SERVIA [Srbiya], an inland kingdom of south-eastern Europe, situated in the north of the Balkan Peninsula. The frontier, as defined by the Berlin Treaty of 1878, is, roughly speaking, indicated by rivers in the north, and by mountains in the south. In the north, between Verciorova and Belgrade, the Danube divides Servia from Hungary for 157 m.; and between Belgrade and the border village of Racha the Save divides it from Croatia-Slavonia for 80 m. In the north-west the Drina fows for 102 m. between Bosnia and Servia;
|Emery Walker sc.|
in the north-east the Danube, for 50 m., and the Timok for 23 m., constitute respectively the Rumanian and Bulgarian boundaries. Various mountain ranges mark the frontiers of Bosnia, on the west, Turkey on the south-west and south, and Bulgaria on the south and south-east. According to the survey carried out by the Servian general staff in 1884 the area of the country is 18,782 sq. m.
Mountains.—The mountain groups which rise confusedly over almost the whole surface of the land, fall into two main blocks, one on either side of the river Morava. On the east of this river, three vast ranges, the Transylvanian Alps, the Balkans and Rhodope, encroach upon Servian soil; while on the west there is a chaos of mountain masses, outliers of the Bosnian and Albanian highlands.
Rivers.—The chief navigable river of Servia is the Danube, which enters the country at Belgrade and pierces the Transylvanian Alps by way of the Kazan (i.e. “Cauldron”) Pass, near the famous Iron Gates (see Rumania). The Timok, which formed the Bulgarian frontier as long ago as the 9th century, springs in the western Balkans, or Stara Planina, and issues into the Danube, near Negotin, after a course of 70 m. Sooner or later, indeed, all the Servian rivers reach the Danube. The Save, which is also navigable, meets it at Belgrade, after being joined, at Racha, by the Drina, a Bosnian river, which rises on the Montenegrin border, 155 m. S. by W. Near Obrenovats the Kolubara also enters the Save, after traversing 45 m. from its source in the Sokolska Gora. Apart from frontier rivers, the most important stream is the Morava, which, rising on the western slopes of the Kara Dagh, a little beyond the Servian frontier, enters the country with a north-easterly course near the extreme S.E., and then turns N.N.W. and flows almost in a straight line through the heart of the kingdom to the Danube. Its total length is about 150 m. In the upper part of its course it is known as the Bulgarian Morava, and only after receiving the Servian Morava on the left is it known as the Morava simply or as the Great Morava. The Servian Morava is joined on the south by the Ibar, which comes from the Albanian Alps; the combined length of these rivers being about 130 m. The only other important tributary of the Great Morava is the Nishava, which it receives on the right, at Nish. This stream flows 68 m. W. by N. from its source among the foothills of the Stara Planina. The valleys of all these rivers, especially those of the Bulgarian and the Great Morava, and of the Nishava, contain considerable areas of level or low-lying country well suited for the growth of corn, and the low grounds along the Save and the Danube from the Drina to the Morava are also well adapted for agriculture, except the tract of fenland called the Machva, in the extreme north-west.
Geology.—The geological structure of Servia is varied. In the south and west the sedimentary rocks most largely developed are of ancient, pre-Carboniferous date, interrupted by considerable patches of granite, serpentine and other crystalline rocks. Beyond this belt there appear in the north-west Mesozoic limestones, such as occupy so extensive an area in the north-west of the Balkan Peninsula generally, and the valleys opening in that quarter to the Drina have the same desolate aspect as belongs to these rocks in the rest of that region. In the extreme north-east the crystalline schists of the Carpathians extend to the south side of the Danube, and stretch parallel to the Morava in a band along its right bank. Elsewhere east of the Morava the prevail in rocks belong to the Cretaceous series, which enters Servia from Bulgaria. The Shumadia is mainly occupied by rocks of Tertiary age, with intervening patches of older strata; and the Rudnik Mountains are traversed by metalliferous veins of syenite.
Minerals.—Gold, silver, iron and lead were worked by the Romans, whose operations can still be traced in the Kostolats mine, near Pozharevats, and elsewhere. Even more ancient is the Avala mercury mine, near Belgrade. The heaps of débris which cover so many acres near Belgrade, on the Kopaonik foothills and in the Toplitsa valley bear witness to the importance of this industry in the past. During the later middle ages the Servian mines brought in a large revenue to the merchant princes of Ragusa. They prospered greatly during the 14th century, but Turkish rule put a stop to this industry after 1459; and the revival only began in 1835, under the patronage of Prince Milosh. The richest coal and lignite seams occur among the north-eastern mountains, generally near the Danube or Timok, and along the Morava. They are worked by the state, by Belgian companies and by private enterprise, the output in 1907 being valued at £121,000. Lead is principally raised in the Podrinye, especially at Krupan; and at Kuchayna, in the Pozharevats department, where zinc and small quantities of gold and silver are obtained. Antimony is mined at Zayechar. Copper and iron are worked by Belgians at Maydanpek, the chief mining centre east of the Morava. Nickel, mercury, manganese, graphite, marble, sulphur and oil shales are found in various regions, but the mineral resources of the country, as a whole, remain almost undeveloped.
The numerous mineral springs are even more neglected than the mines. Waters rich in iodine and sulphur occur in the Machva. About 1878 an unsuccessful attempt was made to convert Arandyelovats into a popular health-resort. The baths near Nish and Vranya are comparatively prosperous, while the beautiful surroundings attract visitors even from abroad.
Climate.—The climate of Servia is on the whole mild, though subject to the extremes characteristic of inland Eastern countries. In summer the temperature may rise as high as 106° F., while in winter it often sinks to 13° or even 20° below zero. The high-lying valleys in the south are colder than the rest of the country, not only on account of their greater elevation but also because of their being exposed to cold winds from the north and north-east.
Fauna.—The wild life of the Servian highlands is unusually varied. A few bears and wild boars and lynxes find shelter in the remoter forests, with many badgers, wolves, foxes, wildcats, martens and weasels. Otters are common along the rivers; chamois may very rarely be seen on the least accessible peaks; roe-deer, red-deer, squirrels and rabbits people the lower woodlands; and hares abound in the open. The beaver is extinct. Among land birds may be enumerated several varieties of eagle, vulture, falcon, owl, crow, jay, magpie, stork, quail, thrush, dove, &c. Pheasants are easily acclimatized; grouse and woodcock are indigenous on the uplands of the north; partridges, in all districts. Game laws were instituted in 1898. Innumerable aquatic birds haunt the banks of the Save, Danube and Drina, and the lower reaches of the Timok and Morava; among them being pelicans, cranes, grey and white herons, and many other kinds of waders, besides wild geese, ducks, rail and snipe. Edible frogs, tree-frogs, lizards, snakes, tortoises and scorpions are found in all parts. The principal fisheries are in the Danube and Save.
Forests.—About one tenth of the land is covered by forests, which give place, at an altitude of 5000 ft., to lichens and mosses. Little care was bestowed on forestry in the 19th century, apart from government supervision of the national and communal domains, a task usually delegated to the local mayor. Much of the finest timber was felled in the wars of 1876-1878 and of 1885, and the rights of grazing and wood-cutting also caused widespread destruction. The total forest area (official estimate, 1909) is about 3,800,000 acres, of which 1,625,000 belong to the communes and 1,375,000 to the state. Oaks and beeches predominate in the north; pines, often of gigantic size, among the fantastic white or grey rocks of the wild south-western ridges.
Agriculture.—Servian methods of farming remain in many respects primitive. Real progress was, however, achieved in the period 1890-1910, chiefly owing to improvements in agricultural education. Indian corn is the principal crop, for corn-cake forms the staple diet of the peasantry, while the grain is also used for feeding pigs, the heads for feeding cattle and the stubble for manure. The normal yield exceeds 5,000,000 bushels yearly, wheat coming next with a little less than 4,000,000. Flax, hemp and tobacco are also grown; hemp especially near Leskovats. The cultivation of sugar-beet, introduced in 1900, became an important industry, but the attempt to introduce cotton failed. The native tobacco plantations meet all the local demand, except for a small quantity of Turkish tobacco imported for the manufacture of special blends. The best Servian wines are those of Negotin and Semendria. Before the appearance of Phylloxera in 1885 wine was exported to France and Switzerland, but in 1882-1895 thousands of acres of vines were destroyed. Phylloxera was checked by the importation of American vines and the establishment of schools of viticulture. The creation of state vine-nurseries, stocked with American plants, was authorized by a law of 1908. Orchards are very extensive, and all the fruits of central Europe will thrive in Servia. The chief care is bestowed on plums, from which is distilled a mild spirit known as raki or rakiya. The favourite kind of raki is shlivovitsa (the sliwowitz of Austria), extracted solely from plums. There is a considerable trade in dried plums and plum marmalade. Bees are very generally kept, the honey being consumed in the country, the wax exported. Mulberries are grown on many farms for silkworms; sericulture is encouraged and taught by the state, and over 100,000 ℔ of cocoons are annually exported. Relatively to its population, Servia possesses a greater number of sheep (3,160,000 in 1905) and pigs (908,000 in 1905) than any country in Europe. Large herds of swine fatten, in summer and autumn, on the beech-mast and acorns of the forests, returning in winter to the lowlands. The Servian pig is pure white or black, but other breeds, notably the Berkshire and Yorkshire, are kept. Despite American competition and Austro-Hungarian tariffs the export of swine remains the principal branch of Servian commerce; Cheeses are made from the milk of both sheep and goats; but cattle are mostly bred for export or draught purposes. The cumbrous wooden carts which afford the sole means of transport in many districts are generally drawn by oxen, although buffaloes may be seen in the south. The native horses, though strong, are, like the cattle, of small size.
