Zrinska, Ana Katarina (1625–1673)

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Zrinska, Ana Katarina (1625–1673)

Croatian noble and translator of Putni tovarus (Traveler's Prayer-Book). Name variations: Ana Katarina Frankopan-Zrinska; Katalin Frangepán (Frankopan) Zrinyi; Ana Zrinyi. Born in 1625; died in Graz, Austrian Styria, in 1673; daughter of Countess Ursula Inkofer; sister of Franjo Krsto Frankopan (1643–1671); married Péter or Petar Zrinyi or Zrinski (1621–1671); children: daughter Ilona Zrinyi (1643–1703).

Born in 1625 into the Frankopan (Frangepán) family, one of the oldest and most powerful feudal clans in Croatia, Ana Katarina Frankopan was married at an early age to a member of another leading family of the province, Petar Zrinyi. She received a good education, learning German from her mother, the Countess Ursula Inkofer , and Italian from tutors. In 1660, Ana Zrinska found a place in the history of Croatian literature by translating a prayer book from German into fluent and persuasive Croatian prose. Entitled Putni tovarus (Traveler's Prayer-Book), the volume appeared in print in Venice in 1661, with a foreword in which the translator dedicated the volume to "the nobles and eminent people of both sexes of the entire Croatian and Slavic nation, for good Christians of all types and varieties [jeder Art und Gattung]."

In the 1660s, because of her blood and marital ties, Zrinska would become part of the Ferenc Wesselényi conspiracy against Habsburg rule in Hungary, Croatia and Transylvania. Both her husband Petar and her brother Franjo Krsto Frankopan were leading members of this daring but ill-fated plot. While the conspiracy was underway, Zrinska assisted by carrying out several diplomatic missions as a courier in Venice and in Poland. She and her husband not only shared political hopes and risks, but were both active as translators and authors. Modern Croatian literary scholarship has argued that, of the two, she possessed the greater poetic abilities.

The Wesselényi conspiracy was crushed in 1670, and along with virtually all of its other leaders, Zrinska's husband and brother were found guilty of treason and sentenced to loss of life, honor and property. They were both executed in Wiener Neustadt, south of Vienna, on April 30, 1671. Shattered by her great loss, Zrinska died in Graz in 1673, survived by a daughter Ilona Zrinyi who was fated to play an even greater role in the history of Hungary.


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John Haag , Associate Professor of History, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia