House of Cerva

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Coa fam ITA cerva.jpg
Country Republic of Ragusa
Titles Counts
Cadet branches House of Sorkočević-Crijević/

The House of Cerva[1][2] or House of Crijević (Latin: Cervinus, also in the sources Cereva, Cerieva, Creve, Crieva, Crevice) is a Croatian noble family from the ancient Dalmatian city of Ragusa (modern Dubrovnik), which held noble titles in the Republic of Ragusa, and in the Austrian and Austro-Hungarian empires. The family still survives in Austria and Italy.



The family is traditionally considered to be one of the founders of Ragusa (Dubrovnik), arriving as refugees from Epidaurum (modern Cavtat) after its destruction by the Slavs and Avars in the 7th century. The Almanach de Gotha [3] enumerates the Cerva among eleven families of older native Patrician Sovereign Republic still residing in the town in mid-19th century and in ancient documents from the Republic of Ragusa, the House of Cerva is cited since 1234. The name Crijević derives from the Croatian language, meaning "intestine" or "hose",[4] though during the Renaissance they used to be considered heirs of an ancient Roman family Cervia (or Cervius).[5]

Role in the Republic of Ragusa[edit]

Coats of arms of House of Cerva and cadet branch of Sorkočević-Crijević (Sorgo-Cerva).

The Cerva were throughout their history an influential and wealthy family in Dubrovnik, divided into various branches and combined with other noble families of the town by a series of weddings, which in turn gave rise to additional branches of the house. A branch of the family suggested that they originate from Kotor.[clarification needed]

In the 14th and 15th centuries, the House of Cerva gave the Republic of Ragusa 419 senior civil officials, representing 4.75% of total whole period.[6] Similarly, between 1440 and 1640 they counted 109 members of the Great Council, representing 4.95% of total [7] The two hundred years, they also got 209 senators (6.40%), 121 members of the Minor Council (5.59%), 56 Guardians of Justice (6.82%) and 132 times one of them became a Rector Respublicae (Chancellor of the Republic) (5.54%).[8]

A branch of the family joined their name and arms to those of the House of Sorkočević, creating a new branch as Sorgo-Cerva[9] or Sorkočević-Crijević. After the fall of the Republic of Ragusa in 1808, the nobility of the House of Cerva was recognized by the House of Austria in 1817 and was ratified with the title of counts.[10] The main branch in Dubrovnik became extinct in the 19th century, but branches of the family still survive in Austria and Italy.

Notable people[edit]

A portrait of Ilija Crijević.
  • Ludovik Crijević Tuberon or Ludovico Cervario Tuberone[11][12] (1455–1527) was a latinist and an historian. Between 1490 and 1522 he wrote his most famous work: the Commentaria de temporibus suis, for which he was called Sallustio Raguseo ('Ragusan Sallust').
  • Ilija Crijević or Elio Lampridio Cerva (in his works Aelius Lampridius Cervinus) (1463–1520) - Humanist and lexicographer. Arrived in Rome when he was just a child he grew up at the court of Pope Sixtus IV studying Roman Academy of Pomponio Leto. Here he became one of the greatest Latin language poets of that years.
  • Toma Crijević or Tommaso Cerva (16th century) - Dominican, lawyer and outstanding jurist, was bishop of Trebinje and Mercana, director of the church of Ston between 1541 and 1559 and general vicar of the archbishop of Dubrovnik, Giovanni Angelo Medici, who became Pope Pius IV in 1559.
  • Serafin Crijević or Serafino Cerva (1696–1759) – Born in 1696, he wore the Dominican habit and is considered an important historian. He translated several works from Italian to Latin. He also wrote in Latin "Monumenta Congregationis di Sancti Dominici Ragusanae",[13] "The sacred city of Dubrovnik" and "Bibliotheca Ragusina, in qua Ragusi scriptores, eorum gesta et scripta recensetur" later known under the title "Vite de uomini illustri Ragusei". His works have remained unpublished and are held in the Convent of St. Dominic in Dubrovnik. He died in 1759.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dubrovnik Annals. Zavod za povijesne znanosti Hrvatske akademije znanosti i umjetnosti u Dubrovniku. 2002. Retrieved 2010-04-04. 
  2. ^ Paton, Andrew Archibald. Researches on the Danube and the Adriatic. 
  3. ^ Edition 1865, p. 320.
  4. ^ Criević derives from a serbocroatian form crijevo a later form of the older proto-Slavic červo from which derives the romance form Cerva.[1]
  5. ^ Harriet T. Bjelovučić, The Ragusan republic: victim of Napoleon and its own conservatism E.J. Brill Publisher, 1970 Leiden, The Netherlands, pag.21 «The original noble families were supposed to be descendants of the Latin colonists.»
  6. ^ Zdenko Zlatar, "Huius... est omnis Rei Publicae potestas": Dubrovnik's patrician houses and their participation in power (1440-1640), in Dubrovnik Annals, 6/2002, p. 50.
  7. ^ Zdenko Zlatar,Op cit.Fr 54.
  8. ^ Zdenko Zlatar,Op cit.Fr 60.
  9. ^ Konstantin Jireček, L’eredità di Roma nelle città della Dalmazia durante il medioevo, III, AMSD XI, Rome 1986, p. 118
  10. ^ Renzo de' Vidovich, Op. cit. p.63
  11. ^ Prof. ab. Francesco Carrara, "Chiesa di Spalato, un tempo Salonitana", Split, 1844, pages 68-69
  12. ^ Vincent Luciani, Francesco Guicciardini and his European reputation, New York, Karl Otto, 1936, page 101
  13. ^ Šime Ljubić Dizionario biografico degli uomini illustri della Dalmazia - Rod. Lechner, 1856 Original from the Bavarian State Library


  • (Italian) Francesco Maria Appendini, Notizie istorico-critiche sulle antichità storia e letteratura de' Ragusei, (Dalle stampe di Antonio Martecchini), Ragusa 1803
  • (Italian) Renzo de' Vidovich, Albo d'Oro delle famiglie nobili patrizie e illustri nel Regno di Dalmazia, Fondazione Scientifico Culturale Rustia Traine, Trieste 2004
  • Simeon Gliubich, Biographical dictionary of illustrious Dalmatian men, Vienna-Zadar 1836
  • Giorgio Gozzi, the free and sovereign Republic of Ragusa 634-1814, Volpe Editore, Rome 1981
  • (Italian) Robin Harris, Storia e vita di Ragusa - Dubrovnik, la piccola Repubblica adriatica, Santi Quaranta, Treviso 2008
  • (Italian) Konstantin Jireček, L’eredità di Roma nelle città della Dalmazia durante il medioevo, 3 voll., AMSD, Rome 1984-1986