Institute of the Serbian Academy of
Sciences and Art
to the Book of Noel Malcolm
Kosovo - A Short History
Prof. Djordje Jankovic, Ph.D
Faculty of Philosophy
Ages in Noel Malcolm's Kosovo,
A Short History and Real Facts
the interpretations of the mediaeval past of Kosovo and Metohija in
Noel Malcolm's work, one should be aware of the tasks set by the author
before writing the book. That way, the acrobatic handling of the evidence
which he uses or does not use will become clearer. In the introductory
text, ten pages long, he clearly presents his political and ideological
position. They are as follows (p. XXXIV-XXXV): "Kosovo" is
one of the cultural crossroads of Europe - which is wrong; "Kosovo"
is probably the central area to the survival of the Albanian and genesis
of the Rumanian languages - which is a fabrication; "Kosovo"
became the geographical centre of an important mediaeval state (meaning
Serbia) - which is only partly true, because Kosovo was, in addition,
its administrative, cultural, and spiritual centre; "Kosovo"
was one of the most peculiar idiosyncratic parts of Turkey in Europe
- which is a fabrication; modern Albanian movement was born in Kosovo
- which is wrong, because the part played by foregin intelligence sources
in its formation has been widely known. In the early chapters of the
book, Malcolm argues that the Albanians are the autochthonous population
of "Kosovo", and that the Serbs temporarily expelled them
from there, during the 250 years of "Serbian occuppation",
in the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth century.
What is more, Malcolm advocates distorted principles of liberty, complying
with the ideology pursued by the "powers that be" since the
days of the Roman Empire. Malcolm's claims that the struggle of the
Balkan peoples to liberate themselves from the Turks was not justified
(p. XXXV), as well as that the idea that behind the Albanians has been
Islam, which in fact belongs to the Balkans (XXXVI) - is groundless.
Malcolm's undisguised hatred toward Orthodox Christians and the Serbs
not willing to accept the establishment of a new world order, points
to the ideological and racist motives of the author of the book.
For the sake of truth, I must point out that among Serb intellectuals
the opinion has gained currency that the Kosovo legend, the legends
of Saint Prince Lazar and Milos Obilic, even of Saint Sava, were products
of the Serbian nineteenth century elite, notably the church elite, intended
to generate conditions for the awakening and liberation of the nation
as prerequisites for the unification of the nation and the country.
In addition, people's memory had to give up more ancient history in
order to invest the Nemanjid dynasty with the corresponding authority.
However, as the following discussion is about to show at least to an
extent, that claim is wrong, because the roots of present-day Serbs
are really in Metohija and Kosovo. In the Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia,
no archeological studies were undertaken in mediaeval Kosovo and Metohija
so as to make possible the writing of such books as Malcolm's Kosovo.
A Short History. Luckily enough, in spite of the lag in the archeological
studies in Kosovo and Metohija lasting for decades, a few yet very firm
material and archeological facts, which are easy to verify, are available
testifying to the culture and continuity of the Serbs. Some more substantial
archeological excavations conducted in Albania are quite complementary,
showing that the ancestors of the Albanians settled between the Drin
and the Adriatic coast in the Middle Ages.
As we go along, we are going to point only to some of the most striking
fabrications relating to the times before the Nemanjids, following the
arrangement of Malcolm's chapters. Some of those fabrications are result
of Malcolm's ignorance, of his insufficient knowledge of scholarly sources
and research methodology, whereas others result from his intention,
serving the interests of the Shqiptars, to misinform the reader and
antagonize him towards the Serbs.
The chapter "Orientation:
places, names and peoples"
The intention behind
this chapter is to prove the geographical compactness of "Kosovo",
that is of Kosovo including the areas of both the Kosovo Field (Kosovo
Polje) and Metohija, in order to justify the name "Kosovo"
and make it possible to place the original homeland of the Sqiptars
within such an artificially created area with seemingly logical explanations.
However, Kosovo and Metohija are, historically, two geographically distinct
areas. In prehistory, geographical location used to determine the expansion
of certain cultures, that is of various ethnic entities. For instance,
it is conspicuous that tombs and tumuli dating from the Bronze and Iron
Ages are not to be found in Kosovo but only in Metohija. There are two
views of the borderlines between the subsequent Roman provinces of Dalmatia
and Moesia. According to the older one, Metohija was a part of Dalmatia
and, later, of the province of Prevalis, whereas Kosovo was a part of
Moesia and the subsequent province of Dardania, and this view is corroborated
by the distribution of the tumuli. According to the more recent view,
Metohija was a part of Moesia, then of Dardania. In this respect, the
evidence offered by the parallel exstence of neighbouring archbishroprics
is sufficiently telling. At the time of Emperior Basileus II (976-1025),
Kosovo was a part of the Ulpiana bishopric, Binacka Morava of the Skoplje
bishopric, and Metohija of the Prizren bishopric. During the thirteenth
through fifteenth centuries, in Metohija (Hvosno) the Studenica Eparchy
was also functioning in addiition to that in Prizren, whereas in Kosovo,
in addition to the Skoplje and Gracanica Eparchies (the latter succeeded
the Ulpiana Eparchy), a bishopric at Zvecan functioned for some time.
