Last modified: 2011-11-11 by ivan sache
Keywords: neretva | narent | metkovic | drijeva | gabela | cross (white) | crosses: 4 (white) |
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Flag shown by Angelino Dulcert - Image by Tomislav Todorović, 10 November 2006
In her monography Monumenta Cartographica Jugoslaviae II (Historical Institute, Narodna knjiga, Belgrade, 1979), Gordana Tomović compares different 16th century naval maps of the Balkan peninsula. She notices flags above some place names on a map preserved in the Paris National Library (Maps and Plans Department) made on parchment by Angelino Dulcert (1339) [drt39]:
Flag above the town of Neretva (Drijeva, Narent) - in today's Croatia
The flag is quartered blue and white/ According to Aleksandar Solovjev's Contributions to Bosnian and Illyrian heraldry, at the time of writing of this book (about 1330), Neretva was part of Bosnia (since 1324), whose coat of arms at that time was "Azure a bend argent", that is its oldest known coat of arms, used by Ban Stjepan Kotromanić (died 1353). The flag attributed to Neretva thus might actually be the flag of Bosnia, having been derived from its coat of arms.
Ivan Sarajčić & Tomislav Todorović, 10 November 2006
Narent would be, more or less, modern-days town of Metković, at least the town considers itself the inheritor of the medieval port of Narent that was located a bit further upstream river Neretva (Italian, Narenta). Metković adopted in the 1990s a coat of arms that reflects this ancient design and bears it on its flag.
Drijeva is not to be found in ordinary lexicons , but there is a presentation of the place in Hrvatska Enciklopedija, Volume 3, 2001, as follows:
Drijeva, medieval market town on lower Neretva, today the settlement called Gabela. Name was given according to the Old Slavic word for ship (drijevo); in Latin called portum Narenti and forum or mercatum Narenti. Drijeva was developed as a center of trade between the coast and the inland. Different stuff was traded, mostly corn, salt and even slaves from Bosnia. The place was first mentioned in 1186 in a contract between the Serbian ruler Stefan Nemanja and Dubrovnik, which grated freedom of trade in Drijeva to Dubrovnik merchants. In the 13th century Drijeva shared the fate of Zahumlje; around 1280, it was under the rule of George, son of Duke Andrija. In the beginning of the 14th century, it was under Serbian rule; in 1303, Dubrovnik is mentioned as having leased the Drijeva customs facilities. They were paying to the rulers a yearly fee of 6,000 golden coins (1356). From 1326 until 1382, Drijeva was under the rule of the Croato-Hungarian King Louis I of Anjou. In 1404, Drijeva was part of the fief of Duke Hrvoje Vukčić Hrvatinić, in 1410, transferred to Duke Sandalj Hranić, in 1435 to Dke and Herzog Stjepan Vukčić Kosaća, and in 1444, temporarily, in the hands of the Bosnian King Stjepan Tomaš. Duke Sandalj shared the levies from Drijeva with the Radivojević (Vlatković) and Pavlović, but the Herzog Stjepan took it all for himself. In 1448 the Ottoman troops burned down Drijeva; in 1452 the Venetians built a new settlement on the right bank of Neretva. After the Herzog's death in 1466, Drijeva lived through hard days and, at most in 1493, the town was seized by Turks, who set up there their emin to collect customs tax.
Gabela is presented in Hrvatska Enciklopedija, Volume 4, 2002, as follows:
Gabela (from Italian, gabella, customs; from Arab, al-qabala, tax). The medieval marketplace Drijeva was renamed Gabela in the second half of the 15th century. At least in 1493 the place was conquered by Turks. Before 1558 they built a rectangular fort with towers at angles, named Sedislam (The Wall of Islam). It became the center of the Gabela Captany, organized before 1561. In 1537 Gabela was incorporated to the Nevesinje kadiluk. In the middle of 17th century, Ali-paša Čengić rebuilt and increased the fort, so called Novi grad. In 1693 the Venetians seized Gabela and revamped the fort, which they destroyed in 1715 they destroyed it. In 1718, Gabela was again under the Ottoman rule. Until 1878 it was an important border place between Herzegovina and Dalmatia, but the military role of Gabela was overtaken by the town of Poćitelj.
Gabela is today a small town in the Municipality of Capljina, located in Bosnia and Herzegovina about 3 km from the border with Croatia on the right bank of river Neretva; the town is again an important point of transit, with a railway passing by. Based on archeological findings and his analysis of Homer's work, the Mexican philologist Roberto Salinas Price claims that Gabela may be the site of the ancient Troy.
