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Croatia and France in the final of the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Moscow
Davor Šuker, Zvonimir Boban and Slaven Bilić in 1998, and now Luka Modrić, Ivan Rakitić and Dejan Lovren in 2018.
Domagoj Vida with his kids and the kids of Ivan Perišić, immediately after the match with England. Photo by Reuters.
In 1880 local Croatian young men began to play football in Županja, a small Croatian town near Danube river. Since there were only nine of the Englishmen who came to Croatia several years before, they invited local boys to join them. In 1914, professional coaches from England came to Croatia. James Donelly and Arthur Gaskhell, who were the coaches in "Gradjanski" club in Zagreb that in 1936 defeated famous Liverpool with the result of 5:1, are certainly worth mentioning.
The oldest Croatian soccer club isBačka, founded in Subotica inBačkain 1901, playing in the then Croatian league. It is also the oldest soccer club in this part of Europe.
There is nothing extraordinary that the handball team of Cannes, France, once won a match scoring altogether 24 goals. But the following is without precedent: all the goals were scored by one single person! And that person wasAnte Kostelic - Gips(nicknamed Gips = plaster; guess why!), better known as father of Weltklasse skiersJanica and Ivica.
Ante Kostelic-Gips with friends, photo fromStanko KempnyCroatian Mountaineering Society
No doubt, the greatest success achieved by Croatian soccer isthe third place at 1998 World Championship (Coup du Monde)held in France. The excellent team of Holland was defeated by 2:1 in the match in Paris. Thus Croatian team became the greatest surprise of the Championship. Our national team has been led byMiroslav Ciro Blazevic(Bosnian Croatborn in the town of Travnik).
In 2007 Croatian football team led by Slaven Bilic defeated England in London in a qualifying match for Euro 2008, in front of 88,000 spectators. According to English media, it was the greatest display from a visiting nation to Wembley in modern times. Also, it was the first time a country had scored three against England in a competitive game at the venue since 1972. This victory was crucial for Russia to qualify for Euro 2008, seeThank You Croatia! Spasibo Horvatiya!
Croatia is the only country in the world with no mountain above 2,000 meters (though with probably the most beautiful mountain in Europe - VELEBIT) and with world's top skier -Janica Kostelic. She was shining in women's slalom in 1999 (being only 17 years old). Her second victory of the season put her in first place in the World Cup overall standings and strengthened her lead in the specialty standings. In her historical victory in Serre Chevalier, France, 5. December 1999, the difference between the first two was 1.78 seconds, the greatest achieved in the previous 20 years! Her ardent supporter is Goran Ivanisevic. In March 2001 Janica became theWorld Cup Championin alpine skiing. This is one of greatest successes in the history of Croatian sport. Upon her arrival to the Zagreb airport she obtained 1256 roses and custard slices...
It is well known that skiing is the sport of the rich. When Kostelic's went back home from Austria, Germany, France or Switzerland, several times it happened to them that they had to sell their skies in order to be able to buy petrol for their Lada... And let us not forget, at that time theĂ Greater Serbian aggressionwas raging throughout Croatia andBosnia-Herzegovina(1990-1995). Mr.Ante Kostelic-Gipshimself, father of Ivica and Janica, is an amazing Croatian sportsman and trainer, former handball player, working with his children on the long run. He remembers with deep gratitude an Austrian, Mr Willie Arnsteiner, wire-keeper, who donated them 100 Schillings daily during a critical period, and who predicted their great skiing future. At the age of 15 Janica had22 consecutive winsĂ at European competitions for children during one season. One day after the death of president Franjo Tudjman, Janica was skiing with mourning black armband. Young Kostelic's were raised in deep patriotism, and their sacrifices will always be remembered. Let us also mention a regular short ritual of Christian crossing immediately before every competition. It is amusing to see how "objective" European TV media strive to avoid this indicative and important detail.
Janica with her three olympic gold medals Salt Lake City, USA, 2002
At the very end of 1999 Janica had a tragic fall: four of her ligaments on the knee out of five were broken. After a very difficult operation and reconstruction of her knee, she had a painstaking program of getting back to normal living. She was able not only to walk again, but also to win on European, World, and Olympic competitions in skiing.
The human story of Kostelic's is waiting to be written in all details, with a special emphasis on low blows of "independent" media. This story is much greater than the story about their sport successes. Ivica and Janica, like many others on this web page, would never have appeared without the advent of free Croatia.
Janica Kostelic, winning the 2006 Women Alpine Ski World Cup super-G raceĂ in Bad Kleinkircheheim (photo by Ruters/Calle Teornstroem)
Janica withCroatian coat of arms(AP Photo/A. Trovati), Sweden, 2006 World Cup championfor the third time, seta new single-season points recordfor women after winning the final Alpine skiing race of the season in the giant slalom.
