following article by Dr. Miho Demović has been published in
Ignjat Đurđević: Sveti Pavao apostol brodlomac (St Paul the Apostle Castaway), Miho Demović (ed), Dubrovačke knjižnice, 2008., 360 pp. (Ignjat Đurđević's 1730 book translated from elite Latin into Croatian by Jozo Marević, with extensive foreword by Dr Miho Demović in Croatian and English), ISBN 978-953-97952-3-0
We express our gratitude to Dr. Demović for his suggestion to publish this article on the web.
A STUDY ACCOMPANYING CROATIAN TRANSLATION OF THE ĐURĐEVIĆ'S BOOK ON SAINT PAUL'S SHIPWRECK ON THE ISLAND OF MLJET
Dr Miho Demović
I. Ignjat Đurđević and the Ragusan tradition on Saint Paul’s shipwreck in the seawaters of the island of Mljet
About thirty years ago I was doing my research on musical history of the former Dubrovnik Republic. Having done my best to find information on music and musicians of the Dubrovnik Republic, I investigated the opus of almost every old Ragusan poet. It was then that I came across Ignjat Đurđević, an outstanding Ragusan poet and great, but lesser known, scolar (1675 – 1737). Namely, his monumental piece of work on the shipwreck of Saint Paul the Apostle near the island of Mljet (Melita), printed in Venice in 1730, came into my hands. It was written in fine Latin language but obviously neglected, I dare say, as it was never included into either literary or scolar works of the Ragusan Latinists. It therefore remained unknown to the Croatian cultural public. Over many years I endeavoured to talk my friends Latinists into translation of that old but unique piece of work into contemporary Croatian language. Two years ago, again I came with the same idea to the group of my friends and acquaitances in Dubrovnik. I pointed out the cultural need of the conversion of that book into Croatian so that it can be made available to the broad cultural public. I had no intention to ask for the financial support. It took less than three days to hear from the retired teacher of English language in Dubrovnik high school, Mrs Pavica Šperk Šundrica who informed me that she was more than willing to sponsor the translation of that piece of work if only I could find an apt translator and take over the responsibility of editing the Croation translation.
Owing to Mrs Šundrica’s generous act, we are able to reap the benefit out of it. Right now, a year after the mentioned phone call, we actually have the Croatian translation done by one of the best living Croatian Latinists, dr Jozo Marević.
My younger colleague, formerly my student and recently prefect and economist of the Seminary of Zagreb, Zlatko Pavetić, helped me a lot with the pre-press preparation as he had done before with previous releases of my books. He did the graphic design and text layout giving me a helping hand with many other details. The Diocese of Dubrovnik and the Dubrovnik Research Library agreed to take over the publishing of the book and Vedograf Press from Zagreb agreed to do the press.
The book is released 270 years after the death of Ignjat Đurđević, the renowned abbot of Mljet, poet, historian and scientist, and 2000 years after the birthday of Saint Paul the Apostle. It is meant as a special gift to this international jubilee, as an excerpt from the written tradition of Dubrovnik and a record of the shipwreck of Saint Paul in the seawaters of Mljet. It was a misfortunate event which can be traced back to the father of the European historiography, the emperor Constantine HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porphyrogenitus "Porphyrogenitus (905-959), on the basis of the written evidence. We hope that the Croatian translation of this significant piece of work will not be the last to see or hear on the issue. It would be appropriate to organize the scientific conference in Dubrovnik to have the problem of Saint Paul’s shipwreck in the seawaters of Mljet systematically discussed. The European scientific public were warned about the issue by Đurđević at his time. They showed the great interest and most of them responded to the problem. Some of them agreed with the statement that Saint Paul had experienced the shipwreck, as it seemed, in the bay with a sandy beach on the island of Mljet nearby contemporary settlements Saplunara and Korita in the south-east part of Mljet. Some disagreed.
As a promoter and editor of this Croatian publication and also as a writer of the introductory accompanying study, I would like to thank everyone who helped this project come through. I feel mostly obliged to Mrs Pavica Šperk Šundrica and her generous sponsorship. Without her kindness, none of this would ever be realized or made possible. I would also like to thank the translator dr Jozo Marević who managed to translate this piece of work in an exquisite manner, in less than a year and the reviewers dr Juraj Batelja and dr Marko Babić who recommended the book for publishing.
By offering this translation of Đurđević’s grand work to the cultural public, neither I nor the publishers had any intention whatsoever of persuading people to accept the author’s opinion that the actual location of the Saint Paul’s shipwreck was indeed the island of Mljet (although, we personally, deeply and confidently trust it as a fact). The only intention we had on our minds was to refresh the memory on the issue as a part of the Dubrovnik tradition. We regarded it as an interesting excerpt from the old Ragusan political, religious and literary history.
Zagreb, July 31, to the memory of St Paul, 2008
The Personality of Saint Paul I/1
One of the most important figures and personalities of the Early Church undoubtedly was Saint Paul the Apostle. In his missionary journeys many people of Asia, Africa and Europe embraced Gospel and joined the first Christian communities. Due to the international significance of his mission, he was called the Apostle of nations. His Apostolic journeys were thoroughly described in the Bible by the evangelist Saint Luke, namely, in the New Testament book called the Acts of the Apostles. Saint Paul the Apostle deserved the respect of the Catholic church due to the theological content of the 14 pastoral letters (epistles) addressed to the particular persons who had converted to Christianity or to the local churches he had founded in the course of his missionary journeys. He very thoroughly explained and claryfied nearly all religious issues in his epistles. Therefore the fragments from the epistles, having the value of liturgic texts, have been included into nearly all Roman-Catholic ceremonies, especially the mass ceremony. These selected biblical mass texts are called apostolus (Latin for apostle) after Saint Paul. I shall not miss the opportunity to place an emphasis on the Epistle to the Romans which abounds in theological content and meaning.
None of the biographies of the Twelve Apostles was described in such detail as Saint Paul's. It happened due to his written literary pastoral legacy, especially due to the Acts of the Apostles by Saint Luke. The Acts should be considered Apostolic history and Saint Luke the first historian of the Early church. The content of the Acts in its major part relates to the missionary ministry of Saint Paul and it has been the subject of the greatest theological interest up to present days. The present pope Benedict XVI pronounced the year 2008 a memorial year of Saint Paul's celebrating his 2000th birth anniversary. In the course of history such an honour has never been given to any of the other eleven apostles.
There are some details of Paul's life people still find vague, because of lack of information. It especially concerns the details regarding the shipwreck near the island of Mljet (Melita) in the Adriatic. The actual location of the shipwreck still puzzles the scolars and they still produce new opinions about the issue. Some also organize international scientific conferences on the subject (there have already been three conferences on the Greek island of Cefalonia). Therefore I find it absolutely reasonable and necessary to present the old Ragusan tradition on the shipwreck of Saint Paul in the seawaters of the Croatian island of Mljet to the cultural public, in spite of the official attitude of the Catholic Biblicists that it was evident it had happened in Malta (Melita).
The Ragusan tradition on that episode in Paul's life seems to be more original and older than other theories. The tradition based on the narration of the shipwreck eyewitnesses should be considered original and have priority over the tradition based on the reading of the Acts. The original tradition should also be supported by some early Christian archaeological findings on the island of Mljet and hardly in Malta and Cefalonia. The special emphasis was placed on the Ragusan tradition when it was scientifically acknowledged by Ignjat Đurđević in his work encompassing 366 pages and printed in Venice in 1730. In English translation it was entitled
The Shipwreck Survivor Saint Paul the Apostle in the Sea Called the Venetian bay: the Guest of the Dalmatian island of Mljet after the shipwreck or on the original interpretation of two locations in the Acts of the Apostles in chapter 27, verse 27: 'we were still being driven across the Adriatic Sea'; and the chapter 28, verse 1: 'Once safely on shore, we found out that the name of the island was Melita'. The critical discussion of the author Ignjat Đurđević, the Benedictine of the island of Mljet and Dubrovnik congregation. The discussion on small dogs of Mljet in the Appendix. Printed in Venice in the printing office of Christophor Zane with permission and reference of the superiors in 1730. We publish its translation into Croatian language in this year of Saint Paul's 2000th birth anniversary.
Although each episode in Paul's life was interesting and meaningful, the shipwreck as described by the evangelist Saint Luke in chapters 27 and 28 of the Acts of the Apostles, was distinguished in a way, not only due to the exceptional drama of the event but also due to the disagreement of the scolars about the actual shipwreck location.
Three traditions on Saint Paul’s shipwreck site I/2
Nowdays we recognize three living and important traditions, namely the tradition of Malta, tradition of Cefalonia and tradition of the island of Mljet.
The Maltese tradition gained most popularity in the course of time. Unfortunatelly it is not supported by evidence but by the powerful religious, military and political organization of the Knights of St John who moved their military and administrative centre from the island of Rhodes to Malta in 1530 where they had retreated pursued by the Turks. The order of knights needed a great patron saint in their new military and political centre and they gladly welcomed the text of the Acts of the Apostles which indicated that the shipwreck had happened at Melita. Therefore they declared that Malta, which used to be called Melita in the ancient times, was the authentic site of the Saint Paul's shipwreck. They simply neglected the fact that it was not situated in the Adriatic, as registered in the Acts of the Apostles, but in the Libyan Sea. Their opinion was also accepted by Vatican. Therefore the greatest number of Biblical writers from that point used to indicate Malta as the actual shipwreck location. The phenomenon became obvious when the Bible was translated into vernacular languages. The translators, instead of leaving the original form of the name Melita, replaced it with the local Maltese name of Malta. In that way they decided to take side of the Maltese tradition on the Saint Paul's shipwreck. This is also true of the Croatian translators of the Holy Scripture.
The Cefalonian tradition was rather unknown to the educated readers until recently, when it became a subject of the research, especially owing to the German scholar Heinz Warnecke. He has already published two books on the Cefalonian tradition and is to be considered as one of its greatest defenders.
The Ragusan tradition is much older. It was corroborated by the Early Christian archaeological records and mentioned by the ancient European historiographers. One of them was the already mentioned Byzantine emperor and historian Constantine Porphyrogenitus. The Ragusan theory holds the strongest position of the three. Nevertheless, shortly after the arrival of the Knights of St John to Malta in 1530, the Ragusan tradition started fading. Fortunatelly, then the great writer, historian and scholar Ignjat Đurđević came on the scene. In his work he described not only the island of Mljet but also all the old traditions from Mljet concerning Saint Paul's shipwreck. He also proved the authenticity of the Mljet tradition pointing out at the same time all the shortfalls of the Maltese one. Besides, he initiated a series of debates in Europe and there had been no other project of any Croatian writer which had such a great response among the educated readers as his book. The book is actually a strict scholarly discussion equipped with a substantial critical apparatus and the accompanying bibliography.
