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marine college2What do you mean the Austrian Navy, did you mean that this land-locked nation had a Navy? Yes of course and not only for sailing up or down the River Donau but a real fleet when Austria was an Imperial Empire.

Merchant Marine Colleges or Naval Colleges taught the many  navigational skills that an officer should possess. Warfare skills were generally taught at Naval War Colleges. Both existed in many seafaring nations long before Austria established such institutions.

Now you may ask me why I am writing this type of post? Simply, the photograph above is a report card from 1841 in our private collection. The Austrian Empire acquired the independent state of Venice in 1797 through the Campoformido Treaty and with it the Dalmatian Coast and the Istrian Islands. With this they also took possession of the institutions like the “Collegio di Nobile” established in 1619 in Venice where young noblemen were taught the seafaring arts.

Austria’s most famous naval officer, the Admiral Wilhelm von Tegethoff (1827-1871) attended this school in 1841, the same year the report card was issued to our student whose first name was Ippolito and last name we unfortunately could not decipher, very likely they also knew each other. It appears that the college had a very limited amount of students in those years. This rare report or scorecard is interesting from an educational point of view. It shows us about the classes or courses that were taught and how a pupil was judged overall. For ease of reading we have divided the large document (23x 16 inches)  into two halves. (shown below)

The Austrian Navy quickly adapted the Italian language with the Venetian version or dialect as the semi-official language spoken on their ships, and when in later years the Italians fought against the Austrians the language on both sides on the ships would be Italian-Venetian and not the German language. This was largely due to the fact that both sides had been taught in the same school. The document is a report card for the first class divided into two semesters for the year 1841 and it was signed by the Director of the college appearing in the right column, with the July 1st date and Venezia on the left side.

The report card lists in separate columns the cadet’s origin, the first and last name and in the second column the father’s status who was of noble descent and in possession of land. The student’s birthday was listed as the 23th of November 1825.

The most important question came first, who was paying for the education? The student was in this case. (see the very left column in the top half of the document) The next filled out columns are for the birthplace which was Verona in the Veneto Province and the religion listed as Catholic. The next two columns relate to the physical measurements of the student and were not filled out. What were filled out were the columns relating to the student’s mental state, as well as, his moral conduct. This student’s temperament was described as docile and good. The general conduct was described as good. There is a column for how the student applies himself and was listed as sufficient.

The document on the top of this post has the words IMP. Regio Collegio della Marina standing for Imperial Marine College. The scorecard is titled conduct and application. Under the column objects of instruction, we read they were taught German, Italian, History, Geography, Travel, Mathematics, Ornamental Drawing, Calligraphy, Italian Grammar, Marine Manouevres, Excellence, Swimming and Fencing. Our student had E’s for Excellent and was awarded a total of 588 merit points. Overall a complete, rare document pertaining to the history of two countries, Italy and Austria.

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