Gjon Gazulli, Albanian astronomer and diplomat of 15th century Europe

E shtunë, 13 Prill, 2024
E shtunë, 13 Prill, 2024

Gjon Gazulli, Albanian astronomer and diplomat of 15th century Europe

Gjon Gàzulli was one of the most prominent figures of 15th-century European science. His activity lies in that time frame that connects two of the most epoch-making eras: humanism and the European Renaissance. Considering the scope of his activity: astronomy, mathematics, physics, philosophy, diplomacy, arts, he has been a real encyclopedia of his time.
Undoubtedly, the two areas where he excelled most are astronomy and diplomacy. In order to shed light on his life and work, it is necessary to trace the archives of the time: Padua, Budapest, Venice, and especially Ragusa (today’s Dubrovnik – where he lived and worked longer). The following archival series are especially valuable: Diversa Notare; Acta Consilii Rogatorum; Acta Consilii Minoris; Lettere et commissione Levantis; Testamenta Notarile etc. But also the private archives (if they are still preserved, and have not been ruined by the evil waves of the times). Among them is also: The Bassegli-Gozze Private Funds Archive.
Since Gàzulli exercised his activity in Italy, in Ragusa, as well as in many other European countries, where he took his diplomatic and scientific duties, valuable data are given by the literature of the time, on this Albanian encyclopedia.
About his scientific activity we find ourselves in an insurmountable difficulty for the time being: we must be content with what other authors give us about him, especially Grmek, Boskovic, Juric, Musantius, Appendini (especially this one), Johannsis de Monte Regio, Brotto – Zonta, etc., why his book, about which Jan Pannoni, a courtier of the king of Hungary, Matthias Corvinus, writes: “…… that book of yours where we found the reversible thoughts of the old astrologers… we found them elaborated in the sunlight”, unfortunately, has not been found yet and special research is needed, probably in Budapest.
ASTRONOMY
Gàzulli, according to different authors, of different languages ​​and nationalities, is sometimes referred to as Gjon and sometimes Gjin (of course Joanis, Giovanni, etc., but which is the same thing), as well as with uncrystallized adjectives, such as Gàzulli, Gazulis , Gaxuli, Gazzolo, etc., but which is always the same historical and scientific figure. In order not to overwhelm the reader in these researches, the forms Gjon and Gjin are a simple confusion, Gjin was called the father.
If Gjon was born in his native land, or in Ragusa, where many Albanian families were sheltered after the shocking riots of the Turkish occupation, especially in the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries, various authors confuse this topic badly, but one thing is certain: his family belonged to that lucky trunk of the Gazullores who left an indelible name on themselves in national history, for six centuries.

At that time, many Albanian families settled in Ragusa, such as Gjon Durrsaku (Johannes de Durachio), his son Domenik Durrsaku, the mentioned painter, Marin Beçikemi, and many others, among them famous architects, who left monumental works behind, according to Giuseppe Gelcich: “are works of Albanian genius and craftsmanship”.

Where did the Gàzulli family come from in Ragusa?
Authentic archival works help us in this: The Cadastre and sales register for the province of Shkodra from 1416-1417, which is kept in the State Archive in Venice (Archivio di Stato di Venezia) (See also: Giuseppe Valentini “Acta Albaniae Veneta”, part II, volume VIII, where Bardh Gàzulli, Dedë Gàzulli, Klamada Gàzulli and Mankez Gàzulli are mentioned as owners in Zadrima, among others).
Gjon grandfather was called Pal, a name that to this day, along with that Gjon, is repeated from generation to generation in this family, as is customary in Northern Albania. Meanwhile, his uncle, Matia, who is considered very rich, is found both in Ragusa and as a priest in Barbullush.
So, even if the Gàzulli family, or a part of it, moved, or even lived in Ragusa, for the historical reasons mentioned, it has always had its roots in today’s Albanian lands.
The surname Gazulli, or Gazullorë, which is found in the North since the beginning of time (as in Sapë – Zadrimë – Kashnjet, but also in Fan e Kabash), must have a simple etymological explanation: gazullor at that time and earlier would mean the hilarious of today. For example, in Zef Serembe we encounter: Gangular canopy, which in today’s Albanian would be “Jolly song”. It is probable, then, that some of the chiefs of the tribe must have been a cheerful, joyful, jockey man – as they popularly call him – and that he was called for this, for example, Pal Gazullori, who would be today Pal Gazmori. But while the qualitative adjective “gazullor” over the centuries has become “gazmor”, the family surname, as is natural, has remained rigid, Gàzulli.
So much so that to say that toponymy can not help us much about the origin of this family, due to frequent invasions, as a result of the atrocities of the time. However, both Gjon and other Gazullores over the centuries, remain prominent descendants of an undoubted Albanian trunk and closer to Northwestern Albania.
It should be noted that the most reliable documents on Gàzulli’s origin should be kept a Notary Testament of Matia Gàzulli (Dubrovnik Historical Archive) dated 24 September 1426, where he is appointed as heir (because Matia himself was a priest) his nephew John, son of Gjin, nephew of Paul. Also, from a notary power of attorney dated 02.06.1428 Gjon Gàzulli, “Figlio di Gini” (son of Gjini) declares that during his studies in Padua he left a box with his books and belongings and that he appoints as plenipotentiary his Anton Vuçeta from Ragusa for withdrawing the box.
From these two acts we find evidence that Paul (John’s grandfather) was from Zadrima (de Sapa), as were many others mentioned in these documents from Deje (Vau i Dejes), Pultit , Ulcinj and Bar, all Albanian territories.
These valuable documents have a regrettable flaw: no one mentions John’s date of birth or the time he started school.
Why this shortcoming, when it is known how developed Ragusa was at that time and that all birth registers are preserved to this day?
The answer can be found in another document, the protocol for awarding the degree of doctor of science at the University of Padua, January 31, 1430 (see Brotto-Zonta, Acta graduum Academicorum Gymnasii Patavini “, it is called:” Ioannis q. Gini Gaxuli de Albania “( Gjoni, of the late Gjin, from Albania), which proves not only his ethnicity but also the fact that (along with the absence in the birth registers in Ragusa) Gàzulli was born in Albania and came to Ragusa, probably to his uncle, priest and rich, Mati Gàzulli.
So, the lack of registration of his birth in the birth registers in Ragusa and the designation “DE ALBANIA” make his birthplace in his native land doubtful. (We also remember that the citizens of Ragusa in the documents of other regions were called “DE RAGUSA” being this, as well as Venice, a separate Republic).
Where, then, should we place Gàzulli’s birthday?
Certainly from the beginning of the 15th century, until 1428 he had completed his studies at the University of Padua. The enlightenment of Gàzulli’s activity as a scientist, unfortunately, can only be done through indirect references, because we have not been able to find any of his works.
Then let’s refer to them.
The great historian Francesco Maria Appendini, in his work “Notizie istorico-critiche sulla antichità, storia e letteratura de Ragusa”, II, Ragusa 1803, writes about a letter by J. Cesmicki, which states: “The book in question” in this letter, seems to have been published and is probably not the only work written by Gjon Gàzulli. This conjecture gains a greater probability why in Musantio’s chronological table, Gàzulli is found among the greatest mathematicians of the 15th century “. (See also: Giovanni Domenico Musantio, Tabulae chronologichae, 1740).
He is also mentioned by one of his 15th-century contemporaries, the astronomer Johann Myler from Kënnigsberg. Also, the astronomer Georg Peurbach in his work “Theoricae novae planetarum” brings a drawing of Gàzulli. Meanwhile, the Russian historian of exact sciences, V. Zubob says that Gàzulli published his great work on astronomy in 1438.
So, anyway, these are a small part of the indirect evidence that speaks of the famous European astronomer Gàzulli.
How did he get here?
In all likelihood, Gàzulli studied in Ragusa, and then, in 1422, went to Padua, where he completed his university studies in 1428, and on January 31, 1430 he defended his doctorate in an atmosphere of strong patriotic colors because many Arbëresh of Italy participated there, as well as other Albanians who came mainly from Ragusa. Gjergj Gaspri, Andrea Durrsaku, etc., mention their participation in this marked date).
After his doctorate, Gàzulli left “on missions” in Italy and France (they would be missions of a diplomatic nature because Ottomans were invading the Balkans) and then spent several years in Ragusa, until 1439, when he took the Department of Mathematics in Padua.
