Petar Zoranić

Petar Zoranić (1508 – between 1543 and 1569) was a Croatian Renaissance writer from Zadar. He is most important as the author of Planine, the first Croatian novel.


Petar Zoranić (1508 – between 1543 and 1569) was a Croatian Renaissance writer from Zadar. He is most important as the author of Planine, the first Croatian novel.


His ancestors were the noble family Telačić from Nin, and when the Ottomans attacked Nin at the end of the 15th century, the family moved to the fortified town of Zadar. 

Zoranić returned to Nin when the Ottoman attacks lessened. He was born in Zadar to his parents, father Ivan and mother Elizabeta Medulla. 

It is assumed that he was educated in Padua; most probably he received a lawyer’s education because he worked as a notary and also issued documents of public faith (fidem publicum) in the Latin, Italian and Croatian languages which as its prerequisite had the obligation of having studied jurisprudence. 

In the dedication to Planine Zoranić called the Matej Matijević, the Canon from Nin, his teacher, so that he was almost definitely educated in the spirit of humanism. What remained preserved from Zoranić´s literary work is only Planine, written in prose and verses, usually defined as the first Croatian pastoral novel. The work was dated as belonging to the year 1536 and printed in 1569 in Venice. Only a single copy ofPlanine has remained preserved. One could reconstruct the characters of his friends and family from Zoranić´s novel. So the character referred to as "beautiful, noble and stylish Jele" could have been his mother Elizabeta, while the greatest mystery is Jaga to whom he dedicated a poem, and whose identity, if revealed, would mean figuring out the person on account of whom he was undertaking that journey. 

From the novel Planine it is also made clear that there are two other works written by Zoranić - Ljubveni lov [Amorous hunting] and Vilenica [Fairy] - that are mentioned in the chapter Perivoj od slave [Gardens of glory]. The full title of Zoranić’s novel is rather long: Planine ke zd(a)rže u sebi pisni pete po pastirih, pripovisti i pritvori junakov i deklic i mnoge ostale stvari složene po Petru Zoraniću Ninjaninu [approximately: Planine that contains songs sung by shepherds, stories and transformations of heroes and young girls and many other things put together by Petar Zoranić from Nin]. The basic stimulus for his creation was a strong feeling of patriotism at the moment of the Ottoman attacks, but at the same time he was quite aware of the literary component. 


Zoranić´s Planine were the only novel written in the Croatian literature all through the 19th century. This work, as declared by Zoranić in his dedication addressed to Matej Matijević, except for the literal reading should also be read as an allegory whose meaning is that the grace of God leads the man through earthly evil to the final understanding of divine truth. 


Undoubtedly, Zoranić has left an indelible trace in Croatian literary history by his distinct and singular appearance.