Croatia's alpine skiing champion Janica Kostelic smells a brand new variety ofDutch-grown tulips named after her at ceremony in Zagreb, 2006. A Dutch tulip grower Cor Grooteman from the town of Lisse, the Netherlands, asked Janica Kostelic for permission to use her name for the new sort of tulips, thus honouring the World Cup winner and Olympic champion. REUTERS/Nikola Solic
Janica - winner ofĂ the 2006LaureusWorld Sports Award, Barcelona Photo by Reuters
It is amazing that in 2004, during the European Crossbow Championship in Czechia, the Croatianfemale team(Branka Pereglin, Nikolina Krivanek and Sanja Komar) surpassed the best male team (France) by 85 points!
The Croatian alpinistStipe Bozic(Split) climbed Mount Everest twice, the first time in 1979. He was the second European to do so after Messner. See Bozic's beautiful photos atFotoklub Split. TheCroatian Alpine Association(Hrvatski planinarski savez) is among the oldest in the world: it was founded in 1874, the same year as in France. Let us mention by the way thatthe oldest novel in the world about mountainsisPlanine(Mountains), written in Croatian byPetar Zoranicin 1536 and printed in Venice in 1569. It is alsothe oldest Croatian novel. Petar Zoranic, outstanding Croatian Renaissance writer, was born in Zadar in 1508.
Four Croatianfemale alpinists climbed on Mt Everest(8850 m) in 2009, among them two sistersDarija and Iris Bostjancic, besidesMilena ŠijanandEna Vrbek. It was for the first time that two sisters climbed on the top of Himalayas.
It was the 2nd Female Croatian Expedition, led by Darko Berljak, which consisted of 11 girls. The first expedition was successfuly organized in 2007 on Cho Oyu (8201 m), 35 km west of Mt Everest.
Spelling of Glagolitic Letters, with the corresponding numerical values, according to George d'Esclavonie (Juraj iz Slavonije, ~1355-1416), Glagolitic priest and university professor on Sorbonne in Paris (his manuscripts are held in the Municipal library in Tours, France; in his accompanying text he wrote: Istud alphabetum est Chrawaticum -This is a Croatian Alphabet):
Table of the Croatian Glagolitic Script written by Juraj Slovinac (Jurja iz Slavonije, George d'Esclavonie) handwritten by the end of 1390s in Paris, at the famous University of Sorbonne. Juraj writes Istudalphabetum est chrawaticum (This is Croatian Alphabet!), see boxed at the bottom of the table. The number above Jus is 5000, not 4000, since 5 at that time was written similarly as we write 4 today (information by the courtesy of Darijo Tikulin, Zadar).
Let us mention the name of Dobric Dobricevic (Boninus de Boninis de Ragusia), Ragusan born on the island of Lastovo, 1454-1528, who worked as a typographer in Venice, Verona, Brescia. His last years he spent as the dean of the Cathedral church in Treviso. His bilingual (Latin - Italian) editions of "Aesopus moralisatus, Dante's "Cantica" and "Commedia del Divino" were printed first in Brescia in 1487, and then also in Lyon, France. We know of about 50 of his editions, the greatest number belonging to the period of 1483-1491 that he spent in Brescia - about 40. Croatia is in possession of 19 of his editions in 30 copies. The greatest number of his editions is in possession of the British Museum, London (22). Another Croat, known as Jacques Moderne, born in Buzet (15th century), Istria, printed about 50 music booklets in Lyon, France.
It is interesting that a table of the Glagolitic Script was included as early as in 1664 in a book prepared by Richard Daniel and published in London. It represents a catalogue of various Scripts in use in the Christian world. The Glagolitic Script presented there is called expressly the Croatian hand or Alphabetum Charvaticum. The book contains also the table of Croatian glagolitic quick-script, which Daniel calls Sclavorum Alphabetum, and Croatian - Bosnian cyrillic (many thanks to Professor Ralph Cleminson for this information). The book is entitled Daniels Copy-Book: or, a Compendium of the most usual hands of England, Netherland, France, Spain and Italy, Hebrew, Samaritan, Caldean Syrian, Aegypitan, Arabian, Greek, Saxon, Gotik, Croatian, Slavonian, Muscovian, Armenian, Roman, Florentine, Venentian, Saracen Saracen, Aethiopian, and Indian characters; with all the hands now most in mode and present use in Christiendom... See [Franolic] and also [Kempgen].
