Prince Marko
Overview
 
Marko Mrnjavčević (c. 1335–1395) was de jure the Serbian king from 1371 to 1395, while de facto he ruled only over a territory in western Macedonia
Macedonia (region)
Macedonia is a geographical and historical region of the Balkan peninsula in southeastern Europe. Its boundaries have changed considerably over time, but nowadays the region is considered to include parts of five Balkan countries: Greece, the Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania, Serbia, as...

 centered on the town of Prilep
Prilep
Prilep is the fourth largest city in the Republic of Macedonia. It has a population of 66,246 citizens. Prilep is known as "the city under Marko's Towers" because of its proximity to the towers of Prince Marko.-Name:...

. He is known as Prince Marko and King Marko (Bulgarian
Bulgarian language
Bulgarian is an Indo-European language, a member of the Slavic linguistic group.Bulgarian, along with the closely related Macedonian language, demonstrates several linguistic characteristics that set it apart from all other Slavic languages such as the elimination of case declension, the...

 and ) in South Slavic
South Slavs
The South Slavs are the southern branch of the Slavic peoples and speak South Slavic languages. Geographically, the South Slavs are native to the Balkan peninsula, the southern Pannonian Plain and the eastern Alps...

 oral tradition
Oral tradition
Oral tradition and oral lore is cultural material and traditions transmitted orally from one generation to another. The messages or testimony are verbally transmitted in speech or song and may take the form, for example, of folktales, sayings, ballads, songs, or chants...

, in which he has become a major character during the Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 occupation of the Balkans
Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

. Marko's father, King Vukašin
Vukašin Mrnjavcevic
Vukašin Mrnjavčević was a Serbian ruler in modern-day central and northwestern Macedonia, who ruled from 1365 to 1371. According to 17th-century Ragusan historian Mavro Orbin, his father was a minor noble named Mrnjava from Zachlumia, whose sons Vukašin and Uglješa were born in Livno in western...

, was the co-ruler of Serbian Tsar
Tsar
Tsar is a title used to designate certain European Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers. As a system of government in the Tsardom of Russia and Russian Empire, it is known as Tsarist autocracy, or Tsarism...

 Stefan Uroš V, whose reign was marked by the weakening of the central authority and the gradual disintegration of the Serbian Empire
Serbian Empire
The Serbian Empire was a short-lived medieval empire in the Balkans that emerged from the Serbian Kingdom. Stephen Uroš IV Dušan was crowned Emperor of Serbs and Greeks on 16 April, 1346, a title signifying a successorship to the Eastern Roman Empire...

.
Encyclopedia
Marko Mrnjavčević (c. 1335–1395) was de jure the Serbian king from 1371 to 1395, while de facto he ruled only over a territory in western Macedonia
Macedonia (region)
Macedonia is a geographical and historical region of the Balkan peninsula in southeastern Europe. Its boundaries have changed considerably over time, but nowadays the region is considered to include parts of five Balkan countries: Greece, the Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania, Serbia, as...

 centered on the town of Prilep
Prilep
Prilep is the fourth largest city in the Republic of Macedonia. It has a population of 66,246 citizens. Prilep is known as "the city under Marko's Towers" because of its proximity to the towers of Prince Marko.-Name:...

. He is known as Prince Marko and King Marko (Bulgarian
Bulgarian language
Bulgarian is an Indo-European language, a member of the Slavic linguistic group.Bulgarian, along with the closely related Macedonian language, demonstrates several linguistic characteristics that set it apart from all other Slavic languages such as the elimination of case declension, the...

 and ) in South Slavic
South Slavs
The South Slavs are the southern branch of the Slavic peoples and speak South Slavic languages. Geographically, the South Slavs are native to the Balkan peninsula, the southern Pannonian Plain and the eastern Alps...

 oral tradition
Oral tradition
Oral tradition and oral lore is cultural material and traditions transmitted orally from one generation to another. The messages or testimony are verbally transmitted in speech or song and may take the form, for example, of folktales, sayings, ballads, songs, or chants...

, in which he has become a major character during the Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 occupation of the Balkans
Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

. Marko's father, King Vukašin
Vukašin Mrnjavcevic
Vukašin Mrnjavčević was a Serbian ruler in modern-day central and northwestern Macedonia, who ruled from 1365 to 1371. According to 17th-century Ragusan historian Mavro Orbin, his father was a minor noble named Mrnjava from Zachlumia, whose sons Vukašin and Uglješa were born in Livno in western...

, was the co-ruler of Serbian Tsar
Tsar
Tsar is a title used to designate certain European Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers. As a system of government in the Tsardom of Russia and Russian Empire, it is known as Tsarist autocracy, or Tsarism...

 Stefan Uroš V, whose reign was marked by the weakening of the central authority and the gradual disintegration of the Serbian Empire
Serbian Empire
The Serbian Empire was a short-lived medieval empire in the Balkans that emerged from the Serbian Kingdom. Stephen Uroš IV Dušan was crowned Emperor of Serbs and Greeks on 16 April, 1346, a title signifying a successorship to the Eastern Roman Empire...

. Vukašin's personal holdings included lands in western Macedonia, Kosovo
Kosovo
Kosovo is a region in southeastern Europe. Part of the Ottoman Empire for more than five centuries, later the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija within Serbia...

 and Metohija
Metohija
Metohija , is a large basin and the name of the region covering the southwestern part of Kosovo.It encompasses three of the seven districts of Kosovo, namely the historical :* District of Peć * District of Đakovica * District of Prizren...

. In 1370 or 1371, he crowned Marko "young king"; this title included the possibility that Marko succeed the childless Uroš on the Serbian throne.

On 26 September 1371, Vukašin was defeated and killed by the Ottomans in the Battle of Maritsa
Battle of Maritsa
The Battle of Maritsa, or Battle of Chernomen, took place at the Maritsa River near the village of Chernomen on September 26, 1371 between the forces of the Ottoman sultan Murad I's lieutenant Lala Şâhin Paşa and the...

, and about two months later Tsar Uroš died. This formally made Marko the king of the Serbian land; however, great Serbian noblemen
Nobility
Nobility is a social class which possesses more acknowledged privileges or eminence than members of most other classes in a society, membership therein typically being hereditary. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be...

, who had become effectively independent from the central authority, did not even consider to recognize him as their supreme ruler. At an uncertain date after 1371, he became an Ottoman vassal
Vassal
A vassal or feudatory is a person who has entered into a mutual obligation to a lord or monarch in the context of the feudal system in medieval Europe. The obligations often included military support and mutual protection, in exchange for certain privileges, usually including the grant of land held...

. By 1377 significant parts of the territory he inherited from Vukašin, were seized by other noblemen. King Marko in reality came to be a regional lord who ruled over the relatively small territory in western Macedonia. He funded the construction of the Monastery of Saint Demetrius near Skopje
Skopje
Skopje is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Macedonia with about a third of the total population. It is the country's political, cultural, economic, and academic centre...

, better known as Marko's Monastery
Marko's Monastery
Marko's Monastery is a monastery located in the village of Markova Sušica, from central Skopje in the Republic of Macedonia. The monastery bears the name of the Prince Marko who reigned at the time of its completion.-Description:...

, finished in 1376. Marko lost his life on 17 May 1395, fighting on the Ottoman side against Wallachia
Wallachia
Wallachia or Walachia is a historical and geographical region of Romania. It is situated north of the Danube and south of the Southern Carpathians...

ns in the Battle of Rovine
Battle of Rovine
The Battle of Rovine took place on 17 May 1395 between the Wallachian army led by Voivod Mircea cel Bătrân against the Ottoman invasion led by sultan Bayezid I. The Ottoman army, numbering approximately 40,000 men, faced the much smaller Wallachian army, which was about 10,000 men...

.

Although he was a ruler of modest historical significance, Marko became a major character of South Slavic oral tradition. In Serbian epic poetry
Serbian epic poetry
Serb epic poetry is a form of epic poetry written by Serbs originating in today's Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia and Montenegro. The main cycles were composed by unknown Serb authors between the 14th and 19th centuries...

 he is named Marko Kraljević, which is rendered as "Prince Marko" in English translations of the poetry; kraljević means "king's son". He is venerated as a national hero by the Serbs
Serbs
The Serbs are a South Slavic ethnic group of the Balkans and southern Central Europe. Serbs are located mainly in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and form a sizable minority in Croatia, the Republic of Macedonia and Slovenia. Likewise, Serbs are an officially recognized minority in...

, Macedonians
Macedonians (ethnic group)
The Macedonians also referred to as Macedonian Slavs: "... the term Slavomacedonian was introduced and was accepted by the community itself, which at the time had a much more widespread non-Greek Macedonian ethnic consciousness...

 and Bulgarians
Bulgarians
The Bulgarians are a South Slavic nation and ethnic group native to Bulgaria and neighbouring regions. Emigration has resulted in immigrant communities in a number of other countries.-History and ethnogenesis:...

, remembered in the Balkan
Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

 folklore as a fearless and powerful protector of the weak, who fought against injustice and confronted Turkish forces during the earlier period of the Ottoman occupation.

