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Marko Kraljevic

Marko Kraljević (around 1335-1395) - Serbian medieval ruler, vassal to Turks, and hero of many songs of Serbian epic poetry.

Real Marko

After death of his father, king Vukasin Mrnjavcevic, in 1371, Marko continued the rule of area which is today in the Republic of Macedonia, with capital in Prilep. He was Turkish vassal and died in Battle of Rovine. It is unclear why did he become central figure of Serbian epic poetry, mentioned even in poetry of surrounding peoples.

Epic Marko

Songs attribute to Marko superhuman strength: he can squeeze water from cornel dried for nine years; his favourite weapon is mace of 66 oka (85 kilograms); he chose his horse because it was the only horse he could not throw over his shoulder. More importantly, they assert his knightly valour. Even while he could be short-tempered, he is protector of poor and helpless, guardian of law and order, even when that is to his disadvantage. In one song he mourns because he killed a hero better then him; in another, he says who by right should inherit the trone of Serbian Empire even while he was offered to become the ruler himself if he lies. It is said that he decided to die when guns were invented and when he saw that "every coward can kill a hero" easily, from distance.

Marko's horse is named Šarac (Dappled). He drinks wine with Marko (songs often begin with: He drinks wine, oh kraljevic Marko;/half he drinks, half to Šarac gives.) and is a match for his strength.

Marko's chosen sister is elf-maid Raviojla. It is very interesting that "raviojla" (reads "ravioyla") means "Beautiful girl" in Celtic languages, though songs were made after 14th century, when nearest Celts were many thousands of miles away.