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 »  Home  »  People  »  Mladen Ibler and Birgitta Fritz writing about Johan Franke a Croatian castle commander in Sweden in 15th ct.
 »  Home  »  History  »  Mladen Ibler and Birgitta Fritz writing about Johan Franke a Croatian castle commander in Sweden in 15th ct.
 »  Home  »  Education  »  Mladen Ibler and Birgitta Fritz writing about Johan Franke a Croatian castle commander in Sweden in 15th ct.
Mladen Ibler and Birgitta Fritz writing about Johan Franke a Croatian castle commander in Sweden in 15th ct.
By Dr. Mladen Ibler | Published  01/14/2016 | People , History , Education | Unrated
Johan Vale or Franke, Croatian guide to Holy Land and castle commander of Swedish King Eric of Pommerania in 1420s

Dr Mladen Ibler, former Croatian diplomat, and Dr Birgitta Fritz, Swedish historian.

Mladen Ibler & Birgitta Fritz

Royal guide in the Holy Land and castle commander in Sweden.
On the remarkable career and true identity of Johan Vale and Erik of Pomerania's visit to Dubrovnik in 1424

THE CASTLE COMMANDER Johan Vale or Franke was quite a stranger in medieval Sweden. His surname indicates a southern European origin. He is called so in Swedish sources and Giovanni Franco in a contemporary narrative, written by some shipwrecked Venetians, who visited him at the castle Stegeborg in east central Sweden in 1432. After their return to Venice they told the story of their miraculous rescue and journey back. Since they called him a compatriot he has been regarded as a Venetian nobleman by historians. But it has been a mystery why two strong royal castles and their rich administrative provinces - contrary to the law - were entrusted by the king to someone from such a far-off country.

In this article the bailiff is identified as Ivan Anž Frankopan, the eldest son of Count Nikola IV, viceroy (banus) of Croatia from 1426. The identification has been made possible by means of Croatian historical literature and sources. Thus he was a member of one of the most noble medieval families of this country on the Dalmatian coast. The Scandinavian king Erik of Pomerania had met the young man at the court of his cousin King Sigmund in Budapest. After having decided to go on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land he had chosen this nobleman, who was familiar with Mediterranean conditions, to lead the tour. In Jerusalem the king knighted him and then afterwards recompensed him with the enfeoffments in Sweden.

Besides those connections between the Scandinavian king and the Frankopan family the article also presents proofs of the king's stay at Dubrovnik, both on the way to Palestine and on the way back. In the archives of the governing bodies (in particular the Consilium rogatorum) of the then independent Republic of Ragusa, data concerning the royal visit have been studied. As sovereign of the three Nordic monarchies, in union since 1383, King Erik was regarded as powerful, not forgetting that the English king was his brother-in-law and his cousin the future emperor. The king did not visit Venice on his journey back, and, accoding to the chronicle of Antonio Morosini, the galley he had rented for the journey returned to Venice with "Gian Franchi" on board. He is said to be in the king's service but his title as found in the chronicle is often misleadingly translated "interpreter".

Translated from Swedish: Alun Crozier
Summary of the article by Mladen Ibler and Birgitta Fritz,
published in SCANDIA journal in 2004 (Band 70, Hafte 1):

We express our deep gratitude to SCANDIA journal and to Dr Henrik Rosengren
for kind permission to reproduce this article for the readers of the CROWN.

Mladen Ibler:
The Journey of the Scandinavian King Eric of Pomerania through Croatia 1424-5

Eric of Pomerania, King of the three Scandinavian realms, travelled through Croatia on his way to the Holy Land in 1424-5. Using hitherto unknown sources from the extremely rich archives of Dubrovnik, the medieval city of Ragusa, the present article describes this stage of the King's journey. Special emphasis is given to Eric's visit to Dubrovnik, where he was given a royal reception by the senate and the people of the city, and to the relationship he established with the Frankopans, a leading noble family in Croatia. It is shown that Eric must have made friends with the young count Ivan Anz Frankopan. He took part in the King's visit to Venice and in his journey to the Holy Land; and later on, from 1426 to 1434, he appears as a royal officer, holding several important castles in Sweden on the King's behalf. Because both Venetian and Scandinavian sources refer to him under the Italian name of "Gian Franchi", historians have been unaware that the royal officer in Sweden is identical with the Croatian count. An appendix gives a list of the sources in the Dubrovnik Archive, which mention the Scandinavian king; Ivan Mustac, Director of the Archive, prepared this.

Source Historie,

Historie/Jyske Samlinger, Bind 2001 (2001) 2
Mladen Ibler: Kong Erik af Pommerns rejse igennem Kroatien 1424-25

Dr. Mladen Ibler, former Croatian diplomat, near the
remains of the Stegebrog Castle in Östergötland, Sweden.

"Ivan VI. Anž Frankopan u službi nordijskog kralja" - knjiga Mladena Iblera

Napisao: Berislav Tomičić, 13. listopada 2014.

Član naše udruge, bivši veleposlanik Republike Hrvatske u Švedskoj i Australiji, dr. Mladen Ibler, predstavio je svoju knjigu "Ivan VI. Anž Frankopan - U službi nordijskog kralja", na uobičajenom mjestu okupljanja HKUUD u  Gentofte Frivilligcenter, Smakkegĺrdsvej 71, Gentofte, 9. studenog 2014. Ovu priliku iskoristili smo i kao priliku za ugodno druženje naših članova.

Knjiga "Ivan VI. Anž Frankopan - U službi nordijskog kralja", pisana na hrvatskom jeziku, objavljena je u Hrvatskoj u drugoj polovini studenog 2014., u nakladi izdavačke kuće Meridijani, kada je službeno predstavljena u Zagrebu.

Ova interesantna knjiga o srednjevjekovnoj povijesti osvjetljava tada rijetku, ali i značajnu vezu hrvatskog i skandinavskog plemstva. Sažetak otkriva pobliže o kakvoj vezi se radi.


U okviru srednjevjekovne povijesti Europe i svog geostrateškog položaja, hrvatsko je plemstvo održavalo veze s raznim krajevima Europe. Odnosi između knezova Frankopana i prvog kralja Skandinavske (kalmarske) unije, Erika VII. Pomeranskog te pojedini detalji  njegovu putovanju po južnoj Hrvatskoj, i o posjetu Dubrovniku slabije su poznati.

U ovoj knjizi, uz povijesne izvore prvog reda i snimke izvornih dokumena, opisuje se veza između Erika Pomeranskog i Ivana Frankopana, Erikov put u Svetu zemlju, Hrvatsku i Veneciju te uloga dubrovačke diplomacije pri tom putu. Posebice se na temelju dubrovačkih, mletačkih te danskih i švedskih povijesnih izvora navode i analiziraju podatci o boravku Ivana VI. Frankopana - u skandinavskim izvorima poznatog pod imenom Gian Franchi, Johan Franke ili Johan Vale - kao kraljevskog upravitelja dvorca Stegeborg i pripadajuće županije Östergötland u Švedskoj.

Izvor Hrvatska Kulturna Udruga u Danskoj

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