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The Written Testimonies of the Notary and Historian Marko Lauro Ruić

Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts
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  • Marko Lauro Ruić
  • Rukopisna Ostavština
  • History
  • Political Science


The most famous notary from the island of Pag, Marko Lauro Ruić, left after his death a large number of manuscripts in which, during the last decades of the 18th century, he had recorded old documents which were at the time kept in the Pag City Archive, translated history books and described the social and political life on the island. Some of the old documents later disappeared so that Ruić’s copies are today a reliable substitute for the original. His genealogies in which he skillfully drew coats of arms of different families, of the city, Church institutions or individuals, of the fraternities and other communities on Pag are of special interest. In his historical writings there are geographical maps of the island of Pag and the surrounding region, city plans, his hand drawings of churches and buildings, while the title pages were decorated with vignettes with coats of arms and quotes in Latin. He did not publish any of his writings during his lifetime and after his death the manuscripts became the property of his successors who lent them to historians or had them sold. This is when some of the manuscripts disappeared without a trace. Interest in Ruić’s work began to grow in the second half of the 19th century when the Governorship in Zadar made attempts to buy the manuscripts from his inheritors and when the first transcibers of “Ruić’s History” appeared. At the beginning of the twentieth century the largest number of preserved manuscripts were already stored in the State Archive Library in Zadar (which grew on the foundation of the Dalmatian Governorship Library) while others, including the later transcriptions, found their place in the Scientific Library in Zadar and in libraries in Zagreb and Split. Some of the manuscripts have come down to us only as transcripts while others are known only by their titles which are mentioned in different places. Since no complete bibliography of Ruić’s writings exists today it is difficult to conclude what has been lost and where one ought to seek to find it. The idea for this paper emerged on the occasion of the Scientific conference devoted to M. L. Ruić which was held in Pag in 1996 when the author prepared an exhibition of Ruić’s manuscripts which are kept in the State Archive Library in Zadar and in the Scientific Library in Zadar. On the occasion she wrote a survey of Ruić’s available manuscripts and she added a catalogue of available manuscripts. The present article is the result of additional research done on Ruić’s manuscripts.

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