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nevenjovanovic edited this page Aug 3, 2018 · 12 revisions

Croatian Latin drama: a repository of data on performances

Neven Jovanović, Nina Čengić

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb, Croatia


Most of the Latin drama in Croatia was written and performed in Jesuit colleges, in the period 1600-1800.

In the Early Modern period, Croatia was part of the Kingdom of Hungary - actually, the Kingdom of Croatia and Hungary (in 1102 the two kingdoms were united under one crown). Through the monarch, the kingdom was part of the Habsburg Empire. A multiethnic state, it retained Latin as its administrative, legal, and to some extent intellectual and even popular, lingua franca; the non-Magyar nations embraced the language both as a clearly not-Hungarian, and as a symbol of their "ancient political rights" -- which, in the case of Croatia, included rights to a certain level of autonomy. The regions that are modern Croatia, however, were in 17th and 18th century divided among the Habsburg Austrian lands, the Hungarian Kingdom, the Venetian Republic, and the tiny Republic of Dubrovnik. In that region the Jesuit order was present from 1559, establishing colleges in the first third of the 17th century (Dubrovnik, Zagreb, Rijeka, Varaždin; Požega came later, in 1698). Jesuit colleges in Croatia were part of the Jesuit Austrian province.

The Neo-Latin theatre in Croatia was not considered as a research subject at all until 2016. There are at least four reasons for the lack of interest. First, the theatre historians thought primarily about drama in the national language; second, they thought more about texts and their authors, and less about performances -- but there are few preserved texts of Neo-Latin theatre, and they are anonymous; third, the literary historians valued originality and beauty over mere functionality and engagement, they considered "educational theatre" as something of inherently little aesthetic value. Finally, there were ideological obstacles: Latin was perceived as language of the elite, "estranged from the people"; the role of religious orders in educating the nation was, for a long time, admitted only grudgingly and with suspicion.

It turns out, however, that there are records for 687 performances of plays in Latin, the majority of them taking place from 1607 to 1805, in Jesuit colleges in Zagreb (305), Varaždin (175), Rijeka (121), and Požega (69).

Selected queries in the database are presented in the CroALa portal:


Analyses of the corpus were presented in the following papers:

Explanation of a record

Collected records of performances were encoded using TEI XML elements. A commented example is on the Annotation page.

Technical details on exploratory data analysis pages

Main XQuery functions are in drama.xqm XQuery module.

Additional functions (adapted from the FunctX collection) are in dramahelp.xqm.

  1. Landing page: drama
    1. RESTXQ source script: croalaDramaStart.xq
    2. main XQuery functions drama:dramachrono3, drama:tablesaeculum
  2. Performances in chronological order: dramachrono2
    1. RESTXQ source script DramataChrono2.xq
    2. main XQuery function drama:dramachrono
    3. performances by individual centuries -- for example, 16xx
    4. RESTXQ source script: DramataChronoSaeculum.xq
    5. main XQuery function drama:dramachronosaec
  3. Performances by title: dramatituli
    1. RESTXQ source script: DramataAlphabetice.xq
    2. main XQuery function drama:dramatituli
  4. Performances by place: TBA
  5. Thematic analysis: TBA
  6. List sources and secondary bibliography: dramabib

Queries and RESTXQ pages

Each query in the database is represented by a HTML page on the server. The page is rendered by a RESTXQ script.

The database

Data on performances is collected in an XML database and analysed with BaseX running various XQuery scripts.

The annotations

A typical, simple record of a drama performance is annotated using the TEI XML elements; our selection is described on the Annotation page.

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