In other words, from time immemorial, the predetermined administrative
borderline ran between the basins of the Drin and Morava rivers, so
that the common name for Kosovo and Metohija cannot be accounted for
on historical-geographical grounds. The cultural homogeneousness of
such distinct geographical areas as Kosovo and Metohija is reached only
if they are inhabited by the same people withing the boundaries of one
and the same state.
"Origins: Serbs, Albanians and Vlachs"
Writing this chapter,
Malcolm does not use fundamental historical sources: he is not aware
of Byzantine manuscript sources, not even of the works by Constantine
VII Porphyrogenitus, let alone the Arab or Armenian texts. He does not
use a single history of the Serb people or any work of the kind, not
even most recent Western books pretening to present the early history
of the Slavs and of South-Eastern Europe, whereas for him the precious
Russian sources simply do not exist. The power belongs to the West,
and so does all knowledge and the truth! According to Malcolm, the Serbs,
originally living in the areas north and north-east of the Black Sea,
lived in the fifth and sixth centuries in Bohemia and Saxony, and they
came to the Balkans following the Croats; then the Serbs settled in
the area of Rascia (Raska), where initially they had no social set-up
resembling a state, but only a few tribal territories ruled by zupans,
etc. (pp. 23-24) Yet, even if long known manuscript sources and even
more recent archeological findings are ignored, common sense and logic
still remain commanding the conclusion that no people with a historical
role like the one played the Serbs could have been shaped.
Concealing the early history of the mediaeval Serb Principality, and
thereby reducing the population of this people, which at the time was
second in number in the South East after the Greeks, to a few zupanijas
in Rascia (and it is known that later, in the eleventh and twelfth centuries,
Rascia was a border region of Serbia), the author populates so obtained
legal, historical and geographical areas. Malcolm claims that the area
was inhabited by a large population speaking a Romance language, that
it was gradually slavicized, and that the Serbs were speading out to
Kosovo not earlier than towards the end of the twelfth century (pp.
25-26). Malcolm grounds his claim that Kosovo and Metohija were not
inhibited by the Serbs and Slavs by his own interepretion of the differences
between the Serbo-Croat (in fact Serb) language and the Bulgarian-Macedonian
(in fact the South-Slav) language. He goes on to argue that the area
from the Morava river through Kosovo and Metohija and as far as the
Adriatic coast, amounting to an area substantially larger then the few
Rascian zupanijas, was inhabited by a native population, as allegedely
ancient toponyms demonstrate. Malcolm illustrates this by giving instances
of the names of major towns Naissus - Nis, and Scupi - Skoplje. In addition,
he mentions the name of Lipljan, allegedely the Latin Lypenion, a name
of which there is no record in ancient times but which was mentioned
for the first time in Greek, in 1018, as . He cites the place name Puku,
allegedely deriving from via publica (26-27). This is neither speculation
nor guesswork, but a fabrication serving to promote a definite purpose.
Malcolm does not ethimologize using place-names recorded in the documents
of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, such as the already mentioned
Lipljan, Prizren or Zvecan, let alone the toponyms recorded in the documents
in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Many of those toponyms, preserved
down to our day, point to the Serb population there in the times substantially
preceding the twelfth and thrteenth centuries, for example: Balvanü;
Igri e - Süborüsko - Zborce - Gumniøte; Kobûla
glava - Kobiqa glava; Rosuqe - Rosuqa, etc.
Stating his views of the origin of the population of Kosovo and Metohija,
Malcolm goes on to say that the Slavs, namely the Bulgarian Slavs (p.
27), are present there only since the beginning of the eleventh century
and down to the Byzantine occupation of 1018. Not a word about the Bulgarian
raids on Serbia!
Then he attempts to demonstrate, relying solely on philological evidence,
that the Albanians are the autochtonous population of Kosovo and Metohija
(p. 30). He tries to establish the links between the Albanian and Illyrian
languages, in spite of the fact that the Illyrian language has not survived
in its written form, as well as between the Albanian and the Thracian
language. He demonstrates those links with a forced interpretation of
hydronyms, toponyms and ethnonyms from pre-Roman times, and does that
using contemporary Albanian words, which is unlicenced to such an extent
that his interpretations become absurd. He links the name of the river
Mat with the Albanian word for "river-bank" - "mat"
- though it is a nonsense to call a river a "bank". The place-name
"Ulcinj" he translates with the Albanian word for "wolf"
- "ujk", "ulk", though it's a nonsense to name a
sea coast town after a forest beast. Finally, he links the name of "Dardania"
to the Albanian "dardhe" - "pear" (p. 32), though
a few pages later he links it to a cheese perculiar for Dardania (p.
40), which calls for no comment. Further on, he argues, once again on
the basis of linguistics, that the Albanians originally did not live
at the sea side (what about Ulcinj?), and points to the areas in the
hinterland, that is to say to Kosovo and Metohija (p. 34). His speculations
needlessly include the Bessi (pp. 35-37), whom he excludies as the possible
ancestors of the Albanians, one can assume in order to support the illusion
that his approach is objective. At length he draws the conclusion that
after a "Slav invasion" into the Upper Morava basin, in northern
Macedonia, in "Kosovo" (and in Metohija), as well as in a
part of Montenegro, a population of Latin speech continued to live from
which the Albanians and the Vlachs originated, who were later driven
out by the Slavs and Serbs (pp. 39-40).
