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Marko Mrnjavčević ( sr-cyr, Марко Мрњавчевић, ;  – 17 May 1395) was the ''
de jure In law and government, ''de jure'' ( ; , "by law") describes practices that are legally recognized, regardless of whether the practice exists in reality. In contrast, ("in fact") describes situations that exist in reality, even if not legally ...
''
Serbian Serbian may refer to: * someone or something related to Serbia, a country in Southeastern Europe * someone or something related to the Serbs, a South Slavic people * in both meanings, depending on the context, it may refer to: ** Serbian language ...
king from 1371 to 1395, while he was the ''
de facto ''De facto'' ( ; , "in fact") describes practices that exist in reality, even though they are not officially recognized by laws. It is commonly used to refer to what happens in practice, in contrast with ''de jure'' ("by law"), which refers to th ...
'' ruler of territory in western
Macedonia Macedonia most commonly refers to: * North Macedonia North Macedonia, ; sq, Maqedonia e Veriut, (Macedonia until February 2019), officially the Republic of North Macedonia,, is a country in Southeast Europe. It gained independence in ...
centered on the town of
Prilep Prilep ( mk, Прилеп ) is the fourth-largest city in North Macedonia North Macedonia, ; sq, Maqedonia e Veriut, (Macedonia until February 2019), officially the Republic of North Macedonia,, is a country in Southeast Europe. It ...
. He is known as Prince Marko ( sr-Cyrl, Краљевић Марко, ''Kraljević Marko'', ) and King Marko ( sr-Cyrl, Краљ Марко; bg, Крали Марко; mk, Kрaле Марко) in South Slavic
oral tradition Oral tradition, or oral lore, is a form of human communication Human communication, or anthroposemiotics, is the field dedicated to understanding how human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of prima ...
, in which he has become a major character during the period of
Ottoman Ottoman is the Turkish spelling of the Arabic masculine given name Uthman (name), Uthman (Arabic: عُثْمان ''‘uthmān''). It may refer to: Governments and dynasties * Ottoman Caliphate, an Islamic caliphate from 1517 to 1924 * Ottoman Empi ...
rule over the
Balkans The Balkans ( ), also known as the Balkan Peninsula, are a geographic area in southeastern Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather ...

Balkans
. Marko's father, King Vukašin, was co-ruler with Serbian
Tsar Tsar ( or ), also spelled ''czar'', ''tzar'', or ''csar'', is a Royal and noble ranks, title used to designate Orthodox Slavs, East and South Slavic monarchs. In this last capacity it lends its name to a system of government, tsarist autocra ...

Tsar
Stefan Uroš V Saint Stefan Uroš V ( sr-cyrl, Свети Стефан Урош V, ; 13362/4 December 1371), known in historiography and folk tradition as Uroš the Weak ( sr, Урош Нејаки, Uroš Nejaki), was the second Emperor ( Tsar) of the Serbian ...

Stefan Uroš V
, whose reign was characterised by weakening central authority and the gradual disintegration of the
Serbian Empire The Serbian Empire ( sr, / , ) was a medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affa ...

Serbian Empire
. Vukašin's holdings included lands in north-western Macedonia and
Kosovo Kosovo, or ; sr-Cyrl, Косово officially the Republic of Kosovo,; sr, / is a partially recognised state in Southeast Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a ...

Kosovo
. In 1370 or 1371, he crowned Marko "young king"; this title included the possibility that Marko would succeed the childless Uroš on the Serbian throne. On 26 September 1371, Vukašin was killed and his forces defeated in the
Battle of Maritsa The Battle of Maritsa or Battle of Chernomen ( sr, Marička bitka/ Маричка битка, tr, Çirmen Muharebesi, İkinci Meriç Muharebesi in tr. ''Second Battle of Maritsa'') took place at the Maritsa, Maritsa River near the village of Or ...
. About two months later, Tsar Uroš died. This formally made Marko the king of the Serbian land; however, Serbian
noblemen Nobility is a social class normally ranked immediately below Royal family, royalty and found in some societies that have a formal aristocracy (class), aristocracy. Nobility has often been an Estates of the realm, estate of the realm that p ...
, who had become effectively independent from the central authority, did not even consider to recognise him as their supreme ruler. Sometime after 1371, he became an Ottoman
vassal A vassal or liege subject is a person regarded as having a mutual obligation to a lord Lord is an appellation for a person or deity who has authority, control, or power (social and political), power over others, acting as a master, a chief ...
; by 1377, significant portions of the territory he inherited from Vukašin were seized by other noblemen. King Marko, in reality, came to be a regional lord who ruled over a relatively small territory in western Macedonia. He funded the construction of the Monastery of Saint Demetrius near
Skopje Skopje ( , , ; mk, Скопје ; sq, Shkup) is the capital and of . It is the country's political, cultural, economic, and academic centre. The territory of Skopje has been inhabited since at least 4000 BC; remains of settlements hav ...

Skopje
(better known as
Marko's Monastery Marko's Monastery (Macedonian Macedonian most often refers to someone or something from or related to Macedonia (disambiguation), Macedonia. Macedonian may specifically refer to: People Modern * Macedonians (ethnic group), the South Slavic ethni ...
), which was completed in 1376. Later Marko became an Ottoman vassal and died on 17 May 1395, fighting against the
Wallachia Wallachia or Walachia (; ro, Țara Românească, lit=The Romanian Land' or 'The Romanian Country, ; archaic Archaic is a period of time preceding a designated classical period, or something from an older period of time that is also not found ...
ns in the
Battle of Rovine The Battle of Rovine took place on 17 May 1395. The Wallachia Wallachia or Walachia ( ro, Țara Românească , literally ''The Romanian Land'' or ''The Romanian Country''; Archaism, archaic: ', Romanian Cyrillic alphabet: ) is a Historical regi ...
. Although a ruler of modest historical significance, Marko became a major character in South Slavic oral tradition. He is venerated as a national hero by the
Serbs Serbs ( sr-Cyr, Срби, Srbi, ) are a South Slavic ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from ...
,
Macedonians Macedonian most often refers to someone or something from or related to Macedonia (disambiguation), Macedonia. Macedonian may specifically refer to: People Modern * Macedonians (ethnic group), the South Slavic ethnic group primarily associated w ...
and
Bulgarians Bulgarians ( bg, българи, Bǎlgari, ) are a nation A nation is a community A community is a social unitThe term "level of analysis" is used in the social sciences to point to the location, size, or scale of a research target. "Le ...
, remembered in
Balkan The Balkans ( ), also known as the Balkan Peninsula, are a geographic area in southeastern Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geograp ...

Balkan
folklore as a fearless and powerful protector of the weak, who fought against injustice and confronted the Turks during the Ottoman occupation.


