Arms of René d’Anjou on Šipan

Photo of arms of René d’Anjou on a house on Šipan island, CroatiaArms of René d’Anjou from MS Egerton 1070Left: Arms of René d’Anjou in carved stone on a house in Suđurađ on the island of Šipan, off the Dalmatian coast of Croatia.

Right: Arms of René d’Anjou, from the British Library MS Egerton 1070 f. 4v, dated circa 1442.

A member of Queens’ College, on seeing the arms illustrated above left, might be forgiven for mistakenly concluding that they had discovered the arms of Queens’ College in a Croatian island village. The resemblance is great: but the inscription underneath reads: RENATVS·REX·IVSTVS· [René the righteous king], showing that these are in fact the arms of René d’Anjou, father of Marguerite d’Anjou, the first foundress queen of Queens’ College.

Šipan (otherwise Sipano, Giuppana, or Zupano) is the largest of the Elaphiti islands off the Dalmatian coast of Croatia. Suđurađ (otherwise San Giorgio, or St George) is a village with a small harbour at the south-east end of the island, where the ferries call from Dubrovnik (formerly Ragusa). In the past, Suđurađ was an important ship-building centre for the Ragusan empire, and Šipan island was noted for the fertile soil on its inner plain, where olive groves and vines flourished. The Ragusan upper class erected summer villas and palaces around the inner plain of the island: most of these are now ruins.

There is a strong oral tradition on the island that René (Renato in Croatian) of Anjou, King of Sicily/Naples, once stayed there. Little or no contemporary evidence has been discovered to support that tradition, and no historian of René’s life has ever recorded such a visit. Some accounts suggest that the stay was in the nature of an exile or imprisonment, others that it was a retirement towards the end of his life. Two things survive which provide a framework for the tradition:

  1. Many parcels of registered land on the island are assigned toponyms. One such parcel has toponym “Renatovo”, meaning “Renato’s” [1968 p. 53]. On this site were the ruined remains of a summer villa, which the tradition says was where René stayed on the island. It was on this site that the carved stone of René’s coat-of-arms was discovered in the late 19th century, and then transferred to the house where it is now displayed. It is not clear from what period the toponym “Renatovo” dates.
  2. The large carved stone of René’s coat-of-arms is itself taken to be physical evidence for the tradition.

Consideration of the coat-of-arms itself

This representation of the arms of René of Anjou is abnormal in several ways.

The 2nd quarter (upper row, middle), representing Sicily/Naples (Anjou ancient), lacks the customary label of three points; and the 4th quarter (lower row, left), representing Anjou modern, lacks the customary border. Without those marks of cadency, these two quarters are indistinguishable from the arms of France. The absence of marks of cadency from these two quarters is almost unique, shared only with the arms of René, and those of his first wife, recorded in the register of the Confraternity of St Martha in Naples, in 1438 and 1435 respectively. [1982 pp. 126–​7]

The 5th quarter (lower row, middle), representing the Duchy of Bar, has several peculiarities. The two fish (which should customarily be barbels) are shown looking more like dolphins. The crosses in the background are small plain crosses, where properly they should be cross-crosslets-fitchy, as shown in René’s arms above. One feature looks authentic: the two crosses above the fishes’ heads are turned so that the lower arms of the crosses are in, or near, the mouths of the fishes.

The inscription RENATVS·REX·IVSTVS· is unique and not seen in any other representation of René’s arms [1982 p. 127].

This six-quarter design was used by René only between 1435 and 1453 [1982 p. 112].

Commentary and opinion: The possible date range of the design need not be taken to indicate when the stone was carved: a carving to this design could have been made at any time after the period when this design was in use; as is the case, for instance, with 19th-century representations of René’s arms around Angers. The several errors in the representation of the arms make it unlikely that René was personally involved in their creation. The carved stone is in remarkably good condition for a work that is supposed to be centuries old. We have no record of how extensive the conservation work [1882, p. XLI] was.

Review of Literature about the coat-of-arms

Gelcich 1882

The earliest reference in print to the carved stone coat-of-arms was published in Vienna [1882, p. XLI], where a conservator reports that he is repairing the carved stone:

Original German Translated English

Nach Bericht des Conservators Gelcich befindet sich auf der Insel San Giorgio di Giuppana ein Feld, bis jetzt campo di renato genannt nach einem Könige von Neapel, der sich nach seiner Thronentsagung auf diese Insel zurückzog und ein Schloss bewohnte, das auf diesem Felde lag, wovon jedoch jede Spur verloren gegangen ist. Ein einziges Erinnerungsstück blieb in einem Wappensteine der Renato, der der Familie Valitic gehört und für dessen Conservirung Seitens des Conservators Schritte gethan werden. Das gekrönte Wappen in einem zugespitzten Schilde ist in acht Felder getheilt, je vier nebeneinander. Das erste ist fünfmal horizontal getheilt, das zweite, dritte und fünfte mit heraldischen Lilien bestreut, im vierten das Kreuz von Jerusalem, im sechsten und siebenten ein aufrechter Delphin begleitet von vier Kreuzen, im achten ein schrägrechter Balken, darin drei gestümmelte Adler. Am Spruchbande der in das 16. bis 17. Jahrhundert gehörigen Sculptur die Worte: Renatus.rex.justus.

According to the report of the Conservator Gelcich, there is a field on the island of San Giorgio di Giuppana, formerly called campo di renato, after a king of Naples, who retired to this island after his abdication and lived in a castle lying on this field, of which however, every trace has been lost. A single memento remained in a coat of arms of Renato, owned by the Valitic family, and steps were taken for its preservation by the Conservator. The crowned coat of arms in a pointed shield is divided into eight squares, four next to each other. The first is divided five times horizontally, the second, third and fifth are sprinkled with heraldic lilies, in the fourth the cross of Jerusalem, in the sixth and seventh an upright dolphin accompanied by four crosses, in the eighth an oblique beam, in it three mutilated eagles. On the banner of the 16th-17th century sculpture the words: Renatus.rex.justus.

Commentary and opinion: Although published in 1882, the report might relate to work undertaken a little previously. The conservator was Giuseppe (or Josip) Gelcich (or Jelčić, Gelčić, Gjelcich, Đelčić) (1849–​1925). His report identifies the owning family incorrectly as Valitic: in fact their name was Vuletić. They owned the house on which the arms are now mounted until the 1920s. His report also incorrectly describes the arms as having 8 quarters, in 2 rows of 4, whereas we now see it as 6 quarters in 2 rows of 3; and in both rows, his description of the middle quarter is duplicated. This suggests perhaps that the stone was broken into two parts when he first saw it. We do not learn how extensive the conservation work was, or, indeed, whether in fact it amounted to making a new copy. The conservator attributes the carved coat-of-arms to the period of the 16th to 17th century, long after René died in 1480.

Vuletić-Vukasović 1883

The following paragraphs are taken from an article Iscrizioni Dalmate d’Epoca Veneziana [1883]:

Original Croatian Translated English

Na kući pok. Vice Vuletića jest ogromni grb-štit. Nad njime je kruna, a polje je razdjeljeno vodoravno na dvoje. U gornjoj je strani s desne križ, uza nj četiri maljušna, ovako napravljena.

Diagram

U sriedi je do šest redova kao francuskijeh liljana, redom po dva, po tri, i t. d.