Until 1371

Marko was born in c. 1335 as the first son of Vukašin Mrnjavčević
Vukašin Mrnjavcevic
Vukašin Mrnjavčević was a Serbian ruler in modern-day central and northwestern Macedonia, who ruled from 1365 to 1371. According to 17th-century Ragusan historian Mavro Orbin, his father was a minor noble named Mrnjava from Zachlumia, whose sons Vukašin and Uglješa were born in Livno in western...

 and his wife Alena. The patronymic "Mrnjavčević" comes from Mrnjava, described by 17th-century Ragusan
Republic of Ragusa
The Republic of Ragusa or Republic of Dubrovnik was a maritime republic centered on the city of Dubrovnik in Dalmatia , that existed from 1358 to 1808...

 historian Mavro Orbin as a minor nobleman from Zachlumia
Zachlumia
Zachlumia or Zahumlje was a medieval principality located in modern-day regions of Herzegovina and southern Dalmatia...

 (in present-day Herzegovina
Herzegovina
Herzegovina is the southern region of Bosnia and Herzegovina. While there is no official border distinguishing it from the Bosnian region, it is generally accepted that the borders of the region are Croatia to the west, Montenegro to the south, the canton boundaries of the Herzegovina-Neretva...

 and southern Dalmatia
Dalmatia
Dalmatia is a historical region on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. It stretches from the island of Rab in the northwest to the Bay of Kotor in the southeast. The hinterland, the Dalmatian Zagora, ranges from fifty kilometers in width in the north to just a few kilometers in the south....

). By Orbin, Mrnjava's sons were born in Livno
Livno
Livno is a town in western Bosnia and Herzegovina, in Canton 10 of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, located between Tomislavgrad, Glamoč, Bosansko Grahovo, Kupres and the Croatian border.- Position :...

 in western Bosnia
Bosnia (region)
Bosnia is a eponomous region of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It lies mainly in the Dinaric Alps, ranging to the southern borders of the Pannonian plain, with the rivers Sava and Drina marking its northern and eastern borders. The other eponomous region, the southern, other half of the country is...

, where he could have moved to after Zachlumia was annexed by Bosnia in 1326. The Mrnjavčević family may have later supported Serbian
Serbian Empire
The Serbian Empire was a short-lived medieval empire in the Balkans that emerged from the Serbian Kingdom. Stephen Uroš IV Dušan was crowned Emperor of Serbs and Greeks on 16 April, 1346, a title signifying a successorship to the Eastern Roman Empire...

 Tsar
Tsar
Tsar is a title used to designate certain European Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers. As a system of government in the Tsardom of Russia and Russian Empire, it is known as Tsarist autocracy, or Tsarism...

 Dušan in his preparations to invade Bosnia, as did other Zachlumian nobles, and fearing punishment, emigrated to the Serbian Empire before the war started. These preparations possibly began two years ahead of the invasion, which took place in 1350. From that year comes the earliest written reference to Marko's father Vukašin, denoting him as Dušan's appointed župan (district governor) of Prilep
Prilep
Prilep is the fourth largest city in the Republic of Macedonia. It has a population of 66,246 citizens. Prilep is known as "the city under Marko's Towers" because of its proximity to the towers of Prince Marko.-Name:...

, which had been acquired by Serbia from Byzantium
Byzantium
Byzantium was an ancient Greek city, founded by Greek colonists from Megara in 667 BC and named after their king Byzas . The name Byzantium is a Latinization of the original name Byzantion...

 in 1334 together with other parts of Macedonia
Macedonia (region)
Macedonia is a geographical and historical region of the Balkan peninsula in southeastern Europe. Its boundaries have changed considerably over time, but nowadays the region is considered to include parts of five Balkan countries: Greece, the Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania, Serbia, as...

. In 1355 the tsar suddenly died of a stroke at the age of about 47.

Dušan was succeeded by his 19-years-old son Uroš, who apparently regarded Marko Mrnjavčević as a man of trust. The new tsar appointed him the head of the embassy he sent to Ragusa at the end of July 1361, to negotiate peace between the Empire and the Ragusan Republic during the hostilities that started earlier that year. The peace was not concluded on this occasion, but Marko successfully negotiated the release of Serbian merchants from Prizren
Prizren
Prizren is a historical city located in southern Kosovo. It is the administrative center of the eponymous municipality and district.The city has a population of around 131,247 , mostly Albanians...

 detained by the Ragusans. He was also allowed to withdraw the silver his family had deposited in the city. The account of that embassy in a Ragusan document contains the earliest known undisputed reference to Marko Mrnjavčević. An inscription written in 1356 on a wall of a church in the Macedonian region of Tikveš
Tikveš
Tikveš is a plain situated in central Republic of Macedonia which is known for an artificial lake. It is home to the towns of Kavadarci and Negotino. Famous for its wine, Tikveš is the center of the Macedonian wine production which has been cultivated for more than 120 years...

, mentions a Nikola and a Marko as governors in that region, but the identity of this Marko is disputable.

Dušan's death was followed by the stirring of separatist activity in the Serbian Empire. The southwestern territories, including Epirus
Epirus
The name Epirus, from the Greek "Ήπειρος" meaning continent may refer to:-Geographical:* Epirus - a historical and geographical region of the southwestern Balkans, straddling modern Greece and Albania...

, Thessaly
Thessaly
Thessaly is a traditional geographical region and an administrative region of Greece, comprising most of the ancient region of the same name. Before the Greek Dark Ages, Thessaly was known as Aeolia, and appears thus in Homer's Odyssey....

, and lands in southern Albania
Albania
Albania , officially known as the Republic of Albania , is a country in Southeastern Europe, in the Balkans region. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south and southeast. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea...

, seceded already by 1357. The core of the state remained loyal to the new Tsar Uroš. It consisted of three main regions: the western lands, including Zeta
Principality of Zeta
Zeta was a medieval state, which territory encompassed parts of present-day Montenegro and Northernwestern Albania. From 1360. to 1421. Zeta was independent state administered by local noble family Balšić. From 1185. to 1360. and from 1421. - 1451, Zeta was province of medieval Serbia...

 and Travunia
Travunia
Travunia was a medieval region, administrative unit and principality, which was part of Medieval Serbia , and in its last years, the Bosnian Kingdom . The county became hereditary in a number of noble houses, often kin to the ruling dynasty. The region came under Ottoman rule in 1482...

 with the upper Drina Valley
Drina
The Drina is a 346 kilometer long river, which forms most of the border between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. It is the longest tributary of the Sava River and the longest karst river in the Dinaric Alps which belongs to the Danube river watershed...

; the central Serbian lands; and Macedonia. Nevertheless, great local noblemen asserted more and more independence from Uroš' authority even in that part of the state that remained Serbian. Uroš was weak and unable to counteract these separatist tendencies, becoming an inferior power in his own domain. Serbian lords also fought each other over territories and influence.
Vukašin Mrnjavčević was a skillful politician, and gradually assumed the main role in the Empire. In August or September 1365, Uroš crowned him king, making him his co-ruler. By 1370, Marko's potential patrimony increased as Vukašin expanded his personal holdings from Prilep further into Macedonia, Kosovo
Kosovo
Kosovo is a region in southeastern Europe. Part of the Ottoman Empire for more than five centuries, later the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija within Serbia...

 and Metohija
Metohija
Metohija , is a large basin and the name of the region covering the southwestern part of Kosovo.It encompasses three of the seven districts of Kosovo, namely the historical :* District of Peć * District of Đakovica * District of Prizren...

, acquiring Prizren, Priština
Pristina
Pristina, also spelled Prishtina and Priština is the capital and largest city of Kosovo. It is the administrative centre of the homonymous municipality and district....

, Novo Brdo
Novo Brdo
Novo Brdo is a town and municipality in the Pristina district of eastern Kosovo. The population of the municipality is estimated at 6,720 people .-History:...

, Skopje
Skopje
Skopje is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Macedonia with about a third of the total population. It is the country's political, cultural, economic, and academic centre...

, and Ohrid
Ohrid
Ohrid is a city on the eastern shore of Lake Ohrid in the Republic of Macedonia. It has about 42,000 inhabitants, making it the seventh largest city in the country. The city is the seat of Ohrid Municipality. Ohrid is notable for having once had 365 churches, one for each day of the year and has...

. In a charter he issued on 5 April 1370, Vukašin mentioned his wife Queen Alena, and his sons Marko and Andrijaš, describing himself as the Lord of the Serbian Land, of the Greeks, and of the Western Provinces . In late 1370 or early 1371, Vukašin crowned Marko "young king". This title had been given to heirs presumptive of Serbian kings to secure their position as successors to the throne. Since Uroš was childless, Marko could thus become his successor, starting a new—Vukašin's—dynasty of Serbian sovereigns. This would mean the end of the two-centuries-long reign of the House of Nemanjić
House of Nemanjic
The Nemanjić was the most important dynasty of Serbia in the Middle Ages, and one of the most important in Southeastern Europe. The royal house produced eleven Serbian monarchs between 1166 and 1371. It's progenitor was Stephen Nemanja, who descended from a cadet line of the Vukanović dynasty...

. Most of the other Serbian lords were not happy with this situation, which strengthened their aspirations towards independence from the central authority.

Vukašin wanted to obtain a well-connected spouse for his eldest son Marko. A girl of the Croatian
Croats
Croats are a South Slavic ethnic group mostly living in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and nearby countries. There are around 4 million Croats living inside Croatia and up to 4.5 million throughout the rest of the world. Responding to political, social and economic pressure, many Croats have...

 House of Šubić from Dalmatia
Dalmatia
Dalmatia is a historical region on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. It stretches from the island of Rab in the northwest to the Bay of Kotor in the southeast. The hinterland, the Dalmatian Zagora, ranges from fifty kilometers in width in the north to just a few kilometers in the south....

, was sent by her father Grgur to the court of their relative Tvrtko I
Tvrtko I of Bosnia
Stjepan Tvrtko I was a ruler of medieval Bosnia. He ruled in 1353–1366 and again in 1367–1377 as Ban and in 1377–1391 as the first Bosnian King....

, the ban
Ban (title)
Ban was a title used in several states in central and south-eastern Europe between the 7th century and the 20th century.-Etymology:The word ban has entered the English language probably as a borrowing from South Slavic ban, meaning "lord, master; ruler". The Slavic word is probably borrowed from...

 of Bosnia, to be raised and suitably married by Tvrtko's mother Jelena
Jelena Šubic
Jelena Šubić was a Croatian kneginja from the noble Šubić family, and mother of Bosnian King Tvrtko.Jelena Šubić was daughter of Juraj II Šubić. She was born early in the 14th century , and was married to Regent of Bosnia Vladislav Kotromanić by his brother Mladen III Šubić at Klis Fortress in...

. The latter was daughter of George II Šubić
George II Šubić of Bribir
George II Šubić of Bribir was a Count of Bribir and member of the Croatian Šubić noble family, who ruled from Klis Fortress.- Family Connections :...

 (Juraj II), whose maternal grandfather was Serbian King Dragutin Nemanjić. As the ban and his mother approved of Vukašin's idea to marry the Šubić girl to Marko, the wedding was about to be held. In April 1370, however, Pope Urban V
Pope Urban V
Pope Urban V , born Guillaume Grimoard, was Pope from 1362 to 1370.-Biography:Grimoard was a native of Grizac in Languedoc . He became a Benedictine and a doctor in Canon Law, teaching at Montpellier and Avignon...

 sent a letter to Tvrtko in which he forbade him to give the Catholic
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 lady in marriage to the "son of His Magnificence the King of Serbia, a schismatic
East–West Schism
The East–West Schism of 1054, sometimes known as the Great Schism, formally divided the State church of the Roman Empire into Eastern and Western branches, which later became known as the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church, respectively...

" (filio magnifici viri Regis Rascie scismatico). The pope also wrote about this impending "offence to the Christian faith" to King Louis I of Hungary, the nominal overlord of the ban, and that marriage never happened. Marko married Jelena daughter of Radoslav Hlapen
Radoslav Hlapen
Radoslav Hlapen was a Serbian voivode in the service of Emperor Dušan the Mighty . He took part in the operations into the south, Macedonia, and was given a region north of Thessaly to govern in the early 1350s.-Life:Radoslav was born around 1322...

, the lord of Beroea
Beroea
Beroea is:*Veria , a city in northern Greece*a former name of Aleppo, Syria*mentioned in Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War; I,61,2...

 and Edessa
Edessa
Edessa may refer to:*Edessa, Greece*Edessa, Mesopotamia, now Şanlıurfa, Turkey*County of Edessa, a crusader state*Osroene, an ancient kingdom and province of the Roman Empire...

, the major Serbian nobleman in southern Macedonia.

In the spring of 1371, Marko participated in the preparations for a campaign against Nikola Altomanović
Nikola Altomanovic
Nikola Altomanović was Serbian župan from 14th century. He ruled vast areas from Rudnik, over Polimlje, Podrinje, east Herzegovina with Trebinje, till Konavle and Dračevica, neighboring the Republic of Dubrovnik...

, the major lord in the west of the Empire. The campaign was planned jointly by King Vukašin and Đurađ I Balšić, the lord of Zeta
Principality of Zeta
Zeta was a medieval state, which territory encompassed parts of present-day Montenegro and Northernwestern Albania. From 1360. to 1421. Zeta was independent state administered by local noble family Balšić. From 1185. to 1360. and from 1421. - 1451, Zeta was province of medieval Serbia...

, who was married to Olivera, the king's daughter. In July that year, Vukašin and Marko camped with their army outside Scutari
Shkodër
Shkodër , is a city located on Lake of Shkoder in northwestern Albania in the District of Shkodër, of which it is the capital. It is one of the oldest and most historic towns in Albania, as well as an important cultural and economic centre. Shkodër's estimated population is 90,000; if the...

, on Balšić's territory, ready to make an incursion towards Onogošt in Altomanović's land. The attack never happened, as the Ottomans
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 threatened the land of Despot Jovan Uglješa
Jovan Ugljesa
Jovan Uglješa Mrnjavčević was a 14th-century Serbian noble and brother of Serbian ruler Vukašin Mrnjavčević.-Life:Uglješa was the son of Mrnjava, a treasurer of Helen of Anjou, the queen consort of Stephen Uroš I of Serbia....

, the lord of Serres
Serres
Serres is a city in Greece, seat of the Serres prefecture.Serres may also refer to:Places:* Serres, Germany, a part of Wiernsheim in Baden-WürttembergIn France:* Serres, Aude in the Aude département...

, Vukašin's younger brother who ruled in eastern Macedonia. The forces of the Mrnjavčevićs were quickly directed eastward. Having in vain looked for allies, the two brothers finally entered with their own troops into the territory controlled by the Ottomans. At the Battle of Maritsa
Battle of Maritsa
The Battle of Maritsa, or Battle of Chernomen, took place at the Maritsa River near the village of Chernomen on September 26, 1371 between the forces of the Ottoman sultan Murad I's lieutenant Lala Şâhin Paşa and the...

 on 26 September 1371, the Turks annihilated the Serbian army; not even the bodies of Vukašin and Jovan Uglješa were ever found. The place where it was fought, near the village of Ormenio
Ormenio
Ormenio is the northernmost place in all of Greece. It is located in the municipal unit of Trigono in the Evros Prefecture of Thrace, immediately south of the Bulgarian border. Ormenio is located west-northwest of Orestiada, about 200 km north of Alexandroupoli, about 40 km west of...

 in the east of present-day Greece, has ever since been called Sırp Sındığı "Serbian Rout" in Turkish. The outcome of this battle had serious consequences—it actually opened up the Balkans
Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

 to the Turks.

After 1371

When his father died, "young king" Marko legally became a king and the co-ruler of Tsar Uroš. Soon afterwards came the end of the Nemanjić dynasty, when Uroš died on 2 or 4 December 1371, which formally made Marko the sovereign of the Serbian state. Serbian lords, however, did not even consider to recognize him as their supreme ruler, and the separatism within the state increased even more. After the demise of the two brothers and the destruction of their armies, the House of Mrnjavčević was left without any real power. Lords surrounding Marko took the opportunity and seized significant parts of his patrimony. By 1372, Đurađ I Balšić grabbed Prizren and Peć, and Prince Lazar Hrebeljanović took Priština. By 1377 Vuk Branković acquired Skopje, and Albanian magnate Andrija Gropa became practically independent in Ohrid. The latter possibly remained a vassal to Marko as he had been to Vukašin. Gropa's son-in-law was Marko's relative Ostoja Rajaković of the clan
Serb clans
Serb clans is a general term referring to what are known as plemena and bratstva , traditional geo-political units of the Western Balkans that now richly attest social anthropology and family history . The descendants of the clans are divided by regional and lately, national affiliation...

 of Ugarčić from Travunia. He was one of the Serbian nobles from Zachlumia and Travunia (adjacent principalities in present-day Herzegovina) who had received lands in the newly-conquered parts of Macedonia during Tsar Dušan's reign.
The only significant town that Marko kept was Prilep, from which his father's rise had started. So, King Marko in reality became a petty prince who ruled over a relatively small territory in western Macedonia, bordered in the north by Mount Šar and Skopje, in the east by the Vardar
Vardar
The Vardar or Axios is the longest and major river in the Republic of Macedonia and also a major river of Greece. It is long, and drains an area of around . The maximum depth of river is ....

 and the Crna Reka Rivers, and in the west by Ohrid. The southern limits of his territory are uncertain. Marko was not the sole ruler even in this little domain, as he shared it with his younger brother Andrijaš, who had his own land in it. Their mother Queen Alena became a nun after Vukašin's death, taking the monastic name Jelisaveta, but she was the co-ruler with Andrijaš for some time after 1371. The youngest brother Dmitar
Dmitar Mrnjavčević
Dmitar Vukašinović Mrnjavčević or Dmitar Kraljević was a Serbian medieval noble and member of the House of Mrnjavčević. He was the son of Vukašin Mrnjavčević and brother of Prince Marko and Andrijaš Mrnjavčević....

 lived on the territory controlled by Andrijaš. There was yet another brother named Ivaniš, about whom very little is known. The exact date when Marko became an Ottoman vassal
Vassal
A vassal or feudatory is a person who has entered into a mutual obligation to a lord or monarch in the context of the feudal system in medieval Europe. The obligations often included military support and mutual protection, in exchange for certain privileges, usually including the grant of land held...

 is uncertain, but it probably did not happen immediately after the Battle of Maritsa.

At some point, Marko separated from his spouse Jelena and lived with Todora, the wife of a man named Grgur. Jelena returned to her father Radoslav Hlapen in Beroea. Marko later sought to reconcile with her, but to get his wedded wife back, he first had to send Todora to Hlapen. As Marko's domain was bordered to the south by Hlapen's land, this reconciliation may have been motivated by the fact that Marko did not want an enemy in the south, after all those territorial losses he had in the north. That this marital episode is known is due to scribe Dobre, a subject of Marko's. Dobre transcribed a liturgical book
Liturgical book
A liturgical book is a book published by the authority of a church, that contains the text and directions for the liturgy of its official religious services.-Roman Catholic:...

 for the church in the village of Kaluđerec, and when he finished the job, he wrote an inscription in the book which begins as follows:

Glory to God the Finisher for ever and ever, amen, amen, amen. This book was written in Porečje, in the village called Kaluđerec, in the days of the pious King Marko, when he handed over Todora the wife of Grgur to Hlapen, and took back his first-wedded wife Jelena, Hlapen's daughter.

Marko's fortress was situated on a hill to the north of present-day Prilep. Its remains, partially well preserved, are called Markovi Kuli
Markovi Kuli
Markovi Kuli or Marko's Towers are situated to the northwest of Prilep, Macedonia just above the village of Varoš. The towers of Serbian medieval Prince Marko Mrnjavčević are located on a 120-180 m high hill, surrounded by steep slopes covered with minute granite stones...

 "Marko's towers". Beneath the fortress lies the village named Varoš—the site of medieval Prilep. The village contains the Monastery of Archangel Michael renovated by Marko and Vukašin, whose portraits are depicted on the walls of the monastery's church. Marko was the ktetor of the Church of Saint Sunday in Prizren, which was finished in 1371, just before the Battle of Maritsa. In the inscription above the church's entrance, he is titled "young king"

The Monastery of Saint Demetrius, popularly known as Marko's Monastery
Marko's Monastery
Marko's Monastery is a monastery located in the village of Markova Sušica, from central Skopje in the Republic of Macedonia. The monastery bears the name of the Prince Marko who reigned at the time of its completion.-Description:...

, is situated at the village of Markova Sušica
Markova Sušica
Markova Sušica is a village in the Studeničani Municipality of Skopje, Macedonia. The village is home to Marko's Monastery....

 near Skopje. Its construction lasted from c. 1345 to 1376 or 1377. Kings Marko and Vukašin, its ktetors, are portrayed above the southern entrance of the monastery's church. Marko is represented as an austere-looking man in purple clothes, wearing a crown adorned with strings of pearls. With his left hand he holds a scroll, the text on which begins with the words: "I, in the Christ God the pious King Marko, built and inscribed this divine temple..." In his right hand he holds a big horn that symbolizes the horn of oil with which the Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

 kings were anointed
Anointing
To anoint is to pour or smear with perfumed oil, milk, water, melted butter or other substances, a process employed ritually by many religions. People and things are anointed to symbolize the introduction of a sacramental or divine influence, a holy emanation, spirit, power or God...

 at their enthronement (as described, e.g., in 1 Samuel
Books of Samuel
The Books of Samuel in the Jewish bible are part of the Former Prophets, , a theological history of the Israelites affirming and explaining the Torah under the guidance of the prophets.Samuel begins by telling how the prophet Samuel is chosen by...

 16:13). According to an interpretation, Marko is shown here as the king chosen and anointed by God to lead his people in the times of crisis after the Battle of Maritsa.

Marko minted
Mint (coin)
A mint is an industrial facility which manufactures coins for currency.The history of mints correlates closely with the history of coins. One difference is that the history of the mint is usually closely tied to the political situation of an era...

 his own money, as did his father and other Serbian nobles of the time. His silver coin
Coin
A coin is a piece of hard material that is standardized in weight, is produced in large quantities in order to facilitate trade, and primarily can be used as a legal tender token for commerce in the designated country, region, or territory....

s weighed 1.11 grams, and were produced in three types. In two of them, the obverse
Obverse and reverse
Obverse and its opposite, reverse, refer to the two flat faces of coins and some other two-sided objects, including paper money, flags , seals, medals, drawings, old master prints and other works of art, and printed fabrics. In this usage, obverse means the front face of the object and reverse...

 contained this text in five lines: "In the Christ God, the pious King Marko". The reverse depicted Christ
Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

 seated on a throne in the first type, and Christ seated in a mandorla in the second. In the third type, the reverse represented Christ in a mandorla, and the obverse contained the text in four lines: "Pious King Marko". With this simple title Marko referred to himself also in the aforementioned church inscription. He did not include any territorial designation in his title, probably in tacit acknowledgment of his limited sway. His brother Andrijaš also minted his own money; still the money supply
Money supply
In economics, the money supply or money stock, is the total amount of money available in an economy at a specific time. There are several ways to define "money," but standard measures usually include currency in circulation and demand deposits .Money supply data are recorded and published, usually...

 on the territory ruled by the Mrnjavčević brothers mostly consisted of the coins that had been struck by King Vukašin and Tsar Uroš. It is estimated that about 150 pieces of Marko's coins are kept today in various numismatic
Numismatics
Numismatics is the study or collection of currency, including coins, tokens, paper money, and related objects. While numismatists are often characterized as students or collectors of coins, the discipline also includes the broader study of money and other payment media used to resolve debts and the...

 collections.

By 1379, Prince Lazar Hrebeljanovic, the lord of Pomoravlje
Pomoravlje (region)
Pomoravlje , is a general term which in its widest sense marks valleys of any of three Morava rivers in Serbia: West Morava , Južna Morava and Great Morava . In the narrow sense, term is applied only to the Greater Pomoravlje...

, emerged as the first and most powerful among Serbian nobles. In his signatures, he titled himself as the Autokrator
Autokrator
Autokratōr is a Greek epithet applied to an individual who exercises absolute power, unrestrained by superiors. In a historical context, it has been applied to military commanders-in-chief, and to Roman and Byzantine emperors as the translation of the Latin title imperator. Its connection with...

 of all the Serbs
Serbs
The Serbs are a South Slavic ethnic group of the Balkans and southern Central Europe. Serbs are located mainly in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and form a sizable minority in Croatia, the Republic of Macedonia and Slovenia. Likewise, Serbs are an officially recognized minority in...

 ; nevertheless, he was not powerful enough to unite all Serbian lands under his authority. The Houses of Balšić
House of Balšic
The Balšić was a noble house that ruled Zeta and the coastlands , from 1362 to 1421, during the fall of the Serbian Empire. Balša, the eponymous founder, was a petty nobleman that held only one village during the rule of Emperor Dušan the Mighty The Balšić was a noble house that ruled Zeta and...

 and Mrnjavčević
House of Mrnjavcevic
The House of Mrnjavčević was a medieval Serbian noble house that existed during the Serbian Empire, its fall, and the subsequent years when it held a region of present-day Macedonia region. The house ruled a province from its base at Prilep from 1366 to 1395.Vukašin Mrnjavčević was a military...

, Konstantin Dragaš (maternally a Nemanjić), Vuk Branković, and Radoslav Hlapen, ruled in their respective domains without consulting with Lazar. Another king besides Marko advanced on the political scene: in 1377, the Metropolitan of Mileševa
Mileševa monastery
Mileševa is a Serbian Orthodox monastery located near Prijepolje, in southwest Serbia. It was founded by King Vladislav, in the years between 1234 and 1236...

 crowned Tvrtko I, maternally related to the House of Nemanjić, King of the Serbs and of Bosnia. He had previously taken some western parts of the former Serbian Empire.

On 15 June 1389, Serbian forces led by Prince Lazar, Vuk Branković, and Tvrtko's nobleman Vlatko Vuković
Vlatko Vukovic
Vlatko Vuković Kosača was a medieval nobleman who ruled as Grand Duke of Hum.He was a son of Vuk Kosača, the founder of the medieval house of Kosača. He governed the province of Hum, which was part of the Banate of Bosnia. The Ottoman threat was building to the east, threatening neighboring...

 of Zachlumia, confronted the Ottoman army led by Sultan Murad I
Murad I
Murad I was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, from 1361 to 1389...

. This was the Battle of Kosovo
Battle of Kosovo
The Battle of Kosovo took place on St. Vitus' Day, June 15, 1389, between the army led by Serbian Prince Lazar Hrebeljanović, and the invading army of the Ottoman Empire under the leadership of Sultan Murad I...

—the most famous battle in Serbia’s medieval history. The bulk of both armies was wiped out; both Lazar and Murad lost their lives. The battle was a draw, yet in the wake of it the Serbs were left with too few men to effectively defend their lands, while the Turks had many more troops in the east. Consequently, the Serbian principalities that were not already Ottoman vassals, one after the other became so in the following years.

In 1394 a group of Ottoman vassals in the Balkans
Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

 decided to renounce their vassalage. Marko was not one of them, but his younger brothers Andrijaš and Dmitar refused to remain under the Turkish dominance. In the spring of 1394 they left their homeland and emigrated to the Kingdom of Hungary
Kingdom of Hungary
The Kingdom of Hungary comprised present-day Hungary, Slovakia and Croatia , Transylvania , Carpatho Ruthenia , Vojvodina , Burgenland , and other smaller territories surrounding present-day Hungary's borders...

