Born July 5th 1972 in Paris.
PhD in German Studies on The German Language in Croatia, 1815-1848. A Cross-cultural Study, at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris. November 2004.
Alumnus of the Ecole normale supérieure (Ulm) in Paris.
Degree in German (agrégation) 1999.
Degrees in Hungarian (Budapest, INALCO-Paris) and Croatian and Serbian (Sorbonne-Paris), 1996.
- From September 2002, Teaching assistant at the University of Le Havre (Normandy, France).
- 2002-2003, Teacher of German in a secondary school near Paris.
- 1999-2002, Beneficiary of a research grant of the University Paris VIII. Stays at the Scuola normale superiore, Pisa; University of Zagreb; CEU, Budapest; Centre Marc-Bloch, Berlin; Center of Studies, Malaga.
- 1996-1997, Assistant at the Centre franco-autrichien, Vienna. Conception, organisation and publication of the acts of Austrian-French seminars on Central European themes.
- 1993-1998 : Ecole normale supérieure, Paris. Stays in Vienna, Berlin, Budapest.
- ‘La langue allemande comme héritage de l’Empire habsbourgeois: tenir un journal intime en Croatie dans les années 1830’, Balkanologie, VII (2), 2003.
- ‘Der Illyrismus : Geschichte und Funktion eines übernationalen Begriffes im Kroatien der ersten Hälfte des 19. Jahrhunderts und sein Nachklang’, Gedächtnisorte in Mitteleuropa, M.Csáky, etc. ed., Studien Verlag, Innsbruck, 2002.
- ‘Joseph Roth et l’art du reportage à l’époque de la Nouvelle Objectivité’Communications, 71, 2001.
- ‘L’imprimé allemand en Croatie, 1815-1848’, Lyons colloquium, December 2001 [to be published in 2004].
- ‘La Bibliothèque nationale de Zagreb au XIXe siècle’, Budapest colloquium, November 2002, Széchenyi Library, Bibliothèques centrales et construction des identités collectives en Europe centrale et orientale, XVIIIe-XXe siècles [to be published in 2004].
- ‘Serbes, Croates et Allemands’, to be published in Dictionnaire du monde germanique, M. Espagne et J. Le Rider, ed.
- 'Das Drautal aus französischer Sicht: Berichte im Napoleonischen Zeitalter', Koprivnica Colloquium, November 2003 [to be published in Zagreb in German and Croatian].
Illyrian heroes, Roman emperors, Greek myths: Appropriations and rejections in Dalmatia under Austrian rule (1815-1918).
The aim of the research is to present the role of antiquity in Croatia in the 19th century and especially in a specific region: Dalmatia. That part of the Austrian Empire shows particularly interesting features, since it is situated at the crossroad of various cultural and political powers.
Instead of a general overview of the topic, I suggest a triple, quite concrete approach, centered on three episodes in the general history of antiquarian themes in the 19th century.
I. Illyrian heroes: From their emergence in the first half of the 19th century through oblivion to new uses.
In the historiography of Croatia, illyrism is presented as a key movement in the formation of the modern Croatian nation, which developed in the 1830s and 1840s under that name until it was forbidden by the Austrian authorities.
At the center of the movement, there was the belief that a continuity existed between the Illyrians of antiquity and the Slav inhabitants of Croatia. A genealogy of Southern Slavs which allegedly traced back to Illyrians, i.e. to the indigenous people of the eastern shore of the Adriatic, had been presented by Dalmatian authors during the Renaissance (Sizgoric in the 15th century, Pribojevic in 1532,…).
During the first half of the 19th century, those themes gained a new importance. It could be used as a cultural and afterwards as a political weapon against other nations (especially against Hungarians). It could also generate a solidarity between all Southern Slavs, from the Slovenians to the Bulgarians, and thus overcome the regional limited framework of a Croatian cultural influence. In the context of competing national programs, that Illyrian past was seen by the leaders of the Croatian national movement as an ideal intellectual ally, since the idea should have been able to gather enthusiasm from all over the region inhabited by Southern Slavs.
