The evidence on the insignia of the Serbian rulers during the Middle Ages (the end of the 11th - the middle of 15th cent. ) rises a nexus of problems which have not received the scholarly attention they deserve.[1] The present author's research has been based on three groups of sources. The first are the Lives of Serbian rulers and archbishops,[2] diverse other written sources such as charters, theological and liturgical texts, the regulae of monasteries, inscriptions etc. The church frescoes (icons are a somewhat separate case) form the second group. They are relatively well preserved and rich in complex symbolism.[3] Finally, the third group includes coins,[4] seals,[5] and - unfortunately, quite rare - material remains of insignia.

According to a conception, which, though essentially legalistic, also has its advantages for a general historian too, the evolution of the Serbian medieval rulers' insignia and the accompanying ideas should be followed through four main periods. They are characterized by the changes in the rank of the Serbian State and its sovereign.[6]

First, the period of magni iupani, i. e. Grand-`upans (the second half of 11th century - A. D. 1217). Though autokratores (= samodr{ci) and inheritors of the traditions of the Serbian Kingdom of Doclea (11th cent. ),[7] the magni iupani were rulers whose position in the hierarchy of the medieval world - notably that of the Byzantine "Family of Kings" - was not very significant. We know little of their insignia, with the exception of the two last magni iupani (Stephen Nemanja, 1168-1196; his son Stephen, 1196-1217).[8]

The second period opens with the act of royal coronation. Nemanja's son Stephen, magnus iupanus till A. D. 1217, received his sacra corona from the Pope in that year. Four years later he probably had himself re-crowned, according to the Greek-Orthodox rite. Though his ancestors used to bear crowns as Grand-`upans, the royal crown was held in higher esteem than the `upans' insigne. Stephen is later mentioned as the "First-Crowned King of Serbia". This fact shows all the importance that A. D. 1217 had in the constitutional history of the Nemanjid Serbia.[9]

Owing to the intensification of political and cultural contacts between Serbia and Byzantium in the thirteenth - early fourteenth centuries, the Serbian regalia were gradually assimilated to the insignia of the Constantinopolitan Emperors, in both shape and conception. That process led to the third period (1346-1371), during which Serbia assumed the position of a Serbo-Greek Empire.[10] The insignia of the third period display two distinctive, and interconnected, traits: they take Byzantine forms (e. g. the stemma appears as early as Uro{ I, becomes the predominant form of crown under Milutin, and completely imposes itself under Du{an, the first Emperor of Serbia), and develop the conceptual status of the Basileus' insignia.

The fourth period begins with the death of Uro{, the last Emperor of Serbia. During this period, the Serbs had no dynasts formally entitled to the regalia, or imperial insignia, if the isolated cases of the Emperor Symeon, the kings Marko and Tvrtko Ist, and the prince Lazar (aspiring to the status of autokrator after 1379) are excepted. After thirty years of a anarchy (1371-1402), the period ended with the despots' rule over an  unified Serbia (1402-1459). The signs distinguishing the despots of the 15th century close the history of the insignia of medieval Serbia's sovereigns; in 1459, when Smederevo was definitively captured by the Turks, Serbia lost its independence for almost three and a half centuries. In the following text, the insignia are classified in four groups: 1) principal insignia, 2) the insignia stressing the Christian nature of the ruler, 3) the insignia of the ruler as a warrior, and 4) varia. Needless to say, these categories tend to overlap in more than one aspect.


                               1) Principal insignia


Throne (Old Sebian: STOL<, PR1STOL<)


Owing to its long history, complex meaning and theological, as well as political, ramifications, the throne had an outstanding role among the Serbian insignia.[11] The root of this concept is to be sought for within juridical and other traditions in Old-Slavonic societes. The importance of the throne must have been distinctive as early as the pre-1217 period: the reference to the throne in the Presbyteri Diocleatis Regnum Slavorum[12] and the high esteem enjoyed by the throne which was situated in the cathedral of St. Peter and Paul at Ras (the coronation place of the magni iupani) are illustrative. Narrative sources speak of it with a significant wealth of connotations. In them, the throne belongs to the ruler, or the Nemanjid dynasty, or the Serbian State.[13] It plays a prominent part in the early ceremonies of investiture.[14] It denotes the territory of the Nemanjid Serbia or, metaphorically, the power of its sovereigns in general.[15] The notion enters the theological sphere in many ways. Note that during the opening decades of the thirteenth century, St. Sava, Nemanja's youngest son and the first archbishop of the autonomous church of Serbia, exercised the decisive influence on Serbian politics. This made the symbolical bisellium shared by the king and the prelate who reigned jointly a very popular image in texts of the second period.[16] In the third and fourth periods, the throne seems to have lost something of its prestige as an insigne. The fact may have been connected with the practice of the Serbian rulers later than Stephen Nemanja to vary the places of their enthronements. After the cathedral of St. Peter and Paul at Ras, that honour was accorded, in succession, to those at Zi~a (after 1217), Pe} (after 1284) and Mile{eva (1377).


 Crown (Old Serbian: V1N<C< "wreath"; also KOROUNA, KROUNA < corona; ST1MA, STEPSANI3 < stemma;  DI2DIMA < diadhma)


It has been recently shown that a crown was borne by Serbian rulers as early as the pre-regnal period; a crown was obviously a prerogative of magni iupani in their capacity of autokratores.[17] The status of the Serbian crown underwent three conceptual changes; changes in its physical appearance, though rather numerous, were less important. It seems that western and eastern (Byzantine) shapes were simultaneously in use; the Serbian rulers, like many other dynasts among their contemporaries, possessed several crowns. The introduction of the stemma under Uro{ I (cca. 1263)[18] presented the most important innovation of that sort, one which illustrates the tendency of Serbian rulers to assimilate their position to that of the Byzantine Emperors. The stemma will remain the predominant form of the Serbian crown throughout the rest of its medieval history. Even Prince Lazar and the despots of 1402-1459 have one on some of their coins and frescoes, despite the fact that their titles, strictly speaking, did not give them the right to that exalted insigne; however, they used more modest types of crowns along with the stemma.[19]

 In theological elaborations, the Serbian crown was considered a secular reflection of Christ's eternal crown; in an analogous reasoning, it was compared to the stephanos of Stephen the Protomartyr, the patron of the Serbian medieval State. On the level of political theories (similar to those defining the role of the throne) it was held to belong to the actual ruler, or to the whole Nemanjid dynasty, or to all the Serbian kingdom (PR1STOL< KRAL3V<STVA SR<BS<KAGO). The sanctions of the charters refer to the crown as a personified factor which will punish the transgressor.[20] Its aptitude to embody political notions resulted in an interesting usage, recalling the Papal terms biregnum and the like.[21] A charter of Emperor Stephen Du{an and another of the Bosnian King Tvrtko I cite the venac as a term capable of expressing composite ideas of a constitutional order. In the former document, Du{an's Empire is spoken of as bearing (what amounts to) two venci: the first one represents the Serbian part of the dual State, the other its Greek lands. In the latter document, the "double crown" symbolizes the union of Serbia and Bosnia under Tvrtko's rule.[22] There are reasons to believe that such a usage reflected the evolution (well known in Western Europe) of the Serbian "crown" towards becoming a term, legal rather than religious, which connoted the State as the embodiment of an impersonal power.[23]



Sceptre (Old Serbian:  @EZL<, STAP<; SKOUFETRO < skhptron)


The sceptre figures in our sources as a synonym or an instrument of the supreme power, with a wide range of attributions which recall those of the crown and the throne. It is usually represented (on the frescoes, coins and seals) in the form of a double cross, though it may also be a single or a triple cross or end in a lily flower. In some texts, it connotes the military force of the monarchy and, as such, is assimilated to the archangels' sceptres.[24] As an insigne which belonged to the bishops and abbots too, it was subject to various theological interpretations. The Serbian rulers received it from God; they were entitled to invest their nobles with it. The sceptre is among the rare insignia which are common to all the periods of Serbian medieval history and all kinds of extant sources.[25]




Unlike the insignological evidence of the numismatic and sphragistic kind,[26] the written sources omit to refer to the Nemanjid globe. On the coins and seals, Serbia's globe is depicted in the traditional form of a globus cruciger (with a single or a double cross), which the ruler may but need not hold in his left hand. It makes its debut on the scyphats of Stephen Radoslav, coins which attest to strong Byzantine influence; we are permitted therefore to suppose that the globe was included in the repertory of Serbian insignia in imitation of the sphaira, together with the corresponding ideological explanations borrowed from the Greek authors.





             2) The insignia stressing the Christian nature of the ruler


The simplest and the most frequent method used to underline the insignia's Christian nature was to add one or more crosses to them; the cases of the crown, sceptre and globe, are typical - all these were of pre-Christian origin and their Roman, pre-fourth-century A. D. , equivalents were naturally made without Christian symbols. But medieval Europe, Byzantium especially, also had purely Christian insignia. They either lacked pagan antecedents or transformed them completely. Two such examples are on record in the Serbian material.


Pectoral cross


The best evidence on this insigne in the Serbian tradition is found in the two Vitae of Stephen Nemanja; it is supplemented by numismatic data and testimonies of some other literary sources.[27] Pectoral crosses were borne by Serbian rulers through all four periods of the history of their insignia. Like the encolpia of Byzantine Emperors and other medieval monarchs (in the East and West alike), Serbian pectoral crosses contained a part of the Holy Cross and tended to be compared to the cross of Constantine the Great. Markedly tropaeophoric in character, they became hereditary within the Nemanjid dynasty by the middle of the thirteenth century.[28]




The scroll as an insigne of Serbian rulers does not figure in the extant narrative sources but it is represented in many fresco-portraits of the Serbian kings and emperors as well as on some of their coins and seals. It was in use throughout the second, third and the fourth periods, beginning with the reign of Uro{ I if not earlier.[29] It obviously had the same symbolical meaning as in Byzantium, whence it came to the Serbian court.


                3)The insignia of the ruler as a warrior


 There was a certain dichotomy about the duties of a medieval monarch; to paraphrase the well-known Roman formula, he had to be "fortissimus dux et omnium virtutum princeps" at the same time. The realities of life demanded he be a perfect warrior, not only the perfect prince of a peaceful State. His military functions were of course compatible to a degree with Christian ideas, especially from the Old-Testament, but the contrast between the two poles of the dichotomy was still marked and inspired important insignological differences. Let us add, the insignia of a prevailingly martial nature tended to show transparent pagan ("Barbarian") characteristics in the early Middle Ages, characteristics which will transform into "Ritter"-like and secular counterparts during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. As the relevant processes were rather complex, it is hard to define a clear-cut and transtemporal category of military insignia. With due reserves, it can be restricted, in the case of medieval Serbia, to the following objects: spear, sword and helmet.[30] We hear so little of the other arms (armour, shield, baton and standard; the horse can also be included in their number) - at least in their function of sovereigns' insignia - that they are best omitted here.[31]


Spear (Old Serbian: KOPI3)


The biographers of Nemanja-St. Symeon stress the importance his spear had in the Serbian traditions of the 12th - 14th cent.[32] Its insignological roots and role were similar to those of St. Mauricius' lancea sancta in the Latin Europe. In its early and primitive conception, the Serbian insigne was the spear of the heroized ancestor which is used to kill the tribe's enemies. Later on, beginning with the 13th cent. , it underwent deeper Christian influences; as such, it tends to be identified with the (arch)angels' spear or with the tropaeophoric cross or standard.[33]


Sword (Old Serbian: M<^<)


Byzantine writers mention Nemanja's sword. Serbian charters do the same for the swords of King Milutin (1318) and emperors Du{an (1349, 1353) and Uro{ (1357), in contexts which naturally refer to the Nemanjids' victories. Portraits on coins, seals and the walls of churches frequently represent the Nemanjid and post-Nemanjid rulers holding swords; on frescoes, this insigne is usually received from the heavens, a convention which went together with various Christian interpretations of the tasks and qualities given to a monarch's ma~. No doubt, the sword played a conspicuous role in the secular investiture too; this is indicated in Danilo the Biographer's description[34] of the ceremony transferring the regalia from Dragutin to Milutin (A. D. 1282), and (sparse) data on the insignological nature of the sovereigns' belt (PO2S<) lead to the same conclusion. Frequent depicting of the rulers' sword, as well as the insistance of the charters on its heavenly origin and tropaeophoric nature give us reason to believe in its importance as an insigne of medieval Serbia, a fact which would explain i. a. the presence of ma~enosci (analogous to the Byzantine spaqarioi) among the dignitaries of the Serbian court.[35]



Helmet (Old Serbian: [L1M<)


The representation of the ruler's helmet appears on numerous coins of Stephen Du{an (both as king and emperor), Emperor Uro{ and King Vuka{in, as well as the Emperors' barons (in the case of the latter, it is a symbol of their allegiance to their suzerain).[36] The type, which may have started as early as the reign of Stephen De~anski,[37] finds its parallel on the contemporary Serbian seals and less official objects.[38] The type's frequency (contrasted by the silence of written sources on the Nemanjid šlem) attests to the insignological significance of the helmet in the propaganda of the dynasty, especially that of Stephen Dušan.

For the souvereigns of Serbia, the helmet obviously had the meaning and aura of a military crown, transpersonal in its essence, as the numismatic representations suggest clearly enough. As such, the insigne possessed distinctly archaic features, probably tribal in origin, despite certain Western influences which the Serbian helmet underwent in its insignological evolution;[39] the verses of the Serbian version of the Alexandrid singing of the "Macedonian helmet" seem to have been composed on the South Slav territory and inspired by Serbian traditions.[40]





There are indications that a number of other material attributes of the ruler's person and position had a certain insignological value: the royal (imperial) ceremonial and military costumes (Old Serbian: RIZ-, SVIT-), the rulers' belt (PO2S<), shoes (SAPOG<) and ring.[41] The notion of monarchical insigne was so wide and varied during the Middle Ages, and our documentation is so unevenly distributed, that we must not exclude the possibility of the Serbian rulers' having insignia about which we know little or nothing. This is well illustrated by the meagre extant evidence on the virga (*TEP<). To judge from the early date and the high rank of the office of tep~ije [42](i. e. the bearers of the *TEP<[43] a function analogous to the spaqarioi of the Byzantine Emperors, and identical to the virgarii of Latin Europe)[44] in medieval Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia, the tep must have belonged to the insignia of the Nemanjid and post-Nemanjid State. However, it has no pictorial attestations and the written sources mention it directly only twice, in late and uncertain contexts at that. Obviously, it symbolized the sovereign's judicial authority (the virga of the rulers and bishops in the West being a close parallel) in a way similar, but not identical, to the symbolical role of the sceptre.[45]


* * *


As noted in the introduction to the present paper and discernible from our comments on particular insignia, the study of the rulers' signs throws light on various aspects of the structural history of medieval Serbia. They may be examined under two headings. First, the insignia as a testimony to the changing position of Serbia on the cultural map of Europe during the Middle Ages; under this heading, the historian will deal with the national heritage as well as the influence of the West and Byzantium respectively in the shaping of the insignia's repertory and how they are perceived. Second, the conception of insignia as an indicator of the evolution of the medieval Serbs' mentality and ideas. The development of that conception can be periodized, more or less clearly, through three principal phases that will be termed here magical, Christian, and laico-juridical.

              (1) Though the use of the Old-Serbian words to denote the rulers' insignia is not by itself proof of their early ("national") origin,[46] diverse arguments can and have been cited in favour of the thesis that the nucleus of the medieval Serbian rulers' insignia was derived from native traditions. The terminology of the insigne apart, the spirit of the corresponding ceremonies (note the archaic transfer of King Dragutins' insignia to his brother in 1282)[47] and the tendency of the early narrative sources to attribute the insignia to the “nation”[48] rather than to the Nemanjid ruler or dynasty, speak of the early origin of these signs and their development, in which Western and Eastern influences, however important, did not fall upon virgin soil. It is difficult to identify the sources and reconstruct the chronology, as well as the sum of modalities, of Western influences.[49] Stephen Prvoven~ani's receiving his crown from Rome in A. D. 1217 must have influenced  their impact;[50] in any case, this insigne is spoken of as sveti venac, a literal translation of sacra corona, by a well - informed biographer.[51]  The Western shapes of the rulers' crowns were used simultaneously with Byzantine shapes. The former tended to be preferred by those among Serbia's population who gravitated towards the West, the latter by its majority; there are reasons to believe however that these differences did not matter much and that each of the Nemanjid rulers posessed several different crowns.

A new wave of Western influences, important but insufficiently known, came under Stephen Dušan.[52] It was inspired by Dušan' s affinities for the imposing, "Ritter"- like attributes of Western court life: western  influences are easily traced in the field of popular litterature, the development of heraldry and Du{an’s royal ideology.[53] Under the Turkish menace, politico-cultural links with Hungary became increasingly close in the 15th century, a fact which must have been reflected in the sphere of the rulers' insignia. They remained prevailingly Byzantine but there are indications - the explicit evidence is meagre - that Byzantine and Western insignological forms (e. g. those of the crown) coexisted in the Serbia of the Despots.[54]

The history of Byzantine influence on the Nemanjid and post-Nemanjid insignia is both richer and better known.[55] The source of Nemanja's devotion to the pectoral cross was obviously in Constantinople. The use of the Byzantine crown, the stemma, became standard as early as the mid-13th century, if not before. The case of other regalia was similar or identical; this holds true especially for the monarch's garments and signs such as anexikakia and the cross-shaped sceptre. During the reign of King Milutin, the process of the Byzantinization of the insignia made important progress; the outward signs of the Serbian Kings' status were almost completely identified with those of the Constantinopolitan Basileis.[56] Stephen Dušan, as Emperor, was able to make this imitation of Byzantium legitimate.[57] It was seen in the coronation ceremonies, not only in the insignia alone, as shown by the Serbian translation (15th cent. ) of the Byzantine prayers which were read on the occasion of the investiture of Emperors, Caesars and Despots.[58] Despite all the political changes of the late 14th and 15th centuries, the influence of Byzantine conventions remained decisive in the insignological field. The portraits of Serbian dynasts in Church art well illustrate the strength of Serbia's fidelity to Eastern traditions - even in an epoch which wittnessed the eclipse of Byzantium.[59]

A word of warning is necessary to qualify the foregoing comments on the foreign influences shaping Serbian insignia and related concepts as well as rituals. Our evidence is not only meagre but also greatly one-sided. As the remains of the laic art and literature of the medieval Serbs have been lost with few exceptions, our knowledge largely depends on what the Serbian Orthodox Church has preserved, and these sources have been naturally centred on Byzantine traditions. There are good reasons to believe that Western traditions, although insufficiently documented, were also important (though not as important as the heritage of Constantinople) throughout Serbia's Middle Ages. As it has been noted more than once in the present article, certain periods (Dušan's; 15th century) and media (particularly those connected with Hungary or, in the internal development, with the warrior role of the Serbian sovereigns) must have been prominent in that respect. The parallel existence and interrelations of all three traditions (“national”, Byzantine, Western) should be noted. It seems that the Serbian ideologists' attitude to them tended to be eclectic. A "Majestäts-Siegel" of King Vladislav provides a good example of that tendency. Its legend is in Serbian, its obverse depicts the King with the Byzantine crown and costume, its general outlook (including the insignological details such as the King's lily-sceptre, arms and horse) is Occidental.[60]

(2) It can be inferred from narrative and documentary sources how the insignia of the Serbian rulers were perceived varied with time and the social circle of the subjects. The earliest conceptions of the Serbian insignia can be labelled magical. They gradually transformed into Christian; the progress must have been due, to an important degree, to the enlightening activities of St. Sava in the opening decades of the thirteenth century. It was probably the reign of Stephen Dušan which introduced into the insignological sphere systematic ideas that have been termed laico-juridical here. This periodization evidently contains much that is approximate and hypothetical. We should especially be aware of the social framework and limitations of the evolution. Magical thinking must have coloured the perception of the insignia in the lowest strata of the population till the end of the Middle Ages. The propagation of the laico-juridical concepts did not of course eliminate the predominant influence of Christian concepts; as a matter of fact, the former probably grew in the courts of the sovereign and his nobles only. To put it simply, magical conception of the rulers' insignia implied the belief that the objects themselves posessed a distinct power. The rank of the bearer, and the Christian interpretation of the insigne mattered little. As such, the magical conception continued certain pagan ideas though paganisam itself was long extinct - at least so far as the upper classes of Serbian society were concerned. The weapons of the early Nemanjids obviously tended to be magically venerated. King Dragutin invests his heir, King Milutin, with his personal weapons in the De`evo ceremony, already referred to; the description insists upon that significant act. Similarly, in the primitive image of the heroized ancestor of the nation, offered in a biography of his, Nemanja kills an enemy after he had died. He does that by his own spear, which must have enjoyed something of a cult analogous to the cult of St. Mauricius' spear (itself of pagan origin) in the countries under German cultural influence. Like the other "young nations" of Europe, early Serbia had one throne and one church, that of St. Peter and Paul at Ras, where the great `upans were regularly coronated.

On both points, the Byzantines had different notions; they neither venerated concrete, material insignia nor insisted upon one place of the monarchical cult. This was due to the deeper Christianization of their Empire, and their capacity for abstract thought. Byzantine influences gradually changed the Serbian conception of the insignia. The cathedral at Ras ceased to have a privileged position after 1217. The sacra corona[61] of the first Nemanjid King soon lost its authority (actually, each ruler used more than one crown); in Serbia, it had no cult or (at least) independent role as it had in nearby Hungary and Bosnia. Various other signs of the Christianization of the insignia can be cited from the thirteenth - early fourteenth centuries, in both the literary references to those attributes of the supreme power and what we know of their physical appearance. The introduction of the anexikakia speaks to the same effect. For the ideologists of this period, the Nemanjid ruler was an earthly representative of Christ, and the insignia of Serbia a reflection of their heavenly models; the church-frescoes insist, in diverse manners, upon the Rex regnantium formula underlying this complex of ideas.

 Finally, there are indications that the importance of the State in the conception of the rulers' insignia gradually increased. Written sources tend to qualify them all the more as an attribute of the realm; earlier qualifications, according to which they belong to the “nation”, or the dynasty, became increasingly rare. On the other hand, the transpersonal perception of the insignia remained popular (cf. the helmet obverses of the coins of Stephan De~anski and Dušan).[62] On the basis of these interconnected phenomena, there began to emerge the notion, legal rather than religious and well-known from the constitutional history of the European monarchies in the Middle Ages, of the crown as the symbol of the State and the independent embodiment of sovereign power. The composite structure of the State of Emperor Du{an - which united the Serbian Kingdom and the Greek Empire - was conducive to the development of that notion. In the charter of 1347, the two crowns of Du{an are alluded to; the first of Serbia, the second of Dušan's Romania.[63] This advance in the conception of the crown harmonized with a certain secularization of the spirit of many insignia and related media; note Du{an's decision, inspired by his "Ritter-like" mentality, to depict his head, and his equestrian statue, on the obverses of his monetary issues.[64] The same trends towards secularization and the transpersonal treatment of the crown continued into the fifteenth century; the Hungarian influences upon the Despotate of Serbia must have favoured them.[65] Despite the strength of the remaining Byzantine traditions, these trends might have led the evolution of the Serbian insignia into a direction traced by the West-European monarchies.[66] The process was discontinued, however, by the far-reaching catastrophy of 1459.



Smilja Marjanovi}-Du{ani}

 University of Belgrade















* The author is grateful to Professors S. ]irkovi} and J. Bak and to the referee of Majestas  for their useful comments on an earlier version of the paper.

[1] The present article has been based upon my book Vladarske insignije i dr`avna simbolika u Srbiji od XIII do XV veka (The Rulers' Insignia and the State Symbolism of Medieval Serbia), Beograd 1994 (in Serbian, with a short English summary; hereafter: Vladarske insignije). From the earlier scholarship note: St. Novakovi}, “Heraldi~ki obi~aji u Srba u primeni i knji`evnosti “(The Heraldic customs of the Serbs in the practise and the litterature; (original edition from 1884) , in: Istorija i tradicija, Izabrani radovi, (History and Tradition. Selected Studies), Beograd 1982, 293-434 (with S. ]irkovi}'s comments, 453-478); S. Radoj~i}, Portreti srpskih vladara u srednjem veku (The Portraits of the Serbian Medieval Rulers); (in Serbian with a French summary), Skoplje 1934; K. Jire~ek, Geschichte der Serben, Gotha 1918; = Istorija Srba (second edition, revised and supplemented by J. Radoni}), I-II, Beograd 1978, 12-15 et passim; G. Babi}, "Les insignes de souverain du Prince Lazar" (in Serbian, with a French summary), in: Le Prince Lazar, Symposium de Kru{evac 1971, Beograd 1975, 65-79.

[2] @itije Simeona Nemanje od Stefana Prvoven~anog, ed. V. ]orovi}, Svetosavski zbornik 2, Beograd 1939; @ivot svetoga Simeona Nemanje od Svetoga Save, ed. V. ]orovi}, Spisi sv. Save I, Beograd-Sremski Karlovci 1928 = Serbisches Mittelalter, Altserbische Herrscherbiographien, Bd. 1, Übersetzt, eingeleitet und erklärt von Stanislaus Hafner, Graz 1962. @ivot svetoga Save napisao " Domentijan" (to be corrected: Teodosije), ed. Dj. Dani~i}, Biograd 1860; @ivot svetoga Simeuna i svetoga Save od Domentiana, ed. Dj. Dani~i}, Biograd 1865. @ivoti kraljeva i arhiepiskopa srpskih od arhiepiskopa Danila, ed. Dj. Dani~i}, Zagreb 1866 = Serbisches Mittelalter, Altserbische Herrscherbiographien, Bd. 2, übersetzt, eingeleitet und erklärt von Stanislaus Hafner, Graz 1976. @itie na Stefan De~anski ot Grigorii Camblak, ed. A. Davidov, G. Dan~ev, N. Don~eva-Panaiotova, P. Kova~eva, T. Gen~eva, Sofia 1983. Konstantin Filosof i njegov `ivot Stefana Lazarevi}a despota srpskog, ed. V. Jagi}, Beograd 1875. = Lebensbeschreibung des Despoten, Stefan Lazarevi} von Konstantin dem Philosophen, ed. M. Braun, Göttingen 1956. In the following text, they will be referred to by the name of the medieval writer and the page of the edition. See also S. Hafner, Studien zur altserbischen Dynastischen Historiographie, München 1964; H. Birnbaum, Byzantine tradition transformed: The old serbian Vita, Aspects of the Balkans, Continuity and Change, Den Haag-Paris 1972, 243-284; B. Bojovi}, L’idéologie monarchique dans les hagiobiographies dynastiques du moyen age serbe , Roma 1995 (cf. Südost-Forschungen 55 (1996), 403-405); F. Kämpfer, “Herrscher, Stifter, Heiliger. Politischer Heiligenkult bei den orthodoxen Südslaven”, Politik und Heiligenverehrung im Hochmittelalter,  ed. J. Petersohn, Sigmaringen 1994 (=Vorträge und Forschungen 42), 423-448.

[3] The most important study is that of V. J. Djuri}, Byzantinische Fresken in Yugoslawien, München 1976.

[4] [. Ljubi}, Opis ju`noslavenskih novaca (Description of the South-Slav Coinnage), Zagreb 1875; R. Mari}, Studije iz srpske numizmatike (Etudes de numismatique serbe); (in Serbian, with a French summary), Beograd 1956.

[5] A. Ivi}, Stari srpski pe~ati i grbovi (Old Serbian Seals and Coats of Arms), Novi Sad 1910; G. ^remo{nik, Studije za srednjevjekovnu diplomatiku i sigilografiju Ju`nih Slavena (Studien zur südslavischen Diplomatik und Sigillographie des Mittelalters; (in Serbian, with a German summary), Sarajevo 1976.

[6] The following members of the Nemanjid dynasty held the Serbian throne: Stephen Nemanja (1168-1196), Stephen the First Crowned (Prvoven~ani) (1196-1228), Stephen Radoslav (1228-1234), Stephen Vladislav (1234-1243), Stephen Uro{ I (1243-1265), Stephen Dragutin (1265-1282), Stephen Uro{ II Milutin (1282-1321), Stephen Uro{ III De~anski (1321-1331), Stephen Uro{ IV Du{an (1331-1355), Stephen Uro{ V (1355-1371). Of the later rulers or quasi-rulers of Serbia who did not belong to the Nemanjid dynasty, note the kings Vuka{in (1365-1371), Marko (1371-1395) and Tvrtko I (1377-1391), the prince Lazar (1371-1389), and the despots Stephen Lazarevi} (1402-1427) and George Brankovi} (1429-1456).

[7] For the question whether the Kings of Doclea received regalia from the Pope see Istorija srpskog naroda I; (The History of Serbs), Beograd 1981, 189 (S. ]irkovi}). The author doubts that the Pope Gregory VIIth in reality gave the royal status to Doclea (the title of the king was mentioned in the adress of the Pope's letter to Doclean ruler Michael in 1077 ; cf. E. Caspar, Das Register Gregors VII, MGH Epistolae selectae t. II, fasc. II, Berolini 1955, 365). St. Peter's vexillum and the " honor regni" that Doclea received at the time, were probably a sign of the Papal support.

[8] S. Marjanovi}-Du{ani}, "Zapis starca Simeona na Vukanovom jevandjelju" (“Historical Notes on the Monk Symeon's Dedication of the so-called Vukan Gospel" (in Serbian, with an English summary), Starinar 43-44 (1992/3), 207-210; ead. , "Vladarski znaci Stefana Nemanje" (“The Insignia of Stephen Nemanja" (in Serbian, with an English summary), Proceedings of the Colloquium on "Stephen Nemanja -St. Symeon", Belgrade 1996, Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, (forthcoming).

[9] Istorija srpskog naroda I, Beograd 1981, 300-301 (B. Ferjan~i}); cf. Starinar 43-44 (1992-93), 209 with note 83.

[10] G. Soulis, The Serbs and Byzantium during the Reign of Tzar Stephen Du{an (1331-1355), Washington 1984; S. ]irkovi}, "Between Kingdom and Empire: Du{an's State 1346-1355 Reconsidered" (The 14th century, the Period of the last Greco-Serbian Conflict: Theory and Reality), Athens 1993, 110-120.

[11] J. Kali}, "Presto Stefana Nemanje" ("The Throne of Stefan Nemanja"), Prilozi za knji`evnost, jezik, istoriju i folklor 53-54 (Beograd, 1987-88), 21-30; Vladarske insignije, 24-26 et passim.

[12] Letopis popa Dukljanina, ed. F. [i{i}, Beograd-Zagreb 1928, cap. IX.

[13] Cf. the mention of "the throne of Ras" in the treaty between the Ragusian comune and the Bulgarian Emperor Mihael Asen (dated June 15th 1253), in: A. Solovjev, Odabrani spomenici srpskog prava od XII do kraja XV veka, Beograd 1928, 39. Ibid, 125 (the charter of the King Stephen Du{an for the St. Peter's church in Kori{a, dated May 19th 1343. ) mentions the late Kings of "the Serbian throne". The notion of the Serbian throne was gradually identified with the whole State and its dynasty.

[14] In the Rulers' Vitae the throne is usually mentioned (before the crown) as the symbol of the power transmitted during the ceremony (cf. Stephen, 39; Domentian, 41-42, 152; Danilo, 26; also, the charter of Simeon Nemanja to the monastery od Chilandar, in: A. Solovjev, op. cit, 13).

[15] In more than one way, the symbol of the throne was highly personified, as it is in the sanction of the Emperor Du{an's charter for the St. Arhangel's monastery at Lesnovo dated between 1347. and 1350. A. D. (in: S. Novakovi}, Zakonski spomenici srpskih dr`ava srednjega veka, Beograd 1912, 680).

[16] Domentijan, 245; Teodosije, 141. That is also the case with the bisellium of the joint rulers. See V. J. Djuri}, "Istorijske kompozicije u srpskom srednjevekovnom slikarstvu i njihove knji`evne paralele" ("Compositions historiques dans la peinture médiévale serbe et leurs parallèles littéraires" (in Serbian, with a French summary), Zbornik radova Vizantolo{kog Instituta 10 (Beograd, 1967), 134; 11 (Beograd, 1968), 122.

[17] See supra note 8. Cf. S. Marjanovi}-Du{ani}, Vladarska ideologija Nemanji}a. Diplomati~ka studija (L’idéologie monarchique de la dynastie des Némanides. Etude diplomatique ), (in Serbian, with a French summary), Beograd 1997, 42-59. That conclusion is based upon several source evidences, among which the descriptions of the cermony of investiture (1196. ) from St. Sava's Vita of St. Simeon (Sava, 157) play a prominent part. Also, cf. the remains of the crown on the fresco-portrait of grand `upan Stefan in Studenica (1208), and the beginning of the synaxar from the Paris manuscript of the St. Simeon's Vita (M. Ba{i}, Stare srpske biografije, Beograd 1924, 74).

[18] Vladarske  insignije, 48-49, 104-105.

[19] Cf. Prince Lazar's crowns in the Ravanica and Ljubostinja frescoes (Vladarske insignije, 65-66).

[20] F. Miklosich, Monumenta Serbica, 73 (the charter of King Milutin for the monastery of St. Nicolas at Hvosno, dated at 1309. A. D. ); The same motiv appears in the sanctions of the three charters of Stefan De~anski (for the episcopal church of St. Peter and Paul at Hum; for the episcopal church at Prizren; for the monastery of De~ani). Cf. F. Miklosich, Monumenta Serbica, 82, 100.

[21] The conception of the composite crown of Serbian archbishop invokes Western paralelles (cf. the verses in Srbljak I, 97 and Teodosije, 63; the whole problem is discussed in Vladarske insignije, 157-158).

[22] S. ]irkovi}, "Sugubi venac",("Die doppelte Krone", in Serbian, with a German summary), Zbornik Filozofskog fakulteta VIII/1 A(Beograd, 1964), 343-370.

[23] Significantly, a coin issued for Lazar Djurdjevi} (shortly before 1448 ?) bears the effigy of a crown, alone, on its obverse (R. Mari}, op. cit. , 436 and Pl. LX 19; Vladarske insignije, 158-159 and Fig. 21 above). The type is unprecedented on Serbian medieval coinage; the crown is obviously a substitute for George Brankovi}'s portrait and/or name.

[24] Teodosije, 216; Danilo, 193.

[25] Vladarske insignije, 33-31, et pass.

[26] Vladarske insignije, 81 ff, 104 ff.

[27] Stefan, 46; Domentijan, 65. For the numismatic evidence see S. Ljubi}, Opis, V (3, 6, 16); VI (8, 10, 11, 12, 13).

[28] S. Marjanovi}-Du{ani}, "Nemanjin naprsni krst" (“The Pectoral Cross of Stephen Nemanja" (in Serbian, with an English summary), Zbornik Filozofskog fakulteta XVII A (Beograd, 1991), 203-215 + Pl. I, 1-2; ead. , "The Insignia of Stephen Nemanja" (see above, note 8).

[29] Vladarske insignije, 104-105 et pass.

[30] S. Marjanovi}-Du{ani}, "Vladar kao ratnik. Prilog izu~avanju nemanji}ke ideologije" (“The Ruler as a Warrior, Notes on the Ideology of the Nemanjids' Dynasty"), (in Serbian, with an English summary), Zbornik Filozofskog fakulteta XVI A (Beograd, 1989), 125-146.

[31] Vladarske insignije, 33-34, 92-93 et pass.

[32] Stefan, 26 (4, 5) and 63; Domentijan, 19.

[33] See the paper referred to above, note 24, pp. 131-132, 144.

[34] Danilo, 24-26.

[35] Vladarske insignije, 33-34, et pass.

[36] R. Mari}, op. cit. , 79 (Du{an, I/1), 82 ff. (Du{an, III; Uro{, I; Vuka{in, I/2; Vuk Brankovi}, I-II; Prince Lazar, I, et alii).

[37] Ibid. , 78 (I; the attribution of the corresponding coins to De~anski is very probable, but not quite without controversy).

[38] G. ^remo{nik, op. cit. , 133 (Pl. 4, 11); cf. 124-125, 131-132. S. ]irkovi} (see supra, note 1), 460 and 463.

[39] The tendency of the official art to promote the ruler as individual, partly evoluated towards the ideal of the ruler as a knight. That ideal underwent strong Western influances as early as the time of Emperor Du{an (e. g. Luccari, Copioso ristretto de gli annali di Ragusa, Venetia 1605, 54, about the foundation of "l'ordine di cavallieri domandato colona di San Stefano" under Emperor Du{an ) and became popular in the 15th century. The rulers's helmet (depicted also on the coins and other material belonging to nobility) take heraldic features and, as a visible sign of dependance, stress the feudal link between nobles and their ruler. Cf. S. Novakovi}, Heraldi~ki obi~aji u Srba, 301 ff; Vladarske insignije, 147-148.

[40] S. Marjanovi}-Du{ani}, "The Ruler as Warrior", 137-138.

[41] Vladarske insignije, 35-36 et pass.

[42] M. Blagojevi}, "Tep~ije u srednjovekovnoj Srbiji, Bosni i Hrvatskoj" (“The tep~ije in medieval Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia”), Istorijski Glasnik 1-2 (Beograd, 1976), 7-45.

[43] St. Novakovi}, "Vizantijski ~inovi i titule u srpskim zemljama XI-XV veka" (“The Byzantine ranks and titles in Serbian lands from 11th to 15th century”), Glas SKA 78 (Beograd, 1908), 200. P.Skok,  in his Etymological Dictionary, has derived the term tep~ija from the verb tepsti  (¨to beat¨) instead of  the noun  *tep.

[44] E. Eichmann, Die Kaiserkrönung im Abendland II, Würzburg 1942, 82 ff; cf. B. Grafenauer, Die Kärntner Herzogseinsetzung und der Staat der Karantanerslawen (in Slovene, with a German summary), Ljubljana 1952, 291.

[45] Vladarske insignije, 32-33 and 41 (notes 112-121). The notion of the sovereign’s inherent in the insigne of *tep  and the function of the tep~ije  (tep~ijas) explains the use of the terms comes curialis, iupanus curialis  for these latter in the Latin documents of Croatia and Bosnia.

          [46] Of the two terms normally used in the context, tribe (tribal) and nation (national), the former sounds less adequate. The state, the society and the ideology of medieval Serbia were too complex to speak of the Serbs as a tribe at that time. The more so as they included several tribes (plemena). Naturally, the term “nation”, when applied to the Middle Ages, has a meaning essentially different from that in modern times.

[47] Danilo's description clearly illustrates the archaic character of that ceremony (Danilo, 26); the King Dragutin gives to his succesor the crown, "royal" costume, horse and weapons "that he held himself, on his own body". In the description there is no mention of the prelate's role in the ceremony.

          [48] Note the expressions such as ra{ki stol, stol srbski, prestol kralievstva srbskoga, prestol kralievstva zemlje srbske, ota~aski i srbski skiptar, srbski skiptri (for the complete source evidence cf. Vladarske insignije, 24-31).

         [49] To judge i.a. from the intensity of  the early connections between the Serbian and the Hungarian courts , these influences must have started before the regnal period. In the mid-thirteenth century, the Serbs took from their northern neighbours the institution of rex iunior  among other things. The fact that the south-west (cities in the first place) of medieval Serbia was partly populated by Catholics, and had important contacts - both economic and cultural - with the trans-Adriatic lands may have favoured the maintenance of Western customs and conceptions in several fields. The iconography as well as inscriptions on numerous Serbian coins attest to that fact.

          [50] At the same time, Nemanja’s sons Stephen and Sava introduced the cult of their father -St.Symeon, thus  creating the ideal picture of the ruler - saint, without parallel in  Byzantium.

[51] Domentijan, 247.

[52] Cf. S. ]irkovi}, supra, note 1, 459-460. Also, note the new conception of the royal tomb with the gisant  statue of emperor Du{an; cf. D.Popovi}, Srpski vladarski grob u srednjem veku (The Royal Tomb in Medieval Serbia), (in Serbian, with an English Summary), Beograd 1992,118 ff.

         [53] Cf. supra, note 39 and S.Marjanovi}-Du{ani}, Vladarska ideologija Nemanji}a (L’ideologie monarchique de la dynastie des Nemanides), passim.

[54] For the insignia of Serbian Despots see B. Ferjan~i}, Despoti u Vizantiji i ju`noslovenskim zemljama (The Despotes in Byzantium and South-Slav countries), (in Serbian, with a German Summary), Beograd 1960.

[55] See e. g. the study by G. Babi}, cited above, note 1; V. J. Djuri}, "L'art des Paléologues et l' Etat serbe. Role de la Cour et de l'Eglise serbes dans la première moitié du XIV siècle", in: Art et société à Byzance sous les Paléologues, Venice 1971.

[56] V. J. Djuri}, "Les portraits de souverains dans le narthex de Chilandar", Hilandarski zbornik 7 (Beograd 1989), 105-122.

[57] See supra, note 9.

[58]K. Nevostrujev, "Tri molitve", Glasnik Srpskog u~enog dru{tva XXII (Beograd 1867), 360-370.

[59] V. J. Djuri}, "Portreti vizantijskih i srpskih vladara s poveljama" (“The Portraits of the Byzantine and Serbian Rulers with Charters”), in: P. Ivi} - V. J. Djuri} - S. ]irkovi}, Esfigmenska povelja despota Djurdja (The Esphigmenou Charter of Despot Djuradj (in Serbian, with an English summary), Smederevo 1988, 20-36; M. Spremi}, Despot Djuradj Brankovi} i njegovo doba (Despot Djuradj Brankovi} and his Time), Beograd 1994, 766 et pass.

[60] G. ^remo{nik, op. cit. , 120 and Pl. I 3a.

[61] Domentijan, 247. Cf. A. Solovjev, "Corona regni. Die Entwicklung der Idee des Staates in den slavischen Monarchien, " in: Corona regni. Studien über die Krone als Symbol des Staates im späteren Mittelalter, hrsgb. M. Hellmann, Weimar 1961, 172-175; S. ]irkovi}, "Sugubi venac" (“Die doppelte Krone"), 345 with note 11.

[62] The type appears at the time of Stefan De~anski (cf. R. Mari}, Studije, 78 (t. XIV 5/4). The introduction of the Western helmet in Serbian numismatics was due to Hungarian influances (cf. L. Réthy, Corpus nummorum Hungariae II, Budapest 1907, 15, 16).

[63] F. Miklosich, Monumenta Serbica, 143.

[64] R. Mari}, op. cit. , 85 (XII and XIII, Pls. XVI, 11-14).

[65] Supra, note 18; cf. M. Spremi}, op. cit. , 766-767.

          [66] Two principal considerations suggest this assumption: the structural similarities of long standing between the Serbian and the West-European monarchical ideology and  related phenomena which go back to the twelfth century if not earlier (see above, text and notes 21, 22, 23, 39, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 61, 62), and the acceptance of diverse Western influences which characterizes the period of the last two Despots of Serbia. It is significant for their attitudes combining the Byzantine heritage and recently accepted Western forms of thinking and court-life that they were styled The Despots of Serbia, although such a teritorial definition of the Despots’ title was unparallelled in the Byzantine tradition.