Morlachs (Serbo-Croatian: Morlaci, Морлаци or Crni Vlasi, Црни Власи; Italian: Morlacchi; Romanian: Morlaci) has been an exonym used for a rural Christian community in Herzegovina, Lika and the Dalmatian Hinterland. The term was initially used for a bilingual Vlach pastoralist community in the mountains of Croatia in the second half of the 14th until the early 16th century. Then, when the community straddled the VenetianOttoman border until in the 17th century, it only referred to Slavic-speaking, mainly Eastern Orthodox but also Roman Catholic people. The Vlach i.e. Morlach population of Herzegovina and Dalmatian hinterland from the Venetian and Turkish side were of either Roman Catholic or Christian Orthodox faith.[1] Venetian sources from 17th and 18th century make no distinction between Orthodox and Catholics, they refer to both groupings as Morlachs.[2] The exonym ceased to be used in an ethnic sense by the end of the 18th century, and came to be viewed as derogatory, but has been renewed as a social or cultural anthropological subject. As the nation-building of the 19th century proceeded, the Vlach/Morlach population residing with the Croats and Serbs of the Dalmatian Hinterland espoused either a Serb or Croat ethnic identity, but preserved some common sociocultural outlines.

Morlach peasant from the Split region. Théodore Valerio (1819–1879), 1864.

EtymologyEdit

The word Morlach is derived from Italian Morlacco and Latin Morlachus or Murlachus, being cognate to Greek Μαυροβλάχοι Maurovlachoi, meaning "Black Vlachs" (from Greek μαύρο mauro meaning "dark", "black"). The Serbo-Croatian term in its singular form is Morlak; its plural form is Morlaci [mor-latsi]. In some 16th-century redactions of the Doclean Chronicle, they are referred to as "Morlachs or Nigri Latini" (Black Latins).[3] Petar Skok suggested it derived from the Latin maurus and Greek maurós ("dark"), the diphthongs au and av indicating a Dalmato-Romanian lexical remnant.[4]

Dimitrie Cantemir, in his History of the Growth and Decay of the Ottoman Empire remarks that when Moldavia was subdued to the Ottoman Rule by Bogdan III, Moldavia was referred to by the Ottomans as "Ak iflac", or Ak Vlach (i.e., White Wallachians), while the Wallachians were known as "Kara iflac", or Kara Vlach, (i.e., Black Wallachians).[5] "Black Vlachs" can in fact mean "Northern Vlachs", because the Turkish word "kara" means black but also means North in old Turkish.[6]

There are several interpretations of the ethnonym and phrase "moro/mavro/mauro vlasi". The direct translation of the name Morovlasi in Serbo-Croatian would mean Black Vlachs. It was considered that "black" referred to their clothes of brown cloth. The 17th-century Venetian Dalmatian historian Johannes Lucius suggested that it actually meant "Black Latins", compared to "White Romans" in coastal areas. The 18th-century writer Alberto Fortis in his book Viaggio in Dalmazia ("Journey to Dalmatia", 1774), in which he wrote extensively about the Morlachs, thought that it derived from the Slavic more ("sea") – morski Vlasi meaning "Sea Vlachs". 18th-century writer Ivan Lovrić, observing Fortis' work, thought that it came from "more" (sea) and "(v)lac(s)i" (strong) ("strongmen by the sea"),[7] and mentioned how the Greeks called Upper Vlachia Maurovlachia and that the Morlachs would have brought that name with them.[8][9] Cicerone Poghirc and Ela Cosma offer a similar interpretation that it meant "Northern Latins", derived from the Indo-European practice of indicating cardinal directions by colors.[10][11] Other theories suggest that it refers from the Morea peninsula,[12] or, according to Dominik Mandić, from African Maurs.[13]

Origin and cultureEdit

 
Morlach musicians from Salona, Théodore Valerio, 1864

The etymology of the exonym points to a connection with Vlachs, but as stated in Fortis' work Viaggio in Dalmazia, they were at that time Slavic-speaking. Because of migrations from various parts of the Balkans, the name had passed to later communities. The Morlach people were both of the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic faith. According to Dana Caciur the Morlach community from the Venetian view as long as they share a specific lifestyle can represent a mixture of Vlachs, Croatians, Serbs, Bosnians, etc.[14] Venetian term "Morlach" in the 16th century usually referred to the whole subject population of the Ottoman hinterland regardless of their ethnic identity and whether or not they were peasants, stockherders or military colonists.[15]

