Milan Milićević

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Milan Dj. Milićević
Born (1831-06-04)4 June 1831
Ripanj, Principality of Serbia
Died 17 November 1908(1908-11-17) (aged 77)
Belgrade, Kingdom of Serbia
Occupation Historian, writer
Nationality Serbian

Milan Djakov Milićević (Serbian Cyrillic: Милан Ђаков Милићевић; June 4, 1831 – November 17, 1908) was a Serbian writer, biographer, ethnologist and one of the founders of the Association of Writers of Serbia.[1]

Milan Đakov Milićević was a Serbian geographical, ethnographical, and historical writer, and novelist; author of stories, studies, sketches of special Serbian interest. He left a most detailed account of his time.


He was born of a good and old Serbian family in Ripanj, about 25 kilometers south of Belgrade at the foot of Avala mountain, on the fourth of June 1831. When Milićević was a teenager his parents moved to Belgrade. Having received his early education at the gymnasium of Belgrade (1845), he entered the Grande école (Velika škola), and engaged in the study of religion and education. Although Milićević did specially distinguish himself as a student, ill health prevented him from going to Russia to pursue further studies. University life, however, had considerable influence in the development of his character and furnished him with much of his literary material. After taking a degree in 1850, he taught school in the Serbian heartland Lesnik (Serbia), and in 1851 at Topola. In early 1852 Milićević took a clerical post at the courthouse in Valjevo, and was soon transferred to a similar post in Belgrade before joining the Ministry of Culture and Religious Affairs in 1852. Three years later Milićević transferred to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, there he remained until 1861. From then until 1880 he served as secretary of the Ministry of Education. In 1884 the Minister of Education took him as his assistant, and in 1886 he became head librarian of the National Library of Belgrade. He entered the Skupština (Parliament) as a representative of a Belgrade constituency and as a member of the Progressive Party, led by Milutin Garašanin, son of Ilija Garašanin, and Vladan Đorđević. From 1896 to 1899 he was the president of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, and in 1899 he retired. In 1901 he celebrated his 50th anniversary as a pedagogue and novelist.

He died at Belgrade in 1908.



Milićević was an indefatigable pedagogue and a prolific writer, so that he left behind him, as the fruit of his labours, a large number of books, novels, and monographs.

From 1868 to 1876 Milićević edited Škola (School), a tri-monthly scholastic journal. He was a voluminous writer on educational subjects, and was the author of various school-textbooks. He authored 100 books, including several novels, and published hundreds of studies, papers, monographs, and learned articles. Among his pedagological textbooks were:

Schools in Serbia (1868); A Study Guide (1869); Pedagological Studies (1870); School Hygene (1870); History of Pedagogy (1871); School Discipline (1871); Adolf Diesterweg (1871); Schools for the Rights of Citizens and Responsibilities (1873); etc.

When Milićević was appointed secretary of the Ministry of Education he immediately put into practice methods of the most celebrated reformers of education of the past and present, Dositej Obradović (Serbia), Teodor Janković-Mirijevski (Austria and Russia), Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (Switzerland), Friedrich Fröbel (Germany), Adolph Diesterweg (Germany), Ferdinand Buisson (France), and others. He translated the works of the great French writers, philosophers and educators of his time, Paris in America by Édouard Laboulaye (1863); Moral History of Women (1876) and Fathers and Children in the Nineteenth Century (Vols. 1 & 2, 1872 and 1873) by Ernest Legouvé; Women of the 20th Century by Jules Simon; Émile by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and works by Montesquieu (Persian Letters) and Jules Sandeau (Galebova stena). Milićević translated Russian author Alexander Hilferding's history of the Serbians and Bulgarians, Pisma o istoriji Srba i Bugara, and Ignaty Potapenko's 1892 short story Istinska sluzba (True Vocation).

He also began recruiting the best minds in academia. A well-known pedagogue, Dr. Vojislav Bakić (1847–1929), early in 1875 decided to move to Belgrade from Zagreb. He requested Milan Milićević to help him find a job in Serbia. Milićević noted in his diary January 8, 1875: "I am happy about it because our national education will acquire a hard-working,competent, educated and erudite scholar." Bakić, author of Srpsko rodoljublje i otačastvoljublje, stressed freedom and equality even more than brotherhood. He advocated the education of girls to prepare for their patriotic mission.

Historian and Ethnologist[edit]

His first books dealt with the history, geography and customs of his people. In 1857 he published two books, The Serbian Peasant and Serbian Towns which attracted some attention. It was followed by a three more book entitled The Life of Serbian Peasants (Vol 1, 1868; Vol. 2, 1873; Vol 3, 1877).

In his early years Milićević acquired a love of national customs and traditions which his humanist education never obliterated, while, in addition, he learnt to know the whole range of our popular literature (Narodne pesme) -- legends, songs and fairy tales which were collected and published by Vuk Stefanović Karadžić. These circumstances explain the richness of his vocabulary, and joined to an ardent patriotism they fitted him to become a political leader and a leading scholar, proponent of the Vukovian School (Vukova škola). As a scholar, he gave fresh impulse to Vuk Karadžić reforms in his early and later works. At the time, there were many historians who raised methodological questions. A step towards broader views and the application of modern European methodological principles was taken through the works of Milan Djakov Milićević, Jovan Skerlić and Jovan Cvijić.