In Ragusa he deepens his research in the field of astronomy. To this day in the Library of Ragusa (Dubrovnik) are preserved some critical notes on the most remarkable work of that time “Theorica novae planetarium” by the Viennese astronomer G. Purbah. Undoubtedly the size of the astronomer Gàzulli, albeit again indirectly, emerges in his connections and appreciation in the court of the Hungarian king Matthias Corvinus.
Many scholars, especially Croats, see such good relations between Ragusa and the most powerful and flourishing kingdom of the time, Hungary, conditioned by Gàzull’s personality and his fame at the time.
As we said, a good part of his life he spent in Ragusa, both between the years 1433-1439 (before he recently moved to Padua), as well as in the years of old age. Here he was appointed by the Council of Wise Men (recall that Ragusa was an independent Republic) Rector of the Ragusa Schools. He became a voice astronomer throughout Europe, so much so that the king of Hungary, through a letter sent to the Council of Wise Men of the Republic, begged that Council for Gàzulli go to his court and conduct astronomical studies.
In a second letter dated 26.06.1459 the Council of the Republic again informed His Majesty Corvinus that they were trying to persuade Gàzulli to go there, but he found his age as a reason for opposition. His theory of “celestial constellations” had already become dominant in the scientific world that would rule Copernicus.
Here is an excerpt from the letter of Cesmicki, also this prominent Croatian scientist and former student of Gazulli, now in the court of Matia Korvin, addressed to Gjon:
“You have not only fulfilled our hope, but you have done even more.  We love immensely the book which you have given us. He is so full of knowledge and innovation that his reading has brought us pleasure as well as the study of great interest. We admit that there we have found explanations for some confusing sayings of ancient astronomers, which we have long been able to understand. For this reason we wholeheartedly urge you not to be lazy, to continue writing and end the work that has begun, which will be of great importance to scientists and to your fame …………. Commit to work for at our expense and at our own expense Ptolemy’s armor-bearing spheres, because here in the King of Hungary we do not have a master who knows how to work them… “
After Gàzulli’s death, in 1465, this place, that of the astronomer in the Royal Court of Hungary, was taken by Johan Myler, the most famous astronomer of the time, who in his most important work published there (Budapest) often mentions Gàzulli, even opposing him on some treatises on the celestial stars, which proves that Myler in Hungary faced not only the fame of Gàzulli, but also, of course, his book, which we do not have today.
It is precisely this contradiction – on the one hand, his fame, on the other hand, the lack of his books – that turns everything into an enigma that we are unable to solve today.
It must be said that from the beginning of the 50s until its extinction, Pal Gàzulli was the one who maintained Albania’s ties with Hungary, Ragusa, and the entire Apennine Peninsula. There are endless documents for this, but it is not the case to bring them here. We are remembering only one phrase of Barleti “.. it was the mind of Pal Gàzulli, the mind of our George Kastrioti who filled his heart with courage to continue the fight against the infidels ..”
To become part of the group of “Gazeta Diaspora Shqiptare” just click: Join Group and your request will be approved immediately.
Gjon Gàzulli was one of the most prominent figures of 15th-century European science. His activity lies in that time frame that connects two of the most epoch-making eras: humanism and the European Renaissance. Considering the scope of his activity: astronomy, mathematics, physics, philosophy, diplomacy, arts, he has been a real encyclopedia of his time.
Undoubtedly, the two areas where he excelled most are astronomy and diplomacy. In order to shed light on his life and work, it is necessary to trace the archives of the time: Padua, Budapest, Venice, and especially Ragusa (today’s Dubrovnik – where he lived and worked longer). The following archival series are especially valuable: Diversa Notare; Acta Consilii Rogatorum; Acta Consilii Minoris; Lettere et commissione Levantis; Testamenta Notarile etc. But also the private archives (if they are still preserved, and have not been ruined by the evil waves of the times). Among them is also: The Bassegli-Gozze Private Funds Archive.
Since Gàzulli exercised his activity in Italy, in Ragusa, as well as in many other European countries, where he took his diplomatic and scientific duties, valuable data are given by the literature of the time, on this Albanian encyclopedia.
