Vol. 5: A 1300 usque ad 1421
26th of May, 1386

The Commune of Dvigrad invites Hugh VIII of Duino and his lord, Duke Leopold of Habsburg, the captain and the lord of the neighboring County of Pazin, to become the guards (Lat. advocati) of the Commune and defend them against their enemies in return for their obedience and a yearly tribute of twelve Venetian marks.

A = Vienna, Institut für Österreichische Geschichtsforschung, Urkundensammlung.
Previous Editions
Josip Banic, "Dominium quoad protectionem: Savez Dvigrada s Hugonom VIII. Devinskim iz 1386. godine," Vjesnik istarskog arhiva 28 (2021): pp. 90-91.
FIM Edition
Diplomatic edition based on A.

Nos plebanus, vicarius, iudices, consilium, ac tota communitas Duorum Castrorum notum facimus ac pro nobis et nostris succesoribus tenore presentium publice profitemur quod, enim aliis temporibus retroactis nos et precesores nostri semper fuerimus sub advocatia et defensione dominationis Pisini Comitatus eidemque certas administrationes ex hoc impendirimusa, sic – propter maiorem nostri castri predicti ac bonorum nostrorum defensionem et protectionem – cum magnifico et potenti domino domino Hugone de Duino comite, capitaneo Carniole, tunc domino nostro singularissimo loco et vice ilustrissimi domini Leupoldi, yncliti ducis Austrie et cetera, domini nostri graciosi, sponte ad talem devenimus unionem, videlicet quod amodo in antea sub dicti domini ducis Austrie et suorum heredum et succesorum advocatia, defensione et gubernatione esse intendimus, et volumus eidemque seu eius vice gerenti Pisini anuatim in festo Sancti Martini duodecim marcas solidorum Venetorum ministrando ac sine dilatione porigendo, promitentes insuper fide nostra mediante contra dictum dominum nostrum ducem seu eius castra aut subditos nulo modo processuros, ymo potius eidem ac eius vice gerenti in Pisino tamquam vero advocato nostro in omnibus fore obedientes, omni fraude et dubio procul moto.

In cuius rey testimonium has patentes nostras literas dedimus nostri Comuni sigilo apensione munitas.

Datum in Duobus Castris sub anno MoCCCo octuagesimo VIo, indictione nona, die XXVIo mensis madii.

(SN) Ego Iohanes quondam ser Petri imperiali auctoritate notarius nunc [notarius] Duorum Castrorum hiis omnibus interfui et rogatus scribere, scripsi et signum meum robur aposui. (SP)

Critical apparatus

asic A: pro impenderimus.


We – the rural dean1, the vicar2, the judges, the Council and the entire community of Dvigrad – announce and by this charter, in our name and in the name of our forebears, publically declare that:

since we and our forebears had in the past always been under the guardianship3 of the authorities of the County of Pazin because of protection, and that is why we had given over certain jurisdictions to the said authorities, in the same way – on account of better protection and safety of our aforementioned town and our goods – we voluntarily enter into an alliance with the magnificent and powerful lord, lord Hugh of Duino4, count5, captain of Carniola, thereupon our only lord in the name of our esteemed lord, the most illustrious lord Leopold6, the glorious Duke of Austria et cetera.

Namely, from now on, we intend that the guardianship, defense, and administration be in the hands of the said Duke of Austria and his heirs and successors, and we want to disburse twelve marks of Venetian shillings7 to him or his deputy in Pazin every year on the feast day of St. Martin8, without any postponement of the offered.

We moreover faithfully promise that we will not in any way act against our said lord duke or his towns or subjects, but on the contrary, that we will be utterly obedient toward him and his deputy in Pazin as toward our legitimate guard, without any subterfuge and doubt.

In testimony of this act, we have issued this official charter strengthened by the pending seal of our Commune.

Given in Dvigrad, in the year one thousand three hundred and eighty-six, the ninth indiction, on the twenty-sixth of May.