U donjoj je česti, s desne, popriečno pâs, a na njemu tri grabežljine ptice.

Po sriedi su dvije pliskavice (delfina) glavama uz gori. Uza nje je šest križa kao onaj gori, t. j. jedan kod repova, a uz njega dva druga, a sa strane ostala tri.

S lieve je strane petnaest, kao francuskieh liljana (mogli bi biti i šestoperci), u porednom smjeru.

Izpod grba je vrpca, a na njoj:

RENATVS · REX · IVSTVS ·

Kažu mi, da je rečeni grb bio prenešen iz baštine zvane na Renatovu.[Gelcich 1882]

On the house of the late Vice Vuletić there is a huge coat of arms-shield. Above it there is a crown, and the field is divided horizontally into two. On the upper right there is a cross, with four tiny crosses next to it, made like this:

Diagram

In the middle there are up to six rows of French lilies, in rows of two, then three, and so on.

In the lower row … on the right, there is an oblique sash, and on it three birds of prey.

In the middle of the row there are two dolphins with heads facing upwards. Around them there are six crosses, like the ones mentioned above, i.e. one next to the tail, two other next to it, and the rest of three aside.

On the left of the row there are fifteen French lilies (maybe disposed hexagonally), in lines.

Under the arms there is a banner and on it:

RENATUS · REX · JUSTUS ·

I was told that the said coat of arms was transferred here from the place called Renatovo. [Gelcich 1882]

Commentary and opinion: The author was Vid Vuletić-Vukasović (1853–​1933), an ethnographer. By the time that he saw the coat-of-arms, it had been mounted on the Vuletić family house. This article is a somewhat awkward description of the shield, by an author who was apparently not familiar with heraldry and its terminology. His diagram of the Jerusalem cross is incorrect, as (a) it fails to show the large cross as a cross-potent; and (b) it shows the four small crosses incorrectly as crosses-fleury, whereas they are now seen to be simple crosses. The reference to Renatovo is taken from Gelcich’s report [1882] above.

Milić 1899

The following is taken from an article by Vinko Milić, published in Bullettino di Archeologia e Storia Dalmata, vol. XXII, 1899, issue 10, pp. 185–​7:

Original Croatian Translated English

Starinski nadpis na Šipanu.

Na jednoj kučici, u pročelju, s desne strane ulaza u malu luku Sugjurgja na otoku Šipanu, nalazi se u dobrom stanju uzidan grb, koji nosi križ i evjetove, sa sliedećim urezanim nadpisom:

RENATVS REX IVSTVS
REX GALLICORVM
IN EXILIVM PVLSVS

Nema više datum-a, pošto mi velečastni župnik g. Goravica pripoviedi, da je publicista Evans g. 1878 nabavio donju stranu grba, koji se drugdje nalazio, da ju ponese u London, da služi Britanskom Muzeju. Tako fali najbolja strana grba, te sada treba iztraživati u poviesti dogadjaj, koji je onim nadpisom ovjekovječen.

An antique inscription on Šipan.

On one of the little houses, on its facade, to the right of the entrance to the small port of Suđurađ on the island of Šipan, is a well-built coat-of-arms, bearing a cross and flowers, with the inscription engraved below:

RENATVS REX IVSTVS = René the righteous king
REX GALLICORVM = King of the French
IN EXILIVM PVLSVS = Sent into exile

There are no longer any dates, since the Reverend Goravica recounts that the journalist Evans in 1878 acquired a lower part of the coat of arms, which was separate, to take it to London for the British Museum. So the best part of the coat of arms is missing, and now it has to be traced to a historical event, which was commemorated by that inscription.

Long historical account, quoting from Gelcich [1887], Valla [1896], Weiss [1870], omitted.

Pošto se u bitnosti slaže sa Diplomatarium [1887] obširnije povijedanje Dr. Weissa [1870], to se dade pomisliti, da je taj nadpis od dobe drugog progonstva Renata, jer da je od prvoga sužanjstva Senat bi ga bio doista spomenuo Banu, dočim drugo trajalo je mnogo godinah, te je vjerojatno, da iz Floreneije, upoznav Dubrovčane, preseli se na Šipan za koje vrieme, te onda se povrati u domovinu i umri u Aixu, kako Dr. Weiss navadja.

Svakako je taj nadpis veoma zanimiv, te bi vriedno bilo, da ga se još bolje prouči, a pod svaku cienu spasi i sačuva, da ga koji drugi putnik nekupi svega, poput Evansa. koji je sobom podnožje ponio.

Gornjem tumačenja ponešto smeta, što se navadja: Rex Gallicorum. Ako se pak promisli, da Renat može se reći nije u Napulju niti zavladao dobro, dade se tumačiti lahko da je pridržao svoj naslov obiteljski, pošto toliko Napulj, koliko Sicilija bijahu od Anžuinacah i od Aragonacah smatrani ne kao poschna samostalna kraljestva, nogo kao leni, tako da bi ih pridružili svojoj kraljevini po lozi, kako se iz poviesti onog vremena razumije.

As more extensive storytelling by Dr. Weiss [1870] essentially agrees with the Diplomatarium [1887], then one might think that this inscription was from the time of René’s second exile, because if he had been from the first slavery, the Senate would have really mentioned it to the Ban. The second exile lasted many years and it is probable that from Florence, having met people from Dubrovnik, he moved to Sipan for a while, and then returned to his homeland and died in Aix, as Dr. Weiss states.

Certainly this inscription is very interesting, and it would be worth studying it even further, and at any cost save and preserve it, so that another tourist does not buy it whole, like Evans, who took with him the part below.

The above interpretation raises difficulties, which states: Rex Gallicorum. If, however, René could be said to have neither reigned in Naples nor reigned well, it would be easy to interpret that he kept his title for family reasons, since as many of Naples as Sicilians were considered by the Anjuvians and Aragonians not as separate independent kingdoms but as fiefdoms, so that they would be joined to their kingdom by lineage, as is understood from the history of that time.

Commentary and opinion: The author was Vinko Milić (1833–​1910), a journalist and politician. This article has assumed considerable importance in the modern evolution of the tradition about René, because it has been quoted uncritically by many subsequent writers. However, it seems, on several counts, to be quite unreliable.

For instance, it is simply not true that the inscription of the coat-of-arms on the house is as he quotes: we have the evidence from Gelcich [1882] and Vuletić-Vukasović [1883] before him, and of the current appearance of the coat-of-arms, that the inscription is simply RENATVS REX IVSTVS and does not contain the lower two lines that he quotes. So, from where did he obtain the text of the lower two lines? One possible explanation is that he never saw the coat-of-arms himself, and was relying on the description of others, perhaps the “Reverend Goravica” [Niko Goravica (1842–​1919) [2009 p. 55], priest at Suđurađ 1889–​1910 [2011 pp. 72, 343]]. Perhaps, during the passing of information from Goravica to Milić, there was confusion between (a) what was engraved below the coat-of-arms on the house, and (b) what was engraved on the stone which Evans was reported to have taken away.

