The Introduction part of The Baptism on the Savica
The Introduction part of The Baptism on the Savica

The Baptism on the Savica (Slovene: Krst pri Savici) is a long two-part epic-lyric poem written by the Slovene Romantic poet France Prešeren. According to the literary historian Marko Juvan, the work may be considered the Slovene national epic.[1] It is a narration about a hero and the woman he loves in the time of violent Christianisation of the predecessors of the Slovenes.

Creation and publication

The poem was written in the Bohorič alphabet from July 1835 until January 1836 and self-published in April 1836. It was printed in 600 copies in Ljubljana by Josef Blasnik.


The poem comprises over 500 verses and has three parts. The first part of the poem, added approximately ten years later, is a sonnet dedicating the work to Prešeren's late friend Matija Čop. The second part, the Introduction (Uvod), describes the final battle between Christians and pagan Slavs, led by the hero Črtomir. It is composed of 25 three-line and one four-line stanza and segues directly into the poem's third part, the Baptism (Krst), focusing on the reunion of Črtomir and Bogomila, who had been the priestess of the goddess Živa but is now a Christian. She persuades Črtomir to get baptised too. Part three is composed of 53 ottava rimas. It has less of an epic character than the second, as it mainly focuses on the emotions of individuals. The epics themes include Slovene identity in the context of the nation's conversion to Christianity.


Farewell, relief by Ivan Zajec on the Prešeren Monument in Ljubljana
Farewell, relief by Ivan Zajec on the Prešeren Monument in Ljubljana

A motif from the poem is depicted in the bronze relief on the right side of the pedestal of Prešeren Monument at Prešeren Square, the main square in Ljubljana. It is titled Farewell (Slovo) or Črtomir and Bogomila (Črtomir in Bogomila). It was created by the sculptor Ivan Zajec in the beginning of the 20th century.[2] It has a Classicist composition, a Realist cadre, an impressionist final touch, and emphasises Prešeren's Romantic poetry with its content.[3]

Musical arrangements


  1. ^ "Mednarodni znanstveni simpozij Romantična pesnitev" [International Scientific Conference Romantic Poetry] (in Slovenian). Marko Juvan. 4 December 2000.
  2. ^ Šavc, Urška. "France Prešeren – slikovno gradivo" [France Prešeren – Pictorial Material]. In Šmid Hribar, Mateja; Golež, Gregor; Podjed, Dan; Kladnik, Drago; Erhartič, Bojan; Pavlin, Primož; Ines, Jerele (eds.). Enciklopedija naravne in kulturne dediščine na Slovenskem [Encyclopedia of Natural and Cultural Heritage in Slovenia] (in Slovenian). Retrieved 20 May 2012.
  3. ^ Beja, Boris (5 November 2011). "Prešernov spomenik" [Prešeren Monument]. Planet Archived from the original on 7 November 2011.
  4. ^ Kovačević, Krešimir (1960). Hrvatski kompozitori i njihova djela. Naprijed.
  5. ^ Špendal, Manica. "Slavko Osterc v Mariboru" [Slavko Osterc in Maribor]. Časopis za zgodovino in narodopisje [Review for History and Ethnography] (in Slovenian): 102, 105.
  6. ^ "Mladi slovenski skladatelj se podpisuje pod opero Krst pri Savici" [A Young Slovene Composer Signs Under the Opera The Baptism on the Savica] (in Slovenian). MMC RTV Slovenija. 29 January 2016.