Croatiae auctores Latini - opuscula

De casibus domus atque familiae suae carmen allegoricum by Vladislav Gučetić

Vladislav Gučetić (Vladislavus de Gozze, 1679–1746) is one of the first Ragusans who was educated at the Nobile Collegio Tolomei in Siena. Following his return he held important offices in the Ragusan Republic and enjoyed widespread acclaim as a prominent jurist. His allegorical epyllion On Misfortunes within One’s Own Home and Family (De casibus domus atque familiae suae carmen allegoricum) is preserved in manuscript at the Franciscan Library in Dubrovnik (Ms. 242 Brlek). The theme is a family quarrel: after the death of all potential male heirs, Vladislav wishes to marry one of his daughters to a man not deemed worthy of such a match by the rest of the family. The strongest opposition to his design is offered by the eldest daughter and her husband. It results eventually in physical confrontation. There are official reports in the Ragusan archives on this incident which took place in 1744.

Hitherto the entire manuscript was attributed to Vladislav Gučetić. There is no doubt that the dedicatory epistle in elegiac dystichs and the first canto in dactylic hexameters (214 + 1543 verses, ff. 1-22) are indeed his work. However, the second part (969 hexameters, ff. 27-38) clearly could not have been written by him. The same story is told from an entirely different angle; moreover Vladislav’s death is explicitly mentioned in the Additio (ff. 37-38).

Two versions of the same event render the Ms. 242 one of the most intriguing works of the Croatian Latin Literature of the 18th century. There were other eminent Ragusan Neo-Latin authors producing important works at that time, but not a single one offers ‘behind the scene’ glimpse of a patrician home or deals with the intense personal drama of a man burying his wife along with his sons and antagonising his daughters. No other contemporary work deals with minutiae of private foibles of the most prominent personalities in the public life.

CroALa: schola

Verba docent, exempla trahunt.

Kako istraživati u digitalnoj zbirci? Quomodo collectione digitali utendum, quomodo ea exploranda sit? How to use and explore a digital collection?

As a starting point you can use the paper for the 15th Congress of the International Association for Neo-Latin Studies (IANLS), 05.-11. August 2012, session Digital Technology and Neo-Latin Research I.

Or you can read on.

Lectio prima: Query string

PhiloLogic searches for data in CroALa via query strings. These strings are built according to simple rules and can be written by hand (experienced programmers do it by code etc; normal people — called “users” — do it through text boxes, radio buttons etc, prepared in advance by programmers).

Here are the rules.

NB: every rule and recipe described here as a “query string” can easily be achieved via text boxes in the CroALa search form (its tabs included). Query strings are neither the only way nor the easiest way to search CroALa. They are simply the best way to learn how the system functions, and, since I firmly believe that, to make full use of a digital resource, every non-programmer needs at least a small amount of programmer's “hands-on”, “under the hood” experience, that's what is on offer in this manual.

The basic address for searching CroALa

Now copy the address above (all of it, all the way to the word “croala”), paste it into the URL location bar (also known as address bar) of your browser, press Enter and see what happens.

If everything went well, you got a list of texts (“documents”) currently contained in CroALa, a list similar to this one: X (but you also navigated away from the “schola” page, so you cannot see these words unless you know how to return; sunt lacrimae rerum).

We'll call the address you copied and pasted “basic address”. That's where all searches in CroALa live.

Query string for a word

To search CroALa for any word, just add &word= at the end of the basic address. The word that you are looking for comes after the equal sign. Like this:

(Do you see what's our search term here?)

Now copy and paste that query string into your URL location bar, just like you did before, and see what you get (something similar to this).

Extra credit

Read the query string in the URL location bar above results retrieved from a standard CroALa search (the page called In CroALA inventa, like the one here X). You'll find a long, long, long list — in Croatian we call them ”kobasica”, a sausage — of search criteria. Where does an individual criterion start, where does it end? Which ones are empty, which ones not?

Lectio secunda: Controlling output of a sea-goddess

Query strings for a PhiloLogic collection can combine elements. This gives us control over presentation of search results, eventually enabling us to learn different things about the collection. Thirteen ways of looking at a blackbird.

How to do it? Let's search in CroALa for the sea-goddess Amphitrite. You know how to construct the query string already (lettercase is irrelevant at the moment; to cover orthographic variants we would use ALL CAPS — more about it later):


By the way, communication with the URL location bar of your browser goes both ways. You can paste or write anything into the location bar, but you can copy from it, too. In that way I copied the complete address for “Amphitrite” search. It looks like this:

Then I turned it into a “live” (that is, functioning) HTML link. It waits here for you to try it out:


If you went and looked, you know that Amphitrite is mentioned by several authors in CroALa. You also know which authors.

