Dr. Zlatan Colakovic Homerist, Philologist and Researcher

Dr. Zlatan Colakovic, homerist, philologist, and researcher of south slavic epics. Author of Three Eagles of the Tragic World, Dead Head Utters Words, and Epics of Avdo Medjedovic.

Field Work in Rozaje, Montenegro


While working at the Milman Parry Collection at Harvard with Albert Lord on the transcription and editing of oral epics (1984-1988), Zlatan Colakovic learned that the excellent singer Murat Kurtagic was still alive and singing traditional epic songs in the town of Rozaje, Montenegro.

He decided to prepare for a journey to Montenegro to collect epic songs from the traditional singer Murat Kurtagic..

During this time, he recorded many traditional songs and conversations he had with the singer in March, June, July and September of 1989. His collection consists of fifty hours of sound recordings and twenty hours of video recordings comprising a total of twenty-two epic songs (35 000 verses). Besides the traditional oral epics, he recorded stories, the singer’s comments about the songs and legends, and the singer’s biography.

Later, he would collect more songs from other traditional singers from the area to create a high-quality collection with videos and sound-recordings. All of the songs and peripheral material from the field are transcribed accurately with commentaries and accompanying dictionaries with Turcisms and local dialects.

Dr. Zlatan Colakovic was the first scholar to record the traditional songs on video, thus preserving them for future study.