Many past events that had not been recorded but only orally transmitted are subjected to changes, revision and finally oblivion. Due to the absence of the archival records, the oral tradition may become an important indicator, and it applies to the legend as well, showing that certain events did happen after all. It just cannot provide us solid grounds to determine where and how they happened, because there are some events, sites and persons which more than one cities and nations strive for. For example, the antique city of Troy is said to have been situated in Greece but some think that its actual site was in the Croatian valley of Neretva. Similarly, the site of the ancient city of Stridon is unknown to us. It was the birth place of our Dalmatian compatriot Saint Jerome, one of the greatest writers of the Early Christianity. Due to his glory, the Croats from Međimurje including the surrounding nations – Hungarians, Austrians and Slovenians claim that Stridon was situated in the region of Međimurje, on the site of the contemporary settlement Štrigova. In the 18th century a monumental church dedicated to the Saint Jerome was built there. The Istrian Croats and Italians, on the other hand, claim that Stridon was situated in Istria on the site of contemporary Zdrinje, whereas the Dalmatians led by the famous archaeologist Frano Bulić prove that its site was nearby Grahovo on the border between Croatia and Bosnia. Such different theories will coexist until an archival document shows up giving advantage to one or another of the mentioned localities. It is well known that seven Greek towns fight for Homer: Smyrna, Rhodes, Colophon, Salamis, Ios, Argos, Athens and according to some sources Chios, Kyma, Ithaca and Pylos may be added to the list. These are not isolated cases.
Having this in mind, it is easy to understand that something similar happened with the location of the island of Saint Paul’s shipwreck. It implies that sanctity of Saint Paul was deeply engraved into the minds of the Christians and their church. Such valuation of his sanctity prevailed up to these days. It happened due to the fact that three Mediterranean islands were named Melita in the ancient times. In fact, besides the Croatian island of Mljet, the Greek name Melita was also used for Malta Island in the Republic of Malta in the Libyan Sea and Melita in the island of Cephalonia which is the site highly supported by the German scientist Heinz Warnecke.
This year, the island of Malta baits the pilgrims from all over the world, celebrating the anniversary of Saint Paul. The Greek Melita, on its part, organizes the international councils. Mljet and Dubrovnik make their contribution to the cultural public by introducing the Croatian translation of Đurđević’s work on Saint Paul’s shipwreck near the island of Mljet, as an actual site of the shipwreck, disregarding the fact that we can still hear some Croatian Biblical experts claiming in the media that the Saint Paul’s shipwreck did not happen on the island of Mljet. That was the point of view supported by Rudolf Vimer, Frane Bulić, Petar Vlašić and some other Croatian Biblical experts. It was also a source of their argument with the assistant bishop of Split, native of Dubrovnik, Vicko Palunko.
Planned Navigation Journey of Saint Paul’s Vessel I/3
Saint Luke starts his description of Saint Paul’s shipwreck in the seawaters of Melita in the Adriatic Sea with the scene of the Saint Paul’s caption in the Israeli port of Cesarea. Incidently, there the Jewish leaders accused Paul of preaching the Christ’s doctrine as opposed to the Jewish law, making in that way a serious offence against the Jewish legal system. Assuming that the Roman local court would sentence him to death, they had him imprisoned in Caesarea. Against their expectation, the Roman governor absolved him of guilt but the Jews set a demand that Paul would be brought to court in Jerusalem. They planned to secretly kill him on his way to Jerusalem. Paul spoiled their intention by an appeal to stand trial in Rome, as he was a Roman citizen. Therefore, Paul was handed over to a centurion named Julius, to take him to the court in Rome. When they came to Caesarea, the centurion found a merchant ship and put him aboard as a prisoner. Saint Paul thus started his navigation journey to Rome. Due to the poor navigation facilities in the ancient times, the ship could not sail across the open sea. The ship took the north-east direction sailing along the coast of Asia Minor and then turned its course to Cyprus and Crete, coasting all the time by Pelopponese to Corfu. They could sail only in spring and summer, always in daylight, from one cape to another, from one haven to another. When they reached Corfu, they turned to Italy, to Strait of Otranto. At that spot there was the shortest sea distance between the Balkans and the Apennine peninsula which, in the period of antiquity, could have been sailed across in a day. The vessels of that time did not have a keel or a steady helm. They neither had many masts nor sails, so they could not have sailed in the open sea without having been in a danger of sinking. Nevertheless Saint Paul’s ship could not follow the planned route because near the small island named Cauda before the north-western part of the island of Crete, the ship was caught in the violent south wind and cast into the Adriatic. For 13 days they suffered the tempest and then the ship struck a sandbar and ran aground in a bay in front of the island Melita in the Adriatic Sea.
Saint Luke’s description of the shipwreck in the Acts, chapters 27 and 28 belongs to the group of the religious texts. Like other Biblical reports the purpose of the description was to demonstrate the spiritual character of the event without an intention to be oversystematic and thorough. Nevertheless, even the events described in a selective extent are related to the actual time and space, so they should be considered the historic events. Hence the mentioned Saint Luke’s text, in the part concerning time and space should be considered the actual historic report. The figurative interpretation is therefore out of question. The author of the text provided us with enough information to visualize nearly all the significant details concerning the shipwreck. Namely, we know the time when the shipwreck happened, we know the carrying capacity of the ship, we know the planned navigation route the ship should have followed, we know about the violent wind that changed the direction of the itinerary driving the ship up and down for thirteen days in the Adriatic Sea. We find out that, on the fourteenth day, the ship ran aground in the seawaters of the island Melita in a bay with a sandy beach where they had planned to land seeing it as their harbour of salvation. We learn about the place where the shipwreck took place and about the inhabitants of the island who gave shelter to the castaways. We learn how the venomous snake bit Paul’s hand and about the Barbarians who inhabited the island. We also learn about Roman governor Publius and his father who was healed by Paul. We find out about the three months of wintering in Melita island and finally about their arrival to Rome via the harbour city of Syracuse. In spite of all these pieces of information it is still controversial where the shipwreck really took place because three different locations in the ancient times were known by the name of Melita and they all claim their honour.
Key Words in the St Luke's Text on the Shipwreck Site I/4
The controversy happened due to the fact that the exegetes did not take literally the key words of the Biblical text, as they should have. If they did, it would have been easy to make a conclusion that the shipwreck had taken place in the bay with a sandy beach on the Croatian island of Mljet, in the neighbourhood of the present villages Saplunara and Korita. The key words are: Alexandrian merchant ship for grain transport; Cauda – an islet 24 nautical miles away from Crete; euroclidon – southeast tempestuous wind; syrtim – underwater sea rocks, the ships would be dashed against them if driven by tempestuous winds; Adria – the Adriatic Sea; bay with a sandy beach – a natural harbour and a haven from the tempestuous wind; diatalason – a sea rock splashed by sea on two sides or a sea strait, passage where two seas meet; Melita - an ancient name for the islands of Mljet and Malta; Barbarians – the inhabitants of Melita who speak neither Jewish, nor Greek, nor Latin; venomous snake which bit Paul – the deadly poisonous snake; Publius – the Roman governor on the island of Melita. On the other hand, the exegetes started transforming the particular words, changing their substance and meaning and adjusting them to the claims of their traditions. Hence, those crucial words of the Holy Scripture lost their original meaning and became subject of individual interpretations. It is obvious that only one out of three traditions may have the honour of being original and based on an actual event, whereas the other two come out as a result of the interpretation of the shipwreck description from the Acts. It is also obvious that two different and mutually opposed interpretations of the Acts cannot coexist, because only one interpretation may be right. As the shipwreck site cannot be determined by local traditions only, it is necessary to light up the subject by the means of thorough analysis of the text on the shipwreck in the chapters 27 and 28 of the Acts according to the key words which are valid indicator of the actual natural circumstances of Saint Paul’s shipwreck.
The Ragusan Tradition on the Saint Paul's Shipwreck I/5
The history of the Ragusan tradition on the Saint Paul’s shipwreck on the island of Mljet goes back to the distant past as the Ragusans from the very ancient times thought that Saint Paul’s ship had struck a sandbar and ran aground on the island of Mljet. They relied not only on the local tradition prevailing on the island of Mljet but also on historian records. According to the local tradition Saint Paul spent three months in the village Korita on Mljet. The local inhabitants are proud to show Saint Paul’s rock or Saint Paul’s ‘šepurina’ in the seawaters of Saplunara. They are also proud of an ancient church dedicated to Saint Paul in Crkvine. Its foundation was recently discovered by the archaeologists. The historians also supported the tradition that the shipwreck actually happened in the sea near the island of Mljet. It was recorded so, by the father of European historiography, the Greek emperor and historian Constantine HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porphyrogenitus"Porphyrogenitus (905-959) who, describing the south Dalmatian islands in his work De administrando imperio, wrote following: Another big island is Mljet. It was described by Saint Luke in the Acts where he calls it Melita. Saint Paul was there bitten by the viper but he shook it off into the fire where it was burned.
After HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porphyrogenitus"Porphyrogenitus, the 16th century Italian historian on Ragusa Serafino Razzi (1531 – 1611) claimed the same. He set forth the following: At the end of this presentation on the island of Mljet, I shall tell you that many serious writers think that this Ragusan Mljet was the very island where Saint Paul the Apostle escaped after the shipwreck and where he was bitten by viper as written in chapter 28 of the Acts. One of them is the honourable cardinal Gaetano. Serafino Razzi was a very serious writer and historiographer who extracted his cognitions not only from Ragusan oral tradition but also from the elaborations of, as he claimed, a few older and younger writers. He thought that the shipwreck could not have taken place in Malta because Malta was situated in the African, instead of in the Adriatic Sea. Clearly, the 16th century people did not think that the Adriatic Sea extended to Africa.
After Serafino Razzi, at the beginning of the 17th century, the same tradition was interwoven by the great Ragusan poet Junije Palmotić (1607-1657) within the plot of his historical drama Pavlimir. This refers to the particular scene when Pavlimir the king meets the commander of his royal fleet Krstimir. When asked by the king about the haven in the gusty storm, Krstimir answered he had found haven in the bay
At the bottom of the green Mljet island
Stands a harbour, oh my mighty king,
Where Paul the Saint found the shelter,
After almost being buried in the evil sea.
On that very island, as one hears
In the fire the Saint shook off
Nasty viper poisonous and fierce
Which his hand viciously sought.
By the end of the same century and prior to Đurđević and his revival of the Mljet shipwreck tradition, another figure appeared, i.e. the figure of Jakov Salečić, who was considered very erudite clergyman of Korčula. He wrote a discussion on the Saint Paul’s shipwreck on the island of Mljet in 1699. This controversy by Ljubić was entitled Dissertazione sul naufragio di S. Paolo. Another clergyman of Korčula, namely the archdeacon Kapor supported the same idea and asked Ignjat Đurđević to write the discussion on the subject which Đurđević did. The controversy was written in 1726 and preserved as a manuscript in the library of the Monastery of the Friars Minor in Dubrovnik under the title L´ onore della svenuta di S. Paolo Apostolo restituito a Melita Illiriana Ovvero la confutazione degli Apologisti Maltesi, contendenti esser in Malta sorto l´Apostolo dopo il famoso Naufragio riferito sa S. Luca a Capitoli XXVII, e XXVIII Degli Apostolici atti – Discorso di D. Ignazio Georgi, Abbate di Meleda composto a istanza degl´Signor Arcidiacono Capor Vicario generale in Corzola 1726. The fact that two clergymen of Korčula support the Mljet tradition on Saint Paul’s shipwreck indicate that the cult of Saint Paul the castaway was common not only in Mljet and Dubrovnik, but in Korčula as well. It was very powerful tradition known outside the area of Dubrovnik. Đurđević claimed it at the beginning of his work saying: I say and I claim that before the chivalrous Hospitaller Order of St John moved to African Melita, the glory of Saint Paul’s shipwreck site had been granted, without any hesitation or doubt, to Illyrian Melita.
