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Ljubica D. Popović
 Princess Milica Hrebeljanović, by Vladislav Titelbah, ca. 1900, National Museum, Kikinda
century.41 During that period in Serbia, the commission of a work such as an illustrated alexandriad required an especially sophisticated patron. it is beyond the scope of this study to try to solve the patron’s possible identity. it suffices to mention here that the ruler Despot Stefan (1389–1427) was one of the most cultured men of his time. He not only had a circle of learned theologians and au- thors around him, but he was also a sponsor of art and a writer as well.
Constantine the Philosopher, in his biography of Des- pot Stefan Lazarević, compares the despot on at least four separate occasions with alexander the Great.42 an illus- trated book about alexander would not be out of place at the court of this ruler, since the copy in question still falls chronologically within the last years of his reign.
if separated from their explanatory inscriptions, some of the illustrations from this book, could be, as details, easily related to the Battle of Kosovo. When alexander receives his generals, it could as well be Prince Lazar re- ceiving his allies; when two horsemen prepare for the Bat- tle of athens, they could as well be any of Lazar’s stan- dard-bearers. alexander himself, on Bucephalos with his escort-guard of spear-carriers in the Battle with the indi- ans, could be used to represent Lazar and his troops. The duel between alexander and Porus43 might serve as an
41 Today this manuscript is in The National Library of Sofia, Bul- garia, NBKM 771. See: jovanka Maksimović, Srpske srednjevekovne minijature (Belgrade: Prosveta, 1983), pp. 49, 75, 131–32 with bibliog- raphy.
42 Mirković, Stare srpske biografije, pp. 47, 63, 71, and 74.
43 For the illustration of the Romance of alexander, see: j. Maksi-
mović, Srpske srednjevekovne minijature, 1983, fol. 23, fig. 67; fol. 37v, fig. 66; fol. 127v, fig. 69; fol. 135, fig. 72.
illustration of heroic combat as described in the epic vers- es dedicated to Kosovo. in Sluga Milutin (Milutin the Ser- vant), for example:
Only Boško jugović still survives,
his flag with a cross bellowing through
the field of Kosovo; his is still dividing the Turks into groups,
like a hawk-bird a flock of doves.44
especially interesting are the scenes of Lamentation and Death, which also offer a reflection, if nothing more, of the feelings evoked by almost contemporary historical events. Over the bier of Porus (fol. 135v) stand four griev- ing women, one of whom wears a tall crown and promi- nent earrings, adornments similar to those worn by Prin- cess Milica herself in her fresco portraits in Ravanica and Ljubostinja45 Through this illustrated scene one can al- most visualize the words of the Serbian patriarch Danilo iii. in his Povesno slovo o knezu Lazaru (An Historical Word about Prince Lazar) he describes Princess Milica’s grief over the body of her martyred husband: if she awakened from a deep sleep, she (Milica) lamented with a wailing cry: “Woe to me, what has hap- pened to me! all of a sudden a sharp weapon pierced my soul. Did it come upon me similarly as it did to jeremiah? Hear me how i sigh, how i lament, but my consoler is no more! My young girls and young men were taken into slavery.”46
Lamentation over the body of alexander is visually even more formal. Only two women are present; both wear royal crowns and prominent, round earrings. a pre- cious green cloth covers the body on the bier which rests beneath a porphyry ciborium, lending to the scene an al- most Christian religious character. Finally, by looking at the illustration of the Translation of the Body of Alexander the Great, one can almost envision the translatio of the body of Prince Lazar. The bier with alexander’s body, car- ried on the shoulders of four attendants and escorted by a rider and soldiers, could easily be visualized as that of Prince Lazar. it is known that after his death on Kosovo Polje, Prince Lazar was buried in the vicinity of Priština. a year after the Battle of Kosovo, following a liturgical cer- emony conducted by the Patriarch Danilo iii, the body of Prince Lazar was escorted from the Kosovo region by his daughter Mara and her husband Vuk. it was brought
44 V. Djurić, Antologija, p. 277: selected verses from the poem Sluga Milutin:
...“još ostade Boško Jugoviću, / krstaš mu se po Kosovu vija; / još razgoni Turke na buljuke, / kako soko tica golubove...”
45 Ljubinković, Ravanica, fig. 3; S. Djurić, Ljubostinja, 1985, p. iV.
46 Dragoljub Pavlović i Radmila Marinković, Iz naše književnosti feudalnog doba (Belgrade: Prosveta, 1968), p. 50:
...i probudivši se kao iz sna duboka, velikim jaukom plakajuci va- pijaše / “Avaj meni, šta mi bi! Iznenada ljuto oružje prodje dušu moju. / Da li kao na Jeremiju na mene dodjoše? Čujte kako uzdišem, kako tužim, i nema mi utešitelja! Devojke moje i momci /moji u sužanjstvo podjoše.”

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