Josip Runjanin

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Josip Runjanin
Јосиф Руњанин
Josif Runjanin

(1821-12-08)8 December 1821
Vinkovci, Slavonian Military Frontier, Austrian Empire,

(modern Croatia)

2 February 1878(1878-02-02) (aged 56)
Novi Sad, Bacs-Bodrog county, Kingdom of Hungary, Austria-Hungary,

(modern-day Serbia)
Occupation soldier and composer

Josip Runjanin or Josif Runjanin (Serbian Cyrillic: Јосиф Руњанин; 8 December 1821–2 February 1878) was a Croatia Serb composer and soldier from the Austrian Empire. He is best known for composing the melody of the Croatian national anthem and of the Serbian patriotic song "Rado Srbin ide u Vojnike" (Gladly will the Serb Enlist in the Army).[1][2] He was lieutenant-colonel in the Habsburg Army.


The Runjanin family originated from the village of Runjani in Jadar, in the Drina valley (western Serbia). The family moved to Bijeljina in Bosnia in 1718 when Austria conquered Serbia and Northern Bosnia.

Most of the family's members fled once again, during the Second Great Migration of Serbs in 1739 when Serbia and Northern Bosnia were reoccupied by the Ottomans. The family found refuge in Osijek in the Austrian Empire controlled Slavonia.

One Đorđe Runjanin then settled in the village of Grk, in Syrmia with his family. Đorđe's son Stojak was a Serbian Orthodox priest in Kuzmin until his death in 1758. Stojak fathered Vasilije who was the father of Petar (another Orthodox minister), and whose son was Ignjat (1798 - 10 November 1876) who was an Austrian army captain in Vinkovci. Josif was the eldest of Ignjat's 7 children.


Runjanin was born in December 1821 and baptized in the Orthodox Church of Pentecost in Vinkovci. He received his education in Vinkovci, and then Sremski Karlovci. He served in the Imperial Army as a cadet in the town of Glina along the Military Frontier.[3] While serving in Glina, he attained the rank of Captain, and became proficient in playing the piano, being taught by the military kapelnik of Glina. There, he was introduced to the Illyrist circles, where he met noted poet Antun Mihanović. It is generally agreed that Runjanin, an amateur musician, composed the music for Mihanović's patriotic Croatian song Lijepa naša domovina in 1848 using inspiration from Gaetano Donizetti's opera Lucia di Lammermoor.[3] However, this Croatian Anthem would be first played in the streets of Zagreb in 1891 during the Croatian-Slavonian exhibit, so both men only achieved postmortem fame.[4] An obedient soldier, Josif later was later made colonel.

In 1864 at the age of 43, he married the daughter of the pensioned captain Toma Perković.[3] As a representative of the First Banate regiment, he entered the Croatian Assembly in 1865.[3]

After retirement, Josif moved to Novi Sad where he died at the age of 57 on 2 February 1878 and was buried at the Serbian Orthodox Ascension Cemetery (Uspensko groblje).


During his lifetime he was recognized for having composed three major songs which are popular to this day:

Monument to the Croatian anthem

There are several schools in Croatia named after Runjanin, most notably the elementary Music School of Josip Runjanin (Osnovna glazbena škola Josipa Runjanina) in Vinkovci.[8]


External links[edit]