A literary tradition developed on that pattern. Teuta, a play of Dimitrija Demeter presenting the story of the queen of Illyria, was published in 1844. A long poem bearing the title "Vjekovi Ilirije" [The Centuries of Illyria] by Ivan Mazuranic emphasizes the paradigm of continuity throuhgout wars and battles, against whomever.
But at the same time, there had been another tradition. In 1666, Ivan Lucic published a historical work on Dalmatia and Croatia : De Regno Dalmatiae et Croatiae. After him, who is considered as one of the founders of modern Croatian historiography, truth should from then on matter as much as patriotism. He expressed indeed serious doubts about a possible Illyrian continuity. Those doubts still existed for the ones who were the most prominent representatives of the Illyrian movement. Ljudevit Gaj for instance, who worked for years on a general Illyrian history, which had to become a cornerstone in the building of a national culture, remained unpublished: The hypothesis was merely impossible to defend. He certainly as a historian could not like the playwright Demeter use artistic prerogatives and say in the presentation of Illyrian heroes that "political and psychological truth are more important than the historical one."
Illyrian heroes were wanted, exploited for the purpose of a domestic emancipation on the field of politics and culture. But as knowledge broadened, uneasiness grew. The problem was that the more they knew about them, the less interesting they became for daily political struggles. Silence became an appropriate answer. It was not until the end of the 19th century that Croatian intellectuals investigated that question again. But those results were absorbed by nascent albanology, which on its turn was to be appropriated by Albanians for the shaping of their modern nation. The aim of that part of the research is to delineate the various uses of the topic of Illyrian heroes in the successive contexts that took place during the 19th century.
II. Roman emperors
In that question, everything should have been clearer than in the matter of Illyrians. The political and cultural link between Austrian rulers and the Roman past seems to be self-evident. But here too, that part of antiquity is fraught with ambiguity.
It started under the best auspices. Emperor Francis I visited Dalmatia in the years following the Congress of Vienna, when the Austrian Empire gained that territory which had been until then a Venetian province. His annotations, conserved on booklets, show how deep his knowledge of antiquity was. In Split, he admired the palace of Diocletian and the aqueduct built by the Romans. He decided to create a museum of archeaology on the walls of the city. But that interest did not bring any further results for years.
The emperors of the Hapsburg house did have interest in that new Austrian shore, but they hardly did anything in order to promote a real scientific approach to the richness of the antique layers of that soil. Even the Roman history in Dalmatia, that was part of the Hapsburg heritage through the crown of the Holy Empire, did not have enough force to persuade the administration to develop a general archeological survey.
The Croats turned up to be the ones who asked the Viennese authorities to make the technological transfers necessary on the field of the developing science of the past. For some eminent Croats of the Adriatic coast, the Roman past was indubitably part of their heritage. Peter Nisiteo, of the island of Hvar, was a member of the Viennese and Roman archeological societies. Sime Ljubic, the founder of the institution that would eventually become the Archeological Museum in Zagreb was inspired by Peter Nisiteo, that representative of an educated Dalmatian elite which felt that it belonged to Western Europe through the Roman past.
At the end of the 19th century, Vienna was the center for researches on antiquity in Austria and Dalmatia depended directly on Vienna through administrative links. Nevertheless the development of antique collections rarely enjoyed public support. The constitution of those collections which now are hosted in various museums was mostly due to local enthusiasts, whose profiles and preoccupations should reveal a whole range of variagated eagerness to grasp Roman history through various items (coins, textile, books and manuscripts on the subject, etc.).
But the lack of modern museums at the end of the 19th century disturbed Croats as well as German-speaking Austrians. Frane Bulic, a priest and archeologist, undertook serious excavations at Salona, made numerous attempts at modernising the Archeological Museum in Split. In 1908, the Austrian literary critic Hermann Bahr published a book on his journeys through Dalmatia, Die dalmatinische Reise. He pointed out the unefficiency of the Austrian administration and stressed the importance of an archeological potential hardly explored. In a dialogue between a German archeologist and himself, he revealed the gap between the possibilities and the realities of archeology in Dalmatia: "Why do your young people go to Greece, whereas in Dalmatia everything is still to be done? In Austria, people are more interested in Greece than in Dalmatia." As a matter of fact, the monumental Parliament of Vienna was being built with clear Greek elements with the very type of stone that had been used for the edification of the palace of Diocletian. But the evidences of that latter, Roman element, were eluded.
