Oddelek za zgodovino

Department of History


A Long Tradition

  • Lectures began on 19 February 1920.
  • Historians in the Department of History, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana left a significant mark on Sloven historiography in the twentieth and twenty-first century, both as professors of new generations and well-established researchers.

The topics of research and professors’ approaches varied greatly throughout the department’s long history. 

  • Up to 1945:
    • ​the interwar period saw great emphasis placed on the social, economic, political, territorial and administrative history of the Middle Ages and on the publications of medieval sources:
      • the first scientific synthesis of Slovene history from the early Middle Ages to the Reformation (M. Kos, 1933, a revised and updated edition, 1955),
    • several volumes on the modern and even contemporary period (published during professors’ employment with the department and beforehand),
    • distinctly modern views on the significance of interdisciplinarity and belief that Slovene historiography is to be brought in line with the well-established European model,
    • 1944, early 1945: F. Zwitter helmed the partisan Scientific Institute, whose historical and geographical section produced studies serving as a basis for determining Slovenia’s future borders.
  • 1945–1965:
    • a significant expansion of historical periods and topics researched by departmental professors,
    • the attention was turned to the research of the sixteenth (influenced by F. Braudel. F. Gestrin introduced the research of early capitalism into Slovene historiography; the Ottoman incursions, peasant rebellions, the Reformation), the nineteenth (national, social, and political history), and the twentieth century (political and national history of the interwar period, the National Liberation War),
    • the continuing research of the Middle Ages,
    • departmental professors participated in the substantiation of new political borders,
    • the most significant historiographical achievements of the period in Slovenia: the syntheses Slovenska zgodovina 1813–1914 (F. Gestrin, V. Melik, 1950; 2nd, revised and updated edition, 1966), Zgodovina slovenskega naroda (B. Grafenauer, 1954–1962; 2nd, revised and updated edition, 1964–1974), and the departmental professors’ contribution to the volume Zgodovina narodov Jugoslavije up to the end of the eighteenth century (1953, 1959).   
  • 1966–1985:
    • the underlying chronological novelty or the most significant emphases in the scrutinized periods in the department:
      • research of antiquity,
      • research of the period after 1945,
    • new research of periods which were addressed beforehand – the existing topics were expanded and new research topics were opened, inter alia:
      • medieval economic history of Dubrovnik,
      • migrations from the Balkans to Italy in the late Middle Ages and early modern period,
      • demographic history of the early modern period,
      • many nineteenth-century topics (the most prominent one among the social, cultural and historic topics being the beginning of researching everyday life),
      • various research of the interwar period and World War II,
    • the synthesis Gospodarska in družbena zgodovina Slovencev: zgodovina agrarnih panog, whose vol. I  (1970) was for the most part authored by professors from our department, stemmed from the years-long collaboration.
  • 1986–2000:
    • the department’s research of all historical periods continued,
    • a portion of professors enlarged upon the study of social, cultural and historical topics, particularly the history of the bourgeoisie, history of everyday life, and history of women,
    • while other colleagues made headway with discussions that were ideologically, nationally, and politically more objective than the previous ones:
      • P. Štih and V. Simoniti penned a new synthesis of Slovene history up to the Enlightenment:
        • the refutal of the national mythicization of  Carantania and the stereotype of Slovenes’ millennium-long serfdom,
      • ​this facilitated the selection of research subjects that were overlooked beforehand, e.g.
        • history of nobility in the Middle Ages and in the modern era,
        • political history of Lower Styrian Germans in the long nineteenth century, including their political aspirations,
        • victims among Germans in Slovene ethnic territory 1941–1955,
    • the department saw a significant development of research of antiquity, particularly late antiquity,
    • the period of research of contemporary history was extended — in the 1990s the history of Slovenia’s gaining independence became a new field of research,
    • professors authored numerous entries for Enciklopedija Slovenije.
  • 2001–: see About the Department.

The content of lectures and seminars for students has been greatly expanded throughout the department’s long history, which is mirrored in the names of subjects:

  • Significant changes occurred in the historical periods discussed in the scope of the study. Major watershed events
    • ​up to the second half of the 1930s history professors in Ljubljana addressed dealt mostly with the Middle Ages,
    • in 1937 the University of Ljubljana got its first professor for history of the modern period,
    • in 1947, while continuing the research of ancient history in the Department of History (at the time called Historical Seminar) a chair of history of the National Liberation War, i.e. the first chair for the most recent history in any Yugoslav university, was formed. The chair’s field of work soon expanded to the contemporary Slovene, Yugoslav, and general history,
    • the period from the 1980s onwards saw the strengthening of the history of antiquity, which had previously failed to seize the opportunity to combine the results from the written sources with archaeological finds – professors who had taught antiquity in the department dealt mostly with archaeology.  
  • Apart from Slovenian history, the areas dealt with in more detail in subjects underwent a significant change as well:
    • this is exemplified by the case of history of Southeastern Europe; in the period when the department was established only history of Serbs and Croats was dealt with. According to the data from 1960, history of Serbs, Croats, and Macedonians was taught, and according to the data from 1967 the history of all Yugoslav nations with the exception of Slovenes. Nowadays, history of the entire Southeastern Europe is addressed.
  • Since 1946 the methodology of research in historiography has been discussed as part of seminars and of the subject Introduction to Study of History and since 1994 as part of Theory of History.
  • Study programme intended for future history teachers in our department has from the mid-twentieth century onwards included the acquisition of pedagogical and didactic skills for teaching history in basic and secondary schools (Methodology of Teaching History, Didactics of History).


