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Nada Klaić


Nada Klaić (1920–1988) was a Croatian historian. She was influential and controversial Croatian medievalist of the 20th century.[1]


* 1 Academic career
* 2 Historical studies
* 3 Influence
... o 3.1 Dispute with Dominik Mandić
* 4 Works
* 5 Translations
* 6 References

Academic career

Prof. Dr. Nada Klaić, university professor and a prominent Croatian medievalist, graduated at the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Zagreb, the same faculty where she was involved in teaching for 45 years. She started her teaching and scientific career at the Faculty's Department of History in 1943 to become a full professor of the Croatian medieval history in 1969. This position she held until her death in 1988. Parallelly she taught several years at the Faculty of Philosophy in Zadar.

Since 1946, when she took her doctor's degree with the thesis Political and Social System of Slavonia during the Arpáds' Rule she was during several decades engaged in research of the Croatian medieval history. Nada Klaić gathered the results of her extensive analytical investigations, published first in journals and proceedings, and monographs and surveys of Croatian history.

Historical studies

She was born in Zagreb as the granddaughter of the historian Vjekoslav Klaić. In 1943 she graduated history from the University in Zagreb, where she was hired as a university instructor in the same year. In 1946 Klaić got her Ph.D. with the thesis Political and Social Organization of Slavonia under the Árpád dynasty. In 1954 she became a private assistant professor; in 1968 she became a professor of the history of Croatia.

She researched the period from the arrival of the Slavs (see Migration Period) until the 19th century. She contributed to the Croatian Medievalism by writing papers about social history. The book History of the Yugoslav Peoples II (1959) includes her comprehensive overview of the history of Croatia in the Early Modern Times, including elements of economic and social history.

She paid special attention to the history of cities, as shown by several studies and books: Zadar in the Middle Ages until 1409 (with Ivo Petricioli, 1976), Zagreb in the Middle Ages (1982), Notes on Vukovar in the Middle Ages (1983), Trogir in the Middle Ages: Public Life of the City and its Inhabitants (1985), Koprivnica in the Middle Ages (1987).

She wrote numerous studies about revolts and social conflicts, which she collected in the book Social Turmoil and Revolts in Croatia in the 16th and 17th Centuries (1976). She described the role of specific nobles in the books The Last Dukes of Celje in the Lands of the Crown of St. Stephen (1982) and Medvedgrad and its Masters (1987).

A large part of her work is the analysis and publication of sources. Relying partly on the contributions of earlier historians, she analyzed the entire Croatian diplomatic material of the Early Middle Ages (Diplomatic Analysis of the Documents from the Age of Croatian Rulers of Croat Descent, 1965, 1966–67), questioning its authenticity. Along with the anonymous Split chronicle called Historia Salonitana maior (1967), Klaić published several sources translated from Latin for the needs of students (Sources for Croatian History before 1526, 1972).

She provided a comprehensive and original concept of the early medieval development of the Croatian lands in the book History of the Croats in the Early Middle Ages (1971), while she collected her writings about numerous problems of the later period in the book History of the Croats in the High Middle Ages (1976). Her posthumously published books are Medieval Bosnia: Political Status of Bosnian Rulers before the Coronation of Tvrtko in 1377 (1989) and History of the Croats in the Middle Ages (1990).


Nada Klaić was the most influential Croatian medievalist in the 20th century. Some of her achievements are the innovation and general modernization of the approach to Croatian history (especially for the Middle Ages), which helped release it from the romantic nationalism of the 19th century; the foundation of a modern interdisciplinary approach to Croatian history, combining archaeology, palaeography, economic history, history of art and cultural history; the revaluation of older historical sources; and the dissolution of many myths reflecting the political function of Croatian historiography in the 19th century.

She was often in the public eye for her controversial theories such as her refusal to acknowledge the first Croatian printing press in Kosinj (Lika), the theory that the Croats originally migrated from Carantania, or that the document Pacta Conventa is a forgery.