, entering into the service of King Sigismund
Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor
Sigismund of Luxemburg KG was King of Hungary, of Croatia from 1387 to 1437, of Bohemia from 1419, and Holy Roman Emperor for four years from 1433 until 1437, the last Emperor of the House of Luxemburg. He was also King of Italy from 1431, and of Germany from 1411...

. They travelled via Ragusa, where they withdrew two thirds of their late father's deposit of 96.73 kilograms of silver, the remaining third being left for Marko. Andrijaš and Dmitar were the first Serbian nobles who emigrated to Hungary: the northward migration of the Serbs would continue throughout the Turkish occupation.

In 1395 the Turks assailed Wallachia
Wallachia
Wallachia or Walachia is a historical and geographical region of Romania. It is situated north of the Danube and south of the Southern Carpathians...

 to punish its ruler Mircea I
Mircea I of Wallachia
Mircea the Elder was ruler of Wallachia from 1386 until his death. The byname "elder" was given to him after his death in order to distinguish him from his grandson Mircea II...

 for his incursions into their territory. On the Ottoman side fought three vassals: King Marko, Konstantin Dragaš, and Despot Stefan Lazarević
Stefan Lazarevic
Stefan Lazarević known also as Stevan the Tall was a Serbian Despot, ruler of the Serbian Despotate between 1389 and 1427. He was the son and heir to Prince Lazar, who died at the Battle of Kosovo against the Turks in 1389, and Princess Milica from the subordinate branch of the Nemanjić dynasty...

, the son and heir of Prince Lazar. So it happened that Christians were forced to help the Muslim Ottomans in their fight against other Christians. The Battle of Rovine
Battle of Rovine
The Battle of Rovine took place on 17 May 1395 between the Wallachian army led by Voivod Mircea cel Bătrân against the Ottoman invasion led by sultan Bayezid I. The Ottoman army, numbering approximately 40,000 men, faced the much smaller Wallachian army, which was about 10,000 men...

 took place on 17 May 1395, and was won by the Wallachians. King Marko and Konstantin Dragaš were killed in it. After their deaths, the Turks annexed their lands, and combined them into a single Ottoman province centered in Kyustendil
Kyustendil
Kyustendil is a town in the far west of Bulgaria, the capital of Kyustendil Province, with a population of 44 416 . Kyustendil is situated in the southern part of the Kyustendil Valley, 90 km southwest of Sofia...

. Thirty six years past the Battle of Rovine, Konstantin the Philosopher
Constantine of Kostenets
Constantine of Kostenets , also known as Konstantin Kostenechki and Constantine the Philosopher , was a medieval Bulgarian writer and chronicler...

 wrote the Biography of Despot Stefan Lazarević. In this book Konstantin recorded an account of what Marko said to Dragaš on the eve of the battle: "I pray the Lord to help the Christians, no matter if I will be the first to die in this war."

Serbian epic poetry

Marko Mrnjavčević is the most popular hero of the Serbian epic poetry
Serbian epic poetry
Serb epic poetry is a form of epic poetry written by Serbs originating in today's Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia and Montenegro. The main cycles were composed by unknown Serb authors between the 14th and 19th centuries...

, in which he is referred to as Kraljević Marko; kraljević, translated as "prince", means "king's son". This informal title was often attached to the names of King Vukašin's sons in the contemporary sources. It was also used postpositively as a surname: Marko Kraljević. The title/surname was adopted by the Serbian oral tradition, and became an integral part of the hero's name.
The poems about Kraljević Marko are not sequels that continue the same story line—the only thing that binds them into a single poetic cycle is the hero himself. His adventures are narrated with the goal to illuminate his character and personality. The epic Marko was endowed with the life of 300 years, and other prominent heroes from the 14th to the 16th centuries appear sometimes as his companions, including Miloš Obilić
Miloš Obilic
Miloš Obilić was a medieval Serbian knight in the service of Prince Lazar, during the invasion of the Ottoman Empire. He is not mentioned in contemporary sources, but he features prominently in later accounts of the Serbian defeat at the Battle of Kosovo as the legendary assassin of the Ottoman...

, Relja Krilatica
Hrelja
Hrelja , also known as Stefan Dragovol or Hrelja Ohmućević was a 14th-century semi-independent feudal lord in the region of northeastern Macedonia and the Rila mountains who served medieval Serbian kings Stefan Milutin, Stefan Dečanski and Stefan Dušan...

, Vuk the Fiery Dragon
Vuk Grgurevic
Vuk Grgurević Branković , also known as Vuk the Fiery Dragon , was the titular Despot of Serbia from 1471 until his death in 1485...

, and Sibinjanin Janko
John Hunyadi
John Hunyadi John Hunyadi (Hungarian: Hunyadi János , Medieval Latin: Ioannes Corvinus or Ioannes de Hunyad, Romanian: Iancu (Ioan) de Hunedoara, Croatian: Janko Hunjadi, Serbian: Сибињанин Јанко / Sibinjanin Janko, Slovak: Ján Huňady) John Hunyadi (Hungarian: Hunyadi János , Medieval Latin: ...

 with his nephew Banović Sekula. The poems contain few historical facts about Marko Mrnjavčević, notably his connection to the epoch of disintegration of the Serbian Empire, and his vassalage to the Ottomans. They were composed by anonymous Serbian folk bards during the Ottoman occupation of their land. American Slavicist George Rapall Noyes characterized them as "combining tragic pathos
Pathos
Pathos represents an appeal to the audience's emotions. Pathos is a communication technique used most often in rhetoric , and in literature, film and other narrative art....

 with almost ribald comedy in a fashion worthy of an Elizabethan
Elizabethan literature
The term Elizabethan literature refers to the English literature produced during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I .The Elizabethan era saw a great flourishing of literature, especially in the field of drama...

 playwright."

The Serbian epic poetry accords with the historical fact that King Vukašin was Marko's father. It asserts that his mother was Jevrosima, the sister of Voivode Momčilo, the lord of the Pirlitor
Pirlitor
Pirlitor was a medieval fortress in Mount Durmitor, in Old Herzegovina, built at the edge of the deep canyon of the Tara River. Only a part of the wall at the fortress's highest point has survived to the present day. It is located 16 km from the town of Žabljak, at the altitude of about...

 Fortress in Mount Durmitor
Durmitor
Durmitor is a massif and the name of a national park in North Western Montenegro. It reaches a height of 2,522 m .The massif is bordered by Tara River Canyon on the North, Piva River Canyon on the West, and by Komarnica River Canyon on the South. To the East, Durmitor is open to a vast ...

 (in Old Herzegovina
Old Herzegovina
Old Herzegovina is a historical region in Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina . The largest city in this region in Nikšić, and the second-largest is Herceg Novi. Until the Congress of Berlin in 1878 the Old Hercegovina was part of Bosnian Pashalik, but since then merged into Montenegro....

). He is described as a man of immense size and strength, possessing magical attributes: a winged horse and a sabre
Sabre
The sabre or saber is a kind of backsword that usually has a curved, single-edged blade and a rather large hand guard, covering the knuckles of the hand as well as the thumb and forefinger...

 with eyes. Vukašin murdered him with the help of the voivode's young wife Vidosava, despite Jevrosima's self-sacrificing attempt to save her brother. Instead of marrying Vidosava, as was the initial plan, Vukašin killed the treacherous woman. He took Jevrosima from Pirlitor to his capital city of Scutari and wedded her, as the dying Momčilo had actually advised him to do. She bore him two sons, Marko and Andrijaš, and the poem recounting these events concludes with the statement that Marko took after his uncle Momčilo. This epic character corresponds historically to the Bulgarian brigand and mercenary Momchil
Momchil
Momchil was a 14th-century Bulgarian brigand and local ruler. Initially a member of a bandit gang in the borderlands of Bulgaria, Byzantium and Serbia, Momchil was recruited by the Byzantines as a mercenary...

, who was for some time in the service of Serbian Tsar Dušan; he later became a despot and died in 1345 in the Battle of Peritheorion. According to another account, Marko and Andrijaš were born by a vila (Slavic mountain nymph
Nymph
A nymph in Greek mythology is a female minor nature deity typically associated with a particular location or landform. Different from gods, nymphs are generally regarded as divine spirits who animate nature, and are usually depicted as beautiful, young nubile maidens who love to dance and sing;...

), whom Vukašin wedded after he caught her by a lake and took off her wings so that she could not fly away.
As Marko matured he developed a strong individuality, and Vukašin once declared that he had no control over his son, who went wherever he wanted, drank and brawled. Marko grew up into an extraordinarily large and strong man, with a rather terrifying appearance which was at the same time somewhat comical. He wore a wolf-skin cap pulled low over his dark eyes; his massive black mustache was as large as a six-months-old lamb; his cloak was a shaggy wolf-pelt. A Damascus sabre
Damascus steel
Damascus steel was a term used by several Western cultures from the Medieval period onward to describe a type of steel used in swordmaking from about 300 BCE to 1700 CE. These swords are characterized by distinctive patterns of banding and mottling reminiscent of flowing water...

 swung at his girdle and a spear was slung across his back. Marko's six-flanged mace weighed 66 okas (85 kilograms), which he hung at the left side of his saddle, balancing it with a well-filled wineskin attached to the saddle's right side. His grip was such that he could squeeze drops of water out of a piece of dry cornel
European Cornel
The European Cornel is a species of dogwood native to southern Europe and southwest Asia. In North America, the plant is known by the common name of Cornelian Cherry....

 wood. He defeated a succession of the greatest champions, fighting triumphantly against overwhelming odds.

