Heavenly Serbia: From Myth to Genocide
Hurst, 1999 - 233 pages
Heavenly Serbia traces Serbia's expansionist impulses to Serbian national mythology. The dominant myth - that of "Heavenly Serbia" - appeared soon after the Battle of Kosovo in 1389. It attributed the Serb's defeat by the Turks and the loss of the medieval Serbian state to the Serb's preference for moral salvation over military victory. By emphasizing their commitment to the heavenly kingdom and promising an eventual restoration of the Serbian empire, this myth helped the Serbs to bear their centuries-long domination by a foreign power. Though they ultimately shed the Turkish yoke and regained statehood in the nineteenth century, the Serbs, according to Anzulovic, retained this central myth in the form of feelings of superiority to their neighbors, and a sense of destiny ordaining them to become the dominant power in the Balkans. The myth has been perpetuated by political and religious leaders, historians, novelists, and artists, and has found acceptance abroad as well.
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In Orthodox countries, the equivalent of the Middle Ages — the period during
which the church was the dominant bearer of cultural heritage — lasted until the
late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Strong ties were then
Even when centralism was weakened and federalism taken more seriously,
Serbs remained the dominant presence in the federal administration. According
to data published in 1969, of 5,885 federal officials, 4,334 were Serbs.
The fear of again being dpnu^jatedvbj^"gt^eE£ was the fundamental reason for
the Serbs' fierce opposition to Tito's attempt to turn Serbia from a dominant into a
less unequal partner in the Yugoslav federation. The fear of being massacred ...
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An independent scholar living in Washington, DC, Anzulovic interprets Serbia's violent history as a consequence of historical legacies: Saint Sava's mystical identification of the church and nation ... Read full review
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