Francesco Maria Appendini (1768-1837), author of the famous book Notizie istorico critiche sulle antichita, storia e letteratura de Ragusei shared the same opinion. In 1802 he wrote: I agree with Đurđević that Saint Paul survived the shipwreck in the Adriatic Sea, namely on the island of Mljet where he converted to Christianity most of the population. Therefrom the Christianity promptly diffused to the neighbouring Epidaurus. As a proof for the Appendini's statement we could note the fact that Saint Paul's cult was frequent in Konavle (the hinterland of Epidaurus). There we can still find the Saint Paul's chapel, in the hamlet Pavlje Brdo (the Paul's Mount), named after Saint Paul. The hamlet belonged to the Saint Peter's parish in Karasovići which was still in existence in the 16th century but then disappeared. We must also mention that the second renowned bishop of Epidaurus who participated in the council of Salona was called Pavao (Paul) which obviously had its connection with the cult of Saint Paul in the Ragusan surroundings. Ever since the ancient days, the region of Konavle cherished the cult of Paul's associate Saint Luke. Three small churches dedicated to Saint Luke were built in that area as a solid proof for the cult existence. They are situated in the villages of Radovčići, Komaji and Brotnice and they still obtain their ecclesiastic function. The tradition was transferred to the 20th century with its new written records. It was renewed in 1910 by the assistant bishop of Split Vicko Palunko (1842 -1921) in the controversy written in Italian language entitled: Melita, the Island of Saint Paul's Shipwreck is Actually the Island of Mljet in Dalmatia. Palunko was born in Šipan, the neighbouring island of Mljet. Besides these old writers, there is the recent one who should be mentioned and that is the Ragusan captain, Professor and Doctor in Nautical Sciences, Antun Ničetić /*1935/. In his book New Insights into the Origin of Dubrovnik he put an end to the controversy on the shipwreck of Saint Paul on the island of Mljet. He absolutely agreed with his predecessors' statements on the problem issue and supplemented their evidences with the new insights into the shipping lanes in the times of Classical antiquity, the shipping capacities of the ancient vessels, the sea currents and Mediterranean winds, the archaeological findings of the Eearly Christian churches on Mljet etc. All of these have been less known to our cultural public so far. Thus the Ragusan tradition has been transferred in written form throughout eleven centuries. It is the only tradition compatible with all the information given in Saint Luke's description on the shipwreck in the seawaters of the island Melita, especially regarding the south-east tempestuous wind named euroclidon in the Greek original. Đurđević considers that wind name as original (I shall elaborate it later on). He beleives that it completely corresponds to the south tempestous wind which is absolutely natural phenomenon and there is nothing miraculous to it. Such storm may last up to 15 days. Saint Paul's vessel had been cought in that wind, as mentioned, next to the islet of Cauda, which was situated near the northwest part of the island Crete. The sailsmen tried to prepare the ship for the stormy navigation. They threw the buoys in the sea, tightened the ropes and hoisted the safeboats aboard. All they did was in vain as the violent wind of hurricane force, according to Saint Luke's description, redirected the vessel into the Adriatic Sea buffeting it for 13 days continuously.
The sky was covered with dark clouds and neither sun nor stars appeared for many days. The outline of the coastal land was hidden by the low clouds and could not be seen. That wind could make the vessel run aground only on the island of Mljet because it is well known that anything cast into the sea in the Otranto Strait will shortly be brought by the south winds into one of the small ports along Mljet. Relying on that, the Saint Paul's vessel could have sailed into Malta only if Saint Paul had performed a miracle which he had not. We know it because Saint Luke never mentioned it in his shipwreck description.
The shipwreck site was described as the sea rock in a bay with a sandy beach. The sandy beach is opposed to the rocky coast and describes the area where the land gently descends to the sea. That is exactly what the landscape of the south-east part of Mljet looks like. Saint Paul's sis (sister) is a rock in the bay near Saplunara. It is called like that by the local inhabitants. In the neighbourhood of Korita there are two rocky islets called Veliki i Mali Školj (Big and Small Islet). They form the sea passage to the small port of the village Korita. That place corresponds to the expression diathalasson from the Greek original. It was translated into Latin bimare (two seas) by Đurđević. That is the spot where Vicko Palunko places the Paul's vessel shipwreck. On the southeast coast of Mljet there are quite a few small ports hazardous for the ships because they abound in rocks below or above the surface of seawater. Thus, the shipwreck could have happened in those other places as well. According to Sanit Luke, the island is called Melita – Mljet. The inhabitants of the island are the Barbarians. They are the natives of the island. According to uderstanding of that time the Barbarians were people who could not understand Greek, nor Jewish, nor Latin language. It was the name used for the Illyrian tribes known as the inhabitants of Mljet at that time. The island was governed by the Roman chief official Publius. His title was protos, in Vulgate translated into Latin princeps. Both of these terms referred to the representative of the Roman government at Illyrian tribes. The name of Publius was found written on two monuments in ancient Epidaurus. The first one carried name of Publius Marcius and another of Publius Cornelius. This means that it was not at all unusual for the chief official of Mljet to be called Publius at the time of the shipwreck. The Roman political government on the island at the time of the shipwreck was compatible with the historical circumstances. Namely, at that time the island of Mljet was under the Roman government which was empowered at the time of the emperor Octavian Augustus who conquered the inhabitants of Korčula and Mljet in 35 BC, because they were preying the Roman vessels sailing near those islands. Many ancient settlements from Roman period called gradina are still preserved at Mljet. At one particular settlement called Polače there is a monumental palace obviously built for the needs of the Roman administration government. Besides, the description of the snake coming out of fire and biting Saint Paul's hand finds its support in the fact that there was great population of the venomous snakes which greatly multiplied in Mljet until 1910 when the mongooses were brought to the island and exterminated them. The recent archaeological researches on locations of Crkvine and Polače gave way to discovery of quite a few Early Christian sacral constructions which proved that there was an Early church in Mljet probably established by Saint Paul. We can see from the Second Epistle to Timothy that there was a Christian community in Dalmatia when Saint Paul was alive. There we read that Saint Paul sent his disciples to go to the churches he had established on his journeys, i.e. Tychicus went to Ephesus, Crescens to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia, whereas Erastus stayed in Corinth and Trophimus in Miletus. Eubulus, Pudens, Linus and Claudia were with him in Rome. Titus had to visit an already established Christian community in Dalmatia. His name was mentioned in the same context as the other disciples' names and their role was to visit the already established churches. Undoubtedly, Titus had the same role as the other mentioned Paul's disciples.
Đurđević also quotes the statement of Epiphanius the Bishop of Cyprus from the 4th century. He said that Saint Luke had been staying in Dalmatia but he did not associate him with the Saint Paul's shipwreck. It should rather be associated with the remains of the cult of Saint Luke in Konavle which was previously discussed.
Considering all given records and archaeological Early Christian monuments in Mljet, we must give the Ragusan tradition priority as to the oldest and only authentic tradition.
Hospitaller Order of St John and the Saint Paul's Shipwreck I/6
The Ragusans could have trusted their tradition and hisroriographers’ record with ease, as Đurđević claimed, until the monks called the Knights of St John or more commonly the Knights of Malta had moved from Rhodes to Malta in 1530. On 23 April of the same year they were given Malta with neighbouring islands of Gozo and Comino as a fief by the emperor Charles V. The island was fortified by the monks and it became an impregnable fortress of the Christianity against the Islam. Therefore, the monks were called the Knights of Malta from that time on. They actually served as a kind of naval police in the Mediterranean and the supervisors of the international navigation for all the countries of Europe, in that very important sea. Although the tradition on the shipwreck and the cult of Saint Paul were known in Malta before the Knights of St John came there, it was not really diffused throughout Europe. Therefore the Knights of Malta inflated the tradition and exaggerated it. After that Malta gained its popularity among the cultural public mostly owing to the shipwreck of Saint Paul.
Opposition of Dubrovnik to the Maltese Appropriation of Saint Paul's shipwreck site I/7
The first known writer in Dubrovnik who opposed the Maltese appropriation of Saint Paul's shipwreck site was Serafino Razzi, the Italian historian, Dominican and for a while Vicar Capitular of the Ragusan Metropolitan see. He wrote in his history of Dubrovnik that the shipwreck of Saint Paul’s vessel had happened in the seawaters of the island of Mljet. It, by no means, could not have happened in Malta because Malta was not situated in the Adriatic Sea. After that the eminent prelates of the Ragusan Metropolitan see raised their voice against the Knights of Malta project. Two of them were previously mentioned. They were two clergymen of Korčula - Jakov Salečić and archdeacon Kapor. Later on, in 1730, we hear from Ignjat Đurđević who then released a new piece of work about the shipwreck of Saint Paul near the island of Mljet. First it stirred the Maltese public up, and then made an impact to the broader extent, dependent on the politics of the foreign forces in Malta. Namely, while Malta was under the Spanish government, Đurđević was supported by both English and French scholars. On the contrary, when it came under the English protectorate, the circumstances changed and English writers stood up for the Maltese option. Something similar happened to the French writers when Malta was conquerred by Napoleon Bonaparte. Hence, although the Maltese tradition was supported by the Knights of Malta, Vatican and the English and French scholars, it could not stand the criticism for a long period. Today the problem of Saint Paul’s shipwreck site has become interesting again. The issue has been raised again by the German and Greek scholars. It proves that Đurđević was right when he wrote his extensive piece of work and set the problem on the international level.
This book entered the world bibliography about Saint Paul's shipwreck. It has been quoted by many scientists along with the mentioned controversy by Vicko Palunko since recently.
Attributes of the Đurđević’s book Divus Paulus I/8
Đurđević’s piece of work Divus Paulus belongs to the literary form of the scientific controversy. In accordance with that form of literature, the author, following the pattern of the best scholastic philosophers, firstly elaborated the opinions of his opponents. He called them the Philomaltenses (pro-Maltese). Secondly, he denied them by the means of the thorough analysis of the Biblical text accompanied by the numerous quotations of many writers from different periods of time. He consulted writers from the period of antiquity, the priests as well as his contemporaries. He was acquainted with some of those authors personally.
As a starting point of his argument, he used the key words from the chapters 27 and 28 of the Acts. The Philomaltenses distorted their form or the meanining and interpreted them in their own favour. Therefore, at the very beginning, he presented the text on the shipwreck from the Acts in three versions: the Greek original, the Vulgate and his own translation of the Greek original into Latin. The differences between the Vulgate and his translation are not immense, but they are definitely significant because Đurđević two key words euroclidon and diatalasson translated in a different manner giving them different meanings. In the Vulgate the name of the wind euroclidon - the violent south wind was replaced by the Greek-Latin compound euroaquilon, whereas the original word diathalasson was kept in its original form. On the other hand Đurđević did not change the original Greek name of the wind, whereas the word diathalasson he translated as locum bimarem (the place with two seas).