About his scientific activity we find ourselves in an insurmountable difficulty for the time being: we must be content with what other authors give us about him, especially Grmek, Boskovic, Juric, Musantius, Appendini (especially this one), Johannsis de Monte Regio, Brotto – Zonta, etc., why his book, about which Jan Pannoni, a courtier of the king of Hungary, Matthias Corvinus, writes: “…… that book of yours where we found the reversible thoughts of the old astrologers… we found them elaborated in the sunlight”, unfortunately, has not been found yet and special research is needed, probably in Budapest.
ASTRONOMY
Gàzulli, according to different authors, of different languages ​​and nationalities, is sometimes referred to as Gjon and sometimes Gjin (of course Joanis, Giovanni, etc., but which is the same thing), as well as with uncrystallized adjectives, such as Gàzulli, Gazulis , Gaxuli, Gazzolo, etc., but which is always the same historical and scientific figure. In order not to overwhelm the reader in these researches, the forms Gjon and Gjin are a simple confusion, Gjin was called the father.
If Gjon was born in his native land, or in Ragusa, where many Albanian families were sheltered after the shocking riots of the Turkish occupation, especially in the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries, various authors confuse this topic badly, but one thing is certain: his family belonged to that lucky trunk of the Gazullores who left an indelible name on themselves in national history, for six centuries.

At that time, many Albanian families settled in Ragusa, such as Gjon Durrsaku (Johannes de Durachio), his son Domenik Durrsaku, the mentioned painter, Marin Beçikemi, and many others, among them famous architects, who left monumental works behind, according to Giuseppe Gelcich: “are works of Albanian genius and craftsmanship”.

Where did the Gàzulli family come from in Ragusa?
Authentic archival works help us in this: The Cadastre and sales register for the province of Shkodra from 1416-1417, which is kept in the State Archive in Venice (Archivio di Stato di Venezia) (See also: Giuseppe Valentini “Acta Albaniae Veneta”, part II, volume VIII, where Bardh Gàzulli, Dedë Gàzulli, Klamada Gàzulli and Mankez Gàzulli are mentioned as owners in Zadrima, among others).
Gjon grandfather was called Pal, a name that to this day, along with that Gjon, is repeated from generation to generation in this family, as is customary in Northern Albania. Meanwhile, his uncle, Matia, who is considered very rich, is found both in Ragusa and as a priest in Barbullush.
So, even if the Gàzulli family, or a part of it, moved, or even lived in Ragusa, for the historical reasons mentioned, it has always had its roots in today’s Albanian lands.
The surname Gazulli, or Gazullorë, which is found in the North since the beginning of time (as in Sapë – Zadrimë – Kashnjet, but also in Fan e Kabash), must have a simple etymological explanation: gazullor at that time and earlier would mean the hilarious of today. For example, in Zef Serembe we encounter: Gangular canopy, which in today’s Albanian would be “Jolly song”. It is probable, then, that some of the chiefs of the tribe must have been a cheerful, joyful, jockey man – as they popularly call him – and that he was called for this, for example, Pal Gazullori, who would be today Pal Gazmori. But while the qualitative adjective “gazullor” over the centuries has become “gazmor”, the family surname, as is natural, has remained rigid, Gàzulli.
So much so that to say that toponymy can not help us much about the origin of this family, due to frequent invasions, as a result of the atrocities of the time. However, both Gjon and other Gazullores over the centuries, remain prominent descendants of an undoubted Albanian trunk and closer to Northwestern Albania.
It should be noted that the most reliable documents on Gàzulli’s origin should be kept a Notary Testament of Matia Gàzulli (Dubrovnik Historical Archive) dated 24 September 1426, where he is appointed as heir (because Matia himself was a priest) his nephew John, son of Gjin, nephew of Paul. Also, from a notary power of attorney dated 02.06.1428 Gjon Gàzulli, “Figlio di Gini” (son of Gjini) declares that during his studies in Padua he left a box with his books and belongings and that he appoints as plenipotentiary his Anton Vuçeta from Ragusa for withdrawing the box.
From these two acts we find evidence that Paul (John’s grandfather) was from Zadrima (de Sapa), as were many others mentioned in these documents from Deje (Vau i Dejes), Pultit , Ulcinj and Bar, all Albanian territories.
These valuable documents have a regrettable flaw: no one mentions John’s date of birth or the time he started school.
