Thomas the Archdeacon

Last updated
Page from Thomas' Historia Salonitana Toma1.JPG
Page from Thomas' Historia Salonitana

Thomas the Archdeacon (Latin : Thomas Archidiaconus; Italian : Tommaso Arcidiacono; Croatian : Toma Arhiđakon; c. 1200 – 8 May 1268), also known as Thomas of Split (Latin : Thomas Spalatensis, Hungarian : Spalatói Tamás), was a Roman Catholic cleric, historian and chronicler from Split. He is often referred to as one of the greatest sources in the historiography of Croatian lands. [1]

Italian language Romance language

Italian is a Romance language of the Indo-European language family. Italian descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire and, together with Sardinian, is by most measures the closest language to it of the Romance languages. Italian is an official language in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino and Vatican City. It has an official minority status in western Istria. It formerly had official status in Albania, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro (Kotor) and Greece, and is generally understood in Corsica and Savoie. It also used to be an official language in the former Italian East Africa and Italian North Africa, where it still plays a significant role in various sectors. Italian is also spoken by large expatriate communities in the Americas and Australia. Italian is included under the languages covered by the European Charter for Regional or Minority languages in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Romania, although Italian is neither a co-official nor a protected language in these countries. Many speakers of Italian are native bilinguals of both Italian and other regional languages.

Croatian language South Slavic language

Croatian is the standardized variety of the Serbo-Croatian language used by Croats, principally in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Serbian province of Vojvodina, and other neighboring countries. It is the official and literary standard of Croatia and one of the official languages of the European Union. Croatian is also one of the official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina and a recognized minority language in Serbia and neighboring countries.

Hungarian language language spoken in and around Hungary

Hungarian is a Uralic language of the Ugric branch spoken in Hungary and parts of several neighbouring countries. It is the official language of Hungary and one of the 24 official languages of the European Union. Outside Hungary it is also spoken by communities of Hungarians in the countries that today make up Slovakia, western Ukraine (Subcarpathia), central and western Romania (Transylvania), northern Serbia (Vojvodina), northern Croatia and northern Slovenia.

Contents

Life

What is known about Thomas' life comes from his work, Historia Salonitana . He speaks of his life in the third person and very briefly, in the style of medieval literature genres. Thomas was born in Split at the beginning of the 13th century. It is not known whether he was of noble or common birth, but he represented the elite Roman culture that had survived from before the Slav migration, and he had a negative view of Slavs, often mistakenly conflating them in his chronicle with the Goths. [2] He was probably educated at the cathedral school in Split. Around 1222 he was sent to study at the University of Bologna. There he perfected skills (under, among others, Accursius) in law, rhetoric, gramathic and notary (ars dictandi and ars notaria). [3] He saw Saint Francis of Assisi in Bologna, a remarkable event which he mentioned in his work, describing the person of Saint Francis. [4] Upon returning to his hometown of Split he advanced fast in church hierarchy. He became notary official (ca. 1227), then (1230) the archdeacon (head of the body of canons). He described Mongol siege of Split (1242), Mongol customs and homeland, thus creating the first ethnological writings in local historiography. [5] In 1243 a body of canons chose Thomas to be archbishop of Split, however due to his views on Church autonomy in Split, commoners rebelled against him. Fearing for his life, he never occupied that function, and in the end resigned the honor. Because of that, in his work he wrote about future archbishops with bitterness. He died in Split on May 8, 1268. Today, his grave lies in the Church of St. Francis. [6]

Historia Salonitanorum atque Spalatinorum pontificum or the History of the Bishops of Salona and Split, commonly known simply as the Historia Salonitana, is a chronicle by Thomas the Archdeacon from the 13th century which contains significant information about the early history of the Croats.

Cathedral school

Cathedral schools began in the Early Middle Ages as centers of advanced education, some of them ultimately evolving into medieval universities. Throughout the Middle Ages and beyond, they were complemented by the monastic schools. Some of these early cathedral schools, and more recent foundations, continued into modern times.

University of Bologna university in Bologna, Italy

The University of Bologna is a research university in Bologna, Italy. Founded in 1088 by an organised guild of students, it is the oldest university in the world, as well as one of the leading academic institutions in Italy and Europe. It is one of the most prestigious Italian universities, commonly ranking in the first places of national rankings.

