Lecture by Mate Božić: Lion, Kuna and Euro, Split, 17 January 2023

Member of the Croatian Heraldic and Vexillological Association Mate Božić, mag. educ. phil. et hist., held a presentation on 17 January 2023 in Split titled LION, KUNA AND EURO: From Leopard’s Heads to Satyr’s Horns. The lecture was held in the premises of the Faculty of Philosophy in Split, organized by the Association of former students and friends of the Faculty of Philosophy in Split – Alumni FFST, as a continuation of the heraldic presentation on the elements of the coat of arms of the Republic of Croatia, which was held in mid-June last year.

After the previous analysis of the beginning of the symbolism and the various changes of the Croatian coat of arms with checkered fields through the past, this time the theme is the origin, symbolism and use of five heraldic signs from the stylized crown of the coat of arms of the Republic of Croatia: the so-called “the oldest coat of arms of Croatia”, Dubrovnik, Dalmatia, Istria and Slavonia. Mate Božić is the co-author of the monograph and university textbook CROATIAN COAT OF ARMS, genesis, symbolism, history, published in early 2021, together with academician Stjepan Ćosić, where the subject of historical coats of arms of Croatian countries is treated in detail.

A special part of the lecture was devoted to the use of animal figures on money that was used in Croatian regions in the past, starting with the depictions of lions on Croatian frizatics and Slavonian banovci from the 12th to the second half of the 14th or the beginning of the 15th century – which in the current misinterpreted in the literature as animal figures of the marten! However, the tax that was paid with that money was really called marturina or kunovina (because it was originally paid with kuna – marten skins), so it is not surprising that in the popular interpretation, the figures of a lion walking on that money, with which kunovina was paid, were recognized over time as displays of marten. Evidence in support of this is the significant text of the coat of arms of King Vladislav to the nobility of the Kingdom of Slavonia from 1496.

While kuna, or more precisely kuna skins, were recorded as a means of payment as early as the early Middle Ages (for example, in the 11th century in the territory of today’s Ukraine), the currency of the same name (divided into 100 banica) was introduced in Croatia only after the outbreak of the Second World War in the Croatian regions, i.e. the establishment of the Independent State of Croatia. Also, in the partisan territory, issued by the Land Antifascist Council of People’s Liberation of Croatia, or with its approval, banknotes were printed with denominations in kuna or, comparatively, in kuna and another currency (Yugoslavian dinars, Italian liras).

On 30 May 1994, the temporary currency of the Croatian dinar was replaced by the Croatian kuna (divided into 100 lipa) as permanent money – that is, the official currency until 1 January 2023. Also, from the beginning of 2023, on the reverse of the Croatian one-euro coin (as new the official currency of the Republic of Croatia) there is again the figure of kuna, that is, the word “Croatia” and 2023 – as the year of the introduction of the euro.

In addition to the public presentation held last week, Mate Božić presented the above topic on the origin, symbolism and history of Croatian coats of arms in the past period and held the following lectures:

October 8, 2018 – Klis: “The Oldest Croatian Land Coats of Arms”, the Duke’s Apartment of the Klis Fortress (presentation within the framework of the manifestation of revived history “Crown of Croatian Rulers” Solin-Klis 2018)

December 13, 2018 – Split: “Coats of arms and military insignia of Croatian units of the First World War and the Homeland War”, University Library in Split (presentation within the “Unfinished Millennium – from the Second Church Council of Split to the end of the Great War” manifestation of the Association students of history “Thomas the Archdeacon”)

October 8, 2019 – Klis: “Coats of arms and military insignia of Croatian units of the First World War and the Homeland War”, Duke’s apartment of the Klis fortress (presentation as part of the manifestation of revived history “Crown of Croatian rulers” Solin-Klis 2019)

May 28, 2021 – Solin: public exhibition “Emergence of Croatian national coats of arms”, Theater of the Solin City Library – held on the occasion of the upcoming National Day

June 15, 2022 – Split: “The checkered fields of Croatia since the Battle of Krbava in 1494 to the Mark Square in 1990″, Faculty of Philosophy in Split (public presentation organized by the Association of Former Students and Friends of the Faculty of Philosophy in Split – Alumni FFST) – held on the occasion of the 22nd anniversary of the removal of elements of totalitarian socialist symbolism from the Croatian national emblem

November 3, 2022 – Kaštela: “Croatian coats of arms – genesis, symbolism, history”, Archbishop’s Palace in Kaštel-Sućurac (exhibition within the cultural manifestation “Croatian Book Month” 2022, i.e. the “History Week in the Croatian Book Month” program Association of history students “Thomas the Archdeacon”)