Aspects of the Balkans. Continuity and change

H. Birnbaum and S. Vryonis (eds.)






It goes without saying that only a few of the many intriguing facets of the particular literary form of biography or life-writing as pursued with remarkable zeal and success in medieval Serbia, can be discussed within the limits of a conference paper. In particular, after a few preliminary remarks concerning the historical background of Old Serbian biography, its general literary and stylistic characteristics, and the shifting appreciation it has met among historians and literary scholars, I would like to focus on the relationship of this genre (if indeed it can be defined as constituting an autonomous literary genre) to its nearest Byzantine models and counterparts which fall largely within the well-established, traditional kinds of hagiography and historiography. [1] Furthermore, I will endeavor



1. Generally on Byzantine hagiography (including certain kinds of religious panegyric) and historiography, see K. Krumbacher, Geschichte der byzantinischen Litteratur, 2nd ed., vol. I (Munich, 1897), 160-205 and 219-408. Specifically on Byzantine hagiography, cf. also H.-G. Beck, Kirche und theologische Literatur im byzantinischen Reich (Munich, 1959), 267-275, 402-413, 459-467, 506-514, 557-582, 638-642, 697-701, and 793-796. See further, for example, Xr. Loparev, "Vizantijskija Žitija Svjatyx VIII-IX věkov", Viz. Vrěm. XVII (1910 [1911]), 1-224. On Slavic saints in Byzantine hagiography, cf. esp. I. Dujčev, "Slawische Heilige in der byzantinischen Hagiographie", Südost-Forschungen XIX (1960), 71-86; see further id., "Les rapports hagiographiques entre Byzance et les Slaves", Proceedings of the XIIIth International Congress of Byzantine Studies (Oxford, 1966), (London, 1967), 363-370. On historical data in Byzantine hagiography, see recently F. Halkin, "L'hagiographie byzantine au service de l'histoire", ibid., 345-354; and on Byzantine-West European hagiographic relations, E. Follieri, "I rapporti fra Bisanzio e l'Occidente nel campo dell'agiografia", ibid., 355-362. For a discussion of the independent genre of secular (or 'historical') biography, not recognized as such by K. Krumbacher, but, in fact, revived in Byzantium in the 10th century (with the Life of Emperor Basilius I, written by his grandson Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus, a work paralleling such Western secular biographies as those of Charlemagne by Einhart or of King Alfred by Asser) and emerging from 'semi-secular' hagiography and biography (including panegyric), see P. J. Alexander, "Secular Biography at Byzantium", Speculum XV (1940), 194-209.





to comment briefly on the parallels and interrelations obtaining between the Old Serbian variety of life-writing and its other Slavic (that is to say, Church Slavic) predecessors and contemporaries which include, in addition to the Old Church Slavic prototypes, its Old Russian and, to a lesser extent, Old Czech equivalents or near-equivalents. These, too, were ultimately patterned on Byzantine examples. By comparing, quantitatively and qualitatively, the Old Serbian Lives (žitija) of rulers and princes of the Church to what can be thought of as their closest Slavic correspondences, and by making reference to recent discussions as to the possibility (or impossibility) of assuming an independent genre, as elsewhere in medieval Slavic writing, of secular biography (having its roots in hagiography, but in some respects essentially different from it), [2] I will attempt to set forth some of the particular characteristics of the Old Serbian Vita. (Outside the Byzantine-Slavic sphere the Latin biographies of St. Stephen of Hungary in particular seem to have had some impact on medieval Serbian life-writing.) [3] Throughout my presentation the texts under discussion will be viewed primarily as works of literature, i.e., in terms of their artistic qualities, rather than as — more or less reliable — historical documents, designed largely for the purpose of legitimating the twinned dynastic and ecclesiastic claims of the Serbian rulers and archbishops of the Middle Ages. This is not to say, however, that a reappraisal of the Old Serbian Lives as testimonies of by-gone events and long-deceased personalities (which in modern times have provided a rich source of inspiration for the upsurge of Serbian national consciousness) could not also be arrived at if we were to adopt an approach different from the one suggested here.





There can be no doubt that the emerging Old Serbian literature of the 12th and early 13th centuries was largely patterned on Byzantine models in terms of thematic range and conceptual framework, as well as in respect



2. Cf. most recently N. W. Ingham, "The Limits of Secular Biography in Medieval Slavic Literature, Particularly Old Russian", American Contributions to the Sixth International Congress of Slavists (Prague, 1968), vol. II: Literary Contributions (The Hague and Paris, 1968), 181-199.


3. On the two Vitae of St. Stephen, written in the late 11th century and subsequently combined into one 'legend' by bishop Hartwig (Hartvic) early in the 12th century, see J. L. Csóka, A latin nyelvü történeti irodalom kialakulása Magyarországon a XI-XIV. században (Budapest, 1967), esp. 105-199 and 623-646.





to the various forms of specific literary genres as realized by the use of their particular sets of stylistic devices. In this sense, then, medieval Serbian writing formed part of the literary output produced by what has been referred to as the Slavic Orthodox community of the Middle Ages. This community, at certain levels of education and literacy, may be viewed as an integrated whole (if only an extension of Byzantine civilization), sharing, among other things, a common literary language with only minor local variations — Church Slavic. [4] More immediately, at the peak of the Middle Ages, the literary activity of the Slavs (including the Serbs) can be regarded as a continuation of the work of the Slavic 'apostles' or, rather, 'teachers', Constantine and Methodius, and their disciples. [5] As is well known, after Methodius' death in 885 and the subsequent suppression of the Slavic liturgy in Moravia and Pannonia, several followers of the Thessalonian brothers found refuge in Bulgaria where Old Church Slavic writing could continue to develop and flourish, first in its western, Macedonian region (in and around Ohrid) and soon thereafter also in the new capital of Preslav. The other Orthodox Slavs, namely, the Eastern Slavs of Kievan Russia and the Serbs (after some hesitancy between Byzantium and Rome) could thus draw on the foundations provided by Old Bulgarian writing when creating their own national varieties of literature. It has long been established that, as a result of the political and cultural setting of Bulgaria in the 10th-12th centuries (Bulgaria forming a part of the Byzantine Empire from 972 and 1018, respectively, to 1185-1186 when the Second Bulgarian Empire came into being), Byzantine elements thoroughly permeated this early Bulgarian literature on all levels.


It is in the development of the specific kind of biography, unmatched elsewhere in Slavic writing, that Serbia made its unique contribution to



4. For the concept of the Slavia orthodoxa as a unified cultural-linguistic whole, see esp. R. Picchio, "Die historisch-philologische Bedeutung der kirchenslavischen Tradition", WdSl VII (1962), 1-26; id., "O cerkiewnosłowiańskiej wspólnocie kulturalno-językowej", Sprawozd. z posiedzeń Kom., Lipiec-Grudzień 1962 (PAN, Oddział w Krakowie, 1963), 449-454; id., "A proposito della Salvia ortodossa e délia communità linguistica slava ecclesiastica", Ricerche Slavistiche XI (1963), 105-127. For an overall view of Church Slavic literature, cf. R. Jakobson, Harvard Slavic Studies I (1953), 37-55 ("The Common Slavic Written Tradition", in: "The Kernel of Comparative Slavic Literature"); H. Birnbaum, "Grundkonzept und Aufgabenkreis einer vergleichenden kirchenslavischen Literaturforschung", Das heidnische und christliche Slaventum, 2 (Wiesbaden, 1970), 127-147.


5. For a comprehensive treatment of the life and work of Constantine and Methodius and their literary legacy, see F. Grivec, Konstantin und Method, Lehrer der Slaven (Wiesbaden, 1960) (commenting on the preference for the term "teachers" over "apostles", 66-67).





medieval Slavic literature. While based on traditional genres and styles, Old Serbian life-writing combined these with some new, original ingredients. Even F. Dölger, an ardent advocate of the superiority of Byzantine civilization over its neighboring Balkan sub-cultures had to single out some of the Old Serbian biographies as literary works which, in his words, "zum erstenmal von der byzantinischen Schablone loskommen und einen frischeren und lebendigeren Zug aufweisen". [6]


Old Serbian life-writing, along with the monuments of monasterial architecture, the most impressive achievement of medieval Serbian culture, follows a rather consistent line of development. [7] Starting with hagiography (both in its popular-narrative as well as in its rhetorical-learned varieties) Serbian biography opens with the two Vitae of Stephan Nemanja (d. 1200), the first independent ruler of a united Serbia, written by his sons, Rastko (St. Sava, d. 1235), the first archbishop of Serbia and



6. Cf. F. Dölger, Byzanz und die europäische Staatenwelt (Ettal, 1953), 276 (in: "Die mittelalterliche Kultur auf dem Balkan als byzantinisches Erbe", 261-281, where also a gradation of the Byzantine influence on the Balkans is suggested); see further id., "Byzanz und Südosteuropa", in: Völker und Kulturen Südosteuropas. Kulturhistorische Beiträge (Munich, 1959), 57-67 and 270-271 (references). For some negative aspects of the Byzantine impact (and partly contradicting Dölger), see J. Matl, Die Kultur der Südslawen (Frankfurt a/M, 1966), 25-26. Cf. further also several papers by I. Dujčev, among them, "Les Slaves et Byzance", Études historiques à l'occasion du XIe Congrès international des sciences historiques (Stockholm, 1960) (Sofia, 1960), 31-77; id., "Les rapports littéraires byzantino-slaves", Actes du XIIe Congrès international d'études byzantines (Ohrid, 1961), I (Belgrade, 1963), 411-429; id., "Bisanzio e il mondo slavo", in: I. Dujčev, medioevo bizantino-stavo, I (Rome, 1965), 3-22. On Byzantine-South Slavic literary relations, see id., "La littérature des Slaves méridionaux au XIIIe siècle et ses rapports avec la littérature byzantine", in : L'art byzantin du XIIIe siècle (Symposium de Sopoćani, 1965), (Belgrade, 1967), 103-115. On Byzantine-Serbian relations, particularly in the 14th century, see, for example, G. Ostrogorsky, "Problèmes des relations byzantino-serbes au XIVe siècle", Proceedings of the XIIIth International Congress of Byzantine Studies, 41-55; with a supplementary contribution by G. C. Soulis, ibid., 57-61.


7. Cf. J. Matl, Die Kultur der Südslawen, 15 ; see also id., Südslawische Studien (Munich, 1965), 15-16. For a general survey of Old Serbian biography in its cultural and literary context, see, for example, A. Schmaus, "Zur Frage der Kulturonentierung der Serben im Mittelalter", Südost-Forschungen XV (1956), 179-201, esp. 195-201; S. Hafner, Serbisches Mittelalter: Altserbische Herrscherbiographien, vol. I: Stefan Nemanja nach den Viten des hl. Sava und Stefans des Erstgekrönten, übersetzt, eingeleitet und erklärt (Graz-Vienna-Cologne, 1962), 13-18; DJ. Sp. Radojičić, Razvojni luk stare srpske književnosti: Tekstovi i komentari (Novi Sad, 1962), esp. 21-39 (the introductory essay first appeared in Letopis Matice srpske, knj. 385, sv. 3/4, 1960, 189-205, 328-346, and was again reprinted in Stara književnost, Dj. Trifunović, ed., [Belgrade, 1965], 15-52). See also the older, to be sure, strongly biased presentation by V. Jagić, AfslPh II (1876), 31-47 (in his study "Ein Beitrag zur serbischen Annalistik mit literaturgeschichtlicher Einleitung"), and M. Murko, Geschichte der älteren südslawischen Literaturen (Leipzig, 1908), 155-164.





head of its newly established autocephalic Church, and King Stephan the First-Crowned (Stefan Prvovenčani, d. 1227 or 1228). [8] To be sure, in addition to their purely hagiographic origins, supplemented by elements of annalistic historiography (chronicle-writing), a significant tie can be shown to exist between these biographies, particularly the less secular though stylistically more popular Vita of Stephan Nemanja by St. Sava, and the two Charters (chrysobulla) for the Serbian monastery of Hilandar on Mt. Athos, issued by Stephan Nemanja (aided by St. Sava, in 1198-1199) and Stephan the First-Crowned (in 1200-1201), respectively. These Charters were patterned on corresponding Byzantine imperial documents. As was convincingly and in great detail demonstrated in a recent study by S. Hafner, a self-contained ideology, unequivocally making reference to the Nemanja dynasty and characterized by an all-pervasive religious motivation as well as by political realism, is already evident in the first of the two Charters for the Hilandar Monastery. This ideology, with some further literary embellishment, was then incorporated by Stephan the First-Crowned into his, the second Charter and subsequently by St. Sava (probably the co-author of the original Charter of 1198-1199) into his Life of Stephan Nemanja. The fusion by St. Sava of large portions of a charter text (prooemium and narratio) with components of a different nature and origin (monastic legend, laudatio, translatio, i.e., account of the transfer of the remains of a saint or a holy man not yet canonized — here of Stephan Nemanja from the Athonite monastery of Hilandar to the Studenica Monastery in Serbia — historical family or clan tradition, etc.) into an integrated whole was an achievement unprecedented in Slavic writing. [9]



8. On Stephan Nemanja and St. Sava, see most recently I. Dujčev, Bibliotheca Sanctorum, XI (Rome, 1968 [1969]), coll. 522-529 and 1163-1165 (s. vv. SABA and SIMEONE STEFANO NEMANJA, with bibliographical references).


9. See S. Hafner, Studien zur altserbischen dynastischen Historiographie (Munich, 1964), 54-77 ("Herrscherurkunden als Ausgangspunkt und ideeller Kern der altserbischen Herrscherbiographien"); cf. also id., Serbisches Mittelalter, 16 and 31-32. On St. Sava's role in church and cultural history, see, for example, J. Matl, "Der heilige Sawa als Begründer der serbischen Nationalkirche. Seine Leistung und Bedeutung für den Kulturaufbau Europas", in: Südslawische Studien, 32-44. On the artistic motif of Paradise as represented in the Hilandar Charter of Stephan the First-Crowned, St. Sava's Life of Stephan Nemanja, and medieval Serbian miniature painting, see, by way of example, S. Radojčić, "Hilandarska povelja Stefana Prvovenčanog i motiv raja u srpskom minijaturnom slikarstvu", Hilandarski zbornik, 1, G. Ostrogorsky, ed. (Belgrade, 1966), 41-50 (with French résumé). On Sava and his Life of Simeon (Nemanja), see further Stara književnost, 271-305 (articles by P. Popović, M. Panić-Surep, B. Kovačević, and M. Crnjanski, published previously elsewhere). Cf. also D. Pavlović, Iz naše starije književnosti (Sarajevo, 1964), 17-42 ("Sava Nemanjić [Sv. Sava I").