Fortis spotted the physical difference between Morlachs; those from around Kotor, Sinj and Knin were generally blond-haired, with blue eyes, and broad faces, while those around Zadvarje and Vrgorac were generally brown-haired with narrow faces. They also differed in nature. Although they were often seen by urban dwellers as strangers and "those people" from the periphery,[16] in 1730 provveditore Zorzi Grimani described them as "ferocious, but not indomitable" by nature, Edward Gibbon called them "barbarians",[17][18] and Fortis praised their "noble savagery", moral, family, and friendship virtues, but also complained about their persistence in keeping to old traditions. He found that they sang melancholic verses of epic poetry related to the Ottoman occupation,[19] accompanied with the traditional single stringed instrument called gusle.[19] Fortis gave translation of folk song Hasanaginica at the and of his book. Manfred Beller and Joep Leerssen identified the cultural traits of the Morlachs as being part of the South Slavic and Serb ethnotype.[19]

They made their living as shepherds and merchants, as well as soldiers.[20][21] They neglected agricultural work, usually did not have gardens and orchards besides those growing naturally, and had for the time old farming tools, Lovrić explaining it as: "what our ancestors did not do, neither will we".[22][21] Morlach families had herds numbering from 200 to 600, while the poorer families around 40 to 50, from which they received milk, and made various dairy products.[23][21]

Contemporary I. Lovrić said that the Morlachs were Slavs who spoke better Slavic than the Ragusans (owing to the growing Italianization of the Dalmatian coast).[24] Boško Desnica (1886–1945), after analysing Venetian papers, concluded that the Venetians undifferentiated the Slavic people in Dalmatia and labeled the language and script of the region as "Illirico" (Illyrian) or "Serviano" ["Serbian," particularly when referring to the language of the Morlachs or Vlachs in Dalmatia]. Language, idiom, characters/letters are always accompanied by the adjective Serb or Illyrian, when it is a matter of the military always is used term "cavalry (cavalleria) croata", "croato", "militia (milizia) croata" while the term "Slav" (schiavona) was used for the population.[25] Lovrić made no distinction between the Vlachs/Morlachs and the Dalmatians and Montenegrins, whom he considered Slavs, and was not at all bothered by the fact that the Morlachs were predominantly Orthodox Christian.[26] Fortis noted that there was often conflict between the Catholic and Orthodox Morlachs.[27] However some of Morlachs have passed to Islam during Turkish occupation[28] Mile Bogović says in his book that records of that time referred entire population along the Turkish-Venetian border in Dalmatia as Morlachs. Many historians mostly Serbian used name Morlak and simply translate as Serb. Almost the only difference between the Morlachs was their religious affiliation: Catholics and Orthodox.[29] Recent research found that Vlachs or Morlachs had an important contribution to the apparition of necropolises with decorated tombstones.[30]

In his book, Viaggio in Dalmazia, Fortis presented the poetry of the Morlachs.[31] He also published several specimens of Morlach songs.[32] Fortis believed that the Morlachs preserved their old customs and clothes. Their ethnographic traits were traditional clothings, use of the gusle musical instrument accompanied with epic singing.[citation needed] Fortis' work started a literary movement in Italian, Ragusan and Venetian literature: Morlachism, dedicated at the Morlachs, their customs and several other aspects of them.[33]