Contents of Đurđević’s book Divus Paulus I/9
Đurđević based his book on interpretation of the earlier mentioned key words. He divided it in eight chapters which he called inspectiones using the Latin term. Then again he divided each chapter into separate sections according to the subject matter he elaborated there. He called those sections diatriba in the sense of the harsh criticism. The mentioned inpections are preceded by the solemn Dedication to the three Paduan Academics, Carlo Ruzzini, Andrea Superante and Pietro Grimano and followed by Introduction, Description of island of Mljet, Summary of each inspection and Bibliography. These titles, next to the mentioned eight inspections, are the subject of the further presentation of this introductory study. It must be mentioned that the book, after having been examined by the inquisitor Tomasso Maria Gennari who had proved nothing against Catholic religion or against the principles and customs of the fine behaviour, received the official imprimatur stamped on page 53, on 19 February 1729.
II. Description of the Particular Chapters of Đurđević’s Divus Paulus
The Solemn Dedication II/1
The reason why Đurđević dedicated his book Divus Paulus to the distinguished persons of Padua, and not to his compatriots does not lie in a contempt nor a repulsion towards Dubrovnik and its inhabitants, but on the contrary, it lies in the intention to avoid the possible harm he could do to the city and to the Ragusan Republic. Đurđević could foresee that he would become an object of disaproval and persona non grata for the Knights of Malta. That was exactly what happened. The Knights of Malta were some sort of the military police at that time. They caused fear and trembling in the Mediterranean. Even the Ragusans tremendously feared them. As an example, we can see that in 1748 the Senate decreed the full day genuflection before the Blessed Sacrament in the church of St. Blaise followed by the hymn Holy God We Praise Thy Name because God liberated the ship of the Ragusan captain Ljubibratić where the Knights of Malta found the weapons meant for the Turkish sultan. In fact, that year, somewhere in Mediterranean, the great master of the Knights of Malta stopped the mentioned ship, had it searched and found the suspicious weapons. When the news about it reached Dubrovnik, the Senate made a vow to give a hundred ducats to the poor and gave an order to keep the mentioned votive offerings. Under the circumstances, if Đurđević’s work was released under the Ragusan patronage, Dubrovnik would doubtlessly suffer great political inconveniences and Đurđević must have been aware of it. Therefore he asked for the imprimatur (official permission to print the book) in Venice. He did not dedicate it to the Ragusans but to the three Paduan Academics who were engaged as the tutors of the Academy instead. Đurđević addressed them in a fine and solemn manner elaborating why he had decided to ask them for a patronage. Namely, apart from being the descendents of the noble ancestry, they also happened to be very wise, educated and respectable people. They were also well known for their approachability and generosity. Though a foreigner Đurđević was accepted into their company and became a regular member of their Academy in the same noble-minded manner as his compatriots Juraj Dubrovčanin (Georgius Raguseus) and Franjo Krasić (Franciscus Crassus) had previously been accepted by their predecessors. He also proudly mentioned his maternal great-grandfather Dominik Zlatarić who was highly positioned as a rector of the Paduan University. After that he pointed out the power and strength of the Venice Republic and its merit for the safety of the Christianity. In a manner of the sycophant he called Venice The Queen of the Adriatic Sea which was particularly blessed by the Saint Paul’s miraculous shipwreck survival near the island of Mljet. Đurđević made point that Venice always supported the tradition claiming that the shipwreck took place in the Adriatic Sea. Naturally, after all those praises he wrote in his solemn dedication to the Paduan Academics and to the Venetian government, Đurđević easily got imprimatur issued on 19 February 1729. The book was revised and approved by the inquisitor Toma Maria Gennari as he found nothing against Catholic religion and principles of good behaviour in it.
The Paragraph on the Shipwreck Description of the Acts of the Apostles II/2
As previously mentioned Đurđević immediately after the solemn dedication presented the text of the shipwreck description in three versions: as the translation from the Vulgate, as the Greek original and his own translation of the Greek original into Latin. Comparing his translation with the Vulgate we can see that Đurđević actually translated the original in more comprehensible Latin language and he did not change the meaning of the Vulgate text. Nevertheless, he translated two key words, as previously mentioned, in a different manner from Vulgate, i.e. the name of the wind and the description of the rock where the ship ran aground. In the original the wind is called euroclidon and the rock is described as diathalasson in the sense that it was either surrounded by the water from two sides or it was situated in the strait, namely the passage from one sea to another as it was previously discussed. The Vulgate uses the Greek-Latin compound word euroaquilon to name the wind and the original word diathalasson to describe the rock. On the other hand, Đurđević left the name of the wind in its original Greek form but translated the term diathalasson into Latin locum bimarem – the place with two seas.
Both of these words euroclidon and diathalasson are very important to determine the shipwreck site. The first one denotes the tempestuous and violent wind which tossed the vessel across the Adriatic Sea for 13 days and the other one determines the appearance of the rock where the ship ran aground. These were the issues Đurđević discussed in the following chapters.
From the ancient times, it has become customary for the author, when writing the scientific work, to present it by an introductory text which is simply called Introduction or Proemium (in Latin). It is a sort of plan, programme or schedule of the discussion. It is intended to introduce the reader to the contents, the layout and the significance of the book material. Often, if the book has not the preface, the introductory part brings about some personal details, i.e. the reasons why the author decided to write about particular problem or the difficulties he had while collecting the materials or doing the research or while printing the book. Ignjat Đurđević completely adopted the procedure in his book Divus Paulus. Therefore he wrote rather extensive introductory text by which he, through 17 points, thoroughly introduced the reader to the problem of determination of the actual Saint Paul the Apostle's shipwreck site.
At the very beginning he explicitly points to the essence of the problem introducing the reader in medias res, as the ancient Romans used to say. The translation of his introductory words would be as follows: I say and I claim that before the chivalrous Hospitaller Order of St. John moved to African Melita, the glory of the Saint Paul’s shipwreck site had been granted, without any hesitation or doubt, to Illyrian Melita.
Then the glory, by care of all, suddenly turned from our island to another and under the rule of the new religious leaders grew gloriously embellished. The attention should be payed to the expression by care of all. Namely, the Knights of Malta used to be the pillar of the European resistance against the Turks. Therefore, they were supported by all European countries, especially Vatican. Apart from being competent soldiers and military leaders, they were also extremely skilful diplomats which was natural to expect as many of them, especially the great masters, were the sons of the respectable European patrician families with influence at imperial courts and therefore recommended to the European potentates. They were given generous moral and financial support for their projects including the promotion of the Saint Paul the Castaway cult. Malta was built on generous help of all, as Đurđević said. It is known today as the city island with the magnificent churches, palaces and fortresses which, by beauty, do not get behind the similar edifices of Vatican or great European metropolitan cities. Behind that ambitious construction enterprise lays an interesting awareness of the Saint Paul's shipwreck in Malta as a spiritual background atmosphere.
As the Knights of St John moved to Malta in 1530 and Đurđević printed his book in 1730, it means that the period of the tradition of Mljet fading away took 200 years in full. In his introductory text Đurđević reprehends the Croats because they silently aproved of that practice instead of raising their voices for the defence of truth because the supporters of the Maltese tradition whom he calls the Philomaltenses, by the fake practice enhanced the Maltese tradition. They developed the cult of Saint Paul in Malta on the verge of the superstition, namely by selling the so called Maltese soil and the viper's eyes and tongue relics around Europe as a cure against the viper's poison based on the tale that snakes on Malta were permanently deprived of their venomousness by Saint Paul. The series of similar details is discussed in the following chapters. Heinz Warneche in his previously quoted books described the way of expansion of Saint Paul's cult in Malta. According to him the cult of Saint Paul in Malta actually started with arrival of the Knights of St John in the 16th century. In order to elevate the religious awareness of the Maltese they started emphasizing the figure of Saint Paul as a symbol of Christian defense against the Turks who were trying to impose the Islam and Islamic lifestyle to the Western countries. For that purpose they obtained the relics of Saint Paul and they became the central part of the Paul's cult. They were building many churches dedicated to Saint Paul all along the Maltese islands. Four of them now are cathedrals (Medina, Rabat, Gozo, Valletta). Moreover, the great master Philippe Villiers de L´ Isle had the charter done under the name Plebs gratiam sancti Pauli nominat. His wish was to make an archival document on the centuries of devotion to Saint Paul in Malta. In 1608 another great master Adolf de Wignacourt had Paul's cave decorated. He also had the monumental church of Saint Paul and the adjacent Maltese college built. The cave was transformed into the crypt of the newly built church. The supernatural sized statue by sculptor Melchior Gaf˙á was placed there. At the same time the church of Saint Publius, the first Maltese bishop allegedly nominated by Saint Paul the Apostle, was also built in the neighbourhood. Besides they coaxed the European secular and religious potentates to systematically encourage the pilgrimage to the new Paul's shrines in Malta. Around 1650 the bay in Rabat was drawn in the nautical map as the Bay of Saint Paul. Đurđević followed the process from Mljet but also from Padua, Venice, Rome and Naples when he was there, as well as from Malta. There is no doubt that he visited Malta because he mentioned that he had read an ancient Roman inscripture there which he quoted in his book Divus Paulus.
Đurđević knew that the Maltese tradition on the Saint Paul's shipwreck had no original foundation and that it was the product of imagination of the religious Christians created on reading the chapters 27 and 28 of the Acts of the Apostles. Therefore he decided to oppose the strong and glorious enemy as the Knights of Malta really were at that time. Also he opposed the part of the European scientific circle who supported the Maltese promotion of the Saint Paul's cult. He did that in the name of the justice and truth, as he was asked by his compatriots. He admitted that he was afraid to confront such great number of very powerful opponents, the more so as he found easier to educate than to reeducate, as the ancient writers had claimed. Also, if the lie was told before the truth, it would be more appealing than the truth itself. As the Knights of Malta managed to root the fake statements about the Saint Paul's shipwreck in Malta around all the European provinces and reigns, his fight was against an enormous number of opponents. Nevertheless in spite of the Pythagore's advice 'do not stride outside the common path' or 'do not oppose the opinion of the majority', he decided to oppose because the truth must win and it always does in the end. Besides he was too proud to listen to the Philomaltenses’ persistant provocations about the Adriatic Sea stretching to Africa, about big Maltese poisonous vipers, about curative properties of the Maltese soil and other nonsense supporting the religious awareness in Malta which should not be the substance of faith. By that practice the Philomaltenses, some of them prominent and famous, could not build the true fame neither to Malta nor to themselves, but on the other hand, they humiliated both themselves and Malta because the true fame can be achieved only by showing the respect to truth and justice.
Description of the Island of Mljet II/4
After the harsh introductory words Đurđević softened and in an almost poetic mode described the island of Mljet - its geographical and political position. He informed us that it was an island in the Adriatic Sea under the dominion of the Ragusan Republic and the Benedictine abbey of Saint Mary on the lake of the same island. He also informed us about its distance in feet from the island of Korčula on its west side and the island of Šipan in the east. The Croatian coast is three thousand feet away to the north of Mljet. Epidaurus lies on the distance of six thousand feet. Italy is 120 thousand feet away on the opposite side. After the brief presentation of the map of Mljet, he depicted the island's natural beauties informing us about five great natural harbours on the island, suitable for hosting the large ships. Nearby one of those harbours, a large city - palace was built. It was second largest palace on the east coast of the Adriatic next to the Diocletian's Palace in Split. It grew into the settlement, at present time called Polače, still decorated by the ancient Roman entrance gate.