Milić goes on to suggest a period of “second exile” for René, after he was deposed from the crown of Naples and escaped via Florence, when he could have settled in Šipan. It is possible that Milić misinterpreted Weiss’s history, in which there is no reference to any such exile. The suggestion of René spending a long period in Šipan is pure speculation by Milić, for which he has no evidence. However, the Itinerary of King René [1875] accounts for almost every month of René’s life, both before and after passing through Florence in 1442, with references to archival evidence for every entry in the itinerary. Within four months of first arriving in Florence, René had returned to Provence, and stayed within the area of modern France for most of the rest of his life, with just one trip to Italy in 1453. So we have documentary evidence that over-turns Milić’s speculation about René’s long “exile” in Šipan.

Milić points out the difficulty with the inscription REX GALLICORUM (literally, King of the Gauls, thus King of the French). René was not King of France, and would never have claimed to be. Milić attempts to develop a justification for REX GALLICORUM, but his reasoning is incomprehensible — unless it is to be read as an explanation of why René was not styled King of Naples in the inscription.

“Evans” was presumably Arthur Evans (1851–​1941), in 1878 a journalist and archaeologist, later to become Keeper of the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford. From 1877 he was living in Dubrovnik, in his villa Casa San Lazzaro (now Villa Agave), until 1882 when he was arrested and expelled from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. If it is true that he had taken an engraved stone from Šipan, then possibly it got left behind during his unplanned departure from Dubrovnik. Subsequent researchers [1936, 1938] have not been able to find any trace of such an engraved stone at the British Museum. There is no mention of any trip to Šipan in the biography [1943] of Evans.

This article by Milić is a single unverified source for (a) the two lower lines of inscription, (b) the date 1878, (c) the identity of the person who removed the second engraved stone being “Evans”.

Nikolić 1902

The following paragraphs are extracts from an article: La leggenda di “Renatus Rex Bonus” nelle tradizioni dalmatiche: [1902]

Original Italian Translated English

Fatta quindi di necessità virtù, rinunciando alla visita tanto desiderata, ci siamo dovuti accontentare di quelle informazioni che in proposito ci diedero persone degne di fede, e che ora togliamo dal nostro vecchio libricino, corredandole di alcune osservazioni e note opportune.

Ne’ possessi della famiglia Vuletich di Ragusa, situati in quel di Giuppana, sulla cima del colle di S. Giorgio v’ ha un sito, che per lunga, secolare, antichissima tradizione è detto da quegli isolani: „Na Renatovo,“ e vi si trovano avanzi d’ un grande fabbricato, che poteva ben essere palazzo signorile, o altro ragguardevole edificio, perchè le traccie rimaste ancora, sono tuttavia prova di un’ ampiezza e di una solidità non comune nelle solite abitazioni villereccie.

... Ma, ciò che di questa curiosissima storia, è più degno d’attenzione, dicesi che v’ erano pure inscrizioni, fra cui, da’ nostri informatori si ricordavano due specialmente; ma che sul sito primitivo più non si trovano, perchè vendute dall’ amministratore del possesso signor Zec, nell’ anno 1882 al noto corrispondente balcanico de’ giornali inglesi, signor Evans, ... Uno di questi frammenti venduti diceva:

„RENATUS REX JUSTUS.“

e l’ altro che pure per virtù di pochi scellini prese la via di Londra portava la scritta:

„RENATUS REX GALLICORUM IN EXILIUM PULSUS.“

La storia nostra, a quanto finora ne sappiamo, non dice che un re Renato Gallico, fossesi giammai rifugiato in questi paesi, cacciato dal trono in esilio, e perciò quando si principiò a vociferare di queste due lapidi storiche, trafugate così facilmente ed a buon mercato, ad onta delle leggi vigilanti sul patrimonio de’ nostri monumenti, si dubitò assai che la cosa fosse vera; ma poi, quando in prova furono mostrate le copie delle scritte, rilevate da persone, come abbiamo detto, degnissime di fede, la cosa parve quanto mai interessante e degna d’ esser segnalata a chi può metterla nella sua giusta luce storica.

Da noi però non fu pubblicato ancora nulla che possa giustamente spiegare questo curioso rebus storico, se si eccettui un breve cenno del signor V. Milić, emerito presidente del Tribunale di Ragusa, pubblicato nel „Bollettino di Storia ed Archeologia Dalmata“ nell’ anno 1898; ...

Having therefore made a virtue of necessity, giving up the longed-for visit, we had to content ourselves with the information given to us by people worthy of faith, and which we now take from our old notebook, adding some observations and appropriate notes.

In the possessions of the Vuletich family of Ragusa, located in that of Giuppana, on the top of the hill of S. Giorgio there is a site, which by long, centuries-old, ancient tradition is called by those islanders: “Na Renatovo,” and there are remains of a large building, which could have been a noble palace, or another remarkable building, because the traces still remaining, however, are proof of a breadth and solidity not common in the usual rustic dwellings.

... But, what is most worthy of attention in this curious story, is that there were also inscriptions, among which, our informants remembered two especially; but that most cannot be found on the original site, because [they were] sold by the owner of the possession Mr. Zec, in the year 1882 to the well-known Balkan correspondent of the English newspapers, Mr. Evans, ... One of these fragments sold said:

“RENATUS REX JUSTUS.”

and the other which by virtue of a few shillings took the road to London bore the inscription:

“RENATUS REX GALLICORUM IN EXILIUM PULSUS.”

Our history, as far as we know, does not say that a king Renato Gallico, having never been a refugee in these countries, was expelled from the throne in exile, and therefore when rumours surfaced of these two historic stones, stolen so easily and inexpensively, in spite of the vigilant laws on the heritage of our monuments, it was very doubtful that the thing was true; but then, when the copies of the inscriptions were shown as proof, taken by people, as we have said, very worthy of faith, it seemed very interesting and worthy of being reported to those who can put it in its right historical light.

However, nothing has yet been published that could rightly explain this curious historical puzzle, except for a brief mention of Mr. V. Milić, emeritus president of the Court of Ragusa, published in the "Dalmatian History and Archeology Bulletin" in the year 1898 ...

Long account omitted.

De’ quattro anni di regno dell’Angioino, benché cadano nel periodo della più feconda e vivace attività commerciale di Ragusi, non vi sono trattati d’amicizia politica o di reciproci patti commerciali, ... Ma abbondano invece i documenti ed i patti cogli Aragonesi, che più di alleati erano poi diventati protettori sinceri ed affettuosi della repubblica; ed in questi documenti non sarebbero mancati i lagni e le proteste, se il senato ragusino avesse dato rifugio a Renato, fieramente perseguitato da Alfonso e da’ suoi aderenti.

Of the four years of the reign of the Angevins, although they fall in the period of the most fruitful and lively commercial activity of the Ragusans, there are no treaties on political friendship or reciprocal commercial agreements, ... But the documents and pacts with the Aragonese abound, but more than allies they had then become sincere and affectionate protectors of the republic; and in these documents the complaints and protests would not have been lacking, if the Ragusa Senate had given refuge to René, fiercely persecuted by Alfonso and his adherents.

Long account omitted.

Inferendo quindi da queste prove negative, sarebbe cosa gratuita, dalla sola scritta delle pretese lapidi angioine di San Giorgio, ritenere che Renato d’Angiò dimorasse veramente per alcun tempo in esilio sull’ isola di Giuppana, e che le rovine che vi si veggono sieno propriamente del palazzo ch’ egli si eresse in quel solitario rifugio, senza aver prove più positive dalle cronache pugliesi e dall’ angioine, sul modo che vi giunse e sul brevissimo periodo di tempo di questa sua eventuale dimora.

