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Soldier of Macedon 11-04-2008 04:26 AM

Marko of Prilep, King of the Christians
[CENTER][B][I][U][SIZE="4"]Marko of Prilep, King of the Christians[/SIZE][/U][/I][/B][/CENTER]

The two brothers Volkasin and Uglesa ruled jointly in western and eastern Macedonia respectively. Volkasin, the father of Marko, had risen up amongst the ranks of the Serbian imperial aristocracy, and eventually secured for himself the leading governing position in the region of Prilep within the empire. In the year 1365, as Bulgaria was dealing with encroachment by Hungary and East Rome, and the Serbian Empire began to crumble under weak leadership, Volkasin gained independent rule for his domains in Macedonia and a level of power on equal terms with Tsar Uros, the son of Tsar Stefan. The independent Macedonian spirit surfaced again as the region based in eastern Macedonia ruled by Uglesa was also assured of continued freedom, signifying a clear cultural distinction between the Serbian north and the Macedonian south.

A recent periphery problem had also risen in strength alarmingly during the 1360’s, as the Ottomans under Murad I continued to expand, setting firm foot in Europe and establishing the city of Adrianople as their capital. Bulgarian ruler Ivan Alexander died in February, 1371, as plans were being initiated for joint action by the Slavic speaking Christians of Macedonia, Bulgaria and Serbia against the Ottomans. The Serbian north, upset with the independent stance of Volkasin and Uglesa, did not lend assistance to the rulers from the Macedonian south, as the two main components of the former empire of Tsar Stefan displayed further signs of formal separation. Despite this, a large Christian force of several thousand fighters under the leadership of Volkasin mustered together at the River Maritsa, where a battle was waged in September of the same year. After a fierce, courageous but fruitless defense against the superior forces of the Ottomans, both the Mrnjavcevi brothers were slain in combat. The death of the heirless Tsar Uros followed a few months later, elevating Prince Lazar Hrebeljanovic, loosely tied to the royal house through marriage of a distant Nemanjic relative, to a major position of power in Serbian lands.

Marko ascended to the throne in his mid 30’s and assumed the title of king, as evidenced by monastery frescoes, minted coins and popular folklore history. By avoiding the use of terms such as tsar, prince or administrator, which would indicate a direct link to the disintegrating Serbian Empire, he also demonstrated the independent nature and sovereignty of his state. With the Islamic conqueror from the East now spread across the Balkans, King Marko made best of the situation and circumstance he was in to protect his Christian people, avoiding further bloodshed by becoming an Ottoman vassal years after the battle while retaining a large measure of self-rule. Marko’s kingdom was comprised primarily of Macedonia and stretched from the Sar Mountains in the north-west to Kostur in the south, extending across Salonika to include territories further east. Prilep was the birthplace of King Marko and capital of his state, while Skopje contains a renowned monastery and frescoes picturing him in imperial dress and St Clement of Ohrid among the holy fathers, significantly excluding the figures that established the Serbian Church such as St Sava. As it was during Tsar Samuel’s time and in some respects under similar conditions, the establishment of a state in the region received the spiritual support and legitimacy of the Archbishopric of Ohrid. This show of local and cultural unity in Macedonia disarrayed the struggling Archbishopric of Pec which backed the Serbian north, as antagonisms developed further between the two camps.

Centuries-old local folklore records the heroic battles of King Marko against several foreigners that had arrived with Islamic rule, particularly the ‘black Arab’, and his legendary feats echoed to all the people from the Adriatic Sea to the Black Sea. As King Marko consolidated his domains and increased his reputation among the people and churches of the region, Prince Lazar, the powerful Serbian leader, allied with King Tvrtko of Bosnia who in addition to also being a blood relative of the Nemanjic family also became king of Serbia in the year 1377. Neither Prince Lazar nor King Tvrtko rendered assistance to the Christians from Macedonia under the head of King Marko’s father, when they hopelessly defended Europe from the foreign invader at the River Maritsa. Almost a couple of decades later however, the favor was returned in kind, for when the battle of Kosovo took place in mi-year 1389, King Marko did not come to the assistance of Prince Lazar and the Serbs. King Tvrtko on the other hand did provide assistance to the Serbs in Kosovo by sending his best soldiers to join the army under the head of Prince Lazar. The history of the epic battle records that Sultan Murad I led forces against Prince Lazar and his army in a battle which cost both of their lives, although despite the setback the Ottomans continued to expand their borders. Prince Lazar’s heir Stefan Lazarevic assumed leadership of the Serbs, and as with other local rulers, eventually became a vassal for the Ottomans in the same way as King Marko.

