Josip Runjanin

Josip Runjanin
Born (1821-12-08)8 December 1821
Vinkovci, Slavonian Military Frontier, Austrian Empire
Died 2 February 1878(1878-02-02) (aged 56)
Novi Sad, Bacs-Bodrog county, Kingdom of Hungary, Austria-Hungary
Nationality Austrian Empire
Occupation soldier and composer

Josip Runjanin or Josif Runjanin (Serbian Cyrillic: Јосиф Руњанин; 8 December 1821 – 2 February 1878) was a Croatian Serb composer and lieutenant-colonel of the Austro-Hungarian Army. He is best known for composing the melody of the Croatian national anthem.


The Runjanin family hailed from the village of Runjani in Jadar, in the Drina valley of western Serbia. The family moved to Bijeljina in Bosnia in 1718 when Austria occupied Serbia. Most of the family's members fled once again, during the Second Great Migration of Serbs in 1739 when the territories south of the Sava and Danube rivers were reoccupied by the Ottomans. The family found refuge in Osijek in the Habsburg-controlled Slavonia. One Đorđe Runjanin then settled in the village of Grk, in Syrmia with his family. Đorđe's son Stojak was an 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. Josip was the eldest of Ignjat's seven children.


Runjanin was born to a Serb[1] family on December 1821 and baptized in the Serbian 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.[2] While serving in Glina, he attained the rank of captain, and became proficient in playing the piano, being taught by the military bandmaster of Glina. There, he was introduced to the Illyrist circles, where he met noted poet Antun Mihanović.[3] It is generally agreed that Runjanin, an amateur musician, composed the music for Mihanović's patriotic Croatian song Lijepa naša domovina in 1846 using inspiration from Gaetano Donizetti's aria O sole piu ratto a sorger t’appresta from the 3rd act of his opera Lucia di Lammermoor, according to Croatian musicologist Josip Andreis.[4]

His song Ljubimo te naša diko was composed using motives from Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore.[2] Ljubimo te Naša Diko (Hrvati svome banu) was composed in honour of the ban of Croatia Josip Jelačić.[3][5][6]

The Croatian anthem by Mihanović and Runjanin would be first played in the streets of Zagreb in 1891 during the Croatian-Slavonian exhibit, so both men only achieved postmortem fame.[7] An obedient soldier, Runjanin was later made colonel.

In 1864 at the age of 43, Runjanin married the daughter of the pensioned captain Toma Perković.[8] As a representative of the First Banate regiment, he entered the Croatian Assembly in 1865.[8]

After retirement, Runjanin 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).


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.[9]


  1. Mark Biondich (2005). "Croatia". In Richard C. Frucht. Eastern Europe: An Introduction to the People, Lands, and Culture. 1. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO. p. 419. ISBN 978-1-57607-800-6.
  2. 1 2 Runjanin, Josip (in Croatian). Miroslav Krleža Lexicographical Institute. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  3. 1 2 Šarčević, Josip (7 April 2008). "Josip Runjanin (Josif)". Hrvatski povijesni portal. Prelog: Inter nos. ISSN 1846-4432. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  4. Tomasović, Mirko (20 March 2003). "Vrsni katalog emocija i epiteta (Runjanin i Donizetti)" [An excellent catalog of emotions and epithets (Runjanin and Donizetti)]. Vijenac. Matica hrvatska (236).
  5. (Croatian) ZAMP Baza autora: Ljubimo te naša diko (Hrvati svome banu)
  6. (Croatian) Republika. Page 41, note 2
  7. "Josip Runjanin". Na današnji dan - 12. prosinca (in Croatian). Croatian Radiotelevision.
  8. 1 2 "Josip Runjanin". Biografije. Archived from the original on 2008-05-26.
  9. "Josip Runjanin" (in Croatian). Vinkovci: Josip Runjanin Music School. 13 May 2014. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
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