Land Tenure.—More than four-fifths of the Servians are peasant farmers; and the great majority of these cultivate the land belonging to their own families. Holdings are generally small, not exceeding an average of 20 acres for each household. They cannot be sold or mortgaged entire; the law forbids the alienation for debt of a peasant's cottage, his garden or courtyard, his plough, his last six yutara of land and the cattle necessary for working his farm. Besides the small farms there is the zadruga, a form of community which appears to date from prehistoric times, and mainly survives along the Bosnian frontier, though tending to disappear everywhere, and to be replaced by rural co-operation. Under the zadruga system, each homestead or cluster of cottages is occupied by a group of families connected by blood and dwelling together on strictly communistic principles. The association is ruled by a house-father (domanyin or staryeshina) and a house-mother (domanyitsa), who assign to the members their respective tasks. The staryeshina may be the patriarch of the community, but is often chosen by the rest of the members on account of his prudence and ability; nor is his wife necessarily the domanyitsa. In addition to the farm work, the members often practise various trades, the proceeds of which are paid into the common treasury. The community sometimes includes a priest, whose fees for baptism, &c., augment the common fund. The buildings belonging to the homesteads are enclosed within an immense palisade, inside which a large expanse of fields is mostly planted with plum, damson, and other fruit-trees, surrounding the houses of the occupiers. In the midst of these is the house of the staryeshina, which contains the common kitchen, eating hall, and family hall of the entire homestead. Here all the members assemble in the evening for conversation and amusement, the women spinning, while the children play. The houses are mostly very small wooden structures, serving for little else but sleeping places. But that of the staryeshina is often of brick, and is invariably of better construction than the rest. The houses are often raised on piles, above the level of the floods which occur so frequently near the Save and Drina. Zadrugas were very prosperous, as they had always a sufficient number of hands at command, and their members combined to obtain implements and cattle. But with the establishment of order and security, the zadrugas began rapidly to disappear, a further cause of their dissolution being the fact that members could legally acquire private property (osobina). A new stimulus was given to agriculture by the encouragement which King Alexander personally extended to the establishment of rural co-operative associations on the Raiffeisen principles. The object of these associations is principally to facilitate the acquisition of improved implements and better breeds of cattle. No fewer than 100 of such credit societies were founded between 1894 and 1899. The total number of agricultural co-operative societies exceeded 500 in 1910; each has its tribunal (Conseil des Prud'hommes), which arbitrates in disputes; and all together, with the state-aided Co-operative Caisse, which lends money to the smaller societies, form a single great organization known as the General Union.
Small holdings were in themselves a hindrance to Servian agricultural progress, inasmuch as small farmers cannot afford the cost of scientific farming; hence the great success of co-operation. As a rule, also, the lots of ground belonging to one household or family do not lie together, but are dispersed in different, very often distant, parts of the village land. To meet this difficulty, a farmer with more crops than he can reap unaided will summon his neighbours to his assistance, supplying them with food, but no money, and binding himself to repay the service in kind. This form of voluntary co-operation is called moba. Another serious drawback to the economic position is that Servia has no seaboard, and that it is far from the nearest export harbours (e.g. Galatz, Salonica, Fiume). In such a situation the country is at the mercy of hostile tariffs.
Manufactures and Commerce.—The scarcity of labour prevents the growth of any great manufacturing industries. There is no native artisan class; for except in very rare cases, the people value their independence too highly to work in factories, or even to enter domestic service. A large proportion of the artisans throughout Servia are Austro-Hungarians or gipsies. The chief manufacturing industries are those for which the country supplies raw material, notably meat-packing, flour-milling, brewing, tanning, and the weaving or spinning of hemp, iiax and wool. There are also iron-foundries, potteries, andsugar, tobacco and celluloid factories. A law of 1898- authorizes the government to grant concessions on very favourable terms to foreign capitalists willing to promote mining and manufactures in Servia; but in 1910 the number of large industrial establishments in the kingdom did not exceed 60, nor the number of hands employed 5000. There are a few domestic industries, such as the manufacture of sandals (opanke), and of the handwoven carpets and rugs made at Pirot, which are popular throughout the Balkan Peninsula.
Commerce.—The following table shows the value of Servian imports and exports for five years:—
Cotton and woollen fabrics, leather, salt, sugar, iron and machinery are the principal imports, and come chiefly from Austria-Hungary, Germany and Great Britain. Large quantities of prunes, grain, meat, raw hides, eggs and copper are exported, chiefly to Austria-Hungary, Germany and Turkey.
Finance.—Up to 1878 the principal revenues were derived from the customs, excise and a sort of poll-tax. The government required the town and village communities to pay into the state treasury £1, 4s. per head of the able-bodied citizens living in the community, and the municipal board made repartition of the total amount due to the government from its citizens according to their estimated wealth or earnings. That system yielded without the slightest difficulty about £750,000 annually. But the Berlin Treaty (1878) stipulated that Servia should construct part of the international railway to Constantinople and to Salonica, and should pay the Turkish landowners an indemnity for the estates which had been taken from them and divided among their Servian tenants. This and the necessity of indemnifying the people from whom, during the wars with Turkey (1876-1878), requisitions had been taken and money borrowed, forced the government to enter the European financial markets. Up to that time (1881) Servia had practically no public foreign debt, although it owed Russia about £240,000 lent privately for war preparations, and to its own people about £320,000 taken by a forced loan for war purposes. The first public loans were made in 1881 by French banks at 71¾ for 5% bonds, and the expenditure had to be immediately increased to £1,240,000. The introduction of new taxes and the reorganization of the financial administration of the country could not keep pace with the increase of public expenditure, chiefly because the skupshtina was for some time reluctant to replace the old system of direct taxation by a more modern system. When in 1884 the new law of taxation was adopted, the situation became so serious that in 1895 a new scheme was adopted by which the government gave to the bondholders additional securities, the bondholders at the same time accepting the new 4% unified bonds in exchange for their old 5% bonds. The following table gives an analysis of the national debt on the 1st of January 1909:—
|Russian debt of 1876 (5%)||£150,000|
|Lottery loan of 1881 (2%)||989,000|
|Loan of the Uprava Fondova (5%)||291,000|
|Primary loan of 1888||367,000|
|Unified loan of 1895 (4%)||13,516,000|
|Railway loan of 1899 (5%)||192,000|
|Monopoly loan of 1902 (5%)||2,300,000|
|Loan of 1906 (4½%)||3,767,000|
The chief sources of revenue are customs duties, the state monopolies of salt, sugar, tobacco, matches and petroleum; national property, e.g. forests, railways, postal service; direct taxes, of which the most important are the poll-tax and the land taxes (graduated according to the quality of the land). The heaviest charges are for the service of the national debt and for the army; each of these items exceeded £1,000,000 in 1909. The estimated revenue and expenditure for five years are shown below:—
Banks and Money.—The National Bank of Servia, founded in Belgrade in 1883, has a nominal capital of £800,000 (£260,000 paid). The Mortgage Bank (Uprava Fondova), founded in 1862, is a state institution which lends money for agricultural operations, &c. The Export Bank, founded in 1901, is a private bank under state supervision, with branches in Budapest, Vienna, Berlin, &c. Its chief object is the furtherance of Servian foreign commerce.
In 1875 Servia adopted the decimal system for money, weights and measures, which came into actual use in 1883. The monetary unit is the dinar (franc) of 100 paras (centimes). In circulation there are gold pieces of 10 and 20 dinars; silver of 50 paras, and 1, 2 and 5 dinars; nickel of 5, 10 and 20 paras; and bronze of 2 paras. Twenty-five dinars equal £1 sterling.
Chief Towns.—The chief towns Servia are Belgrade, the capital, with 69,097 inhabitants in 1900; Nish (24,451); Kraguyevats (14, 160); Pozharevats (12,957); Leskovats (13,000); Shabats (12,072); Vranya (11,921); Pirot (10,421); Krushevats (10,000); Uzhitse (7000); Valyevo (6800); Semendria (6912); Chupriya 6000; and Kralyevo (3600) .
Communications.—Until the middle of the 19th century, travellers through the Balkan Peninsula had a choice between two main routes, which started as a single highway from Belgrade, and up the Morava valley to Nish. Here two roads diverge; one branching off south-eastwards to Pirot, Sofia and Constantinople; the other proceeding southwards to Vranya, Usküb and Salonica. The railway which connects western and central Europe with Constantinople and Salonica takes the same course. That section of it which traverses Servia was begun in 1881 and finished in 1888. Branch lines give access to Kraguyevats, Zayechar, Semendria and other important towns, and there are several smaller railways in the valleys of the Save, the Danube, the Servian Morava and their tributaries. Apart from country lanes and footpaths, there are three classes of highways, controlled, respectively, by the nation, department and commune. Construction and repairs are, in theory, carried out by compulsory labour; but this right is seldom enforced. Even in the Shumadia, where materials are plentiful, the roads rapidly give way under heavy traffic, or after bad weather; in the Machva, Podrinye and remoter districts, they are often impassable. The Constantinople and Salonica roads remain the best in Servia. Besides the frontier streams on the north and west, the only river of any importance for navigation is the Morava, which is navigable by steamers of light draught as high as Chupriya, about 60 m. from its mouth.
The postal system dates from 1820, when an organized system of
couriers was established, for state correspondence only. From 1843
in 1868 the Servian government undertook the carriage of letters in
Servia itself, while the Austro-Hungarian consulate in Belgrade
forwarded correspondence to and from central and western Europe.