Historical changes occurring throughout the twentieth and twenty-first century were accompanied by the changes in the organization of study of history. The most significant changes include the following:

  • World War II exerted a short-term and a long-term impact. Initially, i.e. in the short term, the study was cut short, coming to a complete halt after Italy’s capitulation. In the long term, the war brought about a partial change of professors; after the war the number of professors grew considerably, which had a positive effect on the quality of the course.
  • Single-subject study was introduced in 1949 and Latin and German were added.
  • The removal of 8-year gimnazija and introduction of eight-year basic school resulted in the need for additional teachers; consequently, at the turn of the fifties and sixties single-subject study was done away with and Latin and German were no longer compulsory. Two two-year study levels were introduced, both of which ended with a degree.
  • The abandonment of Latin and German proved to be difficult in terms of study, since due to lacking linguistic skills not many students opted for courses dealing with older periods. Consequently, this led a shortage of competent experts in museums, archives, and research institutions.
  • 1967 thus saw the reintroduction of the single-subject non-pedagogical study, which encompassed an intensive study of German and Latin.
  • In the mid-eighties and early nineties these two two-year study levels were transformed into a four-year study, which brought about significant changes in the curriculum.
  • In 2009, the department introduced the Bologna study programme, which includes a 3-year single- or double-subject undergraduate study and a two-year MA study, which resulted in considerable changes in the curricula. Institutionalized work in the scope of MA and partly of doctoral study is also a new feature; beforehand it was carried out individually.

Recipients of the KLIO Award: The award given by the Historical Association of  Slovenia for research in historiography has been handed out biennially since 2000 to recipients whose work was/is conducted primarily in the Department of History, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana: 

  • 2000: Peter Štih, PhD, for his work “Villa quae Sclavorum lingua vocatur Goriza”: študija o dveh listinah cesarja Otona III. iz leta 1001 za oglejskega patriarha Johannesa in furlanskega grofa Werihena (DD. O. III. 402 and 412),
  • 2006: Alenka Cedilnik, PhD, for her work Ilirik med Konstantinom Velikim in Teodozijem Velikim: balkansko-podonavski prostor v poročilih Atanazija, Hilarija, Sokrata Sholastika, Sozomena, Teodoreta in Filostorgija,
  • 2008: Peter Vodopivec, PhD, who worked in the Department of History between 1971–1999, for his work Od Pohlinove slovnice do samostojne države: slovenska zgodovina od konca 18. stoletja do konca 20. stoletja,
  • 2015: Rajko Bratož, PhD, for his work Med Italijo in Ilirikom: slovenski prostor in njegovo sosedstvo v pozni antiki,
  • 2016: Božo Repe, PhD, for his work S puško in knjigo: narodnoosvobodilni boj slovenskega naroda 1941–1945.


The University of Ljubljana’s professores emeriti coming from the Department of History in the past or present include Prof. Ferdo Gestrin, Prof. Bogo Grafenauer, Prof. Vasilij Melik, Prof. Metod Mikuž, Prof. Dušan Nećak, Prof. Miroslav Stiplovšek, Prof. Ignacij Voje, and Prof. Fran Zwitter.

Professors who are/were academicians during their work in the Department of History in the past and present include Full Professor Rajko Bratož, Professor Emeritus Ferdo Gestrin, Professor Emeritus Bogo Grafenauer, Full Professor Viktor Korošec, Full Professor Milko Kos, Professor Emeritus Vasilij Melik, Full Professor Janko Pleterski, Full Professor Nikola Radojčić, Full Professor Peter Štih, and Professor Emeritus Fran Zwitter. 

For all present and living retired teachers and researchers who worked primarily in the Department of History see tab Faculty.

Former living external scientific and pedagogical associates are listed under Faculty — External teaching and research associates.

Deceased lecturers or researchers who taught in the Department of History as members of the faculty or external associates: Full Professor Janez Cvirn, Full Professor Gregor Čremošnik, Assistant Professor Eugenio Duprè-Theseider, Full Professor Tone Ferenc, Professor Emeritus Ferdo Gestrin, Professor Emeritus Bogo Grafenauer, Full Professor Ljudmil Hauptmann, Full Professor Jože Kastelic, Full Professor Josip Klemenc, doctoral candidate Andrej Komac, Full Professor Viktor Korošec, Full Professor Milko Kos, Professor Emeritus Vasilij Melik, Full Professor Nikolaj Mihajlović Bubnov, Professor Emeritus Metod Mikuž, Full Professor Vojeslav Mole, Full Professor Božo Otorepec, Full Professor Nikola Radojčić, Full Professor Branko Reisp, Full Professor Balduin Saria, lecturer Bogo Stupan, Associate Professor Štefan Trojar, Assistant Ernest Turk, PhD, Professor Emeritus Fran Zwitter, and Full Professor Jože Žontar.

Their work is featured in the miscellany Oddelek za zgodovino: 1920–2010: Ob devetdesetletnici (2010) and in Zgodovinski časopis/Historical Review (2003, pp. 471–473).

Additionally on the history of the Department of History, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana in the miscellany Oddelek za zgodovino: 1920–2010: Ob devetdesetletnici (2010) and under “Zgodovinopisje” in Enciklopedija Slovenije (2001).