The next Sultan in line, Bayezid, ascended to the throne following the death of his father and made allies via marriage with the Serbs by taking Prince Lazar’s daughter and Stefan Lazarevic’s sister as a bride, for the purpose of ensuring security against the Hungarians. In the following years the Ottomans savagely attacked Constantinople, while also moving across the River Danube to attack Wallachia. In the year 1394 (or 1395), the army of Bayezid and his vassals including King Marko and Stefan Lazarevic did battle at Rovine against the Wallachians led by Mircea. Victory went to the latter although Bayezid and Stefan Lazarevic managed to survive unscathed. King Marko partook on the side of the Islamic invader due to his obligation as an Ottoman vassal, hence the reason why he was disheartened during this battle against Christians. King Marko died during the event, and as legend tells the story, prior to the battle the national hero made the following statement, ‘[I][B]Even if I die, I beg the Lord to save the Christians[/B][/I]’. Among many of the south Slavic people, and particularly Macedonia, King Marko is considered one of the last legitimate Christian rulers and protectors in the region, hence a permanent mark in the memory of the people.

Soldier of Macedon 11-04-2008 04:31 AM

Some questions that need to be answered:
[LIST=1][*]Did a battle take place in the year 1369 between the Nemanja and Mrnjachevi, with victory going to the latter?[*]In all the frescoes of Marko, is he ever pictured with Serbian saints such as St Sava?[*]Does Serbian historiography allign with the theory that Volkasin killed Uros?[*]Does Serbian historiography view the Mrnjavcevi with spite and/or as enemies of Serbian interests due to their rebellious and autonomous stance towards the Nemanja clan?[/LIST]

Anybody with knowledge on the topic are welcome to comment.

Delodephius 12-21-2008 09:24 AM

I would like to help but I don't know the answers to those questions. I do know that Kraljevič Marko is considered one of Serbia's greatest heroes and there are many folk songs and tales about him.

TerraNova 12-21-2008 10:56 AM

I guess SoM thinks Marko,was Alexander's grandchild...:p

Delodephius 12-21-2008 02:45 PM

Shut up ass-wipe.

TerraNova 12-21-2008 04:29 PM

[QUOTE=Slovak/Anomaly/Tomas;6464]Shut up ass-wipe.[/QUOTE]

Ts ts ts...Slovak i thought u were a wannabe scholar- Scholar of the ass maybe?

Sarafot 12-21-2008 04:37 PM

[QUOTE=TerraNova;6473]Ts ts ts...Slovak i thought u were a wannabe scholar- Scholar of the ass maybe?[/QUOTE]

I belive that Romans crashed Macedonian truth,with help of Greeks,but Macedonians did rise again,look how it is posible that some slavs commed here 5000 kmfrom home,it was ice ''doba'' there in that time with no mark of them and for example they settled in mounting regions of Miak or Maleševo,if somebody convince me i will belive?! Until than i belive only in this:
[url=]YouTube - Makedonija e vecna!!![/url]

TerraNova 12-21-2008 05:02 PM

What was that?
Vangelis' music..and Lenin ,Euripides,Stalin and all the other Macedonians conquering the world? :)

Back to the point..
Krale a[B] historical person[/B] was a [B]Serbian[/B] noble without a question.
Descended from the Mrnjavcevic ,Serrbian noble family.
His family coat of arms.
White Eagle (like the white Eagle(double headed of Serbia) and the 4 C ,with the cross .(the other Serbian emblem)

On the other hand as a [B]mythological ,epic figure[/B] he also belongs to the [B]Bulgarians and Macedonians.[/B]

Daskalot 12-21-2008 06:15 PM

[QUOTE=Slovak/Anomaly/Tomas;6464]Shut up ass-wipe.[/QUOTE]

ditto. you heard what Slovak said?

Dejan 12-21-2008 06:22 PM

To TurcijaNova: learn your own history before telling us about ours

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