Life


Until 1371

Marko was born about 1335 as the first son of Vukašin Mrnjavčević and his wife Alena.Fostikov 2002, pp.49–50. The
patronymic A patronymic, or patronym, is a component of a based on the of one's father, grandfather (avonymic), or an earlier male ancestor. A component of a name based on the name of one's mother or a female ancestor is a . A name based on the name of ...
"Mrnjavčević" derives from Mrnjava, described by 17th-century
Ragusan
Ragusan
historian
Mavro Orbin
Mavro Orbin
as a minor nobleman from
Zachlumia Zachlumia or Zachumlia ( sh, Zahumlje / Захумље; ), also Hum, was a medieval principality located in the modern-day regions of Herzegovina and southern Dalmatia Dalmatia (; hr, Dalmacija ; it, Dalmazia; see names in other langua ...
(in present-day
Herzegovina Herzegovina ( or ; Serbo-Croatian language, Serbo-Croatian: / , ) is the southern and smaller of two main geographical regions of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the other being Bosnia (region), Bosnia. It has never had strictly defined geographical or cu ...
and southern
Dalmatia Dalmatia (; hr, Dalmacija ; it, Dalmazia; see #Name, names in other languages) is a region on the east shore of the Adriatic Sea, a narrow belt stretching from the island of Rab in the north to the Bay of Kotor in the south. The Dalmatian Hin ...

Dalmatia
). According to Orbin, Mrnjava's sons were born in
Livno Livno ( sr-cyrl, Ливно, ) is a city and the administrative center of Canton 10 of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, an entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is situated on the river Bistrica (Livanjsko Polje), Bistrica in the southeast ...

Livno
in western
Bosnia Bosnia ( bs, Bosna / , ) is the north North is one of the four compass points The points of the compass are the vectors by which planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar r ...
, where he may have moved after Zachlumia was annexed from Serbia by Bosnia in 1326.Fine 1994, pp.362–3. The Mrnjavčević family may have later supported
Serbian Emperor Between 1345 and 1371, the Serbian monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 2001. p. 707. Life tenure, for life or until abdication, and therefore the head of state of a monarchy. ...

Serbian Emperor
(
tsar Tsar ( or ), also spelled ''czar'', ''tzar'', or ''csar'', is a Royal and noble ranks, title used to designate Orthodox Slavs, East and South Slavic monarchs. In this last capacity it lends its name to a system of government, tsarist autocra ...

tsar
)
Stefan Dušan Stefan Uroš IV Dušan ( sr-Cyrl, Стефан Урош IV Душан, ), known as Dušan the Mighty ( sr, Душан Силни / Dušan Silni; circa 1308 – 20 December 1355), was the from 8 September 1331 and from 16 April 1346 until his de ...
in his preparations to invade Bosnia as did other Zachlumian nobles, and, fearing punishment, emigrated to the Serbian Empire before the war started.Fine 1994, p.323. These preparations possibly began two years ahead of the invasion, which took place in 1350. From that year comes the earliest written reference to Marko's father Vukašin, describing him as Dušan's appointed '' župan'' (district governor) of
Prilep Prilep ( mk, Прилеп ) is the fourth-largest city in North Macedonia North Macedonia, ; sq, Maqedonia e Veriut, (Macedonia until February 2019), officially the Republic of North Macedonia,, is a country in Southeast Europe. It ...
, which was acquired by Serbia from
Byzantium Byzantium () or Byzantion ( grc-gre, Βυζάντιον) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: (), Dark A ...

Byzantium
in 1334 with other parts of
Macedonia Macedonia most commonly refers to: * North Macedonia North Macedonia, ; sq, Maqedonia e Veriut, (Macedonia until February 2019), officially the Republic of North Macedonia,, is a country in Southeast Europe. It gained independence in ...
. In 1355, at about age 47, Stefan Dušan died suddenly of a
stroke A stroke is a medical condition A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure or function (biology), function of all or part of an organism, and that is not due to any immediate external injury. Di ...

stroke
.Fine 1994, p.335. Dušan was succeeded by his 19-year-old son , who apparently regarded Marko Mrnjavčević as a man of trust. The new Emperor appointed him the head of the embassy he sent to Ragusa (now
Dubrovnik Dubrovnik (), historically known as Ragusa (#Names, see notes on naming), is a city on the Adriatic Sea in southern Croatia. It is one of the most prominent tourist destinations in the Mediterranean Sea, a Port, seaport and the centre of Dubrovn ...

Dubrovnik
,
Croatia , image_flag = Flag of Croatia.svg , image_coat = Coat of arms of Croatia.svg , anthem = "Lijepa naša domovino ''Lijepa naša domovino'' (; ) is the national anthem A national anthem is a song that ...

Croatia
) at the end of July 1361 to negotiate peace between the empire and the Ragusan Republic after hostilities earlier that year. Although peace was not reached, Marko successfully negotiated the release of Serbian merchants from
Prizren ) , settlement_type = Municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, fi ...

Prizren
who were detained by the Ragusans and was permitted to withdraw silver deposited in the city by his family. The account of that embassy in a Ragusan document contains the earliest-known, undisputed reference to Marko Mrnjavčević. An inscription written in 1356 on a wall of a church in the Macedonian region of Tikveš, mentions a Nikola and a Marko as governors in that region, but the identity of this Marko is disputed. Dušan's death was followed by the stirring of separatist activity in the Serbian Empire. The south-western territories, including
Epirus sq, Epiri rup, Epiru , native_name_lang = , settlement_type = Historical region Historical regions (or historical areas) are geography, geographical areas which at some point in time had a culture, cultural, ethnic group, ethn ...
,
Thessaly Thessaly ( el, Θεσσαλία, translit=Thessalía, ; ancient Aeolic Greek#Thessalian, Thessalian: , ) is a traditional geographic regions of Greece, geographic and modern administrative regions of Greece, administrative region of Greece, co ...

Thessaly
, and lands in southern Albania, seceded by 1357. However, the core of the state (the western lands, including
Zeta Zeta (, ; uppercase Ζ, lowercase ζ; grc, ζῆτα, el, ζήτα, label=Demotic Greek Demotic Greek or Dimotiki ( el, Δημοτική Γλώσσα, , , lit. "language of the people") was a colloquial vernacular form of Modern Greek, in c ...

Zeta
and
Travunia Travunija or Travunia ( sh, Травунија, Travunija; grc, Τερβουνία, ''Terbounía'', modern pronunciation ''Tervounía''; la, Tribunia) was a South Slavic people, South Slavic medieval principality that was part of Serbia in the Mi ...
with the upper ; the central Serbian lands; and Macedonia), remained loyal to Emperor Uroš. Nevertheless, local noblemen asserted more and more independence from Uroš' authority even in the part of the state that remained Serbian. Uroš was weak and unable to counteract these separatist tendencies, becoming an inferior power in his own domain.Fine 1994, p. 345. Serbian lords also fought each other for territory and influence. Vukašin Mrnjavčević was a skilful politician, and gradually assumed the main role in the empire. In August or September 1365 Uroš crowned him king, making him his co-ruler. By 1370 Marko's potential patrimony increased as Vukašin expanded his personal holdings from Prilep further into Macedonia,
Kosovo Kosovo, or ; sr-Cyrl, Косово officially the Republic of Kosovo,; sr, / is a partially recognised state in Southeast Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a ...

Kosovo
and
Metohija Metohija ( sr-cyr, Метохија, ) or Dukagjini ( sq, Rrafshi i Dukagjinit, ) is a large basin and the name of the region covering the southwestern part of Kosovo Kosovo, or ; sr-Cyrl, Косово officially the Republic of Koso ...
, acquiring Prizren,
Pristina Pristina ; sr, / (, ) is the capital of Kosovo Kosovo, or ; sr-Cyrl, Косово officially the Republic of Kosovo,; sr, / is a partially recognised state in Southeast Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () ...