Željko Heimer, 14 February 200
Flag in the Catalan Atlas, left, original; right, facsimile - Images by Tomislav Todorović, 10 November 2006
In the Catalan Atlas kept at the French Nztionl Library (images), the flag of Neretva is quartered blue and silver; silver is darkened by age so much that is is almost black nowadays.
The British Museum, London, possesses a facsimile of the atlas (image), in which the flag of Neretva is painted with gold instead of silver, an error that has appeared there at some other flags as well.
Tomislav Todorović, 10 November 2006
Flag in the Book of All Kingdoms, left, Manuscript II; right, Manuscript III - Images by Tomislav Todorović, 3 December 2006
In all three manuscripts of Libro del conoscimiento de los reinos which are kept in the libraries in Madrid [fofXX], the flag of Neretva is described as quartered blue and white, but is depicted as such only in Manuscript I. In Manuscript II, the same text is accompanied with the image of a blue flag, charged with a cross cantonned with four crosslets, all in white. In Manuscript III, the flag of Neretva is black with white cross and crosslets. Both images above are the reconstructions based on the descriptions from A. Solovjev (Zemlje Južnih Slovena i njihovi grbovi u Španskom putopisu XIV veka. Istorija srpskog grba i drugi heraldički radovi Pravni fakultet Univerziteta u Beogradu, 2000).
According to the Croatian historian Josip Smodlaka, this might have been the flag of Stjepan Vukčić Kosača, the Duke of St. Sava (Serbo-Croat, Herceg od Sv. Save), whose title the name of Herzegovina was derived; the paternal coat of arms of Queen Katarina of Bosnia, daughter of Duke Stjepan and widow of King Stjepan Tomaš:, which is shown on her tomb in Rome, bears three bends and overall an escutcheon charged with a cross (quoted after Solovjev). According to Aleksandar Solovjev's Prinosi za bosansku i ilirsku heraldiku, that escutcheon might have symbolized either the title of Duke Stjepan or the fact that Queen Katarina was descended through female line from Prince Lazar Hrebeljanović of Serbia - in both cases, Serbian connections of this emblem. The flag might indeed be somehow derived from the armorial achievement of Duke Stjepan (image), because his crest is a demi-lion bearing a flag with two crosslets in pale (as reported in Palvestra's Comments and in Spasić, Palavestra and Mrdjenović's Rodoslovne tablice i grbovi srpskih dinastija i vlastele Beograd, 1992). Lastly, the Charolais Armorial, compiled in 1425, shows the following blazon as the coat of arms attributed to Serbia: Purpure a cross between four crosslets Or (reported by Palavestra). The original of this armorial is lost (only a copy from 1656 exists, which is kept in Brussels), so the real origins of this coat of arms would be difficult to trace, but still it seems to show the same connections mentioned above. Bearing in mind that the three above-mentioned manuscripts of Libro del conoscimiento de los reinos were written in the late 15th century, when all these armorial bearings were well known, the final conclusion might be that the flag with cross and crosslets attributed to Neretva might actually have been the flag of Herzegovina.
The flag held by the demi-lion in the crest was the basis of the design of the flag of Bileća, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Tomislav Todorović, 10 November 2006The 35th flag mentioned and illustrated in the "Book of All Kingdoms" is attributed [f0fXX] is apparently attributed to the town of "Narent". The author reports he sailed from "Boxina" and then visited the town of "Sara", "Simbichon" and "Narent"*, and then describes the flag of "this land", being unclear if only "Narent" is meant or also the other two towns.
António Martins-Tuvalkin, 18 November 2007
*Sara would be modern town of Zadar (Italian, Zara), the pre-Roman Jadera. Simbichon would be the modern town of Šibenik.
Željko Heimer, 19 November 2007
Željko Heimer, 19 November 2007
Flag shown by Guillelmus Soleri - Image by Tomislav Todorović, 24 July 2007
On the map of Guillelmus Soleri, which was created on Majorca c. 1385, and nowadays is kept in the French National Library, Paris (shown in D. Wigak's Historic maritime maps used for historic exploration 1290-1699, Parkstone Press, New York), the flag of Neretva is very similar to that from the map of Angelino Dulcert, but with a more oblong form.
Tomislav Todorović, 24 July 2007