This is the tenth of a planned twenty volumes in the Croatian History Series. At the presentation young historians Trpimir Vedriš PhD and Goran Bilogrivić PhD noted that this tome offers new interpretations and is the fruit of the latest research, some published here for the first time.
The grand hall of the Croatian History Museum was the scene on the 11th of June for the presentation of the latest tome from the pen of eminent historian Neven Budak PhD. The History of the Croatian Lands in the Middle Ages – Croatian History from 550 to 1100 is the tenth of a planned twenty volumes in the Croatian History Series. At the presentation young historians Trpimir Vedriš PhD and Goran Bilogrivić PhD noted that this tome offers new interpretations and is the fruit of the latest research, some published here for the first time.
“This book covers the early medieval period which the common wisdom holds to have been the golden age of Croatian history and statehood—it is certainly a period where every step forward in our insight evokes an emotional response as we saw recently with the discussion surrounding the Višeslav baptismal font,” noted Vedriš in his introductory presentation before explaining why this book covers the period from 550 rather than starting from the seventh century period commonly associated with the nascent Croatian state in the south of Europe. “Our national history does not begin with the migration to this area and Croatia’s history is, likewise, more than just a history of the Croatians. The debate surrounding ethnogenesis raises questions regarding both a time frame for a migration and the existing stereotypes. The steady flow of new insight leads us to conclude that none of what we thought we knew is carved in stone,” Vedriš concluded.
In his presentation Dr Goran Bilogrivić notes that Budak expresses disagreement with the idea of Croatians as historic losers, a notion arising from the hypothesis that Croatians have lost territory they initially settled. At the core of this book’s focus is the formation of the early medieval Croatian identity. The problem Bilogrivić identifies is that we have attributed identity to people without actually knowing how they viewed themselves. Bilogrivić notes the great significance in this regard of the remains of a dignitary found in Vaćani near Skradin—anthropological analysis of the remains of the deceased indicate that the person may have come here from Cyprus or perhaps the Levant, such as at the Bojna Carolingian period site near Glina. Particular attention is given in this book, published by Leykam International, to the period often referred to as the dark centuries, the seventh and eight centuries, the period of the formation and spread of the Croatian ethnic identity, the initial evolution of political power among Croatians, Christianisation, societal development, and the organisation of the Church and culture as moving forces in societal relationships. In this book Budak abandons the customary periodic points of reference based on a dynastic history, shifting the focus from political history to social and cultural history, offering a different understanding and interpretation of ethnic identity, establishing balance between the whole of the Croatian historical space and the expressions of regional differences. The book is also original in its interdisciplinary aspect based on the modern methodology of the authorial approach. (https://www.vecernji.hr)