Views

Thomas was a stern advocate of medieval commune movement in Split. He wrote about Croatian nobles (and Hungarian kings in his time) in the hinterland of the city with great animosity, because they tried to crush the autonomy of the city. And conversely, he treated fairly those who respected the commune autonomy (Croatian kings, and later, Hungarian kings in the 12th century). In 1239 he organized new („latin“) administration in Split, bringing Gargane de Ascindis from Ancona, as the new Podestà. [7] He was also an advocate of Church autonomy within the city (in accordance with official Roman Church teaching) which excluded commoners and citizens from interfering in Church business (such as the election of the archbishop).

Medieval commune

Medieval communes in the European Middle Ages had sworn allegiances of mutual defense among the citizens of a town or city. These took many forms and varied widely in organization and makeup.

Split, Croatia City in Split-Dalmatia, Croatia

Split is the second-largest city of Croatia and the largest city of the region of Dalmatia, with about 350,000 people living in its urban area. It lies on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea and is spread over a central peninsula and its surroundings. An intraregional transport hub and popular tourist destination, the city is linked to the Adriatic islands and the Apennine peninsula.

Ancona city and seaport in central Italy

Ancona is a city and a seaport in the Marche region in central Italy, with a population of around 101,997 as of 2015. Ancona is the capital of the province of Ancona and of the region. The city is located 280 km (170 mi) northeast of Rome, on the Adriatic Sea, between the slopes of the two extremities of the promontory of Monte Conero, Monte Astagno and Monte Guasco.

Work

Thomas' only work is the Historia Salonitana, the history of the archbishops of Salona and Split written in Latin. [8] The work itself is combining three medieval history genres – historia, chronica and memoriale. Eventually, his work outgrows the narrow theme of archbishops, and becomes an outstanding literary achievement which encompasses the whole of the Croatian medieval period up to the 13th century. Because of Thomas' original research in the archbisphoric's archive in Split, he brings facts and news from documents today unknown to contemporary historians. His work is therefore not only of great literally value, but also of historical value for Croatian history. [9]

Salona ancient city on the Dalmatian coast

Salona was an ancient city and the capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia. The name Salona preserves the language of the early inhabitants of this area whom the Romans called the Dalmatae, considered to be part of a larger group called the Illyrians. Salona is situated in today's town of Solin, right next to Split, in modern-day Croatia.

Related Research Articles

Zachlumia

Zachlumia or Zachumlia, also Hum, was a medieval principality located in the modern-day regions of Herzegovina and southern Dalmatia. In some periods it was a fully independent or semi-independent South Slavic principality. It maintained relations with various foreign and neighbouring powers and later was subjected to Kingdom of Hungary, Kingdom of Serbia, Kingdom of Bosnia, Duchy of Saint Sava and at the end to the Ottoman Empire.

Solin Town in Split-Dalmatia, Croatia

Solin is a town in Dalmatia, Croatia. It is situated right northeast of Split, on the Adriatic Sea and the river Jadro.

Ladislaus III of Hungary 13th-century King of Hungary

Ladislaus III was King of Hungary and Croatia between 1204 and 1205. He was the only child of King Emeric. Ladislaus was crowned king upon the orders of his ill father, who wanted to secure his infant son's succession. The dying king made his brother, Andrew, regent for the period of Ladislaus's minority. However, Duke Andrew ignored the child's interests. As a result, Ladislaus's mother, Constance of Aragon, fled to Austria, taking Ladislaus with her. Ladislaus died unexpectedly in Vienna.

Tomislav was the first king of Croatia. He became duke of Croatia in c. 910, was elevated to kingship by 925 and reigned until 928. At the time of his rule, Croatia forged an alliance with the Byzantines during their struggle with the Bulgarian Empire, with whom Croatia eventually went to war that culminated in the decisive Battle of the Bosnian Highlands in 926. To the north there were often conflicts with the Principality of Hungary. Croatia kept its borders and to some extent expanded on the disintegrated Pannonian Duchy.

Diocletians Palace palace

Diocletian's Palace is an ancient palace built for the Roman emperor Diocletian at the turn of the fourth century AD, which today forms about half the old town of Split, Croatia. While it is referred to as a "palace" because of its intended use as the retirement residence of Diocletian, the term can be misleading as the structure is massive and more resembles a large fortress: about half of it was for Diocletian's personal use, and the rest housed the military garrison.

Kaliman Asen I, also known as Coloman Asen I or Koloman was emperor of Bulgaria from 1241 to 1246. He was the son of Ivan Asen II of Bulgaria and Anna Maria of Hungary. He was only seven when he succeeded his father in 1241. In the following years, the Mongols invaded Bulgaria and imposed a yearly tax on the country. He may have been poisoned, according to contemporaneous rumors about his death.