Più probabile egli è forse che queste rovine e questa tradizione traggano l’ origine loro dai profughi pugliesi, partigiani di Renato e di Luigi d’Angiò, ... si rifugiarono in queste remote isole dell’ arcipelago ragusino, lasciando cosi nelle traccie che ancora rimangono, memoria de’ loro sentimenti e del perenne attaccamento loro alle sorti della casa d’Angiò.

Thus inferring from these negative proofs, it would be gratuitous, from the mere writing of the alleged Angevin stones of Saint George, to hold that René d'Anjou really lived for some time in exile on the island of Giuppana, and that the ruins seen there were truly of the palace that he erected in that solitary refuge, without having more positive evidence from the Apulian chronicles and from the Angevin, on the way that he arrived there and on the very short period of time of this his possible abode.

It is more probable that these ruins and this tradition derive their origin from the Apulian refugees, partisans of René and Louis d'Anjou, ... they took refuge in these remote islands of the Ragusa archipelago, thus leaving in the traces that still remain, memory of their feelings and of their perennial attachment to the fortunes of the house of Anjou.

Commentary and opinion: the author was Emanuele Nikolić, a botanist/herbalist, and teacher at the Ragusa Gymnasium (high school). The origins of the article arose in a school outing in July 1896, which had intended to visit Šipan, but they ran out of time and never reached the island. It appears that Nikolić had prepared information for his pupils in advance, but never got to use it, until it was adapted to form the first part of this article. Because he never saw the carved stone himself, he did not realise that a coat-of-arms was involved: the coat-of-arms is never mentioned in the article, and he concerns himself only with the inscription. Having not seen the stone himself, he relies on information provided by others (he does not identify his informants). His account of the inscription on the second stone differs slightly from the account given by Milić [1899]. He recognises the difficulty of finding dates when René could have possibly resided on Šipan, and points out the unlikelihood that Ragusa would dare to have provided refuge for an enemy of the Aragonians. However, his suggestion that the inscriptions could possibly have been made by Apulian sympathisers for the Angevin cause taking refuge on Šipan is pure speculation, for which he provides no historical evidence or justification: we do not even know whether such refugees ever existed. Unfortunately, some later writers [1946] accepted that speculation, and repeat it as the likely source of the coat-of-arms.

Oswald 1936

The following paragraphs are extracts from an article The Arms of King René [1936]:

“[The] stone shield … was surmounted by a crown, and beneath it was the inscription: RENATUS REX IUSTUS. Undoubtedly it was the shield of King René; but how did it come to be where it was? The local story, as retailed by our innkeeper, … was to the following effect:

King René, towards the end of his long life, retired from the cares of government, and went into voluntary exile. He made the refuge of his last years this enchanting island in the Adriatic, where he built himself a house, which though now in ruins, is still known as the house of King René. Some fifty years ago, Sir Arthur Evans, when visiting the island, discovered this stone lying face downwards amongst the ruined walls. There was also found another stone bearing an inscription. This, according to our innkeeper, Sir Arthur Evans had taken away and presented to the British Museum. The shield was subsequently set up over the door of the house where we saw it.

Curiosity has sent me researching in a somehwat desultory fashion, but I cannot claim that my investigations have been very successful. The British Museum had no knowledge of the missing inscription, and Sir Arthur Evans, to whom I wrote, politely but firmly denied that he had ever carried it off, and moreover, at this distance of time could not remember what the inscription may have been. So one line of enquiry failed. The other, into the life of René himself, leaves it practically certain that he never set foot in Dalmatia. From documents that have been preserved an itinerary has been drawn up that makes it possible to trace his movements from month to month and often day to day throughout the greater part of his life.

The nearest he got to Dalmatia was during the years 1438–​1442 when he was fighting Alphonso of Aragon for the throne of Naples, which had been bequeathed him by Queen Joanna II shortly before her death. After his failure he made his escape back to France by way of Leghorn and Florence. His second expedition to Italy in 1453 took him no farther than Cremona and Piacenza, and he was out of France for less than six months. … He continued to style himself King of Naples, however, until his death, and his court at Aix-en-Provence remained a rallying ground of Neapolitans and Sicilians of his party. He died at Aix on July 10th, 1480.”

Commentary and opinion: The author was Arthur Stanley Oswald (1904–​1979), who had been an undergraduate student at Queens’ College 1922–​26. He became an architectural and historical writer, mainly for the magazine Country Life. This article arose from a holiday trip to Šipan in the summer of 1935. The story retold by his inn-keeper follows the account of Milić [1899] closely, and probably cannot be considered to be independent of it. Oswald identifies the difficulty of finding a date when René could have reached Šipan, given the documented itinerary [1875] of René’s life.

Tomičić 1938

The following fragments are extracted from an article Renatus rex iustus, in the newspaper Hrvatska straža: [1938] 

Original Croatian Translated English

Ako odatle krenemo lijepom cestom koja kroz maslinike i vinograde vodi do Šipanjske Luke na drugom kraju otoka, par minuta od Suđurđa će nas iznenaditi crkva-tvrđava, golema poput kakove ka­tedrale.

Iza nje groblje, a ispod groblja — u grmlju i starim čempresima — opet ru­ševine palače, velike palače, kojoj je cen­tar činio kvadrat od osamnaest metara stranice, no koja je danas gotovo srav­njena sa zemljom. Od nje stoji samo juž­no podziđe; vanjski zidovi slabo izviru iz zemlje, nutarnji su označeni tek uzvi­sinama tla. U jednom kutu može se na­basati na dva otvora gotovo zatrpane ci­sterne. …

Pitate li u susjednom Suđurđu, što znadu o ruševinama pod grobljem, sa­znat ćete da je »baština« na kojoj se nalaze nazvana »Renatovo«, a palača da je pripadala »dobrom kralju Renatu«. Odvest će vas tada u slikovitu — i jedi­nu — ulicu mjesta i pokazati na zidu kuće nekad vlasteoske obitelji Sorgo, a sada porodice Vuletića veliki, u bijelom kamenu izrađeni grb, nad kojim stoji kraljevska kruna, a ispod njega na ka­menoj vrpci uklesana elegantna rene­sansna slova: »RENATVS REX IVSTVS« … Predaja je naime, da je grb na kuću u mjestu prenešen a ruševi­na na Renatovu, ispod groblja, koje je također pripadalo obitelji Sorgo. …

… Postoji doduše govorkanje po otoku da je bila neka ploča, koju da su »odnijeli Englezi«, »odnijeli u British Museum«. … Jedan osamdesetgo­dišnji starac, kog zovu romantičnim ime­nom punim evokacija »Kursar« (Corsaro, gusar), rekao nam je da je čuo da je ne­ku ploču skinuo don Niko Goravica, sve­ćenik, koji je umro prije više od dvade­setak godina.

If, from that point, we take a nice road through olive groves and vineyards to Šipanska Luka on the other side of the island, a few minutes from Suđurađ we will be surprised by a church-fortress, as huge as a cathedral.