Why this shortcoming, when it is known how developed Ragusa was at that time and that all birth registers are preserved to this day?
The answer can be found in another document, the protocol for awarding the degree of doctor of science at the University of Padua, January 31, 1430 (see Brotto-Zonta, Acta graduum Academicorum Gymnasii Patavini “, it is called:” Ioannis q. Gini Gaxuli de Albania “( Gjoni, of the late Gjin, from Albania), which proves not only his ethnicity but also the fact that (along with the absence in the birth registers in Ragusa) Gàzulli was born in Albania and came to Ragusa, probably to his uncle, priest and rich, Mati Gàzulli.
So, the lack of registration of his birth in the birth registers in Ragusa and the designation “DE ALBANIA” make his birthplace in his native land doubtful. (We also remember that the citizens of Ragusa in the documents of other regions were called “DE RAGUSA” being this, as well as Venice, a separate Republic).
Where, then, should we place Gàzulli’s birthday?
Certainly from the beginning of the 15th century, until 1428 he had completed his studies at the University of Padua. The enlightenment of Gàzulli’s activity as a scientist, unfortunately, can only be done through indirect references, because we have not been able to find any of his works.
Then let’s refer to them.
The great historian Francesco Maria Appendini, in his work “Notizie istorico-critiche sulla antichità, storia e letteratura de Ragusa”, II, Ragusa 1803, writes about a letter by J. Cesmicki, which states: “The book in question” in this letter, seems to have been published and is probably not the only work written by Gjon Gàzulli. This conjecture gains a greater probability why in Musantio’s chronological table, Gàzulli is found among the greatest mathematicians of the 15th century “. (See also: Giovanni Domenico Musantio, Tabulae chronologichae, 1740).
He is also mentioned by one of his 15th-century contemporaries, the astronomer Johann Myler from Kënnigsberg. Also, the astronomer Georg Peurbach in his work “Theoricae novae planetarum” brings a drawing of Gàzulli. Meanwhile, the Russian historian of exact sciences, V. Zubob says that Gàzulli published his great work on astronomy in 1438.
So, anyway, these are a small part of the indirect evidence that speaks of the famous European astronomer Gàzulli.
How did he get here?
In all likelihood, Gàzulli studied in Ragusa, and then, in 1422, went to Padua, where he completed his university studies in 1428, and on January 31, 1430 he defended his doctorate in an atmosphere of strong patriotic colors because many Arbëresh of Italy participated there, as well as other Albanians who came mainly from Ragusa. Gjergj Gaspri, Andrea Durrsaku, etc., mention their participation in this marked date).
After his doctorate, Gàzulli left “on missions” in Italy and France (they would be missions of a diplomatic nature because Ottomans were invading the Balkans) and then spent several years in Ragusa, until 1439, when he took the Department of Mathematics in Padua.
In Ragusa he deepens his research in the field of astronomy. To this day in the Library of Ragusa (Dubrovnik) are preserved some critical notes on the most remarkable work of that time “Theorica novae planetarium” by the Viennese astronomer G. Purbah. Undoubtedly the size of the astronomer Gàzulli, albeit again indirectly, emerges in his connections and appreciation in the court of the Hungarian king Matthias Corvinus.
Many scholars, especially Croats, see such good relations between Ragusa and the most powerful and flourishing kingdom of the time, Hungary, conditioned by Gàzull’s personality and his fame at the time.
As we said, a good part of his life he spent in Ragusa, both between the years 1433-1439 (before he recently moved to Padua), as well as in the years of old age. Here he was appointed by the Council of Wise Men (recall that Ragusa was an independent Republic) Rector of the Ragusa Schools. He became a voice astronomer throughout Europe, so much so that the king of Hungary, through a letter sent to the Council of Wise Men of the Republic, begged that Council for Gàzulli go to his court and conduct astronomical studies.
In a second letter dated 26.06.1459 the Council of the Republic again informed His Majesty Corvinus that they were trying to persuade Gàzulli to go there, but he found his age as a reason for opposition. His theory of “celestial constellations” had already become dominant in the scientific world that would rule Copernicus.
