Page 410 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
P. 410

Boško i. Bojović
Christian population and the latter’s feudal dependence on Muslim masters, as well as frequent military campaigns were changing the composition of the population to a great- er extent than in many other parts of the Balkans.14
as one of the most important strategic regions, Kosovo was the site of decisive military conflicts and great battles since medieval times. at Pantin in 1172,15 Nemanja won a decisive battle against the Byzantines and his brothers, who were their allies. at that time, the Byzantine-Serbian bor- der was still in northern Kosovo with its fortified border town of Zvečan. after 1489, another important and great battle also took place in Kosovo, in 1448, when the Cru- sader army under the command of the Hungarian king’s deputy janos Hunyadi, suffered a heavy defeat at hands of the Ottomans.16 The betrayal of the Christian camp by Wal- lachian Duke Dan had a decisive impact on the outcome. The Serbia of Despot Djurdje Branković, which had just been liberated from the first Ottoman occupation (1439– 1444), remained on the sidelines, although the war was waged on its territory.
The uneducated folk poetic and oral tradition made some sort of amalgam of these two battles, which marked the memory of the oppressed people. Thus, in one of the oldest bugarštice (type of folk poetry) from the Bogišić collection,17 there is also mention of King Marko who is “defending the dead Władysław; why is he defending him whenhefailedtodefendhim,”althoughMarkodidnotpar- ticipate in the battle of Kosovo, just as the Polish-Hungari- an King Władysław was not killed at Kosovo,18 but in a crushing defeat of the Crusades near Varna in 1444. Like- wise, Vuk Branković’s betrayal described in a folk poem from the famous Kosovo Cycle is an amalgam of his with-
they were encamped as in the seized country,” cf. F. Braudel, La Mé- diterranée et le monde méditerranéen à l’époque de Philippe II, t. 1, Paris 1982 (première édition, Paris 1949) p. 43 (bibliography, n. 3–14).
14 B. Bojović, “Kosovo-Metohija du Xie au XViie siècle,” Balkan Studies 38/I, Thessalonique 1997, pp. 31–61.
15 jovanka Kalić, “Srpsko-vizantijski sukob 1168 godine,” Zbornik Filozofskog fakulteta 11/1 (1970), pp. 193–204; Istorija srpskog naroda i (jovanka Kalić), Belgrade 1981, pp. 191, 209–210.
16 Istorija srpskog naroda ii (M. Spremić), Belgrade 1982, pp. 263– 265; id., Despot Djuradj Branković i njegovo doba, Belgrade 1994.
17 The illiterate singer of the oral folk chronicle knows that Marko was not present at Kosovo but does not know that in the battle in 1389 there was no Hungarian participation; this anachronism comes from overlapping memories of two great battles, one in 1389 and the other in 1448. V. Bogišić, “Narodne pjesme iz starijih najviše primor- skih zapisa. S raspravom o ’bugaršticama’ i s rječnikom,” Glasnik Srpskog učenog društva odelj 2, vol 10,, Biograd 1878, p. 430.
18 in hundreds of songs and tens of thousands verses on Marko (like in the collection, M. Lukić, i. Zdravković, Folk Poems Anthology on Marko Kraljević (Antologija narodnih pesama o Marku Kraljevi- ću) Belgrade 1996), the son of king Vukašin (who had died in 1371 in a catastrophic defeat of his army of the Marica river), a character whose epic dimension greatly exceeds Serbian cultural and language space, there is no mention of him as a participant of the Battle of Ko- sovo which is the most significant event in the oral folk chronicle. R. Samardžić, Usmena narodna hronika, Novi Sad 1978, pp. 124–130.
drawal from the battlefield in 1389, when it seemed that the battle was already won, and the non-participation of Djur- dje Branković in the battle of 1448. Namely, contemporary historical sources do not provide the evidence of Vuk Bran- ković’s betrayal. if nothing else, he remained hostile to the Ottomans after the battle of Kosovo as well.19
according to its ethos and historical consequences, the Battle of Kosovo left a deep imprint on the collective mem- ory of the Serbs.20 in its spirit and form, epic poetry subli- mated the content and meaning of Kosovo in 1389. This was just in the spirit of the times because, as written by ernest Kantorovitz, in the 14th century europe there “emerged readiness for collective sacrifice for the homeland.”21 That which is called the Kosovo covenant and was epically sub- limated in the form of the Gospel parallel: the Prince’s sup- per as the Last Supper, Vuk Branković’s betrayal as judas’ betrayal, the Prince’s sacrifice as Christ’s sacrifice—is the unique example of conceiving the life and collective mem- ory characteristic of the poetry of supreme quality, the po- etry of a patriarchal people, imbued with the Christian and epic ethos, which is also its greatest value and originality which exceeds the local and ethnic bounds.
Over time, it also became the foundation of the cove- nant idea with which the people, remaining without its state and institutions, kept alive the awareness about the need for its revival, which is similar to the Greek Megali Idea during Turkish rule and later on.22 a people without a state cannot be the subject of history any more. Such a people, as was the case with the Balkan peoples during Ottoman domination, can only be the object of historical processes. a people without a state cannot have historical responsi- bility, says Yeshua Leibowitz, thinking, in the first place, of the jewish people which had not had a state for two thou- sand years.23
19 The historiography on the Battle of Kosovo provided extensive bibliography although this one could not afford the answers to the many questions: Kosovska bitka u istoriografiji (ed. S. Ćirković), Bel- grade 1990, p. 119; B. Bojović, “La bataille de Kosovo dans l’historio- graphie serbe et yougoslave,” in: KOSOVO: Les Annales de l’Autre Islam, eRiSM, iNaLCO, Paris 2000, p. 23–36.
20 Olga Zirojević, “Kosovo u kolektivnom pamćenju,” in: Nebojša Popov (ur.), Srpska strana rata, i deo, 2. izdanje, B92, Belgrade 2002. 21 as can be seen from the collection of his works devoted to this topic, which was published under the title e. Kantorovitz, Pro Patria
mori—Mourir pour la patrie, PUF, Paris 1984.
22 K. Dimaras, On the Megali Idea (in Greek), atina 1970; Héléne
ahrweiler, L’idéologie politique de l’Empire byzantin, Paris 1975, pp. 107–114; D. M. Nicol, The Immortal Emperor: The Life and Legend of Constantine Palaiologos, Last Emperor of the Romans, Canto edi- tion, 1992;
23 Y. Leibowitz, Judeizam, jevrejski narod i Država Izrael (in He- brew), ed. Schoken, jerusalim, 1979; id., Judaïsme, peuple juif et Etat d’Israël, trad. fr. G. Roth, éd. j.-C. Lattès, Paris 1985. On judaism see more: S. Sand, Kada i kako je jevrejski narod izmišljen (in Hebrew), ed. Riesling, jerusalim 2008.

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