Miroslav Brandt claimed that Croatian historiography in the times of socialist Yugoslavia was consciously reduced at national minimalism and reduced at solely orientation towards criticist historiography, towards fight against alleged myths in Croatian historiography, with Nada Klaić as representant. Brandt claimed that Nada Klaić was protégé of Communist authorities, only because of their perception that her work has destructive effects on national pride of Croats.[2]

Dispute with Dominik Mandić

Nada Klaić was involved in a dispute with the Croatian historian Dominik Mandić and her approach to the early medieval Croatian history in the 1960s. The dispute was covert because Mandić was an anticommunist emigrant. Nada Klaić had the advantage of a modern scientific and multidisciplinary approach and a well-founded critical analysis of historical sources, while Mandić made stronger analyses of church history (a crucial aspect of the Middle Ages).

Two aspects stand out in this wide dispute. Firstly, the superior modern approach of Nada Klaić positively influenced the Croatian historiography as a whole. Secondly, the background of the dispute was a clash between two equally non-scientific positions, the one overplaying (Mandić) and the other downplaying (Klaić) the Croatian aspect, neither of which has managed to become the foundation of Bosnian medieval studies. After Mandić's weakly founded claims (e.g. on the North African origin of Vlachs), Nada Klaić made even weaker claims (e.g. on the arrival of the Croats from Slovenia/Carantania).

Modern Croatian historiography dealing with Bosnia and Herzegovina, exemplified in the works of Pejo Ćošković, Mladen Ančić, Franjo Šanjek, and Pavao Anđelić, mostly accepts the multidisciplinary approach of Nada Klaić, amended with more recent scientific discoveries, but it refutes her national reductionism caused by the communist ideology trying to remove the Croatian aspect of the history of Bosnia and Hum.


* Političko i društveno uređenje Slavonije za Arpadovića (Political and Social Organization of Slavonia under the Árpád dynasty, 1946)
* Text in Historija naroda Jugoslavije II (History of the Yugoslav Peoples II, 1959)
* Diplomatička analiza isprava iz doba hrvatskih narodnih vladara (Diplomatic Analysis of the Documents from the Age of Croatian Rulers of Croat Descent, 1965, 1966–67)
* Povijest Hrvata u ranom srednjem vijeku (History of the Croats in the Early Middle Ages, 1971)
* Povijest Hrvata u razvijenom srednjem vijeku (History of the Croats in the High Middle Ages, 1976)
* Društvena previranja i bune u Hrvatskoj u XVI i XVII stoljeću (Social Turmoil and Revolts in Croatia in the 16th and 17th Centuries, 1976)
* Zadar u srednjem vijeku do 1409. (Zadar in the Middle Ages until 1409, 1976)
* Zagreb u srednjem vijeku (Zagreb in the Middle Ages, 1982)
* Zadnji knezi Celjski v deželah Sv. Krone (in Slovenian, The Last Dukes of Celje in the Lands of the Crown of St. Stephen, 1982)
* Crtice o Vukovaru u srednjem vijeku (Notes on Vukovar in the Middle Ages, 1983)
* Trogir u srednjem vijeku: javni život grada i njegovih ljudi (Trogir in the Middle Ages: Public Life of the City and its Inhabitants, 1985)
* Koprivnica u srednjem vijeku (Koprivnica in the Middle Ages, 1987)
* Medvedgrad i njegovi gospodari (Medvedgrad and its Masters, 1987)

Published posthumously:

* Srednjovjekovna Bosna: politički položaj bosanskih vladara do Tvrtkove krunidbe, 1377. g. (Medieval Bosnia: Political Status of Bosnian Rulers before the Coronation of Tvrtko in 1377, 1989)
* Povijest Hrvata u srednjem vijeku (History of the Croats in the Middle Ages, 1990)


From Latin to Croatian:

* Historia Salonitana maior (1967)
* Izvori za hrvatsku povijest do 1526. godine (Sources for Croatian History before 1526, 1972)


2. ^ Miroslav Brandt: Život sa suvremenicima - političke uspomene i svjetonazor, Naklada Pavičić, Zagreb, 1996, ISBN 953-6308-22-3


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