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500 years since first book by a Croatian author written in Croatian language marked

Marko Marulić (Photo: Ljetopis društva hrvatskih književnika Zagreb/Public Domain)

ZAGREB, 10 April (Hina) – The Croatian Parliament unanimously decided on Friday to declare 2021 the Year of Marko Marulić. a Renaissance poet regarded as the father of Croatian literature.

The Year of Marko Marulić will run from 22 April 2021 to 22 April 2022 to mark 500 years since the printing of Marulić’s “Judita”, the first book by a Croatian author written in the Croatian language.

“Judita” is the first Croatian epic poem written in 1501 and published in Venice in 1521. It was the bestseller of its time, translated into many languages. During Marulić’s life, it ran through as many as three printings in 18 months.

 Illustrated page from the second edition of Judita written and illustrated by Croatian rennaisance writer Marko Marulić, published in Zadar, May 1522.

Illustrated page from the second edition of Judita (Photo: Public Domain/CC)

Marulić finished Judita on April 22, 1501 and the first edition was arranged by Petar Srićić of Split and was printed in Venice by Guglielmo da Fontaneto on August 13, 1521, 20 years after it was written.

One extant copy of the first edition is held in the Mala braća Franciscan library in Dubrovnik, and the other in the Zadar family Paravia’s library, which is today a part of the Scientific Library of Zadar.

The second edition was edited by Zadar librarian Jerolim Mirković, published on May 30, 1522, and is illustrated with nine woodcuts depicting war scenes. The ninth woodcut is signed with the letter M, and it was therefore assumed that Marulić himself was the author of the woodcuts.

The third edition was printed on January 29, 1522, for the Dubrovnik librarian Jacomo di Negri. The only surviving copy of that edition is held at the Bavarian State Library in Munich.

Marko Marulić croatia

Marko Marulić bust (Photo: Direktor/CC0 Public Domain)

Marulić was born in Split, coming from the distinguished aristocratic family. He lived most of his life in Split, apart from time studying law in Italy and two years on the island of Šolta. 

In Split, Marulić practised law, serving as a judge, examinator of notarial entries and executor of wills. 

 2021 the Year of Marko Marulić.

Marko Marulić monument in Knin (Photo credit: August Dominus/CC BY-SA 4.0)

Marulić’s portrait is depicted on the Croatian 500 kuna banknote and also the Order of Danica Hrvatska, a Croatian state decoration awarded for special merits for culture, is ornamented with his face.

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