Rectors of the Republic of Dubrovnik

A governor and a servant

During the times of the Republic of Dubrovnik, “rector” was a formal title for a governor. He was a figurehead of the Dubrovnik government. He had to be a nobleman, older than 50, elected on a term of one month. He could be re-elected but after the expiration of two years from the last appointment.

He didn’t have any actual political power, he was just the representative of the government, signing documents, receiving important guests or representing the government in numerous ceremonies, religious or mundane. Rector wasn’t paid for his duty. That honorable position was considered more than a sufficient salary.

During his reign, he had to stay in the Rector’s Palace, literally. His residence was on the first floor of the Palace. He had to stay in, and he was not allowed to leave it, not even for a walk. Just during the official ceremonies, like the celebration of Saint Blaise (the city patron), he had a chance to step outside the building.

Take care of the common welfare

Even today there is an inscription in Latin over the passage from Rector’s residence to the Mayor-Council Palace (the seat of the city government, the forerunner of the City Hall). It says: “Obliti privatorum, Publica curate”, which means “forget private issues, take care of public affairs”. It’s a permanent reminder from times of the Republic of Dubrovnik that occupants of these premises were there just to serve the common good.

Rector’s temporary home was also a sort of a public place at the same time. There were courtrooms and prisons in it, as well as public offices, a small pharmacy and a fountain with fresh water. Prison cells were on the ground floor, while long-time prisoners were in dungeons situated in the basement. Imagine long nights when the palace was echoing with screams and curses of prisoners. Probably that was the best warning for a rector how small is a step from the palace residence to a prison cell.

In the history of the Republic of Dubrovnik, there were those who were rectors several times in their lifetime. Bartol Gučetić, the aristocrat who lived in Dubrovnik in the 15th century, was the rector 12 times in 40 years! Remember, he had to be over 50 years old when he was elected for the first time!

A visit to the Rector’s Palace, today the Cultural – Historical Museum can be included in Dubrovnik city tour. Book the tour and join me in sightseeing this magnificent building with many fascinating stories.

Entrance to the Rector’s Palace

Rectors of the Republic of Dubrovnik

A governor and a servant

During the times of the Republic of Dubrovnik, “rector” was a formal title for a governor. He was a figurehead of the Dubrovnik government. He had to be a nobleman, older than 50, elected on a term of one month. He could be re-elected but after the expiration of two years from the last appointment.

He didn’t have any actual political power, he was just the representative of the government, signing documents, receiving important guests or representing the government in numerous ceremonies, religious or mundane. Rector wasn’t paid for his duty. That honorable position was considered more than a sufficient salary.

During his reign, he had to stay in the Rector’s Palace, literally. His residence was on the first floor of the Palace. He had to stay in, and he was not allowed to leave it, not even for a walk. Just during the official ceremonies, like the celebration of Saint Blaise (the city patron), he had a chance to step outside the building.

Take care of the common welfare

Even today there is an inscription in Latin over the passage from Rector’s residence to the Mayor-Council Palace (the seat of the city government, the forerunner of the City Hall). It says: “Obliti privatorum, Publica curate”, which means “forget private issues, take care of public affairs”. It’s a permanent reminder from times of the Republic of Dubrovnik that occupants of these premises were there just to serve the common good.

Rector’s temporary home was also a sort of a public place at the same time. There were courtrooms and prisons in it, as well as public offices, a small pharmacy and a fountain with fresh water. Prison cells were on the ground floor, while long-time prisoners were in dungeons situated in the basement. Imagine long nights when the palace was echoing with screams and curses of prisoners. Probably that was the best warning for a rector how small is a step from the palace residence to a prison cell.

In the history of the Republic of Dubrovnik, there were those who were rectors several times in their lifetime. Bartol Gučetić, the aristocrat who lived in Dubrovnik in the 15th century, was the rector 12 times in 40 years! Remember, he had to be over 50 years old when he was elected for the first time!

A visit to the Rector’s Palace, today the Cultural – Historical Museum can be included in Dubrovnik city tour. Book the tour and join me in sightseeing this magnificent building with many fascinating stories.

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