Prince Marko: The Hero of South Slavic Epics

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Syracuse University Press, 1988 - History - 221 pages

One of the most popular of the south European epic heroes--a counterpart of the French Roland or Spain's El Cid--Prince Marko has not been well known in America. The historical Marko headed a small kingdom in Macedonia in the fourteenth century. A vassal of the Turkish sultans, he was a relatively minor historical figure. Yet in the oral tradition, he was transmuted into a figure of legend, the great hero who protected the south Slavic people form injustice and oppression during a long history of hardship.

Popular interest in the legendary Prince Marko has persisted through the centuries in Europe, and contemporary enthusiasm about him remains high. Serbs and Macedonians invoked his name in the Balkan War against the Turks and in World War II against the Germans; Ivan Mestrovic reinforced the epic nature of Prince Marko in his monumental sculptures; and Marguerite Yourcenar included him in the images and tales in her work.

Prince Marko is a compelling account of a medieval king transformed by epic bards into a legend that will appeal to historians and anthropologists, as well as folklorists.


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