About the project

The project TOPOS plans to explore and to present Eastern Adriatic cities in the spheres of power during the High and Late Middle Ages. It plans to explore the relations between these urban communities and the governing powers on individual examples, but also comparatively - by comparing cities within the spheres of different (central and / or regional) authorities as well as cities within the same sphere of authority / power in broader Mediterranean / Central European context. The term “topography of power” in the project title refers to designating the area of authority (central, regional, municipal) over the cities, defining its character, reach, and continuity, identifying the relations between the aspired power and influence and its actual achievement, and identifying the ways and channels used to consolidate and enforce that power – all of which depended on the time period and the city in question. Team members will also focus on the mobility of people and transfer of knowledge in the Eastern Adriatic and beyond by researching mutual institutional, social and spatial influences and impacts from central and regional authorities. For this comparative research, a relational on-line database will be created that will contain data on governing powers, as well as on different levels of governance (local, regional, central), on representatives of power and office-holders, on key changes in urban space, governance and society related to a particular authority (political decision-making, regulations, public construction), and on indicators of the degree of existing urban autonomy (privileges, statutes). Key changes in public space related to the changes of power will also be presented via online digital maps of selected cities. Based on the collected data, the team members will, in a comparative and interdisciplinary way, interpret the complex position of Eastern Adriatic cities in relation to different levels of power. The research will be based on archival field work, as well as on a large number of published and unpublished materials and on relevant Croatian and international literature related to different perspectives and ways of implementing the government. This project aims to emphasize the complex reality of Eastern Adriatic cities in the Middle Ages, intending to make their supralocal perspective and supralocal networks, as well as their specifics, more visible. Finally, the project aims at providing an accessible, comparative and clear picture of the Eastern Adriatic cities during the Middle Ages, and of the relations between the Eastern Adriatic urban communities and various levels of governance during the given period, with an emphasis on their complexity and variability, to the international and Croatian academic community as well as to the wider public.


Project TOPOS, under no. IP-2019-04-2055 is financed by Croatian Science Foundation and lead in Croatian Institute of History, Zagreb (15 January 2020 - 14 January 2025).