Fonds HR-DADU-23 - Criminalia (Criminal convictions)

Identity area

Reference code



Criminalia (Criminal convictions)


  • 15th century - 19th century (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

34 volumes; 2 linear metres; textual records

Context area

Archival history

Preserved interstate treaties and other documents from the 12th century provide enough evidence to conclude that the authorities would already at that time oversee the work of the public notary and the chancellery. Based on key provisions made during the 15th century, the central administration consisted of five offices located in the Rector's Palace and these were: The Public Notary (legal private affairs), the State Chancellery (legal public affairs), the Judicial Chancellery (criminal justice affairs), the Office of the State Secretary (legal state affairs) and the Slavic Chancellery, which would be transformed into the Turkish Chancellery.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

The fonds has been linked to the archive since its inception. In times of the Dubrovnik Republic, the books of the fonds were stored in the Rector's Palace. The books remained in the Rector’s Palace after the fall of the Republic (1808). In 1891, the archives were consolidated and became available to researchers. The archive in the Rector's Palace has been functioning as an independent institution since 1920 and it was dislocated to the Sponza Palace in 1952, where it is still located today.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The fonds consists of registers of criminal convictions of the Criminal Court (established in 1459) and the accompanying alphabetical indexes and covers the period from the 15th century to the beginning of the 19th century. Criminal convictions reached after 1667 have been fully preserved, and those of earlier times have been preserved partially. Usually, at the end of each conviction there is a reference code of the corresponding lawsuit and investigation procedure, which were entered in the registers of Lamenta Criminalia (HR-DADU-20) and Lamenta de criminali (HR-DADU-21). As a result, it is much easier to get information about complete court proceedings: from filing a lawsuit to reaching a judgement. It is a characteristic of the Dubrovnik Criminal Court that it rarely rendered judgements, most likely because most disputes ended in conciliation of the warring parties.

The fact that the Criminal Court rarely rendered judegements is also visible in cases involving Jewish people. An analysis of criminal cases in which Jews appear either in the role of prosecutors or defendants has provided the following outcome: the percentage of convictions in lawsuits where Jews would sue other Jews and the percentage in lawsuits where Jews would sue other non-Jewish citizens is almost identical (7.64% and 7.83%). The percentage of final verdicts in lawsuits of non-Jewish citizens against Jews is slightly higher (10.52%). As expected, the highest percentage of verdicts is in lawsuits rendered ex officio (27.90%). In most verdicts, the sentence was imprisonment or a fine and the convict often had the right to choose between two options. In addition to some prison sentences and fines, there is also a reference to one penal labour case, several cases of corporal punishments, or cases of public humiliation, which were reached in cases of theft and fornication (e.g., vol. 5, f. 119). In the history of the Dubrovnik Republic, there is only one record to death penalty pronounced to Jewish people. This is the case of a convert named Benvenisti Nasci (Isaac, the son of Abraham) from Ferrara, a cousin of the famous Joseph Nassi, who was sentenced to death in 1571 for murder of a convert Menachem Maraz (vol. 20, ff. 90, 90v). The fonds mostly references to some members of Dubrovnik Jewish families such as Ambonetti, Angeli, Ascoli, Asser, Baraffael, Bueno, Campos, Cohen, Costantini, Fermo, Forte, Janni, Levi, Levi Mandolfo, Luzzena, Maestro, Pardo, Penso, Russo, Terni, Tolentino, Valenzin, Vitali, Volterra.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

The fonds is fully accessible to researchers in accordance with the Ordinance on the work in the reading room of the State Archives in Dubrovnik and the Law on Archival Materials and Archives NN 61/18 (Pravilnik o radu u čitaonici Državnog arhiva u Dubrovniku and Zakon o arhivskom gradivu i arhivima NN 61/18).

Conditions governing reproduction

Taking photographs and scanning are allowed, for a fee.

Language of material

  • Italian
  • Latin

Script of material

  • Latin

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Paper; Parchment. The archival material is well-preserved.

Finding aids

Vesna Miović, Ivan Čerešnješ, Research, inventory and cataloguing documents of the criminal court registers Lamenta Criminalia post terraemotum, Diversi e possesso de Criminale and Criminalia in the State Archives of Dubrovnik involving Jewish litigants (1667-1808), Ljubljana: Research and Documentation Center JAS, 2016; e-book available at: Građa za generalni katalog Državnog arhiva u Dubrovniku, box 17, folder 15. Josip Gelčić,»Catalogus i. r. Archivii Ragusini.« Glasnik Zemaljskog muzeja u Bosni i Hercegovini 22 (1910): 537-588.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

State Archives in Dubrovnik

Existence and location of copies

The fonds has been completely transferred to microfilms, but the microfilms are not available to the users of archives.

Related units of description

Lamenta criminalia (HR-DADU-20), Lamenta de criminali(HR-DADU-21), Diversa et possessio de criminalibus (HR-DADU-24)

Related descriptions

Publication note

Konstantin Vojnović, »Sudbeni ustroj republike dubrovačke.« Rad JAZU 108 (1892): 99-181. Nella Lonza, Pod plaštem pravde, Kaznenopravni sustav Dubrovačke Republike u XVIII. stoljeću (Summary: Criminal Justice in the Eighteenth-Century Republic of Dubrovnik), Dubrovnik: Zavod za povijesne znanosti HAZU u Dubrovniku, 1997. Nella Lonza, »Tužba, osveta, nagodba: modeli reagiranja na zločin u srednjovjekovnom Dubrovniku.« (Summary: Settling Disputes in Medieval Dubrovnik by Court Proceedings, Revenge or Out-of-Court Settlement) Anali Zavoda za povijesne znanosti HAZU u Dubrovniku 40 (2002): 57-104.

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

Old reference code

Fonds of the Dubrovnik Republic and the territory of the former Republic under the French Administration, series 16

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Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used

Descriptions of fonds, series and sub-series are made according to the ISAD (G) standard (general international standard archival description).


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion



  • English



Archivist's note

Description prepared by Vesna Miović (Fonds, Series, Subseries) Croatia [The Institute for Historical Sciences in Dubrovnik, Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts (CASA)] Translation to English by Zrinka Friganović Sain

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