The hero's inseparable companion and friend was his piebald wonder-horse Šarac, who could talk. When Marko drank he always gave Šarac an equal share of the wine. The horse could leap three spear-lengths high and four spear-lengths forward, which enabled Marko to pursue and capture the dangerous and elusive vila called Ravijojla. She then became his sister-in-God, promising to aid him if he should ever be in evil straits. When Ravijojla helped him to kill the monstrous, three-hearted Musa the Outlaw, who almost defeated him, Marko grieved because he had slain a better man than himself.
Marko is portrayed as a protector of the weak and helpless, a fighter against Turkish bullies and against injustice in general. He acted as an ideal bearer of patriarchal and natural norms of life: amidst a Turkish military camp
Military camp
A military camp or bivouac is a semi-permanent facility for the lodging of an army. Camps are erected when a military force travels away from a major installation or fort during training or operations, and often have the form of large campsites. In the Roman era the military camp had highly...

, he beheaded the Turk who dishonorably killed his father; he abolished the marriage tax by killing the tyrant who imposed it on the people of Kosovo; he saved the sultan's daughter from an unwanted marriage, after she entreated him as her brother-in-God to help her; he rescued three Serbian voivodes, his brothers-in-God, from a dungeon; he helped animals in trouble. He is shown as a rescuer and benefactor of people, promoter of life; "Prince Marko is remembered like a fair day in the year," as is stated in a poem.

A striking characteristic of Marko's was his devotion to his mother Jevrosima, for whom he cherished a limitless reverence and love. He constantly sought her advice and obeyed it even when it contradicted his own impulses and desires. She lived with Marko at his mansion in Prilep, shining as his lodestar that led him toward the good and away from the evil, along the path of moral improvement and Christian virtues. Marko's honesty and high moral courage are conspicuous in the poem in which he happened to be the only person who knew the will of the late Tsar Dušan regarding his heir. Marko refused to bear false witness in favor of the pretenders—his own father and uncles—and spoke out the truth that Dušan had appointed his son Uroš heir to the Serbian throne. This almost cost him life as Vukašin tried to kill him.

Marko is also represented as a loyal vassal to the Ottoman sultan, fighting to protect the potentate and his empire from dangerous outlaws. When summoned by the sultan, he participated in Turkish military campaigns. Yet even in this relationship, the hero's strong personality and sense of dignity were expressed. More than once the sultan actually showed anxiety towards his burly, wayward vassal, and the interviews between Marko and his imperial master usually ended in this way:

Цар с' одмиче, а Марко примиче,

Док доћера цара до дувара;

Цар се маши у џепове руком,

Те извади стотину дуката,

Па их даје Краљевићу Марку:

"Иди, Марко, напиј ми се вина."
The Sultan went backwards and Marko followed after,
Until he drave him even to the wall.
Right so the Sultan put hand in pocket
And drew forth an hundred ducats,
And gave them to Kraljević Marko.
"Go, Marko," quoth he, "drink thy fill of wine."

Marko's fealty
Fealty
An oath of fealty, from the Latin fidelitas , is a pledge of allegiance of one person to another. Typically the oath is made upon a religious object such as a Bible or saint's relic, often contained within an altar, thus binding the oath-taker before God.In medieval Europe, fealty was sworn between...

 was skilfully combined with the suggestion that the nominal servant was in reality greater than his lord. Serbian bards thus reversed the roles and turned the tables on their conquerors. This dual aspect of Marko could be a reason why he became a national hero of the Serbs: for them he grew into "the proud symbol expressive of the unbroken spirit that lived on in spite of disaster and defeat," as stated by David Halyburton Low, translator of Serbian epic poems.

In fights Marko used not only his strength and prowess but also cunning and trickery. Despite all the extraordinary qualities, he was not depicted as some abstract superhero or a god, but as a mortal man. There were opponents in the presence of whom his courage wavered and those who surpassed him in strength; there were times when his spirit quailed. He had his evil moments, when he acted capricious, short-tempered, or even with cruelty, but these were few in number. The prevailing traits of the hero's nature were honesty, self-sacrificing loyalty, and the fundamental goodness.

With his comically stylized appearance and behavior, and his wry remarks at opponents' expense, Marko is regarded as the most humorous character in the Serbian epic poetry. When a Moor
Black Arab (mythology)
In Serbian mythology, Black Arab is a designation for Arabs and black people. The Black Arab is often depicted as a dark-tanned ruffian who kidnaps women and girls. In Serbian folklore, as well as in the beliefs of other Balkan peoples, the Arab is a chthonic demon, a replacement for the devil...

 smote him with a mace, the hero spoke to the attacker laughingly, "O valiant black Moor! Are you jesting or smiting in earnest?" Jevrosima once advised her son to cease from his bloody adventures and to plough fields. He obeyed, but in his grimly humorous way, ploughing the sultan's highway instead of fields. There came a group of Turkish Janissaries
Janissary
The Janissaries were infantry units that formed the Ottoman sultan's household troops and bodyguards...

, who transported three packs of gold. They shouted at him to stop ploughing the highway, to which he responded by warning them to keep off the furrows. Marko quickly wearied of the exchange of words:

Диже Марко рало и волове,

Те он поби Турке јањичаре,

Пак узима три товара блага,

Однесе их својој старој мајци:

"То сам тебе данас изорао."
He swung plough and oxen on high,
And slew therewith the Turkish Janissaries.
Then he took the three charges of gold,
And brought them to his mother,
"Behold," quoth he, "what I have ploughed for thee this day."


Marko, aged 300 years, rode on 160-years-old Šarac by the seashore towards Mount Urvina, when a vila told him that he was going to die. Marko then stooped over a well and saw no reflection of his head from the water, hydromancy
Hydromancy
Hydromancy is a method of divination by means of water, including the color, ebb and flow, or ripples produced by pebbles dropped in a pool....

 thus confirming the vilas words. He killed Šarac lest Turks capture and use him for menial labor, and gave his beloved companion an elaborate burial. He broke his sword and spear and threw his mace far out into the sea, before lying down to die. The hero's body was found seven days later by Vaso, the abbot
Abbot
The word abbot, meaning father, is a title given to the head of a monastery in various traditions, including Christianity. The office may also be given as an honorary title to a clergyman who is not actually the head of a monastery...

 of the Monastery of Hilandar
Hilandar
Hilandar Monastery is a Serbian Orthodox monastery on Mount Athos in Greece. It was founded in 1198 by the first Serbian Archbishop Saint Sava and his father, Grand Prince Stefan Nemanja of the medieval Serbian principality of Raška...

 on Mount Athos
Mount Athos
Mount Athos is a mountain and peninsula in Macedonia, Greece. A World Heritage Site, it is home to 20 Eastern Orthodox monasteries and forms a self-governed monastic state within the sovereignty of the Hellenic Republic. Spiritually, Mount Athos comes under the direct jurisdiction of the...

, and his deacon Isaija. Abbot Vaso transported Marko to Mount Athos and buried him at the monastery, leaving no sign of his grave.

Epic poetry of Bulgaria and Macedonia

Krali Marko has been one of the most popular characters in Bulgarian folklore for centuries. Bulgarian epic tales in general and those about Krali Marko in particular seem to originate from the Southwestern part of the Bulgarian ethnic area, much of it on the territory of the present-day Republic of Macedonia
Republic of Macedonia
Macedonia , officially the Republic of Macedonia , is a country located in the central Balkan peninsula in Southeast Europe. It is one of the successor states of the former Yugoslavia, from which it declared independence in 1991...

. Therefore, the same tales are also seen as part of the ethnic heritage of the present-day Macedonian nation, which had not yet come to be regarded as an entity independent from the Bulgarian ethnicity at the time when most of the songs were recorded.

According to the local legends, Marko's mother was Evrosiya (Евросия), sister of the Bulgarian voivoda Momchil
Momchil
Momchil was a 14th-century Bulgarian brigand and local ruler. Initially a member of a bandit gang in the borderlands of Bulgaria, Byzantium and Serbia, Momchil was recruited by the Byzantines as a mercenary...

, who ruled territories in the Rhodope Mountains
Rhodope Mountains
The Rhodopes are a mountain range in Southeastern Europe, with over 83% of its area in southern Bulgaria and the remainder in Greece. Its highest peak, Golyam Perelik , is the seventh highest Bulgarian mountain...

. At the birth of Krali Marko, three narecnitsi
Narecnitsi
Narechnitsa, pl. Narechnitsi were Slavic fate-fairies, sorceresses who appear around newly born children and foretell their fate.Their name comes from Old-Bulgarian recha, narecha - to tell, to foretell, to set aside....

