it against the Slavs. ... In 1499 the island suffered severely from the plague, but the principal cause of her decay was the constant inroads of the Uscocs [Croatian pirates] during the sixteenth and the early part of the seventeenth centuries. ...the Uscocs either carried off or burned the crops... Owing to these several causes Veglia, both island and city, sank into misery and decay. ... The islands of Veglia, Arbe, and Pago, were almost made uninhabitable beyond the town walls by these barbarians...”
—T. G. Jackson, Dalmatia, the Quarnero and Istria, Volume 3, 1887
“The island of Arbe...in the tenth century, like Veglia and Ossero, it still retained its old Roman population and character, though surrounded by Croatian settlements. ... Like other Dalmatian towns Arbe...swore allegiance to Ottone Orseolo in 1018...”
—T. G. Jackson, Dalmatia, the Quarnero and Istria, Volume 3, 1887
“Pago was thus divided into two parts, under different civil and ecclesiastical rule; and Farlati1 notices the strong contrast in manners, language, culture, and institutions which distinguished the inhabitants of the two halves of the island almost as sharply as if they had been parted asunder by whole seas and continents. The western or Arbesan half was thoroughly Italian...and in this we have an interesting illustration of the tenacity with which the Dalmatians of Latin origin maintained their national traditions...”
—T. G. Jackson, Dalmatia, the Quarnero and Istria, Volume 3, 1887
“Accordingly, we embark, at 6 A.M., upon a smallish boat, for the southern extremity of the island of Lussin, where the twin ports of Lussinpiccolo and Lussingrande seem to have been so distinguished by Italian ingenuity...”
—Harriet Waters Peston, Some Reminiscences of Eastern Europe, The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 76, 1895