The mainland is hilly and overgrown with dense forest abounding in venomous snake nests, their venom being deadly. The bitten man dies in great pain, his body being of lead colour. Besides the dense forests, Mljet abounds in pasture and cultivable fields. A big sea lake with a spacious islet and a Benedictine monastery on it is considered the pearl of the island. The monastery and the Romanic church of Saint Mary, where the miraculous image of the Mother of God is being kept and honoured by many pilgrims from the distant parts of Bosnia and Serbia, were built there in the ancient times. There is also a grave of the Bosnian prince, the son of the king Toma. He came to the pilgrimage there. Unfortunatelly, he got ill and died in the monastery. He was buried in the chapel of the Our Miraculous Lady of Mljet.
Should there be an idyll in the world, it is hidden in the lake of Mljet and its islet surrounded by the clear blue sea with all kinds of edible fish, seashell and crab. The branches of pinetrees sink into the sea to quench their thirst in the clear seawater giving place to oysters to breed and multiply on their leaves. It may be said, without any exaggeration whatsoever, that both birds and fish lay their eggs on the same stem.
After the picturesque description of the natural beauties, Đurđević presented us the brief history of Mljet reviewing with special care the war of the Roman emperor Octavian Augustus against the people from Neretva, Korčula and Mljet in 35 BC. The emperor was wounded in the war. He was hit by the catapulted stone. The catapult was the basic weapon the inhabitants of Mljet used. As a part of the historic overview, Đurđević lists the authors who wrote about Mljet. The inhabitants themselves were, according to Đurđević, modest and simple, very hospitable, pious and rightful. They keep the traditions of their old, proud of the fact that Saint Paul swam on their island after the shipwreck and that he stayed in the neighbouring village Korita for three months. Đurđević's description of Mljet would not be complete unless he gave us an overview of the mythological tales on nymphs Calypso and Melita living in the cave on the top of the highest hill of Mljet, which he did.
Milan Rešetar thought the description of Mljet was the only value of the Đurđević's book. The description is in-depth and perceptive and those who know nothing about Mljet may have an impression that it was written with lots of poetic imagination. But those who have visited Mljet can easily make sure that Đurđević did not have to embellish its beauties because Mljet is simply gorgeous beyond any exaggeration.
List of the Authors Who Wrote about the Saint Paul's Shipwreck II/5
Prior to starting the main part of the discussion, Đurđević made, according to the requirements of the scientific work, a list of 501 writers, i.e. the scientific works used as the basis for writing the discussion. The authors and the books were subdivided into three parts. The first part contains 15 writers Philomaltenses and the abbreviated form of their works. The second part encompasses 18 unbiased writers whom Đurđević called heterodoxi and he did not quote their works. The third layer encompasses 468 writers and works he used to compose the discussions. Thus he quoted 501 writers and their books which he had consulted and used to help him discard the statement that the Saint Paul's shipwreck took place on Malta instead of Mljet. That list, if we added the writers quoted in text of the particular titles, would be a lot longer. Without any hesitation we may say that the bibliography is immense. It reveals to us the extent of the research project Đurđević started when he decided to write his book Divus Paulus, but it also reveals the amazing erudition of the author. Such immense bibliography became a source of the problem for me, not only at the moment I started to research this subject but all the time while I was writing, as I was deeply aware that it was not possible to reach all the titles quoted by Đurđević in his book, which I, as a writer of the introductory study, should have consulted. Therefore I decided not to interfere with Đurđević's scientific accompanying apparatus but to leave it as it was with all the abbreviations of the authors' names and their books. In times of Đurđević, such manner of quoting the authors was customary and scientifically acceptable. The reality is different today. Each serious scientific work requires the abbreviations deposed and the basic information given about the authors. It is understandable that neither I nor the translator could have done that because it is a project which could be completed successfully only by the team of experts, providing they had all those antique and rare books Đurđević had quoted at their disposal.
Summaries of the Individual Chapters II/6
Prior to the central part of the discussion Đurđević wrote a brief summary of the each chapter. They are entitled: On the Philomaltenses and Philodalmatae, On the Adriatic, On the Melitean Venomous Snake, On the Barbarians, On the Hurricane Wind, On the Answers to the Remaining Questions. The summaries are brief but in-depth outlines of the materials discussed in the following chapters. They serve as a sort of the draft which has become customary to use at the beginning of the scientific publications since recently. At the ancient times it was called Status quaestionis (Latin for: description of the question). I do not intend to describe their content because they are more extensively discussed in the following chapters.
Chapter one – On the Philomaltenses and Philodalmatae II/7
Two mutually opposed traditions on the Saint Paul's shipwreck site were formed on two different islands of the same name but the graet distance between them. They also created two kinds of writers according to their supportive sympathy for the tradition of Malta or the tradition of Mljet. The former were called the Philomaltenses (the pro-Maltese) and the latter the Philodalmatae (the pro-Dalmatians). He used those expressions in his further presentation as termini technici. In his rather extensive text Đurđević first thoroughly introduced the reader to the scientific and researching abilities of the writers Philomaltenses quoting the deficiencies of their publications. He divided them into two groups. The former were, as he claimed scholastic and very educated, but deficient in knowledge about the relevant subject. Therefore, although they discussed an important matter, they appeared as ignorants because they confused the relevant terms, objects, locations and events. Đurđević tried to devaluate their statements through the fourteen points. His objection to the educated, scholastic and famous was their emotional attachment to tradition so they could not make a step ahead and investigate the issue, in the name of the truth and justice, to show that their predecessors had been wrong. Đurđević was very perceptive in his description of the inaccurate statements. He quoted the statements, the books where those statements had been issued and the writers who supported them.
There is an enormous number of the ridiculous statements and I shall mention only a few: they claim that Saint Paul deprived the Maltese snakes of their venom and pronounced the Maltese soil had the curative abilities against the venom; that the island of Melita where Saint Paul swam ashore after the shipwreck was situated between Epirus and Italy; that Afromelita was situated in Illyricum; that Saint Paul was shipwrecked in the Adriatic Sea and then swam to Afromelita; they confuse the Crete islet of Cauda with the Maltese Gaudos; they also confuse the Crete cape Salmone with the Maltese cliff in so called Maltese Bay of Saint Paul; they claim that there were not any suitable harbours on the island of Mljet where ships could winter in; that the Roman governor of Afromelita Publius was consecrated as the first Maltese bishop by Saint Paul making a fake reference to the old martyrologies which lacked the name of that Maltese bishop; that Phoenix was not a harbour in Crete but the name of the province opposite to Crete; they transfer the whole written history of Mljet to Malta, e.g. the war between the emperor Octavian Augustus against the inhabitants of Neretva, Korčula and Mljet is transferred to Malta and they only replaced the name of Augustus by the name of Caesar; they claim Acacius the Melitean bishop in Armenia was from Malta and the well known Melitean council took place there too. In the same reckless manner they propagate the mythological tales about nymphs Calypso and Melita and the cave, which the ancient writers claimed the home of the nymph Calypso, they transfer from the high hill of the island of Mljet to Malta. In the same manner they appropriate the edible small dogs from Mljet claiming them Maltese. In a word all the cultural and historic particularities of the island of Mljet they recklessly and groundlessly appropriated and transferred to Malta. Because of such great number of the inaccurate statements Đurđević denied the authenticity to the Philomaltenses and in following chapters he denied all their attempts to prove that the shipwreck of Saint Paul had taken place in seawaters of Malta.
Chapter two – On the Adriatic II/8
Discussion on Adriatic (Latin for: Adria) is one of the most extensive, the longest and it may be said, the most significant chapters of the whole book. It is crucial for determining the site of the shipwreck because we see that Saint Luke explicitly states that the shipwreck took place in the Adriatic. Therefore, Đurđević carefully approached to that issue, thoroughly and extensively collecting all the details. He was like a bee collecting the pollen and flying from a flower to another. He managed to find the detailed information written by many the old author about that sea. It was before Claudius Ptolemy brought the confusion among the writers. Ptolemy actually stretched the boundaries of the Adriatic to the east part of Sicily and following his model, the writers Philomaltenses extended the same boundaries up to the African coast. That way they could place Malta in the Adriatic Sea and they could prove that the shipwreck of Saint Paul took place in the Maltese seawaters.
Ptolemy was very unreliable in his description of the Adriatic. We can see it from the map of his older contemporary Strabo. The map was a part of his work Geographica where he quoted names and specified the boundaries of all the seas in the Mediterranean. He used the Greek term pelagos to denote the seas in the Mediterranean. He enumerated them in following manner: Ibericon pelagos was the sea next to the present coastline of Spain; Ligusticon pelagus expanded along the present French and Italian coast, whereas Sardonen pelagos spread around the island of Sardinia towards Africa. Between Italy and Sicily there was Tyrhenicon pelagos and Sikelikon pelagos was between Sicily and Peloponnese. Between Italy and Dalmatia there was Adrias – Jonium pelagon, Aiuguion pelagon was between Greece and Turkey, Kretikon pelagon between Crete and Greece and around Asia Minor there was Pamphylion pelagon, along the coast of Egypt there was Aigyption pelagos and Libycos pelagon was along the coast of Libya. The whole of the Mediterranean was called Entos Thalassa. Thus, that contemporary of Claudius Ptolemy did not identify the Mediterranean with Adria. He thought the Mediterranean encompassed different seas which had their names, boundaries and surface areas. Therefore, Đurđević considered him a good authority and quoted him in the polemics with the Philomaltenses. The fact that he described the Ionian and Adriatic Sea in the same sentence does not mean that he claimed them to be the same sea with two different names. He actually wanted to point out that they both jointly border with the Apennine and Balcan peninsula when looking from the east at the boundary to the west, on the line where the distance between these two peninsulas in Otranto Strait is the shortest. Đurđević, following the model of Strabo, described the seas and their boundaries in accordance with the writers who had lived before Ptolemy. First of all he described the Adriatic, then the Ionian Sea and after that the seas around Sicels and Ausones (Mare Siculum et Mare Ausonium). He seems to be sailing from one cape to another, from one bay to another, measuring the surface area and boundaries of each of those seas as described by ancient Greek and Roman writers, at the same time quoting the extracts from their works to support his own elaboration. The chapter is extensive and in original it comprises 81 pages of the densely printed text. The number of writers he uses to elaborate his own statements is enormous and the thorough analysis would excede the capacities of the planned space of this study.
The controversy is divided into six extensive diatribes or theses and each diatribe is subdivided in sections or statements. The first diatribe e.g. comprises 28 statements of the following content:
1. What do the expressions the Adriatic and the Adriatic Sea stand for? What area does the Ionian Strait occupy and of what size? To what extent do the Seas of Sicels and Ausones stretch out according to the ancient pre-Ptolemy writers?
2. The Philomaltenses inaccurately interprete Strabo to justify their arguments.
3. Until the appearance of Claudius Ptolemy there was none of the ancient writers to justify the Philomaltenses' statements.
4. The Philomaltenses inaccurately interprete the ancient pre-Ptolemy writers Ovid, Lucanus and Papinius.
5. It must not be claimed that Saint Luke was not sure about what the Adriatic stood for, on the contrary, it was not obscure to him whatsoever. He must have known everything about it as his contemporaries did.