Behind it is a cemetery, and below the cemetery — in the bushes and old cypresses — are the ruins of a palace, a grand palace, the centre of which was eighteen metres square, but which is now almost flattened. From it stands only the southern sub-floor; the outer walls are weakly protruding from the ground, the inner walls are marked only by elevations of the ground. In one corner one can run into two openings of almost buried water tanks. …

If you ask in neighboring Suđurađ what they know about the ruins under the cemetery, you will find out that the “heritage” they are on was called “Renatovo” and the palace that it belonged to “good King René”. They will then take you to the picturesque — and only — street of the village and show you on the wall of the house, once of the Sorgo family, now the Vuletić family, a large coat of arms made in white stone, with a royal crown over it, and in elegant renaissance lettering engraved on a stone ribbon: “RENATVS REX IVSTVS”. … It is said that the coat of arms was transferred to the house in the village from the ruins of Renatovo, below the cemetery, which also belonged to the Sorgo family. …

… There is, however, a rumour on the island that there was a plaque that had been “taken by the English”, “taken to the British Museum” … An eighty-year-old man, who is called by the romantic name full of evocations “Kursar” (Corsaro, pirate), told us that he heard that the plaque was taken down by Don Niko Goravica, a priest who died more than twenty years ago.

Commentary and opinion: I assume the author to be the Stjepan Tomičić (1919–​1999), a journalist, who later changed his name to Alfons Dalma. Apparently, he had not seen any of the earlier articles on this topic, and started research afresh. His accounts of the local traditions follow the pattern reported by Milić [1899]. He conducted research on the plaque in Angers, and in Paris, without any result, and arranged for a colleague in London to check the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum, again without any result.

His article appears to be the first reference in print to the previous ownership of both (a) the palace ruins at Renatovo, and (b) the house with the carved arms, having been with the Sorgo family. Having the two properties under the same ownership gives a possible explanation for the transfer of the plaque from the palace ruins to this particular house. The Sorgo family were aristocrats in medieval Ragusa, and many aristocratic Ragusan families built themselves summer palaces on Šipan.

The name of Niko Goravica appears again. Although he might have known a great amount about the carved plaque, it appears implausible that he could have been personally responsible for its transfer, because at the time he was serving as pastor at a mainland parish.

Fisković 1946

These paragraphs are extracted from Charontonov diptih u Dubrovniku: [1946] 

Original Croatian Translated English

… u doba kada je Enquerrand Quarton živio, Dubrovčani su čini se, imali odnosa sa jednim francuskim vladarom koji je poznavao i štitio toga slikara. To je već spomenuti Renat, kojemu od kićenog naslova anžuvinskog vojvode, provansalskog kneza, jeruzolimskog i sicilijanskog kralja, ostane kraći ali časniji naziv — Renè le Bon. On nije bio spretan državnik, miješao se kao svaki romantik njegova kova nespretno u velike evropske događaje svoga vremena, ali se je istakao kao zaštitnik književnika i umjetnika koje je, budući je i sam bio stihotvorac i slikar33), štitio na svom dvoru. Jedan od najnesretnijih njegovih pothvata bio je napuljski. Poslije bratove smrti naslijedio je pravo na napuljsko prijestolje i iskrcao se god. 1438. u Napulj, odakle je protjeran god. 1442. od Alfonsa V. Aragonskog morao pobjeći natrag u Francusku. Arhivski podaci još nisu otkrili Renatove veze sa Dubrovčanima, ali se u Suđurđu, primorskom selu otoka Sipana, koji je pripadao dubrovačkoj republici, nalazi njegov kameni grb sa natpisom: RENATVS REX IVSTVS i zvono na crkvi sv. Jurja na kojemu natpis spominje francuskog kralja. Grb je vjerojatno prenesen iz ruševine koja se vidi jugozapadno od utvrđene crkve sv. Duha nad Suđurđem, u predjelu koji se još zove »Renatovo«34). Taj grb sa natpisom i naziv toga predjela svakako su u vezi sa burnim životom Renata Anžuvinskog, ali se je presmiono upuštati u podrobnije nagađanje te veze. Teško je predpostaviti da je Renat na svom putu za Napulj svraćao ovdje, jer je njegov itinerar iz 1438.–​1442. god. dovoljno popunjen i tu se nigdje ne spominje neka jadranska luka. Doputovao je u Napulj god. 1438. preko Marseille i Genove, a pobjegao god. 1442. preko Livorna i Firenze u Francusku35).


34) Prvi je o tome grbu zabilježio Gelcich (Mittheilungen der K. K. Central Commission, VIII. Jahrgang n/f s. XLI. Wien 1882.). Čini se da ga je on našao u polju zvanom »na Renatovu« i dao ga uzidati u kuću u luci. On ga datira u 16. do 17. stoljeće i dovodi u vezu sa napuljskim kraljem, koji bi se bio sklonio nakon gubitka prijestolja pa Šipanu i tu sagradio dvorac od kojega se sačuvao ovaj grb. Podrobnije je opisao grb V. Vuletić-Vukasović (Bullettino di archeologia e storia dalmata VI p. 101. Split 1883). Dok su on i Gelcich objavili onako natpis kao što sam ga i ja nedavno pročitao, V. Milić ga je i to kasnije od njih objavio ovako:

RENATVS REX IVSTVS REX GALLICORVM IN EXILIVM PVLSVS

On je zabilježio da je grb imao i podnožje vjerojatno sa urezanom godinom, ali je to navodno engleski povjesničar Evans god. 1878 odnio u Britanski Muzej. Milić također povezuje natpis sa Renatovim bjegstvom iz Napulja i predpostavlja da je on zaustavivši se poslije odlaska iz Napulja u Firenzi upoznao Dubrovčane te se preselio u Sipan, a zatim odatle otišao u domovinu (Bullettino di archeologia e storia dalmata XXII p. 185, Split 1899). O ovome je pisao i Emanuel Nikolić. On nije ni vidio grba, ali sumnja da bi se dubrovačka republika bila usudila pružiti sklonište bjeguncu kojeg je gonio njezin zaštitnik Alfonso Aragonski i predpostavlja da je natpis postavljen od apulskih pristaša Anžuvinaca, koji su se možda kasnije sklonili pred Aragoncima na Šipan. (Rivista dalmatica III, fasc. I. p. 75. Zadar 1902). Držim da natpis nije nikada imao dvije zadnje crte, jer su grb i vrpca sa natpisom RENATVS REX IVSTVS urezani na istoj ploči, a kakav je to natpis odnio Evans i prema čemu su Milić i Nikolić proširili sadržaj natpisa nije mi jasno, kao ni to odakle je Lujo Vojnović naveo taj natpis (Histoire de Dalmatie pg. 827. Paris 1934.) u onom proširenom obliku kao i Milić.

Istrošeni natpis na zvonu crkve sv. Jurja prepisao mi je J. Posedel:

MARIA    1517
VIVE LE ROI DE FRANCE

Nije isključeno da sve ove uspomene potiču od Renatovih apuljskih pristaša, sklonjenih u 16 st. na Sipanu. Nisu li možda oni donijeli i diptih u naš kraj?