Pristina
,
Novo Brdo Novo Brdo ( sr-Cyrl, Ново Брдо) or Novobërda and Artana ( sq, Novobërdë or ''Artanë''), is a municipality located in the Pristina district of Kosovo Kosovo, or ; sr-Cyrl, Косово officially the Republic of Kosovo,; s ...

Novo Brdo
,
Skopje Skopje ( , , ; mk, Скопје ; sq, Shkup) is the capital and of . It is the country's political, cultural, economic, and academic centre. The territory of Skopje has been inhabited since at least 4000 BC; remains of settlements hav ...

Skopje
and
Ohrid Ohrid ( mk, Охрид ) is a city in North Macedonia and is the seat of the Ohrid Municipality. It is the largest city on Lake Ohrid and the List of cities in North Macedonia, eighth-largest city in the country, with the municipality recording ...

Ohrid
. In a
charter A charter is the grant of authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture that surrounds everyday life. It is a social scie ...
he issued on 5 April 1370 Vukašin mentioned his wife (Queen Alena) and sons (Marko and Andrijaš), signing himself as "Lord of the Serb and Greek Lands, and of the Western Provinces" (). In late 1370 or early 1371 Vukašin crowned Marko "Young King", a title given to
heirs presumptive An heir presumptive is the person entitled to inherit a throne, peerage, or other hereditary honour, but whose position can be displaced by the birth of an heir apparent An heir apparent is a person who is first in an order of succession An or ...
of Serbian kings to secure their position as successors to the throne. Since Uroš was childless Marko could thus become his successor, beginning a new—Vukašin's—dynasty of Serbian sovereigns, and ending the two-century
Nemanjić dynasty The Nemanjić ( sr-Cyrl, Немањић, Nemanjići / Немањићи, ) was the most prominent dynasty of Serbia in the Middle Ages , medieval capital of Serbia (12th-13th century) Serbia in the Middle Ages refers to the medieval period in ...
. Most Serbian lords were unhappy with the situation, which strengthened their desire for independence from the central authority. Vukašin sought a well-connected spouse for Marko. A princess from the
Croatian Croatian may refer to: *Croatia *Croatian cuisine *Croatian language *Croatian name *Croats, people from Croatia, or of Croatian descent *Citizens of Croatia, see demographics of Croatia See also

* Croatia (disambiguation) * Serbo-Croatian (di ...

Croatian
House of Šubić A house is a single-unit residential building A building, or edifice, is a structure with a roof and walls standing more or less permanently in one place, such as a house or factory. Buildings come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and funct ...
of
Dalmatia Dalmatia (; hr, Dalmacija ; it, Dalmazia; see #Name, names in other languages) is a region on the east shore of the Adriatic Sea, a narrow belt stretching from the island of Rab in the north to the Bay of Kotor in the south. The Dalmatian Hin ...

Dalmatia
was sent by her father, Grgur, to the court of their relative
Tvrtko I Stephen Tvrtko I ( sh, Stjepan/Stefan Tvrtko / Стјепан/Стефан Твртко; 1338 – 10 March 1391) was the first king of Bosnia Bosnia ( bs, Bosna / , ) is the north North is one of the four compass points or cardinal dir ...
, the ban of Bosnia. She was supposed to be raised and married by Tvrtko's mother Jelena. Jelena was the daughter of George II Šubić, whose maternal grandfather was Serbian King Dragutin Nemanjić. The ban and his mother approved of Vukašin's idea to join the Šubić princess and Marko, and the wedding was imminent.Jireček 1911
p.430
Theiner 1860
p.97
№ CXC.
However, in April 1370
Pope Urban V Pope Urban V ( la, Urbanus V; 1310 – 19 December 1370), born Guillaume de Grimoard, was the head of the Catholic Church from 28 September 1362 until his death in 1370 and was also a member of the Order of Saint Benedict. He was the only Avignon ...

Pope Urban V
sent Tvrtko a letter forbidding him to give the
Catholic The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Catholic
lady in marriage to the "son of His Magnificence, the King of Serbia, a schismatic" (''filio magnifici viri Regis Rascie scismatico''). The pope also notified King
Louis I of Hungary Louis I, also Louis the Great ( hu, Nagy Lajos; hr, Ludovik Veliki; sk, Ľudovít Veľký); or Louis the Hungarian ( pl, Ludwik Węgierski; 5 March 132610 September 1382), was King of Hungary The King of Hungary ( hu, magyar király) was t ...
, nominal overlord of the ban, of the impending "offence to the Christian faith", and the marriage did not occur. Marko subsequently married Jelena (daughter of
Radoslav Hlapen Radoslav Hlapen ( sr, Радослав Хлапен; 1350–1383) was a Serbian magnate who served Serbian Empire, Serbian Emperor Stefan Dušan (r. 1331–1355) and Stefan Uroš V (r. 1355–71) as ''vojvoda'' (military commander). He took part ...
, the lord of
Veria Veria ( el, Βέροια or Βέρροια), officially transliterated Veroia, historically also spelled Berea or Berœa, is a city in Central Macedonia Central Macedonia ( el, Κεντρική Μακεδονία, Kentrikí Makedonía, ) is ...

Veria
and
Edessa Edessa (; grc, Ἔδεσσα, Édessa) was an ancient city (''polis'') in Upper Mesopotamia, founded during the Hellenistic period by King Seleucus I Nicator (), founder of the Seleucid Empire. It later became capital of the Kingdom of Osroene ...
and the major Serbian nobleman in southern Macedonia).Mihaljčić 1975, pp. 170–1 During the spring of 1371, Marko participated in the preparations for a campaign against
Nikola Altomanović Nikola Altomanović ( sr-Cyrl, Никола Алтомановић) was a 14th-century Serbian župan of the House of Vojinović. He ruled the areas from Rudnik, over Polimlje, Podrinje, east Herzegovina /) , timezone1 ...
, the major lord in the west of the Empire.Mihaljčić 1975, p. 137; Fine 1994, p. 377 The campaign was planned jointly by King Vukašin and
Đurađ I Balšić Đurađ Balšić ( sr-cyr, Ђурађ Балшић), also known as Đurađ I (Ђурађ I) was the Lord of Zeta between 1362 and 13 January 1378. He was the eldest of the three sons of Balša I, and belonged to the Balšić noble family, Balšić ...
, lord of
Zeta Zeta (, ; uppercase Ζ, lowercase ζ; grc, ζῆτα, el, ζήτα, label=Demotic Greek Demotic Greek or Dimotiki ( el, Δημοτική Γλώσσα, , , lit. "language of the people") was a colloquial vernacular form of Modern Greek, in c ...

Zeta
(who was married to Olivera, the king's daughter). In July of that year Vukašin and Marko camped with their army outside , on Balšić's territory, ready to make an incursion towards Onogošt in Altomanović's land. The attack never took place, since the
Ottomans The Ottoman Turks or Osmanlı Turks ( tr, Osmanlı Türkleri), were the Turkic people The Turkic peoples are a collection of ethnic groups of Central Asia, Central, East Asia, East, North Asia, North and West Asia as well as parts of Europe an ...
threatened the land of Despot
Jovan UglješaJovan may refer to: *Jovan (given name)Jovan may refer to: * Jovan (given name), a list of people with this given name * Jovan, Mawal, a village on the western coastal region of Maharashtra, India * Jōvan Musk, a cologne * Deli Jovan, a mountain i ...
(lord of
Serres Sérres ( el, Σέρρες ) is a city in Macedonia, Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of 2018; Athens is its la ...

