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Year of birth unknown; died 1614 in Ragusa, present-day Dubrovnik. Dalmatian historian. Founder of Yugoslav historiography.
Orbini was a monk in a Benedictine monastery on the island of Mljet; he later became an abbot. He was the author of The Slavic Kingdom (1601, in Italian), in which he sought to give a history of all the Slavic peoples. In the first part of his work, Orbini provides information, often based on legend, about the earliest history of the Slavs. The second part deals with the history of the Southern Slavs from the founding of the first Slavic states to the Turkish invasion.
Orbini advanced the theory of the Scandinavian origin of the Slavs. He mistakenly regarded many non-Slavic peoples, including Germanic and Turkic peoples, as Slavs. Orbini’s work included a translation of the 12th-century Serbian work The Chronicle of Priest Duklianin, thus giving historiographers access to it. Orbini’s Slavic Kingdom is imbued with the idea of the unity of the Slavic peoples. At the behest of Peter I, it was translated (with abridgments) into Russian as The Book of Historiography of the Origins of the Name, the Glory, and the Expansion of the Slavic People (1722).