The Life of Prince Vladimir of the Zeta region (by and large corresponding to present-day Montenegro) has until quite recently also been mentioned among the sources of Old Serbian life-writing. This biography is contained in the Latin version of the so-called Chronicle of the Priest of Dioclitia (or Dioclia, Serbian Duklja, an earlier name for Zeta), Letopis popa Dukljanina (also known as Barski rodoslov), which was hitherto believed to represent a translation of a Slavic original written in the 12th century; the part containing the Life of Vladimir allegedly dated even further back, to the 11th century. [10] However, the newest edition of this text by S. Mijušković suggests that we have to do here with a purely fictional literary product rather than with an historical account, that its historical trustworthiness therefore is virtually nil, and that this belletristic piece actually belongs to the late 14th or early 15th, rather than to the 12th century. It is further believed to be the work of only one and not two (or even more) authors as was previously assumed. (Usually one distinguished at least two authors, both referred to as Dukljanin iz Bara : one, supposedly living in the 11th century, also called Zećanin, and the author of the original Life of Prince Vladimir; and a later one, the 12th century writer of the Letopis.) The author of the original Chronicle of the Priest of Dioclitia was, according to Mijušković, definitely a Serb and not a speaker of a Romance dialect writing in Latin. The preserved Latin version must therefore indeed be considered a translation. [11] Thus, if this reversal in chronology and the reassessment of the Letopis popa Dukljanina as an historical document and a work of literature turn out to be correct, it should be eliminated from among the texts considered for the prehistory of Old Serbian biography and rather be viewed as paralleling, in some respects, certain of the late medieval representatives of this genre. The preserved text not being in the vernacular and its origin highly controversial to say the least, it will here be excluded from any further consideration.



10. For a discussion of the Letopis as a possible source for Old Serbian life-writing and of the more advanced culture of littoral Zeta (Diocletia, Duklja) as compared to that of less developed inland Rascia (Raška), see S. Hafner, Studien, 19-20,40-53, and 58. See further also Dj. Sp. Radojičić, Südost-Forschungen XIX (1960), 87-89 and 91-92 (in the paper "Die politischen Bestrebungen in der serbischen mittelalterlichen Geschichtsschreibung", Serbo-Croatian version in Književnost XXXII, 1961,150-161, reprinted in the volume of the author's essays, Tvorci i delà stare srpske književnosti [Titograd, 1963], 317-335).


11. Cf. Letopis popa Dukljanina. Uvod, prevod i komentar: S. Mijušković (Titograd, 1967), esp. 7-120. For the two authors referred to as Dukljanin iz Bara, see further, e.g. Stara književnost,  557.





St. Sava's Žitije of Stephan Nemanja (who assumed the monastic name Simeon, hence also Vita Simeonis), designed to preface the Typicon (tipik) of the Serbian monastery of Studenica, can perhaps still be considered to fall largely within, or at least be closely related to, the genre of hagiography in its popular-narrative variety, in spite of its heterogeneous constituents, its implied dynastic claim, and the fact that Nemanja here — contrary to what is the case in King Stephan's Life of his father — is never referred to as a saint (thus suggesting a pre-canonization date for its recording). By contrast, his older brother's biography of their father, though framed in a heavy, ornate hagiographic-rhetorical style, served primarily a secular purpose, focusing on Stephan Nemanja's worldly rather than on his monastic life. Hagiographic elements and literary devices, among them frequent quotations from the Scriptures and, though more rarely, from the Apocrypha, are abundantly present in the far more elaborate Life of Nemanja by Stephan the First-Crowned and, indeed, play a more prominent role here than in St. Sava's stylistically somewhat more unassuming account of his father's life (cf. also, for example, the enumeration of miracles, partly patterned on those ascribed to St. Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessalonica, and an established hagiographic device). Nonetheless, the first Serbian king's biography of his parental predecessor, with its close-to-life realism and deliberate political historicism very much in the foreground and only superficially veiled by the abstract spiritual wording of hagiography, can, generally speaking, be said to mark the introduction of a more pronounced secular note into Old Serbian biography. Though King Stephan's Vita was probably written a few years later than St. Sava's parallel work, little direct influence of Sava's Vita Simeonis on Stephan's biography could, strange as it may seem, be ascertained. Where such influence exists, it is limited primarily to common elements from the Hilandar Charters, to some shared loci communes, etc. [12]



12. St. Sava's Life of Simeon is believed to have been written, along with the Typicon of the Studenica Monastery, sometime between 1208 and 1217; King Stephan's biography of his father is known to have been completed no later than by June, 1216. On the relationship between the two earlier Vitae of Stephan Nemanja (a third one was subsequently authored by Domentijan, cf. below), see V. Ćorović, "Medjusobni odnošaj biografija Stevana Nemanje", in Svetosavski zbornik, 1 (Belgrade, 1936), 1-40, esp. 8-13. On Stephan the First-Crowned and his Life of Nemanja, see also Stara književnost, 309-315 (reprintings of articles by M. Savković and D. Kostić). For some historical and literary commentaries to Sava's and Stephan's Lives of Nemanja (Simeon), cf. further S. Hafner, Serbisches Mittelalter, 31-34, 68-71, and 131-170.








Subsequently, a third Life of Stephan Nemanja was written by the Hilandar monk Domentijan (completed ca. 1264). In terms of actual biographical data, Domentijan's Life of St. Simeon does not go beyond the Žitije svetoga Simeona by Stephan the First-Crowned, his primary source. However, Domentijan's Vita of the founder of the Nemanja dynasty is considerably longer. The reason for this is that, while King Stephan's biography of his father was also characterized by an ornate style (thus contrasting with Sava's Vita Simeonis), Domentijan's Life of Stephan Nemanja is not only distinguished by the same heavy, ornamental style as its model, but in addition is abounding in a vast number of inserted panegyrical-rhetorical, allegorical, and lyrical passages and amplifications, not to mention the numerous, often lengthy quotations from the Bible. While no doubt having a well-defined stylistic function within medieval learned hagiography (of which this work must essentially be considered a specimen, cf. below), they nevertheless distract the reader (or listener) from the main narrative. Among the biographically irrelevant theological amplifications is the long passage which Domentijan had taken verbatim from the 11th century Kievan Metropolitan Ilarion's famous Slovo o zakoně i blagodati, a panegyrical oration (sermon) in commemoration of St. Vladimir of Kiev. [13] The judgment of the literary qualities of Domentijan's work has, therefore, varied among scholars, ranging from severely critical, so particularly in earlier times, to fairly appreciative, mostly in recent years when the aesthetic as well as theological role of these seemingly extraneous elements of Domentijan's Vita Simeonis has become better understood in the light of their historical context.


More controversial is another biography by Domentijan, a Vita of St. Sava, his teacher (written in 1242-1243 or possibly in 1253-1254; even the dating is uncertain). The learned, ornate style (with many digressions) of this Life is largely the same as in his later Vita Simeonis. In addition to Domentijan's Life of Sava there exists a second biography of the Serbian archbishop by another Hilandar monk, Teodosije, of whom virtually nothing is known. Teodosije's Vita of St. Sava is stylistically quite different from Domentijan's. It is simple and straightforward, without much elaborate amplification and as such continues in Old Serbian biography the other — popular-narrative — vein of Byzantine hagiography, more akin to St. Sava's own Life of his father, Stephan



13. Cf. L. Müller, Des Metropoliten llarion Lobrede auf Vladimir den Heiligen und Glaubensbekenntnis (Wiesbaden, 1962), 39, 49-50, and 104.





Nemanja. While Domentijan's Life of St. Sava, designed, one may surmise, for reading in the sophisticated milieu of the Serbian court, does not seem to have been widely read in subsequent years and centuries, Teodosije's more realistic and naïve account of the chief Serbian saint's life came to enjoy great popularity. In spite of the vastly different styles (and, presumably, underlying theological and political concepts) in the two Lives of St. Sava, a certain number of common features as regards factual information and interpretation can nonetheless be ascertained so that, contrary to what was the case with the two Lives of Stephan Nemanja by St. Sava and Stephan the First-Crowned, it has been assumed that one of the Lives of St. Sava must have served as a model for the other one. Thus the question of priority arose. Against the generally held view that Domentijan's Life predates Teodosije's, objections were raised, for example, by M. Murko as early as in 1908. [14] In recent years a reversal in chronology was suggested by N. Radojčić, and A. Schmaus, too, seemed at one point inclined toward the arguments advocated by Radojčić. [15] However, Dj. Sp. Radojičić and M. Dinić have vigorously argued for the traditional order of priority and Schmaus now seems convinced by their reasoning. [16]





Old Serbian biography enters a new — historiographic, or even chronographic — phase with the appearance of the Lives of Serbian Kings and Archbishops (known also as Carostavnik or Rodoslov, as they were mislabeled in later copies) by Archbishop Danilo II (formerly Abbot of the Hilandar Monastery on Mt. Athos, d. 1337) and his successors. Foremost among these were the anonymous so-called Disciple of Danilo



14. Cf. M. Murko, op. cit., 159.


15. Cf. N. Radojčić, "Dva Teodosija Hilandarca", Glas SAN CCXVIII (1956), 1-27; A. Schmaus, Südost-Forschungen XV (1956), 196.


16. Cf. Dj. Sp. Radojičić, "O starom srpskom književniku Teodosiju", Istor. časopis (SAN), knj. IV (1952-1953), 13-42; M. J. Dinić, "Domentijan i Teodosije", Prilozi za književnost XXV (1959), 5-12; A. Schmaus, "Die literaturhistorische Problematik von Domentijans Sava-Vita", Opera Slavica IV (Vorträge auf dem V. Internationalen Slawistenkongress, Sofia, 1963), (Göttingen, 1963), 121-142, esp. 123. On Domentijan and Teodosije, see further also Stara književnost, 319-380 (articles, partly reprinted, by V. Corović, Dj. Trifunović, G. Subotić; M. Savković, S. Vulović, G. Subotić, D. Kostić). On some parallels between Domentijan's literary style and certain features of medieval Serbian murals, see further also G. Subotić, "Aperçus sur certains traits stylistiques de l'œuvre de Domentijan et de la peinture monumentale du XIIIe siècle", in: L'art byzantin du XIIIe siècle, 125-130.





(author of some additional Vitae, including Danilo's, and compiler of the first Zbornik žitija kraljeva i arhiepiskopa srpskih) and Patriarch Danilo III (also called Danilo the Younger, d. between 1396 and 1399). The literary attitudes of the individual authors of this collection of Lives show considerable variation. Thus, for example, Archbishop Danilo's style, resembling Teodosije's in many respects, generally displays a clear poetic, not to say, lyrical, talent (brought to fruition in his religious poetry) ; the strength of artistic concept and style of his Disciple, on the other hand, lies rather in an ability to render dramatic scenes and in the employment of an even, chronicle-like narrative style. As a whole these Lives of Serbian Kings and Archbishops have been analyzed and discussed most notably by N. Radojčić in the foreword to his 1935 edition of this gallery of Old Serbian portraits. [17] Radojčić has suggested — and his idea has been taken up again by A. Schmaus [18] — that the Lives of Serbian Kings and Archbishops were originally conceived as a consistent whole, that is to say, that they were not combined into a larger unit only at some later date. According to Radojčić, Danilo's Vitae are patterned on an established, largely inflexible design: a theological introduction, followed by the main body, or exposition, containing the historical presentation with some further theological and rhetorical insertions (amplifications), and, finally, a rhetorical conclusion, usually with an account of the miracles ascribed to the protagonist. However, a rigorous definition, in literary terms, of the stylistic and compositional elements making up this specific sub-type of the Old Serbian vita genre has not yet been formulated. Radojćić argues that, while containing components of each : hagiography, historiography, and panegyrical rhetoric (the last perhaps the most stressed, but actually the relatively least important one), the Lives of Danilo and his school cannot reasonably be assigned to any of these three kinds of literature. Though Danilo (for reasons not quite clear) did not include among his Lives those of the founder of the dynasty, Stephan Nemanja, or his sons, it appears that the last Serbian archbishop in writing his series of portrayals of Serbian lay and church



17. Cf. N. Radojčić, "O arhiepiskopu Danilu II i njegovim nastavljačima", foreword to: Arhiepiskop Danilo, Životi kraljeva i arhiepiskopa srpskih (transl. L. Mirković), (Belgrade, 1935), V-XXVIII (reprinted as "Životopisački rad arhiepiskopa Danila II i njegovih nastavljača", in: Stara književnost, 383-401). See further Dj. Sp. Radqjičić, "Arhiepiskop srpski Danilo II" and "Danilov učenik i Danilo Mladji", in : Tvorci i delà stare srpske književnosti, 113-122 (the original versions appeared in Braničevo VI, 1960, 1-7, and Prilozi za književnost jezik, istoriju I folklor XXV, 1959, 80-81, respectively).


18. Cf. N. Radojčić, op. cit., XX-XXII; A. Schmaus, Südost-Forschungen XV (1956), 196-197.





rulers attempted to resume the biographical-dynastic tradition initiated by St. Sava and Stephan the First-Crowned — a tradition from which Domentijan's and even Teodosije's life-writing must be considered a slight deviation (designed as their work was for more purely theological and edificatory purposes). [19]


If Radojčić's interpretation is correct (and it stands to reason that it is), Danilo's and his successors' Lives would mark a gradual withdrawing from hagiography proper and a moving toward secular biography. The overall historiographic-chronological alignment of Serbian princes of State and Church — a duality paralleled in Byzantium by its Emperor-Patriarch relationship subordinated to the concept of 'Caesaropapism' [20] — must have been alien to the essence of hagiography in view of this genre's preference for typification rather than individualization of characters.





In the Lives of Serbian Kings and Archbishops by Danilo II and his successors, Old Serbian biography had reached a point in its development where this medieval Slavic genre, being, as it were, at a crossroads, could turn in one of two directions: either back to its origins (i.e., to hagiography, the paraphernalia of which it had been carrying along, to a large extent, through its gradual secularization) or into wholly secular life-writing serving purely political and historical, but no longer any truly religious purposes. The next major representatives of Old Serbian biography to appear in Serbian literature after a temporary pause were Grigorije (Grigorij) Camblak and Constantine of Kostenec (Konstantin Kostenecki or Kostenečki, also known as "the Philosopher"). Both foreigners to Serbia, victims of the Turkish inundation of the Balkan Slavs (having far-reaching ramifications also in Russia and causing there



19. Generally on the genealogy of the Nemanja dynasty, see, for example, J. Matl, Südslawische Studien, 46-57 ("Genealogie und geschichtliche Leistung des serbischen Königshauses der Nemanjiden"). On the political tendencies in medieval Serbian historiography, see also the above (note 10) quoted article by Dj. Sp. Radojičić, "Die politischen Bestrebungen in der serbischen mittelalterlichen Geschichtsschreibung" and, in particular, the previously mentioned monograph by S. Hafner, Studien zur altserbischen dynastischen Historiographie (cf. note 9).


20. This duality had, with some qualifications, its counterpart also in the West with its shifting balance of power and authority between the Emperor and the Pope within the Holy Roman Empire; cf., in this context, the Catalogus brevispontificum Romanorum et imperatorum, written by the Dominican Bernardus Guidonus, a contemporary of the Serbian Archbishop Danilo II.





a cultural revival known as the Second South Slavic Influence), they mark the turning of medieval Serbian life-writing in precisely the two aforementioned directions: Camblak returned to hagiography, now cast in the spirit of Hesychasm, and Constantine the Philosopher turned toward secular biography (while retaining some of the outward, purely stylistic apparatus of hagiography). [21] Whereas Camblak, however, must be considered an isolated phenomenon without any immediate followers in the biographical genre (at least in his time and in Serbia), [22] Constantine's Vita represents at once the peak and a temporary closing of the fairly consistent line of development (from panegyrical hagiography toward historical, secularized biography) of Old Serbian life-writing. (Subse-



21. On the Second South Slavic Influence in Russia, see, in particular, D. S. Lixačev, "Nekotorye zadači izučenija vtorogo južnoslavjanskogo vlijanija v Rossii", Issledovanija po slavjanskomu literaturovedeniju i fol'kloristike (Moscow, 1960), 95-151; id., Kul'tura Rusi vremeni Andreja Rubleva i Epifanija Premudrogo (Moscow and Leningrad, 1962). Both Camblak and Constantine were spiritual offspring of the neo-Byzantine so-called Trnovo School, headed by the last Bulgarian Patriarch Evtimij (Euthymius, d. ca. 1401-1402). The religious-literary-linguistic doctrine propagated by the Trnovo School made a great impact not only in Bulgaria, but also in Serbia, Walachia-Moldavia, and Russia. It is in this supranational Church-Slavic context that one has to view the hagiographic and homiletic writings of men such as Camblak (Dzamblak, Camvlach), probably a Bulgarized Walachian, active in Bulgaria, Serbia, Russia (where he for a short time became Metropolitan of Kiev and as such attended the Council of Constance!), and Moldavia-Walachia, of Constantine of Kostenec, a Bulgarian who had fled to Serbia, of Kiprian (Kiprijan, Cyprianus), a Bulgarian, Serbianized during an extended stay at Mt. Athos, and a relative of Camblak who had come to Russia (where he, too, became Metropolitan of Kiev), of Paxomij Logofet (Pachomius Logothetes, also called "the Serb"), a Serbian working and writing in Russia. Cf. on some of these writers' role in Old Russian — of, rather, Russian Church-Slavic — literature, for example, D. Čiževskij, History of Russian Literature: From the Eleventh Century to the End of the Baroque (The Hague, 1960), 162-165 and 180-185; A. Stender-Petersen, Geschichte der russischen Literatur, I (Munich, 1957), 172-174 and 179-184. On the residual hagiographic characteristics in Constantine's biography, see K. M. Kujew (Kuev), Konstantyn Kostenecki w literaturze bułgarskiej i serbskiej (Cracow, 1950), 107-109. For an assessment of Kuev's work, see I. Dujčev, Byzsl XIII (1952-1953), 328-334, esp. 332-333 (on the Biography of Stephan Lazarević). Generally on Athonite Hesychasm and its theological (dogmatic) foundation (primarily by Gregory Palamas), cf., for example, S. Vryonis, Byzantium and Europe (London, 1967), 170; for details (with further references), see H.-G. Beck, op. cit. 322-332, 364-368 and 712-798. See Addendum on p. 284.


22. Hagiography being vigorously revived in Russia, Camblak soon had many followers there, foremost among them Epifanij Premudryj (Epiphanius "the Wise"), the author of two masterly Lives of Saints; cf. D. Ciževskij, History, 167-180; A. Stender- Petersen, op. cit., 174-179. In Serbia, Camblak's delayed influence can be traced in hagiography and iconography of subsequent centuries, so, for example, in the work of Zograf Longin (Zographus Longinus, 16th c.) who, inspired by Camblak's Vita, painted a famous icon with scenes from the life of Stephan Dečanski; cf. M. Šakota, "Zograf Longin, slikar i književnik XVI veka", Stara književnost, 533-540.





quent, post-medieval žitija — with the possible exception of the works by the 17th century Patriarch Pajsije Janjevac, especially his Žitije cara Uroša [23] — being less significant both as historical documents and in terms of literary quality, will not be discussed in this paper.) Though differently oriented, worldly rulers appear as heroes both in Camblak's contribution to medieval Serbian life-writing, the Vita of Stephan Dečanski (the father of the famed Serbian king and subsequent 'tsar' Stephan Dušan — never himself the subject of any complete panegyrical biography), [24] and in Constantine's Life of the 'despot' Stephan Lazarević, a ruler of one of the semi-independent Serbian petty states which resulted from the defeat of the Serbs in the battle of Kosovo and a great Maecenas and outstanding man of letters in his own right.


Camblak's Vita of King Stephan Uroš III Dečanski does not rank high as an historical document in comparison with other Old Serbian biographies. The information provided by Camblak, especially concerning the spiritual strife in Constantinople, is not only biased but also inaccurate. On the other hand, his biography is characterized by outstanding literary qualities. It is marked by an almost intimate lyricism



23. On the biographical writing of Pajsije Janjevac, showing an admixture of popular elements, see, for example, Stara književnost, 543-554 (articles by P. Popović and N. Radojčić, previously published elsewhere).


24. There exists only a very incomplete Žitije kralja Dušana by his contemporary, Danilo's anonymous Disciple (incorporated, sometime between 1337 and 1340, in his Zbornik žitija kraljeva i arhiepiskopa srpskih) which covers merely the first few years of Dušan's rule. The fact that no full-length biography of Stephan Dušan was subsequently written can be partly explained by his elevating, in 1346, the Serbian archbishop to the rank of patriarch and proclaiming himself "Tsar (i.e., emperor) of the Serbs and 'Romaians' (Romaioi, i.e., Greeks), of Bulgars and Albanians". Both of these clearly anti-Byzantine acts were resented by the pro-Byzantine Athonite monks, including those of the Serbian Hilandar Monastery, who were located in the sphere of influence of Byzantium and subordinated directly to the Patriarch of Constantinople. Thus, while the political goals and aspirations of the Serbian kings and archbishops from St. Sava to Danilo II had largely coincided with those of the monastic community of the Holy Mountain and the Hilandar Monastery in particular, the latter for all practical purposes being the mouthpiece of the Serbian court in its dynastic and other claims or at least serving in an advisory capacity to the court, this situation suddenly changed when Stephan Dušan challenged Byzantium and prepared to turn against it. As a result, and for some additional, less transparent reasons, the greatest ruler of medieval Serbia has been left without a full-scale panegyrical elaboration of his biography. It should be noted, in this context, that most of the Old Serbian biographers were, at least at some stage of their life, monks at Hilandar (St. Sava, Domentijan, Teodosije, Danilo II). The two last important representatives of this genre, Camblak and Constantine, both foreigners, also spent some time on Mt. Athos. On a beginning theological-political polarization between the Serbian court and the Athonite monks, as possibly reflected in Domentijan's and Teodosije's writings, see below.





and religious feeling rarely encountered in other works of medieval Serbian literature. Moreover, its overall structure and composition testify to its author's thorough literary, indeed, artistic schooling acquired in the Hesychast circles of Trnovo and its new form of Church Slavic literature, now heavily ornate. Camblak's Vita is full of panegyrical rhetoric in the Byzantine vein for his hero, the founder of the Decani Monastery, while it shows rancor toward his son, Stephan Dušan. Here the author's mood seems to reveal his sympathy with the Athonite monks and their superior, the Patriarch of Constantinople (cf. note 24). In addition, it may reflect his attitude toward Dušan's role in the dethroning and later assassination of his father. The Vita also contains a picturesque description of the Decani region and of the construction of the local church, one of the pearls of medieval Serbian architecture. [25]


In contrast, the Life of Stephan Lazarević by Constantine of Kostenec must be considered an historical source of primary importance. These were the times when — after the battle of Kosovo — the Ottoman Turks swamped the Balkans and Constantine's work, therefore, focuses on the history of the Turkish expansion (and on Turkish history in general) while only mentioning in passing Stephan's dealings with his western and northern neighbors, especially Hungary. Since Byzantine history between 1360 and 1420 is rather obscure, the information contained in Constantine's Vita is of particular interest. By and large, Constantine's account is reliable while showing a certain bias for his hero who, as previously mentioned, was not only a skillful political and military leader, successfully maneuvering to achieve a certain degree of independence from his Turkish overlord, but also a personality of great culture and education. As opposed to many previous Serbian rulers, however, he was never canonized, and Constantine's attempts to trace his genealogy back to Emperor Constantine the Great are among the few fantastic, historically unfounded passages in his Life.


Whereas we meet a true dogmatic in Constantine's other major work, his treatise on orthography (Skazanie) interpreting Patriarch Evtimij's teaching in a narrow, formalistic, almost fanatic fashion and urging the



25. For some discussion of the Serbian phase of Camblak's life and work, see, for example, Dj. Sp. Radojičić, "O Grigoriju Camblaku", Glasnik Srp. akad. nauka I (1949), 172-175 (reprinted in his volume Tvorci i dela, 175-182); P. Popović, '"Žitije Stefana Dečanskog' Grigorija Camblaka", a section of the Introduction to: Stare srpske biografije XV i XVII veka. Camblak, Konstantin i Pajsije (transi. L. Mirković), (Belgrade, 1936), XII-XXXVI; and Dj. Trifunović, "Emocionalni mehanizam Camblakovih ličnosti", Delo, knj. VII, sv. 10 (1961), 1214-1222 (both reprinted in: Stara Književnost, 423-446).





fighting of moral decay and heresy by a slavish imitation of Byzantine models, Constantine's Life of Stephan Lazarević shows a mature, balanced and generous man at work. This difference in approach may be only partially explained by the different subject matter and, accordingly, the choice of literary genre. More important, it seems, is the fact that Constantine wrote his orthographic treatise as a young man, while the biography of his patron is the accomplishment of a mature man, experienced in court life and accustomed to associating with political leaders. Thus, as pointed out by Schmaus, [26] we can distinguish two components in Constantine's writings (disregarding in this context his short travel account from the Holy Land): a Bulgarian one, following and reinterpreting the tradition of the Trnovo School, ultimately inspired by Hesychasm, and pleading (in a humanistic spirit, as it were) for a return to the sources of Orthodox Christianity, its Greek originals and the earliest Slavic (Old Church Slavic) texts; and, a Serbian one, a product of his mature political thinking and historical realism for which he could not draw on any examples in the Hesychast, world-renouncing literature of Bulgaria. Though he may have been influenced in this respect by Byzantine secular historiography — a possibility quite plausible in view of Constantine's Greek erudition — his main source of inspiration for the biography of Stephan Lazarević came from his new Serbian milieu: the tradition of Old Serbian life-writing which culminated in his own Vita. Some aspects of Constantine's style and literary technique will be briefly discussed below (see section VIII). [27]



26. Cf. Südost-Forschungen XV (1956), 200-201.


27. On Constantine the Philosopher's life and work (including his treatise on orthography, a narrowly conceived continuation of the linguistic endeavors of the Trnovo School giving rise to its Serbian offshoot, the so-called Resava School), see in particular K. M. Kujew (Kuev), op. cit.; on the Life of Stephan Lazarević, cf. esp. 86-112. Of references listed by Kuev (122-126), see in particular St. Stanojević, "Die Biographie Stefan Lazarević's von Konstantin dem Philosophen als Geschichtsquelle", AfslPh XVIII (1896), 409-472, and Ju. Trifonov, "Život i dejnost na Konstantina Kostenecki", Spisanie BAN LXVI (Sofia, 1943), 223-285. Constantine's Vita is also available in an abridged bilingual (Old Serbian-German) edition: M. Braun, Lebensbeschreibung des Despoten Stefan Lazarević von Konstantin dem Philosophen im Auszug herausgegeben und übersetzt (The Hague and Wiesbaden, 1956). The best modern translation of the Life of Stephan Lazarević is still the one into contemporary Serbocroatian by L. Mirković, in Stare srpske biografije XV i XVII veka (Belgrade, 1936), 43-125, including many new, well-founded interpretations of difficult passages. See further also Stara književnost, 449-479 (articles by P. Popović, Dj. Trifunović, O Nedeljković, I. Grickat-Radulović, published previously elsewhere). On the use of acrostics by Constantine, see Dj. Sp. Radojičić, Südost-Forschungen XVII (1958), 145-146 (in his study "Das Akrostichon in der altserbischen Literatur", Serbian version: "Akrostih u staroj srpskoj književnosti", in Tvorci i dela, 95-101, esp. 96-97); and id., "Završni akrostih kod Konstantina Filozofa, 'prevodnika' i 'učitelja srpskog' ", Letopis Matice srpske 388, 1961, 479-485 (reprinted in: Tvorci i dela, 239-245).








Reference has already been made here to the varying attitudes which historians and literary scholars have held regarding the works of Old Serbian biography. The founder of modern scholarship in the field of South Slavic literature, the Slovak Slavist P. J. Šafarik, was fairly appreciative of St. Sava's and Domentijan's Vitae. On the other hand, he found little literary or historical merit in the biographical portraits by Danilo II and his successors. The general appraisal of medieval Serbian life-writing soon dropped to an all-time low in the estimation of the Russian Slavophiles of the second half of the last century. Their view reflected their own romantic thinking about the Slavic Middle Ages rather than any attempt to gain a deeper understanding of medieval Serbia in the framework of its historical, Byzantine-Balkan context. Typical of this attitude were, for example, the statements of A. F. Gil'ferding, a well-known Slavist and folklorist, who as Russian consul in Sarajevo had an opportunity to study medieval Serbian writings at first hand. Using his own moral standards, Gil'ferding condemned as hypocritical the religious zeal of the Old Serbian biographers when they praised as saints many a cold-blooded criminal whose frightful deeds they did not hesitate to describe, stunning their readers (and listeners) with information such as the following: "And after this pious King Uroš [viz., Stephan Uroš II Milutin] had blinded his beloved son Stephan..." or "This pious King Uroš [viz., Stephan Uroš III Dečanski] felt hatred for his beloved son and instead of surrounding him with great love he began to hate him unto death", etc.