HistoryEdit

Early historyEdit

The use of Morlachs is first attested in 1344, when Morolacorum are mentioned in lands around Knin and Krbava during the conflict between the counts of the Kurjaković and Nelipić families.[34] The first mention of the term Morlachs is simultaneous with the appearance of Vlachs in the documents of Croatia in the early 14th century; in 1321, a local priest on the island of Krk granted land to the church ("to the lands of Kneže, which are called Vlach"), while in 1322 Vlachs were allied with Mladen Šubić at the battle in the hinterland of Trogir.[35] According to Mužić in those early documents there is no identifiable differentiation between the terms Vlach and Morlach.[36] In 1352, in the agreement in which Zadar sold salt to the Republic of Venice, Zadar retained part of the salt that Morlachi and others exported by land.[37][38] In 1362, the Morlachorum, settled, without authorization, on lands of Trogir and used it for pasture for a few months.[39] In the Statute of Senj dating to 1388, the Frankopans mentioned Morowlachi and defined the amount of time they had for pasture when they descended from the mountains.[40] In 1412, the Murlachos captured the Ostrovica Fortress from Venice.[41] In August 1417, Venetian authorities were concerned with the "Morlachs and other Slavs" from the hinterland, who were a threat to security in Šibenik.[42] Authorities of Šibenik in 1450 gave permission to enter the city to Morlachs and some Vlachs who called themselves Croats who were in the same economic and social position at that time.[43]

According to scholar Fine, the early Vlachs probably lived on Croatian territory even before the 14th century, being the progeny of romanized Illyrians and pre-Slavic Romance-speaking people.[44] During the 14th century, Vlach settlements existed throughout much of today's Croatia, from the northern island Krk, around the Velebit and Dinara mountains, and along the southern rivers Krka and Cetina. Those Vlachs had, by the end of the 14th and 15th century, lost, their Romance language, or were at least bilingual.[45][nb 1] As they adopted Slavic language, the only characteristic "Vlach" element was their pastoralism.[49][nb 2] The so-called Istro-Romanians continued to speak their Romance language on the island of Krk and villages around Lake Čepić in Istria,[51] while other communities in the mountains above the lake preserved the Shtokavian-Chakavian dialect with Ikavian accent from the southern Velebit and area of Zadar.[52][53][nb 3] Today's Istro-Romanians may be a residual branch of the Morlachs.[56]

The Istro-Romanians, and other Vlachs (or Morlachs), had settled Istria (and mountain Ćićarija) after the various devastating outbreaks of the plague and wars between 1400 and 1600,[57] reaching the island of Krk. In 1465 and 1468, there are mentions of "Morlach" judge Gerg Bodolić and "Vlach" peasant Mikul, in Krk and Crikvenica, respectively.[58] In the second half of the 15th century, Catholic Morlachs (mostly Croatian Vlachs) migrated from the area of southern Velebit and Dinara area to the island of Krk, together with some Balkan Romance-speaking population.[59] The Venetian colonization of Istria (and Ćićarija) occurred not later than the early 1520s,[57] and there were several cases when "Vlachs" returned to Dalmatia.[60]

16th centuryEdit

As many former inhabitants of the Croatian-Ottoman borderland fled northwards or were captured by the Ottoman invaders, they left unpopulated areas. The Austrian Empire established the Military Frontiers in 1522, which served as a buffer against Ottoman incursions.[61] At the time, "Vlachs",[nb 4] served both in the conquesting Ottoman armies, and Austria and Venice, and were settled by both sides.[63] During the 16th century Slavicized Vlachs, other Vlachs and Serbs fled from Ottoman territory and came to Dalmatia and the Military Frontier.[64]

In 1579, several groups of Morlachs, understood as a Serb tribe in Dalmatia, immigrated and requested to be employed as military colonists.[65] Initially, there were some tensions between these immigrants and the established Uskoks.[65] In 1593, provveditore generale (Overseer) Cristoforo Valier mentioned three nations constituting the Uskoks: the "natives of Senj, Croatians, and Morlachs from the Turkish parts".[66]

The name "Morlach" entered toponymy; the Velebit mountain was called Montagne della Morlacca ("mountain of the Morlachs"), while the Velebit Channel was called Canale della Morlacca.

From the 16th century onward, the historical term changes meaning, as in most Venetian documents, Morlachs are now usually called immigrants, both Orthodox and Catholic, from the Ottoman-conquered territories in the Western Balkans (chiefly Bosnia and Herzegovina). These settled in the Venetian-Ottoman frontier, in the hinterlands of coastal cities, and entered Venetian military service by the early 17th century.