Serres
and Vukašin's younger brother, who ruled in eastern Macedonia) and the Mrnjavčević forces were quickly directed eastward. Having sought allies in vain, the two brothers and their troops entered Ottoman-controlled territory. At the
Battle of Maritsa The Battle of Maritsa or Battle of Chernomen ( sr, Marička bitka/ Маричка битка, tr, Çirmen Muharebesi, İkinci Meriç Muharebesi in tr. ''Second Battle of Maritsa'') took place at the Maritsa, Maritsa River near the village of Or ...
on 26 September 1371, the Turks annihilated the Serbian army; the bodies of Vukašin and Jovan Uglješa were never found. The battle site, near the village of
Ormenio Ormenio ( el, Ορμένιο, tr, Çirmen, bg, Черномен, Chernomen) is the northernmost place in all of Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe ...
in present-day eastern Greece, has ever since been called as ''Sırp Sındığı'' ("Serbian rout") in
Turkish Turkish may refer to: * of or about Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe and Western Asia. It shares borders with Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), offi ...

Turkish
. The Battle of Maritsa had far-reaching consequences for the region, since it opened the
Balkans The Balkans ( ), also known as the Balkan Peninsula, are a geographic area in southeastern Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather ...

Balkans
to the Turks.Fine 1994, pp. 379–82


After 1371

When his father died, "young king" Marko became king and co-ruler with Emperor Uroš. The Nemanjić dynasty ended soon afterwards, when Uroš died on 2 (or 4) December 1371 and Marko became the formal sovereign of Serbia.Mihaljčić 1975, p.168. Serbian lords, however, did not recognise him, and divisions within the state increased. After the two brothers' deaths and the destruction of their armies, the Mrnjavčević family was left powerless. Lords around Marko exploited the opportunity to seize significant parts of his patrimony. By 1372 Đurađ I Balšić took Prizren and Peć, and Prince Lazar Hrebeljanović took Pristina. By 1377 acquired Skopje, and Albanian magnate Andrea Gropa became virtually independent in Ohrid; however, he may have remained a vassal to Marko as he had been to Vukašin. Gropa's son-in-law was Marko's relative, Ostoja Rajaković of the
clan A clan is a group of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-consciousness, and being a part of ...

clan
of Ugarčić from Travunia. He was one of Serbian noblemen from Zachlumia and Travunia (adjacent principalities in present-day Herzegovina) who received lands in the newly conquered parts of Macedonia during Emperor Dušan's reign. The only sizable town kept by Marko was Prilep, from which his father rose. King Marko became a petty prince ruling a relatively small territory in western Macedonia, bordered in the north by the
Šar mountains The Šar Mountains ( Macedonian and Serbian: Шар Планина, ''Šar Planina'') or Sharr Mountains ( sq, Malet e Sharrit), form a mountain range in the Balkans The Balkans ( ), also known as the Balkan Peninsula, are a geographic ...

Šar mountains
and Skopje; in the east by the
Vardar The Vardar (; mk, , ) or Axios () is the longest river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and becomes dry a ...
and the Crna Reka rivers, and in the west by Ohrid. The southern limits of his territory are uncertain. Marko shared his rule with his younger brother, Andrijaš, who had his own land. Their mother, Queen Alena, became a nun after Vukašin's death, taking the monastic name Jelisaveta, but was co-ruler with Andrijaš for some time after 1371. The youngest brother, Dmitar, lived on land controlled by Andrijaš. There was another brother, Ivaniš, about whom little is known. When Marko became an Ottoman
vassal A vassal or liege subject is a person regarded as having a mutual obligation to a lord Lord is an appellation for a person or deity who has authority, control, or power (social and political), power over others, acting as a master, a chief ...
is uncertain, but it was probably not immediately after the Battle of Maritsa.Mihaljčić 1975, pp.164–5. At some point Marko separated from Jelena and lived with Todora, the wife of a man named Grgur, and Jelena returned to her father in Veria. Marko later sought to reconcile with Jelena but he had to send Todora to his father-in-law. Since Marko's land was bordered on the south by Hlapen's, the reconciliation may have been political. Scribe Dobre, a subject of Marko's, transcribed a
liturgical book A liturgical book, or service book, is a book published by the authority of a church body that contains the text and directions for the liturgy of its official Church service, religious services. Roman Rite In the Roman Rite of the Catholic ...
for the church in the village of Kaluđerec, and when he finished, he composed an inscription which begins as follows: Marko's fortress was on a hill north of present-day Prilep; its partially preserved remains are known as '''' ("Marko's towers"). Beneath the fortress is the village of Varoš, site of the medieval Prilep. The village contains the Monastery of Archangel Michael, renovated by Marko and Vukašin, whose portraits are on the walls of the monastery's church. Marko was
ktetor ''Ktetor'' ( el, κτήτωρ) or ''ktitor'' (; ka, ქტიტორი ''kt’it’ori''; ro, ctitor), meaning "founder", is a title given in the Middle Ages to the provider of funds for construction or reconstruction of an Eastern Orthodox ...
of the Church of Saint Sunday in Prizren, which was finished in 1371, shortly before the Battle of Maritsa. In the inscription above the church's entrance, he is called "young king". The Monastery of St. Demetrius, popularly known as
Marko's Monastery Marko's Monastery (Macedonian Macedonian most often refers to someone or something from or related to Macedonia (disambiguation), Macedonia. Macedonian may specifically refer to: People Modern * Macedonians (ethnic group), the South Slavic ethni ...
, is in the village of Markova Sušica (near Skopje) and was built from c. 1345 to 1376 (or 1377). Kings Marko and Vukašin, its ''ktetors'', are depicted over the south entrance of the monastery church. Marko is an austere-looking man in purple clothes, wearing a crown decorated with pearls. With his left hand he holds a scroll, whose text begins: "I, in the Christ God the pious King Marko, built and inscribed this divine temple ..." In his right hand, he holds a horn symbolizing the horn of oil with which the
Old Testament The Old Testament (often abbreviated OT) is the first division of the Christian biblical canon A biblical canon or canon of scripture is a set of texts (or "books") which a particular Jewish or Christian religious community regards as aut ...
kings were
anointed Anointed is a contemporary Christian music duo from Columbus, Ohio Columbus is the List of U.S. state capitals, state capital and the List of cities in Ohio, most populous city in the U.S. state of Ohio. With a population estimated at 898,553 ...
at their coronation (as described in
1 Samuel The Book of Samuel is a book in the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew scriptures, including the Torah, the Nevi'im, and the Ketuvim. These texts ar ...
16:13). Marko is said to be shown here as the king chosen by God to lead his people through the crisis following the Battle of Maritsa. Marko
minted Minted is an online marketplace of independent artists and designers. The company crowdsource Crowdsourcing is a sourcing model in which individuals or organizations obtain goods or services, including ideas, voting, micro-tasks and finance ...
his own money, in common with his father and other Serbian nobles of the time. His silver
coin A coin is a small, flat, (usually, depending on the country or value) round piece of metal A metal (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hell ...

coin
s weighed 1.11 grams, and were produced in three types. In two of them, the
obverse Obverse and its opposite, reverse, refer to the two flat faces of coin A coin is a small, flat, (usually, depending on the country or value) round piece of metal A metal (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, ...
contained a five-line text: ("In the Christ God, the pious King Marko").Mandić 2003, pp.24–5. In the first type, the reverse depicted
Christ Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew/Aramaic ( AD 30 / 33), also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus Christ, is the central figure of Christianity, the Major religious groups, world's largest ...

