Pomorski i povijesni muzej Hrvatskog primorja Rijeka

Maritime and History Museum of the Croatian Littoral

Pomorski i povijesni muzej Hrvatskog primorja Rijeka

The Collection of Weapons, Military Accessories and Militaria

Head: Ivo Mileusnić, curator

The Collection of Weapons Military Accessories and Militaria consists of cold steel weapons and firearms (attack and defence i.e. protective), military accessories and militaria from the 13th to 20th centuries. The collection contains 295 items. All the items have been inventoried and digitalised and entered into the M++ computer database.
The material was collected by donations and purchases. The collection consists mainly of weapons and equipment used in Europe and local regions, but also represented are examples of weapons from other continents (South America, Asia and Africa) which arrived in the collection, primarily when it was formed, as gifts from citizens, especially sailors.
The origins of the collection of weapons date back to the very beginnings of the museum’s activities in Rijeka, and the first known data about the procurement of weapons for the museum dates to 1888 when Rijeka’s City Hall acquired an antique sword blade and one flintlock rifle.
The weapons in the collection cover a range from the 13th to 20th centuries, with typical examples of weapons which are more or less characteristic for a certain period, although a few, in somewhat modified forms, have also survived to recent times. To mention a few, such as a sword from the 13th-14th centuries, an Italian sword from 16th century, Venetian, known as “the schiavona” and a German sword for piercing chainmail shirts from the 17th century, soldier and officers’ swords, parade swords of Austrian officers from the 19th century, cavalry infantry sabres from the 18th and 19th centuries, Austrian, German, French parade sabres with the uniforms of Croatian-Hungarian magnates and sabres of Croatian Illyrians, Ottoman scimitars and Russian Cossack sabres.
Pole weapons are represented by: a spear from the 16th century, halberds from 16th-17th centuries from Venice, decorated halberds from 18th-19th centuries, a German corseque built around 1525, various axes of eastern origins, a multi-sided mace from the 16-17th centuries.
Especially important to mention are the Turkish weapons (yatagan and kubura) to which all countries of the Balkan peninsular became accustomed with the expansion of the Ottoman Empire. This kind of weapon was produced in Albania, Prizren, Herzegovina, in coastal regions between Kotor and Thessaloniki. What is attractive about these is the beauty of the craftsmanship, especially when they are decorated with silver and gilded wire, and the wooden parts inlaid with decoratively made appliqué.
Firearms are represented by small mortars (17th century) and flintlock rifles from forts and ships from the 17th-18th centuries, a ship’s cannon, cannons of various sizes with front loading barrels, lit by ignition fuses. Some of the cannons are exhibited in the open-air, in front of the museum and at the Trsat castle.
Well represented are military flintlock rifles from the 18th century of Italian, French, German, Bosnian and Albanian-Macedonian origins, and percussion and hunting rifles from the 19th century (France, Czech Republic, Austria), various flintlock and percussion pistols of Albanian, Caucasus and Belgian origins.
The items of the collection have been exhibited many times; the first time from 1948-1956, then 1956-1969 and then 1977-1991. Since 2005 the 140 items from the collection have been exhibited in the form of a permanent display as a study collection. The creator of the study display is Danijel Patafta, the collection’s former curator. The non-exhibited weaponry, military equipment and militaria are stored in the museum’s storerooms in adequate micro-climate conditions and regular inspections are made and if necessary conservation and restoration of the items is performed.

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