17th centuryEdit

 
"Morlachia" in the 17th century, map by Thomas Jefferys (1785).

At the time of the Cretan War (1645–69) and Morean War (1684–99), a large number of Morlachs settled inland of the Dalmatian towns, and Ravni Kotari of Zadar. They were skilled in warfare and familiar with local territory, and served as paid soldiers in both Venetian and Ottoman armies.[67] Their activity was similar to that of the Uskoks. Their military service granted them land, and freed them from trials, and gave them rights which freed them from full debt law (only 1/10 yield), thus many joined the so-called "Morlach" or "Vlach" armies.[68]

At the time, some notable Morlach military leaders[nb 5] who were also enumerated in epic poetry, were: Janko Mitrović, Ilija and Stojan Janković, Petar, Ilija and Franjo Smiljanić, Stjepan and Marko Sorić, Vuk Mandušić, Ilija Perajica, Šimun Bortulačić, Božo Milković, Stanislav Sočivica, and Counts Franjo and Juraj Posedarski.[69][70][71] Divided by religion, the Mitrović-Janković family were the leaders of Orthodox Morlachs, while the Smiljanić family were leaders of Catholic Morlachs.[69]

After the dissolution of the Republic of Venice in 1797, and loss of power in Dalmatia, the term Morlach would disappear from use.

LegacyEdit

During the time of Enlightenment and Romanticism, Morlachs were seen as the "model of primitive Slavdom",[72] and the "spirits of pastoral Arcadia Morlacchia".[73] They attracted the attention of travel writers like 17th-century Jacob Spon and Sir George Wheler,[74][75] and 18th-century writers Johann Gottfried Herder and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who labeled their poems as "Morlackisch".[76][77] In 1793, at the carnival in Venice, a play about Morlachs, Gli Antichi Slavi ("antique Slavs"), was performed, and in 1802 it was reconceived as a ballet Le Nozze dei Morlacchi.[77] At the beginning of the 20th century, still seen as relics from the primitive past and a byword for barbarous people, they may have inspired science fiction novelist H. G. Wells in his depiction of the fictional Morlocks.[18] Thomas Graham Jackson described Morlach women as half-savages wearing "embroidered leggings thet give them the appearance of Indian squaws".[78] In the 20th century, Alice Moque, as did many other women travelers, in her 1914 travelogue Delightful Dalmatia emphasized the "barbaric gorgeousness" of the sight of Morlach women and men in their folk costumes, which "made Zara's Piazza look like a stage setting", and regretted the coming of new civilization.[78]

In the Balkans, the term became derogatory, indicating people from the mountains and backward people, and became disliked by the Morlachs themselves.[79][80]

Italian cheese Morlacco, also named as Morlak, Morlach, Burlach, or Burlacco, was named after Morlach herders and woodsmen who lived and made it in the region of Monte Grappa.[81][82][83] "Morlacchi" remains attested as an Italian family name.

