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Marko Kralyevich

MARKO KRALYEVICH, Servian hero, was a son of the Servian king or prince, Vukashin (d. 1371). Chagrined at not himself becoming king after his father's death, he headed a revolt against the new ruler of the Servians. Later he passed into the service of the sultan of Turkey, and was killed in battle about 1394. Marko, however, is more celebrated in legend than in history. He is regarded as the personification of the Servian race, and stories of strength and wonder have gathered round his name. He is supposed to have lived for 300 years, to have ridden a horse 150 years old, and to have used his enormous physical strength against oppressors, especially against the Turks. He is a great figure in Servian poetry, and his deeds are also told in the epic poems of the Rumanians and the Bulgarians. One tradition relates how he retired from the world owing to the advent of firearms, which, he held, made strength and valour of no account in battle. Goethe regards Marko as the counterpart of Hercules and of the Persian Rustem.

The Servian poems about him were published in 1878; a German translation by Grober (Marko, der Konigssohn) appeared at Vienna in 1883.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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