• Bruno Atalić


Plague was one of the most deadly epidemic diseases of the Baroque period. Responses to it were not only medical, but religious as well. A good example of the latter is the Most Holy Trinity monument in the city of Osijek, which was in the 18th century the biggest town of the Kingdom of Slavonia and today is the regional centre in the Republic of Croatia. The monument was erected between 1729 and 1730 on the main square of the Osijek military fortress Tvrđa by the widow of the General Maksimilijan Petraš who died during the 1728 plague epidemic. Inscription on it implores the mercy of God as a protection against plague. Its foundation could be also interpreted as a part of the Catholic Revival, which was implemented by the Habsburgs in Osijek and Slavonia after their liberation from the Ottomans. But although, on the one hand, it could be interpreted as a symbol of the successful implementation of the Habsburg unifying religious policies due to its strong resemblance with the similar columns throughout the Habsburg Monarchy, on the other hand, it represented a continuation of the theurgic understanding of medicine, which could be interpreted as the
failure of the Habsburg enlightened medical policies. Thus the archival documents from the Osijek State Archive together with the Osijek plague column itself were analysed with the aim of explaining the above mentioned ambiguities.

Key words: plague; plague column; Osijek; Habsburg Monarchy; Croatia; 18th century.