A change of attitude toward a more positive appraisal of the Old Serbian vitae can first be found in the History of Serbian Literature (Istorija sprske književnosti, 1871) by St. Novaković. Approaching medieval historical consciousness from the position of European Late Romanticism, this scholar recognized in Old Serbian biography a rare (for the Middle Ages) instance of individualized historiography. It is worth noting here that the great Serbian philologist Dj. Daničić, the first to publish a number of medieval Serbian texts in scholarly editions of highest quality by contemporary standards, refrained — following the example of his teacher F. Miklosich — from any lengthy comments regarding the overall level of Old Serbian literature. Still, it is known





that Daničić was of the opinion that the quality of Old Serbian writing (and, for that matter, of the moral fiber of the Nemanja state) declined as the power of medieval Serbia increased and its territory expanded.


By and large a rather reserved, if not negative, view of Old Serbian biography was taken by another of Miklosich's students, the internationally renowned Croatian Slavist V. Jagić. While initially favoring St. Sava's simple, unassuming language as compared to the ornate style of subsequent biographers, he later preferred the Life of Simeon (Nemanja) by Stephan the First-Crowned to Sava's because of the longer biography's greater wealth of data and its relatively lucid presentation. Jagić considered Domentijan's Vitae vastly overrated by Šafarik but saw at least some historical merit in Danilo's and his Disciple's work, and recognized Camblak's style as more vivid and flowery. He showed little appreciation for Constantine of Kostenec, finding his Life of Stephan Lazarević overly stilted and burdened with learning. In general, Jagić felt that Old Serbian literature was much too heavily dependent on Byzantine models and that, in this respect, it compared poorly with Old Russian writing, especially with the kind of historiography found in the so-called Nestor Chronicle.


In the beginning of this century, yet another of Miklosich's former students, the Slovene M. Murko, in his History of Early South Slavic Literature (Geschichte der älteren südslawischen Litteraturen, 1908) went a step further in depreciating the value and significance of the "original religious and secular literature" of medieval Serbia, echoing and, indeed, quoting the pertinent views of Russian Slavophiles (Golubinskij, Gil'ferding). In addition to reproaching the Old Serbian panegyrical writers for their monastic exclusiveness, their lack of historicism, and their verbosity — all closely following Byzantine patterns — Murko, like Gil'ferding before him, decried their hypocrisy as one of the worst outgrowths of Byzantinism among the Slavs.


The definite turning point, marking a new and more just assessment of Old Serbian biography, came in 1910 when the outstanding Serbian literary historian P. Popović, taking up some of Novaković's earlier ideas, first published his Survey of Old Serbian Literature (Pregled stare srpske književnosti, with many subsequent editions). In this work the hagiographic-historiographic vitae — along with their companions, the panegyrical encomia (Serbian pohvale) — were singled out as occupying a special place in Old Serbian writing and their particular literary merits as well as their importance as historical documents were emphasized. Only now, inspired by Popović's work and the writings of K. Jireček in the field of Serbian history, did one begin to fully realize the necessity





for a close philological and literary scrutiny of the Old Serbian texts based on new critical editions. The numerous studies of Old Serbian biography by scholars such as V. Corović, N. Radojčić, V. Mošin, Dj. Sp. Radojičić, D. Pavlović, I. Dujčev, and others, supplemented in more recent years by some important contributions from West European, particularly Austrian and German, specialists such as A. Schmaus, D. Tschižewskij, J. Matl, and S. Hafner, have shed new light and brought about a better understanding not only of many of the intricate details of Old Serbian life-writing, but also of its overall significance and place in early Serbian history and civilization as these relate both to Byzantium and the rest of the Slavic world. [28]


Of literature published after 1960, Hafner's two books, his dissertation Studien and his annotated translation Serbisches Mittelalter (both quoted above), are of considerable significance. In particular, focusing on St. Sava, Stephan the First-Crowned, and Danilo II and his successors while paying less attention to Domentijan and Teodosije and virtually ignoring Camblak and Constantine of Kostenec, his dissertation seeks to elucidate the intellectual and historical background of the genesis of the Old Serbian Lives. It traces their ideological core to the Charters issued by the Serbian rulers for the foundation of various monasteries (Hilandar, Studenica, Decani, etc.), and elaborates subsequently on the stereotyped themes (topoi) and motifs of the investigated texts. Important also among more recent studies is an article by M. I. Mulić, examining primarily the style of Domentijan, Teodosije, and Danilo and his school. [29] Mulić's attempt to explain, at least in part, the abundant use of quotations from the Scriptures in Domentijan as an expression of the medieval Serbian monk's presumed wish to influence the Serbian King Uroš I toward closer ties with Byzantium and the Patriarch of Constantinple rather than with Hungary, Venice, and the Pope may seem less con-



28. For a detailed account, with bibliographical documentation, of the appraisal of Old Serbian biography by modern scholarship (beginning with Šafarik and until ca. 1960), see S. Hafner, Studien, 1-9, on which the preceding brief survey is based. Cf. now also the integrated treatment of South Slavic literature of the Late Middle Ages by D. Tschižewskij (Čiževskij), Vergleichende Geschichte der slavischen Literaturen, I (Berlin, 1968), 62, 66-69, 81-85 (with, unfortunately, some factual errors: listing Paxomij under Bulgaria, 62; giving incorrect death dates for Sava and Stephan the First-Crowned, 67; and attributing the passage from Ilarion to the Life of Nemanja by Stephan the First-Crowned instead of to the one by Domentijan, 69). Of other work on Old Serbian life-writing by scholars mentioned here, cf. above.


29. See M. I. Mulič (Mulić), "Serbskie agiografy X1II-XIV vv. i osobennosti ix stilja", in: Literaturnye svjazi drevnix slavjan (Leningrad, 1968) (= TODRL XX111), 127-142.





vincing. [30] Similar reservations could be voiced against his emphasis on a political-ideological motivation for Teodosije's writings, among them his Vita of Sava. In the bulk of his paper, however, Mulić persuasively argues the reasons for choosing a seemingly stilted style (including the frequent recourse to biblical parallels and associations), suggestive of symbolical and equivocal interpretations and raising the level of discourse from the concrete and earth-bound to the abstract, general, and eternal — a characteristic of medieval literature (and folklore) previously pointed out in respect to the Byzantine-Slavic domain, for example, by V. P. Adrianova-Peretc. [31] Moreover, Mulić sees the biographers' use of panegyrical devices when describing their largely "negative heroes", as a means of overcoming or at least mollifying — by the formal beauty and loftiness of presentation — the shocking impact their frequently criminal acts would otherwise have on the reader (or listener). The obscure language of these biographies, full of allegories, implied similes, and circumlocutions (not unlike the kenningar of Icelandic literature, but, naturally, having their immediate models in Byzantine rhetoric as seen also in the many direct loan translations, particularly of complex notions and terms), added to the emotional-religious charge intended by their authors. Perhaps the most important result of Mulić's study, however, is the realization that the much-discussed stylistic device of so-called word-weaving (pletenie sloves), extremely popular in Russia during the Second South Slavic Influence (cf., for example its sophisticated utilization by Epifanij Premudryj) and generally believed to have originated, on Slavic soil, in Bulgaria — specifically, in the Hesychast Trnovo School of Patriarch Evtimij — actually can be found in full bloom already some hundred years earlier in Serbia where, of course, it had developed by imitation of Byzantine examples. [32] In this connection, one should not



30. Mulić has counted a total of 482 such quotations in Domentijan, whereof 268 instances in the Life of Sava, as compared to Teodosije's 139 and a total of 463 in the Zbornik by Danilo II et al. All these figures are unmatched in the preceding as well as following course of Old Serbian biography. For further details on biblical quotations in Old Serbian literature, see St. Stanojević and D. Glumac, Sv. Pismo u našim starim spomenicima (Belgrade, 1932).


31. See V. P. Adrianova-Peretc, Očerki poetičeskogo stilja drevnej Rusi (Moscow, 1947), 9 and 11. Cf., for West and Central European literature, also E. R. Curtius, Europäische Literatur und lateinisches Mittelalter. 3rd ed. (Bern, 1961), 469-470 ("Dichtung als Verewigung").


32. On the direct influence of Serbian hagiography (biography) on Old Russian literature, cf. also A. V. Solov'ev, TODRL XVII (1961), 94-95, where the Slovo o žitii i prestavlenii velikago knjazja Dimitrija Ivanoviča, carja rusьskago is ascribed to Epifanij Premudryj and considered to be patterned on the Vita of Simeon (Nemanja) by Stephan the First-Crowned. On the Old Russian work, sec also D. Čiževskij, History, 191-192, and, in particular, A. Stender-Petersen, op. cit., 160, 177-179, and 191, where, too, Epifanij is conjectured to be the author of the biography of Dmitrij Donskoj.





underestimate the influence in Russia of the Serbian component of the Athonite monastic community (that is, primarily of the Hilandar Monastery), in addition to the influence coming from Serbia directly. [33] It ought to be added that a similar re-evaluation of Domentijan's style as that offered by Mulić was also suggested somewhat earlier by A. Schmaus. [34]





While it is easy to point to Byzantine models in general as sources for the language, style, structure, and compositional makeup of the Old Serbian biographies (not to speak of their underlying dynastic-dogmatic ideology), it is difficult, if not impossible, to single out any particular works of Byzantine hagiography or historiography which have been directly imitated in, or can be considered more closely related to, individual vitae, written in medieval Serbia or at the Hilandar Monastery. This should not surprise us, however, if we recall that, while continuing the literary traditions of Byzantine hagiography and historiography (the latter especially in its smaller formats), the Old Serbian Lives of rulers and princes of the Church are not merely reworked Byzantine literary patterns but ORIGINAL works of art. (The meaning of 'original' in its medieval context, as we have seen, was less rigidly interpreted than it is in its modern sense and cannot be equated with 'fully independent'.) [35]



33. Notice the fact that of the South Slavs winding up in Russia some, like Paxomij Logofet, were Serbians while others, being Bulgarians (or, in the case of Camblak, probably a Bulgarized Walachian), had been exposed to strong Serbian influences (so, for example, Kiprian). On the role of Mt. Athos among the Orthodox Slavs, see, in particular, I. Dujčev, "Le Mont Athos et les Slaves au Moyen âge", in: Le millénaire du Mont Athos (963-1962). Études et mélanges, II (Venice-Chevetogne, 1964), 121-144 (reprinted in: Medioevo bizantino-slavo, I, 487-510); id., "Centry vizantijsko-slavjanskogo obščenija i sotrudničestva", in : Russkaja literatura XI-XVII vekov sredi slavjanskix literatur (Moscow-Leningrad, 1963) (= TODRL XIX), 107-129, esp. 121-126. For the early relations between Mt. Athos, Kievan Russia, and Serbia, see also V. Mošin, "Russkie na Afone i russko-vizantijskie otnošenija v XI-XII vv.", Byzsl IX (1947), 55-85; XI (1950), 32-60; id., "O periodizacii russko-južnoslavjanskix literaturnyx svjazej X-XV vv.", in: Russkaja literatura... (= TODRL XIX), 28-106, esp. 62-63 and 73-74 (Serbo-Croatian version in Slovo 11/12, 1962, 13-130).


34. Cf. A. Schmaus, "Die literaturhistorische Problematik...", loc. cit., esp. 129-138 (for full reference, see note 16).


35. On the common use of 'borrowing' and 'echoing' in medieval Slavic hagiography, cf., for example, D. Čyževskyj (Čiževskij), "Anklänge an die Gumpoldlegcnde des hl. Vaclav in der altrussischen Legende des hl. Feodosij und das Problem der 'Originalität' der slavischen mittelalterlichen Werke", WslJb 1 (1950), 71-86, esp. 75-76 and 80.





Also, the further Old Serbian biography moves away from typified hagiography toward individualized secular biography (while subliming the individual traits of its heroes) the more remote were the possibilities of simply taking over — mostly from Byzantine literature — stereotyped themes and motifs (topoi, loci communes). Since, however, a certain amount of hagiographic paraphernalia followed Old Serbian life-writing throughout its development, there was always an opportunity of resorting to some such clichés in the same way as the medieval author would usually amplify his vita with quotations from the Holy Writ, particularly the Psalter. [36]


Perhaps most apparent is the connection between the early phase of Old Serbian biography and certain kinds of Byzantine literature. Thus, as was mentioned above, St. Sava's Vita Simeonis, written as an introduction to the Typicon of the Studenica Monastery, in its ideological core and stylistic wording can be traced back to the first Charter of the Hilandar Monastery, co-authored by Sava. With some qualifications this can also be said to apply to the Nemanja biography by Stephan the First-Crowned. The first Hilandar Charter (as well as its revision, the second Charter of 1200-1201, issued by Stephan the First-Crowned), while generally referring to the particulars of the Serbian monastic foundation on Mt. Athos, is patterned on the Byzantine imperial documents (chrysobulla) serving the same purpose. [37] Notice, incidentally, that the Typica for Hilandar and Studenica also followed a Byzantine model, namely the Typicon of the Euergetis (Benefactress) Monastery in Constantinople. [38]


In a stimulating study, I. P. Eremin has argued that the Byzantine impact on Early Bulgarian (9th-11th c.) and Old Russian (11th-12th c.) literature was largely limited to the writings of Early Christian Byzantine authors, primarily to the patristic literature of the 2nd through 6th centuries, and at any rate to the pre-Metaphrastic period in Byzantine hagio-



36. Cf. V. Mošin, Russkaja literatura... (= TODRL XIX), 87-91 (in his study "O periodizacii russko-južnoslavjanskix literaturnyx svjazej X-XV vv."); M. I. Mulić, op. cit., 136-137 (with references).


37. Cf. A. Solovjev, Hilandarska povelja velikog župana Stefana (Prvovenčanog) iz godine 1200-1202, in: Prilozi za knjiž., jez., ist. i folkl. 5 (1925), 62-89; V. Mošin and A. Solovjev, Grčke povelje srpskih vladara (Belgrade, 1936). See further S. Hafner, Studien, 54-77.


