Page 613 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
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lous Serbian archbishopric to the rank of a patriarchate (1346), the first throne of the metropolitan diocese was placed in Skoplje. The seat of the patriarchate remained for centuries in the Peć monastery. Thus, a general picture was created that Kosovo, with it massif regions, was the heart of Serbian Orthodoxy and the most sturdy bastion of its people.
Thus entered these regions into history. First, the basis of the final Kosovo oath still retains, without doubt, the solemn and magnificent image of Kosovo as the central land of the Serbian empire, bearing its greatest spiritual and material richness. all enemies of the Serbian people believed that by ravaging and taking Kosovo, the nation would be beheaded, dismembered and alienated. Notwith- standing the enemies’ successes, whenever they fell lowest, the Serbs invoked Kosovo to restore their dignity and cre- ate anew conditions for life to continue. educated on the bases of St. Sava’s teachings, old imperial and more novel patriarchal decrees, this people had become in time a mor- ally composed whole had developed a growing attachment to its own self-governing establishments, trod through cen- turies from battle to battle to survive, while envisioning and realizing its future as an extension of its historical her- itage. Kosovo bad been the most active and most impres- sive life-bestowing core of such a belief.
Perhaps Murad i had set off to Kosovo to fight the deci- sive battle in the history of his emirate. in those days, strat- egy maintained the belief that an empire could be won or lost only in a decisive battle, and in two ways: first, the Side that lost the battle would leave its broken forces on the field, i.e. the greatest number of its military nobility, thus the road leading to its country would remain open; second, it was only chivalrous to win by one’s sabre or die at the en- emy’s sabre. it seems that the battle of Kosovo proved fatal to both sides: both the Serbs and Ottomn Turks were be- reft of their ruler and the battlefield was covered by an equally perished army. Only the Ottomans were able to regain power of their forces in the european and asian provinces of their subsequent empire (though several de- cades had passed in the process of doing so), whereas the Serbs, crushed, at first discouraged, gathered only to re- store their state and periodically withhold incursions by moving north.
The Ottomans directed the hedge of their small, but raging hordes toward Kosovo and through Kosovo, to over- come the major fortresses and reach the roads leading north- west They gained possession of new lands with more inge- nious strategies than the remainder of broken Serbs could sustain their defense: at their disposal were the experiences of those who crushed and took many lands, both Muslim and Christian, on their campaigns from the east. Part of the population that fell captive, especially the nobility, was sabered or taken to slavery; the remainder was warranted survival if it complied to execute certain duties. They built fortresses usually in towns with strong defenses and in ar-
Prizren Manuscript of Dušan’s Code, 15th century
Dušan’s Code (Serbian: Душанов законик, Dušanov zakonik, known historically as Zakon blagovjernago cara Stefana) is a compilation of several legal systems that was enacted by Ste- phen Uroš iV Dušan of Serbia in 1349. it was used in the Ser- bian empire and the succeeding the Serbian Despotate. it is considered an early constitution, or close to it; an advanced set of laws which regulated all aspects of life.
The code continued as the constitution under the rule of Du- šan’s son, Stefan Uroš V, and during the fall of the Serbian em- pire, it was used in all provinces. it was officially used in the successor state, Serbian Despotate, until its annexation by the Ottoman empire in 1459. The code was used as a reference for Serbian communities under Ottoman rule, which exercised considerable legal autonomy in civil cases. The code was used in the Serbian autonomical areas under the Republic of Ven- ice, like Grbalj and Paštrovići.
The code also served as the basis of the Kanun of albanian prince Leka Dukagjini (1410–1481), a set of customary laws in northern albania that existed until the 20th century.
it regulated all social spheres, thus it is considered the second oldest preserved constitution of Serbia. The original manu- script is not preserved, but around twenty manuscript copies, ranging from the 14th to the 18th century, remain.
eas they were planning to besiege. They would leave then military companies, administrative and judiciary bearers in these bastions. Churches were immediately turned to mosques. everywhere the dervishes built their nests be- fore any others, and as members of mystical orders and preachers of religious syncretism, would transfer the pop- ulation to a spiritual state that was only a step from islam- ization. Merchants and craftsmen gathered around the ar- my to render their services. The circle of Ottoman govern- ment widened even at times when the army making fur- ther penetrations, left such a situation in the deep back- ground. Then a powerful army lead by sultan would ensue to strike a decisive battle and finally claim the demolished Christian territories. By the mid-15th century, Kosovo and its neighboring countries were already in the composition of the Ottoman empire, and the population was listed so
Kosovo and Metohija: The Rise and Fall of the Serbian People

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