See alsoEdit

AnnotationsEdit

  1. ^ The linguistic assimilation didn't entirely erase Romanian words, the evidence are toponims, and anthroponyms (personal names) with specific Romanian or Slavic words roots and surname ending suffixes "-ul", "-ol", "-or", "-at", "-ar", "-as", "-an", "-man", "-er", "-et", "-ez", after Slavicization often accompanied with ending suffixes "-ić", "-vić", "-ović".[46][47][48]
  2. ^ That the pastoral way of life was specific for Vlachs is seen in the third chapter of eight book in Alexiad, 12th-century work by Anna Komnene, where along Bulgars are mentioned tribes who live a nomadic life usually called Vlachs.[50] The term "Vlach" was found in many medieval documents, often mentioned alongside other ethnonyms, thus, Zef Mirdita claims that this was more an ethnic than just a social-professional category.[50] Although the term was used for both an ethnic group and pastoralists, P. S. Nasturel emphasized that there existed other general expressions for pastors.[50]
  3. ^ The "Vlach" or "Romanian" traditional system of counting sheep in pairs do (two), pato (four), šasto (six), šopći (eight), zeći (ten) has been preserved in some mountainous regions of Dalmatian Zagora, Bukovica, Velebit, and Ćićarija.[21][54][55]
  4. ^ "Vlachs", referring to pastoralists, since the 16th century was a common name for Serbs in the Ottoman Empire and later.[62] Tihomir Đorđević points to the already known fact that the name "Vlach" didn't only refer to genuine Vlachs or Serbs but also to cattle breeders in general.[62] In the work About the Vlachs from 1806, Metropolitan Stevan Stratimirović states that Roman Catholics from Croatia and Slavonia scornfully used the name "Vlach" for "the Slovenians (Slavs) and Serbs, who are of our, Eastern confession (Orthodoxy)", and that "the Turks in Bosnia and Serbia also call every Bosnian or Serbian Christian a Vlach" (T. Đorđević, 1984:110).[62]
  5. ^ The head leaders in Venice, Ottoman and local Slavic documents were titled as capo, capo direttore, capo principale de Morlachi (J. Mitrović), governatnor delli Morlachi (S. Sorić), governator principale (I. Smiljanić), governator (Š. Bortulačić), gospodin serdar s vojvodami or lo dichiariamo serdar; serdar, and harambaša.[69]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Davor Dukić; (2003) Contemporary Wars in the Dalmatian Literary Culture of the 17th and 18th Centuries p.132; Journal of Ethnology and Folklore Research (0547-2504) 40 [1]
  2. ^ MILE BOGOVIĆ, Katolička crkva i pravoslavlje u Dalmaciji za mletačke vladavine, Analecta croatica christiana 14, drugo izdanje, Zagreb, 1993 https://www.scribd.com/doc/225038576/15465505-Mile-Bogovic-Katolicka-Crkva-i-Pravoslavlje-u-Dalmaciji #page= 14-17
  3. ^ Ivan Mužić (2011). Hrvatska kronika u Ljetopisu pop Dukljanina (PDF). Split: Muzej hrvatski arheoloških spomenika. p. 66 (Crni Latini), 260 (qui illo tempore Romani vocabantur, modo vero Moroulachi, hoc est Nigri Latini vocantur.). In some Croatian and Latin redactions of the Chronicle of the Priest of Duklja, from 16th century.
  4. ^ P. Skok (1972). Etymological dictionary of Croatian or Serbian language. Vol. II. Zagreb: JAZU. pp. 392–393.
  5. ^ p. 47
  6. ^ Cicerone Poghirc, Romanizarea lingvistică și culturală în Balcani. In: Aromânii, istorie, limbă, destin. Coord. Neagu Giuvara, București, Editura Humanitas, 2012, p.17
  7. ^ P. S. Nasturel (1979). Les Valaques balcaniques aux Xe-XIIIe siècles (Mouvements de population et colonisation dans la Romanie grecque et latine). Vol. Byzantinische Forschungen VII. Amsterdam. p. 97.
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  17. ^ Naimark & Case 2003, p. 40.
  18. ^ a b Wolff 2002, p. 348.
  19. ^ a b c Beller & Leerssen 2007, p. 235.
  20. ^ Lovrić 1776, p. 170–181.
  21. ^ a b c d Vince-Pallua 1992.
  22. ^ Lovrić 1776, p. 174: Ciò, che non ànno fatto i nostri maggiori, neppur noi vogliam fare.
  23. ^ Lovrić 1776, p. 170-181.
  24. ^ Fine 2006, p. 360.
  25. ^ Fine 2006, p. 356.
  26. ^ Fine 2006, p. 361.
