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Dositej Obradović

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Dositej Obradović
Доситеј Обрадовић
Dositej Obradović on a 2007 Serbian stamp
Minister of Education of Serbia
In office
Prime MinisterMateja Nenadović
Preceded byPost established
Succeeded byIvan Jugović
Personal details
Dimitrije Obradović

17 February 1739 (1739-02-17)
Tschakowa, Kingdom of Hungary, Habsburg monarchy
(now Ciacova, Romania)
Died7 April 1811 (1811-04-08) (aged 72)
Belgrade, Rumelia Eyalet, Ottoman Empire
(now Belgrade, Serbia)

Dositej Obradović (Serbian Cyrillic: Доситеј Обрадовић, Serbian pronunciation: [dɔsǐtɛːj ɔbrǎːdɔʋitɕ]; 17 February 1739 – 7 April 1811) was a Serbian writer, biographer, diarist, philosopher, pedagogue, educational reformer, linguist, polyglot and the first minister of education of Serbia.[1] An influential protagonist of the Serbian national and cultural renaissance, he advocated Enlightenment and rationalist ideas, while remaining a Serbian patriot and an adherent of the Serbian Orthodox Church.



Dositej Obradović was born Dimitrije Obradović, probably in 1739, in the Banat village of Čakovo, in the Habsburg monarchy, now Ciacova, in present-day Romania. From an early age, he was possessed with a passion for study. Obradović grew up bilingual (in Serbian and Romanian) and learned classical Greek, Latin, modern Greek, German, English, French, Russian and Italian.[2]

On 17 February 1757 he became a monk in the Serb Orthodox monastery of Hopovo, in the Srem region, and acquired the name Dositej (Dositheus).[3] He translated into Serbian many European classics, including Aesop's Fables.

Having devoured the contents of the monastery library, he hungered for further learning. On 2 November 1760 he left the monastery of Hopovo, bound for Hilandar, Mount Athos.[4]

Plaque in Clement Lane, London.

In 1761 he went to Zagreb where he studied Latin. From 1761 to 1763 he was a teacher in a Serbian school in Kninsko Polje. For a brief period, he taught at a monastery in the Bay of Kotor before he was ordained as a priest by Vasilije Petrović. After falling ill, he returned to teach in Dalmatia in the village of Golubić near Knin.[4] He then went to Corfu where he studied Greek before going to Venice and then coming back to Dalmatia where he became a teacher again, in Plavno. He later enrolled at the University of Halle where he studied Philosophy. In 1783, he transferred to the University of Leipzig and published his first work.[5] He was a student of Johann Eberhard who himself was a disciple of Christian Wolf. More than a third of his life was spent in Austria where Obradović became influenced by the ideas of Joseph II and the German Enlightenment. Additionally, he was an Anglophile and influenced by English educators, seeing England as the land of spiritual freedom and modern civilization.[6]

Besides these countries, his forty year travel journeys across Europe and Asia Minor also took him to Greece, Hungary, Turkey, Romania, France, Russia, England, and Poland. At the time of the First Serbian Uprising (1804) Obradovic was in Italy, where he published his pivotal poem Rise O Serbia (Vostani Serbie) in honor of Karađorđe Petrović and the insurgents. In Dositej’s song, Serbia is pictured as a ‘sleeping Beauty’, asleep for centuries. The verses call upon her to wake up and give an example to her ‘sisters’, Bosnia, Herzegovina and Montenegro.[7] In 1806 Obradovic leaved Trieste and moved to Belgrade, at the invitation of Karađorđe Petrović, to become, in the newly organized government, Serbia's first minister of education.[8] In 1809 he founded Higher School, the first higher education institution in Serbia that later developed into a University. The school was located in a two story building in Zajrek, one of the oldest parts of Belgrade. The building now serves as the Museum of Vuk and Dositej. [9]

Obradović wrote first individual biographies and quickly the genre expanded to the form of biographical collection modelled on examples of Nepos, Suetonius, Plutarch, or Diogenes Laertius.

Obradović helped introduce to the Serbs the literature of certain western European countries.[10] He and Vuk Karadžić, whom Obradović influenced,[11] are recognized as the fathers of modern Serbian literature. Because the Serbian populace often suffered famine, Obradović also introduced potato cultivation to Serbia.

Dositej Obradović died in Belgrade, Serbia, in 1811.


