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The Government of Dubrovnik Republic

The famous inscription in the Rector's Palace “Obliti privatorum, publica curate" ("Forget about personal things, take care about the public”), was the motto towards which every nobleman should strive in the conduct of public affairs.


Besides Rector there were three main institutions of the Dubrovnik Republic were: the Large Council (Veliko vijeće), the Small Council (Malo vijeće) and the Senate (Vijeće umoljenih).


Only male members of nobleman families were entitled to enter into councils. Dubrovnik's noble families were recognized by their surnames - Gučetić, Gundulić, Getaldic, Sorkočević, Palmotić. Today in Dubrovnik Old Town many streets are named after noblemen’s families.


Large Council (Veliko vijeće) was the main legislative body and consisted of all male nobleman older than 18. There were cases when certain nobleman were expelled from membership: Lovro Menčetić was expelled from the Council because he married a commoner despite the legal ban. In whole Europe Dubrovnik nobility probably had the strictest regulations on the prohibition of marriages outside their classes.


Small Council (Malo vijeće) was the executive body of the government. At first consisted of 11 members and after 1667 of 7 members. Members of Small Council were appointed by Rector and had the role of ministers in todays’ governments.


Dubrovnik Rector had a term of one month. Such methods should prevent excessive consolidation of power and prevent the introduction of the self-government. During the mandate, the Rector had to live in the Rector's Palace without his family. He was not allowed to leave the Palace except for important republic businesses. The Rector did not receive any compensation as the position of Rector was an honor. A person was eligible for reelection after two years.


The Senate (Vijeće umoljenih), was a consultative body. It consisted of 45 appointed members members who had to be over 40. Over the years the Senate overtook the main role in governing the Republic.  

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