Jovan I. Deretić

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Not to be confused with the literature historian Jovan DeretićWikipedia.
"Dr." Jovan I. Deretić, in 2010.
Fiction over fact
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How it didn't happen

Jovan I. Deretić (1939–2021) was a megalomaniac pseudohistorian and conspiracy theorist from Serbia who believed that all Indo-Europeans (except Albanians) are Serbs and that this "fact" was hidden in the name of the Vatican after the Berlin Congress in 1878. Thanks to his tireless efforts in promoting his ideas, Deretić became synonymous with neo-romanticistsWikipedia (a derogatory term for people who wish that history is perfectly suited to their needs and who used medieval poems and legends as serious historical sources, in contrast to historians of the "critical school", who take a more serious approach).


Jovan I. Deretić & Co. emerged and benefited from the chaos that hit the Balkans during the 1990s. The collapse of communism and breakup of the former Yugoslavia during the 1990s set the stage for nationalist agitators in successor states. Due to negative experiences with Catholic Church in past (especially during World War II), some Serbs are prone to accept more or less crackpot conspiracy theories that include Vatican and the Pope.

Birth of the monster[edit]

According to Deretić, while he was still a teenager, people in his native Herzegovina used to find pieces of pottery. His uncle explained to him that the pottery dated back to before the Roman era. Stunned little Jovan asked "But how it is possible, if we (Serbs) migrated here in 7th century?" His uncle replied "Dear boy, don't be a fool, nobody migrated here."[1]

Deretić's education is somewhat unclear. He claimed that he studied at the Belgrade Faculty of Sciences, then left Yugoslavia in 1963 and went to France. There he first attended the Paris Technical School, and then studied history in Lyon for three years, not enough  to obtain a Ph.D. He moved to the United States, and claimed to have obtained an LLD in Chicago. Finally, he claimed to be a member of the Petrovskaya Academy of Science in Saint Petersburg, Russia (note that this academy was established in 1991. Russia's national academy is the Russian Academy of Sciences; Petrovskaya is more like NGO). Knowing that Deretić dares to claim that even Russians are under Vatican influence (see below), it is unclear how he obtained membership in the "academy".

Deretić built his pseudohistory upon the work of Miloš Milojević and Sima Lazić Lukin, whose theses were discarded and debunked by historians such as Ilarion Ruvarac in the 19th century. While Milojević and Lazić held somewhat modest views on Serbian history, Deretić believed that there was an ancient Serbian empire that ruled the world (or at least had great impact on early history). He explained that modern accepted history is the product of a Vatican-Austrian conspiracy to force Serbs to abandon the process of national liberation and unification, making it easier for Catholicism and Austria to spread further to EastWikipedia.

Deretić had regular appearances on local TV stations where he promoted his "Forbidden Serbian History" (Serbian: Zabranjena istorija Srba)

Deretić's methodology[edit]

  • Find a toponym which contains the letters S or Z, R and B or V and say that it was named after Serbs. Therefore, they were there, usually as rulers.
  • Find a toponym which contains two of above-listed letters and say that it was named after Serbs (e.g. Sarmathians => Sarbathians => Serbs). Therefore, they were there, usually as rulers.
  • Find a toponym that mentions Venetians, Thracians and Illyrians and say that it was named after Serbs (the Romans called Slavs "Vendi", and Thracians and Illyrians were native people on Balkans. Vendi looks like Veneti, the name of an ancient tribe that lived around modern day Venice, therefore, Veneti were Serbs.) Therefore, they were there, usually as rulers.
  • Repeat blatant lies. For instance, Deretić claims that modern translations of some ancient and medieval sources (such as Pliny the Elder's Naturalis Historia) were unavailable (read: were hidden by those filthy Catholics) not only in Serbian, but English and French as well. The reality is, although some ancient sources really were unavailable, there wasn't any ban on translation, not prior or during pan-Slavic communist rule. By the way, the first English translation of Naturalis Historia was made by Philemon Holland at the beginning of the 17th century.

Deretić on history[edit]

  • The Neolithic Vinča cultureWikipedia is, of course, Serbian and its mysterious symbols are graphems of "Serbica", the oldest alphabet on the world.[2]. The Ten Commandments were written using Serbica, because the Jews didn't have their script. It was also "found" in Ancient Egypt[3]
  • All Slavs (and most white people) are Serbs, not vice-versa. Russians are a Serbian tribe, because the vast steppes of Russia and Ukraine couldn't produce great cultures such as the Kievan Rus. Also, Ivan the Terrible's real name was Jovan (Serbian for John).[4] The Russians, who were mere peasants while the Serbs were elite warriors, had to hide this embarrassing "fact", so they came up with idea that Mother Russia, not the Balkans, was the homeland of Slavs.[5]
  • Romanians[6] and Count Dracula[7] were Serbs. (Thracomaniacs presumably dislike this claim.)
  • The swastika is an old Serbian symbol and Germans are only 70% of Serbian origin. It is unclear whether or not Hitler fell within those 30%.
  • Serbs spread from the Balkans to India in successive invasions led by generals NinusWikipedia, Serbon Makeridov, Alexander the Great and SeleucusWikipedia.
  • The Virgin Mary had to be a Serb because Marija (the Serbianized variant of Mary) is obviously a Serbian name. Furthermore, Christianity is a copy of the ancient Serbian pagan religion. Jesus spent his youth among Serbs in the Balkans before he returned to Judea to preach. Also, Aramaic, a Semitic language that Jesus spoke, was another name for Serbian (Slavic/Indo-European).
  • The Roman Empire, despite all its military glory, couldn't conquer the Serbs in the Balkans. Instead, they hired them as mercenaries to defend the Danube border from other Serbs. Also, the Barbarian Invasions didn't happen - the Roman emperors (should we repeat that even they were of Serbian origin, too?), simply assimilated barbaric Serbs into the Empire.[8]
  • The Serbian Grand Prince Stefan NemanjaWikipedia (reigned 1166-1196) is the grand-grandson of Roman Emperor LiciniusWikipedia (c. 263 – 325). That would mean that Nemanja's ancestors lived multiple centuries.
  • The name Philistines, is similar to Pelasgians, predecessors/ancestors of ancient Greeks, so the two people were the same and, of course, they were Serbs, too.

History on Deretić[edit]


Acceptance of Deretić's ideas[edit]

Deretić is accepted only among uneducated laymen. No one sufficiently intelligent in Serbia ever endorsed Deretić. Radivoje RadićWikipedia, an associate of the SANU Byzantine Institute, wrote book Srbi pre Adama i posle njega, istorija jedne zloupotrebe: Slovo protiv novoromantičara (Serbs before Adam and after him, history of an abuse: A word against neo-romanticists), debunking Deretić's claims.

Political engagement[edit]

Deretić considered himself a fierce Serbian Orthodox Christian.[citation needed]

Deretić took part in political life in Serbia, but without any success. In 2011, he founded NGO Free Serbia. Some ideologies espoused by the movement include euroscepticism, counter-globalisation, social conservatism, and aligning Serbia with a proposed Eurasian Union.

In the election in Serbia in 2014, Deretić was in party Free Serbia...They won only 0.2 per-cent of the votes out  an electorate of some seven million, meaning only a couple of thousand Serbians believed his ideas. As it seems that there were in fact three million or less actual votes cast, the actual supporters number far less.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]