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Slovenian Place Names in Time and Space (Historical Topography of Slovenia from the Middle Ages to the 19th Century)


Historical topography of the territory of the Republic of Slovenia has been a desideratum of Slovenian historical science for almost a century. Identification (localisation) of former place names – settlements, fallows, waters, objects, provinces, etc. – found in various written historical records of the past is of pivotal importance for historical research as well as many other scientific disciplines (geography, archaeology, ethnology, linguistics, etc.). After World War II much work has been done in this field; historical topographies of Carniola, Styria and Slovenian Carinthia, as well as Prekmurje were issued in print form, while the Littoral was to a large extent examined in manuscript. The knowledge of historical sources for the territory of Slovenia in domestic and foreign archives has drastically improved over the last decades, and publications of numerous new collections of sources only further expanded the scope of available and useful data. One “shortcoming” of previous historical topographies was time frame limited to the year 1500 and hence to the medieval period. However, recent studies have shown that medieval materials often fail to allow reliable identifications of toponyms and solutions to historico-topographic questions. For this reason it is absolutely necessary to also draw on written and especially cartographic sources of later centuries. The new historical topography of Slovenia, which is the objective of the proposed project, will in the long-term cover the entire state territory and expand the time frame until the 19th century. In addition to medieval materials, it will to the fullest extent possible draw on various historical sources of the Modern Period, from land registers to the Theresian/Franciscean Cadastre and historical maps. Thus, it will importantly update and in many respects correct the hitherto knowledge or existing historico-topographic handbooks. The result will be a highly systematic, thorough, reliable and useful historical topography of Slovenia intended for the scientific public and lay users alike. Plans are being made for an interactive online presentation in connection with cartographic bases that will attract an as broad a circle of users as possible (perhaps even a book publication). The online edition will allow for up-to-date upgrading and corrections with new data, and thus constantly gain in value. Mention should also be made of the planned possibility to link historico-topographic data with other databases (geographic, archaeologic, geodetic, etc.). The result or, rather, the objective of the project is thus a long-wished-for and downright indispensable tool that will enrich the knowledge of Slovenian past and the identity of the Slovenian territory.

Research Project

historical topography
Early Modern Period
the Middle Ages

Research Fields
Zgodovina srednjega veka H220