6. The concept of the Adriatic must not be used ambiguously as an appellative but exclusively as a proper noun reffering to the Adriatic Sea only.
Đurđević admitted that Ptolemy displaced the Adriatic from its historical and actual present boundaries and extended it up to Sicily. He also refused every possibility that at the time of Saint Luke the Mediterranean was called the Adriatic. It occurred to noone before Ptolemy. In accordance with that, he proved that at the time of Saint Luke it never happened that someone would displace the Adriatic outside the boundaries of the Otranto Strait. The first one who caused the misconception was, as previously said, the mentioned geographer Claudius Ptolemy, who lived at the time of the reign of Pius and Marcus Antoninus, ca 150 AD, whilst Saint Luke wrote the Acts in 58 AD, namely 120 years before the appearance of Claudius Ptolemy who was often quoted by the Philomaltenses to justify their reasons and prove that the shipwreck of Saint Paul happened in Malta. Quoting Ptolemy they divided the Adriatic into two parts. The present Adriatic Sea they called the Adriatic bay and displaced the Adriatic Sea into the area from the Otranto Strait and Sicily all the way up to Africa. In that way they neutralized the objection that Malta did not belong to the Adriatic Sea where, according to the statement of Saint Luke, the shipwreck took place. The majority of the Catholic Biblicists still consider that opinion correct. In translation of the Acts, they note that the shipwreck in question happened in Malta. Bearing in mind such interpretation of the Philomaltenses, Đurđević directed the discussion about the Adriatic towards Saint Luke's concept of Adria. In scientific world it was well known, that the Adriatic Sea occupied the sea area between Italy and Dalmatia. It was not some sea stretching from the Alps to Africa, if we include present Adriatic into that conception. As a proof for it, Đurđević presented us the extracts from the works by 20 Greek and 17 Latin pre-Ptolemy writers. It can easily be seen that they never thought the Adriatic was the large Mediterranean Sea stretching to Africa. It was always considered a specific sea separated from Ionian Sea by Otranto Strait. The Greek writers, according to Đurđević, are: Orpheus Minor or Crotoniatus, Sophocles, Aeschylus, Scylax of Caryanda, Pindar, Herodotus, Thucydides, Euripides, Isocrates, Stephen Byzantine, Apollonius of Rhodes, Aristotle, Theophrastus, Theocritus, Polybius, Scymnus of Chios, Diodor Siculus, Dionysius Periegetes, Flavius Josephus, Appian. On the part of the Latin pre-Ptolemy writers, Đurđević mentioned following authors: Lucretius Carus, Tullius Cicero, Valerius Catullus, Julius Caesar, Titus Livius (Livy), Horatius Flaccus (Horace), Propertius, Valerius Maximus, Pomponius Mela, Annaeus Seneca, Lucanus (Lucan), Plinius Secundus (Pliny the Elder), Julius Solinus, Valerius Flaccus, Papinius Statius, Cornelius Tacitus, Annaeus Florus. It is obvious, as we can see from the list that the number of pre-Ptolemy writers thinking of the Adriatic as the bay between Italy and Dalmatia was substantional. Next to each writer Đurđević wrote the title of his work and a brief text clarifying that in pre-Ptolemy time the concept of the Adriatic referred only to the restricted sea area which by no means exceeded the boundaries of the Otranto Strait. He also aborted every doubt that Saint Luke could have mistaken about the name of the sea where the shipwreck had happened. Saint Luke's education and knowledge which was on the level of the greatest intellectuals of that time absolutely excluded the possibility of such mistake. Đurđević assumed, referring to the work Haeresi of the bishop of Cypruss Epiphany who lived in the 4th century AD that Saint Luke had sailed across the Adriatic before the shipwreck, as a Gospel Evangelist. Even Saint Paul should have known the Adriatic Sea because he, as mentioned in the Epistle to Titus, was about to winter in Nicopolis which was situated in close neighbourhood of the Adriatic Sea. For that purpose, by the end of the chapter on the Adriatic, Đurđević thought it was necessary to light up the personality of Saint Luke as a writer, historian and itellectual and to give the Acts of the Apostles their actual literary name The Apostolic History because of what they actually were. The chapter On Adriatic really represents an encyclopedia of the geographical terminology from the antique period which can be used as an adequat and competent handbook for the future scientific researchers of the ancient geographical history of the Mediterranean.
Chapter three – On Melitean Venomous Snake II/9
Chapter three like the previous one is very extensive. Here Đurđević elaborated at large the statements of the Maltese that after Paul shook the venomous snake back into the fire, all the snakes in Malta, permanently lost their venomous power. Moreover, the Maltese soil suddenly gained curative features, especially the earth from the cave where Saint Paul allegedly was imprisoned. It was sold throughout Europe in the special packages as a miraculous cure against the bites of all the venomous creatures. After that he elaborates the origin of the Maltese snake-like little stones glossopetras. Next to the text, Đurđević attached the illustration of the exemplar forms of the Maltese natural fossil. In order to deny these superstitions the Maltese think miraculous signs of Saint Paul, Đurđević wrote the theological treatise on the miracle. The phenomenon is considered miraculous according to theology only in case of the following three musts: there must be obvious either the disability of the performer, or the disability of the object, or the disability in the way of realisation of some act or phenomenon. This means that the miracle may be performed only in cases when the nature is incapable of performing some act or operation, out of any of three mentioned reasons. On the basis of these principles, Đurđević denied that Saint Paul miraculously had deprived the snakes of their venom in Malta and gave evidence, quoting many ancient writers that in Malta there had never been poisonous snakes. The discussion was supported by the discoveries that there were regions in many parts of the world where venomous snakes could not survive, on the contrary, if they were imported, they would die. The fact was that in Malta there had never been any poisonous snakes. Đurđević took it as his strongest evidence to prove that Malta could not have been the place of the shipwreck of Saint Paul because he could not have been bitten by the snake on the island where the snakes had never lived. On the other hand, Đurđević pointed out, the island of Mljet abounded in many snake nests of the most venomous species in Europe. Saint Luke wrote that the deadly venomous snake had bitten Saint Paul on his hand in Melita while throwing a pile of brushwood into the fire. Therefore, Đurđević drew a conclusion that it had to be the island of Mljet which was a motherland of those deadly dangerous creatures.
As far as the Maltese fossils with snakelike heads, teeth or tongue were concerned, Đurđević agreed about their finding site but also proved that they came up as a result of the natral process of petrification of the organic remnants of the sea animals and plant products. In addition to the controversy in this chapter Đurđević also gave notice on letter from 28 August 1728 of the most prominent Paduan and world known physician of that time Antonio Vallisneri. He performed very interesting experiments for the purpose of measuring the poison strength of the gambol from Mljet delivered to Padua by Đurđević. The physician in his letter, published as a whole by Đurđević in the book, claimed that it was the strongest poison ever found at European venomous snakes.
The data Đurđević issued about any of mentioned subjects are amazing. The text reveals the writer of the huge knowledge in the area of theology, medicine, pharmacology, geography, classical and medieval literature. The text is up to date and still very interesting from the scientific point of view.
Chapter four – On Barbarians II/10
One of the key words for determination of the island where Saint Paul was cast ashore after the shipwreck is the expression Barbarians. Namely, Saint Luke explicitly indicated that the island of the shipwreck was inhabited by the Barbarian natives. The Barbarians could not speak Latin, or Greek, or Jewish language, hence they could not understand any European language of the cultural world whatsoever. In ancient times, not only Mljet but also its neighbouring islands as well as the Dalmatian mountainous regions were inhabited by the tribes who could not speak 'civilized' languages. The ancient writers called them Barbarians as Đurđević said. On the other hand Malta was Romanised and Hellenized which means that Saint Paul and his fellow castaways could not be benevolently hosted in Malta by the Barbarians, but by already Hellenized or Romanized inhabitants. Đurđević took that fact as a basis for his opinion that the shipwreck actually had happened in the waters of Mljet. For that purpose he also did a research on the history of Malta and the history of its inhabitants. He found proof at many ancient writers that at the time of Saint Paul the island of Malta was really Hellenized and Romanized. In the same way he investigated the history of Mljet and also on the basis of the ancient Greek and Roman writers and proved that the inhabitants of Mljet at the time of the Saint Paul's shipwreck were part of the pirate tribe of Neretva and Korčula. They were attacking the merchant vessels on their way from the east to the west, especially on the navigation route from Alexandria to Aquileia. Therefore the Romans in 35 BC, during the rule of the emperor Octavian Augustus, started a severe war against them, defeated and almost extincted them. The Romans destroyed their military power and imposed the Roman administration at the same time.
Chapter five – On Hurricane Wind II/11
The actual position of the island Melita where the tempestuous wind carried the ship ashore and the ship went aground in the shoal, should not be controversial at all because Saint Luke informed us not only about the name of the stormy gale but also about its nature. Thus, when establishing the type of the wind that Saint Paul's vessel was caught into, we should exclude the short-term winds such as the north wind or bora, and all kinds of west winds as they are all short-term and regularly rainless winds. Also the alternative name from some Greek originals and Latin translation of Vulgate should be disregarded. Instead of the word euroclidon they use the word euroaquilon and it has different meaning from the southeast wind, whereas the Greek word euros may mean only southeast wind and nothing else. An annex to the word, i.e. aquilon has the character of an adjective, according to Đurđević, meaning violent, powerful and stormy. Both are nautical compound words which raise philological difficulties. The meaning of the word euroclidon is a constant bone of contention for the various researchers from the ancient times, especially for the Philomaltenses. It is a compound word composed of two expressions or words – euros used by Homer in the meaning of the south wind and clidon which is used as an adjective in the meaning strong, powerful. Therefore the compound euroclidon should be translated as the stormy south wind or southeast wind. On the other hand, the word euroaquilon is composed of the mentioned Greek expression euros and Latin expression aquilo in the meaning north wind, but as mentioned before, also as violent, powerful and stormy. If we consider that word in the meaning of north wind, it appears obviously incompatible with the expression south wind, so in its root it shows certain contradiction as those two winds cannot go together. Therefore we cannot literaly translate the expression euroaquilon as southnorth wind because in that way we would create a nonsense word. There was a problem with transcription of that word from the times when the first copies and translations of the Holy Scripture were done. It was not neatly copied and translated. The printed Greek texts of the Acts, the word euroclidon was preserved up to the 20th century and only the most recently printed patterns of the Greek original replaced that expression by the eurakilon (northwest wind), translated in Latin as euroaquilo. The expression euroclidon is older and it should be used for the south tempestuous wind as known to Homer. It was not a miraculous but absolutely natural, even regular phenomenon, happening every autumn on more than one occasion in Otranto and Adriatic. It is a long-lasting and violent south wind with dark rainy clouds blowing from the Ionian Sea along the Adriatic and creating big waves reaching 10 meters of height. Such storms may last, as we previously said, up to 15 days. Thus if there is something ambiguous about the terminology of the mentioned expressions, the picture is getting clearer when we read the description of the wind itself in the Acts of the Apostles. The wind was tossing the vessel of Saint Paul across the Adriatic for 13 days which indicates that it was the long-lasting, rainy and stormy wind and could not be any of the short-term winds, such as north wind, west wind and some others. Therefore it is absolutely natural to translate the word euroclidon by the name of the south or southeast stormy wind known in Croatian language as šilok (sirocco, scirocco, jugo). Even if we consent that the island of Malta may be situated in so called Adriatic Sea, the vessel could be cast into the waters of Malta by the described southeast stormy wind only by miracle and St Luke never mentioned a miracle in his description.
