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Aleksandar Komulović
Died11 June 1608 (aged 59–60)
Other namesLesandro Komulouich, Komulić, Comuleus, Comuli, Alessandro Schiavone, Alessandro Dalmata [1]
Occupation(s)Catholic priest, Papal diplomat, writer, linguist
Known forone of the earliest Pan-Slavists
Movement Counter-Reformation [2]

Aleksandar Komulović (1548 – 11 June 1608) was a Catholic priest and diplomat from Venetian Dalmatia (now Croatia). Part of the Counter-Reformation, and an early Pan-Slavist, he notably led a diplomatic mission aimed to forge an anti-Ottoman coalition in support of the West during the Long Turkish War, principally in the Balkans and among the Slavs. Although he failed his mission, he inspired the Serbs to revolt. The Papacy was aware that the Latin language of the liturgical books presented an obstacle for the conversion of the South Slavs from Islam and Orthodoxy to Catholicism. [3] Komulović belonged to the first group of Jesuit missionaries and authors who attempted to spread Catholicism among the Slavs using liturgical books in Slavic. After his death, his propaganda activities were continued by Bartol Kašić.

Early life

Komulović was born into a patrician family which was referred to in Papal and Venetian documents as Comolis or Comulis [4] in Split, in Venetian Dalmatia (today Croatia). [5] He finished high school, probably in Italy. [2] Komulović was familiar with the Church Slavonic language and the Glagolitic script. [6] He was married with a woman from Dubrovnik. [7]

Society, school and church of Saint Jerome

In 1576 Komulović became a member of the Society of Saint Jerome in Rome. [8] [2] In 1579 he was excluded from the Society because he was accused of activities against the order. He was in the service of Cardinal Iullus Antonius Santor and wrote a Slavic-language catechism, which he attempted to get printed in autumn 1579. [9]

In 1582 he was again accepted into the Order of Saint Jerome because it was shown that the accusations against him were unjustified. [10] In the same year the Society financed the publishing of Komulović's work Christian Doctrine for the Slavic People in Their Own Language ("Nauch Charstianschiza Slovignschi narod, v vlaasti iazich" or Italian: Dottrina Christiana per la nation Illirica nella propria lingua). [11] This work established Komulović's reputation, especially among the Catholics of the Ottoman Empire. [12] In 1584 Komulović was canon in Zadar, [13] and in the same year, as an abbot in Nin, became a rector of the Academy of Saint Jerome, [14] formerly known as St. Jerome of the Slavs ( Italian: San Girolamo degli " Schiavoni") or the Illyrian Academy. He was appointed as the first arch-priest of the Church of Saint Jerome, completed in 1589. [15]

Secret Anti-Ottoman missions (1593–97)

At the end of January 1593 a bishop from Hvar sent a letter to the Pope inviting him to send envoys to Russia to forge a united Christian coalition against the Ottomans. In the same year a similar proposal was sent to the Pope by Komulović himself. [16] An anonymous report from 1593, attributed to Komulović by many scholars, lists predominantly Slavic regions that could be mobilized to fight the Ottomans: Herzegovina, Slavonia, Croatia, Dalmatia, Serbia, Moesia, Bosnia, Rascia, Požega and Temeşvar. [8]

In 1593–97 Komulović was a Papal diplomat engaged in forging a coalition of Slavs against the Ottoman Empire. This coalition was to include all Christian Slavs, including Orthodox Russia. Komulović believed that all Slavs are one nation who speak one language with different dialects. He also believed that Slavs should have only one religion, Catholicism. [8] In 1594 Pope Clement VIII sent a secret diplomatic mission led by Komulović to forge a coalition against the Ottoman Empire. Komulović traveled via Venice, Trent, Innsbruck and Vienna to Alba Iulia. The purpose of this trip was to convince the Tsar of Russia, King of Poland (including Zaporozhian Cossacks), the Prince of Transylvania and Voivodes of Moldavia and Wallachia to join a western anti-Ottoman coalition. His aim was also to inspire Serbs to rise up against the Ottomans. [14] According to some sources he continued his journey to Jakin, Hvar, Dubrovnik, Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Bulgaria and finally Moldavia. [17]

Komulović was instructed to first travel to Venice to establish contacts with Albanians. [18] In Venice he stayed in the house of notable Thomasso Pelessa from Albania; [14] it was agreed upon that as soon as the Vatican, Poland or Russia declared war on the Ottomans, the Albanian tribes were to revolt. The Popes instructions and several letters Komulović had sewed in a cushion. [19] When he left Venice he made tremendous mistake and forgot the cushion leaving behind three letters written in lingua Serviana by the "people of Albania". [20] The Venetian authorities got in possession of those letters and concluded they were forged by Komulović, which is also believed by modern Australian historian Zdenko Zlatar. [21]

In July 1594, an assembly was summoned in a monastery in Mat, by Albanian tribal chieftains, joined by some Venetian subjects, of whom Mark Gjin was elected their leader. In 1595 he visited Rome to receive the Pope's support. [22]

In Pope Clement VIII's instructions to Komulović, the Serbs were explicitly praised as brave, while the neighbouring Bulgarians were said to be unwilling to fight. [23] It is possible that these instructions were composed by Komulović himself. [24] [25] Komulović and Giovanni Battista from Cres maintained extensive contacts with the Patriarchate of Peć. [18] Another member of Komulović's mission was Thommaso Raggio (1531–1599), who returned to Italy in 1595 while Komulović stayed in the Balkans until 1597 and submitted a detailed report to the Pope upon his return. [26] He travelled to Moscow and twice visited the court of the Russian emperor, in 1595 and in 1597, but failed to convince the Muscovites to accept his proposals. [27]

Komulović did not succeed in forming the anti-Ottoman coalition, [28] as none of the countries accepted the Pope's invitation. [29] Russia refused to participate using bad relation with Poland as justification. [30] Still, the mission inspired a series of uprisings in Serb-populated territories, such as the Uprising in Banat and Uprising in Peć in 1594. [31] In 1594 and 1595 Cossacks plundered Ottoman-held Moldavia and invaded Transylvania. [32] The Himara Revolt broke out in Albania in 1596, but it was easily suppressed after the Venetians convinced some of the chieftains not to join the rebellion. [33]

According to some rumours, the Republic of Ragusa was ready to expel Komulović because the Ottomans offered them some benefits if they did. [34] Ragusans were worried because of the anti-Ottoman actions of Ragusan Jesuits. In 1597 Komulović began his return journey and stopped in Prague to propose to Emperor Rudolf II to re-capture Klis, which had a year earlier been briefly captured by the Uskoks. [14]


The first page of "Zrcalo od ispovijesti"

In 1603 Komulović published a translation of the Short Catechism written by Roberto Bellarmina in the South Slavic dialect of Čakavian (which however, was not suitable for Štokavian speakers, including those of Dubrovnik), the first of many translations he published. [8] In period 1604–1608 Komulovic was а leader of the newly established jesuit society in Dubrovnik. [35] The only allowance Komulović received in this period was modest income from the small abbey from Nin. [36]

Before he died in Dubrovnik in 1608, [37] Komulović wrote a will in Italian in which he left his money to the Illyrian Academy in Rome to buy a printing press for publishing books in Serbocroatian (lingua illirica). [8] Jerolim Kavanjin praised Komulović for presenting Christian doctrine on Slavic language better than anyone prior. [8]

After Komulović's death, the Jesuit mission he led was temporarily cancelled. His propaganda activities were continued by Bartol Kašić, who was an even greater Pan-Slav than Komulović. [38] Kašić was a censor and editor of Komulovićs work Zrcalo od Ispovijesti, published in 1606 and republished in Rome in 1616 and in Venice in 1664 and 1704. [39]


Notable works of Aleksandar Komulović include: [40]

  • 1582 — Christian Doctrine for the Slavic People in Their Own Language ("Nauch Charstianschiza Slovignschi narod, v vlaasti iazich" or Italian: Dottrina Christiana per la nation Illirica nella propria lingua)
  • 1603 — Translation of Short Catechism written by Roberto Bellarmina
  • 1606 — Zrcalo od ispovjesti, published in Venice, republished in Venice in 1704


  1. ^ ( Fine 2010, p. 235): "...that Komulović brought Christian doctrine into Slavic better than anyone up to now.174 A Venetian report from 1594 refers to Komulović as Alessandro Schiavone, while a Vatican document from 1591, discussing this work ... referred to Komulovic as "Alessandro Dalmata""
  2. ^ a b c Ravlić 1972, p. 137: "Jedan od starijih protureformatorskih radenika i pisaca jest Aleksandar Komulović koji se rodio u Splitu u vlasteoskoj obitelji, 1548. Vjerojatno je više nauke svršio u Italiji. God. 1576. bio je član zbora sv. Jeronima u Rimu koji mu je bio pri ruci ..."
  3. ^ Harris, Robin (January 2006). Dubrovnik: A History. Saqi Books. p. 236. ISBN  978-0-86356-959-3.
  4. ^ ( Zlatar 1992, p. 206): "... a member of a patrician family of Comolis or Comulis, [he is referred to thus in papal and Venetian documents],..."
  5. ^ Klaić, Vjekoslav (1974). Četvrto doba: Vladanje kraljeva iz porodice Habsburga '1527–1740). Matica hrvatska. p. 679.
  6. ^ Gabrić-Bagarić, Darija (1984). Jezik Bartola Kašića. Institut za jezik i književnost u Sarajevu, Institut za jezik. p. 16. Komulović je također bio dobar znalac crkvenoslavenskog i glagoljice
  7. ^ Kavanjin, Jerolim; Aranza, Josip (1913). Poviest vandelska bogatoga a nesrećna Epuluna i ubogoga a čestita Lazara: (Bogastvo i uboštvo). Knjižara Jugoslavenske akademije. p. ii. ... vlastelin spletski Koriolan Komulović (Comuleus) koji se oženi tako sretno u Dubrovniku:
  8. ^ a b c d e f Fine, John V. A. Jr. (1 January 2006). When Ethnicity Did Not Matter in the Balkans: A Study of Identity in Pre-Nationalist Croatia, Dalmatia, and Slavonia in the Medieval and Early-Modern Periods. University of Michigan Press. p. 396. ISBN  0-472-02560-0. The work was necessary since Komulović's Catechism, rendered in Čakavian, was unable to satisfy Štokavian ...
  9. ^ Isusovci u Hrvata: zbornik radova međunarodnog znanstvenog simpozija "Isusovci na vjerskom, znanstvenom i kulturnom području u Hrvata". Filozofsko-teološki institut Družbe Isusove. 1992. p. 171. Splitski svećenik Aleksandar Komulović u Rimu u službi kardinala Julija Antonija Santora, potaknut namjerama dalmatinskih biskupa već u jesen 1579. predlaže za tisak rukopis svojega izvornog katekizma Nauch charstianschi za slovignschi
  10. ^ Golub 1983, p. 139: "... da bi već nakon tri godine bio isključen (1579) te opet (1582) ponovno primljen, jer se utvrdilo da je tvrdnja da radi protiv probiti Zbora bila kleveta. ... Zbog spora o nekim prostorijama Zbor je Komulovića (ovo drugi puta) isključio iz članstva."
  11. ^ Ravlić 1972, p. 137
  12. ^ Klaić, Vjekoslav (1899). Povjest Hrvata: od najstarijih vremena do svršetka xix. stoljeća. Tisak i naklada knjižare L. Hartmana. p. 73. Ovim djelom izašao je Komulović još više na glas u kršćanskom svijetu jugoslavenskom, pa su naročito katolici u turskom carstvu ...
  13. ^ Radovi. Akademija. 1956. p. 369. Komulović je bio zadarski kanonik god. 1584
  14. ^ a b c d Setton, Kenneth Meyer (1991). Venice, Austria, and the Turks in the Seventeenth Century. American Philosophical Society. p.  9. ISBN  978-0-87169-192-7.
