Page 395 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
P. 395

The Collections of the jugoslav National Songs (by Vuk Karadžić, B. Petranović, Miladinović Brothers, iv. jastrebov, by the “Matica Hrvatska,” and “Slovenski Gla-
snik” 1864, etc.)—all celebrate the heroic splendor of the Battle of Kosovo. The 500th anniversary of the catastrophe of Kosovo 1889, was celebrated both in Zagreb—by the ju- goslav academy—and in Belgrade, by the Royal Serbian academy. The Zagreb jugoslav academy devoted an entire ample volume of its transactions to it (Rad Jugoslavenske Akademije Znanosti i Umjetnosti vol XCVII). jugoslav lit- erature possesses an entire bibliography of Kosovo dramas and novels, written by Serbs from Bosnia (Sima Milutino- vić), the Banat (S. Popović), Dalmatia (Matija Ban, ivo Voj- nović), Bačka (Miloš Cvetić), and the Kingdom of Serbia (Milovan Vidaković). The Croat Trešić-Pavičić sings the whole epic of Kosovo as fervently as the Serb Nikola Djorić. Tihe Croat armin Pavić and the Serb Stojan Novaković are equally engaged in selections of these same Kosovo songs for the jugoslav masses. The Slavonian j. Nović and the Ser- bian Sreta Stojković, following the example of the national poetry, write songs upon the battle of Kosovo. Davorin jenko, the Slovene, prepared as his discours de réception for the Royal Serbian academy two compositions, both on Kosovo themes (Kosovo and the Maiden of Kosovo), his fin- est musical work. The Dalmatian ivan Mestrović designed the Temple of Kosovo, a masterpiece of sculpture and ar- chitecture—the epic of Kosovo in stone. if i were to enu- merate all the literary and artistic works on this theme cre- ated by jugoslavs no matter whence they hail, tills list of the works on Kosovo would assume considerable proportions.
if it was necessary to celebrate and extol the defeat of Kosovo, surely this could have been done by the Serbs alone; why should others join them? Why should the Croats have joined, since they had lost their independence long before the Battle of Kosovo, and they were not reached by the con- quering Turks till long after the Battle of Kosovo, and since, generally speaking, they are in no way connected with the Battle of Kosovo?
and what of the Slovenes, to whom the Battle of Koso- vo should mean even less? Nor were all the Serbs equally connected with it. The Serbian Kingdom in Macedonia had been subjugated by the Turks eighteen years before Koso- vo (in 1371). The Bosnian State fell more than a half a cen- tury after Kosovo (in 1463). The Herzegovinians lost their independence twenty years after the fall of Bosnia (1482). Zeta (Montenegro) was conquered by the Turks toward
the end of the 15th century, more than a hundred years after Kosovo (1499). and, moreover, at the first glance it seems not even the Serbs in Serbia were altogether crushed at Kosovo.
The principality of Serbia, as an Ottoman vassal State, existed up to 1459, i.e. for full seventy years after Kosovo. The Battle of Kosovo, when all is taken into consideration, was not so much a catastrophe as only an episode—a very tragic one, but still an episode—and concerning only a part of the Serbian nation.
This, then, is all the magnitude that can justly be as- cribed to Kosovo as an event. Nor is the Battle of Kosovo at all exceptional, insofar as the heroism of the Kosovo he- roes is concerned. The Byzantine emperor Constantine, together with the far older and more important Byzantine empire, perished at an equally important time and place with many of his Byzantine princes—yet the nation has not so celebrated this downfall, neither are there such wide- spread traditions concerning it, much less a similar epic.
What, then, is Kosovo?
This is what it is. When at the beginning of the 14th cen- tury the Turks appeared, and when it soon became appar- ent how grave a danger they constituted, the Serbian State under the Nemanjić was the one rock capable of checking the waves of the Ottoman invasion. The old Byzantium was no longer as before. The leading powers in her vast territories were the new Slav States of Serbia and Bulgaria, who had fought each other for supremacy till the Battle of Velbužd in 1330, since when Serbia had taken the lead in the Balkans. The Turks had good reason to remember the auxiliary force under the command of Novak Grebostrek, which the Serbian King Milutin sent to Byzantium in 1312 against the Turks. The Serbian emperor Dušan (1331–55) was a potentate whom the Turks could not even dream of challenging. The Serbian empire, the center around which the greater part of the jugoslav nation was united, and which was preparing to become the heir of the Byzantine empire, was a wall against which the Ottoman power was break- ing—an organized war-power of the first class, as we know from history. Unfortunately Dušan died, and his State crum- bled up into separate provinces with separate centers and aims. Meantime the Turks were continually growing stron- ger. The defeat of the Serbian King Vukašin, and the fall of the Macedonian Kingdom (1371), clearly foreshadowed the inevitable end. The central controlling power of the Nema- njić had ceased to exist. in their place the most important
Kosovo 1389
Tihomir R Djordjević

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