  • Slovo poučiteljno Gosp. Georg. Joakima Colikofera, Leipzig, 1774, 31 pp.
  • Pismo Haralampiju, 1783.
  • Život i priključenija D.O., Leipzig, 1783.
  • Sovjeti zdravago razuma, Leipzig, 1784, 119 pp.
  • Ezopove i pročih raznih basnotvorcev basne, Leipzig, 1788, 451 pp.
  • Pesme o izbavleniju Serbije, Vienna, 1789, 4 pp.
  • Sobranije raznih naravoučitelnih veščej, Pécs, 1793, 2 + 316 pp.
  • Etika ili filozofija naravnoučitelna, Venice, 1803, 160 pp.
  • Vostani Serbije, 1804.
  • Mezimac, Budim 1818, 230 + 11 pp.
  • Ižica, 1830
  • Pisma, Budapest, 1829, 126 pp.
  • Prvenac, Karlštat 1930, 17 + 168 pp.
  • Jastuk roda moga (lost), 1813


  • Slovo poučitelno, 1784.
  • Istina i prelest, (short story), 1788.
  • Put u jedan dan, (short story), 1788.
  • Aesop's Fables
  • Hristoitija
  • Bukvica
  • Etika
  • Venac
  • Damon
  • Ingleska izrečenija

See also



  1. ^ "Biography (Serbian)". Archived from the original on 16 July 2014. Retrieved 31 July 2007.
  2. ^ The south Slav Journal / "Dositey Obradovich Circle". - London : South Slav Research & Study Centre 1.1978 - 5. ISSN 0141-6146
  3. ^ Skerlić 1914, p. 58.
  4. ^ a b Skerlić 1914, p. 59.
  5. ^ Skerlić 1914, pp. 59–60.
  6. ^ Skerlić 1914, p. 63-64.
  7. ^ Obradović, Dositej (2007), "Rise, O Serbia", National Romanticism: The Formation of National Movements : Discourses of Collective Identity in Central and Southeast Europe 1770–1945, volume II, Discourses of Collective Identity in Central and Southeast Europe 1770–1945, Budapest: Central European University Press, pp. 391–395, ISBN 978-615-5211-24-9, retrieved 24 May 2024
  8. ^ Skerlić 1914, pp. 59–61.
  9. ^ "Museum of Vuk and Dositej | Народни музеј". Retrieved 24 May 2024.
  10. ^ Wladimir Fischer: The Role of Dositej Obradovic in the Construction of Serbian Identities During the 19th Century. In: spacesofidentity vol. 1.3 (2001)[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ History of the Balkans: Volume 1. Cambridge University Press. 29 July 1983. ISBN 9780521252492.
  12. ^ Pillow of my grave on IMDB
  13. ^ Pillow of my grave on YouTube TV miniseries, 1 part
  14. ^ Pillow of my grave on YouTube TV miniseries, 2 part



Further reading

  • Cassell's Encyclopaedia of World Literature, Volume 2, Funk & Wagnalls, 1954.
  • Chambers Biographical Dictionary, Chambers Harrap, 1997.
  • Ćurčić, N. M. J. The Ethics of Reason in the Philosophical System of Dositej Obradovic A Study of His Contribution in This Field to the Age of Reason. London: Unwin Bros. Ltd, 1976.
  • Fischer, Wladimir, "The Role of Dositej Obradovic in the Construction of Serbian Identities During the 19th Century," Spaces of Identity (1.3, 2001), 67–87.
  • Fischer, Wladimir: Creating a National Hero: The Changing Symbolics of Dositej Obradović. In: Identität – Kultur – Raum. Turia + Kant, Wien 2001, ISBN 3-85132-301-7.
  • Fischer, Wladimir, "Dositej Obradović and the Ambivalence of Enlightenment". Heppner/Posch (eds.), Encounters in Europe's Southeast, Bochum: Winkler, 2012, ISBN 978-3-89911-190-3, ISBN 978-3-89911-205-4.
  • Javarek, Vera (April 1947). "Dositej Obradović and the English rationalists". The Slavonic and East European Review. 25 (65).
  • Merriam-Webster's Biographical Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, 1995.
  • Obradović, Dositej. The Life and Adventures of Dimitrije Obradović. University of California Publications in Modern Philology 39. Berkeley; Los Angeles, 1953.
  • Pijanović, Petar: Život i delo Dositeja Obradovića. Zavod za udžbenike i nastavna sredstva, Beograd 2000.
  • "South Slavic Writers Before World War II". Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 147, Gale Research, 1995.
  • Skerlić, Jovan, Istorija Nove Srpske Književnosti (Belgrade, 1914, 1921).
Government offices
Preceded by
Post established
Minister of Education of Serbia
Succeeded by