Here is an excerpt from the letter of Cesmicki, also this prominent Croatian scientist and former student of Gazulli, now in the court of Matia Korvin, addressed to Gjon:
“You have not only fulfilled our hope, but you have done even more.  We love immensely the book which you have given us. He is so full of knowledge and innovation that his reading has brought us pleasure as well as the study of great interest. We admit that there we have found explanations for some confusing sayings of ancient astronomers, which we have long been able to understand. For this reason we wholeheartedly urge you not to be lazy, to continue writing and end the work that has begun, which will be of great importance to scientists and to your fame …………. Commit to work for at our expense and at our own expense Ptolemy’s armor-bearing spheres, because here in the King of Hungary we do not have a master who knows how to work them… “
After Gàzulli’s death, in 1465, this place, that of the astronomer in the Royal Court of Hungary, was taken by Johan Myler, the most famous astronomer of the time, who in his most important work published there (Budapest) often mentions Gàzulli, even opposing him on some treatises on the celestial stars, which proves that Myler in Hungary faced not only the fame of Gàzulli, but also, of course, his book, which we do not have today.
It is precisely this contradiction – on the one hand, his fame, on the other hand, the lack of his books – that turns everything into an enigma that we are unable to solve today.
It must be said that from the beginning of the 50s until its extinction, Pal Gàzulli was the one who maintained Albania’s ties with Hungary, Ragusa, and the entire Apennine Peninsula. There are endless documents for this, but it is not the case to bring them here. We are remembering only one phrase of Barleti “.. it was the mind of Pal Gàzulli, the mind of our George Kastrioti who filled his heart with courage to continue the fight against the infidels ..”
To become part of the group of “Gazeta Diaspora Shqiptare” just click: Join Group and your request will be approved immediately.
Gjon Gàzulli was one of the most prominent figures of 15th-century European science. His activity lies in that time frame that connects two of the most epoch-making eras: humanism and the European Renaissance. Considering the scope of his activity: astronomy, mathematics, physics, philosophy, diplomacy, arts, he has been a real encyclopedia of his time.
Undoubtedly, the two areas where he excelled most are astronomy and diplomacy. In order to shed light on his life and work, it is necessary to trace the archives of the time: Padua, Budapest, Venice, and especially Ragusa (today’s Dubrovnik – where he lived and worked longer). The following archival series are especially valuable: Diversa Notare; Acta Consilii Rogatorum; Acta Consilii Minoris; Lettere et commissione Levantis; Testamenta Notarile etc. But also the private archives (if they are still preserved, and have not been ruined by the evil waves of the times). Among them is also: The Bassegli-Gozze Private Funds Archive.
Since Gàzulli exercised his activity in Italy, in Ragusa, as well as in many other European countries, where he took his diplomatic and scientific duties, valuable data are given by the literature of the time, on this Albanian encyclopedia.
About his scientific activity we find ourselves in an insurmountable difficulty for the time being: we must be content with what other authors give us about him, especially Grmek, Boskovic, Juric, Musantius, Appendini (especially this one), Johannsis de Monte Regio, Brotto – Zonta, etc., why his book, about which Jan Pannoni, a courtier of the king of Hungary, Matthias Corvinus, writes: “…… that book of yours where we found the reversible thoughts of the old astrologers… we found them elaborated in the sunlight”, unfortunately, has not been found yet and special research is needed, probably in Budapest.
ASTRONOMY
Gàzulli, according to different authors, of different languages ​​and nationalities, is sometimes referred to as Gjon and sometimes Gjin (of course Joanis, Giovanni, etc., but which is the same thing), as well as with uncrystallized adjectives, such as Gàzulli, Gazulis , Gaxuli, Gazzolo, etc., but which is always the same historical and scientific figure. In order not to overwhelm the reader in these researches, the forms Gjon and Gjin are a simple confusion, Gjin was called the father.
If Gjon was born in his native land, or in Ragusa, where many Albanian families were sheltered after the shocking riots of the Turkish occupation, especially in the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries, various authors confuse this topic badly, but one thing is certain: his family belonged to that lucky trunk of the Gazullores who left an indelible name on themselves in national history, for six centuries.

At that time, many Albanian families settled in Ragusa, such as Gjon Durrsaku (Johannes de Durachio), his son Domenik Durrsaku, the mentioned painter, Marin Beçikemi, and many others, among them famous architects, who left monumental works behind, according to Giuseppe Gelcich: “are works of Albanian genius and craftsmanship”.