Red Croatia is a historical term used for the southeastern parts of Roman Dalmatia and some other territories, including parts of present-day Montenegro, Albania, the Herzegovina region of Bosnia and Herzegovina and southeastern Croatia, stretching across the Adriatic Sea.

Kingdom of Croatia (925–1102) (925–1102) a medieval kingdom comprising most of what is today Croatia as well as, periodically, parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Balkans

The Kingdom of Croatia, or Croatian Kingdom, was a medieval kingdom in Central Europe comprising most of what is today Croatia, as well as most of the modern-day Bosnia and Herzegovina. Part of the Croatian Kingdom period ruled by ethnic dynasties, the Kingdom existed as a sovereign state for nearly two centuries. Its existence was characterized by various conflicts and periods of peace or alliance with the Bulgarians, Byzantines, Hungarians, and competition with Venice for control over the eastern Adriatic coast. The goal of promoting the Croatian language in the religious service was initially brought and introduced by the 10th century bishop Gregory of Nin, which resulted in a conflict with the Pope, later to be put down by him. In the second half of the 11th century Croatia managed to secure most coastal cities of Dalmatia with the collapse of Byzantine control over them. During this time the kingdom reached its peak under the rule of kings Peter Krešimir IV (1058–1074) and Demetrius Zvonimir (1075–1089).

Stephen Držislav of Croatia King of Croatia

Stephen Držislav was King of Croatia from AD 969 until his death around 997. He was a member of the Trpimirović dynasty. He ruled from Biograd with Godemir as his Ban.

Stephen I was King of Croatia from c. 1030 until his death in 1058 and a member of the Trpimirović dynasty. Stephen I was the first Croatian king whose given name was "Stephen" ("Stjepan"), as Držislav added the name Stephen at his coronation. His ban was Stephen Praska.

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Split-Makarska archdiocese

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Split-Makarska is a Metropolitan archdiocese of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic church in Croatia and Montenegro. The diocese was established in the 3rd century AD and was made an archdiocese and metropolitan see in the 10th century. The modern diocese was erected in 1828, when the historical archdiocese of Salona was combined with the Diocese of Makarska. It was elevated as an archdiocese and metropolitan see in 1969, restoring the earlier status of the archdiocese of Split, as it is also known. The diocese was also known as Spalato-Macarsca.

Michael of Zahumlje

Michael of Zahumlje, also known as Michael Višević or rarely as Michael Vuševukčić, was a semi-independent, or independent Slavic ruler of Zahumlje, in present-day central Herzegovina and southern Croatia, who flourished in the early part of the 10th century. Prince Michael of Zahumlje having a common boundary with the Serbia and probably with Kingdom of Croatia, but was an ally of Bulgaria. He was nevertheless able to maintain independent rule throughout at least a good part of his reign.

Fortress of Klis

The Klis Fortress is a medieval fortress situated above a village bearing the same name, near Split, Croatia. From its origin as a small stronghold built by the ancient Illyrian tribe Dalmatae, becoming a royal castle that was the seat of many Croatian kings, to its final development as a large fortress during the Ottoman wars in Europe, Klis Fortress has guarded the frontier, being lost and re-conquered several times throughout its more-than-two-thousand-year-long history. Due to its location on a pass that separates the mountains Mosor and Kozjak, the fortress served as a major source of defense in Dalmatia, especially against the Ottoman advance, and has been a key crossroad between the Mediterranean belt and the Balkan rear.

Cathedral of Saint Domnius Church in Croatia

The Cathedral of Saint Domnius, known locally as the Sveti Dujam or colloquially Sveti Duje, is the Catholic cathedral in Split, Croatia. The cathedral is the seat of the Archdiocese of Split-Makarska, headed by Archbishop Marin Barišić. The Cathedral of St. Domnius is a complex of a church, formed from an Imperial Roman mausoleum, with a bell tower; strictly the church is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and the bell tower to Saint Domnius. Together they form the Cathedral of St. Domnius.

Toma Niger Roman Catholic bishop

Toma Niger was a Croatian humanist, diplomat, bishop of Skradin, and at the end of his life he served as the bishop of Trogir. He committed most of his life to diplomacy, trying to help crumbling Kingdom of Croatia against the Ottoman Empire.

Roger of Torre Maggiore Italian historian

Roger of Torre Maggiore or Master Roger was an Italian prelate active in the Kingdom of Hungary in the middle of the 13th century. He was archbishop of Split in Dalmatia from 1249 until his death. His Epistle to the Sorrowful Lament upon the Destruction of the Kingdom of Hungary by the Tatars is an important source of the Mongol invasion of the Kingdom of Hungary in 1241 and 1242.