In 1868 the whole business of posting was taken over by the state;
post offices are also maintained by many communes, and a few are
itinerant. Servia joined the International Telegraphic Union in
1866, the Postal Union in 1874. The first telegraph line was
constructed as early as 1855; telegrams between Constantinople, Sofia,
Budapest and Vienna pass over lines constructed by the Servian
government (under conventions with Austria-Hungary and Turkey)
in 1899 and 1906. The telephone service, inaugurated in 1900, is a
state monopoly (both for construction and operation).
Population.—With a continuous excess of births over deaths, and of male over female children, the population of Servia rose from 2,161,961 in 1890 to 2,493,770 in 1900, and to about 2,750,000 in 1910. More than four-fifths of this number belong to the Serbo-Croatian branch of the Slavonic race; while the remainder is composed of about 160,000 Rumans, 47,000 gipsies, 8000 Austro-Hungarians and Germans, and 5000 Jews. Many Servian emigrants returned, after 1878, to the territories which the Treaty of Berlin restored to their country. These territories had been occupied, under Turkish rule, by Albanians, west of the Morava, and by Bulgarians, along the Nishava; but, after 1878, the Albanians withdrew, and the Bulgarians were absorbed. The Rumans reside principally in the north-east, near the borders of their native land, and are peasant farmers, like the Serbs. The gipsies occasionally settle down, forming separate camps or villages, but in most cases they prefer a wandering life. They are often admirable artisans and musicians, almost every town possessing a gipsy band. The Germans and Austro-Hungarians control a large share of the commerce of the country; the Jews, as elsewhere in the Balkans, are retail traders. Anti-Semitism is not prevalent in Servia, owing to the smallness of the Jewish communities. The stature and features of the Serbs vary in different regions; but the northern peasantry are generally fairer and shorter than the mountaineers of the south. Those of the Shumadia are blue-eyed or grey-eyed. In many parts the prevailing types have been modified by intermarriage with Bulgars, Albanians and Vlachs; so that, along the Timok, for instance, it is impossible to make physiognomy a test of nationality. Even language does not afford a sure criterion, so nearly akin are many spoken dialects of Servian and Bulgarian.
National Characteristics.—Servia is a land without aristocracy or middle class. Instead, it possesses an army of placemen and officials; but these being mainly recruited from the peasantry, do not disturb the prevailing social equality. In 1900 there was neither pauper nor workhouse in the country. The people, less thrifty and industrious than the Bulgars, less martial than the Montenegrins, less versatile and intellectual than the Rumans, value comfort far more highly than progress. A moderate amount of work enables them to live well enough, and to pass their evenings at the village wine-shop; although, being a sober race, they meet there rather to discuss politics than to drink. Of politics they never tire; and still greater is their devotion to music, poetry and dancing. Perhaps their most characteristic dance is the kolo, sometimes performed by as many as 100 men and women, in a single serpentine line. Their national instrument, the gusle (gusla), is a single-stringed fiddle, often roughly fashioned of wood and ox-hide, the bow being strung with horsehair. All classes delight in hearing or intoning the endless romances which celebrate the feats of their national heroes; for every true Serb lives as much in the past as in the present, and medieval wars still constantly furnish themes of new legends and ballads. It is largely this enthusiasm for the past which keeps alive the desire for a reunion of the whole race, in another Servian Empire, like that overthrown by the Turks in 1389. The fasts of the Orthodox Church are strictly kept; while the festivals, which are hardly less numerous, are celebrated even by the Servian Moslems. As in Bulgaria and Rumania, the slava, or patron saint's day, is set aside for rejoicing. A Servian crowd at a festival presents a medley of brilliant and picturesque costumes, scarlet being the favourite colour. Men wear a long smock of homespun linen, beneath red or blue waistcoats with trousers of white frieze. The women's dress consists of a similar smock, a “zouave” jacket of embroidered velvet and two brightly coloured aprons tied over a white skirt, one in front and one behind. The head-dress is a small red cap, tambourine-shaped, and strings of coins are coiled in the hair, or worn as necklaces and bracelets. In this manner a farmer's wife will often decorate herself with her entire dowry. During the cold months, both sexes wrap themselves in thick woollen coats or sheepskins, with the fleece inwards; both are also shod with corded sandals, called opanke. The Rumanian women retain their native costume, and are further distinguished by the wooden cradles, slung over the shoulders, in which they carry their infants; the Servian mothers prefer a canvas bag. Women weave most of the garments and linen for their families, besides sharing in every kind of manual labour. Turkish ideas prevail about their social position; but so highly valued are their services, that parents are often unwilling to see their daughters marry; and wives are in many cases older than their husbands. The relationship called pobratimstvo is only less common than in Montenegro (q.v.); equally binding is kumstvo, or sponsorship, e.g. the relation subsisting between the “best man” and the bridegroom at a wedding, or between godparents and godchildren. Persons connected by kumstvo, pobratimstvo, or cousinship, however distant, may not marry. At a funeral, the coffin is left open until the last moment—a custom found everywhere in the Balkans, and said to have been introduced by the Turks, who found that coffins were a convenient hiding-place for arms. The same practice is, however, common in Spain and Portugal. Few countries are richer than Servia in myth and folklore. The peasants believe in charms and omens, in vampires, were-wolves, ghosts, the evil eye and vile or white-robed spirits of the earth, air, stream and mountain, with hoofs like a goat and henna-dyed nails and hair. Even at the beginning of the 20th century, education had done little to dispel such superstitions.
Constitution and Government.—In 1903, after the murder of King Alexander Obrenovich, and the accession of Peter Karageorgevich, the constitution of 1889 was revived. By this instrument the government of Servia is an independent constitutional monarchy, hereditary in the male line, and in the order of primogeniture. The executive power is vested in the king, advised by a cabinet of eight members, who are collectively and individually responsible to the nation, and represent the ministers of foreign affairs, war, the interior, finance, public works, commerce, religion and education, and justice. The king and the national assembly, or Narodna Skupshtina, of 130 members, together form the legislature. A general election must be held every fourth year. Each member receives 15 dinars for every day of actual attendance, and travels free on the railways. There is also a state council which deals with various legal and financial matters. Of its 16 members, half are chosen by the king, and half by the Skupshtina. Apart from soldiers of the active army, all male citizens of full age may vote, if they pay 15 dinars in direct taxes; while, apart from priests, communal mayors and state servants, all citizens of 30 years, paying 60 dinars, are eligible to the Skupshtina. The Velika Skupshtina or Grand Skupshtina is only convoked to discuss the most serious national questions, such as changes in the succession, the constitution or the territories of the kingdom. Its vote is regarded as a referendum, and its members are twice as numerous as those of the Narodna Skupshtina. For purposes of local government Servia is divided into 17 departments (okrug, pl. okruzhi), each under a prefect (nachalnik), who is assisted by a staff of civil servants, dealing with finance, public works, sanitation, religion, education, police, commerce and agriculture. He also commands the departmental constabulary or pandurs. Every department is divided into districts (srez), administered by the sub-prefect (sreski nachalnik); and the districts are sub-divided into communes or municipalities, each having its salaried mayor (kmet or knez), who presides over a council elected on a basis of population. Within the smaller spheres of their jurisdiction, the sub-prefect and mayor have the same duties to fulfil as their superior, the prefect. The mayor is, further, responsible for the maintenance of the communal granary, forests and other property. He presents to the councillors (odbornik, pl. odbornitsi) a yearly statement of accounts and estimates, which they may reject or amend. All taxes levied by the state are paid by the communal council, which assesses the property owned by each family under its authority, collects the amount due and has the right to retain one-fourth, or more, for local requirements. The central government cannot veto the election of a communal mayor or councillor.
Justice.—The highest judicial authority in Servia is the Court of Cassation, created in 1855 and reorganized in 1865. The court of appeal (1840) has two sections, one competent for Belgrade and the seven northern departments, the other for the rest of the kingdom. There are also departmental tribunals of first instance in every department, and a commercial court of first instance in Belgrade. Communal courts exist in every commune or municipality, and certain judicial powers are delegated to the police, under laws dated 1850–1904. Trial by jury, which existed among the Serbs at least as early as the 13th century and fell into desuetude under Turkish rule, was revived in 1871.
Defence.—The medieval citadels of Belgrade, Nish, Pirot and Semendria have no military value, but some strategic points on the Bulgarian frontier were entrenched between 1889 and 1899, while the modern forts of Nish, Pirot and Zayechar were strengthened and re-armed at the beginning of the 20th century. The defensive force of the country, as reorganized in 1901, consists of the national army (narodna voyska) and the landsturm. In the national army, which is organized in 5 divisions, with headquarters at Nish, Belgrade, Valyevo, Kraguyevats and Zayechar, every able-bodied citizen must serve (for two years in the artillery and cavalry or eighteen months in other branches) between his 21st and his 45th year. He must also belong to the landsturm at the ages of 17-21 and 45-50. Exemption from service is granted in a few exceptional cases. The national army, consists of three bans or classes; the first is the field army, the units of the second exist in peace as cadres only, the third is unorganized. On a peace footing the strength of the army is 35,000 men; in war it might reach 225,000, including landsturm. The infantry were armed in 1910 with the Mauser rifle (model 99); the field artillery with quick-firing guns on the Schneider-Canet system.