Where do the roots of such a distance to Roman history in Dalmatia lie? The political factor certainly plays a role: There must have been from the point of view of Vienna a form of apprehension in front of the development of an archeology that could fuel any form of separatism.
But if this was true for Austrian authorities, how can the lack of interest of Austrian archeologists be explained? What was the answer of local erudites to that situation?
III. Greek myths: From Atlantis to Diomedes.
The sudden interest for an island shows how an international team could (not) take possession in the field of archeology of a terra incognita.
In the 1870s, a barren island called Pelagosa/Palagruza unexpectedly came to the surface for the Austrian government. An international court of justice decided that this island would be from then on considered as a part of the Austrian, and not of the Italian territory. Since the island was situated approximatively in the middle of the Adriatic, it was considered a strategic point. A lighthouse was to be erected. The preliminary works were an opportunity for studying the island, its geology and habitats. An international team was organized. Engineers from Vienna had to elaborate the plans of the lighthouse. Pietro Accerleoni, inspector of the Austrian lighthouses, was present. So was the governor of the coast, Albert von Glanstätten. The director of the Museum of Trieste, Carlo Marchesetti, did also the journey. From Trieste came Richard Burton, consul of England in Trieste, an archeaologist and poet. A cartographer specialized in geology, Grober von Mildensee, was accompanied with his student Mihovil Stosic. And eventually two fishermen of the island of Vis, who knew best the present life on the island, were taking part in that expedition: Antonije Topic and his son Serafije. The names speak for the multinational background of the team.
The geologists had to play a paramount role in that expedition. They had to determine whether the island had a volcanic origin or not. If that were the case, this would give arguments for an identification of the island as a remnant of the Atlantis. The studies that were undertaken eventually proved that this hypothesis was erroneous: No traces of volcanic eruptions could be found. But some elements of Greek settlement did appear. Was the disappointment so important that any further archeological exploration was given up for decades? The team had worked very intensely during its stay on the island: Numerous sketches, papers, annotations, prove the amount of scientific passion that had been invested into that isolated place. But it was not until very recently that archeologists came to the island again and resumed the exploration. Their findings put alongside with those of the 19th century materialized the presence of Greek myths on that part of the Adriatic. Pieces of ceramics proved that it was there that Ulysses' companion Diomedes was believed to have remained before he was transformed on his way back from Troy. A temple dedicated to Diomedes certainly functioned there, whereas the tradition since the Renaissance located that place on the Tremiti islands, even without any other evidence than the vicinity to Italy. The team on Palagruza on the other hand had found evidences, but did not take them into account. For them here again there was a gap, which they could not bridge. They obviously could not believe that Austria could be a real ground for antique memory. It could only be Italy or Greece.
This expedition is from an archeological point of view a missed encounter between scientifically well prepared specialists and a rich ground. But their prejudices could not be overcome.
The dealing with antiquity in Dalmatia at that time was an ambivalent and ambiguous one. On the Croatian and especially on the Dalmatian side, there was an awareness that a competition was taking place on the field of archeaology. The local elites undoubtedly were interested in the development of a first-hand knowledge, with modern scientific institutions that would support their attempts. In that sense, there was an eagerness to learn from German and Roman cultures. Scientific interest prevailed at the end of the 19th century over a national unrealistic dream of a direct filiation with antiquity through the Illyrians.
But on the other hand, the Austrian administration did little efforts to second that development. Private initiatives remained the best supporters of the dealing with antiquity. Some emperors, some members of the reigning dynasty, some Austrians with particular interests played a major role in that field. But a structured institutionalization of archeological research hardly occurred.
The main scope of the research is to describe some lesser known aspects of the use of antiquity in Dalmatia as a part of the political and cultural history of the Austrian empire. Antiquity shows, maybe as a paradigm, how difficult was the accomplishment of a fruitful encounter between the center and the periphery of the Monarchy.