… at the time when Enquerrand Quarton was living, the people of Dubrovnik seemed to have had a relationship with a French ruler who knew and protected that painter. This is the aforementioned René, whose shorter name, Renè le Bon, remains of the nicknamed Duke of Anjou, Duke of Provence, King of Jerusalem and Sicily. He was not a skilful statesman, interfering with every romance of his blacksmithing awkwardly into the great European events of his time, but he distinguished himself as the patron saint of writers and artists, whom he, as a poet and painter33) himself, protected in his court. One of his most unfortunate pursuits was at Naples. After his brother's death, he inherited the right to the throne of Naples and landed in Naples in 1438, from where he was expelled in 1442 by Alfonso V. of Aragon and had to flee back to France. Archival data have not yet revealed Rene’s ties to Dubrovnik, but his stone coat of arms with the inscription: RENATVS REX IVSTVS and a bell on St. George’s Church on which the inscription mentions the King of France are located in Suđurađ, a coastal village of the island of Šipan belonging to the Dubrovnik Republic. The coat of arms was probably transferred from the ruin seen southwest of the fortified church of St. Spirit over Suđurađ, in an area still called “Renatovo34). This coat of arms with the inscription and the name of that area are certainly related to the tumultuous life of René of Anjou, but it is too daring to speculate in detail on this connection. It is hard to assume that René came here on his way to/from Naples, because his itinerary from 1438–​1442 is sufficiently complete and there is no mention of any Adriatic port. He traveled to Naples in 1438 via Marseille and Genoa, and fled in 1442 via Livorno and Florence to France35).


34) The first was recorded by Gelcich (Mittheilungen der K. K. Central Commission, VIII. Jahrgang n/f s. XLI. Wien 1882). He seems to have found it in a field called “at René’s” and built it into a house in the harbour. He dates it to the 16th to 17th centuries and links it to the King of Naples, who would have taken refuge after the loss of his throne and then to Šipan and built the castle from which this coat of arms was preserved. V. Vuletić-Vukasović described the coat of arms in more detail (Bullettino di archeologia e storia dalmata VI p. 101. Split 1883). While he and Gelcich published the inscription as I read it recently, V. Milić later published it like this:

RENATVS REX IVSTVS REX GALLICORVM IN EXILIVM PVLSVS

He noted that the coat of arms also had a base probably with a carved year, but this was allegedly taken by the English historian Evans to the British Museum in 1878. Milić also links the inscription to René’s escape from Naples and assumes that he stopped, after leaving Naples in Florence, met the people of Dubrovnik and then moved to Šipan and then left for his homeland (Bullettino di archeologia e storia dalmata XXII p. 185, Split 1899). Emanuel Nikolić also wrote about this. He did not even see the coat of arms, but doubted that the Dubrovnik Republic would dare to shelter a fugitive pursued by her patron Alfonso of Aragon, and assumes that the inscription was erected by the Apulian supporters of the Angevins, who may have subsequently taken refuge in front of the Aragonians at Šipan. (Rivista dalmatica III, fasc. I. p. 75. Zadar 1902). I believe that the inscription never had the two lower lines, because the coat of arms and the ribbon with the inscription RENATVS REX IVSTVS were engraved on the same plate, and what the inscription was taken by Evans and according to which Milić and Nikolić expanded the contents of the inscription, it is not clear to me, or even from where Lujo Vojnović cited the inscription (Histoire de Dalmatie pg. 827 Paris 1934) in its expanded form as Milić.

A worn inscription on the bell of the church of St. George was transcribed to me by J. Posedel:

MARIA 1517
VIVE LE ROI DE FRANCE

It is possible that all these memories come from René’s Apulian supporters, sheltered in the 16th century on Šipan. Didn't they also bring a diptych to our area?

Commentary and opinion: The author was Cvito Fisković (1908–​1996), an art historian. He was attempting to suggest how a diptych (which he attributes to Quarton) had reached the Dominican monastery in Dubrovnik. His references to the coat of arms and the church bell, as evidence of René’s involvement with the area, are given as circumstantial support for the attribution to Quarton. He reproduces the accounts from the articles already described above on this page. He is another author who doubts that René ever came to Šipan, and suggests that both the coat-of-arms and the bell inscription “come from René’s Apulian supporters” in the 16th century, an idea that possibly he picked up from the article by Emanuel Nikolić [1902]. The diptych at the Dominican Monastery in Dubrovnik is now attributed to Hans Memling, not Quarton. The reported inscriptions on the church bell do not agree completely with other, later, reports.

Luetić 1979

The following is extracted from an article O Šipanjskom jučer i danas[About Šipan yesterday and today], in Naše More: znanstveni časopis za more i pomorstvo: [1979] 

Original Croatian Translated English

Nedaleko Šipanjskog polja nalaze se ostaci ruševina dvorca napuljskog kralja Renea Anžuvinskog (»Renatus rex justus«) koji se još istražuju. Kamena ploča s natpisom s toga dvorca navodno se nalazi u Britanskom muzeju u Londonu, a priča se da ju je 1814. sa Šipana odnio kapetan Villiam Hoste, čuveni engleski pomorski vojskovođa.

Not far from Šipan Field are the remains of the ruins of the castle of the King of Naples, René of Anjou (“Renatus rex justus”), which are still under investigation. A stone plaque with the inscription from that castle is said to be in the British Museum in London, and it is rumored that in 1814 Captain William Hoste, a famous English naval commander, took it from Šipan.

Commentary and opinion: The author was Josip Luetić (1920–​2005), a maritime and cultural historian. His statement, that William Hoste was responsible for taking the inscribed stone to London, is in conflict with all earlier reports, and he provides no citations in support.

Anđelić 2006

The following is extracted from an article Sto bilješki o Šipanu od bakrenog doba [One hundred notes on Šipan since the 7th century], by Miljenko Anđelić, in Zbornik Dubrovačkog primorja i otoka [Collected Papers of Dubrovnik Coastland and Islands], Vol. 9 (2006), pp. 33–​56 at p. 49:

Original Croatian Translated English

Sa zapadne strane groblja ispred crkve Sv Duha ostaci su palače Renata Anžuvinskog. Uz put koji vodi kroz polje ima mali ostatak zida. Malo dalje uviše bio je veliki podgradni zid koji je srušen 1989. Poviše toga ima još ostataka zidova. U sjevernom uglu sa zapadne strane je omanja gustijerna.

Na kući Liban u Suđurđu nalazi se uzidan Renatov grb. Na njemu piše REX RENATUS IUSTUS (Renat kralj pravedni). Neki kažu da je neki Englez u 19 stoljeću napravio kopiju i tu je ostavio, a orginal odnio u London. Tko zna je li to točno?

Na Sv Đurđu je zvono s natpisom VIVE LE ROI DE FRANCE (Živio kralj Francuske). Možda se i može povezati s boravkom kralja Renata na Šipanu.

On the west side of the cemetery in front of the Holy Spirit church are the remains of René of Anjou’s palace. Along the path leading through the field is a small remnant of the wall. A little farther up was a large subgrade that was demolished in 1989. There are more remains of the walls. In the north corner on the west side is a smaller cistern.

On the Liban family house in Suđurađ there is mounted the coat-of-arms of René. It reads REX RENATUS IUSTUS (René the righteous king). Some say that an Englishman made a copy in the 19th century and left it there and brought the original to London. Who knows if this is true?

There is a bell on St George’s church with the inscription VIVE LE ROI DE FRANCE (Long live the King of France). It may also be related to King René’s stay at Šipan.