Religion.—The Servian Church is an autocephalous branch of the Orthodox Eastern communion. It is subject, as a whole, to the ministry of education; for internal administration its governing body is a synod of five prelates, presided over by the archbishop of Belgrade, who is also the metropolitan of Servia. Belgrade is the only archiepiscopal see; the four dioceses are Nish, Shabats, Chacha and the Timolc (episcopal see at Zayechar). The synod is the highest ecclesiastical tribunal; there are also two ecclesiastical courts of appeal and diocesan courts of first instance in every bishopric; the canon law is an important part of the law of the land. In 1910 there were 54 monasteries, but only 110 monks, all belonging to the order of St Basil. Studenitsa, near Kralyevo, and Manasia and Ravanitsa, near Chupriya, are the most interesting monasteries. Much political influence is wielded by the priests, who played a prominent part in the struggles for national independence. They marry and work, and sometimes even bear arms like their parishioners, from whom a large part of their income is derived, in the shape of offerings and fees. The remainder comes principally from church lands; only the highest dignitaries being paid by the state. No able-bodied man may become a priest or monk unless he has served in the army. Liberty of conscience is unrestricted. Liberty of worship is accorded to Roman Catholics, Jews, Mahommedans and certain Protestant communities. The Mahommedans (about 3000 Turks and 11,000 gipsies) are the largest religious body apart from the national Church.
Education.—In 1910, 17% of the population could read and write. Primary education in the state schools is free and compulsory; the reading of Church Slavonic, nature-study and agriculture (for boys), domestic science (for girls), certain handicrafts, singing and gymnastics are among the subjects taught. There are higher schools (mostly Real-Gymnasien) in many of the larger towns, besides (1910) one theological seminary, 4 training schools for teachers, 4 technical schools, a military academy, and 5 secondary schools for girls. The communes and municipalities pay the entire cost of primary education, except the salaries of teachers, which, with the cost of higher education, are paid by the state. In February 1905 the Great School (Velika Shkola) in Belgrade was reorganized as the University of Servia, with faculties of theology, philosophy, law, medicine and engineering. Other important institutions of a semi-educational character are the Royal Servian Academy (1836), which controls the national museum and national library in Belgrade, and publishes periodicals, &c.; the, ethnographical museum (1891), the natural history museum (1904), the national theatre (1890), the State Archives (1866, reorganized 1901), and the state printing office, (1831), all in Belgrade.
See Servia by the Servians, ed. A. Stead (London, 1909); J. Mallat, La Serbie contemporaine (Paris, 1902); E. Lazard and J. Hogge, La Serbie de nos jours (Paris, 1901). For topography:—the Servian and Austrian General Staff Maps; P. Coquelle, La Royaume de Serbia (Paris, 1894); and A. de Gubernatis, La Serbie et les Serbes (Florence, 1897). For geology and minerals:—J. Cvijic (Tsviyich), Grundlinien der Geographie und Geologie, &c. (Belgrade, 1908); J. M. Zhuyovich (Zujović), Geologiya Srbiye (with map, Belgrade, 1893); D. J. Antula, Revue générale des gisements métallifères en Serbie (with map, Paris, 1900); Th. Mirkovich (Mirković), Les Eaux minérales en Serbie (Paris, 1892). For commerce:—Annual British Consular Reports; Statistical Reports of the Servian Ministry of Commerce. For agriculture:—L. R. Yovanovich (Jovanović), L’Agriculture en Serbie (Paris, 1900). For religion:—Bishop N. Ruzhichich (Ružic̀ić), Istoriya Srpske Tsrkve (Belgrade, 1893–1895); and, by the same author, Das kirchlich-religiöse Leben bei den Serben (Göttingen, 1896). (X.)
The Serbs (Srbi, as they call themselves) are a Slavonic nation, ethnically and by language the same as the Croats (Hrvati, Horvati, Croati). The Croats, however, are Roman Catholics and use the Latin alphabet, while the Serbs belong to the Orthodox Church and use the Cyrillic alphabet, augmented by special signs for the special sounds of the Serb language. (See Slavs.) The earliest mention of the Serbs is to be found in Ptolemy (Σίρβοι) and in Pliny (Sirbi). Nothing is known of their earlier history except that they lived as an agricultural people in Galicia, near the sources of the rivers Wissla and Dniester. In the beginning of the 6th century they descended to the shores of the Black Sea. Thence they began to move on in a westerly direction along the lefty shore of the Danube, crossed that river and occupied the north-western corner of the Balkan Peninsula. According to the emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus, the emperor Heraclius (610–640) invited the Serbs to come over to settle down in the devastated north-western provinces of the Byzantine empire and to defend them against the incursions of the Avars. According to newer investigations, Heraclius only made peace with them, confirming them in the possession of the provinces which they already had occupied, and obtaining from them at the same time the recognition of his suzerainty. Their known history as a Balkan nation begins towards the middle of the 7th century.
The Zhupaniyas.—In their new settlements the Serbs did not form at once a united political organization. The clans (plemena, sing. pleme), more or less related to each other, occupied a certain territory, which as a geographical and political unit was called Zhupa or Zhupaniya (county), the political and military chief of which was called Zhupan. The country was divided into many such Zhupaniyas, which were originally independent of each other. The history of the Serbs during the first five centuries after their arrival in their present country was a struggle between the attempts at union and centralization of the Zhupaniyas into one state under one government, and the resistance to such union and centralization, a struggle between the centripetal and the centrifugal political forces. The more powerful Zhupan was tempted to subjugate and absorb the neighbouring less powerful Zhupaniyas. If successful, he would take the title of Veliki Zhupan (Grand Zhupan). But such unions were followed again and again by decentralization and disruption. It is not to be wondered at that this struggle gave occasion for wars between the Zhupaniyas, for civil wars within the Zhupaniyas, for popular risings, court revolutions, dethronements, political assassinations and such like. The earlier history of the Serbs on the Balkan territory is especially turbulent and bloody. One of the minor causes of that turbulence is to be found in the struggle between the ancient Slavonic order of inheritance, according to which a Zhupan ought to be succeeded by the oldest member of the family and not necessarily by his own son, and the natural desire of every ruler that his own son should inherit the throne.
This internal political process was complicated by the struggle between the Greek Church and Greek emperors on the one side, and the Roman Catholic Church and the Roman Catholic Powers (Venice and Hungary) on the other side, for the possession of exclusive ecclesiastical and political influence in the provinces occupied by the Serbs. The danger increased when the Bulgarians came, towards the end of the 7th century, and formed a powerful kingdom on the eastern and south-eastern frontiers of the Serbs. Practically from the 8th to the 12th century the bulk of the Serbs was under either Bulgarian or Greek suzerainty, while the Serbo-Croat provinces of Dalmatia acknowledged either Venetian or Hungarian supremacy.
The Visheslav Dynasty.—The first Serb princes who worked with more or less success at the union of several Zhupaniyas into one state, belonged to what might be called “the Visheslav dynasty.” Zhupan Visheslav lived in the beginning of the 9th century, and seems to have been the descendant of that leader of the Serbs who signed the settlement treaty with the emperor Heraclius towards the middle of the 7th century. His ancestral Zhupaniya comprised Tara, Piva, Lim (the neck of land between the Montenegro and Servia of our days). Visheslav's son Radoslav, his grandson Prissegoy, and his great-grandson Vlastimir, continued his work. Vlastimir successfully defended the western provinces of Servia against the Bulgarian attacks, although the eastern provinces (Branichevo, Morava, Timok, Vardar, Podrimlye) were occupied by the Bulgars. The Bulgarian danger, and probably the energetic and successful operations of the Greek emperor Basil the Macedonian (867-886), determined the Servian Zhupans to acknowledge again the suzerainty of the Greek emperors. One of the important consequences of this new vassalship to the Byzantine empire was that the entire Servian people embraced Christianity, between 871 and 875. In all important transactions the Servians were led by the Grand Zhupan Mutimir Visheslavich (d. 891). During the reign of his heirs almost all the Servian provinces were conquered by the Bulgarian Tsar Simeon (924). In 931 Chaslav, one of the princes of the Visheslav dynasty, liberated the largest part of the Servian territory from Bulgarian domination, but to maintain that liberty he had to acknowledge the Byzantine emperors as his suzerains.
The Princes of Zetta and the First Serb Kingdom.—Towards the end of the 9th century the political centre of the Serbs was transferred to Zetta (Zeta or Zenta: see Montenegro) and the Primorye (Sea-Coast). The prince (sometimes called king) of Zetta, Yovan Vladimir, tried to stop the triumphal march of the Bulgarian Tsar Samuel through the Serb provinces, but in 989 was defeated, made prisoner and sent to Samuel's capital, Prespa. The historical fact that Vladimir married Kossara, the daughter of Samuel, and was sent back to Zetta as reigning prince under the Bulgarian suzerainty, forms the subject of the first Serb novel, Vladimir and Kossara, as early as the 13th century. Vladimir, who seems to have been a noble-minded and generous man, was murdered by Samuel's heir, Tsar Vladislav (1015). By the Christians of both churches in Albania he is to this day venerated as a saint. But after the death of Samuel the Bulgarian power rapidly lost the Serb provinces, which, to get rid of the Bulgarians, again acknowledged the Greek overlordship. About 1042, however, Prince Voislav of Travuniya (Trebinje), cousin of the assassinated Vladimir of Zetta, started a successful insurrection against the Greeks, and united under his own rule Travuniya, Zahumlye and Zetta. His son Michael Voislavich annexed the important Zhupaniya of Rashka (Rascia or Rassia), and in 1077 proclaimed himself a king (rex), receiving the crown from Pope Gregory VII. His son Bodin continued the work of his father, and enlarged the first Serb kingdom by annexing territories which up to that time were under direct Greek rule. A body of Crusaders under Count Raymond of Toulouse passed through Bodin's kingdom about 1101. After Bodin's death the civil wars between his sons and relatives materially weakened the first Serb kingdom. Bosnia reclaimed her own independence; so did Rashka, whose Grand Zhupans came forward as leaders of the Serb national policy, which aimed at freedom from Greek suzerainty and the union of all the Serb Zhupaniyas into one kingdom under one king. The task was difficult enough, as the Byzantine empire, then under the reign of the energetic Manuel Comnenus, regained much of its lost power and influence. About the middle of the 12th century all the Serb Zhupaniyas were acknowledging the suzerainty of the Byzantine emperors.
