The Life and Works of Vittorio Carpaccio

By Pompeo Molmenti; Gustav Ludwig et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI
THE SCUOLA DEGLI SCHIAVONI. CARPACCIO'S PICTURES IN THE OLD SCUOLA

THE annals of that sturdy race of soldiers and sailors, which gave the name of Dalmatia to the long stretch of coast shut in by Croatia, Bosnia and Albania, are closely interwoven with the history of the Venetian Republic.

Dalmatia, subjugated by the Romans, invaded after the Fall of the Empire by the Erulians and the Ostrogoths, united once more to the Empire of the West under Justinian, ruled over by the Greeks and subsequently by the Franks, had waged long and bloody strife with the young Republic, born amid the Lagoons of Venice, --the first among the free lands of Italy.

Over the Dalmatians who scoured the sea as pirates, sometimes defeating even the fleets of Venice, the Doge Pietro Orseolo II. obtained the victory ( A.D. 1000) which secured to him the title of Duke of Dalmatia. That region did not however come completely and securely under Venetian dominion until 1409, when Ladislaus, King of Naples, ceded the district to Venice, who governed the country with a kindly and beneficent rule, calculated to create for herself loyal and devoted subjects.

The Dalmatians, or Sclavonians, were always received as brethren by the Venetians, who named the principal street of their city after them. The faithful Dalmatians were summoned to defend the Metropolis, when, in 1797, the ruin of the Republic was at hand: and it was the pusillanimity of the patricians alone that prevented her valiant subjects from sacrificing their lives for their beloved Venice. Not servile obedience, therefore, but faithful loyalty evoked the lamentations of the Dalmatian people at the surrender of S. Mark; when the Standard received from the inhabitants of Perasto a tribute of honour and sympathy such as no other symbol of a past government had ever before deserved.

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