However, the Philomaltenses do not agree. They ignore the facts and interprete the Greek and Latin expression differently. They say the term euroclidon is not original. The original name for the hurricane wind in Greek original is written as eurakilon. According to them euros would be the east wind and akilon the north, so it should be called the northeast wind. This was accepted by all recent translators of the Acts of the Apostles in spite of the fact that it is not longlasting and it does not correspond to the Saint Luke's description.
By his discussion about the hurricane gale Đurđević confirms himself as an expert in the medieval navigation skills. He himself points it out saying that in the previous chapters his discussion was done from the point of view of a philosopher and a geographer, whereas he now takes over as a steersman, i.e. captain who must be able to undestand and recognize the direction, strength, origin and nature of all the particular winds. Indeed while reading the elaboration of this chapter we get an impression that Đurđević thoroughly and to detail studied even that material and competently explained it as a confirmation of his attitude that the shipwreck by the sequence of the natural phenomena happened in the waters of Mljet. He illustrated his discussion by the Aristotelian wind-rose and the map of Mediterranean with an account of the names and directions of all the winds appearing at that area.
Chapter Six – On Publius the Melitean II/12
A separate chapter in Đurđević's work belongs to the chief official of the island Melita who, according to the Saint Luke's record hosted Saint Paul in his home and Saint Paul healed his dysentery afflicted father from illness. The Maltese weaved the monstrous legend about that respectable Roman. According to that legend Saint Paul made him bishop in Malta and after that he was identified with the Athenian bishop who succeeded the first known bishop Dionysius the Areopagite. The writers inclined to agree with Afro-Maltese theory on the shipwreck of Saint Paul exaggerated the role and figure of Publius creating a special and overrespectable public person assigning him a rank and social role he did not have. First of all, they explain the Greek expression protos – the first as a Maltese particularity. It denotes the chief official of the Maltese state government. Đurđević himself saw the expression in Malta, written on an inscription from the Roman times. Đurđević presented the inscription to us in its original form and in Latin traslation. Nevertheless, Đurđević proved that the word protos did not stand for any Maltese particularity as the Philomaltenses thought. We can see that the expression was used in many other places, for example in Antioch but also elsewhere, or as Đurđević said everywhere outside Malta. In the same way he denied that Publius had been the first Maltese bishop. First of all, he established that Saint Luke in his record on the Saint Paul's staying in Melita did not write a word about it and if it had happened, the writer of the Acts would have most certainly mentioned it. Providing us with evidence he also discarded the authenticity of the Maltese legends pronouncing some of the martyrologies which the Afro-Maltese quoted fakes. The Early Christian Greek writers, as Đurđević claimed, mentioned a bishop Publius in Athens, but they never mentioned that he had formerly been a bishop in Malta and then transferred to Athens. In accordance to that, on the basis of many writers he had studied, Đurđević thought the tale on Publius as the first bishop of Malta and then Athens fake and without any historical relevance.
We must not forget to mention that the name of Publius was not unknown in the antiquity in the Ragusan area. Two tomb stones with the inscriptions of that name were found in Cavtat. The first inscription contains the name of Publius Marcius and another, the name of Publius Cornelius.
Chapter Seven – On Maltese Traditions II/13
The Maltese added to the events which had happened in the shipwreck of Saint Paul in Melita as described in the Acts of the Apostles. They made up many other events and stories. They started to believe in them and thought of them as of their ancient religious traditions. Đurđević quoted those events as follows: Saint Paul granted the soil of the island Malta an antidote power, he turned the snakes into the stones, he deprived all the creatures in Malta of poison, he baptized all the castaways and residents of Malta and Gozo, the neighbouring island, he transformed the caves into the churches and painted the icon of the Mother of Christ in the cave at Rabat, he consecrated the chief of the island as the bishop, he stroke water out of a rock, he linked Malta and Gozo in a phonic way, so that natives in Gozo could hear whatever was uttered in Malta despite of the distance of 10.000 feet, he left not only his feet engraved in the stone in Malta, but also his breast as a memento of nourishing the Maltese with milk of the Gospel as a comparison to a mother breast-feeding her baby and he shaped the very stone into the miraculous stick like the one he used himself. Another artifice should be added to these and it allegedly happened when Saint Paul, travelling from Malta to Rome, made a stop in the port of Reggio where he preached in an open space. While he was preaching the Word of God, the crickets in the surrounding fields made such loud noise chirping that it was absolutely impossible to hear Paul's voice. When Paul commanded them to stop chirping, they turned soundless. From that time up to present days the crickets in that region remained permanently silent. There is one more tale associated to that fabricated miracle. It was about some Paul's fellow countrymen and how they tried to stop Paul's comming to Rome. For that purpose they dashed to the emperor Nero with the gifts. They persuaded the emperor to command his formations detain Paul's access to Rome and have him killed. Therefore Paul changed the journey direction and made a stop in Syracuse on the island of Sicily, then again in Messina also in Sicily where he appointed the first bishop. The Maltese refer to their tradition when they say that the rock which is still called ditalas, as being surrounded by the sea on two sides, is their islet of Salmone. They also say that the path Paul took when cast ashore is so called Cala di S. Paolo and the chapel dedicated to Saint Paul stands on location where used to be the chief Publius' house. Those beliefs, Đurđević claimed, the Maltese saw as their national pride and thought high of them, identifying the beliefs with the apostolic tradition. Implying to the ridicule of those beliefs Đurđević explained the significance of the reasonable amount of religious tradition. It should not be confused for the superstition appearing at the individual believers or small religious groups as it was never property of the overall church. Then he denied each record of the Maltese tradition. He gave us the valid evidence against them, revealing the untruths, delusions and superstitions. His method of discarding the islet Salmone, i.e. Ditalas as a point where the Saint Paul's vessel ran aground raises interest. Namely Saint Luke wrote that the castaways had survived because they had swum and held the planks which would not have been necessary if the castaways could have stepped ashore immediatelly from the vessel.
In the last section of that chapter Đurđević gave us evidence that the Maltese long time after the shipwreck of Saint Paul had been pagans. As a proof he quoted from Ptolemy who, when he was describing Malta, wrote that there were temples of Juno and Heracles. He also mentioned the monument of Antoninus Pius, from the same period, who had been deified as God and after having collected the money, the Maltese had made him a monument with a divine inscription. That denied the statements that all the residents of Malta had embraced the Christianity after the shipwreck of Saint Paul.
Chapter eight – Answers to the Remaining Questions II/14
In chapter eight Đurđević deals with possible objections about the last part of the navigation route of Saint Paul, i.e. from Melita to Rome which can be briefed as follows: on the island of Mljet there was not a suitable harbour for the large ships to winter in; there was not any town in Mljet whatsoever; the Alexandrian vessel could not winter there as the navigation route did not lead to Mljet; the Alexandrian vessel put out to sea and anchored in Syracuse, which points that the shipwreck happened in Malta because Syracuse is nearby Malta; there was no mention of the Saint Paul's shipwreck in Mljet. Đurđević gave us an adequate and convincing answer to each of the mentioned objections, in his well known insightful manner. He proved that in Mljet there were many safe natural harbours, in ancient times, which could be suitable for the large ships to winter in. He also mentioned the harbour of Polače and the city which had developed around it. It was in our opinion, second largest urban settlement (villa) in Dalmatia, immediately after the Diocletian's Palace in Split. Further on, he points that the Alexandrian merchant ships were not sailing only in the direction of Rome but also towards the Adriatic towns of Italy and Dalmatia and that it was absolutely natural for them to winter in Mljet as they could be sheltered from the tempest and stormy waves there. He also said that the connections between Syracuse and Dalmatia had been very good and that the ancient Syracusans had built some Dalmatian towns, e.g. Hvar. Also the Saint Luke's choice of words in his description showed that the ship sailed from the Adriatic, i.e. from Mljet. He also discarded the objection that there was no memory on the shipwreck of Saint Paul in Mljet because there was a painting of the Saint Paul's shipwreck in the parish church. Also the strong inclination was present among the believers to name their children Pavao and Pavica. It was the only possible mention of the Saint Paul's staying on that island because the island had been devastated too many times by the pirates, Saracens, Turks and other conquerers. They were killing the inhabitants, forcing them into slavery, burning and demolishing the sacral and all the other buildings. In one of those war turmoils the previously mentioned Early Christian church of Saint Paul near Korita had most probably been ravaged.
Appendix to the Discussions– On Gourmet Small Dogs from Mljet II/15
At first sight an appendix On Small Dogs from Mljet seems a bit peculiar. Đurđević attached it by the end of the book. The reason why he did it was because he wanted to disclose the Maltese attempt of stealing their national dish from the people from Mljet. Namely, in the ancient times the special sort of small dog was bred in Mljet. They were called the Melitean dogs and later were known as Bononian or Bolognese small dogs. Their meat was used as a basic ingredient of the well known gourmet dish on the island of Mljet. Đurđević studied the ancient literature written about them from Aristotle further on. He proved that it really was an indigenous breed to the island of Mljet. The Maltese tried to steal it from Mljet. They did the same with the war between Romans and Narentines described by the ancient writers. The Maltese also stole from Mljet its mythological legend of the nymph Calypso and some other Roman and Greek myths associated with the islands of Korčula and Mljet. After all, they stole the Saint Paul's shipwreck tradition on the basis of nothing else but the coincidence of sharing the same name of the island, i.e. Melita, with Mljet.
Index of the Terms of Major Relevance for the Book II/16
At the end of his book Đurđević presented the index of some issues of the major importance in the book. Index is rather extensive, printed in fairly small font and double column format, on 11 sheets of paper.
Maps and Figures II/17
The book is illustated by 5 maps and 3 figures chosen by Đurđević.
In the map without the heading number, there is a drawing of the island of Mljet with the marginal parts of the islands of Šipan, Lastovo, Korčula and penninsula Pelješac. The map is clear-cut. All the populated places, bays and harbours of the island of Mljet are highlighted. The southeast part of the map is really interesting. There is a painting of the sailing boat in the sea and next to the boat the castaways swim holding plunks to reach safety on the shore of Saplunara. At the same time Saint Paul is painted standing on the shore and shaking the snake off his hand back into the fire. Saint Luke stands left from the fire and rightwards there are two natives of Mljet.
The map headed as tabula I shows the Mediterranean with all its pertaining seas and direction of all the winds blowing in that area. The size of the map exceeds the two pages' frame size. Therefore it is printed as an appendix after the Imprimatur and folded in the manner of the today's road map. The Mediterranean area is shaped as a circle and framed into the luxurious baroque graphic frame. The frame is decorated by 12 wiggly ribbons containing the Latin and Greek inscriptions for 12 major winds. They symbolize winds blowing out of the mouth of the twelve regularly arranged boys' heads (putti). At the upper part of the map there is the inscription or rather the interpretation of the map drawn by Đurđević according to the records of the pre-Ptolemy writers. It is set in a luxuriously decorated baroque frame. From the artistic point of view, the map represents very successful graphic which would be welcomed on the walls of the public places as a framed ornament.