Where did the Gàzulli family come from in Ragusa?
Authentic archival works help us in this: The Cadastre and sales register for the province of Shkodra from 1416-1417, which is kept in the State Archive in Venice (Archivio di Stato di Venezia) (See also: Giuseppe Valentini “Acta Albaniae Veneta”, part II, volume VIII, where Bardh Gàzulli, Dedë Gàzulli, Klamada Gàzulli and Mankez Gàzulli are mentioned as owners in Zadrima, among others).
Gjon grandfather was called Pal, a name that to this day, along with that Gjon, is repeated from generation to generation in this family, as is customary in Northern Albania. Meanwhile, his uncle, Matia, who is considered very rich, is found both in Ragusa and as a priest in Barbullush.
So, even if the Gàzulli family, or a part of it, moved, or even lived in Ragusa, for the historical reasons mentioned, it has always had its roots in today’s Albanian lands.
The surname Gazulli, or Gazullorë, which is found in the North since the beginning of time (as in Sapë – Zadrimë – Kashnjet, but also in Fan e Kabash), must have a simple etymological explanation: gazullor at that time and earlier would mean the hilarious of today. For example, in Zef Serembe we encounter: Gangular canopy, which in today’s Albanian would be “Jolly song”. It is probable, then, that some of the chiefs of the tribe must have been a cheerful, joyful, jockey man – as they popularly call him – and that he was called for this, for example, Pal Gazullori, who would be today Pal Gazmori. But while the qualitative adjective “gazullor” over the centuries has become “gazmor”, the family surname, as is natural, has remained rigid, Gàzulli.
So much so that to say that toponymy can not help us much about the origin of this family, due to frequent invasions, as a result of the atrocities of the time. However, both Gjon and other Gazullores over the centuries, remain prominent descendants of an undoubted Albanian trunk and closer to Northwestern Albania.
It should be noted that the most reliable documents on Gàzulli’s origin should be kept a Notary Testament of Matia Gàzulli (Dubrovnik Historical Archive) dated 24 September 1426, where he is appointed as heir (because Matia himself was a priest) his nephew John, son of Gjin, nephew of Paul. Also, from a notary power of attorney dated 02.06.1428 Gjon Gàzulli, “Figlio di Gini” (son of Gjini) declares that during his studies in Padua he left a box with his books and belongings and that he appoints as plenipotentiary his Anton Vuçeta from Ragusa for withdrawing the box.
From these two acts we find evidence that Paul (John’s grandfather) was from Zadrima (de Sapa), as were many others mentioned in these documents from Deje (Vau i Dejes), Pultit , Ulcinj and Bar, all Albanian territories.
These valuable documents have a regrettable flaw: no one mentions John’s date of birth or the time he started school.
Why this shortcoming, when it is known how developed Ragusa was at that time and that all birth registers are preserved to this day?
The answer can be found in another document, the protocol for awarding the degree of doctor of science at the University of Padua, January 31, 1430 (see Brotto-Zonta, Acta graduum Academicorum Gymnasii Patavini “, it is called:” Ioannis q. Gini Gaxuli de Albania “( Gjoni, of the late Gjin, from Albania), which proves not only his ethnicity but also the fact that (along with the absence in the birth registers in Ragusa) Gàzulli was born in Albania and came to Ragusa, probably to his uncle, priest and rich, Mati Gàzulli.
So, the lack of registration of his birth in the birth registers in Ragusa and the designation “DE ALBANIA” make his birthplace in his native land doubtful. (We also remember that the citizens of Ragusa in the documents of other regions were called “DE RAGUSA” being this, as well as Venice, a separate Republic).
Where, then, should we place Gàzulli’s birthday?
Certainly from the beginning of the 15th century, until 1428 he had completed his studies at the University of Padua. The enlightenment of Gàzulli’s activity as a scientist, unfortunately, can only be done through indirect references, because we have not been able to find any of his works.
Then let’s refer to them.
The great historian Francesco Maria Appendini, in his work “Notizie istorico-critiche sulla antichità, storia e letteratura de Ragusa”, II, Ragusa 1803, writes about a letter by J. Cesmicki, which states: “The book in question” in this letter, seems to have been published and is probably not the only work written by Gjon Gàzulli. This conjecture gains a greater probability why in Musantio’s chronological table, Gàzulli is found among the greatest mathematicians of the 15th century “. (See also: Giovanni Domenico Musantio, Tabulae chronologichae, 1740).
