(The Greek descendants)

Written by Dionisis pl. Sdrinias,
City of Chalkis (Greece)

In the year 1050, a nobleman from the Royal family of Subich, was born and his descendants governed Croatia for more than 600 years.

The Subich family started from a town called Trogir, near Split, by the Adriatic region of Croatia and soon became well known as Counts of Bribir. The title was given by King Bella III of Hungary in recompensation of the wars against the Tartars.

In 1251 AD King Bella IV concede the territories of Slavonia and Trogir to Conte Stepco (1180).

Paolo I Subich Bribirski (Pavao I) was born in 1245 and died in 1310. Paolo I belonged to one of the twelve ancient Croatian noble families (genus Subbithorum) which "lived in Bribir country since the arrival of the Croats". The first known zupan (country prefect) of Bribir from the Subich family was Budic, who governed the district of Bribir during the reign of King Petar Kresimir IV, and was also the king's chamberlain.

The Subich family was related to King Zvonimir. The most famous of all the Subichi of Bribir was Pavao I, the Ban (Viceroy) of Croatia and the sovereign of Bosnia.

He united all the Croatian lands once ruled by the kings of Croatian blood. Ban Pavao issued his own money.

Although he did not have himself crowned, he was effectively a sovereign ruler, exemplifying the old saying: "The ban is the king to the Croats".

Cnt. Mladen (Mladin II) (1270) was commander of Bossina and Dalmatian and became "Prince of Dalmatian" after he conquered Zara (Zadar). After a war against Charles of Hungary he lost the battle of Knin and he was imprisoned in a chamber of Trogir, together with his brother Giorgio (Juraj II 1275).

King Ludovic of Hungary at the year 1347 concede the castle of Zriny to the Zrinski family and since then they are known as "Zrinski, Sdrin or Sdrinias (in Greek), Submit, Bribir".

Cnt. Martino Zrinski or Sdrigna, was born on 1462 and was the son of Cnt. Pietro II and brother of Nikola III, father of Nikola IV, the one who is referred to in history as Nikola the Great Zrinski of Sighed.

Martino Zrinski was the first of the Zrinski family who lived since then in Cefalonia Greece, by the name of Sdrin, Sdrinia (in Greek Σδρίνια).

Cnt. Nikola Zrinski, (born 1508) the ban of Dalmatian, Slavonia and Croatia, the commander of Szeged (since 1561) and the Habsburg commander in western Hungary (since 1563); the most courageous and prominent member of the Zrinski family, which together with the Frankapans was the most distinguished and famous noble family in the Croatian history.

He established his reputation as a fearless warrior in the defense of Vienna in 1529, and in the victory over the Turks at Budapest 1529.

As Croatian Ban, he persistently advocated Croatian interests. He acquired immortal fame for himself and Croatia in the battle of Siget in 1566.

More than 100.000 well-armed Turks, headed by the famed Suleiman the Magnificent and Grand Vezier Mehmed-Pasha Sokolovic, besieged the fortress of Szeged from August 7th to September 7th, 1566.

Zrinski, with "two thousand three hundred and a few more" warriors defended it, until the charge from the fortress, in which he was killed.

The Sultan offered Nikola Zrinski the crown of Croatia in vain. The destiny of Europe was at stake then, and Zrinski and his company of Croatian knights chose to defend the interests of the Christian West.

Sultan Suleiman died during the battle, so the Grand Vezier abandoned that military expedition and returned to Constantinople.

The Zrinski era lasted for whole 145 years The Zrinskis were not only distinguished warlords famous after their heroism in fighting the Turks, but also poets and book-lovers.

The Zrinski family is considered to have played the most important role in the cultural history of Medzimurje (north part of Croatia, near the border of Slovenia and Hungary).

In order to understand the Zrinski epoch better, it is necessary to get to know the Zrinski family better.

Nikola's IV son, Giorgio V (Juraj) inherited his father's property, but he more interested in books than in chivalry.

He became enthusiastic about Lutheranism which he did not accept, but forced the people to turn Protestant as well. He persecuted Catholic priests and devastated a number of the churches, especially the famous Paulist monastery at Sveta Helena, which did him no credit, of course.

But, on the other hand, he founded the first printing office at Nedelisce (near Cakovec) in 1574, when there was no other printing office in Croatia.

His son, Giorgio VI (Juraj Jr.) turned back to Catholicism and "purified" Medzimurje from Lutheranism. He was in complete succession to the famous warlord Nikola Sdrin - he was a brave and fearless warrior famous for fighting the Turks at Palanka.

Unfortunately his chivalry and rapier-tonguedness were a thorn in his superior's, general Wallenstein's side and Wallenstein had Giorgio poisoned after a verbal duel in 1626.

Zrinski - Francopan conspiracy

Giorgio VI (Juraj VI) had two sons. Nikola VII and Pietro IV (Peter IV).

Nikola VII, like his father, before him, was famous for his heroism and education. The Franciscans in Cakovec owe him special gratitude since he was the man who established the Franciscan order in Cakovec. There is still a portrait of Juraj at the Franciscan monastery with a Latin inscription in its upper corner:

"Com. Nicolaus a Zrinio Regn. Dalm. Croat. Et Slav- Banus ac PP Franciscanorum Prov. S. Ladislai Chaktorn, introductor et illocator Ao 1659" (Prince Nikola Sdrinia, the Viceroy of Dalmatian, Croatian and Slavonian Kingdom, the man who introduced the Franciscan fathers of St. Ladislav's province to Cakovec in 1659).

Due to his heroic acts (the Turks were scared away from Kanjiza forever; the Drava bridge at Osijek was burnt down) he became a Viceroy of Croatia and was respected and appreciated throughout Europe.

Nikola was also famous as a poet and a polyglot - he spoke seven languages; in 1651, he wrote "Adriai Tengernek Syrenaia" (Adriatic Sea Murmaid) in Hungarian. Besides other poems, it contains the heroic epics on the battle of Siget and Nikola of Siget's death.

After the peace treaty at Vasvar was concluded, he became the central figure of the Zrinski - Frankopan plot, but not for long, since he was killed by a wounded boar (?) while hunting at Kursanecki Lug on the 18th November 1664.

The same tragic fate accompanied his brother Pietro (Petar). In April 1670, after the plot was revealed, Petar and his brother-in-law Fran Krsto Frankopan left for Vienna intending to ask Emperor Leopold I for exculpation, but, shortly after their arrival, they were imprisoned and sentenced to be decapitated.

They were executed in Wiener Neustadt on 30th April 1671.

This was the end of the plot against absolutistic, centralistic and germanizing Habsburg policy that had caused loss to Croatian and Hungarian feudal lords.

The execution was the beginning of a systematic devastation of the Zrinski's real and personal estate.

Nikola's son Adamo (Adam) was the last of the Zrinskis in Croatia.

The Greek line

The enemies of the family, thought that the Zrinskis had disappeared from the face of the earth and especially the House of the Habsburg's.

They didn't know that one of the Zrinski family by the name Martino Zrin or Sdrin, Pietro's son, who was born in 1462 and died in Cefalonia (Greece) in 1508, had entered the Venetian army, as a high rank officer, because of his background (as Zrinski).

Because Martino was in the Italian army, he used the name under which he was known in Venice. Zrin and Sdrin.

Last century's genealogist and the author of the Libro D'Oro (The Golden Book) of the noble families of Cefalonia point's out about Sdrin (Accurate translation):

"The first of the Sdrin family, the one who was called and Zrin or Sdrigna (Greek Sdrinia), who settle in Cefalonia, was Martino, high rank military in the army of Democracy of Venetian, at the end of the 15th century. Conte Martino Sdrin, follow in this campaign to Cefalonia on December 1500 the admiral Benedetto Pesaro, as vexillary and he was the first who landed on the island. Admiral Pesaro called him with a Order of The Day on the 2nd of January 1501, "Chief of the Cavalry" on the island and t hat order confirmed by the Venetian Congress on the 27th of February 1504 (Sathas, doc. Ined. V160)".

Since then, the Sdrinias family was always on the front of the island and lot of historical books have been written about them and referring to heroic acts in Cefalonia.

Last century, in the year 1870, Nikolaos Sdrinias was the manager of the Greek National Bank on the island of Zakynthos and from there he was transferred to Athens.

Now starts the new line in the Greek capital, while another line still lives on the island of Cefalonia.

Today, in Chalkida, the capital of the island Euboia, lives the first of the famous Zrinski family, who returned back to his roots and he is a member of the Croatian Nobility Council, by the name Dionis pl. Sdrinias.


Croatia - Overview of its History, Culture and Science