(SN) I, John, the son of late Peter, notary public by imperial authority and currently [notary public] in Dvigrad, asked and requested to write all of this down, wrote it and confirmed it with the addition of my sign.

[trans. JB]

1) orig. Lat. plebanus - the head parish priest.
2) In the context of the Aquileian Margraviate of Istria, which included Dvigrad, the vicar, sometimes termed gastald or captain, was a deputy overseeing the administration of the community in the name of the incumbent margrave; he was the link connecting the local community and the delegated margrave who would personally visit the towns of the Margraviate several times a year.
3) orig. Lat. advocatus - at times translated as advocate or steward - a lay representative, usually of a religious institution (bishopric or monastery) in charge of administering criminal justice and defense. The term is here translated as guard.
4) Hugh VIII of Duino († 1390), during his lifetime he was one of the most powerful lords in the Alpine-Adriatic region; his titles included the margrave of Istria (1374), the captain of the County of Istria (1379 onwards), the captain of Trieste (1386) and the captain of the March of Carniola (1386) - see Franc Kos, "Iz zgodovine devinskih gospodov," Razprave Znanstvenega društva za humanistične vede v Ljubljani 1 (1923): pp. 114-29.
5) Hugh VIII of Duino was never officially bequeathed the title of a count (comes). This is pure flattery on the part of the Commune of Dvigrad.
6) Leopold III of Austria, known as the Just († 9th of July, 1386).
7) marca solidorum means the same thing as marca denariorum and it consists of eight pounds of small coins (Bernardo Maria de Rubeis, De nummis patriarcharum Aquileiensium dissertatio (Venice 1747), p. 70); thus, twelve Venetian marks would correspond to ninety-six pounds of Venetian coins, a relatively modest amount. For example, the Venetian podestà of Sv. Lovreč received a yearly wage of nine hundred pounds of Venetian coins.
8) 11th of November.

Selected Bibliography
Josip Banic, "Dominium quoad protectionem: Savez Dvigrada s Hugonom VIII. Devinskim iz 1386. godine," Vjesnik istarskog arhiva 28 (2021): pp. 77-95.
Editor's Notes

The newly forged alliance between the Commune of Dvigrad and Lord Hugh VIII of Duino was primarily motivated by the inability of the incumbent Istrian margraves to offer adequate military protection to their subjects, especially in the context of traditional border disputes between the subjects of the Church of Aquileia and the subjects of the County of Istria. Moreover, as the Church of Aquileia plunged into a civil war which pitted the pro-Venetian faction led by Udine against the pro-Paduan faction led by the de iure patriarch, Philip d’Alençon and Cividale, Hugo VIII of Duino emerged as one of the most powerful regional potentates. At the same time, the incumbent margrave of Istria, Domnius of Castello, openly supported the pro-Venetian front and as such the legitimacy of his office was disputed by the lawful patriarch Alençon; Hugo VIII, on the other hand, remained officially neutral in the conflict, but he tacitly supported the pro-Paduan alliance, becoming a de facto enemy of Margrave Domnius, the de iure lord of Dvigrad. It was in this context of enmity, crisis, and the uncertainty of civil war that the Commune of Dvigrad, most probably pillaged by the neighboring subjects of the County of Pazin backed by Hugo VIII, decided to forge an alliance with their more powerful neighbor, preferring to constitute the incumbent captain of Pazin as their official guard and to pay him a new annual tax (i.e. a protection racket) than to remain faithful to the powerless Church of Aquileia.

How to Cite
First citation: Josip Banic (ed.), Fontes Istrie medievalis, vol. 5: A 1300 usque ad 1421, doc. 1386_DD, (last access: date).
Subsequent citations: FIM, 5: doc. 1386_DD.
Image Source and Info

The image was taken by Miha Kosi who was kind enough to present it to us in order to prepare a critical edition of the charter. We hereby wholeheartedly thank our dear colleague and we look forward to receiving similar gifts from other scholars who happen to stumble upon archival documents pertaining to medieval Istrian history.