  27. ^ Narodna umjetnost. Vol. 34. Institut za narodnu umjetnost. 1997. p. 83. "It is usual that there is perfect disharmony between the Latin and the Greek religions; neither of the clergymen do not hesitate to sow it: each side tells thousands of scandalous stories about the other" (Fortis 1984:45)
  28. ^ Christopher Catherwood, Making War In The Name Of God, Kensington Publishing Corp., 1 2008, P. 141.
  29. ^ MILE BOGOVIć Katolička crkva i pravoslavlje u dalmaciji za vrijeme mletačke vladavine, 1993. (The Catholic Church and Orthodoxy in Dalmatia during the Venetian rule) https://docplayer.it/68017892-Katolicka-crkva-i-pravoslavlje.html #page= 4–5
  30. ^ Esad Kurtović, Vlachs and Stećak Tombstones, „Reflections on Life and Society in the Western Balkans. Studies in the History of Bosnia and Herzegovina", Journal of the Faculty of Philosophy (History, History of Art, Archeology), Volume 7, Number 2, Special issue, Sarajevo 2020, 59–71.
  31. ^ Larry Wolff, Rise and fall of Morlachismo. In: Norman M. Naimark, Holly Case, Stanford University Press, Yugoslavia and Its Historians: Understanding the Balkan Wars of the 1990s, ISBN 978-0804745949 p. 44.
  32. ^ Larry Wolff, Rise and fall of Morlachismo. In: Norman M. Naimark, Holly Case, Stanford University Press, Yugoslavia and Its Historians: Understanding the Balkan Wars of the 1990s, ISBN 978-0804745949 p. 41.
  33. ^ Milić Brett, Branislava (2014). Imagining the Morlacchi in Fortis and Goldoni (PhD). University of Alberta. pp. 1–213. doi:10.7939/R3MM45.
  34. ^ Mužić 2010, p. 10, 11: Et insuper mittemus specialem nuntium.... Gregorio condam Curiaci Corbavie,.... pro bono et conservatione dicte domine (Vedislave) et comitis Johannis,....; nec non pro restitutione Morolacorum, qui sibi dicuntur detineri per comitem Gregorium...; Exponat quoque idem noster nuncius Gregorio comiti predicto quod intelleximus, quod contra voluntatem ipsius comitis Johannis nepotis sui detinet catunos duos Morolacorum.... Quare dilectionem suam... reget, quatenus si quos Morolacos ipsius habet, placeat illos sibi plenarie restitui facere...
  35. ^ Mužić 2010, p. 10.
  36. ^ Mužić 2010, p. 14-17.
  37. ^ Listine o odnošajih Južnoga Slavenstva i Mletačke Republike. Vol. III. Zagreb: JAZU. 1872. p. 237. Prvi se put spominje ime »Morlak« (Morlachi) 1352 godine, 24. lipnja, u pogodbi po kojoj zadarsko vijeće prodaje sol Veneciji, gdje Zadar zadržava dio soli koju Morlaci i drugi izvoze, kopnenim putem.
  38. ^ Mužić 2010, p. 11: Detractis modiis XII. milie salis predicti quolibet anno que remaneant in Jadra pro usu Jadre et districtu, et pro exportatione solita fi eri per Morlachos et alios per terram tantum...
  39. ^ Mužić 2010, p. 12: quedam particula gentis Morlachorum ipsius domini nostri regis... tentoria (tents), animalia seu pecudes (sheep)... ut ipsam particulam gentis Morlachorum de ipsorum territorio repellere... dignaremur (to be repelled from city territory)... quamplures Morlachos... usque ad festum S. Georgii martiris (was allowed to stay until April 24, 1362).
  40. ^ L. Margetić (December 2007). "Senjski statut iz godine 1388" [Statute of Senj from 1388] (PDF). Senjski zbornik (in Latin and Croatian). Senj. 34 (1): 63, 77. § 161. Item, quod quando Morowlachi exeunt de monte et uadunt uersus gaccham, debent stare per dies duos et totidem noctes super pascuis Senie, et totidem tempore quando reuertuntur ad montem; et si plus stant, incidunt ad penam quingentarum librarum.
  41. ^ Mužić 2010, p. 13: Cum rectores Jadre scripserint nostro dominio, quod castrum Ostrovich, quod emimusa Sandalo furatum et acceptum sit per certos Murlachos, quod non est sine infamia nostri dominii...
  42. ^ Fine 2006, p. 115.
  43. ^ Mužić 2010, p. 208.
  44. ^ Fine 2006, p. 129.
  45. ^ Mužić 2010, p. 73 (I): "As evidence Vlachs spoke a variation of Romanian language, Pavičić later in the paragraph referred to the Istro-Romanians, and Dalmatian language on island Krk."
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  51. ^ Mužić 2010, p. 73.
  52. ^ Mužić 2010, p. 89.
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