Let us discuss, in a quite cursory manner afforded by available space,
the archeological data corroborating the possible origin of the Sqiptars
namely Albanians. Right away it can said that there are no essential
links between the fifth and seventh centuries population of Kosovo and
Metohija with the Sqiptars. The necropolises dating from those times
are characterized by an absence of inventory, or they contain findings
characteristic of the Roman provinces as far as the Danube border (Ulpijana,
Bela Crkva). The seventh, eighth and nineth centuries natives or the
population of predominantly Latin, Hellenic or Illyrian origins, can
be identified only on the basis of the graves in littoral towns such
as Drac, Ljes and Svac. In other words, precisely in the areas alien
to the Albanian language, due to the absence of originally Albanian
expressions characteristic of the littoral. Those necropolises contained
Byzantine women's jewelry, belt-buckles, a few clay jugs, and seldom
objects of other cultures such as the Slav clasps.
To this period also belongs the Koman culture, an interesting culture
identifiable by its graves containing distinct objects, which was situated
between Lake Ohrid and Lake Skadar, that is in the mountinous areas
between the littoral and the fertile areas of Zeta, Metohija, Kosovo
and the Vardar Valley. This culture is identified as a distinct culture
by its jewelry - its earrings with flat pendants ending with stars,
stiff necklases, large arch-shaped buckles with their pins bent down
and shaping a horned head; in warriors' equipment it is distinguished
by shoulder strap loops, sometimes bearing human images, then by axes,
etc. In jewelry there are pieces of Byzantine origin - rings, ear-rings,
belt buckles. Here and there late Slav clasps are also encountered.
The cultural and geographical origin of these objects is varied. The
axes and stiff necklaces are similar to the findings from chronologically
close or contemporaneous graves of the Croats, or from those of the
Bulgarian Danube basin and the area extending as far as the Caucasus
regions; the strap loops were used by various nomadic tribes of Asiatic
origin in the area extending from Pannonia as far as the Ural Mountains
and Caucasus; the clasps are closest in shape to those used by the Romans
from the Danube basin inhabitting the steppes in the Black Sea littoral;
the Byzantine jewelry was procured at the coast, but some of its pieces
are Pannonian in origin. Everything points to a mixture of peoples originating
in the East, concentrating in Pannonia which, led by Kuver, came down
to the South towards the end of the seventh century and settled in New
Epirus. Their settling in a mountainous area shows that they came from
the mountains, perhaps from the northern slopes of the Caucasus. Apart
from the disagreements in the interpretations of the Koman culture,
it is essential that the necropolises of that culture differ from contemporaneous
necropolises in the littoral. That testifies that there existed two
different populations - that the population in the littoral was autochtonous,
whereas that in the mountainous hinterland was made up of newcomers.
Proceeding with his discussion of the origin of the people which he
calls the Albanians, Malcolm finds that they never in the past described
themselves using that name but, as an exception, in the fifteenth century
Italy, described themselves as Arberesch (p. 29). In passing, in a note,
he mentions the hypothesis concerning the Albania in the Balkans and
the Albania in the Caucasus, but dismisses it because allegedly there
are no connections between the two areas. This claim is unfounded, because
both Albanias were close to the borders of one and the same state, Byzantium.
The Albania situated within present-day Azerbaijan, mentioned by that
name by Ptolemy, was referred to during the middle and latter Middle
Ages as "Albania", "Agwank", "Aluank",
"Arran", ar-Ran". A Latin map from 1482 shows an "Albania"
in the territory of Azerbaijan. It is assumed that long ago it was inhabited
by the Gargarians, but it is on record that in the Caucasus also lived
wild warlike tribes and that some of them moved with their cattle down
to lower areas. In addition, in the Vaspurkan province of Armenia there
is a district called Arberani. On the border of Armenia, Byzantium and
Persia, there was a fortress called Marde, Mardis, and that brings us
closer to the Mardaits, warlike mountain tribesmen who used to change
their masters, so that they were often displaced. The late Jovan Kovacevic
connected this tribe with the Mardits. The Arbanes in New Epirus were
first mentioned in the eleventh century. Soon after, the Turks invaded
the areas east of the Caucasus and settled in Agvank, the present-day
Azerbaijan, causing recorded and on recorded migration of various tribes.
It is quite possible that the Arberans then escaped to Byzantium, which
allowed them to settle in the areas north of the Salonika-Drac road,
reinforcing Byzantium's border with Serbia. It is a matter of time when
individual archeological findings from Albania will be linked to those
late comers from Asia.
It is evident that the ancestors of the Albanians, a nation formed in
our time, are various tribes of Asian extraction who, arriving between
the seventh and eleventh century in the mountainous areas of the present-day
Albania, were mixed with the Slavs inhabiting that undulating strip
and with the population of Latin and partly Greek speech living in the
coastal towns. Hence the philologically based claim that modern Albanians
are autochtonous in origin is not grounded.
"Medieval Kosovo before Prince Lazar: 850s-1380s"
Noel Malcolm possesses
no real knowledge of Kosovo and Metohija between 850. and 1166: there
was no Serbian state there, but there were a Bulgarian and Byzantine
state; that area is the soil of the Greek Church, but the Albanians
stick to the Roman Latin Church; king Stefan the First-Crowned regains
Prizren, so the Serbs are the conquerors of Kosovo and Metohija from
the end of the twelfth century to the early thirteenth century (pp.
As shown by Aleksandar Loma and others, the Kosovo Battle was not just
a battle but a predetermined battle, one of those battles deciding the
fate of a people for many centuries to come. The very place where the
battle took place was not chosen at random. The central divide and at
once the primaeval crossroads and centre of the Balkan Peninsula is
situated at the south end of the Kosovo Field. From the mountain saddles
between Stimlje and Suva Reka the waters flow down westwards to Metohija
and further on to the Adriatic Sea, and eastwards to the Kosovo Field,
where they, coming from the same springs, flow both towards the Aegean
and Black Seas. That bifurcation, in the outskirts of Urosevac, was
a result of man-made dams and river beds; a branch of the Nerodimka
river flows northwards emptying its waters into Svrcin Lake and then
by way of the Sitnica river into the Ibar and then Morava rivers, whereas
its other branch flows to the south discharging itself, by way of the
Lepenac river, into the Vardar river. It is there that the royal palaces
of the Serbs are concentrated: Svrcin, Pauni, Nerodimlje and Stimlje,
and, not very far from them, Pristina, and Ribnik near Prizrena. Let
my remind that the Serbs did not have particular cities as their capitals,
but that their capitals were where the sovereign had his residence or
where annual communal assemblies (sabors) were held. Why did the Serbs
choose for their palaces and sabors the south of the Kosovo Field and
its central divide becomes clear in the light of the fact that the country
from which the Serbs had come to the Balkan Peninsula, Bojka, was situated
along a similar divide and crossroads. The Bojkis even today live in
Galicia, at the devide between the Black Sea in the east (with the Danube
basin in the south, the basins of the Siret, Southern Bug and Dniester
in the east, and that of the Dnieper in the north) and the Baltic Sea
(the basin of the Vistula, San and Western Bug). That is why Kosovo
could serve as the communal annual assemblies (saborna) area of the
Serbs since their settling there in the 7th century and in the latter
Middle Ages, under the Nemanjic dynasty and Prince Lazar. In other words,
in 1389 the Turks attacked the heart and crossroads of the Serbian state,
the area of its capitals.
According to the record by Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus, it is assumed
that the town of Destinik, the first in his list of the Serb towns,
was located somewhere in Metohija. A comparison with the list of Croatian
towns contained in the same record, in which the first mentioned town,
Nin, was the seat of the bishop, one can assume that the most important
Serb town in the 10th century was Destinik in Metohija. The Nemanjid
period shrines of the Pec Patriarchate are grouped round a modest, earlier
church, that of St. Apostles. It must be evident to the lover of the
truth that this church must have been of particular significance for
the Serbs since the seat of the Archbishop was precisely there and not
in some more monumental monastery selected by the Nemanjids. Long ago
in the foundations of the Patriarchate of Pec temples the remnants of
a large church were found which have not been archeologically examined
but are dated two construction stages before the Nemanjids, that goe
as farback as the period between seventhand tenth and eleventh and twelfth
centuries. The Serbian bishopric seat was probably there prior to the
Bulgarian and Byzantine conquests. That accounts for the wish of Serbian
aristocracy to spend the last days of their lives as monks in metohs
founded by themselves in the vicinity. Is it possible that a people
of such a developed ancestral cult as the Serbs would move their spiritual
centre to an allegedly occuppied territory as Malcolm would have it?
There is no historical precedent for such an act, and Metohija and Kosovo
are really the seminal areas of the Serbs.
One-day archeological excavations in the mountain of Ostrovica between
Prizren and Sirinicka Zupa unveiled gromile, or characteristic Serb
medieval monuments to honour the dead dating from the seventh, eighth
and ninth centuries approximately, along with the church in the foundations
of the Patriarchate of Pec. To the period of Bulgarian and Samuilo's
raids on Serbia in the nineth and tenth centuries belongs the pottery
collection found in bordering fortresses at the border and in destroyed
monasteries. The most important in it is a fragment of a tenth century
jug found in Cecan. It bears the sign of its volume in the Glagolitsa
- number six; that jug served for wine tax payment. The record being
in the Glagolitsa and not in the Cyrillic alphabet, the area of Kosovo
must have been a part of Kosovo, since at that time the Cyrillic alphabet
was already the official writing. Archeological excavations, establishing
that the ancient fortresses in Cecan and Veletin were revitalized, revealed
identifiable findings intended to ward off the ivasionas coming from
the East. The existence of a stratum containing contemporaneous pottery
at the sites of the Studenica of Hvostno (Studenica Hvostanska) and
the Prizren Church of the Archangels (Arhandjeli Prizrenski) shows that
the monasteries in Metohija were devastated at the same time.
It is the general view that Serbia fell to Byzantium after 1018, though
this claim is not backed up by reliable evidence. Malcolm and some other
authors think that the Kosovo Field and Metohija were conquered by Byzantium
at that time, but according to written sources, that it is true only
for the area of Lipljan, that is for Kosovo. It is possible that the
only known Byzantine commander of "Serbia" of that time in
fact governed only Kosovo and some neighbouring areas.
There is definite historical and geographical evidence of Kosovo and
Metohija in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. After the town of Destinik,
which was referred to in the mid-tenth century, in the early eleventh
century Lipljan and Prizren are mentioned. It is to Prizren that later,
in 1072, Slav representives came from the conquered Bulgaria and Serb
eastern areas, to attend the coronation of the Serbian prince Bodin.
After that, towards the end of the twelfth century, Anna Comnina, counting
the entire Kosovo as Serbia, establishes the border towards Byzantium
along the mountain range east of the Kosovo Field.
The presence of the Serbian population in Kosovo and Metohija is demonstrated
even more reliably by archeological findings, though they are scarce.
Serb pottery from the eleventh century was found on many sites, mainly
in Kosovo, in Gracanica, Ulpiana, Zaskok, Banjska,etc. In Maticani near
Pristina an eleventh century graveyard was examined displaying some
older findings. Several graves near Badovci and Gracanica that were
studied belong to the same period. However, it happens that another
examined grave, that in Prcevo in Metohija, established at approximately
the same time, was continually used until the twelfth, and perhaps even
in the thirteenth century. This reveals a different fate of Metohija.
In Metohija there were no displacements of necropolises during the Serbo-Byzantine
wars towards the end of the eleventh centuries. The jewelry found in
the mentioned graves is Slav in origin. It is wrought in the Byzantine
technique of filigree, has the shapes distinct from those of Bulgaria
or the Morava basin, and it is to be found on various sites as far as
Knin (primarily the earrings with four blackberries and conic cherries),
which points to its use by the Serbs.
Judging by jewelry findings, a series of necropolises was established
under Byzantine rule during the twelfth century. They are Vrbnica and
Djonaj near Prizren, Siroko near Suva Reka, Vlastica and Velikince near
Gnjilane, Socanica, but no contemporaneous necropolises have been found
in Kosovo. The use of these cemetries ceased around the middle of the
thirteenth cenutry. As the jewelry shows, the necropolises were used
by the Serb or Slav population during Byzantine rule, but one is struck
by the absence of Byzantine coins found in contemporaneous necropolises
extending from our Danube areas as far as Macedonia. Since it is on
record that in the twelfth century Constantinple appointed a number
of Serb zupani administrators of westernmost areas of Byzantium, it
is possible that that was the case with the areas of Metohija and Kosovo
too. The jewelry from these necropolises in Metohija and Kosovo alike,
is characteristic both of central and eastern areas of the Balkan Peninsula
(earrings with biconic strawberries, bracelets made of interwoven wire,
etc.), and of its western areas (earrings with one or more granular
joints). All eleventh and twelfth centuries archeological findings point
to Serb and generally Slav population.
During the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the Nemanyides reconstruct
old temples, those built during Byzantine occupation (Gracanica, Lipljan,
etc.) as well as older ones functioning in the nineth and tenth centuries
(the Studenica of Hvosto, the Pec Patriarchate, probably the temple
in Prizren, Banjska), which also proves the continuity of the Srb population.
The gromile and
toponyms such as "Igriste" seem to indicate that Metohija
and Kosovo, as well as the areas farther to the east and south, were
integrated into the Serb lands not later than the seventh century. It
is possible that there lived other Slavs or autochthonous population,
but this has not been supported by convincing evidence. The Field of
Kosovo attracted the Serbs by its situation at a divide, its fitness
for cattle-breeding, for summer settlements and agriculture. It was
then that Christianization of the Serbs was completed, which accounts
for the continual existence of some Hellenic temples since ancient times
down to the time of the Nemanyides. It seems certain that one of the
most significant centres of Serb evangelization was Metohija, thanks
to Drac. Owing to natural and geo-graphical circumstances, this area,
situated south-east of Serb lands, became the core of the Serb state.
That is why it the largest Serb churches and their greatest number are
to be found there, including the seat of the Serb bishopric, the centre
of the Glagollitic writing, places of assembly (zborista) and the palaces
between seventh and tenth centuries. The uncontroversial conquest by
tzar Simeon and tzar Samuilo has not archeologically shown any population
change yet. Byzantium under Basil II takes Kosovo, and under Alexius
I Metohija and Kosovo once again; though a displacement of necropolises
ensues, including displacement of their settlements, the population
remains unchanged. After the liberation of those areas from Byzantium,
no changes in the situation of the necropolises or settlements and sanctuaries
were found, which demonstrates the continuity of the population. On
the other hand, archeological and written records prove that the ancestors
of the Albanians, coming from Asia, settle in the mountainous areas
between the Drin river and the Adriatic littoral between the seventh
and eleventh centuries.
In other words, the early chapters of Malcolm's book, dealing with the
pre-Nemanjid past of Kosovo and Metohija, are totally untrustworthy;
all his speculations are wrong, like those of his models, as shown by
all available evidence. Even if the propositions presented in this paper
are discarded (though they are not grounded on fictions but on available
archeological findings), it becomes crystal clear that, among the tens
of archeological sites and hun-dreds of artefacts in the area of Kosovo
and Metohija dating from the age before the Nemanjids, identified posi-tively
as expressing Serb or generally Slav characteristics, there is not a
single finding that can be attributed to ancestors of medieval Albanians.
About the Bronze and Iron Age cultures see K. Ljuci, Bronzano doba,
116-146, and N. Tasic, Gvozdeno doba, 148-225, in Arheolosko blago Kosova
i Metodije od neolita do ranog srednjeg veka, Galerija SANU 90, Beograd,
1998. (Arheolosko blago).
2. Istorija Jugoslavije III, Beograd 1953, 37, the map is on page 40.
3. Istorija srpskog naroda I, Beograd 1981, 93, as held by E. Cerskov,
Rimljani na Kosovu i Metohiji, Beograd 1969, 28, note 64.
4. H. Gelzer, Ungedruckte und wenig bekannte Bistumerverzeichnisse,
Byzantinische Zeitschrift 2, 1983, 43-45; S. Novakovic, Ohridska arhiepiskopija
u pocetku XI veka, Glas SKA 76, Beograd, 1908, 33-58.
5. M. Jankovic, Episkopije i mitropolije Srpske crkve u srednjem veku,
Beograd 1985, 17-100.
6. Jovan Skilica, Kratka istorija, Vizantijski izvori za istoriju naroda
Jugoslavije (VIINJ) III, 124, ed. by J. Ferluga.
7. Toponyms like these are concentrated particularly between the mountain
of Sar and Drenica; cf. D. Jankovic, Srpske gromile, Beograd 1998, 21,
8. M. Parovic-Pesikan, Anticka Ulpijana prema dosadasnjim istrazivanjima,
Starinar XXXII 1981 (1982), 67-71; J. Kovacevic, Bela Crkva u Metohiji
- Arhitektonski objekti VI veka i nekropola sa kraja XII veka, Arheoloski
pregled 8, Beograd 1966, 150-151, presents a report on VI century and
more recent tombs, including 120 graves that had been examined (some
of them marked by stone tablets) and dated only by a coin of Isaac Angel,
some of them without findings probably belonging to the VI century.
9. F. Tartari, Nje varreze e mesjates se hershme ne Durres, Iliria XIV,
Tirana 1984, 227-250; F. Prendi, Nje varreze e kultures arberore ne
Lesze, Iliria I-X, 1979-1980 (1980), 123-142; E. Zecevic, Rezultati
istrazivanja srednjovekovnog Svaca, Glasnik SAD 5, Beograd, 1989, 112-115.
10. B. Babik, Denesnite teritorii na Republika Makedonija i Republika
Albanija vo VII i VIII vek, Civilizacii na pocvata na Makedonija, Skopje
1995, 13-184, thinks it is a Slav culture. V. Popovic, Byzantins, Slaves
et autochtones dans les provinces de Prevalitance et Nouvelle Epire,
Villes at preuplement dans l'Illyricum protobyzantin, Rome, 214-243,
and Albanija u kasnoj antici, Iliri i Albanci, Beograd 1988, 229-245;
Popovic summarizes all previous interpretations and literature and dismisses
the thesis of the Albanian experts that the Koman culture served as
the mediator between the pre-Roman Illyrians and the Albanians, but
is nevertheless of the opinion that it was a Romanized Illyrian population.
11. V. Popovic does not refer to the fact that Koman culture clasps
developed from those in south Russian steppes and the Dnieper basin
(Dj. Jankovic, Stanovnistvo Balkana u VI-VII stolecu - arheoloska istrazivanja,
Ph.D. thesis manuscript, Faculty of Philosophy Beograd, 1986, 274-276),
that as jewelry they were used in the area of the Caucasus, as were
other kinds of objects found in the graves belonging to Koman culture.
Since this is not an occasion fit to discuss the origin of the Koman
culture, I am about to refer only to essential sources. On the cemeteries
of the Croats see J. Belosevic, Materijalna kultura Hrvata od VII do
IX stoleca, Zagreb 1980; on the cemeteries in Bulgaria see @. Vvarova,
SlavOni i prabvlgari po danni na nekropolite ot VI-IX v. na BlvgariO,
SofiO 1976; on the areas between the Caucasus, the Black Sea, the Dnepier
and Caspian Sea, Group of authors, Stepi v epohu rannego srednevekovvO
(IV - pervaO polovina X v.), Stepi Evrazii v ?pohu srednevekovvO, Moskva
1981, 9-187; I. O. Gavrituhin, A. M. OblomskiY, GaponovskiY sklad i
ego kulturno-istori~eskiY kontekst, Moskva 1996; A. V. Dmitriev, Rannesrednevekovie
fibul? iz mogilYnika na r. DOrso, Drevnosti ?pohi velikogo pereseleniO
narodov V-VIII vekov, Moskva 1982, 69-107.
12. Miracula S. Demetrii II, 5, aaccording to F. Barisic. Cuda Dimitrija
Solunskog kao istorijski izvori, Beograd 1953, 126-136; the archeological
evidence pertaining to the settling of Kuver in what is today Albania
according to Vrap see J. Werner, Neue Aspekte zum Awarischen Skatzfund
von Vrap, Iliria I, 1983, 191-201.
13. The question of the history and archeology of Ptolomy's Albania
has not been settled yet. There are ungrounded attempts to connect the
ancestors of the Azerbaijanis with the pre-Turkish population: D`. Hamilov,
MaterialvnaO kulvtura KavkazskoY Albanii (ot III v. do n. e. do III
v. n. e.), Baku 1985. The reference by Conastantine VII Porphyrogenitus
in De ceremoniis, ch. 48, to Albania and small states in the area of
the Caucasus and Armenia (cf. J. Ferluga, Lista adresa za strane vladare,
Zbornik radova Vizantoloskog instituta 12, Beograd 1970, p. 161 ff.)
can be compared to the record by Mojsije Kalankatuaci describing wild
peoples and cattlebreeding population of the Caucasus - Istorija stran?
Aluank, Erevan 1984, 94, 167. For the sake of comparison with the location
of Albania along the Salonika-Drac road, it is interesting to note that
the Arabs connect the Albania in the Caucasus with the "gate"
through which the steppe peoples invaded the areas south of the Caucasus.
14. Paulys Realencyclopadie der Classischen Altertums - Wissensschaft
28, Stuttgart 1930, 1648-1651.
15. The report by J. Kovacevic on the Koman culture has not been published:
M. Garasanin, Uvod urednika, Iliri i Albanci, Beograd 1988, 1.
16. B. Ferjancic, Albanci u vizantijskim izvorima. Iliri i Albanci,
Beograd 1988, 285-289, includes a list of sources and literature.
17. The pottery and jewelry pieces from the ninth to the eleventh centuries
found in Albania are mainly of Slav or Byzantine origin. However, some
samples of jewelry differ in a number of respects pointing to the areas
in the Caucasus - for instance the earrings brought to light by N. Bodinaku,
Kultura e varrezes se hersme mesjetare shqiptare ne luginen te vjoses
te rrethit te Permetit, Iliria XI, 1983, 16-56, T. II/11, and others.
18. A. Loma, Prakosovo, poreklo srpskog junackog epa u svetlu indoevropske
komparativistike, Od mita do Folka, Liceum, Kragujevac 1996, 543-56.
19. On Serb capitals and popular annual assemblies (sabori) see K. Jirecek
- J. Radonic, Istorija Srba II, Beograd 1952, 7-10, 29-32; on Serbian
royal residences and palaces embracing Svrcin Lake see S. ]irkovic,
Vladarski dvorci oko jezera na Kosovu, Zbornik za likovne umetnosti
20, Matica srpska, Novi Sad 1984, 67-82.
20. Konstantin Porfirogenit, De administrando imperio, ch. 32, ed. by
Gy. Moravcsik, English translation by R. J. H. Jenkins, Budapest 1949,
VIINJ II, 1949, 46-47, translated by V. Ferjancic (DAI).
21. DAI ch. 32; B. Ferjancic, VIINJ II, 58, gives earlier interpretations;
R. Novakovic, Gde se nalazila Srbija od VII do XII veka, Beograd 1981,
61-63, locates Dostinik in the hinterland of the Pec Patriarchate.
22. DAI, ch. 31; VIINJ II, 44; N. Klaic, Povijest Hrvata u ranom srednjem
vijeku, Zagreb 1975, 232-236.
23. M. Canak-Medic, Arhitektura prve polovine XIII veka II, Beograd
24. D. Jankovic, Ravna gora izmedu Prizrena i Strpca - najstarije poznato
srpsko nalaziste na jugu Srbije, Starine Kosova i Metohije 10, Pristina
25. G. Tomovic, Glagoljski natpis sa Cecana, Istorijski casopis XXXVII,
Beograd 1990, 5-18; on taxes cf. Jovan Skilica, Kratka istorija, VIINJ
III, 1966, 151-152.
26. Pilot excavations on the Cecan site were carried out by A. Backalov,
from the Kosovo and Metohija Museum, to whom I express my indebtedness
for the information and documentation. The Veletin site was studied
by E. Shukriu, Valetin, Multistrate Settlement, Archaeological Reports
1988, Ljubljana 1990, 104-106, but the authoress did not identify the
findings from the 9-10th centuries (pictures 6, 8).
27. M. Bajalovic-Hadzi Pesic, Keramika, u V. Korac, Studenica Hvostanska,
Beograd 1976, 70-71, interpreting the pottery findings in that monastery,
dates some samples, typologically, back to the twelth and thirteenth
centuries (pictures 22/3-4 = 153/2-3), which, it is now believed, cannot
have been manufactured later than the eleventh century. Such pottery
pieces are to be found on the sites of a series of fortresses extending
from the Bulgarian border as far as Cacak. These last, similar findings,
were were first made public by O. Vukadin, Arheoloska istrazivanja na
lokalitetu Kula pod Kablarom, Raska bastina 2, Kraljevo 1980, 169.
28. Jovan Skilica, Kratka istorija, VIINJ III, 123-124.
29. On the theme of Serbia and the existing interpretations see ISN
I, 173-175; in Lj. Maksimovic's opinion, the Byzantine thematic system
included peripheral areas of Serbia - the Morava basin (including the
Field of Kosovo), Belgrade and perhaps the area of Syrmium (ibid, 175).
30. The main source dealing with the 1072 uprising is Skilica's successor,
Istorija, VIINJ III, 177-186, translation and commentary by J. Ferluga.
31. Anna Comnina in The Alexiade gives a vague description of the mountain
area including the Zigon mountain behind, stating that Dalmatia (= Serbia)
is beyond with Lipljan and Zvecan - VIINJ III, 384-389, edited by V.
32. On the basis of the sympoisa organized by the Serbian Archeological
Society's - M. Djordjevic and S. Hadzic, and my own inspection of the
sites (made possible by M. Backalov and S. Stojkovic, to whom I owe
33. V. Jovanovic - Lj. Vuksanovic, Maticane, necropole sud-slave de
Xe et XIe siecle, Inventaria archaeologica, 25, Pristina - Beograd 1981;
cf. V. Jovanovic, Arheoloska istrazivanja srednjovekovnih spomenika
i nalazista na Kosovu, Zbornik okruglog stola o naucnom istrazivnju
Kosova, SANU XLII, Beograd 1988, 23-26.
34. A Backalov, Rani srednji vek, Arheolosko blago, 693-697.
35. Ibid 711-715
36. Z. Vzarova, n.d, 355-380; for jewlery in the Yugoslav part of Danube
valley, M and Dj. Jankovic, Slavs in the Yugoslav Danube Area, Belgrade
1990, with older literature.
37. Ibid, 698-704 (Vrbnica), 708-709 (Siroko), 716-719 (Vlastica), 720-724
(Djonaj), 725-728 (Velekince); cf. Also V. Jovanovic, Op. Cit., 26-28.
The findings at the historical site of Socanica were not outstanding
- E. Cerskov, Municipium DD kod Socanice, Pristina - Beograd 1970, 60-61,
38. V. Jovanovic, Prilozi hronologiji srednjovekovnih nekropola Jugoslavije
i Bugarske II, Balcanoslavica 6 , Prilep - Beograd 1970, 148-150; only
a coin of Issac II Angelus I has been found - in the necropolis near
Bela Crkva, and this can date the necropolis in the thirteenth century.
39. It is on record that the following zupans were appointed administrators:
Desa - Dendru in the neighbourhood of Nis, apparently 1155-1162; Primislav
is given, in 1162, rich pastures fit for cattle-breeding; Nemanja inherited
the Dubocica area, in 1158 or 1162: ISN I, 206-208, and Jovan Kinam,
Istorija, VIINJ IV, 1971, edited by J. Kalic, translated by N. Radosevic
- Maksimovic, 56-59. One can get a clearer idea of the possessions of
some of Serb zupans from the datum that during the reign of the Great
Zupan Stefan Nemanja, his son king Vukan administered, among other areas,
the Toplica and Hvosno areas, but not the intervening area, that of
Kosovo - G. Tomovic, Natpis na crkvi Svetog Luke u Kotoru iz 1195, Crkva
Svetog Luke kroz vijekove, Srpska pravoslavna crkvena opstina Kotor,
Kotor 1997, 26-28.
40. For literature see note 36 and E. Maneva, Srednovekoven nakit od
Makedonija, Skopje 1992.
41. Such earrings occur as far as the Banovina of Croatia - D. Jelovina,
Starohrvatske nekropole na podrucju izmedju rijeka Zrmanje i Cetine,
Split, 1976, 96-97, accompanied by a reference list, show that they
date from the the nineth, tenth and eleventh centuries, but the earrings
found in other areas, which have not been separately studied, as well
as more recent excavations in Sipovo, near Krusevac and elsewhere, show
that date approximately from the twelth century.
42. P. Mijovic, Gracanica - ranohriscanska bazilika i srednjovekovni
manastir, Arheoloski pregled 6, Beograd 1964, 128-133; near the monastery
of Gracanica coats of arms dating from the eleventh and twelth centuries
were also found, a report by S. Stojkovic; cf. P. Backalov's information,
Op. Cit., 373. R. Ljubinkovic and collaborators, Istrazivacki i konzervatorski
radovi na crkvi Vavedenja u Lipljanu, Zbornik zastite spomenika kulture
X, Beograd 1959, 69-134. Studenica of Hvosno: V. Korac, Op. Cit., does
not single out this stage in the life of the monastery, but in addition
to this pottery, other findings point to the period of the Nemanjids;
cf. V. Korac, Op. Cit., 31-32, containing earlier literature.