  15. ^ Golub, Ivan (1974). Život i djelo Jurja Križanića: zbornik radova. Fakultet političkih nauka Sveučilišta : Liber. p. 40. Aleksandar Komu- lović, opat ninski, prvi nadsvećenik ove crkve Svetog Jeronima koji ..
  16. ^ Stanojević, Gligor (1973). Senjski uskoci. Vojnoizdavački zavod. p. 147. Krajem januara 1593. hvarski biskup Petar Čedolini uputio je papi pismenu poruku kojom ga poziva u borbu protiv Turaka i uvjerava da je Turska slaba i da ne može odoljeti jednom hrišćanskom savezu.12' Iste godine sličan predlog je uputio papi i sveštenik Aleksandar Komulović
  17. ^ Krasić, Stjepan (2009). Počelo je u Rimu: Katolička obnova i normiranje hrvatskoga jezika u XVII. stoljeću. Matica Hrvatska. p. 132. ISBN  978-953-6316-76-2. Grgur XIII. ga je 10. siječnja 1584. imenovao vizitatorom za krajeve koji su bili pod Turcima.13 Komulović je iste godine preko Jakina, Hvara i Dubrovnika otputovao u Albaniju, zatim na Kosovo, u Makedoniju, Bugarsku i Moldaviju.
  18. ^ a b ( Zlatar 1992, p. 209)
  19. ^ Memoirs of the American Philosophical Society. 1991. p. 9. ISBN  9780871691927. Komulovic had sewed up his instructions and letters in a cushion which he inadvertently left behind upon his departure from the city. When discovered, they were turned over to the Signoria. While in Venice, Komulovic stayed with the well-known Albanian Tommaso Pelessa, who is said to have claimed that Komulovic was equipped with false seals and letters (ibid., pp. 47, 1 19), the significance of which seems to be unclear.
  20. ^ Zlatar 1992, p. 212.
  21. ^ ( Zlatar 1992, p. 212) "The impression by the Venetian government was that Komulovic had fabricated these letters, and there seems very little doubt indeed that this was the case.64 That is why I am inclined to believe that the above-mentioned letter sent by the elders of Albania" to Clement VIII was nothing but Komulovic's own invention, all the more since it contained no individual signatures and the seals were obviously false, "made in Rome", as the Venetians established."
  22. ^ Marović, Miodrag (1995). Balkanski Džoker: Albanija i Albanci : istorijska hronika nastajanja i razvoja albanskog pitanja. Kulturni centar. p. 54. ISBN  9788670040052.
  23. ^ Jovanović, Alekan (1937). Spomenica dvadesetpetogodishnjice oslobodjenja Južne Srbije. p. 230. У тој инструкцији папа нарочито истиче да су Срби храбри, а да њихови суседи (према Тра- кији) Бугари нису за борбу.
  24. ^ American Contributions to the Fifth International Congress of Slavists, Sofia, September 1963: Literary contributions. Mouton. 1963. p. 175. In the instructions which Komulovic received (and perhaps dictated himself) in 1594,...
  25. ^ The Polish Review. Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences in America. 1958. p. 16. ...seemed to be fabricated by Komulovic himself. ...
  26. ^ ( Zlatar 1992, p. 206): "While Raggio returned after a year, Komulovic stayed in the Balkans for three years...."
  27. ^ Just, Sister Mary; (Sister.), Mary Just (1954). Rome and Russia: a tragedy of errors. Newman Press. p. 52. Komulovic went to Feodor's court in 1595 . and again in 1597, but his zealous efforts in Russia proved fruitless.
  28. ^ Santich, Jan Joseph (1995). Missio Moscovitica: The Role of the Jesuits in the Westernization of Russia, 1582–1689. P. Lang. p.  96. ISBN  978-0-8204-2758-4. Komulovic carried out his missions (1593–1596), though with no success in forming the desired anti-Turkish league.
  29. ^ Stanojević, Gligor (1970). Jugoslovenske zemlje u mletačko-turskim ratovima XVI-XVIII vijeka. Istorijski institut. p. 105. Зато је почетном 1594. папа дао игаструкције Комуловићу за руоног цара.10 Ниједаа од оних звмаља ииије праосватила папин иозив за савез. Рат између Туроке и Ауотрије у Подуиављу бијвонио је свом же- сггином.
  30. ^ Tadić, Jorjo (1948). Dubrovački portreti. Zadružna Knjiga. p. 366. ... али је Русија одбила да учествује изговарајући се лошим односима с Пољском.
  31. ^ Jovanović, Alekan (1937). Spomenica dvadesetpetogodishnjice oslobodjenja Južne Srbije. p. 230.
  32. ^ Penson, Oskar Halecki, W: F. Reddaway, J. H. The Cambridge History of Poland. CUP Archive. p. 507. ISBN  978-1-00-128802-4. At the same time, independent of the Emperor, Clement VIII tried through his nuncio Komulovic" (Comuleo) to win the Cossacks over to the anti-Turk league. In 1594 and 1595, the Cossacks invaded Transylvania, plundered Moldavia and ...{{ cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list ( link)
  33. ^ Marović, Miodrag (1995). Balkanski Džoker: Albanija i Albanci : istorijska hronika nastajanja i razvoja albanskog pitanja. Kulturni centar. p. 54. ISBN  9788670040052.
  34. ^ ( Zlatar 1992, p. 269): "The latter was rumoured to be ready to expel Komulovic, "due to its (Ragusan government's) benefits derived from the Turks""
  35. ^ Dubrovnik Annals. Zavod za povijesne znanosti Hrvatske akademije znanosti i umjetnosti u Dubrovniku. 2003. p. 13. The jesuits too contributed to the scene, their newly established Ragusan society being led by Aleksandar Komulovic between 1604 and 1608.
  36. ^ Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (1946). Glas. p. 35.
  37. ^ Ravlić, Jakša (1962). Odraz domace stvarnosti u staroj hrvatskoj književnosti Gundulićevi prvi radovi i njegova razvojna linija: Our domestic realities as reflected in old Croatian literature: Gundulić's first works and his developmental line. p. 348.
  38. ^ ( Zlatar 1992, p. 64): "After his death his propaganda activities were continued by an even greater Pan-Slav: Bartol Kasic."
  39. ^ Church, Catholic; Kašić, Bartol; Horvat, Vladimir (1640). Ritval Rimski: po Bartolomeu Kassichiu od Druxbae Yesusovae. Kršćanska sadašnjost. p. 457. Ujedno je 1606. bio cenzor i redaktor djela Aleksandra Komulovića Zarcalo od ispovijesti, koje je objavljeno u Rimu 1606. i(li) 1616, pa opet u Veneciji 1634.
  40. ^ Golub 1983, p. 139


Further reading

  • Aleksandar Komulović (1548–1608), Miroslav Vanino, Hrvatsko kulturno društvo "Napredak", Sarajevo, 1935
  • Aleksandar Komulović kao mogući uzor Jurju Križaniću u politici i crkvenom jedinstvu, Tonči Trstenjak, Zbornik Zavoda za povijesne znanosti Istraživačkog centra Jugoslavenske akademije znanosti i umjetnosti. Vol. 14(1986) : posvećen Jurju Križaniću povodom 300. obljetnice smrti, 1683–1983, urednik Ljubo Boban
  • Komulovića izvještaj i listovi o poslanstvu njegovu u Tursku, Erdelj, Moldavsku i Poljsku, Paul Pierling i Franjo Rački, Starine. Knj. 14(1882)
  • La dimensione morale nella dottrina pastorale di Alessandro Komulović, Antun Trstenjak. – Zagreb, 1988
  • Prilozi k poznavanju diplomatskoga poslanstva Aleksandra Komulovića medju Slovene od godine 1593. do 1597, Euzebije Fermendžin, Starine. Knj. 36(1918), uredio Ferdo Šišić