Christ
seated on a throne; in the second, Christ was seated on a
mandorla A mandorla is an almond The almond (''Prunus dulcis'', syn. ''Prunus amygdalus'') is a species of tree native to Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in We ...

mandorla
. In the third type, the reverse depicted Christ on a mandorla; the obverse contained the four-line text ("Pious King Marko"), which Marko also used in the church inscription. He omitted a territorial designation from his title, probably in tacit acknowledgement of his limited power. Although his brother Andrijaš also minted his own coins, the
money supply In macroeconomics Macroeconomics (from the Greek prefix ''makro-'' meaning "large" + ''economics'') is a branch of economics Economics () is a social science Social science is the Branches of science, branch of science dev ...
in the territory ruled by the Mrnjavčević brothers primarily consisted of coins struck by King Vukašin and Tsar Uroš. About 150 of Marko's coins survive in
numismatic Numismatics is the study or collection of currency, including coins, tokens, paper money, medals and related objects. Specialists, known as numismatist (specialist), numismatists, are often characterized as students or collectors of coins, but ...

numismatic
collections. By 1379, Prince Lazar Hrebeljanović, the ruler of
Moravian Serbia The Principality of Moravian Serbia ( sr, Моравска Србија / ''Moravska Srbija'') or Realm of Prince Lazar is the name used in historiography for the largest and most powerful Serbian principality to emerge from the ruins of the Ser ...

Moravian Serbia
, emerged as the most-powerful Serbian nobleman. Although he called himself
Autokrator ''Autokratōr'' ( grc-gre, αὐτοκράτωρ, autokrátōr, self-ruler", "one who rules by himself, , ; grc, αὐτοκράτορες, autokrátores, label=none, from grc, αὐτός, autós, self, label=none + grc, κράτος, krátos, ...
of all the
Serbs Serbs ( sr-Cyr, Срби, Srbi, ) are a South Slavic ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from ...
(), he was not strong enough to unite all Serbian lands under his authority. The Balšić and Mrnjavčević families, Konstantin Dragaš (maternally a Nemanjić), Vuk Branković and Radoslav Hlapen continued ruling their respective regions. In addition to Marko, Tvrtko I was crowned King of the Serbs and of Bosnia in 1377. Maternally related to the Nemanjić dynasty, Tvrtko had seized western portions of the former Serbian Empire in 1373. On 15 June 1389 Serbian forces led by Prince Lazar, Vuk Branković, and Tvrtko's nobleman Vlatko Vuković of Zachlumia, confronted the Ottoman army led by Sultan
Murad I Murad I ( ota, مراد اول; tr, I. Murad, Murad-ı Hüdavendigâr (nicknamed ''Hüdavendigâr'', from fa, خداوندگار, translit=Khodāvandgār, lit=the devotee of God – meaning "sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied ...

Murad I
at the
Battle of Kosovo A battle is an occurrence of combat in warfare War is an intense armed conflict between states, government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. ...

Battle of Kosovo
, the best-known battle in medieval Serbian history.Fine 1994, pp.408–11. With the bulk of both armies wiped out and Lazar and Murad killed, the outcome of the battle was inconclusive. In its aftermath the Serbs had insufficient manpower to defend their lands, while the Ottomans had many more troops in the east. Serbian principalities which were not already Ottoman vassals became such over the next few years. In 1394, a group of Ottoman vassals in the Balkans renounced their vassalage.Fostikov 2002, pp.52–3. Although Marko was not among them, his younger brothers Andrijaš and Dmitar refused to remain under Ottoman dominance. They emigrated to the
Kingdom of Hungary The Kingdom of Hungary was a monarchy A monarchy is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, an ...

Kingdom of Hungary
, entering the service of
King Sigismund Sigismund of Luxembourg (15 February 1368 – 9 December 1437) was prince-elector of Margraviate of Brandenburg, Brandenburg from 1378 until 1388 and from 1411 until 1415, king of Hungary and Croatia in union with Hungary, Croatia from 1387, king ...
. They travelled via Ragusa, where they withdrew two-thirds of their late father's store of of silver, leaving the remaining third for Marko. Although Andrijaš and Dmitar were the first Serbian nobles to emigrate to Hungary, the Serbian northward migration would continue throughout the Ottoman occupation. In 1395 the Ottomans attacked
Wallachia Wallachia or Walachia (; ro, Țara Românească, lit=The Romanian Land' or 'The Romanian Country, ; archaic Archaic is a period of time preceding a designated classical period, or something from an older period of time that is also not found ...
to punish its ruler, Mircea I, for his incursions into their territory.Fine 1994, p.424. Three Serbian vassals fought on the Ottoman side: King Marko, Lord Konstantin Dragaš, and Despot
Stefan Lazarević Stefan Lazarević ( sr-Cyrl, Стефан Лазаревић, 1377 – 19 July 1427), also known as Stefan the Tall ( sr, Стефан Високи / ''Stefan Visoki''), was the ruler of Serbia as prince (1389–1402) and despot (court title), d ...
(son and heir of Prince Lazar). The
Battle of Rovine The Battle of Rovine took place on 17 May 1395. The Wallachia Wallachia or Walachia ( ro, Țara Românească , literally ''The Romanian Land'' or ''The Romanian Country''; Archaism, archaic: ', Romanian Cyrillic alphabet: ) is a Historical regi ...
, on 17 May 1395, was won by the Wallachians; Marko and Dragaš were killed. After their deaths the Ottomans annexed their lands, combining them into an Ottoman province centred in
Kyustendil Kyustendil ( bg, Кюстендил ) is a town in the far west of Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a ...

Kyustendil
. Thirty-six years after the Battle of Rovine, Konstantin the Philosopher wrote the ''Biography of Despot Stefan Lazarević'' and recorded what Marko said to Dragaš on the eve of the battle: "I say and pray to the lord to help the Christians and for me to be among the first to die in this war." The chronicle goes on to state that Marko and Dragaš were killed in the battle. Another medieval source that mentions Marko's death at the Battle of Rovine is the Dečani Chronicle.