Duchy of Croatia

The Duchy of Croatia, was a medieval Croatian duchy that was established in the former Roman province of Dalmatia. Throughout its time it had several seats – namely, Klis, Solin, Knin, Bijaći and Nin. It comprised the littoral – the coastal part of today's Croatia , except Istria, and included a large part of the mountainous hinterland, as well. The Duchy was in the center of competition between the Carolingian Empire and the Byzantine Empire for rule over the area. Rivalry with Venice emerged in the first decades of the 9th century and was to continue for the following centuries. Croatia also waged battles with the Bulgarian Empire, with whom the relations improved greatly afterwards, and the Arabs and sought to extend its control over important coastal cities under the rule of Byzantium. Croatia experienced periods of vassalage to the Franks or Byzantines and de facto independence until 879, when Croatian Duke Branimir received recognition from Pope John VIII as an independent realm. The ruling dynasty of Croatia was the House of Trpimirović, with interruptions by the House of Domagojević. The Duchy existed until around 925 when, during the rule of Duke Tomislav, Croatia became a kingdom.

John from the kindred Hahót was a Franciscan friar of Hungarian noble-origin, who served as Archbishop of Split from 1266 to 1294. In this capacity, he styled himself "Primate of Dalmatia, Croatia and Slavonia" in his own documents.

References

  1. Radoslav Katičić: "Toma Arhiđakon i njegovo djelo" in Toma Arhiđakon: Historia Salonitana, Split, 2007.
  2. Fine (Jr), John V. A. (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. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
  3. Katičić: "Toma Arhiđakon i njegovo djelo", 2007, p. 338.
  4. Eodem anno in die assumptionis dei genitricis, cum essem Bononie in studio, uidi sanctum Franciscum predicantem in platea ante palatium publicum, ubi tota pene civitas convenerat. Fuit autem exordium sermonis eius: angeli, homines, demones. De his enim tribus spiritibus rationalibus ita bene et discrete proposuit, ut multis litteratis, qui aderant, fieret admirationi non modice sermo hominis ydiote; nec tamen ipse modum predicantis tenuit, sed quasi concionantis. Tota uero uerborum eius discurrebat materies ad extinguendas inimicitias et ad pacis federa reformanda. Sordidus erat habitus, persona contemtibilis, et facies indecora. Sed tantum deus uerbis illius contulit efficatiam, ut multe tribus nobilium, inter quas antiquarum inimicitarium furor immanis multa sanguinis effusione fuerat debachatus, ad pacis consilium reducenteretur. Erga ipsum uero tam magna erat reuerentia hominum et deutio, ut uiri et mulieres in eum cateruatim ruerent, satagentes vel fimbriam eius tangere , aut aliquid de paniculis eius auferre. Historia Salonitana, p. 134.
  5. James Ross Sweeney: "Thomas of Spalato and the Mongols: a Thirteenth Century Dalmatian Views of Mongol Customs." Florilegium 4 (1982): 156 – 183.
  6. On his tombstone are engraved the following words: Doctrinam, Christe, docet archidiaconus iste; Thomas, hanc tenuit, moribus et docuit; Mundum sperne, fuge viciu(m), carnem preme, luge; pro vite fruge, lubrica lucra fuge. Spalatemque dedit ortu(m), quo vita recedit. Dum mors succedit vite, mea gl(ori)a cedit. Hic me vermis edit, sic iuri mortis obedit; corpus quod ledit , a(n)i(m)amque qui sibi credit. A. D. MCCLXVIII. mense madii octavo die intrante. Tomislav Raukar: Hrvatsko srednjovjekovlje Zagreb, 2007.
  7. Katičić: "Toma arhiđakon i njegovo djelo", 2007.
  8. The work is available in several translations (Croatian, Russian etc.) The English translation is available from 2006: Thomae Archidiaconi Spalatensis / Archdeacon Thomas of Split, Historia Salonitanorum atque Spalatinorum pontificum / History of the bishops of Salona and Split. Latin text by Olga Perić, edited, translated and annotated by Damir Karbić, Mirjana Matijević-Sokol and James Ross Sweeney. Budapest; New York: Central European University Press, 2006, (Central European medieval texts, vol. 4).
  9. See Franjo Rački: Ocjena starijih izvora za hrvatsku i srbsku poviest srednjega vieka" Književnik I (1864) 358 – 388. and Stéphane Gioanni, The bishops of Salona (2nd–7th century) in the Historia Salonitana by Thomas the Archdeacon (13th century) : history and hagiography, in Écrire l’histoire des évêques et des papes, Fr. Bougard and M. Sot (edd.), Brepols, 2009, pp. 243–263