38. See S. Hafner, op. cit., 65 (with note 73). On the Byzantine Typica, cf. K. Krumbacher, op. cit., 314-319. See further in particular also A. Dmitrievskij, Opisanie liturgičeskix rukopisej, xranjaščixsja v bibliotekah pravoslavnago Vostoka. T. I : Τυπικά. Č. 1-ja (Kiev, 1895); T. III (1-ja polovina): Τυπικά, Č. II. (Petrograd, 1917) (photomechanic reprint: Hildesheim, 1965).





graphy. [39] While not necessarily true for all genres of Old Russian literature, Eremin's contention seems, in fact, to be accurate as regards hagiography. [40] It applies also to Early Bulgarian, i.e., to Old Church Slavic, writing of the 9th-11th centuries. Byzantine hagiography of the Metaphrastic and post-Metaphrastic kind seems to have flourished in Bulgaria only in the Second Bulgarian Empire, in other words from the end of the 12th century, after a period of intensive Byzantinization. In Russia the new hagiography of Byzantium made headway only during the Second South Slavic Influence, primarily through Bulgarian and Serbian literati and their Russian followers (cf. notes 21 and 22, above).


Compared to this, medieval Serbian biography of the 13th-15th centuries, with its roots in hagiography and largely retaining the characteristics of this genre, was, no doubt, influenced by earlier, pre-Metaphrastic as well as recent (11th-12th c.) and contemporary (13th-15th a), post-Metaphrastic Byzantine hagiography. [41] Moreover, the historiographic component of Old Serbian life-writing could draw on the chronographic tradition of Byzantine literature. Thus, many of the much-read Byzantine chronicles, both older ones (such as those by John Malalas, 6th c., representing the popular monastic chronicle genre; Georgius Monachus, called "Hamartolus", 9th c. ; Symeon Magistrus and Logothetes, most probably identical with Metaphrastes, 10th c.) or more recent ones (e.g., the chronicles by Constantine Manasses or John Zonaras, both 12th c.) were or soon became available in Church Slavic translations and adaptations, some of which are also preserved in Serbian recensions (Hamartolus, Zonaras). [42] It can be shown that parallels for



39. Cf. "O vizantijskom vlijanii v bolgarskoj i drevnerusskoj literaturax IX-XII w." (1963), reprinted in: I. P. Eremin, Literatura drevnej Rusi (Étjudy i xarakteristiki) (Moscow-Leningrad, 1966), 9-17. For some criticism of Eremin's views, see esp. D. S. Lixačev, Oxford Slavonic Papers, XIII (1967), 21-23 (in his paper "The Type and Character of the Byzantine Influence on Old Russian Literature", loc. cit., 14-32, containing many other important observations and considerations as well). On Symeon Metaphrastes, (active, as we now know, in the 10th century) and his reform of hagiography, see K. Krumbacher, op. cit., 200-203; H.-G. Beck, op. cit., 570-575.


40. Echoes of Symeon Metaphrastes can be found, for example, as early as in the homiletic writings of the 12th century Russian preacher and poet Cyril of Turov (Kiril Turovskij); see A. Stender-Petersen, op. cit., 56. On Early Old Russian hagiography, not yet influenced by Metaphrastes, see ibid., 65-67.


41. For some exemplification of Metaphrastes' influence on medieval Serbian life- writing, see M. I. Mulić, op. cit., 135-136.


42. For a discussion of the Byzantine chroniclers and their works, see K. Krumbacher, op. cit., 319-408. Generally, on the Church Slavic versions of Byzantine chronicles, see M. Weingart, Byzanské kroniky v literatuře církevneslovanské, I-II (Bratislava, 1922-1923). Cf. also Ju. Trifonov, "Vizantijskite xroniki v cărkovnoslavjanskata knižnina", Izv. na Istor. druž. v Sofija, VI (1924), 163-181.





some semantic nuances, encountered in Old Serbian biographies and reflecting an historical-political differentiation of concepts, exist in such Church Slavic versions of Byzantine chronicles. [43]


In addition to chronicle-writing, another kind of Byzantine historiography can also be assumed to have influenced Old Serbian biography. The genre of secular biography was resumed in Byzantium in the 10th century after a long eclipse suffered in the beginning of the medieval period when the Christian saint became the only hero deserving of a panegyrical treatment. As was mentioned above (see note 1), Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus with the biography of his grandfather, Emperor Basilius I, revived and set the pattern for a genre which in the West had been reintroduced — resuming the tradition of Suetonius' biographies of Roman emperors — more than a century earlier by Einhart's Vita Karoli Magni. [44] The Byzantine Lives of Emperors, full, to be sure, of Christian connotations and mostly integrated into larger historiographic works (and therefore not identified by Krumbacher as a separate genre), were bound to have considerable impact also on the development of historical-biographical writing in medieval Serbia (including Hilandar). Among such works should be mentioned, for example, the biographical accounts found in the History of Byzantine Emperors known as Theophanes Continuatus (or Scriptores post Theophanem) covering the period 813 to 961-963, where the literary characteristics of life-writing, however, are not particularly prominent. More clearly biographical features can be ascertained in Anna Comnena's work Alexias, the life story of her father, Emperor Alexius Comnenus (d. 1118), supplementing her husband's, Nicephorus Bryennius', "historical material" (ὕλη ἱστορίας) on largely the same subject matter (accounting for the time up to 1079). [45] A



43. Cf., for example, the stereotyped "peace and quiet" theme in Sava's Life of Nemanja: mirь i tišinu vъsprïem'šu vl[a]d[i]čistvu ego (similarly already in the two Hilandar Charters, with tixost instead of tišina in the earlier Charter), corresponding to the same formula in Hamartolus: vъ mirě i tixosti = ἐν εἰρήνῃ καὶ γαλήνῃ; see S. Hafner, Studien, 89-93.


44. On Constantine's Life of Basilius, see K. Krumbacher, op. cit., 253, and, in particular, P. J. Alexander, op. cit. See further Gy. Moravcsik, Byzantinoturcica, I, 2nd ed. (Berlin, 1958), 380. In general on the revival of secular biography, see also N. W. Ingham, op. cit., 181-182 (with references to further literature). For information on Einhart and his Life of Charlemagne, cf., for example, K. Langosch, Die deutsche Literatur des lateinischen Mittelalters in ihrer geschichtlichen Entwicklung (Berlin, 1964), 16-17.


45. On Theophanes Continuatus, see K. Krumbacher, op. cit., 347-349 ; cf. further also, e.g., Gy. Moravcsik, op. cit., 540-544 (with references). On the models of this historiographic work, see R. J. H. Jenkins, "The Classical Background of the Scriptores post Theophanem", Dumbarton Oaks Papers, 8 (1954), 11-30. On Nicephorus Bryennius' and Anna Comnena's writings, cf. K. Krumbacher, op. cit., 271-279.





detailed study of these Byzantine-Serbian influences is, however, yet to be undertaken.


Finally, when discussing Byzantine influences on Old Serbian biography, it should also be stressed that this literary genre be viewed in the framework of its specific Balkan cultural setting which, in turn, was largely determined by a Byzantine popular tradition as regards the worship of saints. [46] As opposed to the Serbs and to some other Slavic peoples (Czechs, Russians) as well as to the nearby Hungarians, the Bulgarians — the most Byzantinized of all the Slavs — did not have a tradition of worshiping any of their rulers (or members of the ruling house) as Christian saints. Consequently, medieval Bulgarian literature does not have any dynastic hagiographies or legends. [47]





Byzantine literature was not the only source to provide Old Serbian life-writing with patterns, thematic as well as stylistic, to be translated and embodied or imitated by the Serbian biographers. The Bible and, though to a lesser degree, the Apocrypha of the Eastern Church have already been mentioned as widely used reservoirs of quotations and metaphors. No less important as a model for the Old Serbian Lives was the tradition of the vita genre as it already existed in Slavic literature at the time of the beginnings of Serbian biography. In this context, it must



46. Cf. S. Hafner, Studien, 27-40. Among elements of such a Balkan-Byzantine popular tradition connected with the worship of saints (and its literary expression in hagiography) Hafner mentions in particular the so-called translatio (i.e., transfer of the remains of a saint, usually preceded by the elevatio; cf. the transfer of Nemanja's remains from Hilandar to Studenica) and the specification of important saints as being so-called 'oil saints'. Examples of these are St. Demetrius of Thessalonica, Stephan Nemanja (cf. the account of the first miracle after his death in the Vita by Stephan the First-Crowned), St. John (Ivan) of Rila, and also St. Stephen of Hungary. To be sure, many of these religious patterns, while occurring in the Balkans and in Byzantium, were not limited to this particular area or only to the Eastern Church.


47. Cf. S. Hafner, Studien, 26; N. K. Gudzij, Issledovanija po slavjanskomu literaturovedeniju i fol’kloristike, 30-31 (in his 1958 Moscow Congress paper "Literature Kievskoj Rusi i drevnejšie inoslavjanskie literatury"). That the Bulgarian tsar Peter (d. 969) was not made the subject of a panegyrical vita in spite of his canonization may have to do with his poor political-military performance and the approaching end of the First Bulgarian Empire. Addendum : I am indebted to Prof. I. Dujčev for drawing my attention to some traces in Early Bulgarian writing of a cult of Tsar Peter which could suggest the existence of a vita, now lost, of this canonized ruler. Likewise, there may perhaps have existed a vita of St. David, the martyred brother of the West Bulgarian (Macedonian) tsar Samuil (d. 1014). Cf. I. Dujčev, Medioevo bizantino-slavo, II (Rome, 1968), 207-223 ( = Südost-Forschungen XIX 119601, 71-86), esp. 217-218.





again be emphasized that in the Middle Ages the literary — or, rather, literate — segment of the Slavs, to the extent it was oriented toward religion and its institutions, was unified, as it were, in one large, supranational community, using Church Slavic in only slightly varying adaptations. And when the local recensions of Church Slavic threatened to grow apart too much, as a result of increasing adaptation to the various Slavic vernaculars, the linguistic reform of Patriarch Evtimij's Trnovo School (carried to its extreme, in Serbia, by Constantine the Philosopher's Resava School) was designed to 'purify' and, in fact, reunify and standardize the literary vehicle of all the Orthodox Slavs. [47a] Thus, it is not by accident that Church Slavic writers such as Kiprian, Camblak, Constantine of Kostenec, or Paxomij Logofet were able to continue their literary activities virtually unhampered by any linguistic barrier when moving from one Slavic country to another. (Cf. the similar international role of Latin literature in the Roman Catholic part of medieval Europe). As pointed out by R. Jakobson, Constantine of Kostenec "grasped perfectly the international nature of his tongue which could not be identified with either the Bulgarian or Serbian vernaculars". [48] Under such circumstances, it was only natural if medieval Serbian biographers would turn for models to the body of existing Church Slavic vitae, themselves largely patterned on Byzantine writing.


Highest among the Church Slavic vitae rank, no doubt, the so-called Pannonian legends of Constantine and Methodius. While earlier held to be translations of Greek originals, they are today considered by most scholars (including the present writer) original works of early Slavic literature. [49] Although the two Vitae technically can be classified as hagiographic works (since both brothers were canonized), they are more correctly labeled semi-secular biographies. For while praising the Thessalonian brothers in the panegyric vein and siding with them in relating cases of controversy (cf. Constantine's disputations and Methodius' conflict with the German clergy), they contain a wealth of factual, historical information without any attempt at typification. [50] A sizable amount of research has already gone into analyzing the Lives of Constantine and Methodius, in particular regarding their literary and stylistic



47a. Cf., however, the recent reassessment of Evtimij's reform referred to in the Addendum to note 21, below.


48. Cf. Harvard Slavic Studies I (1953), 49.


49. Cf. F. Grivec, op. cit., 246-251; H. Birnbaum, Cyrillo-Methodiana. Zur Frühgeschichte des Christentums hei den Slaven, 863-1963, M. Hellmann et al., ed. (Cologne- Graz, 1964), 331-332 (in: "Zur Sprache der Methodvita", 329-361).


50. Cf. H. Birnbaum, op. cit., 333 (with note 7).





quality as well as their historical background. [51] Of the two, the Vita Constantini, ascribed by some to Methodius (earlier also to Clement of Ohrid), is the longer — in spite of the much shorter life span of Constantine compared to that of his brother — and contains a great number of amplifications, and stylistically and theologically, but not biographically, motivated digressions. While there is every indication that the anonymous author of the Vita Methodii knew the Vita Constantini and utilized it for his own account of the older brother's accomplishments, the Life of Methodius is marked by greater terseness, thus bringing it one step closer to secular biography. Some scholars, R. Picchio for example, have been disturbed by the heavy hagiographic apparatus of the Vita Constantini and therefore, from a literary viewpoint, placed the shorter of the two Pannonian legends above the longer one. However, there can be no doubt that the more learned and complex Vita Constantini, too, has great artistic merit and deserves to be ranked among the most precious pieces of early Slavic literature.


It is not merely a theoretical assumption but can indeed by substantiated that the Old Church Slavic prototypes of the vita genre have actually influenced Old Serbian biography. [52] Thus, to give just one example, God's plan of salvation for mankind, mentioned at the beginning of the Vita Constantini (ch. 1) and also early in the Vita Methodii (ch. 2), is paraphrased in the introduction to St. Sava's Vita Simeonis, as is already the case in the second Hilandar Charter by Stephan the First-Crowned. Further, the translatio account in the so-called Chersonese legend,



51. Cf., in addition to previous references and adducing only a selection of some of the more important contributions, N. v. Wijk, "Zur sprachlichen und stilistischen Würdigung der altkirchenslavischen Vita Constantini", Südost-Forschungen VI (1941), 74-102; id., "Zur Rekonstruktion des Urtextes der altkirchenslavischen Vita Constantini", ZfslPh XVII (1941), 268-284; I. Dujčev, "Zur literarischen Tätigkeit Konstantins des Philosophen", BZ XLIV (1951, Dölger Festschrift), 105-110; R. Picchio, "Compilazione e trama narrativa nelle 'Vite' di Costantino e Metodio", Ricerche Slavistiche VIII (1960), 61-95; P. Lytwyn, Die literarische Gattung der Vita Methodii. Eine Untersuchung zur altchristlichen Literaturgeschichte (Vienna, 1961); V. Vavřinek, "Staroslověnské životy Konstantina a Metoděje a panegyriky Rehoře z Nazianzu", LF LXXXV (1962), 96-122; id., Staroslověnské životy Konstantina a Metoděje (Prague, 1963) (with a detailed analysis of the relationship of the two Vitae to Byzantine hagiography, 15-29); B. Panzer, "Die Disputationen in der aksl. Vita Constantini", ZfslPh XXXIV (1968), 66-88 (with a discussion of its hagiographic background, 67-70); G. Wytrzens, "Zum Stil der Vita Constantini", Cyrillo-Methodianische Fragen, Slavische Philologie und Altertumskunde, F. Zagiba, ed. (Wiesbaden, 1968), 43-50. Cf. also the new edition by F. Grivec and F. Tomšič, Constantinus et Methodius. Fontes (Zagreb, 1960).