In folk poetry


Serbian epic poetry

Marko Mrnjavčević is the most popular hero of
Serbian epic poetry Serb epic poetry ( sr, Српске епске народне песме, Srpske epske narodne pesme) is a form of epic poetry An epic poem is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily involving a time beyond living memory in which occurred the ext ...
,Noyes 1913,
Introduction
.
in which he is called "Kraljević Marko" (with the word ''kraljević'' meaning "prince" or "king's son"). This informal title was attached to King Vukašin's sons in contemporary sources as a surname (Marko Kraljević), and it was adopted by the Serbian oral tradition as part of Marko's name.Rudić 2001, p.89. Poems about Kraljević Marko do not follow a storyline; what binds them into a poetic cycle is the hero himself,Deretić 2000,

.
with his adventures illuminating his character and personality.Low 1922,
The Marko of the Ballads
.
The epic Marko had a 300-year lifespan; 14th- to 16th-century heroes appearing as his companions include
Miloš Obilić Miloš Obilić ( sr-cyr, Милош Обилић, ) was a legendary Serbian knight who is reputed to have been in the service of Prince Lazar during the Ottoman History of Ottoman Serbia, invasion of Serbia in the late 14th century. He is not me ...
, Relja Krilatica, Vuk the Fiery Dragon and Sibinjanin Janko and his nephew, Banović Sekula. Very few historical facts about Marko can be found in the poems, but they reflect his connection with the disintegration of the Serbian Empire and his vassalage to the Ottomans. They were composed by anonymous Serbian poets during the Ottoman occupation of their land. According to American
Slavicist Slavic studies (North America), Slavonic studies (Britain and Ireland) or Slavistics (borrowed from Russian ''славистика'' or Polish ''slawistyka'') is the academic field of area studies concerned with Slavic peoples, Slavic areas, Slavic ...
George Rapall Noyes, they "combine tragic
pathos Pathos (, ; plural: ''pathea'' or ''pathê''; , for "suffering Suffering, or pain in a broad sense, may be an experience of unpleasantness and aversion associated with the perception of harm or threat of harm in an individual. Suffering is th ...

pathos
with almost
ribald Ribaldry or blue comedy is humorous entertainment that ranges from bordering on indelicacy to gross indecency Inappropriateness refers to standards or ethics Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that "involves systematizing, ...
comedy in a fashion worthy of an
Elizabethan The Elizabethan era is the epoch in the Tudor period The Tudor period occurred between 1485 and 1603 in and includes the during the of until 1603. The Tudor period coincides with the dynasty of the in England whose first monarch was ...
playwright." Serbian epic poetry agrees that King Vukašin was Marko's father. His mother in the poems was Jevrosima, sister of
voivode Voivode (, also spelled Voievod, Voivoda, Vojvoda or Wojewoda) is a title denoting a "military-leader" or "warlord A warlord is a person who exercises military, economic, and political control over a region in a country without a strong nat ...
Momčilo, the lord of the Pirlitor Fortress (on Durmitor, Mount Durmitor in Old Herzegovina). Momčilo is described as a man of immense size and strength with magical attributes: a winged horse and a sabre with eyes. Vukašin murdered him with the help of the voivode's young wife, Vidosava, despite Jevrosima's self-sacrificing attempt to save her brother. Instead of marrying Vidosava (the original plan), Vukašin killed the treacherous woman. He took Jevrosima from Pirlitor to his capital city, Skadar, and married her according to the advice of the dying Momčilo. She bore him two sons, Marko and Andrijaš, and the poem recounting these events says that Marko took after his uncle Momčilo. This epic character corresponds historically with Bulgarian brigand and mercenary Momchil, who was in the service of Serbian Tsar Dušan; he later became a despot and died in the 1345 Battle of Peritheorion. According to another account, Marko and Andrijaš were mothered by a ''Slavic fairies#Vila, vila'' (Slavic mountain nymph) married by Vukašin after he caught her near a lake and removed her wings so she could not escape. As Marko matured, he became headstrong; Vukašin once said that he had no control over his son, who went wherever he wanted, drank and brawled. Marko grew up into a large, strong man, with a terrifying appearance, which was also somewhat comical. He wore a wolf-skin cap pulled low over his dark eyes, his black moustache was the size of a six-month-old lamb and his cloak was a shaggy wolf-pelt. A Damascus steel, Damascus sabre swung at his waist, and a spear was slung across his back. Marko's pernach weighed 66 Oka (mass), okas () and hung on the left side of his saddle, balanced by a well-filled wineskin on the saddle's right side. His grip was strong enough to squeeze drops of water from a piece of dry European Cornel, cornel wood. Marko defeated a succession of champions against overwhelming odds. The hero's inseparable companion was his powerful, talking piebald horse Šarac; Marko always gave him an equal share of his wine. The horse could leap three Spear#Infantry Spears 2, spear-lengths high and four spear-lengths forward, enabling Marko to capture the dangerous, elusive ''vila'' Ravijojla. She became his Blood brother, blood sister, promising to help him in dire straits. When Ravijojla helped him kill the monstrous, three-hearted Musa Kesedžija (who almost defeated him), Marko grieved because he had slain a better man than himself. Marko is portrayed as a protector of the weak and helpless, a fighter against Turkish bullies and injustice in general. He was an idealised keeper of patriarchal and natural norms: in a Turkish military camp, he beheaded the Turk who dishonourably killed his father. He abolished the marriage tax by killing the tyrant who imposed it on the people of Kosovo. He saved the sultan's daughter from an unwanted marriage after she entreated him, as her blood brother, to help her. He rescued three Serbian voivodes (his blood brothers) from a dungeon and helped animals in distress. Marko was a rescuer and benefactor of people, and a promoter of life; "Prince Marko is remembered like a fair day in the year". Characteristic of Marko was his reverence and love for his mother, Jevrosima; he often sought her advice, following it even when it contradicted his own desires. She lived with Marko at his mansion in Prilep, his lodestar guiding him away from evil and toward good on the path of moral improvement and Christian virtues. Marko's honesty and moral courage are noteworthy in a poem in which he was the only person who knew the will of the late Tsar Dušan regarding his heir. Marko refused to lie in favour of the pretenders—his father and uncles. He said truthfully that Dušan appointed his son, Uroš, heir to the Serbian throne. This almost cost him his life, since Vukašin tried to kill him. Marko is represented as a loyal vassal of the Ottoman sultan, fighting to protect the potentate and his empire from outlaws. When summoned by the sultan, he participated in Turkish military campaigns. Even in this relationship, however, Marko's personality and sense of dignity were apparent. He occasionally made the sultan uneasy, and meetings between them usually ended like this: Marko's fealty was combined with the notion that the servant was greater than his lord, as Serbian poets turned the tables on their conquerors. This dual aspect of Marko may explain his heroic status; for the Serbs he was "the proud symbol expressive of the unbroken spirit that lived on in spite of disaster and defeat," according to translator of Serbian epic poems David Halyburton Low. In battle, Marko used not only his strength and prowess but cunning and trickery. Despite his extraordinary qualities he was not depicted as a superhero or a god, but as a mortal man. There were opponents who surpassed him in courage and strength. He was occasionally capricious, short-tempered or cruel, but his predominant traits were honesty, loyalty and fundamental goodness. With his comic appearance and behaviour, and his remarks at his opponents' expense, Marko is the most humorous character in Serbian epic poetry. When a Black Arab (mythology), Moor struck him with a mace, Marko said laughingly, "O valiant black Moor! Are you jesting or smiting in earnest?" Jevrosima once advised her son to cease his bloody adventures and plough the fields instead. He obeyed in a grimly humorous way, ploughing the sultan's highway instead of the fields. A group of Turkish Janissary, Janissaries with three packs of gold shouted at him to stop ploughing the highway. He warned them to keep off the furrows, but quickly wearied of arguing: Marko, age 300, rode the 160-year-old Šarac by the seashore towards Mount Urvina when a ''vila'' told him that he was going to die. Marko then leaned over a well and saw no reflection of his face on the water; hydromancy confirmed the ''vila''s words. He killed Šarac so the Turks would not use him for menial labor, and gave his beloved companion an elaborate burial. Marko broke his sword and spear, throwing his mace far out to sea before lying down to die. His body was found seven days later by Abbot Vaso and his deacon, Isaija. Vaso took Marko to Mount Athos and buried him at the Hilandar, Hilandar Monastery in an unmarked grave.


