Condemned to Extinction: Molise Slavic 100 Years Ago and Now
Krzysztof E. Borowski
On the brink of the 15th and 16th century, thousands of Slavic settlers decided to leave the Southwestern part of the Balkan Peninsula, and came across the Adriatic Sea to settle in Southern Italy. It is believed that the main reason why they left was because of their escape from the Ottoman Turks who – upon having won the Battle of Kosovo in 1389 – started to seize and subjugate bigger and bigger parts of the Balkans, quickly approaching the coast of Dalmatia. As a result, about 15 localities of Slavic origin were established in the regions of nowadays southern Italy. Since that time, most of them were a subject of gradual, consistent Italianization, and the number of Slavic colonies where the consciousness, traditions, and Slavic language was preserved diminished to three only: Acquaviva Collecroce [Kruč in Molise Slavic], San Felice del Molise [Filič], and Montemitro [Mundimitar]. It is known, however, that the following communities were once Slavic as well: Mafalda, Tavenna, Montelongo, San Giacomo degli Schiavoni [whose 2nd part refers directly to its Slavic origin], San Biase, Petacciato, Cerritello, Sant Angelo [known today as Sant’Angelo Limosano], Palata, Montenero di Bisaccia (Perinić 2006: 96).
In his preface to his 1911 work Serbokroatischen Kolonien Süditaliens1 , Milan Rešetar stated that given the developments that took place in Italy since the mid-1800s which enabled a broad promotion of the Italian language and culture, it would probably take just a few decades...
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