SERBIA. King Marko (1371-1395). Dinar.
Obv: IC - XC.
Christ Pantokrator standing facing on souppedion; stars and trefoil to left and right.
Rev: Legend in five lines.
Marko Mrnjavčević was the de jure Serbian king from 1371 to 1395, while he was the de facto ruler of territory in western Macedonia. He is known as Prince Marko and King Marko in South Slavic tradition, in which he has become a major character during the period of Ottoman rule over the Balkans. Marko's father, King Vukašin, was co-ruler with Serbian Tsar Stefan Uroš V, whose reign was characterised by weakening central authority and the gradual disintegration of the Serbian Empire. Vukašin's holdings included lands in western Macedonia and Kosovo. In 1370 or 1371, he crowned Marko "young king"; this title included the possibility that Marko would succeed the childless Uroš on the Serbian throne.
On 26 September 1371, Vukašin was killed and his forces defeated in the Battle of Maritsa. About two months later, Tsar Uroš died. This formally made Marko the king of the Serbian land; however, Serbian noblemen, who had become independent from the central authority, did not even consider to recognise him as their supreme ruler. Sometime after 1371, he became an Ottoman vassal; by 1377, significant portions of the territory he inherited from Vukašin were seized by other noblemen. King Marko, in reality, came to be a regional lord who ruled over a relatively small territory in western Macedonia. He funded the construction of the Monastery of Saint Demetrius near Skopje (better known as Marko's Monastery), which was completed in 1376. Marko died on 17 May 1395, fighting for the Ottomans against the Wallachians in the Battle of Rovine.
Although a ruler of modest historical significance, Marko became a major character in South Slavic oral tradition. He is venerated as a national hero by the Serbs, Macedonians and Bulgarians, remembered in Balkan folklore as a fearless and powerful protector of the weak, who fought against injustice and confronted the Turks during the Ottoman occupation.
Condition: Very fine.
Weight: 1.13 g.
Diameter: 18 mm.