The map drawn in tabula II shows the boundaries of the Ionian and the Adriatic Sea, from the point of view of the Greek geographer Strabo, when observed from the east towards the west.
The map drawn on tabula III shows the Adriatic Sea divided according to Pliny in Upper and Lower Sea (Adria Superior et Adria Inferior) with the Strait of Otranto.
The map on tabula IV shows Italy and Ionian Strait according to the geographer Polybius.
The maps are skilfully done and do not get behind the maps of that time considering their quality.
The figures show: the first figure in the text (p 146) presents the fossils from Malta which were sold by the Maltese as the sacred relics. The text in Latin below the figure means: These are the creatures or figures of the fish teeth and tongue fossils drawn long ago by Augustine Scylla the philosopher and painter. I collected them and, as it seems, proficiently explained them.
Another figure (p 206) presents Aristotle's twelve-wind system (wind-rose) in Mediterranean with their names.
The figure at the title page is especially attractive. It is almost identical to the sketch known by the name of 'Allegory of Truth' by the great baroque Venetian painter Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696-1770), which is kept and preserved today at Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The graphic at the top presents the map of the island of Mljet with pertaining sea. The map is not accurate and it seems that the painter draw it without looking at the geographic map of the Ragusan islands. On the right half of the picture there is a portrait of St Luke holding the Book of Gospels in his left hand. The Book is reclined to the chest of an ox, ox being a symbol of St Luke, and by his extended arm, Saint Luke points with his index finger to the place of the Saint Paul's shipwreck on the map. The figure of the woman in front of the mirror is a symbol of truth. She is holding in her hands an unfolded parchment rotulus with the inscribed text saying: While we were sailing the Adriatic and the island was called Mljet, which is highlighted as a motto on the front cover. The graphic is skilfully done as very fine pictorial addendum but it slightly falls behind the quality of Tiepolo's sketch. It was done by Italian Francesco Zucchi.
Since recently, the broad Croatian cultural public knew nearly nothing about the monumental piece of work written by Ignjat Đurđević about the shipwreck of Saint Paul in the seawaters near the Ragusan island of Mljet. Đurđević tried to protect an ancient Ragusan immaterial property which was actually 'stolen' from Mljet by the Knights of Malta. At present times such 'stealing' would not be possible, because the Ragusan tradition on the shipwreck of Saint Paul in the waters near the island of Mljet could be protected by means of international law. Yet, today we may anxiously say 'we got what we have deserved', but we are simply not allowed to ignore whatever had happened before. This Croatian translation of Đurđević's book should fulfill that purpose.
I qualified the book as monumental because Đurđević presented himself as a marvelous poet, which was not unknown to us, regarding his other works, but he also appeared, which was less known, as an elitist Latinist, scientist and scholar equal to any other famous Ragusan from different scientific fields such as Marin Getaldić, Nikola Gučetić or Ruđer Bošković. One wanders why it happened. I can find two reasons for that. Firstly, there was the language barrier. Namely, the book was written in very fine Latin language, but also in scientifically strictest sholastic manner. Therefore it could be read only by experts in Latin language and great scientists. Secondly, as the Ragusan old writers were studied mainly by the historians of literature, they were not especially interested in this scientific work by Đurđević. Also the negative evaluation of the prominent Slavist, expert on the Ragusan literature and authority par excellence, Milan Rešetar did not contribute to the popularity of the book. In my opinion, Rešetar did not actually read Đurđević's book as a whole, but he based his well known negative opinion on the writings of Rudolf Vimer and Frane Bulić. They denied the possibility of the Saint Paul's shipwreck on island of Mljet debating with Vicko Palunko who had an opposite opinion. I do not claim that, Đurđević's book is absolutely perfect. From the present point of view of the humanistic sciences I could find some small deficiences, one of them being an emphasized excessiveness of argument, but as a whole, it definitely is a significant project and great contribution to the understanding of the ancient, not only Croatian but also general history.
Today the language barrier has been declined by an exquisite translation of Jozo Marević. I also hope that this study has at least partially declined the misconceptions which Milan Rešetar brought into the valuation of the same work. Therefore I hope that the scientific work of Đurđević appears in better light in front of all of us.
Considering the problem issue on the Saint Paul's shipwreck site, I believe that anyone who will carefully read Đurđević's book will discover that the Maltese tradition of the Saint Paul's shipwreck does not hold water as many European Biblicists were made sure at the time the piece was printed. The truth is that it is not a literary work in the strict sense of the word. It is a great scientific work and it should be evaluated as such. It ought to be recognized and remembered by its excellency, as it deserves its place in the history of Croatian humanistic science.
During the second decade of the 20th century the identity of the island of Melita was subject of debate among scholars, namely between the professor of Biblical sciences of the University of Zagreb dr Rudolf Vimer who claimed that the shipwreck happened in Malta, and his opponent, Vicko Palunko who was native of Dubrovnik, born on the island of Šipan, superintendent (praepositus) of the Metropolitan Kaptol (the Archbishopric) in Split and auxiliary bishop of Split. The defender of the Maltese tradition Rudolf Vimer seemingly won the debate and therefore influenced new generations of the Croatian intellectuals, especially the clerical layer so that they embraced the Maltese tradition. Vimer was strongly supported by the famous archaeologist Frane Bulić and that was the reason why his opinion was mostly accepted as the semi-official attitude of the Church.
When we look back from a hundred year distance and investigate the controversy today, we can discover numerous deficiencies in Vimer's polemic discussions and we shall list some them as follows:
1. The analysis of Vimer's texts points to the fact that he wrote his discussions in highly emotional state of mind or as the old Romans used to say cum ira et studio because he found himself hurt when mentioned by Vicko Palunko in his controversy. Palunko mentioned that Vimer, when he wrote, in the biography of Saint Paul, that the shipwreck of Saint Paul had taken place on Malta, discarded the local Ragusan tradition for the benefit of the foreign Maltese tradition. He also said that Vimer did that out of ignorance as he had not studied the subject well enough. Palunko's statement shook Vimer greatly and after that he gathered all his intellectual powers to prove he was right, therefore studying and researching the Philomaltenses' writers and used their arguments against Palunko. The debate in the end exceeded the bounds of good taste. Little after the confrontation Vicko Palunko died and the thing stilled. None of the Croatian Biblicists wished to provoke that question. So it happened that all new Croatian translations of the Acts did not leave the original name Melita as the site of the Saint Paul's shipwreck, but translated it into Malta. The translators obviously chose Vimer's opinion.
2. Vimer really showed ignorance in some technical and navigational abilities of the sailing boats in the period of the antiquity, for example when he claimed that Saint Paul's vessel could have sailed against the wind by tacking, that it could have sailed at night and at the open sea, that it could have sailed in northwest navigation routes and many other details in the navigation skill he did not understand, especially those associated with the understanding of winds, sea currents and navigation in the antiquity in general.
3. Vimer was also bious when interpreting the wind name of euroclidon because he refused to take over the meaning of the word according to the available Greek-Croatian dictionaries by Franjo Petračić and Stjepan Senac giving us meaning of southeast instead of northeast wind as Vimer says.
4. He did not take into consideration any arguments from the debates of the Philodalmatae nonetheless Đurđević's work Divus Paulus although he had it in his hands and abundantly quoted it against Palunko, to prove him that his debate was not original but partial copy of Đurđević. By this appendix, I wanted to finish this controversy on purpose, as a warning that in the science nothing can ever be definite, having in mind the supporters of Rudolf Vimer's opinion who could react with harsh criticism on this Croatian translation of the Saint Paul's shipwreck near the island of Mljet and belittle our effort and endeavour to make this book see the sunlight in Croatian language.
5. We find surprising the attitude of the prominent archaeologist Frane Bulić who accused Palunko and indirectly Đurđević too that they, although in good intention of revitalizing an Early Christian sanctity in their native land, usurped the other place, i.e. the island of Malta, and stole from it, as if he knew nothing about the Saint Paul's shipwreck tradition from the island of Mljet.
The Acts of the Apostles is a book of the Bible, written by Saint Luke the Evangelist. It stands fifth in the New Testament after the Gospel of Luke. The Acts tells the story of the Apostolic Age of the Early Christian church, from Jesus' Resurrection in 33 AD to 61 AD when Saint Paul came to Rome. The title ‘Acts of the Apostles’ (or simply ‘Acts’) indicates to the emphasis on the ministry of the Twelve Apostles but it mostly describes the preaching and ministry of the two: Saint Peter in the early chapters and Saint Paul in the later. (See Biblija stari i novi zavjet, 307).
According to the opinion of the Biblical science, the Epistle was written in 58 AD in Corinth. Paul, the author, wanted to prepare the Roman Christians and give reasons for his visit to Rome. It is considered the most voluminous and theologically most meaningful. See Biblija stari i novi zavjet, 312.
There are quite a few biographies of Saint Paul in Croatian language. I used the biographies from my own library written by Rudolf Vimer, Celestin Tomić and Josef Holzner translated in Croatian by Petar Hess. R. Vimer, Život svetog Pavla; C. Tomić, Savao, Pavao; J. Holzner, Pavao - njegov život i poslanice.
See Billboard of the Third International Counselling on the Saint Paul's Shipwreck on the Island of Cefalonia at H. Warnecke, Paulus in der Sturm über den Schiffbruch des Apostels auf Kephallenia, 4.
The oldest material record of the Saint Paul's shipwreck on Malta originates from the end of the 16th century. H. Warnecke, Die tatsächliche Romafarht Apostels Paulus, Stuttgart, 142.
Ignjat Đurđević (1675-1737) deserved his entries in all the Croatian editions of encyclopaedia published in Latin, Italian and Croatian languages. Therefore he does not need an extra presentation. His name can also be found in Latin and Italian versions as Ignatius Georgius, Ignazio Giorgi, Injacio Gjorgi. Very thorough biography of Đurđević was written by Milan Rešetar in his introductory study of the edition of Đurđević's works and it still stands for the best starting point in the research of this famous Ragusan writer's life and opus. M. Rešetar, Djela Igńacija Giorgi (Ignjata Đorđića), I - CXLVI. Recently the Italian form of the family name Đorđić has been replaced in the Croatian texts by the Croatian version Đurđević. That version is also accepted. Sometimes he can be found as Ignacije which is more commonly used version of his name in Croatian language, instead of the Ragusan form Ignjat. Thus, his full name converted in Croatian should be Ignacije Đurđević, or even better Vatroslav Đurđević.
The Latin original is entitled: D(ivus) Paulus Apostolus in mari, quod nunc Venetus Sinus dicitur, Naufragus et Melitae Dalmatensis insulae post naufragium hospes sive de genuino significatu duorum locorum in Actibus Apostolicis: Cap(ut) XXVII, 27. Navigantibus nobis in Adria; Cap(ut) XXVIII, 1 Tunc cognovimus, quia Melita insula vocabitur. Inspectiones anticriticae autore D(on) Ignazio Georgio Benedictino e Congregatione Melitensi Ragusina. Adjicitur brevis dissertatio eiusdem autoris de Catellis Melitaeis, Venetiis apud Christophorum Zane, Superiorum permissu, ac privilegio MDCCXXX.
The shipwreck of St Paul the Apostle on Croatian island of Mljet
Croatia, An Overview of Its History, Culture and Science