He is also mentioned by one of his 15th-century contemporaries, the astronomer Johann Myler from Kënnigsberg. Also, the astronomer Georg Peurbach in his work “Theoricae novae planetarum” brings a drawing of Gàzulli. Meanwhile, the Russian historian of exact sciences, V. Zubob says that Gàzulli published his great work on astronomy in 1438.
So, anyway, these are a small part of the indirect evidence that speaks of the famous European astronomer Gàzulli.
How did he get here?
In all likelihood, Gàzulli studied in Ragusa, and then, in 1422, went to Padua, where he completed his university studies in 1428, and on January 31, 1430 he defended his doctorate in an atmosphere of strong patriotic colors because many Arbëresh of Italy participated there, as well as other Albanians who came mainly from Ragusa. Gjergj Gaspri, Andrea Durrsaku, etc., mention their participation in this marked date).
After his doctorate, Gàzulli left “on missions” in Italy and France (they would be missions of a diplomatic nature because Ottomans were invading the Balkans) and then spent several years in Ragusa, until 1439, when he took the Department of Mathematics in Padua.
In Ragusa he deepens his research in the field of astronomy. To this day in the Library of Ragusa (Dubrovnik) are preserved some critical notes on the most remarkable work of that time “Theorica novae planetarium” by the Viennese astronomer G. Purbah. Undoubtedly the size of the astronomer Gàzulli, albeit again indirectly, emerges in his connections and appreciation in the court of the Hungarian king Matthias Corvinus.
Many scholars, especially Croats, see such good relations between Ragusa and the most powerful and flourishing kingdom of the time, Hungary, conditioned by Gàzull’s personality and his fame at the time.
As we said, a good part of his life he spent in Ragusa, both between the years 1433-1439 (before he recently moved to Padua), as well as in the years of old age. Here he was appointed by the Council of Wise Men (recall that Ragusa was an independent Republic) Rector of the Ragusa Schools. He became a voice astronomer throughout Europe, so much so that the king of Hungary, through a letter sent to the Council of Wise Men of the Republic, begged that Council for Gàzulli go to his court and conduct astronomical studies.
In a second letter dated 26.06.1459 the Council of the Republic again informed His Majesty Corvinus that they were trying to persuade Gàzulli to go there, but he found his age as a reason for opposition. His theory of “celestial constellations” had already become dominant in the scientific world that would rule Copernicus.
Here is an excerpt from the letter of Cesmicki, also this prominent Croatian scientist and former student of Gazulli, now in the court of Matia Korvin, addressed to Gjon:
“You have not only fulfilled our hope, but you have done even more.  We love immensely the book which you have given us. He is so full of knowledge and innovation that his reading has brought us pleasure as well as the study of great interest. We admit that there we have found explanations for some confusing sayings of ancient astronomers, which we have long been able to understand. For this reason we wholeheartedly urge you not to be lazy, to continue writing and end the work that has begun, which will be of great importance to scientists and to your fame …………. Commit to work for at our expense and at our own expense Ptolemy’s armor-bearing spheres, because here in the King of Hungary we do not have a master who knows how to work them… “
After Gàzulli’s death, in 1465, this place, that of the astronomer in the Royal Court of Hungary, was taken by Johan Myler, the most famous astronomer of the time, who in his most important work published there (Budapest) often mentions Gàzulli, even opposing him on some treatises on the celestial stars, which proves that Myler in Hungary faced not only the fame of Gàzulli, but also, of course, his book, which we do not have today.
It is precisely this contradiction – on the one hand, his fame, on the other hand, the lack of his books – that turns everything into an enigma that we are unable to solve today.
It must be said that from the beginning of the 50s until its extinction, Pal Gàzulli was the one who maintained Albania’s ties with Hungary, Ragusa, and the entire Apennine Peninsula. There are endless documents for this, but it is not the case to bring them here. We are remembering only one phrase of Barleti “.. it was the mind of Pal Gàzulli, the mind of our George Kastrioti who filled his heart with courage to continue the fight against the infidels ..”
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