Dr. Jožko Šavli, a great Slovenian has departed this life suddenly to go to his rest, on Friday, 11 March 2011. He has left behind him a rich heritage of life’s research in Slovenian history and Slovenian mythology.
Jožko Šavli born 22 March 1943, in Tolmin, was a Slovenian author, freelance historian and professor of economics. He completed his university studies in 1967 at the University of Ljubljana, continued his studies in Vienna, and in 1975 completed a doctoral degree in social and economic sciences. From 1978 he taught banking and accounting in the commercial academy in Gorica, Italy. However his true interest and love led him elsewhere – to the history of his nation. To this interest he dedicated all his time and energy ceaselessly, and with the passion of a true researcher.
In Slovenia he became known in the eighties, when he presented, together with the poet and slavist Matej Bor, the so-called Venetic theory about the origin of Slovenian people in the controversial book Veneti, naši davni predniki (eng. Veneti Our Ancient Forefathers) published by Ivan Tomažič in Glas Korotan. Later it was published in English translation under the title Veneti, the First Builders of European Community. According to this theory Slovenes were indigenous inhabitants in their territory, and descendants of Veneti, and not the descendants of Slavs, who had settled the Balkan peninsula only in the 6th century. The theory was rejected by Slovenian academic circles as unproven, but despite this became popular in broad circles within and outside Slovenia.
As a historian Jožko Šavli is the originator of the Venetic theory of Slovenian history, which has remained officially unrecognized. It offers however a refreshing alternative Slovenian-centric history, which many Slovenes find inspiring, as well as convincing.
For Dr. Šavli himself, both as author and researcher, this alternative history proved to be exceptionally creative and fertile. It offered a new perspective for research and led to new discoveries about Slovenian past, such as Slovenian symbols, Slovenian saints, Slovenian nobility, enthronement of Slovenian dukes, and most significantly to insights about Slovenian mythology. This research was published in a comprehensive monograph Zlati cvet, Bajeslovje Slovencev (Golden Flower, Mythology of Slovenian People). Another book folllowed, his last publication Zlata ptica (Golden Bird), published in 2010.
In his Slovenian mythology Jožko Šavli continued, and gave a new meaning to the work of Slovenian ethnologists and collectors, such as Niko Kuret, Jakob Kelemina and others. As it often happens, the full significance of Dr. Šavli’s work and achievements will be only fully appreciated and recognized by future generations.