Now, let's add an element to the query string, like this:


Visit the link and seee what it means: Amphitrite&OUTPUT=AF.

You have seen the same results presented in a different way. We don't get the immediate context — passage where Amphitrite is mentioned — but we see the frequency (how many times a word occurs), ordered by authors, from more frequent to less frequent (“in descending numeric order”).

For Amphitrite it may not seem impressive, but try it on est or libertas!


  1. Write a search with &OUTPUT=AF for a different word.
  2. Change the order of elements in the query string: &OUTPUT=AF&word=Amphitrite.
  3. Instead of &OUTPUT=AF, try a search with &OUTPUT=TF. Try another with &OUTPUT=DF. And what is it you get with &OUTPUT=PF?

What next?

The paths in our garden now fork. You can choose to learn more about field names (mnemonic sigla used in query strings for different information about texts in CroALa); in that case, read on. Or you can choose to learn more about regular expressions, a tool that CroALa uses to grapple with Latin words and their flexion, as well as with the unruly orthography of our texts. For that, go to Lectio quarta.

Lectio tertia: Field names

Among elements in a query string there can be also field names.1) They enable us to combine searching for words with bibliographic and historical information about texts in CroALa. Thanks to field names, we don't search all texts in the collection, but a specific subset: just the texts belonging to a specific period or genre, just works written by a specific author or authors, or just verse composed in a specific metre.

Information that makes such limited searches possible was only implicit in texts; the editors collected it and put it into the section of XML document called TEI header (you can see one here: X), from where PhiloLogic extracted it and put into the database.2)

List of field names in CroALa, with some recipes

In CroALa and PhiloLogic it is not necessary to type in the whole value of a field name, that is, the whole word we're searching for. Any small (but significant) portion of it will do. See the examples.

PhiloLogic shorthand Finds in CroALa Sample query
&title= all titles of works containing a word Titles with "Croatia" (&title=croat)
&author= all works by an author Works by Marko Marulić (&author=marul). To find works by either Marulić or Trankvil Andreis, try this: &author=maruli|trankv.
&authordates= all works by authors whose dates (of birth, death, or floruit) include our search string All authors born, died, or active during a year with 145 in it (&authordates=145). All authors for whom just floruit is known (&authordates=fl).
&period= All works from a period. CroALa uses period names: Litterae medii aevi (700-1400), Litterae renatae (1400-1600), Litterae recentiores (1600-1850), Latinitas novissima (1800-2000) — there are also centuries: Saeculum 15 (1401-1500) etc, and half-centuries: 1451-1500, 1551-1600, etc Works from the Renaissance (&period=renat). Works roughly from the second half of the Quattrocento (&period=1451-1500).
&pubplace= places where works were created, if known (yes, we changed the use of the keyword) works currently marked as created in Dubrovnik (&pubplace=Dubrov)
&createdate= the year in which a work was created (if known) Works in CroALa written in 1526 (&createdate=1526), the year of the Battle of Mohács.
&extent= length of the work (in words and, for poetry, verses) How can this be useful? Well, it helps to find out which works contain verse (&extent=vers). And we categorized the works roughly by length as well.
&genre= genres of works. A taxonomy helps. Elegies (&genre=elegi). Historiography (&genre=histor). You get the picture.
&keywords= types of works (taxonomy: prosa, poesis, mixtum; paratextus prosaici, paratextus poetici)
&dgdivlang= This one is great — it finds metre! Find all poems in hendecasyllable in CroALa (&dgdivlang=hend). Cf. also Index metrorum in CroALa.

The last field name, dgdivlang, actually introduces us to the way sections smaller than a document — parts of its structure — can be searched in CroALa. But we'll cover it elsewhere.

Lectio quarta: regex

Not to make this page too long, we put Lesson Four here: Lectio quarta: Regular expressions in CroALa.

Lectio quinta: X-ray

If you want to know what CroALa is made of, look here: Lectio quinta: CroALa X-ray.


Ideas in different states of maturation.

1) Such query string will cause PhiloLogic's MySQL database backend to be queried on appropriate fields.
2) This is a computing response to the observation of Walter Benjamin: “Und schon heute ist das Buch, wie die aktuelle wissenschaftliche Produktionsweise lehrt, eine veraltete Vermittlung zwischen zwei verschiedenen Katalogsystemen. Denn alles Wesentliche findet sich im Zettelkasten des Forschers, der's verfasste, und der Gelehrte, der darin studiert, assimiliert es seiner eigenen Kartothek.” — “Vereidigter Bücherrevisor”, Einbahnstrasse, 1928.
z/croala-schola.txt · Last modified: 14. 11. 2013. 14:34 by njovanov
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