Here are two parts of the title page of Daniel's Copy-Book:
Citizens of Paris can see several Croatian Glagolitic collections in Bibliotheque Nationale. Two exceptionally important Glagolitic codices are held there: Code Slave 11 (14th century) containing the oldest known collection of Croatian religious lyrics, and Liber horarum (1317). Simun Kozicic Benja, the Krbava-Modrus bishop, founded his glagolitic printing house in the town of Rijeka in 1530. One of 6 published books was Knizice krsta, printed in 1531. Only three copies exist today: in Paris (Bibliotheque Nationale, sign. 49.052), in Sankt Petersburg (The State Library, sign. No 3093), and in Vicenza (Biblioteca Bertoliana) in Italy. The only copy of the earliest printed book in the Croatian Cyrillic (1512, prepared by Franjo Ratkovic from Dubrovnik) is also held in Bibliotheque Nationale.
An important heritage of the Glagolitic writing written by George de Slavonie (14th century) is held in the Bibliotheque Municipale of Tours in France.
Various cities outside of the Republic of Croatia which are in possession of Croatian glagolitic manuscripts and books. The map has been created by Filip Cvitić, Zagreb, on the basis of data provided by this web page. On this map, only the cities of Madrid and Salamanca are hypothetical.
Except in Croatia itself, numerous Croatian Glagolitic manuscripts are held in 27 countries, in more than 80 cities, mostly in national libraries and museums throughout Europe.
Simun Kozicic Zadranin (or Benja), the bishop of Modrus, was a humanist, Glagolitic writer and Glagolitic typographer with his printing house in the city of Rijeka. He is known for his speech about the insupportable pressure of the Ottoman Empire on Croatia to the participants of the Lateran Council in 1513. The same purpose had his speech De Corvatiae desolatione (On Devastated Croatia) held in the presence of the Pope Leon X in 1516. For additional information see here.
1516 speech of Simun Kozicic Zadranin, Bishop of Modrus: De Coruatiae desolatione (On Devastated Croatia), published in Latin original in Paris, France, 1517
It is interesting that Kozicic's 1516 speech, held in Latin, has been translated into French already in 1518, published again in 1560 and 1561, all three times in Paris. In the French translation the author of the speech is described as "reuerend pere en Dieu leuesque de Modrusie, ambassadeur deuers sa Sainctete pour le pais de Coruacia" (reverend father in God from Modrus, emissary in front of His Holiness from the country of Croatia). It is interesting that his Kožičić's Latin words pauperes illi nostri are translated as "noz poures gentz de Coruatie" (our poor people of Croatia).
Important Croatian humanist in France was Mirko Drazen Grmek (1924-2000), historian of biomedical sciences.
The first known opera in Croatia was performed in Dubrovnik in 1629, composed by Lambert Courtoys junior. His grandfather was a naturalized citizen of Dubrovnik, Lambert Courtoys senior from France. The opera was composed on the text Junije PalmotiĂŚ's (1606-1657) text Atalanta written in Croatian, which bore the subtitle Musica. Unfortunately, the scores are not preserved, but a document preserved in the Dubrovnik archives from that time proves that it was indeed an opera performed by 17 musicians. See [Demovic, Rasprave i prilozi, p 387].
Dubrovnik had consulates from Lisabon to Odessa on the Black Sea. In the 18th century Dubrovnik had as many as 80 consulates, which is more than Austria at that time (35), or France (40). From an interview with dr. Ilija Mitic published in Sonja Seferovic: Znanstveni rad koji je urodio dugogodisnjom suradnjom s njemackim sveucilistima, Dubrovacki vijesnik, 24. veljace 2007., p. 51.
It seems that Dubrovnik was in possession of Archimedes' telescope, about which a testimony exists written in 1672 by Antun Sorgo (Sorkocevic, son of distinguished Dubrovnik composer Luka Sorkocevic), in his book "Origine et chute de l'ancienne Republique de Raguse". Antun Sorgo was the last ambassador of the Dubrovnik Republic to France, where he spent 35 years. The Archimedes' telescope seems to have been lost during the desastrous Dubrovnik earthquake in 1667. The basic idea of Archimedes' reflecting telescope (3rd ct. BC) seems to coincide with that of Newton's reflecting telescope (Isaac Newton, 1642-1727).
The greatest and most famous Croatian philosopher and scientist Rudjer Boskovic (Boscovich, 1711-1787), was born in Dubrovnik, where he was educated in the Jesuit Collegium. He was a member of the Royal Society of London, a member of St.Petersbug Academy, "membre correspondant" of the French Academie Royale des Sciences, a member of the Accademia dell'Arcadia, a professor at many European universities. Very delicate work on repairing the cupola of St. Peter's church in the Vatican (diameter: 42m) was entrusted to R. Boskovic, a proof that he was a leading European authority for static computations and civil engineering of that time. Upon the request of Austrian Empress Maria Theresia, Boskovic was solving the problem of stability of Royal Library (now National Library) in Vienna.