The Nemanyich Dynasty and the Serb Empire.—A change for the better began when Stephen Nemanya became the Grand Zhupan of Rashka (1169). He succeeded in uniting all the Serb countries under his rule, and although he never took the title of king, he was the real founder of the Serb kingdom and of the royal dynasty of Nemanyich, which reigned over the Serb people for nearly 200 years. The youngest son of Stephen Nemanya, Prince Rastko, secretly left his father's royal court, went to a convent in Mount Athos, made himself a monk, and afterwards, under the name of Sava, became the first archbishop of Servia. As such he established eight bishoprics and encouraged schools and learning. He is regarded as the great patron and protector of education among the Serbs, as a saint, and as one of the greatest statesmen in the national history. After Stephen Nemanya and Sava the most distinguished members of the Nemanyich dynasty were Urosh I. (1242-1276), his son Milutin (1282-1321) and Stephen Dushan (1331-1355). Urosh married Helen, a French princess of the house de Courtenay, and through her he kept friendly relations with the French court of Charles of Anjou in Naples. He endeavoured to negotiate an alliance between Serbs and French for the overthrow and partition of the Byzantine empire. His son Milutin continued that policy for some time, and increased his territory by taking several fortified places from the Greeks; but later he joined the Greeks under the emperor Andronicus against the Turks. Milutin's grandson, Stephen Dushan, was a great soldier and statesman. Seeing the danger which menaced the disorganized Byzantine empire from the Turks, he thought the best plan to prevent the Turkish invasion of the Balkan Peninsula would be to replace that empire by a Serbo-Greek empire. He took from the Greeks Albania and Macedonia; excepting Salonica, Kastoria and Iannina. Towards the end of 1345 he proclaimed himself “emperor of the Serbs and the Greeks,” and was as such solemnly crowned at Usküb on Easter Day 1346. At the same time he raised the archbishop of Ipek, the primate of Servia, to the dignity of patriarch. Three years later he convoked the Sabor (parliament) at Usküb to begin a codification of the laws and legal usages. The result was the publication, in 1349, of the Zakonik Tsara Dushana (Tsar Dushan's Book of Laws), a code of great historical interest which proves that Servia was not much behind the foremost European states in civilization. In 1355 Dushan began a new campaign against the Greeks, the object of which was to unite Greeks, Serbs and Bulgars into one empire, and by their united forces prevent the Turkish power taking root on European ground. To attain that object he was making preparations for a siege of Constantinople, but in the midst of these preparations, or, as some historians assert, on the march towards Constantinople, he died suddenly at the village of Deabolis on the 20th of December 1355. His only son Urosh, a young man of nineteen, seemed physically and mentally incapable of holding together an empire composed of such different races and up heaving with such divergent interests. Some of the powerful viceroys of Dushan's provinces speedily made themselves independent. The most prominent amongst them was Vukashin, who proclaimed himself king of Macedonia. He wished to continue Dushan's policy and to expel the Turks from Europe, but in the battle of Taenarus, on the 26th of September 1371, his army was destroyed by the Turks, and he was slain. This was the first great blow which shook the fragile structure of the Serb empire to its foundation. Two months later (December 1371) Tsar Urosh died, and with his death ended the rule of the Nemanyich dynasty.
The Turkish Invasion: Kossovo.—After a few years of indecision and anarchy the Sabor met at Ipek in 1374 and elected Knez (count) Lazar Hrebelyanovich, a kinsman of Urosh, as ruler of the Serbs. Lazar accepted the position and its responsibilities, but never would assume the title of tsar, although the people commonly called him “Tsar Lazar.” He tried to stop the further disruption of the Serb empire and worked to organize a Christian league against the Turks. When this was reported to the Turks, they at once decided to prevent the formation of such a league by attacking its prospective members one by one. This was the real cause of the Turkish attacks on Bulgaria and Servia in 1389, which resulted in the complete subjugation of Bulgaria and in the defeat of the Serb army in the battle of Kossovo (15th of June 1389). No historic event has made such a deep impression on the mind of the Serbs as the battle of Kossovo—probably because the flower of the Serb aristocracy fell in that battle, and because both the tsar of the Serbs, Lazar, and the sultan of the Turks, Murad I., lost their lives. The sultan was killed by the Serb knight or voyvode Milosh Obilich (otherwise Kobilovich). There exists a cycle of national songs—sung to this day by the Serb bards (guslari)—concerning the battle of Kossovo, the treachery of Vuk Brankovich and the glorious heroism of Milosh Obilich.
The Despotate.—After the battle of Kossovo Servia existed
for some seventy years (1389-1459) as a country tributary
to the sultans but governing itself under its own rule
assumed the Greek title of “despot.” The first despot after
Kossovo was Tsar Lazar's eldest son “Stephen the Tall,” who
was an intimate friend of Sigismund IV., king of Hungary and
emperor of the Germans. Being childless, Stephen on his deathbed
in 1427 appointed his nephew, George Brankovich, to be his
successor. As despot, George worked to establish an alliance
between Servia, Bosnia and Hungary. But before such an alliance
could practically be arranged, Murad II. attacked Servia in
1437 and forced George to seek refuge in Hungary, where he
continued to work for a Serbo-Hungarian alliance against the
Turks. Having at his disposal a large fortune he succeeded in
organizing a Serbo-Hungarian expedition against the Turks in
1444. This expedition, under the joint command of the Despot
George and of Hunyádi János, defeated the Turks in a great battle
at Kunovitsa. The sultan was forced to conclude peace, restoring
to George all the countries previously taken from him.
For the remainder of his life George was rather estranged from
his former allies the Hungarians. At the age of ninety he was
wounded in a duel by a Hungarian nobleman, Michael Szilagyi,
and died of his wound on the 24th of December 1457. His
youngest son Lazar succeeded him, but only for a few months.
Lazar's widow Helena Palaeologina gave Servia to the pope,
hoping thereby to secure the assistance of Roman Catholic
Europe against the Turks. But no one in Europe moved a finger
to help Servia, and Sultan Mahommed II. occupied the country
in 1459, making it a pashalik under the direct government of the
For fully 345 years Servia remained a Turkish pashalik, enduring all the miseries which that lawless régime implied. (see Turkey, History). But the more or less successful invasions of the Turkish empire in Europe by the Austrian armies in the course of the 18th century—invasions in which thousands of Serbs always participated as volunteers—prepared the way for a new state of things.
The Struggle for Servian Independence.—The disorganization and anarchy in the Turkish empire at the beginning of the 19th century gave the Serbs their opportunity, and the people rose en masse against its oppressors (January 1804). A national assembly met in February 1804 in the village of Orashats, and elected George Petrovich—more generally known under the name of “Tsrni Gyorgye” or “Karageorge” (q.v.)—both meaning “Black George”—as commander-in-chief of all the nation's armed forces and the leader of the nation (Vozhd naroda). Under his command the Serbs quickly succeeded in breaking the power of the Dahias, as the four chieftains of the Janissaries of Belgrade were called, who, having rebelled against the sultan, took possession of Servia, became its political and military masters, and exploited the country as their own private property. The Serbs cleared their country altogether of the Turks, and began to organize it as a modern European state. In 1807 the sultan offered to grant the Serbs self-government, and to acknowledge Karageorge as the chief of the nation with the title of prince. On the advice of the Russians, who were just going to war with Turkey, the Serbs refused that offer, preferring to fight against the Turks as Russian allies. The principal scene of the Russo-Turkish war being transferred to the Lower Danube, only a few unimportant actions took place on Servian territory. From 1804 till the autumn of 1813 the Serbs governed themselves as an independent nation. But when in 1812 Russia, attacked by Napoleon, had in great haste to conclude at Bucharest a treaty of peace with Turkey, and omitted to make sufficient provision for the security of her allies the Serbs, the Turkish army invaded and reconquered Servia, occupying all its fortresses. Karageorge, with most of the leading men, left the country (September 1813) and found a refuge first in Austria and then in Russia. Of those who remained in Servia the natural leader, by his own position, talents and influence, was Milosh Obrenovich, voyvode of Rudnik. He surrendered to the Turks and was appointed by them the ruler of central Servia. Not quite two years later Milosh began the second insurrection of the Serbs against the Turks (on Palm Sunday 1815, near the little wooden church of Takovo). He was successful not only in the field but in his diplomacy, and by 1817 Servia had regained autonomy under the suzerainty of the sultan. That autonomy was placed on an international basis by the treaty of Adrianople, concluded between Turkey and Russia in 1829. In compliance with that treaty the sultan by the Hatti-Sherif of 1830 formally granted full autonomy to the Serbs, retaining at the same time Turkish garrisons in the Servian fortresses.
Servia an Autonomous State: 1830-1879.—Milosh, declared hereditary prince of Servia, worked hard for the internal organization and for the economic and educational progress of his country. But his attempts to make Servia independent of Russian protection brought him into conflict with Russia, and his autocratic methods of government united against him all who wished for a constitution. The result was that Prince Milosh was forced to abdicate and leave the country in 1839. Three days before his abdication he was induced to sign a constitution (that of 1838) imposed on Servia by the Porte, at the instance of Russia, with the object of undermining his position. This constitution delegated part of the prince's authority to a council of 70 members appointed for life. Prince Milosh's elder son, Prince Milan (Obrenovich II.), died in a few months, and the younger son Michael (Obrenovich III.) ascended the throne. But the politicians who forced Milosh to abdicate did not feel safe with Milosh's second son as the reigning prince of Servia. They started a military revolt, drove Michael also into exile (1842), and elected Alexander Karageorgevich, the younger son of Karageorge, as prince of Servia. His reign (1842-1858) was quiet and prosperous, and the country made remarkable progress in culture and wealth. But he feared to summon the national assembly, was personally weak and vacillating, and in foreign politics was Turcophil and Austrophil rather than Russophil. Not only Russia but Servia also was dissatisfied with such a policy, and when Alexander Karageorgevich, forced by public opinion, at last dared convoke a national assembly, that assembly's first resolution was that Prince Alexander should be dethroned and replaced by the old Prince Milosh Obrenovich I. This change of the reigning dynasty was effected without the slightest disorder or loss of life. Milosh returned to power at the beginning of 1859, but died in 1860. His son Michael then ascended the throne for the second time. He was a man of refinement who had learned much during his long exile (1842-1859). His political programme was that the law should be respected as the supreme will in the country, that Servia's political autonomy should be jealously guarded, and every encroachment on the part of the suzerain power should be resented and rebuffed. He introduced many important reforms in administration, and replaced the old constitution, granted to Servia by the Porte in 1830, by a new constitution which he himself gave to the country. When in 1862 the Turkish garrison in the citadel of Belgrade bombarded the town, he demanded the evacuation of all the Servian fortresses and forts by the Turks. Only a few of the less important forts were delivered to the Serbs at that time; but in 1863 Prince Michael sent his wife, the beautiful and accomplished Princess Julia (née Countess Hunyadi), to plead the cause of Servia in London, and she succeeded in interesting prominent English politicians (Cobden, Bright, Gladstone) in the fate of the Balkan countries. Prince Michael organized the national army, armed it and drilled it, and entered into understandings with Greece, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria and Albania, for an eventful general rising against the Turks. In the beginning of 1867 he addressed to the Porte a formal demand that the Turkish garrisons should be withdrawn from Belgrade and other Serb fortresses. To prevent a general conflagration in the Balkan Peninsula, the powers advised the sultan to comply with the demand, and when the British government strongly supported that advice the sultan yielded and delivered all the fortresses on Servian territory to the keeping of the prince of Servia (March 1867). Prince Michael's great popularity in consequence of his diplomatic successes alarmed the friends of the exiled Karageorgevich dynasty, more especially when rumours began to circulate that the prince contemplated divorcing his childless wife Julia and remarrying. A conspiracy was formed, and Prince Michael was assassinated on the 10th of June 1868. The conspirators failed to overthrow the government, and the army proclaimed Milan, the son of Prince Michael's first cousin Milosh Obrenovich (son of Yephrem, brother to Milosh the founder of the dynasty), as prince of Servia. The choice was unanimously approved by the Velika Skupshtina, which had been immediately convoked. As Milan Obrenovich IV. was a boy of only thirteen, a regency, presided over by Jovan Ristich or Ristitch (q.v.), was appointed to manage the government until the boy prince attained his full age, which took place in 1872. In 1869 the regency had substituted a new constitution for that of 1838. Prince Milan followed the policy of his dynasty, and, encouraged by the Russian Panslavists, declared war on Turkey (June 1876). His army, commanded by the Russian General Chernyayev, was defeated by Abdul-Kerim Pasha, whose advance was stopped by the intervention of Tsar Alexander II. But the situation created by Prince Milan's action in the Balkans forced the hand of the tsar, and Russia declared war on Turkey (1877).
The Treaty of Berlin.—Prince Milan was educated in the political school favourable to Russia, and unhesitatingly followed the Russian lead up to the conclusion of the preliminary treaty of peace between Russia and Turkey at San Stefano. By that treaty Russia, desiring to create a great Bulgaria, took within its limits districts inhabited by Servians, and considered by the Servian politicians and patriots as the natural and legitimate inheritance of their nation. This act of Russia created great dissatisfaction in Servia, and became the starting-point for a new departure in Servian politics. At the Berlin Congress the Servian plenipotentiary, Jovan Ristich, in vain appealed to the Russian representatives to assist Servia to obtain better terms. The Russians themselves advised him to appeal to Austria and to try to obtain her support. The utter neglect of the Servian interests by Russia at San Stefano, and her evident inability at the Berlin Congress to do anything for Servia, determined Prince Milan to change the traditional policy of his country, and instead of continuing to seek support from Russia, he tried to come to an understanding with Austria-Hungary concerning the conditions under which that power would give its support to Servian interests. This new departure was considered by the Russians—especially by those of the Panslavist party—almost as an apostasy, and it was decided to oppose Prince Milan and his supporters, the Servian Progressives. The treaty of Berlin (13th of July 1878) disappointed Servian patriots, although the complete independence of the country was established by it (art. 34). This was proclaimed at Belgrade by Prince (afterwards King) Milan on the 22nd of August.
The Progressive Régime.—The political history of Servia from 1879 to the abdication of King Milan on 3rd March 1889 was an uninterrupted struggle between King Milan and the Progressives on one side, and Russia with her adherents, the Servian Radicals, on the other. King Milan and his government were badly handicapped by several unfortunate circumstances. To fulfil the engagements accepted in Berlin and the conditions under which independence had been granted to Servia, railways had to be constructed within a certain time, and the government had also to pay to the Turkish landlords in the newly acquired districts an equitable indemnity for their estates, which were divided among the peasants. These objects could not be attained without borrowing a considerable amount of money in the European markets. To pay regularly the interest on the loans the government of King Milan had to undertake the unpopular task of reforming the entire financial system of the country and of increasing the taxation. The expenditure increased more rapidly than the revenue. Deficits appeared, which had to be covered temporarily by new loans, and which forced the government to establish monopolies on salt, tobacco, matches, mineral oils, &c. Every such step increased the unpopularity of the government and strengthened the opposition. An attempt on the life of King Milan was made in 1882, and an insurrection in the south-eastern districts was started in 1883. But the majority of the people, and especially the regular army, remained loyal, and the revolt was quickly suppressed.
War with Bulgaria.—The union of Bulgaria and Eastern Rumelia inspired King Milan and his government with the notion that either that union must be prevented, or that Servia should obtain some territorial compensation, so that the balance of power in the Balkan Peninsula might be maintained. This view, which did not find support anywhere outside Servia, led to war between Servia and Bulgaria (see Servo-Bulgarian War); the Servians were defeated at Slivnitza and had to abandon Pirot, whilst the farther advance of the Bulgarian army on Nish was stopped by the intervention of Austria-Hungary. An honourable peace was concluded between the two contending powers in March 1886. Then came the unhappy events connected with Milan's divorce from Queen Natalie. That domestic misfortune was cleverly exploited by King Milan's enemies in the country and abroad, and did him more harm than all his political mistakes. He tried to retrieve his position in the country, and succeeded in a great measure, by granting a very liberal constitution (January 1889, or Dec. 1888 O.S.) at a time when all agitation for a new constitution had been given up. Then, to the great astonishment of the Servians and of his Russian enemies, King Milan voluntarily abdicated, placing the government of the country in the hands of a regency during the minority of his only son Alexander, whom he proclaimed king of Servia on the 6th of March 1889.
King Alexander: The Regency.—The leading man of the regency was Jovan Ristich, who had already been regent during the minority of King Milan (1868-1871). Although he had been since 1868 the leader of the Liberal party, he showed himself, as regent, extremely Conservative. The new constitution was the embodiment of Radical principles, and the numerically strongest party in the country was Radical. The national assembly was composed, therefore, almost exclusively of Radicals, and the government was Radical likewise. From the very beginning the Conservative regency and the Radical government distrusted each other. The government was not strong enough to resist the clamour of their numerous partisans for participation in the spoils of party warfare. Political passions, which had been stirred up by the long struggle against King Milan's Progressive régime, could not be allayed so quickly; and as the anarchical element of the Radical party obtained the ascendancy over the more cultured and more moderate members, all sorts of political excesses were committed. The old system of borrowing money to cover the yearly deficits were continued, and the expenditure went on increasing from year to year. The administration lost all authority, the police were paralysed and brigandage became rife. The Radical government thought to strengthen their position by letting the national assembly vote a law prohibiting the return of the king's father to Servia, and forcibly expelling the king's mother, Queen Natalie. But such laws and such acts only embittered political passions and greatly encouraged the adherents of Prince Peter Karageorgevich, who, having married the eldest daughter of Prince Nicholas of Montenegro and living at Cettigne, was supposed to enjoy the support of Russia. The political situation became still more confused when on the death of the third regent, General Kosta Protich, the government tried to force the regency to accept in his stead M Pashich, the leader of the Radical party. The regents thereupon dismissed the Radical cabinet and called the Liberals to the government (August 1892). The Liberal cabinet dissolved the Radical national assembly, and at the general elections used very great pressure to secure a Liberal majority. In this they did not succeed, and the situation became hopelessly entangled by the fact that the national assembly was Radical, the government Liberal, and the regency practically in all its tendencies Conservative. The legislative machinery as well as the administration of the country was thus completely paralysed. Then the young king Alexander suddenly proclaimed himself of age (although at that time only in his seventeenth year), dismissed the regents and the Liberal cabinet, and formed his first cabinet from among the moderate Radicals (13th April 1893).
