Serbia, Europe, Historical Profile (1922), #006-The Nemanyich Dynasty and the Serb Empire


A change for the better began when Stephen Nemanya became the Grand Zhupan of Rashka (1159). He succeeded in uniting all the Serb countries except Bosnia under his rule, and although he never took the title of king, he was the real founder of the Serb kingdom and Serbia 1400-1909 of the royal dynasty of Nemanyich, which reigned for nearly 200 ' years. His youngest so, Prince Kastko, secretly left his father's court, went to a convent in Mount Athos, where Stephen Nemanya died as the monk Simeon at Chiliandarion in 1200, became a monk, and afterwards, under the name of Sava, the first arehbishop of Serbia.

As such he established eight bishoprics and encouraged I learning. He is regarded as the great patron of education among the Serbs, as a saint, and as one of the greatest statesmen. After Stephen Nemanya and Sava the most distinguished members of the Nemanyich dynasty were Stephen Urosh I. (1243-76). his son Milutin (1281-1321) and Stephen Dushan1 (1331-1355). Urosh married Helen, a daughter of the exiled Latin Emperor of Constantinople, Baldwin II., and through her kept friendly relations with the French court of Charles of Anjou in Naples. He endeavoured to negotiate an alliance between Serbs and French for the partition of the Byzantine empire.

His son Milutin continued that policy and increased his territory by taking several fortified places from the Greeks; but later he joined the Greeks under the emperor Andronicus against the Turks. Milutin's bastard's son, Stephen Dushan, was a great soldier and statesman. Seeing the danger which menaced the disorganized Byzantine empire from the Turks, he tried to prevent the Turkish invasion of the Balkan peninsula by replacing that empire by a Serbo- Greek empire.

He took from the Greeks Albania, Epeiros, Thessalv and Macedonia (excepting Salonika). Towards the end of 1345 he proclaimed himself "emperor of the Serbs and the Greeks, " and was solemnly crowned at Skoplje on Easter Day 1346. At the same time he raised the arehbishop of Ipek (Petch), the primate of Serbia, to the dignity of patriareh. Three years later he convoked the Sabor (parliament) at Skoplje to begin a codification of the laws and legal usages. The result was the publication, in 1349. of the Zakonik Tsar a Ditshaita (Tsar Du shan's Book of Laws), a code of great historical interest which proves that Serbia was not much behind the foremost European states in civilization. In 1355 Dushan began a new campaign against the Greeks, the object of which was to unite Greeks, Serbs and Bulgars and prevent the Turkish power taking root on European ground. While making preparations for a siege of Constantinople he died suddenly at Deabolis on Dec. 20, 1355.

Under his only son Stephen Urosh V., a young man 01* nineteen, his brother Simeon Urosh and some of the powerful viceroys of Dushan's provinces made themselves independent. The most prominent amongst them was Vukashin, who proclaimed himself king of Macedonia. He wished to continue Dushan's policy and to expel the Turks from Europe, but in the battle on the Maritza on Sept. 26, 1371 his army was destroyed and be was slain. Two months later Tsar Urosh died, and the rule of the Nemanyich dynasty ended.

      "Serbia, Europe, Historical Profile (1922), #006-The Nemanyich Dynasty and the Serb Empire," The Encyclopedia Britannica. (New York: Encyclopedia Britannica, 1922); digital edition, ( : posted 15 Jan 2013)

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