Portrait of Boskovic by the English painter Edge Pine (London, 1760).
He was also the founder of the astronomical observatory in Brera near Milan. In 1773 a charter granted by Louis XV made him a French subject. Soon he was appointed by Louis XV to a very prestigious position and became the Director of Naval Optics of the French Navy in Paris (Optique Militaire de la Marine Royale de France). He left to his adoptive country an achromatic telescope and micrometer. Boskovic spent nine years in France, and became a good friend to many outstanding scientist, like the mathematician Clairaut, Lalande, Buffon. When D'Alembert took him for Italian, he hastened to correct him.
Boskovic stayed 7 months in England and met many famous scientists there: James Bradley (famous astronomer), George Parker (president of the Royal Academy), Samuel Johnson (Lexicographer), Edmund Burke (philosopher and political writer), Joshua Reynolds (the first president of the Royal Academy of Arts), and others. It is interesting that in England he designed a telescope filled with water in all its components, which was implemented at the Greenwich observatory in 1871, that is, 84 years after his death. He also met Benjmanin Franklin, who showed him some of his electrical experiments, see an article by Branko Franolic.
A detail from the Jesuit Collegium where R. Boskovic was educated, 17th century, representing coat of arms of the Kingdom of Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia,
Boskovic was also a brilliant Croatian Latinist poet. He wrote an extensive scientific epic De solis et lunae defectibus (On Solar and Lunar Eclipse) published in London in 1760. It contains 5570 Latin verses, and was dedicated to the Royal Society of England whose member he was. In the title one can read "Father r. Boskovic, of the Jesuit Order", although at that time it was forbidden for Jesuits to live and work in England. The epic was written in the manner of Roman classics, in dactilus hexameter.
When Charles Burney, a well known English musicologist, met Boskovic in Milan, he wrote: ...if all Jesuits were like this father, who uses the higher science and the work of mind to advance science for the happiness of mankind, then it were to be wished that this society were as durable as is this world. Boskovic was buried in the church of S. Maria Podone in Milano.
French astronomer Joseph-Jerome de Lalande wrote the following lines in his book Voyage en Italie:
Le plus grand mathematicen que l'aie connu a Rome est M. Boscovich, alors jesuite: il est ne a Raguse en 1711, mais il vint a Rome etant encore fort jeune, et apres avoir longtemps professe les mathematiques au college romain il fut fait professeur a Milan et ensuite a Pavie; mais l'on voyait avec peine des talents superieurs comme les siens, concentres dans cette derniere ville; non seulement il n'y a personne en Italie dont les ouvrages soient aussi celebres dans toute l'Europe que les siens, mais je ne connais pas de geometre plus spirituel et plus profond que lui. Sa mesure de la terre, son beau traite sur la loi de la pesanteur, ses decouvertes sur la lumiere et sur diverses parties de la physique, de l'astronomie, de la geometrie, son poeme sur les eclipses, imprime a Londres, a Venise et a Paris, peuvent doner une idee du nombre et de l'etendue de ses talents; mais il faut l'avoir connu particulerement, pour savoir combien il a de genie, combien son caractere est aimable, sa conversation interessante, et ses idees sublimes dans tout les genres. En 1773, il a ete appele en France et naturalise Francais. Il est actuellement  a Bassano, occupe aĂÂ faire imprimer ses nouveaux ouvrages, en cinq volumes.
William Thompson-Kelvin, the English physicist (19/20 centuries), once expressed his opinion that his atomic theory is a pure "Boskovicianism." Still earlier, Sir Humphry Davy, professor of physics and chemistry at the Royal Institution in London from 1802 till 1827, mentioned the name of Boskovic on several occasions in his Diary (Commonplace Book), accepting his atomistic theory. The diary is kept in the archives of the Royal Institution in London. Also a famous Irish mathematician and physicist R.W. Hamilton wrote extensively about Boskovic's theory of forces.
With his theory of forces R. Boskovic was a forerunner of modern physics for almost two centuries. It was described in his most important book Theoria Philosophiae naturalis (Vienna 1758, Venice 1763, London 1922, American edition in 1966).
Werner Heisenberg (Nobel prize for physics in 1932) wrote the following:
Among scientists from the 18th century Boskovic occupies outstanding place as a theologian, philosopher, mathematician, and astronomer. His "Theoria philosophiae naturalis" announced hypotheses which were confirmed only in the course of last fifty years.
Indeed, see his graph of regions of attractive and repelling forces between material points (elementary particles), the closest region being repelling, tending to infinity (nuclear force!; see here; published in his Dissertationes de lumine pars secunda, 1748), and the farthest region is repelling, corresponding to gravitational force: