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call himself king of Rascia' also. To show his connexion with the former kings of Diókleia, Stephen added that country to his style ; to complete the independence of his kingdom, he obtained through his saintly and diplomatic brother from the Ecumenical Patriarch at Nice the recognition of a separate Serbian Church under Sava himself as · Archbishop of all the Serbian lands.' Sara was buried in the monastery of Mileshevo in the old Sanjak of Novibazar, whence his remains were removed and burned by the Turks near Belgrade in 1595. Many a pious legend has grown up around the name of the founder of the national Church; but, through the haze of romance and beneath the halo of the saint, we can descry the figure of the great ecclesiastical statesman, whose constant aim it was to benefit his country and the dynasty to which he himself belonged, and to identify the latter with the national religion.

While Stephen's successor was a feeble character, the second Bulgarian Empire reached its zenith under the great Tsar John Asên II, who boasted in a still extant inscription in his capital of Trnovo, then the centre of Balkan politics, that he had conquered all the lands from Adrianople to Durazzo.' The next Serbian King Vladislav was his son-in-law; St Sava died as his guest. But the hegemony of Bulgaria disappeared at his death in 1241; there, too, the national resurrection had been the work of one man. The Greeks regained their influence in Macedonia, and in 1261 recaptured Constantinople from the Latins.

We have an interesting description of life at the Serbian court during the reign of the next King, Stephen Urosh I (c. 1268), from the Byzantine historian Pachyméres.

There was

a project for a marriage between a daughter of the Greek Emperor, Michael VIII Palaiológos, and a son of Stephen Urosh. First, however, two envoys were sent to report; and the Empress specially charged one of them to let her know what sort of a family it was into which her daughter was about to marry. The pompous Byzantines were horrified to find *the great King,' as he was called, living the simple life in a way which would have disgraced a modest official of Constantinople, his Hungarian daughter-in-law working at her spindle in an inexpensive gown, and his

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household eating like a pack of hunters or sheep-stealers. The lack of security for travellers deepened the unfavourable impression of the envoys, and the marriage was broken off. Stephen Urosh II (1281-1321), surnamed Milutin (“the child of grace'), greatly increased the importance of Serbia. We have different pictures of this monarch from his Serbian and his Greek contemporaries. One of the former extols his qualities as a ruler, one of the latter portrays him as anything but an exemplary husband. But these characters are not incompatible, as we know from the case of Henry VIII, whom Stephen Urosh II resembled not only in the number of his wives, but in his opportunist policy. His chief object was to enlarge his dominions at the expense of Byzantium; he occupied Skopje, and established his capital there-the Serbian residence had hitherto fluctuated between Novibazar, Prishtina, and Prizren-and so greatly impressed the Emperor Andronikos II with his advance towards Salonika that the latter sacrificed his only daughter, Simonis, to the already thrice-divorced monarch, giving as her dowry the territories which his son-in-law had already taken from him. Simonis, however, when she grew up--she was only a child at the time of her engagement-preferred Constantinople to the society of her husband; and nothing but his threat to come and take her by force induced her to return.

Behind this marriage of convenience there lay the project of uniting the Greek and Serbian dominions under a Serbian sceptre-a project to which the national party was resolutely opposed. At the same time, he not only had—what all Serbian rulers have coveted-an outlet on the sea, but actually occupied for a few years the port of Durazzo, that much-debated spot, which during the Middle Ages was alternately Angevin, Serbian, Albanian, and Venetian, till in 1501 it became Turkish. Nor was this astute ruler only a diplomatist and a politician; he offered the Venetians to keep open and guard the great trade route which traversed his kingdom, and led across Bulgaria to the Black Sea. A munificent founder of churches, his generosity is evidenced in Italy by the silver altar, bearing the date 1319, which he gave to St Nicholas' at Bari, and on which he described himself as ruling from the Adriatic to the Danube ;

but his name is better known by the verses of Dante, who has given him a place in the Paradiso' among the evil kings for his issue of counterfeit Venetian coin -a common offence in the Levant during the Middle Ages: 'e quel di Rascia, Che male ha visto il conio di Vinegia.'

A disputed succession soon ended in the enthronement of the late King's illegitimate son, Stephen Urosh III, known in history by the epithet 'Detchanski' from the famous monastery of Detchani, which he founded. He had been blinded for conspiring against his father; but on his father's death he recovered his sight, which perhaps he had never entirely lost. His reign is one of the most dramatic in Serbian history, for it affords an example of those sudden alternations of triumph and disaster characteristic of the Balkans, alike in the Middle Ages and in our own day. On June 28, 1330, he utterly routed the Bulgarians at Velbujd, as Köstendil was then called. Bulgaria became a vassal state of Serbia, which thus acquired the hegemony of the Balkan peninsula. Next year, he was dethroned by his son, the famous Stephen Dushan, and strangled in the castle of Zvetchan near Mitrovitza. A contemporary, Guillaume Adam, Archbishop of Antivari, has left a description of Serbia during this period. The palaces of the King and his nobles were built of wood, and surrounded by palisades; the only houses of stone were in the Latin coast-towns. Yet 'Rassia' was naturally a very rich land, producing plenty of corn, wine, and oil; it was well watered; its forests were full of game, while five gold mines and as many of silver were constantly worked.

The reign of Stephen Urosh IV, better known as Stephen Dushan (1331-55), marks the zenith of Serbia. As a conqueror and as a lawgiver, he resembled Napoleon ; and his Empire, like that of Napoleon, crumbled to pieces as soon as its creator had disappeared. In the former capacity, he aimed at realising the dream of his grandfather, Stephen Urosh II, of forming a great Serbian Empire on the ruins of Byzantium. The civil war between the young Emperor John V Palaiológos, aided by his Italian mother, Anne of Savoy, and the ambitious John Cantacuzene, whose history is one of the most interesting sources for this period, was Dushan's opportunity.

Both parties in the struggle made bids for his support at the unfortified village of Prishtina, which had been the Serbian capital. His price was nothing less than the whole Byzantine Empire west of Kavalla, or, at least, of Salonika. Anne of Savoy, less patriotic than her rival, offered him what he asked, if he would send her Cantacuzene, then his guest, either alive or dead. But the Council of twenty-four great officers of state, whom the Serbian kings were wont to consult, acting on the Queen's advice, repudiated the suggestion of assassinating a suppliant. Dushan allowed the rival Byzantine factions to exhaust themselves; and, while they fought, he occupied one place after another, till all Macedonia, except Salonika, was his.

With little exaggeration he wrote from Serres to the Doge of Venice, which had conferred her citizenship upon him, styling bimself 'King of Serbia, Dioclea, the land of Hum, the Zeta, Albania and the maritime region, partner in no small part of the Empire of Bulgaria, and lord of almost all the Empire of Romania.' But for the ruler of so vast a realm the title of king seemed insignificant, especially as his vassal, the ruler of Bulgaria, bore the great name of Tsar. Accordingly, on Easter Sunday 1346, Dushan had himself crowned at Skopje, whither he had transferred his capital, as · Emperor of the Serbs and Greeks.' Shortly before, he had raised the Archbishop of Serbia to the dignity of Patriarch, with his seat at Petch; and the two Slav Patriarchs, the Bulgarian of Trnovo and the Serbian of Petch, placed the crown upon his head. At the same time, on the analogy of the Western Empire with its King of the Romans,' he had his son, Stephen Urosh V, proclaimed king. Byzantine emblems and customs were introduced into the brandnew Serbian Empire; the Tsar assumed the tiara and the double-eagle, and wrote to the Doge, proposing an alliance for the conquest of Constantinople. In the papal correspondence with Serbia we read of a Serbian Sebastocrator,' a Great Logothete,' a Cæsar,' and a Despot'; the governors of important Serbian cities, such as Cattaro and Scutari, were styled Counts'; those of minor places, like Antivari, “Captains.' Thus it is easy to see why the whole Serbian world was thrilled when, in the first Balkan War of 1912, the Crown Prince Alexander entered

Skopje, the coronation-city of Dushan-at the invitation of the Austrian Consul, 'to restore order'!

Dushan next extended his Empire to the south by the annexation of Epeiros and Thessaly, and assigned Aitolia and Akarnania to his brother, Simeon Urosh, and Thessaly and Joannina to the Cæsar' Preliub. His dominions now stretched to the Corinthian Gulf, and he thought that it only remained to annex the independent Serb state of Bosnia, and to capture Constantinople, establishing what a poetic Montenegrin ruler of our day has called an Empire of the Balkans.' This would have embraced all the races of the variegated peninsula, and perhaps kept the Turks -who, in 1353, had made their first permanent settlement in Europe, by crossing the Dardanelles and occupying the castle of Tzympe-beyond the Bosporus, and the Hungarians beyond the Save. On St Michael's day, 1355, he assembled his nobles, and asked whether he should lead them against Byzantium or Buda-Pesth. To their answer, that they would follow him, whithersoever he bade them, his reply was 'to Constantinople.' But on the way he fell ill of a fever, and at Diavoli, on Dec. 20, he died, aged forty-eight. No Serbian ruler had ever approached so near the Imperial city; had he succeeded, and had another Dushan succeeded him, the Turkish conquest, which took place 98 years later, might have been averted.

Great as were his conquests, the Serbian Napoleon was no mere soldier. His Code of law, the • Zakonik,' like the Code Napoléon,' has survived the vast but fleeting Empire of its author. Dushan's law-book is, indeed, largely based on previous legislation, such as the canon law of the Greek Church, the statutes of Budua and other Adriatic coast-towns, and, in the case of trial by jury, on an enactment of Stephen Urosh II. For us, its chief value is the light which it throws upon Serbia's political and social condition in the golden age of the Empire.

Mediaeval Serbia resembled neither of the Serb states of our day. It was not, even under Dushan, an autocracy, as was Montenegro before 1905, nor yet a democratic monarchy like the modern Serbian kingdom; but the powers of the monarch were limited by the influence of the great nobles--a class stamped out at the Turkish conquest and never since revived. Society consisted of the Sovereign; the ecclesiastical hierarchy, ranging from the

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