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 Dragutin.21 The cult of SS. Simeon and Sava, on the other hand, has been seen as part of King Milutin’s general sup- port of the Serbian Church.22 although the church had been the principal promoter of this cult, its acceptance by King Milutin had broader ideological implications. By promulgating the cult of his saintly ancestors, Milutin obviously hoped to emphasize the legitimacy of his suc- cession. as time went on, this theme was increasingly em- phasized. in the church of joachim and anna at Studen- ica, the cult of SS. Simeon and Sava was juxtaposed with the cult of Christ’s ancestors-joachim and anna-in an ob- vious allusion to the divine origins of the Nemanjić fam- ily. Finally, at Gračanica, graphic representation of this ideologically complicated iconography crystallized in the creation of an entirely new composition—the Nemanjić family tree.23 Based on the established iconography of the Tree of jesse, the Nemanjić family tree even more explic- itly alluded to the Nemanjić as the divinely chosen lot. The appearance of King Milutin at the top of the family tree as the pendant to its root—Nemanja—finalized in the most eloquent way the professed legitimacy of Milutin’s succession as an inevitable act of the Divine Will.
Striking this note, however, Milutin infringed on an- other territory. according to the Byzantine point of view, of all rulers, only the Byzantine emperor was divinely ap- pointed; he was Christ’s Vicar, the ruler of His earthly realm. Milutin’s ideological intrusion into this concept was no accident either. His titles clearly illustrate this de- velopment. The earlier titles proudly displaying the fact that he was the son-in-law of the Byzantine emperor even- tually gave way to a simplified title form in which such references were omitted.24 although he stopped short of calling himself “emperor” in documents, the word car (emperor) does appear on some of King Milutin’s seals.25 Toward the end of his reign, Milutin had shed all inhibi- tions in stating the true nature of his goals. Having quelled
21 Mirjana Ćorović-Ljubinković, “Odraz kulta Svetog Stefana u srpskoj srednjovekovnoj umetnosti,” Starinar, n. s. 12 (1961), 53–54.
22 Mirjana Ćorović-Ljubinković, “Uz problem ikonografije srp- skih svetitelja Simeona i Save,” Starinar, n. s. 7–8 (1958), 81.
23 Slobodan Ćurčić, “The Nemanjic Family Tree in the Light of theancestralCultintheChurchofjoachimandannaatStudenica,” Zbornik radova Vizantološkog instituta, 14–15 (1973), 191–95; on the family tree, see pp. 191–92, and n. 1 with the listing of earlier literature.
24 The inscription on tiles on the exterior of the main apse of Bo- gorodica Ljeviška in Prizren mentions the donor, King Stefan Uroš (Milutin), and further refers to him as the son-in-law of the Greek emperor andronicus Palaeologus. The inscription is dated 1306–7; see Nenadović, Bogorodica Ljeviška, pp. 24–25. another inscription of similar content and phraseology accompanies Milutin’s donor portrait, to the left from the door leading from the esonarthex into the naos of the same church; ibid., p. 25. The particular reference to Milutin’ s relationship to andronicus ii is conspicuously missing in similar donor inscriptions in Milutin’s subsequent foundations such as Staro Nagoričino, King’s Church at Studenica, and Gračanica.
25 Vladimir Mošin, “Povelje kralja Milutina-diplomatička analiza,” Istorijski časopis, 18 (1971), 62.
East façade, Gračanica
the dissenters within his own state, he could calmly watch the growing breach between the aging emperor andron- icus ii and his ambitious grandson, andronicus iii. Had his death, on October 29, 1321, not stopped him, Milutin might well have let his ambition carry him one step fur- ther. That decisive step was taken only by his grandson, Stefan Dušan, who proclaimed himself emperor of the Serbs and Greeks on april 16, 1346.
in summary, several points must be emphasized. Po- litically, the reign of King Milutin was extremely complex. The pivotal event was the peace treaty arranged with an- dronicus ii in 1299, terminating nearly two decades of war- fare and bringing Milutin into a family bond with the Byz- antine court through his marriage to Simonida. Conse- quently, the year 1300 represents a watershed in the de- velopment of medieval Serbia. economically strong, guid- ed by personal ambitions, and relying on the prestige of being related to the Byzantine imperial house, Milutin could concentrate on building his strength internally and quelling opposition to his policies. Having defeated his brother, Dragutin, he could devote the last years of his life to systematic political propaganda aimed at eradicat- ing any doubts about the legality of his succession, and to creating an ideological base for the eventual challenge of the Byzantine emperor.
Culturally, the picture is no simpler. although byzan- tinization represented the main theme, other factors must not be entirely overlooked. Despite an almost total cul- tural reorientation, Serbia did not sever its traditional cul-
Gračanica: King Milutin’s Church and its architecture

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