 (fate-fairies) appeared and foretold that he would become a hero and replace his father, the king. When king Volkašin heard this he threw his son in a basket in the river to get rid of him. But a samodiva
Samodiva
Samodivas or samovilas are woodland fairies found in South-Slavic folklore and mythology.-Etymology:The words samodiva and samovila go back to some very old Indo-European roots with a meaning of "divinity", "demon", "rave", "wild", "virgin" and "rage".-Appearance:Samodivas are commonly depicted...

 (also called samovila) named Vila found Marko and brought him up, becoming his foster mother. Because Marko suckled the samodiva's milk, he acquired supernatural powers. He is portrayed as a Bulgarian fighter for freedom against the Turks. He has a winged horse, called Sharkolia (meaning Dappled) and a stepsister — the samodiva Gyura. The Bulgarian legends incorporate important fragments of pagan mythology and beliefs, even though the Marko epos itself was created as late as the 14-18th century. Among Bulgarian epic songs, songs from the cycle about Krali Marko are particularly common and occupy a central place in it.
Some prominent Bulgarian folklorists who collected stories about Marko are teacher Trayko Kitanchev
Trayko Kitanchev
Trayko Tsvetkov Kitanchev was a Bulgarian teacher, social figure, poet and revolutionary. In 1895, he was the first chairman of the Supreme Macedonian–Adrianopolitan Committee, a Sofia-based organization seeking the autonomy of Macedonia and southern Thrace....

 (in the region of Resen
Resen
Resen was, according to Genesis 10:11, a city founded by Asshur son of Shem.Resen is stated, according to Genesis 10:12, to have been located between Nineveh and Calah and became a great city. Its exact location is today unclear. According to Genesis, it is within the vicinity of ancient Assyria,...

 in Western Macedonia), and Marko Cepenkov
Marko Cepenkov
Marko Kostov Cepenkov was a Bulgarian folklorist from the region of Macedonia. In the Republic of Macedonia he is regarded a Macedonian writer and poet. In his own time, his language was described as Bulgarian, and Cepenkov regarded it this way himself...

 from Prilep
Prilep
Prilep is the fourth largest city in the Republic of Macedonia. It has a population of 66,246 citizens. Prilep is known as "the city under Marko's Towers" because of its proximity to the towers of Prince Marko.-Name:...

 (in different areas in the region).

Prince Marko is known as Deli Marko in Bulgarian tradition and Marko Viteazul in Romanian folk legends.

In legends

South Slavic legends about Kraljević Marko or Krali Marko are mostly based on mythological motifs that are much older than the historical Marko Mrnjavčević. There are differences between the hero's image in the legends and that in the folk poems. In some areas he was imagined as a giant who walked stepping on hilltops, his head knocking the clouds. It was also narrated that he helped God in shaping the Earth in ancient times, and created the river gorge of Demir Kapija
Demir Kapija
Demir Kapija is a town in the Republic of Macedonia, located near the ominous limestone gates of the same name. It has 3,725 inhabitants. The town is the seat of Demir Kapija Municipality.-Etymology:...

 ("Iron Gate") with a stroke of his sabre. Thus he drained the sea that covered the regions of Bitola
Bitola
Bitola is a city in the southwestern part of the Republic of Macedonia. The city is an administrative, cultural, industrial, commercial, and educational centre. It is located in the southern part of the Pelagonia valley, surrounded by the Baba and Nidže mountains, 14 km north of the...

, Mariovo
Mariovo
Mariovo is a region in the southern part of Macedonia , situated between the mountains Selechka on the west, Nidze and Kozhuf on the south, Kozjak on the east and Dren...

, and Tikveš
Tikveš
Tikveš is a plain situated in central Republic of Macedonia which is known for an artificial lake. It is home to the towns of Kavadarci and Negotino. Famous for its wine, Tikveš is the center of the Macedonian wine production which has been cultivated for more than 120 years...

 in Macedonia, which enabled people to inhabit them. After the Earth was shaped, he took to arrogantly showing off his strength. God took it away from him by leaving a bag as heavy as the Earth on a road: when Marko tried to lift it, he lost his gigantic strength and became an ordinary man.

Legends also have it that the hero acquired his strength after he was suckled by a vila. King Vukašin threw his little son Marko into a river, because he did not resemble him, but the boy was saved by a cowherd who adopted him as a son, and the vila suckled him. By other accounts, Marko was a shepherd or a cowherd who found a vila's children lost in a mountain, and made a shade for them against the scorching sun, or gave them water. As a reward, the vila suckled him three times, after which he was able to lift and throw a huge boulder. In an Istria
Istria
Istria , formerly Histria , is the largest peninsula in the Adriatic Sea. The peninsula is located at the head of the Adriatic between the Gulf of Trieste and the Bay of Kvarner...

n version of this story, he made a shade for two snakes instead of the children. In a Bulgarian version, each of the three draughts of milk that he suckled from the vilas breast, turned into a snake.

He was regularly associated with huge solitary boulder
Boulder
In geology, a boulder is a rock with grain size of usually no less than 256 mm diameter. While a boulder may be small enough to move or roll manually, others are extremely massive....

s and indentations in rocks. The boulders were said to be thrown by Marko from a hill, the indentations being his footprints or those of his horse. He was also connected with other geographic objects, such as hills, glens, cliffs, caves, rivers, brooks, and groves, which he created or did something memorable at. They were often named after him, so there are many toponyms
Toponymy
Toponymy is the scientific study of place names , their origins, meanings, use and typology. The word "toponymy" is derived from the Greek words tópos and ónoma . Toponymy is itself a branch of onomastics, the study of names of all kinds...

 from Istria in the west to Bulgaria in the east that are derived from the hero's name. In stories from Bulgaria and Macedonia, Marko had a sister who was as strong as he, and competed with him in throwing boulders.

Marko's wonder-horse was a gift from a vila by some legends, while a Serbian story gives the following account. He was looking for a horse that could bear him. To test a steed, he would grab him by the tail and sling him over his shoulder. Noticing a leprous piebald foal owned by some carters, he grabbed him by the tail, but could not move him at all. Marko bought and cured the foal, naming him Šarac (after šara "dapple"). He grew up into an enormously powerful horse, becoming the hero's inseparable companion. A legend from Macedonia has it that Marko, on a vilas advice, captured a sick horse in a mountain and cured him. The patches on his skin that had been covered with crusts grew white hairs, so the hero's horse became piebald.

According to folk traditions the hero never died, but lives on in a cave
King in the mountain
A king in the mountain, king under the mountain or sleeping hero is a prominent motif in folklore and mythology that is found in many folktales and legends...

, in a den covered with moss, or in an unknown land. A Serbian legend recounts that Marko once fought in a battle in which so many men were killed that the fighters and their horses ended up swimming in blood. He lifted up his hands towards heaven and said, "O God, what am I going to do now!" God took pity on Marko transporting him and Šarac into a cave, where the hero stuck his sabre into the rock and fell asleep. There is some moss in the cave, which Šarac eats bit by bit, while the sabre slowly comes out of the rock. When it falls down after it completely emerges, and the horse eats all of the moss, Marko will awake and reappear in the world. Some people allegedly saw him after they descended into a deep pit, where he lived in a large house in front of which his horse was also seen. Others saw him in a faraway land, dwelling in a cave. According to a tradition from Macedonia, Marko drank of "eagle's water" which made him immortal, and he now accompanies Prophet Elijah in heaven.

Literature

In 19th century, Marko was the subject of multiple dramatizations. In 1831, Hungarian drama Prince Marko was shown in Budim, possibly written by István Balog and in 1838 Hungarian drama Prince Marko - Great Serbian Hero by Celesztin Pergő was shown in Arad
Arad, Romania
Arad is the capital city of Arad County, in western Romania, in the Crişana region, on the river Mureş.An important industrial center and transportation hub, Arad is also the seat of a Romanian Orthodox archbishop and features two universities, a Romanian Orthodox theological seminary, a training...

. In 1848 Jovan Sterija Popović
Jovan Sterija Popovic
Jovan Sterija Popović was a Serbian playwright, poet and pedagogue who taught at the Belgrade Higher School. Sterija was recognized by his contemporaries as the one of the leading Serbian intellectuals...

 wrote the tragedy
Tragedy
Tragedy is a form of art based on human suffering that offers its audience pleasure. While most cultures have developed forms that provoke this paradoxical response, tragedy refers to a specific tradition of drama that has played a unique and important role historically in the self-definition of...

 The Dream of Prince Marko which has the legend of sleeping Marko as its central motif
Motif (narrative)
In narrative, a motif is any recurring element that has symbolic significance in a story. Through its repetition, a motif can help produce other narrative aspects such as theme or mood....

. Petar Preradović
Petar Preradovic
Petar Preradović was a Croatian poet of Serb origin.- Biography :Preradović was born in the village of Grabrovnica , which was part of the Austrian Military Frontier, in Serbian Orthodox family of Jovan Preradović and Pelagija Preradović. He spent childhood in Grubišno Polje, were his father was...

 wrote the drama
Drama
Drama is the specific mode of fiction represented in performance. The term comes from a Greek word meaning "action" , which is derived from "to do","to act" . The enactment of drama in theatre, performed by actors on a stage before an audience, presupposes collaborative modes of production and a...