He has written:

  • Lessons in Civil Rights and Responsibilities (1873)
  • Principality of Serbia (1876)
  • Serbian Peasant Life (in the glasnik: 1867 and 1875)
  • Kingdom of Serbia (1884)
  • The stories of Serbian life in the 19th century: "Jurmusa i Fatima" and "White Evenings" (1879)
  • Biographies of Famous People in Present-day Serbia/Pomenik znamenitih ljudi u srpskog naroda novijega doba (1888)
  • Petar Jokić: Events and People in the First Serbian Uprising (1891)
  • Prince Miloš and His Story (1891)
  • Karadjordje (1903)

In the introduction of his Principality of Serbia (1876), Milićević concluded in didactic verse: "Knowledge is enlightenment, will is might, let us work, day and night."

From 1873 to his death his work was educational, with the exception of a short stint in politics before his retirement. As president of the Learned Society, Milićević enlarged the resources and number of the institution, which had hundreds of members by the turn of the century. In other fields, he promoted common school education (especially manual training), the work of the public library, and took active part in discussion of women's rights, economics, statistical and other public questions, holding many offices of honour and responsibility. As an author he wrote on the government treatment of the poor, underprivileged, and general political economy besides producing monographs on the life of Petar Jokić, a buljukbasha of Karadjordje's guard who died in 1852, and the history of Serbia in his own time.

In 1878 the Serbian Learned Society (Srpsko učeno društvo) elected Slovak professor Janko Šafarik, Milan Djakov Milićević and Serbian painter Steva Todorović to collect ethnographic objects in Serbia for exhibit at the Pan-Slavic Congress in St. Peterburg. Milićević and Todorović selected 600 national costumes and Todorović supplied twenty photographs from Serbia. Officially, however, it was Milan Milićević who led the delegation, both as chief delegate of the Serbian Learned Society and by virtue of his fluency in the Russian language.


As a politician Milićević had an active career with the Progressive Party, led by Milutin Garašanin, son of Ilija Garašanin, and Vladan Đorđević. The Progressive Party sprang from the group of young conservatives, imbued with Western liberalism. Their better known regional leaders were Milan Piroćanac, Čedomilj Mijatović, historian Stojan Novaković, poet Milan Kujundžić-Aberdar, poet, novelist and dramatist Milorad Popović Šapčanin, and Milan Đakov Milićević.

From 1896 he entered the Skupština (Serbian Parliament) as representative of a Belgrade constituency, representing the Progressive Party, but decided three years later to retire. Milićević believed that the solidarity of Slavic nations should recognize and not repudiate the principle of distinctive national differences while contributing to the mutual respect and understanding of all humankind. Professing advanced Liberal and democratic views, he often had to defend personal freedoms to those who were used to strong-arm tactics. "From many sides our friends complain how the Radicals are upsetting them," Milićević wrote in his diary, "They do not understand that this is a consequence of freedom and blame us that we do not use the state administration to stop them. No! That we will not do!....."

Literary Work[edit]

Literary critic Jovan Skerlić classed Milićević with Stjepan Mitrov Ljubiša (1824–1878), an excellent Serbian short story writer originally from Montenegro. The two were famed as story tellers, like Joksim Nović Otočanin and Jovan Sundečić a generation before.

In Milan Miličević's book Pomenik znamenitih ljudi u srpskog narodu novieg doba (Album of the important personalities among the Serbs in modern times), he claimed that Ilija Garašanin's policy in office was guided by the ides presented in the Nacertanije, even though the existence of such a document was at that time unknown only to a few and it remained unpublished until 1906.


  • Putnička pisma
  • Beleške kroz put pet okružja po Srbiji
  • Iz svojih uspomena
  • Život Srba seljaka
  • Slave u Srba
  • Iz svojih uspomena
  • Zadružna kuća na selu
  • Manastiri u Srbiji
  • Pedagogijske pouke
  • Kako se uči knjiga
  • Školska higijena, 1870.
  • Školska disciplina
  • Pogled na narodno školovanje u Srbiji
  • Moralna žena
  • Zimnje večeri
  • Selo Zloselica i učitelj Milivoje
  • Jurmus i Fatima
  • Omer Čelebija
  • Pomenik znameniti ljudi u srpskoga naroda novijega doba, 1888.
  • Dodatak pomeniku od 1888. Znameniti ljudi u srpskoga naroda koji su preminuli do kraja 1900. g.
  • Pomenik znamenitih ljudi u srpskom narodu noviega doba, Beograd 1901.
  • Knez Miloš u pričama, 1891.
  • Knez Miloš u pričama II. 1900.
  • Knez Miliš u spomenicima svog nekadašnjeg sekretara, Beograd 1896.
  • Žena XX veka, napisala Žil SImon i Gustav Simon, Beograd 1894.
  • Kneževina Srbija, Beograd, 1876.
  • Kraljevina Srbija
  • Čupić Stojan i Nikola, Beograd 1875.
  • Život i dela veikih ljudi iz svih naroda I, Beograd 1877.
  • Život i dela veikih ljudi iz svih naroda II, Beograd 1877.
  • Život i dela veikih ljudi iz svih naroda III, Beograd 1879.
  • Karađorđe u govori u stvoru, Beograd 1904.


  1. ^ Biography SANU website

2. The factual material for the Wikipedia biography of Milan Milićević is adapted from the Serbian of Jovan Skerlić's Istorija nove srpske književnosti / History of Modern Serbian Literature (Belgrade, 1921), pages 330-334

External links[edit]