Page 614 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
P. 614

 Arsenije III Crnojević (Čarnojević), Serbian Patriarch of Peć, leader of the 1690 Great Serb Migration from Kosovo
to Habsburg empire
the profession, legal status and tax duties of each would be known. The endeavor of crusading europe to rout the Ot- tomans failed in 1448 on Kosovo field, with the military defeat of forces lead by janos Hunyadi (Sibinjanin janko).
in Kosovo and the neighboring areas the Ottomans found and listed a population almost entirely Serbian. Fur- ther rolls, frequent especially in the 16th century, indicated a slow change in ethnical, i.e. religious relationships. The Christian population was incomparably in the advantage with its number even in the towns, most gladly populated by the Ottomans and subsequently turned to military, ad- ministrative, judicial, religious and economical strong- holds. The supposition that Arbanas (the albanians today) Catholics should be recognized in a Christian composition falls flat for the simple reason that missionaries of the Ro- man Curia were the most zealous bearers of albanian Ca- tholicism, and along with this, nationality. Changes in de- mographic relations in Kosovo did not differ from similar changes in other parts of european Turkey; Bosnia, Herze- govina, Macedonia, or Bulgaria: the number of Turks was noticeable, mostly in towns and fortified places, but these were mostly Muslims of various origin marked with a Turkish name. The Muslim albanians mingled into their orders just as they came to other parts of Ottoman Turkey. albanian herdsmen settled several deserted Serbian vil-
lages back ill the 16th century. There were other cases of sporadic settlement of a nation extremely mobile in its poverty. They moved to places on various sides of the Bal- kan Peninsula, and very remote ones as well.1
With Ottoman penetration, the Serbs in Kosovo, as well as in Old Serbia, lost most of their nobility, the town-dwell- ers often had their heads put under the conqueror’s sabre, the number of peasants was reduced unless they found ref- uge somewhere or swore to he subordinate subjects. Yet the people, despite all periodical incursions, settled around their hearths: the new administration required the regular cultivation of iand and for cattle to multiply on lush pas- tures—all for the needs of the empire. Monuments were exposed to perpetual ruin, mostly those dating from the Nemanjić epoch. This phenomenon was stamped most painfully in the collective conscience of the Serbian people. Castles were stripped through pillaging, in part turned to fortresses with Ottoman garrisons in part left o to ill-tem- pered time, to become covered by thorns and elders, pil- laged for building materials and inhabited by owls, bats and snakes instead of being inhabited by feudal lords and their servants. During the conquests, or soon after, most of the town churches were destroyed, burnt or turned to mosques. Monasteries and churches, built on free land, were exposed to ruing which has continued until today, the phenomenon of which has rendered Kosovo, as well as other Serbian countries, an exceptionable example of cul- tural genocide upon the inheritance of a nation. The Peć Patriarchate, Dečani and Gračanica seem to have survived for the sole purpose of triggering the imagination to envis- age a picture of medieval Kosovo, ornate with numerous beautiful religious and secular edifices, surrounded by re- gions densely designated with endowments of the Nema- njić dynasty and their feudal lords. The monastery of the Holy archangels, a stately edifice, was deserted back in the 16th century. The well-known Banjska was burnt in 1419, and, by the beginning of the 15th century, was destroyed and finally rebuilt as a mosque. Most of the Serbian mon- asteries shared the fate of the Bogorodica Hvostanska (Ma- la Studenica): left without revenues, and a small fraternity,
1 What remains to be explained is how the term albania or Ar- nautluk spread from the 15th century to include regions formerly not encompassed by that name, and where the albanian population lived as a distinct ethnic minority. Should the long-ago emergence of this phenomenon be sought in the status of ethnic albanians of part of a population in medieval Serbia which had particular social obliga- tions, since a similar phenomenon occurred with the emergence of the Vlachs, who, as a distinct social group were mentioned in Dušan’s Code (1349) as herdsmen and soldiers together with the ethnic alba- nians; even they were on their way of losing their ethnic distinction, thus the Ottoman administration finally gave a Vlach name to a par- ticular tax category of its population whose obligation was to per- form special duties, primarily for the needs of the army. in sources of different origin, one may find innumerable examples where ethnic names were used in lieu of the name denoting class affiliation and profession. Too obviously Serbian names, the supplementation al- banian (“arbanas”), “Bulgarian,” Croatian, even Greek was added.

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