Commentary and opinion: This item is included as an example of how oral traditions might evolve over time, and confusions become established when recorded in print. The story about the “copy” and the original taken to London has been tranferred from the second engraved stone [1899] to the coat-of-arms itself. The word-ordering of the latin inscription is incorrect.

Sjekavica 2013

The following is extracted from an article Rekvizicije zvona u Prvom svjetskom ratu na području Dubrovačke biskupije [The Requisition of Bells in the Dubrovnik Bishopric in the First World War], in Anali Zavoda za povijesne znanosti Hrvatske akademije znanosti i umjetnosti u Dubrovniku [2013] 

Original Croatian Translated English

Bulić se priklonio legendi koja govori da je napuljski kralj, pripadnik anžuvinske dinastije, Rene I Dobri, nakon dinastičkih sukoba s Alfonsom V protjeran iz Napulja, te je utočište pronašao u Firenci. Prema pretpostavci, tamo je upoznao Dubrovčane i na neko vrijeme preselio na Šipan, gdje je boravio prije nego što se vratio u Francusku, u Aix-en-Provence, gdje je umro 1480. godine.186 O navodnoj Reneovoj prisutnosti na Šipanu govori do danas sačuvan grb s natpisom sljedećeg sadržaja: RENATVS · REX · IVSTVS. Po predaji, grb s natpisom prenesen je s druge lokacije, zvane Na Renatovu.187 Na tom mjestu, na zapadnoj strani groblja ispred crkve Sv. Duha, nalaze se ostaci možebitne palače Renea Anžuvinskog.188 Sadržaj šipanskog natpisa kralja Renea objavljen je 1899. godine u članku “Starinski nadpis na Šipanu” u časopisu Bullettino di archeologia e storia Dalmata. Autor članka, Vinko Milić, donio je natpis sljedećeg sadržaja:

RENATVS REX IVSTVS
REX GALLICORVM
IN EXILIVM PVLSVS

Po Niku Goravici, župniku u Suđurđu, Arthur Evans je 1878. godine odnio u British Museum donji dio grba na kojemu se nalazila uklesana godina stavljanja natpisa. Na natpisu je Rene tituliran kao francuski, a ne napuljski kralj. Vinko Milić je to objasnio kratkom vladavinom ovog Anžuvinca lenom koje je pridruženo francuskom kraljevstvu.189 Kako je na natpisu, koji je nastao vjerojatno u drugoj polovici 15. stoljeća, Rene nazvan REX GALLICORVM, vjerojatno je natpis Vivat le roi de France na suđurađkom zvonu, salivenom godine MVIV (vjerojatno označava 1504. godinu) posvećen upravo Reneu I. Dobrom.

Bulić adhered to a legend that says that the king of Naples, a member of the Angevin dynasty, René I the Good, was expelled from Naples after dynastic clashes with Alfonso V, and found refuge in Florence. According to the assumption, he met people from Dubrovnik there and moved for some time to Šipan, where he stayed before returning to France, to Aix-en-Provence, where he died in 1480 [1899]. The emblem of RENATVS · REX · IVSTVS has been preserved to this day about the alleged presence of René on Šipan. According to the legend, the coat of arms with the inscription was transferred from another location called Na Renatovo [1883]. At that point, on the west side of the cemetery in front of St. Duh, there are the remains of a possible palace of René of Anjou [2006]. The contents of King René’s Šipan inscription were published in 1899 in the article “Ancient Inscription on Šipan” in the journal Bullettino di archeologia e storia Dalmata. The author of the article, Vinko Milić, wrote the following content:

RENATVS REX IVSTVS
REX GALLICORVM
IN EXILIVM PVLSVS

According to Niko Goravica, pastor of Suđurađ, in 1878 Arthur Evans took to the British Museum a lower part of the coat of arms, on which was engraved the year of the inscription. On the inscription, René is titled as French, not the King of Naples. Vinko Milić explained this with the brief reign of this Angevin fiefdom attached to the French kingdom [1899]. As in the inscription, which probably originated in the second half of the 15th century, René is called REX GALLICORVM, it is likely that the Vivat le roi de France inscription on the Suđurađ bell, cast in the year MVIV (probably marks the year 1504) is dedicated precisely to Rene I the Good.

Commentary and opinion: The author, Đivo Sjekavica, relies on the article by Milić [1899] for most of his information about the coat-of-arms. We have explained above that much of Milić’s article is defective and misleading. So the problems with Milić’s article are reproduced here.

The history of the origin of the bell appears to be unknown. Was it originally made for Suđurađ, or was it a second-hand bell originally made for somewhere in France, and brought to Suđurađ later? Unless the bell was originally made for Suđurađ, trying to make associations between its inscription and local Suđurađ history might be without a sound foundation.

Violić 2018

The following taken from: Ladanje kralja Renata Anžuvinskog u Šipanskom polju [Summer mansion of King René of Anjou in the Šipan field], by Nikša Violić, in Glas Grada, Vol. 14, No. 672, 2018 February 2, p. 51:

Original Croatian Translated English

Malo dalje od Sorkočevićeva ljetnikovca, sa desne strane glavne ceste koja iz Suđurđa vodi u Šipansku Luku, nalaze se ostaci ruševina zidova ladanjsko stambene kuće u kojoj je prema legendi napuljski kralj Rene Anžuvinski u 15. st. ovdje našao utočište. Prema drugoj legendi, Dubrovčani su 1433.g. zbog burnog i raskalašenog života, u ovom ladanju sklonili dva nećaka kralja Renata Anžuvinskog.

Među ruševinama ovog ladanja, pronađen je kameni grb s natpisom Renatus rex justus. Orginal se čuva u Londonu, dok je kopija ugrađena u pročelje obiteljske kuće obitelji Liban u Suđurđu. U sjevernom uglu ladanjske kuće nalazila se gustijerna sa kamenom krunom bogato klesarski ukrašena. Potporni zid se urušio oko 1989.g. Danas se ovaj predio šipanskog polja i naziva Renatovo.

A little farther from the Sorkočević mansion, on the right side of the main road leading from Suđurađ to Šipanska Luka, are the remains of the ruins of the walls of a country dwelling house, in which according to legend the King of Naples, René of Anjou, found refuge in the 15th C. According to another legend, in 1433, the people of Dubrovnik, because of a tumultuous and lavish lifestyle, hid away two nephews of King René of Anjou in this residence.

Among the ruins of this mansion, a stone coat of arms was found with the inscription Renatus rex justus. The original is kept in London, while a copy is embedded in the front of the family home of the Liban family in Suđurađ. In the north corner of the mansion there was a cistern with a richly sculptured stone crown. The retaining wall collapsed around 1989. Today, this area of the Šipan field is called Renatovo.

Commentary and opinion: The account of the coat-of-arms has inherited the same confusion as Anđelić [2006]. I have been unable to discover the historical origin of the story about the two nephews.

Niko Goravica

The name of Niko Goravica appears several times in the above accounts. We know this about him: [2011 p. 343] 

Original Croatian Translated English

GORAVICA Niko 1842 1867 1919

Niko Goravica, sin Antuna i Mare Cvjetković, rodio se 17. ožujka 1842. u Suđurđu na otoku Šipan. Zaređen je u kapelici dubrovačkog biskupa 2. srpnja 1867. g.

