Mathie Gubec

An idealised statue depicting Mathie Gubec*
An idealised statue depicting Mathie Gubec

Here in Britain we remember our own Peasants' Revolt in 1382 and make a hero out of Wat Tyler. In Croatia they remember Mathie Gubec for much the same reason - though unlike Wat, who is solidly grounded in history and whose house is still preserved in Dartford, Gubec is a more shadowy figure and it is even possible that there was no such person and the name is like our "Robin Hood", a figure of romance and legend.

The facts of the Peasants' Revolt, however, are well known. Thousands of peasants, made desperate by long years of oppression and cruelty, gathered under a leader (who may have been called Mathie Gubec!) and, armed only with their agricultural tools and whatever weapons they were able to capture, fought four great battles. It is likely that the forces of the state attacked them before they had united and so they were destroyed piecemeal, one group after the other.

The film was made at the Gubec Memorial near Donja Stubice. Behind the memorial there is a large country house that has been converted into a museum and is well worth a visit. As well as the exhibits relating to the Revolt, there are also displays about Ban Jelacic who ruled Croatia in the 1800s, and in the cellar a set of huge barrels and information about the local wine-making industry.