52. Cf. S. Hafner, Serbisches Mittelalter, 132, n. 9; id., Studien, 29, n. 58, 58-59 (with note 31), 79.





written by St. Constantino in Greek, but soon rendered into Old Church Slavic [53] and reflected in the account of the transfer of the remains of St. Clement in the Vita Constantini, seems to have influenced the Vitae of Stephan Nemanja by St. Sava and Stephan the First-Crowned. [54]


The Old Church Slavic literary tradition, originally centered in the Slavic West (Moravia, Pannonia), was carried on in Bulgarian Macedonia, with its focal point in Ohrid from where, in all probability, it radiated into the nearby Serbian territories (Zeta, Rascia). Some residue of it existed perhaps also in Serbia proper; cf. the vestiges of linguistic Serbisms in some 'classical' Old Church Slavic texts (Glagolita Clozianus, Codex Marianus), conceivably suggesting that these manuscripts were copied somewhere in the Macedonian-Serbian border area. An early offshoot of this tradition, not without significance for Serbian Church Slavic writing, can also be found in littoral Croatia (Dalmatia) where it subsequently rallied in what has become known as Croatian Glagolitism. [55] Also in Bohemia, Church Slavic liturgy and letters seem to have survived until the closing of the Sázava Monastery in 1097, possibly without any interruption of the Cyrillo-Methodian tradition. [56] Having been firmly rooted in the Ohrid Center, Church Slavic writing was soon introduced also in the eastern part of Bulgaria, primarily in Preslav. From Bulgaria, as well as from Bohemia-Moravia, Church Slavic literature spread to Kievan Russia where the Cave Monastery (Kievo-Pečerskaja Lavra) became its first stronghold.



53. The two extant Slavic copies are late, dating from the 16th c.


54. Cf. S. Hafner, Studien, 31-34. On the "Chersonese legend", see F. Grivec, op. cit., 223 and 253. The relevant information of the "Chersonese legend" was incorporated also in the Latin account of St. Constantine's life, the so-called Italic legend (Vita cum translatione S. Clementis); on this source, see F. Grivec, op. cit., 254-255. In addition to drawing on the "Chersonese legend", the translatio account of the Nemanja Vitae has also introduced material from a similar Balkan Slavic account, that of John of Rila (Ivan Rilski), extant in several variants.


55. Cf., of recent treatments, for example, J. Hamm, "Vom kroatischen Typus des Kirchenslavischen", WsUb, Österr. Beitr. z. V. Internat. Slavistenkongr. (Sofia, 1963) (Graz-Cologne, 1963), 11-39; S. Graciotti, "Un episodio dell'incontro tra Oriente e Occidente: la letteratura e il rito glagolitico croato", Gesch. d. Ost- u Westkirche in ihren wechselseit. Beziehungen, F. Zagiba, ed. (Wiesbaden, 1967), 67-79.


56. Cf. M. Weingart, Československý typ cirkevnej slovančiny (Bratislava, 1949); F. Grivec, op. cit., 185-191; D. Tschižewskij, "Kirchenslavische Literatur bei den Westslaven", Cyrillo-Methodianische Fragen..., 13-28; J. Kadlec, "Das Vermächtnis der Slavenapostel Cyrill und Method im böhmischen Mittelalter", ibid., 103-137. Against the supposition of an uninterrupted Cyrillo-Methodian tradition in Bohemia and favoring, rather, an assumption of close ties between the Sázava Monastery and Kievan Russia, see I. Boba, "The Monastery of Sázava: The Problem of Methodian Continuity in Bohemia" (chapter in a forthcoming book). Cf. now also id., Moravia's History Reconsidered: A Reinterpretation of Medieval Sources (The Hague, 1971), 152-153.





Hagiography was practiced, though probably not very intensely, in Macedonia and East Bulgaria. There exists a Slavic Life of St. Naum (in several textual variants) and we can also assume that a Vita of St. Clement of Ohrid was originally written in Slavic, though only a Greek version of his Life (known as the "Bulgarian legend") has been preserved. [57] However, the Bulgarian type of Lives of Saints seems in general not to have set the pattern for Old Serbian life-writing, presumably because, as was already mentioned, we know of no early Bulgarian vitae combining the purely hagiographic aspect with a dynastic-political (and hence, secular) message. Still, as we have seen, individual, stereotyped features may have been borrowed, for example, from the Life of St. John (Ivan) of Rila by the Serbian biographers of Stephan Nemanja (cf. the translatio account or the 'oil saint' motif); or it is conceivable that such popular elements, while found also in Bulgarian hagiography, but being commonly encountered throughout the Byzantine-Balkan area (and, in fact, not limited to that particular region of Christianity), may have found their way into medieval Serbian life-writing. For examples of a fusion of hagiographic (or homiletic) and dynastic-political components, however, the authors of the Serbian vitae had to turn, within the Slavic domain, to works of Old Czech and, in particular, Old Russian literature, written in the respective recensions of Church Slavic.


In Bohemia of the 10th-11th centuries, hagiography seems to have been flourishing both in Latin and in the Czech recension of Church Slavic. Of particular interest for us are the Lives of Prince Wenceslaus (Václav, martyred 929). Two Slavic versions of the Vita of this saint, the Czech national patron, are known. The older and shorter one ("First Old Slavic Legend of St. Václav") was written in the 10th century; the second, more elaborate one ("Second Old Slavic Legend of St. Václav"), composed in the early 11th century, is a reworking of a Latin Vita by Bishop Gumpold of Mantua (ca. 975-980). In addition, there existed a host of Latin legends of the same saint (Crescente fide, Christian's legend, 10th c.; Oriente iam sole, 13th c., etc.). [58] Whereas much research has been



57. The Greek Vita Clementis was written by the Bulgarian Archbishop Theophylactus at the end of the 11th or the beginning of the 12th c., presumably on the basis of a Slavic original, now lost. In addition to this longer Life of St. Clement there exists also a shorter Greek version of his Life (Legenda Ochridica) by Demetrius Chomatianus (early 13th c.) of which a Church Slavic translation (13th c.) is known. Cf. H.-G. Beck, op. cit., 649-651 and 708-710; F. Grivec, op. cit., 253-254; for details see also the articles by A. Milev, I. Dujčev, and I. Snegarov in the volume Kliment Oxridski (Sofia, 1966), 143-219.


58. Cf. F. Grivec, op. cit., 186-187; J. Vajs (ed.), Sbornik staroslovanských literárnich památek o sv. Václavu a sv. Lidmile (Prague, 1929); Svatováclavský sbornik, I-II: 1-3 (Prague, 1934-1937); M. Weingart, op. cit., 47-60; J. Hrabák et al., Dějiny české literatury, I, Starší česká literatura (Prague, 1959), 51-54; R. Večerka, Slovanské počátky české knižní vzdělanosti (Prague, 1963), 45-48.





done, particularly in recent years, on the relationship between these Bohemian (Church Slavic as well as Latin) legends of St. Wenceslaus and Old Russian hagiography, revealing some striking connections, [59] the conceivable influence that the Church Slavic Vita of St. Wenceslaus may have had on Old Serbian life-writing — possibly via Russia — is as yet largely unexplored. Only the general fact that we have to do here with another instance of the dynastic legend genre, as represented also by such works as the Life of St. Stephen of Hungary, the Lives of the first Russian martyrs Boris and Gleb, or the semi-legendary Life of Vladimir of Zeta (contained in the Letopis popa Dukljanina whose significance as a source for Old Serbian life-writing, however, now is in doubt, cf. above), has been acknowledged. [60] But other possibly suggestive circumstances also deserve attention. Thus, the fact that the older of the two Czech Church Slavic Vitae of St. Wenceslaus, a semi-secular work of less stylistic sophistication than the Lives of Constantine and Methodius (whose tradition it continues), [61] is best preserved in four Croatian-Glagolitic breviaries, i.e., in manuscripts from a region not far from Dioclitia (Zeta), may be of some significance. (Cf., in this context, also the title "rex Dalmatiae et Diocliae", held, among others, by Vukan, the oldest son of Stephan Nemanja.) As regards the contents, it should be noted that the Life of St. Wenceslaus contains an account of the translatio of the remains of the saint to Prague, a theme popular in hagiographic (and semi-hagiographic) writing and encountered also in the Old Serbian Vitae of Stephan Nemanja. Finally, it should be remembered that while medieval Serbia, though generally oriented toward Byzantium, held, to some extent, an intermediary position between East and West, Christianity as practiced in 10th century Bohemia, on the other hand, retained some ties with the Eastern Church as shown by the liturgy (služba) for St. Wenceslaus, following the Byzantine rite. [62] Geographic, thematic,



59. See F. Grivec, op. cit., 187; D. Čyževśkyj, "Anklänge an die Gumpoldslegende des hl. Václav in der altrussischen Legende des hl. Feodosij..."; N. W. Ingham, "Czech Hagiography in Kiev: The Prisoner Miracles of Boris and Gleb", WdSl X (1965), 166-182. See further also R. Jakobson, Harvard Slavic Studies I (1953), 41-48.


60. See S. Hafner, Studien, 16, 40, 44, and 59.


61. Cf., in addition to literature quoted in note 58, also B. Havránek, Cyrillo-Methodianische Fragen..., 9 (in his paper "Die Bedeutung Konstantins und Methods für die Anfänge der geschriebenen Literatur in Grossmähren").


62. Serbia's vacillating political stand between East and West is perhaps best illustrated by some of the policies of Stephan the First-Crowned. Married to a daughter of the Byzantine Emperor Alexius III, he divorced her shortly before the fall of Constantinople in 1203 and later married a granddaughter of the Venetian Doge Dandolo. In 1217 he was crowned by a legate of Pope Honorius III, only to secure, in 1219, by mediation of his brother Sava, autocephaly for the Serbian Orthodox Church from the Patriarch of Constantinople (then residing in Nicaea). On medieval Serbia's middle position between East (Byzantium) and West (Rome), see, for example: A. Schmaus, Südost-Forschungen XV (1956), 182-190; B. Krekić, "La Serbie entre Byzance et l'Occident au XIVe Siècle", Proceedings of the XIIIth International Congress of Byzantine Studies..., 62-65. See also S. Hafner, Studien, 20 and 50, on some political and cultural aspects of this intermediate position of medieval Serbia, spanning, as it were, a bridge between Byzantium and Rome, a role which Serbia had inherited from one of its constituent parts, Zeta (Diocletia) where in 1077 Prince Michael was granted the title of king by Pope Gregory VII. On some presumed Greek Orthodox reactions to political moves on the part of Serbian kings (aimed at closer relations with the West — Hungary, Venice, the Pope) as expressed in Old Serbian biography, cf. M. I. Mulić, op. cit., 128-130. On the Greek Orthodox liturgy for St. Wenceslaus, see F. Grivec, op. cit., 184 and 186.





and religious-ideological considerations make it therefore quite conceivable that the Life of St. Wenceslaus could have played a role as a model not only in medieval Russian hagiography but also in Serbian biography. Whether the latter actually was the case, only a close comparative scrutiny of the pertinent Old Czech and Old Serbian texts can reveal.


While it is possible, but not proven, that dynastic hagiography of the Old Czech brand served as an example for Old Serbian life-writing, it is positively evident that Old Russian hagiography and homiletic literature with a political-dynastic content has made an impact on the Old Serbian vita and related genres just as medieval Serbian biography subsequently exerted considerable influence on Russian hagiography and semi-secular biography of the Mongolian and early post-Mongolian period. Thus, the long passage from Metropolitan Ilarion's Sermon on Law and Grace, found in Domentijan's Life of Stephan Nemanja (cf. above), is not an altogether isolated instance of the liberal and quite customary borrowing (by medieval standards) of insertable material that would find its way from medieval Russia to Serbia. Often the place of such literary contact would be Constantinople or the Slavic monasteries on Mt. Athos where close ties seem to have existed between the Russian Monastery of Panteleimon and the Serbian Hilandar Monastery. It has been assumed that not only Ilarion's work but also, for example, the elegant sermons of Bishop Cyril of Turov were known and read by Serbian monks on Mt. Athos, among them Domentijan. [63] St. Sava, prior to Domentijan, had



63. On these sermons and their style, cf., inter alia, D. Čiževskij, History, 86-88; A. Stender-Petersen, op. cit., 53-63 (there also on Cyril's religious poetry); and, in particular, I. P. Eremin, "Oratorskoe iskusstvo Kirilla Turovskogo", TODRL XVIII (1962), 50-58 (reprinted in the same author's Literatura drevnej Rusi, 132-143). On Ilarion, see esp. L. Müller, op. cit. (with references).





spent some time in the Russian Panteleimon Monastery. Not only are Kievan dynastic historiography and hagiography (including religious-historical rhetoric such as Ilarion's Slovo) reflected in the political ideology of Sava's and his brother's Lives of Stephan Nemanja, but also Russian influence has been ascertained on Sava's orthography, reinforced some two hundred years later by Constantine of Kostenec. [64] The many complexities of the intricate literary and other cultural interrelations between Russia and the Balkan Slavs in the Middle Ages have in recent years received renewed attention. [65] Here we can only briefly digress to give a summary account of Old Russian hagio-biographical literature, as this literature relates to Old Serbian life-writing or as it points up theoretical problems of definition and classification encountered, mutatis mutandis, also in its Serbian counterpart.


Of all medieval Slavic literatures, that of Kievan Russia, and the principalities succeeding it, is perhaps the one most thoroughly studied. In this context, much interest has focused, particularly in the last two decades, on the problem of the Old Russian literary genres and the specific stylistic devices utilized in each of them. [66] A central place among the various kinds of Old Russian literature was held by the Lives of



64. Cf. A. Belić, "Učešće sv. Save i njegove škole u stvaranju nove redakcije srpskih ćirilskih spomenika", Svetosavski zbornik, 1, 211-276, esp. 236-237. Constantine of Kostenec, in his fantastic linguistic theories (contained in his treatise on orthography), stresses the importance of Russian as the alleged main component of the "mixed" language of Cyril and Methodius; cf. K. M. Kujew (Kuev), op. cit., 48; see also R. Jakobson, Harvard Slavic Studies, I (1953), 49.


65. Cf., in addition to the important studies by D. S. Lixačev, I. Dujčev, and V. Mošin quoted in notes 21 and 33, V. P. Adrianova-Peretc, "Drevnerusskie literaturnye pamjatniki v jugoslavjanskoj pis'mennosti", in: Russkaja literatura... (= TODRL XIX), 5-27. See further also Dj. Sp. Radojičić, Juinoslovensko-ruske kulturne veze do početka XVIII veka (Kruševac, 1967), esp. 33-71 ; and S. Hafner, Studien, 24-26.


66. An overall view of medieval Russian writing, largely based on formal (structural) considerations of genre and style, can be found in such Western reference works of Old Russian literature as those quoted above — D. Čiževskij and A. Stender-Petersen, or R. Picchio's Storia delta letteratura russa antica, 2nd ed. (Florence-Milan, 1968). Of specialized work on the Old Russian literary genres, see in particular D. Ciževsky, "On the Question of Genres in Old Russian Literature", Harvard Slavic Studies II (1954), 105-115; R. Jagoditsch, "Zum Begriff der 'Gattungen' in der altrussischen Literatur", WslJb VI (1957-1958), 113137; and several studies by D. S. Lixačev, esp. "Sistema literaturnyx žanrov drevnej Rusi", in : Slavjanskie literatury. V Meždunar. s'ezd slavistov (Sofia, 1963). Dokl. sov. deleg. (Moscow, 1963), 47-70; in revised form, also as a chapter ("Otnošenija literaturnyx žanrov meždu soboj") in his book Poe̊tika drevnerusskoj literatury (Leningrad, 1967), 40-66. For some general information on the genres in medieval Slavic literature, see also his "Drevneslavjanskie lteratury kak sistema", in: Slavjanskie literatury. VI Meždunar. s'ezd slavistov (Prague, 1968). Dokl. sov. deleg. (Moscow, 1968), 5-48, esp. 28-34 ("Žanry i vidy drevneslavjanskix literatur").





Saints, as was the case in Byzantine literature on which medieval Russian letters was largely patterned. The gradual, though only partial secularization of this genre, noticeable in the branching off from it of a new kind of literature, often referred to as "Princely Lives" (knjažeskie žitija), has been the subject of much discussion centering around the issue whether, at a certain point in the development of this integrated literature (mixing elements of hagiography, panegyrical oration, historiography, and military tale), these Lives can be established as having achieved the status of an autonomous, self-contained genre of secular biography.


In its earliest, not yet fully developed phase of semi-hagiographic literature (to use a descriptive term), the beginnings of secular biography manifested itself in Russia, according to A. Stender-Petersen, in two basic variants: the apostolic and the martyrological sub-genres. While the former can be said to be closely related to, or even derived from, the obituary and cognate encomiastic genres (poxvala or pamjat' i poxvala) first encountered on Russian soil in Ilarion's panegyrical sermon but rooted also in the Old Church Slavic tradition of the Lives of Constantine and Methodius, the latter has its first Russian representatives in the various versions of the Lives of the martyred brothers Boris and Gleb, echoing in more than one respect the Czech Church Slavic Vita of St. Wenceslaus. [67] Both Ilarion's Slovo and the legends of Boris and Gleb express, in addition to true religious fervor, the political interests of the ruling Rurik dynasty of which all three of the subsequently canonized princes were members. No doubt, the combination of religious and political (dynastic) motivation underlying these works of early Russian literature bears a striking resemblance to the ideological background against which Old Serbian biography made its appearance.


Whereas another work of Old Russian hagiography, Nestor's Life of Feodosij, was to set the pattern for all purely hagiographic writing in Russia, culminating in Epifanij's Lives of Stephan of Perm' and Sergij of Radonež, the legends of Boris and Gleb became the model for the semi-secularized, dynastic-historical biography, framed, to be sure, in the traditional form of hagiography. This is true of many of the 13th-14th century Lives of Russian princes and, in particular, of the Life of Prince Alexander Nevskij who was later canonized by the Church and



67. Cf. A. Stender-Petersen, op. cit., 76-84. On the various versions of the Boris and Gleb theme (anonymous Tale, Nestor's Lection, Chronicle entry, liturgical poetry, etc.), see L. Müller, Die altrussischen hagiographischen Erzählungen und liturgischen Dichtungen über die Heiligen Boris und Gleb (Munich, 1967) (with references, XXIII-XXIV); cf. further N. N. Il'in, Letopisnaja stat’ja 6523 goda i ee istočnik (Opyt analiza) (Moscow, 1957), and the article by N. W. Ingham, WdSl X (1965), 166-182 (cf. note 59).





in whose Vita some experts have believed to find reminiscences of a presumed biography of the Galician 13th century Prince Daniil Romanovič, reworked into the cohesive historiographic narrative contained in the Galician-Volynian Chronicle. Here, further worldly, even chivalrous, elements were introduced. Whereas some literary scholars have assumed Western influences in certain of these new traits of Old Russian biography, others have pointed to parallels with the doubtless non-Orthodox setting of the controversial Igor Tale. [68] It is worth noting, in this context, that the particular situation of Prince Daniil's Galicia, attempting to balance between the Tatars of the Golden Horde in the East and Poles and Hungarians in the West bears some resemblance to the temporarily more fortunate Serbian state, maneuvering between East and West, of the contemporary rulers of the Nemanja dynasty. Symptomatically, Daniil's coronation, too, was approved by the Pope. A double production of pure hagiography and of hagiographically interpreted and accordingly embellished biography of a secular ruler (to whom, however, no posthumous miracles were attributed) may possibly be found in the work of Epifanij Premudryj. This would be so if, as there might at least be some reason to believe, Epifanij were the author not only of the two previously mentioned Lives of Saints, but also of the Life of Dmitrij Ivanovič ("Donskoj"), by far the most ornate of the several works of Old Russian literature relevant to the battle of Kulikovo. [69] Epifanij's dependence on stylistic devices brought to Russia from the Slavic South, particularly Serbia, was already mentioned. It must be remembered, though, that regardless of any parallelism on the stylistic and ideological



68. Cf. A. Stender-Petersen, op. cit., 146-150. See also D. Čiževskij, History, 104-107 and 138-142. N. W. Ingham argues strongly against the assumption of an underlying biography of Daniil Romanovič in the Galician-Volynian Chronicle. As he points out, the section on the reign of Daniil has, at best, the cohesion of historiography; see American Contributions..., 186 and 188-189. Cf., however, also D. S. Lixačev, "Galickaja literaturnaja tradicija v žitii Aleksandra Nevskogo", TODRL V (1947), 36-56. Ingham's argumentation against the largely biographical character of the ORIGINAL historical narrative, analistically reworked in the Chronicle, does not seem cogent. That the literary characteristics of life-writing could be obscured by the very nature of the larger work into which they were integrated can be exemplified also by some of the Lives contained in Archbishop Danilo's and his Disciple's Zbornik; cf. also the Life of Vladimir in the (probably, to be sure, pseudo-historiographic) Letopis popa Dukljanina.


69. Cf. A. Stender-Petersen, op. cit., 160, 176-179, and 191; D. Čiževskij, History, 191-192. See further also, V. P. Adrianova-Peretc, "Slovo o žitii i o prestavlenii velikogo knjazja Dmitrija Ivanoviča, carja Rusьskago", TODRL V (1947), 73-96. However, Professor John Fennell, Oxford, now informs me that his comparative stylistic analysis does not corroborate the view that Epifanij was the author also of the Life of Dmitrij Donskoj.





levels between Old Russian and Old Serbian life-writing of the time, the political outlook at the close of the 14th and the beginning of the 15th century was vastly different in the two countries: Serbia, defeated at Kosovo (1389), was about to be overrun by the Turks, and the trend in biography, with the notable exception of Camblak, was toward secularization; emerging Muscovite Russia, after the victory at Kulikovo (1380), on the other hand, was gradually embarking on the road to achieving complete freedom. Here, the trend in biography (or what can be subsumed thereunder) was now toward a reassertion of Orthodox Christianity — that is to say, toward 'purified' hagiography. Thus, while in Serbia we can observe a largely consistent development toward increased secularization of life-writing, in Russia only a temporary and partial deviation (reaching its peak in the Life of Alexander Nevskij and possibly in an unpreserved biography of Daniil of Galič) from the fundamentally hagiographic course of the Old Russian žitie can be noted.


It is therefore perhaps an overschematization of the actual development of Old Russian biographical writing (although in line with the general tendency) when D. Čiževskij, in discussing "the Age of Ornamental Style" (12th-13th c.) and "the Period of Spiritual Struggle" (14th-15th c.) in Russian literature, devotes special sections to "Secular Biography", along with others on "Hagiographic Literature" and "Lives of Saints". For "the Period of Stylistic Simplicity" (11th c.) and "Muscovite Literature" (16th a), however, he acknowledges the existence of "Hagiographic Literature" but not of any "Secular Biography". [70] Rather, N. W. Ingham's view appears to be well-founded when he, on the basis of a scrupulous (if selective) and insightful analysis of some vitae and comparable pieces in Old Russian literature, concludes "that not one of the Old Russian works ... can meaningfully be called a secular biography. They neither correspond to the international genre nor show enough internal uniformity for an indigenous literary kind... The majority of the works in fact defy definition as life-writing in the first place; and the few which may fit it are still bound too closely to the practices of hagiography. At the most, transitional forms occur, as in the Life of Aleksandr Nevski." And Ingham goes on to say that "even if a somewhat broader definition of secular or historical biography were applied, there would still not be enough examples of it in Old Russian literature to constitute a genre". But he also suggests that "this situation is probably not typical of the Slavic literatures generally. New dimensions



70. Cf. D. Čiževskij, History, 40-47, 94-100, 165-184 and 184-192, and 238-250.





to early Slavic lilc-wi iting are added by such works as the earliest žitie of the Czech Prince Wenceslaus (Václav) and the lives of Bulgarian and Serbian rulers." While it is not clear (at least to the present writer) what precisely ingham had in mind when referring to Lives of Bulgarian rulers, his surmise is certainly borne out by the Vita of St. Wenceslaus and, even more so, by the Old Serbian biographies. [71]





Before summing up the preceding considerations in some tentative conclusions, a few observations regarding the composition and style, the choice of motifs and stereotyped formulae (topoi) characteristic of Old Serbian life-writing may be appropriate. Needless to say, this is not the place for any thorough analysis of these and other literary devices of medieval Serbian biography; nor can a recapitulation of previous — significant, but by no means exhaustive — research on style and themes of Old Serbian life-writing be offered here. [72] Rather, only a handful of illustrative examples will be adduced and briefly commented upon. They are taken from two Vitae which in many ways represent diametric opposites : St. Sava's Life of Simeon (Stephan Nemanja) and the Life of Stephan Lazarević by Constantine of Kostenec. The first one opens the series of medieval Serbian biographies ; the second one marks the perfection of the genre, while transgressing in some respects its established limits. One is basically an hagiography although it never refers to Nemanja as a saint (as opposed to the Nemanja Vita by Stephan the First-Crowned) and is couched in a relatively simple, unassuming language; the other, perhaps farthest removed from hagiography (in contents as well as intent of its author), is nonetheless characterized by an ornate, frequently obscure style and is, to some extent, disguised in



71. Cf. N. W. Ingham, American Contributions..., 197-198 (in the conclusion of his paper "The Limits of Secular Biography in Medieval Slavic Literature, Particularly Old Russian"; cf. note 2).


72. Of important relevant work cf., in addition to the article by M. I. Mulić already quoted (note 29), for example also the section on "Topos und Gedankengefüge in den altserbischen Herrscherbiographien" in S. Hafner's Studien, 78-123. See further some of the papers, partly republished, in the volume Stara književnost, esp. Dj. Trifunović, "Pripovedanje i simboli srednjovekovne naše umetničke proze" (142-180); V. Mošin, "Stil stare srpske proze" (181-196); M. Mulić, "Stil srpskih srednjovekovnih životo-pisaca XIII i XIV veka" (197-204, abridged version of his longer paper in Russian). Cf. on Constantino of Kostenec also K. M. Kujew (Kuev), op. cit., 101-112; and the sties, quoted in note 27.





the superficial appearance of a vita of hagiographic kind (despite the fact that its hero was never canonized). Thus, being maximally polarized, these two žitija span, as it were, the whole stylistic range of Old Serbian life-writing, while lacking only in the mutual reinforcement by approach and style, content and form, found, say, in Domentijan's Life of St. Sava.


The theme of divine right by which Stephan Nemanja is said to rule his land, found already in the Hilandar Charters, comes up also in the prooemium of the Vita Simeonis and is subsequently once more referred to in Nemanja's abdication speech. [73] The same or a slightly modified motif is later often found in medieval Serbian biography and is attested also in Constantine's Life of Stephan Lazarević. [74] The mention of the many monastic foundations at the outset of Sava's Vita, while presumably reflecting historical reality, was to become a fixed ingredient of most biographies of Serbian princes, usually in connection with the stereotyped eulogy of the ruler (combining a liturgical-hagiographic laudatio with the classic βασιλικὸς λόγος). [75] The system of virtues ascribed to the ruler or other protagonist played an important role in medieval Europe. We find it in its chivalrous-religious form in the West, but it is also well represented in the literature of the Byzantine sphere of civilization, including Kievan Russia. In Sava's Vita, the emphasis is on charity and asceticism — in other words, the virtue system has been given its purest Christian interpretation, coupled with the ideal of monastic life. It also includes the motif of veneration and formidableness of the monarch. This forbidding aspect of the ruler is eloquently described in the biography of Stephan Lazarević by Constantine as well. [76]


Two topoi frequently encountered in medieval literature, particularly in panegyrical writing, are the related stylistic devices of 'unspeakableness' (Curtius' Unsagbarkeitstopos), of which the brevity formula pauca e multis represents a sub-type, and that of 'surpassing' or 'outcomparing'



73. Cf. S. Hafner, Studien, 70-80; id., Serbisches Mittelalter, 132 and 137 (n. 11 and n.64).


74. Cf. S. Hafner, Studien, 81-82.


75. Cf. S. Hafner, Studien, 100-101 and 113-118. On ancient origins and West European parallels, see E. R. Curtius, op. cit., 184-186.


76. Cf. S. Hafner, Studien, 93-109, esp. 97-99 (on Sava's two eulogies of his father, introduced by the common dubitatio formula), 103-104 (on filial obedience), and 108-109 (on veneration and formidableness of the ruler, as expressed in Sava's and Constantine's Lives); id., Serbisches Mittelalter, 134-135 (n. 33, with reference to the virtue system in Old Russian literature). An expression of the medieval notion of the ruler's inapproachable standing among his people can be found also, for example, in the epithet given the Russian 16th century ruler Ivan IV – Groznyj, best rendered, perhaps, as "the Awesome" (rather than the traditional "the Terrible"). On the system of "chivalrous virtues" in the West, see E. R. Curtius, op. cit., 506-521.





(ὑπεροχή), Curtius' Überbietungstopos) where one can distinguish, among others, between what has been referred to as the cedat and taceat formulae, respectively. [77] Both these common types of topoi are represented in Sava's Life of Nemanja and, by the example of his work, became a regular feature of subsequent Old Serbian biographies. [78]


Part of medieval, Latin as well as Byzantine, imagery was the 'ideal landscape', particularly when narrowed down to the locus amoenus and interpreted allegorically as referring to monastic life. In Sava's Vita Simeonis there is a fairly long passage describing the Hilandar Monastery, just founded by Nemanja, as the pleasure-grounds or 'meadow' (corresponding to the specific Christian-Byzantine connotation of λειμών) to which St. Simeon was retiring in his old age. [79]


The use of pleonasms, hendiadys phrases, and repetitions was not uncommon in medieval rhetoric. The use of these devices can also be found in Sava's Life. Thus, in the translatio account following the biography proper (praxeis), Sava resorts to repeated rhetorical pleonasms to underscore the gratification felt by the brothers Stephan (the First-Crowned) and Vukan as well as the assembled clergy upon receiving the news that Sava had safely reached the Hvostno region (i.e., present-day Metohija) with the remains of Stephan Nemanja. [80] Sometimes, however, what at first sight may seem a pleonasm turns out to be a meaningful differentiation, charged with political, often contrasting implications. [81]


The common motif of death by falling from a horse (believed to be a sign from heaven) occurs a few times in Old Serbian biographies. At least two such episodes are found in Danilo's and his successors' work. The same motif occurs also in Constantine's Life of Stephan Lazarević



77. Cf. E. R. Curtius, op. cit., 168-174.


78. Cf. S. Hafner, Studien, 113, 114-115; id., Serbisches Mittelalter, 135 (n. 35), 136 (n. 55 and n. 57, pauca e multis formula), 138 (n. 96, "unspeakableness"; n. 97, panegyrical loci communes), 141 (n. 122, "unspeakableness"; n. 123 "surpassing"), 143 (n. 148, "surpassing").


79. Cf. S. Hafner, Serbisches Mittelalter, 141-142 (nn. 129, 131, 132). On the "ideal landscape" and, particularly, the locus amoenus in ancient and medieval literature, see E. R. Curtius, op. cit., 191-209, esp. 202-206. See further also O. Schissel, Der byzantinische Garten (Vienna, 1942).


80. Cf. S. Hafner, Serbisches Mittelalter, 144 (nn. 166 and 168).


81. This applies, for example, to the "peace and quiet" theme discussed above (note 43). Apparently, mirь refers to inner peace (including spiritual harmony) while tišina rather implies "quiet at the borders" but perhaps also within the state (at the political level). See S. Hafner, Studien, 89-93. Cf. also the differentiated use of such near- synonyms as ozьlobiti and oskrьbiti in some of the Old Serbian biographies; see ibid., 118-121.





who died during a hunting party. Possibly, this belief had older, biblical-folkloristic sources. [82]


Sava's Life of Stephan Nemanja is largely designed as an hagiographic vita (prooemium, praxeis, translatio, curriculum vitae, admonitio), lacking only the traditional miracula owing to the fact that Nemanja had not yet been canonized at the time this Vita was written; cf., on the other hand, his Vita by Stephan the First-Crowned where he is repeatedly referred to as a saint and where a number of miracle accounts are appended. In contradistinction, the compositional makeup of Constantine's biography of the 'despot' Stephan Lazarević follows another pattern. It opens with a relatively short section eulogizing Stephan by comparing him with the great men of biblical and Christian history. Next follows a description of Serbia and, in particular, its monks, including St. Simeon (Nemanja) and St. Sava. A short, fantastic, and largely incorrect genealogy of the Nemanja dynasty precedes the tale about Prince Lazar, Stephan's father and the tragic hero of Kosovo, and a statement of the situation in Serbia after the defeat is given before the author turns to a brief characterization of his hero and his early years. Only then begins a detailed account of the historical events, political and military, in which Stephan participates as one (but not the sole) protagonist. (Other important personalities are the Turkish sultans with whom Stephan concludes treaties or against whom he wages war.) Inserted in this account is, among other things, a famous description of the city of Belgrade which is compared in beauty and importance to Jerusalem. Another city, Resava, is duly praised as well. In a following chapter, Constantine talks about Stephan's generosity and sees all the manifold characteristics of Serbia represented in his hero's personality and noble qualities. In the section reporting Stephan's death, the author not only speaks of the grief of the Serbian people, but also mentions the disaster which befell Serbia after his death. He goes on to describe miraculous happenings occasioned by his passing away (obviously meant as a substitute of sorts for the obligatory miracles ascribed to a saint after his death). Constantine's biography ends on a very personal note, telling of how Stephan after his death had appeared before



82. See S. Hafner, Studien, 121-123. The death-by-one's-horse theme is known, in a somewhat different variant, also in Old Russian literature, with a parallel in an Old Norse anecdote (the ultimate source of both probably being Byzantine); cf. the tale about Prince Oleg's death from his horse (entered in the Nestor Chronicle sub anno 912). For details, see D. Čiževskij, History, 14 and 17-18; A. Stender-Petersen, op. cit., 101; and now also F. Sielicki, ed., Powieść minionych lat (Wroclaw-Warsaw-Cracow, 1968), 112-113.





the author urging him to write (or complete) the Vita. A last eulogy of Stephan concludes Constantine's work.


Already this short summary of the contents of Constantine's Life reveals some basic differences between this biography and all preceding Old Serbian vitae. Here we encounter a memoir-like account by an observant contemporary with a deep involvement in the events he is relating. What we have before us is a piece of personal interpretation of history in its broader context, focusing, understandably, on the Ottoman Empire and its rapidly expanding power. While subjectively colored, most of Constantine's information has proven accurate. In addition, however, a personal, almost intimtae tone used by someone close to the chief protagonist comes through. Despite all attempts at subliming Stephan's individual features to the abstract level of hagiography, the reader — once he overcomes the ornate style and many biographically irrelevant amplifications — preceives a live personality drawn against the backdrop of Serbia, its nature and its cities. Also in these descriptions of the Serbian scenery, especially of Belgrade, there is a note of personal, one might say, individual, experience. No doubt, there is an affinity between the style of Constantine of Kostenec and that of his emigrant contemporary, Camblak, even though the purpose of writing their respective biographies was different. Only Constantine, the naturalized Serbian, was an ardent patriot. As was mentioned before, Constantine's language, frequently obscure (and, in some instances, actually resisting definitive interpretation) and not without some studied mannerism (cf. also his use of symbolic acrostics) and hagiographic accessories, especially the many biblical quotes and references, is not apt to further the appreciation which this work no doubt deserves, in terms of its ideology and understanding of history. [83]





Summing up, then, some of the points made in this paper and adding a few considerations not discussed here for lack of space, a number of conclusions can be tentatively formulated :



83. For an appraisal of Constantine's Life of Stephan Lazarević, see, in particular, K. M. Kujew (Kuev), op. cit., 86-112, esp. 101-112; and the relevant section in P. Popović's Introduction to Stare srpske biografije XV i XVII veka, XLIV-LIII. On the acrostics, see Dj. Sp. Radojičić's previously (note 27) mentioned studies. Generally on Stephan Lazarević, see now also N. D. Pavlović, Despot Stefan Lazarević (Subotica & Belgrade, 1968). Cf. further also Dj. Trifunović, Srpski srednjovekovni spisi o knezu Lazaru i Kosovskom boju (Kruševac, 1968), and I. Dujčev, "La conquête turque et la prise de Constantinople dans la littérature slave contemporaine", Byzsl XIV (1953), 14-54, esp. 38-42 (on Constantine's Life of Stephan Lazarević).





1) Accepting the current medievalist view of the High Middle Ages (11th-12th c.) as a period of great intellectual vigor and creativity in Central Europe, this interpretation can be extended to include medieval Serbia of the 13th through early 15th centuries, given the well-understood factor of "cultural retardation" in this area. [84] The literary genre of biography, developed to a level of high sophistication, can be considered perhaps the most eloquent expression of medieval Serbian civilization.


2) Three different, though interrelated traditions merge in Old Serbian life-writing: (a) the predominantly learned Byzantine tradition of hagiography and historiography; (b) the solidly learned Church Slavic tradition of hagiography (including semi-hagiography) and panegyrical homiletics, themselves representing a modification of Byzantine prototypes ; and (c) a set of pre- and sub-literary, orally transmitted themes, motifs, and legends encountered in the Balkans and largely characteristic of a popular Christian tradition, particularly in its Eastern variety. More specifically, it is possible to make a distinction in the Byzantine hagiographic tradition between several chronological layers (primarily, pre-Metaphrastic versus post-Metaphrastic) and between two major components — the elaborate and ornate, learned tradition and a more popular vein in Byzantine hagiography whose nucleus was the simple narrative relating the life-story of a monk (or hermit). In Byzantine historiography two separate kinds can be identified: chronicle-writing (chronography) and secular biography (primarily the Lives of Emperors), with the latter genre largely submerged in the broader framework of non-annalistic historiography. In its rudimentary form, the Old Serbian vita (in its earliest phase, represented by Sava and Stephan the First-Crowned) is prefigured in the Charter texts of the Hilandar Monastery.


3) Of dynastic historiography and Orthodox hagiography, the two basic components combined in Old Serbian biography, the first is more closely bound up with Serbia proper, embodied in the person of the Serbian ruler and his court, and the second with the Serbian monastic community, in particular, its extraterritorial focal point at Mt. Athos



84. Cf. S. Hafner Studien, VII. On some aspects of the phenomenon of "cultural retardation" in another peripheral part of medieval Europe, see E. R. Curtius, op. cit., 524-526 ("Spaniens kulturelle 'Verspätung' "). Notice further that just as Serbia was culturally gravitating in the Middle Ages in two directions — toward Orthodox Byzantium and (if to a lesser extent) toward Catholic Europe (Rome, Venice, Hungary) — Spain, too, during the Reconquista lay at the intersection of two cultures : European (Latin as well as Spanish national) Catholicism and Arabic Islam. In neither case, medieval Serbia or Spain, is the term "cultural retardation" to be understood in the derogatory sense of backwardness.





(Hilandar). While the religious-political interests and goals of these two institutions usually coincided (cf. Sava, Stephan the First-Crowned, Danilo), this was not always the case, particularly not in times when Serbia's political stand was vacillating between East and West. In such situations, the monastic community would take a pro-Byzantine position as reflected in literary and ideological expressions found in some vitae (particularly those by the Athonite monks Domentijan and Teodosije; also, e.g., by Camblak). Eventually, in the face of the Turkish peril, the Byzantine and Serbian national interests were again in full agreement (Constantine of Kostenec).


4) In spite of a certain typological amplitude and chronological development within it, biography can be said to constitute a separate, unified genre in Old Serbian literature. This genre is marked by a number of fundamental characteristics compared to which the shift in emphasis from hagiography to secular biography is of secondary import. It should also be noted that, while the overall tendency in Old Serbian life-writing was away from pure hagiography and toward secular biography, this tendency is by no means without exception as shown by the work of Camblak, marking, in this respect, a reverse trend. On the stylistic side, many of the hagiographic accessories are retained throughout the entire development of this literary genre, i.e., also in those biographies with a more pronounced secular content (cf. Stephan the First-Crowned and Constantine of Kostenec). In terms of ideology, most of Old Serbian life-writing is characterized by a combination of religious (Orthodox) and political (dynastic) objects in view. In depicting their heroes — largely secular rulers — the Old Serbian vitae achieve a high degree of individ-ualization rather than typification (characteristic of hagiography proper as well as of its pictorial counterpart — iconography). This individuali-zation, however, is to be understood as aiming at sublimation, abstracting, as it were, from the individual features and characteristics of the protagonists for the purpose of immortalization and religious "eternalization". Little evidence can be found in the medieval Serbian Lives that would suggest an ability for, or interest in, concretization and psychological objectivization. [85]


5) The Old Serbian vita genre was firmly grounded in the Byzantine tradition of Lives of Saints and, to a lesser degree, in other forms of Byzantine literature (chrysobulla, typica, chronicles, Lives of Emperors), while forming an integral part of a supranational literature, modifying



85. Cf. S. Hafner, Studien, 75 and 96.





these Byzantine models throughout the Slavic Orthodox community of the Middle Ages. By further developing and in an original manner refining the literary art of life-writing, the Old Serbian biographers can be credited with having indeed transformed this Byzantine tradition into a new and unique genre of its own.


Thus, assessing Old Serbian life-writing in terms of its sources and parallels, the following observations can be made: In Byzantine literature, hagiography, with its rich tradition, and historical secular biography, re-emerging in the 10th century, cannot be considered merely varieties of one unified biographic genre. Similarly, in Old Russian literature, we can hardly speak of a truly autonomous genre of secular biography, independent of hagiography (or other related kinds of literature). Also in medieval Bohemia, life-writing was practiced far too short a time in the Czech recension of Church Slavic to yield (by blending hagiographic and historiographic elements) a new genre of biography. The elaboration of this integrated literary genre was accomplished only in Serbia whose many extant vitae must therefore be assigned a particularly prominent place in the overall near-millennial course of Church Slavic literature.



Addendum to note 21: An important reassessment of the Second South Slavic Influence de-emphasizing the role of Patriarch Euthymius (Evtimij) as a literary-linguistic reformer and contending that the Turkish invasion and domination of the Balkans neither brought the Christian Slavic literary activities to a halt nor caused any mass immigration of South Slavic literati to late-medieval Russia can be found in the well-documented unpublished doctoral dissertation of I. Talev, The Impact of Middle Bulgarian on the Russian Literary Language (post-Kievan period), UCLA, J972.


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