Goravica započinje službu u travnju 1868. kao župnik Osojnika, skrbeći i za hercegovačka sela Grebci i Kalađurđevići. Od ožujka 1879. je u Kliševu, opslužujući u međuvremenu (od listopada 1883. do travnja 1885.) i župu Trsteno. Iz Kliševa se vraća na rodni otok i župnikuje u Suđurđu od studenog 1889. do umirovljenja 31. srpnja 1910. g. Kao umirovljenik nastavlja živjeti rodnoj kući u Suđurđu. Umro je 2. listopada 1919. g.

GORAVICA Niko, born 1842 ordained 1867 died 1919.

Niko Goravica, son of Antun and Mara Cvjetković, was born on 17 March 1842, in Suđurađ on the island of Šipan. He was ordained in the bishop’s chapel on 2 July 1867.

Goravica began his service in April 1868 as pastor of Osojnik, also providing care for the villages of Grebci and Kalađurđevići in Herzegovina. From March 1879 he served in Kliševo, serving in the meantime (from October 1883 to April 1885) also Trsteno parish. From Kliševo he returned to his native island to be pastor in Suđurađ from November 1889 until his retirement on 31 July 1910. As a pensioner, he continued to live in his birthplace in Suđurađ. He died on 2 October 1919.

Commentary and opinion: It is important to note that Goravica did not become pastor at Suđurađ until 1889. At the time that the coat-of-arms was discovered (1878 according to Milić[1899]), Goravica was serving on the mainland. Although it is not impossible that he was visiting his birthplace at the time of the discovery in 1878, it seems, on balance, unlikely that he could have been personally involved. Yet he was identified as the source of information about the coat-of-arms by Milić[1899], and it seems likely that Goravica was the unidentified information source for Nikolić[1902]. How did Goravica come by all this information? One possibility is that the local pastor acted as a repository of local history, which was passed down from one priest to the next. A predecessor of Goravica might have observed the discoveries at Renatovo, and written down an account, which was later inherited by Goravica.

One thing is certain: Goravica knew more about the discovery of the coat-of-arms, and the legend of King René on Šipan, than we do now. If only we had access to Goravica’s papers...!

Further research needed

  • Review further published articles on these matters;
  • Tracing the tradition of René and Šipan before 1878;
  • Finding independent evidence of Arthur Evans being on Šipan;
  • Further investigate the inscriptions on the bell of the church.

References and Further Reading

1870: Lehrbuch der Weltgeschichte, by Johann Baptist von Weiss, Vol. 4, pp. 179–​180, 213–​214. (OCLC 225695511)

1875: Itinéraire du Roi René, in Le roi René, sa vie, son administration, ses travaux artistiques et littéraires d’après les documents inédits des archives de France et d’Italie, by Albert Lecoy de La Marche, Vol. 2, pp. 437–​497. (OCLC 1822142)

1882: Notizen 13, in Mittheilungen der k. k. Central-Commission zur Erforschung und Erhaltung der Kunst- und historischen Denkmale, N.F. VIII, 1882, Anhang p. XLI. (OCLC 233597617)

1883: Iscrizioni Dalmate d’Epoca Veneziana, by Vid Vuletić Vukasović, in Bullettino di Archeologia e Storia Dalmata, vol. VI, 1883, issue 7, pp. 100–​3, at p. 101. (ISSN 1330-7568, eISSN 1849-2118)

1887: Diplomatarium relationum Reipublicae Ragusanae cum regno Hungariae (Raguza és Magyarország összeköttetéseinek oklevéltára), by József Gelcich & Lajos Thallóczy, pp. 394, 401. (OCLC 12965604)

1896: Poviest srednjega vieka, by Franjo Valla, Part III, Vol. II, p. 13. (OCLC 162384567)

1899: Starinski nadpis na Šipanu, by Vinko Milić, in Bullettino di Archeologia e Storia Dalmata, vol. XXII, 1899, issue 10, pp. 185–​7. (ISSN 1330-7568, eISSN 1849-2118)

1902: La leggenda di “Renatus Rex Bonus” nelle tradizioni dalmatiche, by Emanuele Nikolić, in La Rivista dalmatica, anno III, vol. V, fasc. 1, pp. 75–​91. (ISSN 0393-4624)

1936: The Arms of King René, by Arthur Stanley Oswald, in The Dial, No. 82, 1936 Lent, pp. 19–​23. (OCLC 265448755)

1938: Renatus rex iustus, by Stjepan Tomičić, in Hrvatska straža (Zagreb) 10 (1938) 291, pp. 22–​23.

1943: Time and chance : the story of Arthur Evans and his forebears, by Joan Evans. (OCLC 2806220)

1946: Charontonov diptih u Dubrovniku, by Cvito Fisković, in Prilozi povijesti umjetnosti u Dalmaciji, Vol. 2 No. 1, 1946, pp. 8–​9, & n. 34 pp. 11–​12, . (ISSN 0555-1145)

1968: Toponimia Wysp Elafickich na Adriatyku, by Mieczysław Karaś, p. 53. (OCLC 384966)

1979: O Šipanjskom jučer i danas [About Šipan yesterday and today], by Josip Luetić, in Naše More: znanstveni časopis za more i pomorstvo [Our Sea], Vol. 26 No. 1-2-3, 1979, pp. 13–​16. (ISSN 0469-6255, eISSN 1848-6320)

1982: Nouvelles observations sur l’héraldique et l’emblématique du roi René, by Christian de Mérindol, in Bulletin de la Société nationale des Antiquaires de France, 1982 (Année 1984), pp. 111–​128 at pp. 126–​7. (ISSN 0081-1181, eISSN 2540-3494)

2006: Sto bilješki o Šipanu od bakrenog doba [One hundred notes on Šipan since the 7th century], by Miljenko Anđelić, in Zbornik Dubrovačkog primorja i otoka [Collected Papers of Dubrovnik Coastland and Islands], Vol. 9 (2006), pp. 33–​56 at p. 49. (ISSN 0353-5428)

2008: The Good King : René of Anjou and Fifteenth Century Europe, by Margaret Lucille Kekewich. (ISBN 978-1-4039-8820-1)

2009: Naša Gospa (Dubrovnik), XV (2009), issue 40, p. 55. (ISSN 1330-7908)

2011: Šematizam Dubrovačke Biskupije, ed. Ivan Šimić, pp. 72, 343. (ISBN 978-953-7700-02-7)

2013: Rekvizicije zvona u Prvom svjetskom ratu na području Dubrovačke biskupije [The Requisition of Bells in the Dubrovnik Bishopric in the First World War], by Đivo Sjekavica, in Anali Zavoda za povijesne znanosti Hrvatske akademije znanosti i umjetnosti u Dubrovniku, 51/2, pp. 541–​611, at pp. 573–​5. (ISSN 1330-0598, eISSN 1848-7815)

2018: Ladanje kralja Renata Anžuvinskog u Šipanskom polju [Summer mansion of King René of Anjou in the Šipan field], by Nikša Violić, in Glas Grada, Vol. 14, No. 672, 2018 February 2, p. 51.

Credits

Especial thanks to Marija Goravica for her local knowledge of Šipan, and translations from Croatian.