Epic poetry of Bulgaria and North Macedonia

"Krali Marko" has been one of the most popular characters in Bulgarian (more generally Eastern South Slavic) folklore for centuries. These epic tales of Marko seem to originate from the present-day North Macedonia, therefore also being an important part of the ethnic heritage of ethnic Macedonians, Macedonians. According to local legend Marko's mother was Evrosiya (Евросия), sister of the Bulgarian people, Bulgarian voivoda Momchil (who ruled territory in the Rhodope Mountains). At Marko's birth three ''narecnitsi'' (fairy sorceresses) appeared, predicting that he would be a hero and replace his father (King Vukašin). When the king heard this, he threw his son into the river in a basket to get rid of him. A ''samodiva (mythology), samodiva'' named Vila found Marko and brought him up, becoming his foster mother. Because Marko drank the ''samodiva''s milk, he acquired supernatural powers and became a Bulgarian freedom fighter against the Turks. He has a winged horse named Sharkolia ("dappled") and a stepsister, the ''samodiva'' Gyura. Bulgarian legends incorporate fragments of pagan mythology and beliefs, although the Marko epic was created as late as the 14–18th centuries. Among Bulgarian epic songs, songs about Krali Marko are common and pivotal. Bulgarian folklorists who collected stories about Marko included educator Trayko Kitanchev (in the Resen, North Macedonia, Resen region of western Macedonia) and Marko Cepenkov of
Prilep Prilep ( mk, Прилеп ) is the fourth-largest city in North Macedonia North Macedonia, ; sq, Maqedonia e Veriut, (Macedonia until February 2019), officially the Republic of North Macedonia,, is a country in Southeast Europe. It ...
(throughout the region).


In legend

South Slavic legends about Kraljević Marko or Krali Marko are primarily based on myths much older than the historical Marko Mrnjavčević. He differs in legend from the folk poems; in some areas he was imagined as a giant who walked stepping on hilltops, his head touching the clouds. He was said to have helped God shape the earth, and created the river gorge in Demir Kapija ("Iron Gate") with a stroke of his sabre. This drained the sea covering the regions of Bitola, Mariovo and Tikveš in Macedonia, making them habitable. After the earth was shaped, Marko arrogantly showed off his strength. God took it away by leaving a bag as heavy as the earth on a road; when Marko tried to lift it, he lost his strength and became an ordinary man. Legend also has it that Marko acquired his strength after he was suckled by a ''vila''. King Vukašin threw him into a river because he did not resemble him, but the boy was saved by a cowherd (who adopted him, and a ''vila'' suckled him). In other accounts, Marko was a shepherd (or cowherd) who found a ''vila''s children lost in a mountain and shaded them against the sun (or gave them water). As a reward the ''vila'' suckled him three times, and he could lift and throw a large boulder. An Istrian version has Marko making a shade for two snakes, instead of the children. In a Bulgarian version, each of the three draughts of milk he suckled from the ''vila''s breast became a snake. Marko was associated with large, solitary boulders and indentations in rocks; the boulders were said to be thrown by him from a hill, and the indentations were his footprints (or the hoofprints of his horse).Radenković 2001, pp.293–7. He was also connected with geographic features such as hills, glens, cliffs, caves, rivers, brooks and groves, which he created or at which he did something memorable. They were often List of places named after Prince Marko, named after him, and there are many Toponymy, toponyms—from Istria in the west to Bulgaria in the east—derived from his name. In Bulgarian and Macedonian stories, Marko had an equally strong sister who competed with him in throwing boulders. In some legends, Marko's wonder horse was a gift from a ''vila''. A Serbian story says that he was looking for a horse who could bear him. To test a steed, he would grab him by the tail and sling him over his shoulder. Seeing a diseased piebald foal owned by some carters, Marko grabbed him by the tail but could not move him. He bought (and cured) the foal, naming him Šarac. He became an enormously powerful horse and Marko's inseparable companion.Karadžić 1852, pp.345–6, s.v. "Марко Краљевић". Macedonian legend has it that Marko, following a ''vila''s advice, captured a sick horse on a mountain and cured him. Crusted patches on the horse's skin grew white hairs, and he became a piebald. According to folk tradition Marko never died; he King asleep in mountain, lives on in a cave, in a moss-covered den or in an unknown land. A Serbian legend recounts that Marko once fought a battle in which so many men were killed that the soldiers (and their horses) swam in blood. He lifted his hands towards heaven and said, "Oh God, what am I going to do now?" God took pity on Marko, transporting him and Šarac to a cave (where Marko stuck his sabre into a rock and fell asleep). There is moss in the cave; Šarac eats it bit by bit, while the sabre slowly emerges from the rock. When it falls on the ground and Šarac finishes the moss, Marko will awaken and reenter the world. Some allegedly saw him after descending into a deep pit, where he lived in a large house in front of which Šarac was seen. Others saw him in a faraway land, living in a cave. According to Macedonian tradition Marko drank "eagle's water", which made him immortal; he is with Elijah in heaven.


In modern culture

During the 19th century, Marko was the subject of several Adaptation (arts), dramatizations. In 1831 the Hungarian drama ''Prince Marko'', possibly written by :hu:Balog István (színész), István Balog, was performed in Buda and in 1838, the Hungarian drama ''Prince Marko – Great Serbian Hero'' by Celesztin Pergő was staged in Arad, Romania, Arad. In 1848 Jovan Sterija Popović wrote the tragedy ''The Dream of Prince Marko'', in which the legend of sleeping Marko is its central Motif (narrative), motif. Petar Preradović wrote the drama ''Kraljević Marko'', which glorifies South Slavs, southern Slav strength. In 1863 Francesco Dall'Ongaro presented his Italian drama, ''The Resurrection of Prince Marko''. In her collection of short stories from 1978, Nouvelles Orientales, Marguerite Yourcenar imagined an alternative, inexplicable end to Marko's life (La Fin de Marko kraliévitch). Of all Serbian epic or historical figures, Marko is considered to have given the most artistic inspiration, inspiration to visual artists; a monograph on the subject lists 87 authors. His oldest known depictions are 14th-century frescoes from
Marko's Monastery Marko's Monastery (Macedonian Macedonian most often refers to someone or something from or related to Macedonia (disambiguation), Macedonia. Macedonian may specifically refer to: People Modern * Macedonians (ethnic group), the South Slavic ethni ...
and
Prilep Prilep ( mk, Прилеп ) is the fourth-largest city in North Macedonia North Macedonia, ; sq, Maqedonia e Veriut, (Macedonia until February 2019), officially the Republic of North Macedonia,, is a country in Southeast Europe. It ...
. An 18th-century drawing of Marko is found in the Čajniče Gospels, a medieval parchment manuscript belonging to a Serbian Orthodox church in Čajniče in eastern
Bosnia Bosnia ( bs, Bosna / , ) is the north North is one of the four compass points The points of the compass are the vectors by which planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar r ...
. The drawing is simple, unique in depicting Marko as a saint and reminiscent of stećci reliefs. Vuk Karadžić wrote that during his late-18th-century childhood he saw a painting of Marko carrying an ox on his back. Nineteenth-century lithography, lithographs of Marko were made by Anastas Jovanović, Ferdo Kikerec and others. Artists who painted Marko during that century include Mina Karadžić, Novak Radonić and Đura Jakšić. Twentieth-century artists include Nadežda Petrović, Mirko Rački, Uroš Predić and Paja Jovanović. A sculpture of Marko on Šarac by Ivan Meštrović was reproduced on a Yugoslavian banknote and stamp. Modern illustrators with Marko as their subject include Alexander Key, Aleksandar Klas, Zuko Džumhur, Vasa Pomorišac and Bane Kerac. Princ Marko, and his Sabre was also inspiration for Current Serbian National Anthem "Boze Pravde". The song was taken from a theatre piece Markova Sablja, very popular among Serbs in 1872. Motif (visual arts), Motifs in multiple works are Marko and Ravijojla, Marko and his mother, Marko and Šarac, Marko shooting an arrow, Marko plowing the roads, the fight between Marko and Musa and Marko's death. Also, several artists have tried to produce a realistic portrait of Marko based on his frescoes. In 1924 Prilep Brewery introduced a light beer, ''Krali Marko''.


See also

* Serbian nobility conflict (1369) * Djemo the Mountaineer * General Vuča


Footnotes

The family name "Mrnjavčević" was not mentioned in contemporary sources, nor was any other surname associated with this family. The oldest known source mentioning the name "Mrnjavčević" is ''Ruvarčev rodoslov'' "The Genealogy of Ruvarac", written between 1563 and 1584. It is unknown whether it was introduced into the Genealogy from some older source, or from the folk poetry and tradition.Rudić 2001, p.96.
This liturgical book, acquired in the 19th century by Russian collector Aleksey Khludov, is kept today in the State Historical Museum of Russia.
The name Despotović ("Despot (court title), despot's son") was applied in a similar way to Uglješa, the son of Despot
Jovan UglješaJovan may refer to: *Jovan (given name)Jovan may refer to: * Jovan (given name), a list of people with this given name * Jovan, Mawal, a village on the western coastal region of Maharashtra, India * Jōvan Musk, a cologne * Deli Jovan, a mountain i ...
, King Vukašin's younger brother.


Notes


References

*Valtazar Bogišić, Bogišić, Valtazar (1878).
Народне пјесме: из старијих, највише приморских записа [Folk poems: from older records, mostly from the Littoral]
' (in Serbian). 1. The Internet Archive. * *Vladimir Ćorović, Ćorović, Vladimir (November 2001).
Историја српског народа [History of the Serbian People]
' (in Serbian). Project Rastko. *Deretić, Jovan (2000).
Кратка историја српске књижевности [Short history of Serbian literature]
' (in Serbian). Project Rastko. * *Fajfrić, Željko (7 December 2000).

' (in Serbian). Project Rastko. * *Fostikov, Aleksandra (2002). "О Дмитру Краљевићу [About Dmitar Kraljević]" (in Serbian). ''Историјски часопис [Historical Review]'' (Belgrade: Istorijski institut) 49. . * *Konstantin Josef Jireček, Jireček, Konstantin Josef (1911).
Geschichte der Serben [History of the Serbs]
' (in German). 1. The Internet Archive. *Vuk Stefanović Karadžić, Karadžić, Vuk Stefanović (1852). ''Српски рјечник [Serbian dictionary]''. Vienna: Vuk Stefanović Karadžić. *Karadžić, Vuk Stefanović (11 October 2000).
Српске народне пјесме [Serbian folk poems]
' (in Serbian). 2. Project Rastko. * Konstantin the Philosopher (2000). Gordana Jovanović ed.
Житије деспота Стефана Лазаревића [Biography of Despot Stefan Lazarević]
' (in Serbian). Project Rastko. *Low, David Halyburton (1922).
The Ballads of Marko Kraljević
'. The Internet Archive. *Mandić, Ranko (2003). "Kraljevići Marko i Andreaš" (in Serbian). ''Dinar: Numizmatički časopis'' (Belgrade: Serbian Numismatic Society) No. 21. . *Rade Mihaljčić, Mihaljčić, Rade (1975). ''Крај Српског царства [The end of the Serbian Empire]'' (in Serbian). Belgrade: Srpska književna zadruga. *Franz Miklosich, Miklosich, Franz (1858).
Monumenta serbica spectantia historiam Serbiae Bosnae Ragusii
' (in Serbian and Latin). The Internet Archive. * * * *Noyes, George Rapall; Leonard Bacon (poet), Bacon, Leonard (1913).
Heroic Ballads of Servia
'. The Internet Sacred Text Archive. * * * * *Radenković, Ljubinko (2001). "Краљевић Марко" (in Serbian). Svetlana Mikhaylovna Tolstaya, Ljubinko Radenković eds. ''Словенска митологија: Енциклопедијски речник [Slavic mythology: Encyclopedic dictionary]''. Belgrade: Zepter Book World. . *Rudić, Srđan (2001). "O првом помену презимена Mрњавчевић [On the first mention of the Mrnjavčević surname]" (in Serbian). ''Историјски часопис [Historical Review]'' (Belgrade: Istorijski institut) 48. . * *Ljubomir Stojanović, Stojanović, Ljubomir (1902). ''Стари српски записи и натписи [Old Serbian inscriptions and superscriptions]'' (in Serbian). 1. Belgrade: Serbian Royal Academy. * * * *Augustin Theiner, Theiner, Augustin (1860).
Vetera monumenta historica Hungariam sacram illustrantia
' (in Latin). 2. The Internet Archive.


External links


The Ballads of Marko Kraljević
translated by David Halyburton Low (1922)
Heroic Ballads of Servia
translated by George Rapall Noyes and Leonard Bacon (1913)
Macedonian songsfairy tales
an
legends
about Marko (Macedonian)

(als
here
with more information) an
legends
about Marko (Bulgarian)
Marko, The King's Son: Hero of The Serbs
by Clarence Manning, Clarence A. Manning (1932)
Poem, "Marko Kraljević and the Vila"Conclusion of "Prince Marko and Musa Kesedžija"
(verses 220–281)
Web comic strip
Videos of Serbian epic poems sung to the accompaniment of the gusle:
Prince Marko Recognises His Father's SwordPrince Marko Abolishes the Marriage TaxPrince Marko and the Eagle
{{DEFAULTSORT:Marko, Prince 1330s births 1395 deaths 14th-century Serbian royalty 14th-century Serbian nobility Mrnjavčević family Rulers in medieval Macedonia Pelagonia Characters in Serbian epic poetry Slavic mythology Serbian princes Serbian folklore Bulgarian folklore Pretenders to the Serbian throne in the Middle Ages Serbian military personnel killed in action Ottoman Serbia Serbian vassals of the Ottoman Empire King asleep in mountain