The King's Administration.—The moderate Radicals quickly showed themselves unable to do any serious work. They were fettered by the dissatisfaction of the Left wing of their own party. To satisfy the extreme Radicals they had to impeach the members of the last cabinet. This increased the bitterness of the Liberals, who, though not so numerous as the Radicals, included in their ranks more men of wealth and culture. Political passions were again in full blaze. The anti-dynastic party raised its head again, and in many Radical publications the expulsion of the reigning dynasty and its replacement by the Karageorgevich were advocated. At the same time reports were reaching King Alexander that Russia was discussing with the leaders of the extreme Radicals the conditions under which a Russian grand-duke was to be proclaimed king of Servia.
The ex-King Milan's Return.—In such circumstances King Alexander thought best to invite his father the ex-King Milan (who was living in Paris) to his side, and to use his great knowledge of men and his political experience. In the beginning of January 1894 King Milan arrived in Belgrade. The Radical cabinet resigned and was replaced by a cabinet composed of politicians standing outside the political parties. In June the Radical constitution of 1889 was suspended, and in its place the constitution of 1869 was re-established.
The nation was evidently tired of the violent agitations of recent years. This feeling gave rise to Conservative, even somewhat reactionary, legislation. The duration of the legislature was extended from three to five years; the liberty of the press was curtailed by the enactment that proprietors of political papers must pay to the government a deposit of 5000 dinars (£200), and that the editors must have completed their studies at a university; the laws on lèse-majesté were made more severe. After the advent to power of Dr Vladan Georgevich (October 1897) persistent and successful efforts were made to improve the country's financial and economic condition. The violent party strife which from 1880 to 1895 had absorbed the best energies of the country and paralysed every serious and productive work, ceased almost completely, and the nation as a whole turned to improve its agriculture and commerce. The sustained improvement in the political and commercial situation was not influenced materially by the temporary excitement in consequence of the attempt on the life of King Milan (6th July 1899), and of the state trial of several prominent Radicals accused of having conspired for the overthrow of the dynasty. One remarkable feature in the foreign policy of Servia in the last years of the 19th century was that after King Milan was appointed commander-in-chief of the Servian regular army (1898), Russia and Montenegro practically, although not formally, broke off their diplomatic relations with Servia, while at the same time the relations of that country with Austria-Hungary became more friendly than under the Radical régime.
King Alexander's Marriage.—All this was suddenly changed when in July 1900 King Alexander married Mme Draga Mashin, once lady-in-waiting to his mother Queen Natalie. He threw himself into the arms of Russia, forbade his father Milan to reside in Servia, and followed Russian guidance in all questions of foreign policy. To strengthen his position in the country he promulgated a new constitution in April 1901, establishing for the first time in the history of Servia a parliament with two houses (skupshtina and senate). But the unpopularity of the king's marriage was not lessened. Constitutional liberties and especially the free press were mercilessly used to attack both the king and the queen, who neither wished nor were able to conceal their dissatisfaction. As general feeling that King Alexander contemplated changing the situation by one of his bold and clever coups d'état increased the political unrest. Matters went from bad to worse when persistent rumours were set in motion that Queen Draga had succeeded in persuading King Alexander to proclaim one of her two brothers heir-apparent to the throne. In 1902 a widespread military conspiracy was rumoured to exist, while Austria and Russia repeatedly gave proofs that they were indifferent to the fate of Alexander, and so encouraged the malcontents. King Alexander felt that he could eventually fortify his position either by a great foreign policy or by his divorce from the childless Queen Draga. He seems to have been working for joint action with Bulgaria for the liberation of Macedonia from Turkish rule. Some of his intimate friends asserted that he contemplated divorcing the queen, and that he was only waiting for her departure for an Austrian watering-place, which departure was fixed for the 15th of June 1903. In the first hours of the 11th of June the conspirators surrounded the palace with troops, forced an entrance and assassinated both King Alexander and Queen Draga in a most cruel and savage manner. (C. Mi.)
King Peter Karageorgevich.—The regicides proclaimed Prince Peter Karageorgevich king of Servia; and a provisional cabinet was formed, with Colonel Mashin, brother-in-law of the murdered Queen Draga and organizer of the conspiracy, as minister of public works. The skupshtina and senate assembled, restored the constitution of 1889 instead of the reactionary constitution promulgated by King Alexander on the 19th of April 1901, and ratified the election of Prince Peter, who entered Belgrade as king on the 24th of June 1903. Born in 1844, he was the son of Alexander Karageorgevich and grandson of Karageorge; in 1883 he had married Princess Zorka, daughter of Prince (afterwards king) Nicholas of Montenegro. His authority was at first merely nominal; the highest administrative offices were occupied by the regicides, who received the unanimous thanks of the skupshtina for the assassination of King Alexander and Queen Draga. Russia, Austria-Hungary and Montenegro were the only Powers which congratulated King Peter on his accession, and in December 1903 all the Powers temporarily withdrew their representatives from Belgrade, as a protest against the attitude of the Servian government towards the regicides. But at the coronation of King Peter, in September 1904, all the European powers except Great Britain were officially represented, some concessions, more apparent than real, having been made in the matter of the regicides, who were very unpopular among the peasants and in the army. Further protests were made by many of the powers when the illusory nature of these concessions became known, and it was not until May 1906 that diplomatic relations with Servia were resumed by Great Britain. In the same year a convention was concluded by Servia and Bulgaria as a preliminary to a customs union between the two states. This convention, which tended to neutralize the dependence of Servia upon Austria-Hungary by facilitating the export of Servian goods through the Bulgarian ports on the Black Sea, brought about a war of tariffs between Servia and the Dual Monarchy.
The Bosnian Crisis.—In 1908 the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina by Austria-Hungary and the revolution in Turkey brought about an acute crisis. Many Serbs still hoped for the realization of the so-called “Great Servian Idea,” i.e. the union in a single empire of Servia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Old Servia (Stara Srbiya) or the sanjak of Novibazar with north-western Macedonia—all countries in which the population consists largely, and in some cases almost exclusively, of Orthodox Serbs. The whole nation clamoured for war with Austria-Hungary, and was supported in this attitude by Montenegro, despite a temporary rupture of diplomatic relations between Belgrade and Cettigne, due to the alleged complicity of the Servian crown prince in a plot for the assassination of Prince Nicholas. As, however, the armaments and finances of Servia were unequal to a conflict with Austria-Hungary, while Great Britain, Russia, France and Italy counselled peace, the skupshtina, meeting in secret session on the 11th of October 1908, determined to avoid open hostilities, and sent M Milanovich, the minister for foreign affairs, to press the claims of Servia upon the powers. The tariff war with Austria-Hungary was at the same time renewed. Servia demanded compensation in various forms for the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina; what the government hoped to obtain was the cession to Servia of a strip of territory between Herzegovina and Novibazar, which would check the advance of Austria-Hungary towards Salonica, make Servia and Montenegro conterminous, pave the way for a union between them, and give Servian commerce an outlet to the Adriatic. Neither the Dual Monarchy nor the Young Turks would consider the cession of any territory, and in January 1909 the outcry for war was renewed in Servia. But the threatening attitude of Austria-Hungary, with the moderating influence of M Pashich, who became the real, though not the nominal, head of a new ministry in February 1909, induced Servia to accept the advice of the Russian government by abandoning all claim to territorial “compensation,” and leaving the Balkan question for solution by the Powers. The Servian government defined its attitude in a circular note to the Powers (9th of March), and finally accepted the terms of a conciliatory declaration suggested by the British government (31st of March). By this declaration Servia abandoned all its demands as against Austria-Hungary, while the Austro-Hungarian foreign minister made simultaneously a public declaration that the Dual Monarchy harboured no unfriendly designs against Servia.
On the 27th of March 1909 the crown prince George (b. 1887), who had been the most outspoken leader of the anti-Austrian party in 1908, was induced to resign his right of succession to the throne. It was alleged that his violence had caused the death of one of his own male servants, and that he was partially insane. On the 27th of March 1909 his brother Alexander (b. Dec. 17, 1888) took the oath as heir-apparent.
The books by Stead, Mallat and I-logge, mentioned above, contain important historical matter. See also the bibliography to the article Balkan Peninsula, with L. von Ranke, Geschichte Serbiens bis 1842 (Leipzig, 1844; Eng. trans. by A. Kerr, The History of Servia (London, 1847); id., Serbien und die Türkei im 19. Jahrhundert (Leipzig, 1879); A. Hilferding, Geschichte (ältere) der Serben und Bulgaren (2 vols. from the Russian, Bantzen, 1856-1864); S. Novaković, Srbi i Turtsi xiv. i xv. veka, &c. (Belgrade, 1893); B. S. Cunibert, Essai historique sur les révolutions et l'indépendance de la Serbie: 1804-1850 (2 vols., Paris, 1850-1855); E. L. Mijatovich, History of Modern Servia (London, 1872); Rachić, Le Royaume de Serbie, étude d'histoire diplomatique (Paris, 1901); V. Georgević, Das Ende der Obrenović (Leipzig, 1905); C. Mijatovich, A Royal Tragedy (London, 1906). (X.)
