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Hvar, Republic of Venice
|Other names||Vincentius Priboevius|
|Known for||founder of the pan-Slavic ideology|
|Notable work||On the Origin and Glory of the Slavs (Latin: De origine successibusque Slavorum)|
Pribojević was born on the island of Hvar, in Venetian Dalmatia (now Croatia). American historian John Van Antwerp Fine, Jr. emphasizes that Pribojević and Juraj Šižgorić did not consider themselves to be Croats, but rather Slavic language-speaking Venetians. Pribojević alone considered himself Dalmatian first and foremost and then Slavic, shunning the Venetian tag later in his life. He was educated in the humanist spirit and joined the Dominican Order around 1522.
His most famous work is the speech De origine successibusque Slavorum (On the Origin and Glory of the Slavs), where he exalts Illyrians and Slavs as the ancestors of the Dalmatian Slavs. His speech, most probably made in Venice in 1525, left a deep impression on the Venetians, who published it in Latin and Italian several times over the following years. Its passionate glorification of Slavs (in which the book includes Alexander the Great and Aristotle, Diocletian and Jerome) and its strong pathos played a major role in the birth of the pan-Slavic ideology. It was the first time that such ideology was formulated as a program, which was further developed by Mavro Orbini and Juraj Križanić.
Pribojević was the first to incorporate Illyrians and their myth into the Croatian and Slavic historiography (or rather ideology), as a shield and rampart against the German, Hungarian and Italian national and territorial ambitions. His identification of Slavs as Illyrians, as well as his enthusiastic glorification of the historical greatness and importance of Illyrians, left a deep mark on world history and outlook.
Although his work is pure fiction from the aspect of critical historiography, Pribojević's basic ideas, however bizarre today, were taken very seriously by his contemporaries. At the time of Humanism and the Renaissance, there was still no established rational and critical apparatus differentiating between truth and fiction in the murky issues of ethnogenesis and national/linguistic loyalties. In fact, various fantastic theories on the origin of peoples persisted well into the 19th century.
He was one of the most important Croatian and global Latinists who created the ideological molds of the future, is also the ancestor of the Croatian Illyrian movement of the 19th century and of the pan-Slavic ideology that was embraced by all Slavic peoples.
- De origine successibusque Slavorum (The Origin and Glory of Slavs), 1532. Also available in Croatian as Podrijetlo i slava Slavena, 1997
- Jr., John V. A. Fine (1 January 2006). When Ethnicity Did Not Matter in the Balkans: A Study of Identity in Pre-Nationalist Croatia, Dalmatia, and Slavonia in the Medieval and Early-Modern Periods. University of Michigan Press. p. 255. ISBN 0-472-02560-0.
In comparing Šižgorić with Pribojević.... These individuals did not think of themselves as Croats.