Game of Thrones Dubrovnik: Ragusa Republic, an Example to Learn From?

Total Croatia News

Ivana Sepak’s look at the contrasts and comparisons of historical Dubrovnik, the Republic of Ragusa, and Game of Thrones’ King’s Landing, continues on March 1, 2016. 

Republic of Ragusa – an example to learn from?

Before reading further on, if you did not watch a single episode of Game of Thrones, there might be some spoilers in the article.

As we previously learned, King’s Landing and Ragusa have barely anything in common. Dubrovnik didn’t have any kings or ruthless rulers, it was clean, and almost anyone was invited and allowed to live their dream. Or were they?

Historia magistra vitae es – history is life’s teacher. In this case, history is a great muse for a popular series of books and TV shows. There are so many people that are on the margins of real life events and never made it to the front. Most of them can be called silent heroes, peace keepers and they can also be thanked for the contribution.

It is not widely known that George Martin was offered to make a movie saga out of his books, something like Star Wars, but he declined. Allegedly he said that he couldn’t stand so many of his characters cut out from the big screen. Even when you watch the series and read the books alongside, it’s impossible to not notice that there are a lot of characters missing. Since George was included by HBO in the entire process, it is natural to assume that he approved the storyline. Let’s go back to the past for a moment and imagine that we’re watching the Republic of Ragusa being formed.

Everyday champions and scoundrels

Just like in politics, there were a lot of personal interests at stake, and everyone fought for their own benefits. Funny, all the participants agreed about one thing: God is in the first place, the Republic the second. These rules were meant to prevent treason, betrayal and a single person taking the lead. If the rules were not aligned in that manner, Ragusa would probably never have saved its freedom, or most likely it would have become a monarchy, and there would be ample Joffreys made-in-Dubrovnik to read about.

The rules were firm indeed, but there was a case when a young noble man wanted to overtake Dubrovnik by conspiracy. Along the way, he made a whole sequence of bad choices: first, he fell in love with a commoner, something that was a big no-no at the time. He probably promised her that she’ll be his queen and all other junk a young boy may blurt out while only wanting to get under a girl’s skirt. The love did not last for long and they broke up, but the boy already revealed his plan to his now former lover. A jealous and a hurt woman is a loose cannon and she went to her father and told him the whole story. Father went on to the senate to reveal the traitor.

Dubrovnik’s government allowed the young man to proceed with his plan, not letting him know that they were acquainted with everything. He and his accomplices were caught, imprisoned, and sentenced to decapitation in the main square for everyone to watch and learn. Once more: this is a noble man we’re talking about and still no mercy was shown to him. His head, along with heads of other traitors were placed on the city walls for several days, almost like Ned Stark’s head was displayed in King’s Landing and Sansa was forced by Joffrey to look at it, because it was a small lovely gift for his future queen. Being slapped around on a daily basis by Joffrey and The Hound was another token to Sansa’s royal dream life.

You’re either with me or you’re against me… Or something like that

Jaime in the beginning made the entire audience sick, especially when he displayed his appalling love for Cersei and pushed Bran down from the fortress. A handsome guy that was cruel, perverse and almost sociopath-like is hardly to become lovable. But George proved us all wrong and later on we even cheered for him!

Well, Ragusa had Marojica Kaboga, a noble man, friend of the Republic. He defended the people from robbers breaking into Ragusa’s country side. Unfortunately, Marojica was warm blooded, argued often and assaulted physically almost anyone that did not agree with him or made him cross in any way (not greeting him on the street would be a way to provoke his ill temper).

One time, at the Rector’s Palace, in a dispute, he killed his comrade Nikola Sorkočević, another noble man, and he was sentenced to life in a dungeon. 1667 came, the time of the worst earthquake ever noted in Dubrovnik and Marojica luckily stayed alive and broke free. Instead of seizing the opportunity and running for his life, he remained in his city, protected it from looters and oversaw law and order. We can say he became the true Golden Cloak, just like Jaime did afterwards.

In years to come, Kaboga was sent with another Diplomat to Istanbul to pay the annual tax, but the new Ottoman ruler wanted more money and decided to put the duo to dungeon until this new sum was collected. Ragusa did not allow for Marojica and Buća to rot in prison and they somehow collected the wanted ransom and they were both set free. Talk about a comeback!

Give that raven some food and water and send him back – the final article is about to come.


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