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“In wrath rode Marko athwart Kosovo“: Field Research about Marko Kraljević in Kosovo and Metohija

Folkloristika 5/1 (2020): 169–204
Author: Magda Milkić
Text: PDF


The paper discusses the results of a field research about Marko Kraljević (Prince Marko), popular Serbian epic hero, conducted in May 2019 in Kosovo and Metohija, in the villages Pridvorica and Sočanica, in Brdjani on the outskirts of Kosovska Mitrovica, and in the town of Kosovska Mitrovica. Eighteen people were interviewed, and the questionnaire was applied flexibly to accommodate the particular situation in the field. The field material and research results are displayed according to the common sequence of motifs in the heroic biography, which are ordered from the hero’s birth to his epic death. Motifs, epic models (sujets) and folk genres (epis songs, legends, stories, riddle jokes) about Marko Kraljević, which are still remembered by the Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija, are presented and examined. Oral tradition about Marko Kraljević is well-known, especially epic songs and local legends about places. The interlocutors narrated about Маrko’s horse Šarac, his mother Jevrosima, his duels with the Turks and with his mythic adversaries Musa Kesedžija (Musa the Highwayman) and the Black Arab. Marko’s specific association with the Turkish Emperor was commented, as well as his distinctive character and mentality. A considerable part of the traditional knowledge about Marko that was recorded in the field, particularly epic songs, was incorporated through reading well-known and widespread Vuk Karadžić’s printed collections of folk songs and legends from the broad Serbian and sometimes South Slavic territory, while some legends and accounts have more local character.
Keywords: Marko Kraljević, folklore field research, folk literature, Kosovo and Metohija, Serbian folk epic, legends, stories