 Kraljević Marko which glorifies the strength of the South Slavs
South Slavs
The South Slavs are the southern branch of the Slavic peoples and speak South Slavic languages. Geographically, the South Slavs are native to the Balkan peninsula, the southern Pannonian Plain and the eastern Alps...

. In 1863, Francesco Dall'Ongaro
Francesco Dall'Ongaro
Francesco Dall'Ongaro was an Italian writer, poet and dramatist-Biography:Born in Mansuè, Veneto, Dall'Ongaro was educated for the priesthood, but abandoned his orders, and taking to political journalism founded the Favilla at Trieste in the Liberal interest.In 1848 he enlisted under Garibaldi,...

 presented his Italian drama Resurrection of Prince Marko.

American Slavicist Clarence A. Manning
Clarence Manning
Clarence Augustus Manning was a prominent U.S. Slavicist. He worked for 43 years at the Columbia University in New York, eventually being appointed chairman of the Department of Slavic Studies...

 wrote a novelization
Novelization
A novelization is a novel that is written based on some other media story form rather than as an original work.Novelizations of films usually add background material not found in the original work to flesh out the story, because novels are generally longer than screenplays...

 of Marko's life Marko, The King's Son: Hero of The Serbs, published in New York in 1932. Marko is also the titular character in Marguerite Yourcenar
Marguerite Yourcenar
Marguerite Yourcenar was a Belgian-born French novelist and essayist. Winner of the Prix Femina and the Erasmus Prize, she was the first woman elected to the Académie française, in 1980, and the seventeenth person to occupy Seat 3.-Biography:Yourcenar was born Marguerite Antoinette Jeanne Marie...

's short story Marko's Smile, published in the volume Oriental Tales. His character, while showing extraordinary courage and endurance, is at the same time portrayed as a selfish and ruthless man who does not fight for any particular ideals.

Other authors choose to parody
Parody
A parody , in current usage, is an imitative work created to mock, comment on, or trivialise an original work, its subject, author, style, or some other target, by means of humorous, satiric or ironic imitation...

 Marko's adventures. Radoje Domanović
Radoje Domanovic
Radoje Domanović was a Serbian writer and teacher, most famous for his satirical short stories. His few remaining years were a constant fight against consumption...

 wrote the satirical
Satire
Satire is primarily a literary genre or form, although in practice it can also be found in the graphic and performing arts. In satire, vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement...

 story Prince Marko among the Serbs for the Second Time in which God fulfills Marko's wish and brings him back to life to help the Serbs who are calling him for hundreds of years. The story portrays Serbs of Domanović's time as unworthy of their forefathers and heroes. Multiple modern authors have carried this even further, writing stories such as Prince Marko among the Serbs for the Third Time or Prince Marko among the Serbs for the Fourth Time, updated with modern events. In 2006 Boris Starešina wrote the book Kraljević Marko: Natprirodni ciklus pjesama [Prince Marko: Supernatural Cycle of Poems], which parodies Serbian epic poems. In Starešina's poems Marko fights aliens, samurai
Samurai
is the term for the military nobility of pre-industrial Japan. According to translator William Scott Wilson: "In Chinese, the character 侍 was originally a verb meaning to wait upon or accompany a person in the upper ranks of society, and this is also true of the original term in Japanese, saburau...

s, canibals, Superman
Superman
Superman is a fictional comic book superhero appearing in publications by DC Comics, widely considered to be an American cultural icon. Created by American writer Jerry Siegel and Canadian-born American artist Joe Shuster in 1932 while both were living in Cleveland, Ohio, and sold to Detective...

's great-great-grandfather, and other enemies.

Some recent Balkan epic fantasy writers also reuse Marko. Boriana Balin
Boriana Balin
-References:# http://www.ednorog.com/# Library Thing# www.bookfinder.com/...

, a Bulgarian writer of historical and fantasy stories has a book Vechniyat Konnik [Eternal Rider] published in Bulgarian. The book deals with the life of Marko's father Valkashin as well as the life and death of the legendary hero himself. Similarly, Marko is one of the principal characters of the Kosingas fantasy series by Serbian writer Aleksandar Tešić.

Visual arts

Of all the epic or historical figures of Serbian history, Marko is considered to have given the most inspiration
Artistic inspiration
Inspiration refers to an unconscious burst of creativity in a literary, musical, or other artistic endeavour. Literally, the word means "breathed upon," and it has its origins in both Hellenism and Hebraism. The Greeks believed that inspiration came from the muses, as well as the gods Apollo and...

 to visual artists.

The oldest known depictions of Marko are 14th century fresco
Fresco
Fresco is any of several related mural painting types, executed on plaster on walls or ceilings. The word fresco comes from the Greek word affresca which derives from the Latin word for "fresh". Frescoes first developed in the ancient world and continued to be popular through the Renaissance...

es from Marko's Monastery
Marko's Monastery
Marko's Monastery is a monastery located in the village of Markova Sušica, from central Skopje in the Republic of Macedonia. The monastery bears the name of the Prince Marko who reigned at the time of its completion.-Description:...

 and Prilep
Prilep
Prilep is the fourth largest city in the Republic of Macedonia. It has a population of 66,246 citizens. Prilep is known as "the city under Marko's Towers" because of its proximity to the towers of Prince Marko.-Name:...

. From 18th century a drawing of Marko on parchment is preserved in the Čajniče Gospel, reminiscent of the style of stećci
Stećci
The Stećci , are monumental medieval tombstones that lie scattered across Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the border parts of Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia. An estimated 60,000 are found within the borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the rest of 10,000 are found in Croatia, Serbia, and Montenegro...

 reliefs, while Vuk Karadžić wrote that in his childhood (late 18th century) he saw a painting of Marko carrying an ox
Ox
An ox , also known as a bullock in Australia, New Zealand and India, is a bovine trained as a draft animal. Oxen are commonly castrated adult male cattle; castration makes the animals more tractable...

 on his back.

In 19th century, lithographs
Lithography
Lithography is a method for printing using a stone or a metal plate with a completely smooth surface...

 of Marko were made by Anastas Jovanović
Anastas Jovanovic
Anastas Jovanović was the first Serbian photographer of his time to treat photography as an art form and to capture on film historical events as they were happening. He was the author of the first photographic pantheon of the most significant events and people of his time...

, Ferdo Kikerec and others. 19th century romantist artists who painted Marko include Mina Karadžić, Novak Radonić
Novak Radonic
Novak Radonić was a famous 19th century Romantic Serbian painter.-External links:*...

, Đura Jakšić; 20th century Nadežda Petrović
Nadežda Petrovic
Nadežda Petrović is considered the most important Serbian female painter from the late 19th and early 20th century...

, Mirko Rački
Mirko Racki
Mirko Rački was a Croatian painter.Rački was born in Novi Marof, and graduated from the Teacher's Academy in Zagreb. He then went to the private art school of H. Strehblow in Vienna, then studied at the Academy in Prague under Vlaho Bukovac and in Vienna under W. Unger...

, Uroš Predić
Uroš Predic
Uroš Predić was one of the greatest Serbian Realist painters, along with Paja Jovanović and Đorđe Krstić...

, Paja Jovanović
Paja Jovanovic
Pavle "Paja" Jovanović was the most prominent Serbian Realist painter alongside Uroš Predić. He is considered one of Serbia's greatest academic painters. His most famous and recognizable paintings include Serbian Migrations, Crowning of Stefan Dušan, Takovo Uprising, Cockfighting, Decorating of...

. Ivan Meštrović
Ivan Meštrovic
Ivan Meštrović was a Croatian and Yugoslav sculptor and architect born in Vrpolje, Croatia...

 made a sculpture of Marko riding his Šarac that was reproduced on a Yugoslav banknote and stamp.

A number of modern illustrators have taken upon themselves to draw Marko as well. They include William Sewel
William Sewel
-Life:He was son of Jacob Williamson Sewel, a free citizen and surgeon of Amsterdam where he was born. His paternal grandfather, William Sewel, a Brownist of Kidderminster, emigrated from England to escape religious persecution, and married a native of Utrecht...

, Gilbert James, Alexander Key
Alexander Key
Alexander Hill Key was an American science fiction writer, most of whose books were aimed at a juvenile audience. He became a nationally known illustrator before he became an author...

, Zuko Džumhur
Zuko Džumhur
Zulfikar "Zuko" Džumhur was a Bosnian writer, painter and caricaturist. Džumhur's bohemian nature, versatility of a polymath and extremely creative personality have made him a unique figure of the Yugoslav culture in the second half of the 20th century.Džumhur was born in Konjic, northern...

, Vasa Pomorišac, Bane Kerac and many others.

Some common motif
Motif
Motif may refer to the following:In creative work:* Motif , a perceivable or salient recurring fragment or succession of notes* Motif , any recurring element in a story that has symbolic significance...

s are present in works of multiple authors. These are: Marko and Ravijojla; Marko with his mother; Marko and Šarac; Marko shooting an arrow; Marko plows the roads; Fight between Marko and Musa; and death of Marko. Also, several artists have tried to reconstruct a realistic portrait of Marko on the basis of his frescoes.

Popular culture

The Prilep Brewery introduced in 1924 a light beer called Krali Marko.

External links



Videos of Serbian epic poems sung to the accompaniment of the gusle:
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