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Republic of Dubrovnik (Ragusa)

Dubrovacka Republika, Repubblica di Ragusa,

Last modified: 2004-11-06 by dov gutterman
Keywords: dubrovnik | ragusa | croatia | hungary | st.blasius | libertas |
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Translation from: Josip Luetic - O drzavnoj zastavi Dubrovacke Republike, Zadar, 1967, Drustvo za proucavanje i unapredjenje pomorstva Jugoslavije u Zadru, Izdavacki zavod JAZU, Zagreb.

The Flag of the Republic of Dubrovnik


The flag used to designate by its form, various colours and different drawings to which organized authority - State - it belonged.

Our [Croatian; Zeljko Heimer] maritime communes in the past had their own flags. Our most prominent flag over the span of several centuries was that of the Dubrovnik commune or Dubrovnik Republic, wich, in 1272, was made official and recorded in the Statute: VIXILLUM S. BLASIJ. (2)

In the ancient portulans of the most prominent world cartographers since 14th century also the flag of Dubrovnik Republic was recorded.

As a 'seal' of statemanship in rectangular form, the Dubrovnik flag was made of cloth - domestic white woollen fabric called raša - or of imported linen, more rarely the fabric used was domestic silk. It was positioned at the stern flagstaff, or on the main mast, or on the jigger boom, or on the gaff of all Dubrovnik sailing-vessels.

The secondary Dubrovnik flag (1) was white in colour, and in the middle stood the inscription Libertas. As in other maritime States, sometimes a special flag - the coat-of-arms of the Dubrovnik Republic drawn in the white field - used to be employed as a designation of the personality carried aboard.

In view of the significance of flying the State flag, the Dubrovnik government discussed the question in the fremework of it's councils and State organs, and in this connection it passed certain decisions and conclusions.

Besides the printed works and tables of the flags, the yet published complements and written archival documents, there exists a rich artistic material that tells us in the form of reliefs about the Dubrovnik State flag which was flown on the ships of the Republic.

In the Maritime Muesum for Historical investigations of the maritime affairs of Dalmatia of the Yugoslav Academy of Sciences and Arts in Dubrovnik are kept original flags that were flown on the sailing-vessels of the Dubrovnik Republic in the 18th and at the beginning of the 19th centuries.

In discussing this question the author of this paper draws the inference that the true and only official State flag of the Republic of Dubrovnik was that in white colour with the effigy of St. Vlaho, which was flown for centuries on the ships of this our only express maritime State in the past until the 27th December 1807, when the French occupation General A. Lauriston ordered the Dubrovnik Senate to substitute this flag with the foreign flag of Napoleonic Italy.

Artistic annexes (drawings) complement the author's expositions.

There is at least one interesting source quoted in the text: G. Pash, Pavillions des villes de la cote Dalmate au Moyen age. Neptunia, Paris, No. 77/1 1965.

Zeljko Heimer, 16 August 1996

I have been visiting my stamp dealer and there are several flag stamps that should be reported here.
As a part of EUROPE issue a series of two stamps was issued, on 23-JAN- 1998. They present two important fastivals - which one of those, in the vallue of 4.00 kn is dedicated to Dubrovnik Summer Games (theatre festival), picturing the main square in old Dubrovnik, with the Orlando's pole, the flag pole which is in the middle of it, on which the flag of Dubrovnik always was flown. On the stamp, there is a flag too, white with red shield with golden letters in three rows LI/BER/TAS. Unfortunately, the stamp is made in manner of children's drawing, and is hardly that anyone would notice it. In any case, even if it is possible that it was used (and there are some evidence on it) it is most probably that the drawing was made without much background on real flag.
Zeljko Heimer, 7 June 1998

I came by a refference on some article on Ragusa flags: James Marill "St. Blaise and Liberty: the Flags of Ragusa", Flag Bulletin no. XXVI: 1-3 (Report of the Tenth ICV).
Zeljko Heimer, 29 August 1999

The cover of [sie63] shows what the book describes as approximately a quarter of a flagchart, one of many to roll of the, mostly Dutch, presses for the use of seafarers: "Tableau des Pavillons que la Plupart des Nations arborent a` la Mer. Faitau de'po^t des cartes et plans de la marine pour le service des vaisseaux du Roy par ordre de M. de Machault, Garde de se'aux de France. Par le Sr. Bellin Inge'nieur de la marine. 1756." [bel56]
On the 3rd row from the bottom there is "Pavillon de Raguse" - A white flag with grey shield outlined in black. On the shield the text "LI" "BER" "TAS". ["Libertas": Freedom".]
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 4 January 2001

At J.W Norie - J.S. Hobbs Flaggen aller seefahrenden Nationen, 1971[ nor71] (original print 1848):
181 Ragusa: White, a Franciscan (?) monk black (detailed in white).
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 12 November 2001

The figure should be St. Blasius. He should be pictured as a bishop, though similar black-habited figure is shown in several sources.
Zeljko Heimer, 13 November 2001

Reading the [isa01], the Republic of Ragusa (Dubrovnik) had flag prescribed already in the statutes of 1272.
Zeljko Heimer, 17 July 2002

Primary Ensign

[Republic of Dubrovnik]
by Zeljko Heimer

by Zeljko Heimer

At Dubrovnik Maritime Museum there is a flag "...which belonged to a sailing vessel from Dubrovnik that was commanded by Captain I. Birmisa. The flag is made of canvas that is turned dark. It has been preserved in its entire width with the figure of St. Blasius, while lengthwise a part is missing. St. Blasius has a grey beard and is wearing a miter and a robe that is red on the outside and blue on the inside. He is making a sign of blessing with his right hand, while in his left hand he is holding a triangular model of Dubrovnik with outlines of town walls (Minceta Tower). In the upper corners of the flag are two loops."
Jan Mertens, 26 October 2004

This is an important flag for us, I belive. It is the ensign of the Dubrovnik Republic. This particular example was made around 1800. The text claims that at the fly there is a part missing (there might have been some tails or something - the photo does not look as if anything of consequence is missing!).  I believe that this particular flag served also as the base after which the current civic flag of Dubrovnik was made.
Zeljko Heimer, 30 October 2004

Flag According to Steenbergen Book (1862)

by Jaume Ollé, 27 April 2003

No. 504 - Ragusa.
Source: [stb62]
Jaume Ollé, 27 April 2003

Secondary Ensign

[Republic of Dubrovnik]
by Zeljko Heimer

by Zeljko Heimer

Flag According to Steenbergen Book (1862)

by Jaume Ollé, 18 April 2003

No. 459 - Ragusa.
Source: [stb62]
Jaume Ollé, 18 April 2003

Special Ensign

by Zeljko Heimer

Special ensign, typically as the flag indicating that the high officials of the Republic are on board of the vessel.
Zeljko Heimer