The Servian language belongs to the family of Slavonic languages (see Slavs). According to the Servian philologist Danichich (Dioba Slav. yezika, Belgrade, 1874), the Servians were the first Slavonic branch which separated from the original Slavonic stem, while the Russians and the Bulgarians only separated from it at a considerably later date. The Russian and Bulgarian languages undoubtedly stand nearer to Old Slavonic than the Servian. According to another theory (T. Schmidt, Vocalismus ii. 179) two separate branches developed from the Old Slavonic stem, one identical with the western Slavs, and the other with the south-eastern group; and from the Slavonic of the south-east the first languages to separate were the Russian and the South Slavonic. From the latter developed Bulgarian, on one side, and Servian-Slovene on the other, while from the last-named branch Servian or Serbo-Croatian and Slovene developed on two separate twigs. There can be no doubt that in the south-eastern group of the Slavonic languages Serbo-Croatian and Slovene form a special closely-connected group, in which the Servian and the Croat languages are almost identical.
Both the Servians and the Croats arrived in the first half of the 7th century (or more precisely about A.D. 635) in the north-western corner of the Balkan Peninsula. There they met the partly Romanized Illyrians, and in course of time absorbed them. There can be little doubt that this absorption softened and enriched the Serbo-Croatian dialects, a process to which climatic conditions and intercourse with Italy also contributed, until Serbo-Croatian became one of the richest and most melodious of Slavonic languages.
Servian is spoken in the following countries, forming geographically (although not politically) a connected whole: southern Hungary, the kingdom of Servia, Old Servia (the Turkish vilayet of Kossovo), western Macedonia., the sanjak of Novi-Bazar, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Croatia-Slavonia, Dalmatia and Montenegro. It ranks with Bulgarian as one of the two principal Slav languages of the Balkan Peninsula; the Macedonian dialects are intermediate between these two. Between eight and nine millions of people speak Serbo-Croatian in the countries just enumerated.
Considering the extent of territory in which the language is spoken, it is not surprising that it should have several dialects. Practically, however, there are only three principal dialects, which are differentiated by the manner in which the Old Slavonic double vocal ye (the so-called yach) is pronounced. The Old Slavonic words lyepo, byelo, are pronounced by the Servians of Herzegovina, Bosnia, Montenegro, Dalmatia, Croatia and south-western Servia as leeyepo, beeyelo; by the Servians of Syrmia the same vowel is pronounced sometimes as e (lepo, belo), sometimes as ee (videeti, leteeti); by the Servians of the Morava valley and its accessory Ressava valley, always only as e (lepo, belo, videli, leteti). Vuk Stefanovich Karajich called the first dialect the “South-Western or Herzegovinian dialect,” the second the “Syrmian,” the third the “Ressava” dialect. Professor Belich of Belgrade University has tried to give in the Servian Dialectological Compendium (Belgrade, 1905) a new division of the Servian dialects into five groups, viz. Prizren-Timok, Kossovo-Ressava, Shumadiya-Srem (Syrmia), Zetta-Bosnia, Adriatic coast. Of all the Servian dialects the most correct, richest and softest is the Herzegovinian or Zetta-Bosnian dialect. Karajich and his followers tried to make it the literary language of the Servians. All the national songs which he transcribed from the recitations of the bards were written and published by him in that dialect, into which the Bible has also been translated. But, as in the second half of the 19th century the kingdom of Servia, speaking the Ressava or Shumadiya-Syrmian dialect, became the centre of Servian literary activity, the last-mentioned dialect tended to become the literary language.
Servian and Croatian are only two dialects of the same Slavonic language. Servian is sometimes called shtokavski because the Servian word for “what” is shto, whereas the Croats say cha for shto, and therefore their language is called chakavski. The more important differences between the two languages were pointed out by Danichich (Glasnik, ix., 1857). They are as follows: (a) while the Servians pronounce the Old Slavonic yach as ye or e or ee, the Croats pronounce it always as ee (Servian beeyelo or belo, Croatian beelo); (b) the Servians have the sound gye (softened d or g), the Croats are without it, but have instead ya or ye (Servian gospogya, Croatian gospoya); (c) the Servians let the vowel i transform the preceding consonant into a soft consonant, whereas the Croats pronounce the consonant unaffected by the softening influence of i (Servian bratya, Croatian bratia); (d) the Servians change the letter l at the end of a word into o whereas the Croats always pronounce it as l. These differences are so insignificant that it was very natural that the Croats after having tried to convert the chakavski dialect into a separate literary language were compelled to abandon that attempt and to adopt the shtokavski. To facilitate this reform, to overcome the ecclesiastical prejudices of the Roman Catholic Croats against the Eastern Orthodox Servians, and vice versa, certain Croatian patriots, led by Ljudevit Gaj, proposed that all the Slavonic peoples in the north-western part of the Balkan Peninsula should call themselves Illyri and their language Illyrian (see Croatia-Slavonia: Language and Literature and History). The appellation “Serbo-Croatian” for the literary language of both nations now finds more favour. The great dictionary compiled and published by the South Slavonic Academy of Agram is called The Lexicon of the Servian or Croatian Language. Although the Croats write and print in Latin characters, while the Servians write and print in Cyrillic, and although many a Servian cannot read Croatian books, and vice versa, the literary language of both nations is one and the same. (C. Mi.)
1. Formation of a Servian-Slavonic Language.—Servian literature begins with the biblical and liturgical books, written in “Old Slavonic,” or “Church Slavonic,” into which “the Slavonic apostles” Cyril and Methodius (see Slavs) had translated the Bible and other church books about the middle of the 9th century. Cyril and Methodius used the Greek alphabet somewhat modified and adapted to the necessities of the Slavonic language. That alphabet is called “Cyrillic” (in Servian Kyrilitsa), and is—simplified and modernized—practically the alphabet used by the Servians, Bulgarians and Russians of our times. The Cyrillic aphabet replaced an older Servian, or probably Old Slavonic, alphabet called “Glagolitic” (see Slavs: Alphabets). A few Servian books are still printed in Glagolitic, and some in Latin letters; but by far the greatest number are written and printed in Cyrillic.
The Old Slavonic church books had naturally to be copied from time to time, and the Servian, Bulgarian and Russian copyists were unable to resist the influences of their respective living languages. Thus comparatively soon there appeared church books no longer written in pure Old Slavonic (of which the so-called “Asseman's Gospel” in the Vatican is the best type), but in Old Slavonic modified by Servian, Bulgarian, Russian influences, or in the languages which could be called Servian-Slavonic, Bulgarian-Slavonic, Russian-Slavonic. The best extant specimen of the Servian-Slavonic is “Miroslav's Gospel,” written in the second half of the 12th century for the Servian prince Miroslav; a facsimile edition was published in 1897 in Belgrade. Servian-Slavonic was the literary language of the Servians from the 12th century to the end of the 15th, i.e. during the first period of their literary history.
2. Servian-Slavonic Literature.—The only noteworthy literary productions of this first period of Servian literature were zhivoti (biographies) and letopisi (chronicles). The best writers of the time were Archbishop Sava (St Sava), his brother King Stephen (Stefan) Prvovenchani (i.e. the “first-crowned”), the monks Domentiyan and Theodosius, Archbishop Danilo, Gregorius Tsamblak, Stephen Lazarevich, prince of Servia, and Constantine the Philosopher. The most important literary work of St Sava (d. 1237) was The Life of St Simeon, in which he described the life of his father, Stephen Nemanya, the first sovereign of the united Servian provinces, who towards the end of his life became a monk and took the name of Simeon. Domentiyan wrote a life of St Sava in the involved and bombastic Byzantine style of the middle of the 13th century. The best literary creations of the period are undoubtedly The Lives of the Servian Kings and Archbishops by Archbishop Danilo (d. 1338), and Constantine the Philosopher's Life of Despot Stephen Lazarevich, written in 1432.
The chronicles (letopisi) are without any literary value, although as historical material they are useful. They number about thirty. The oldest of them was written between 1371 and 1390. The best are Letopis of Ypek, which ends with the year 1391; Letopis of Koporin, written by Deacon Damyan in 1453; Letopis of Carlovitz, 1503; and the chronicle of the monastery of Tronosha, 1526.
To this period of Servian literature belongs the first attempt by an unknown author to write a romance. The story of the love and sufferings of the Servian prince Vladimir, who lived in the 11th century, and his wife, the Bulgarian princess Kossara, written probably in the 13th century, was very popular among the Servians of the 14th and 15th centuries. Other comparatively widely-read books of the period were the Life of Alexander the Great, The Story of the Siege of Troy, Stefanite and Ikhnylat (an Indian story) and The Journey of a Soul from this World to that Other, all of which were translations from the Greek.
A characteristic example of the literary and also, as it appears, of the official language of the Servians in the middle ages is the Codex of Tsar Dushan (Zakonik Tsara Dushana), which was promulgated at the Servian parliament (Sabor) in Skoplye (Usküb) in 1349 and 1354. Very interesting material for the study of the Servian literary language during the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries is to be found in several collections of old charters and letters of that period (F. Miklosich's Monumenta Serbica, Putsich's Srpski Spomenitsi u Dubrovaehkoy Arkhivi, and the publications of the Royal Servian Academy in Belgrade and the South Slavonic Academy of Science in Agram). The oldest document written in the vernacular Servian is considered to be a charter by which Kulin, the ban of Bosnia, grants certain commercial privileges to the Ragusan merchants in 1189.
The oldest printed book in Servian-Slavonic issued in 1483 from the printing-press of Andreas de Theresanis de Asula in Venice. A few years later the Servian nobleman Bozhidar Vukovich bought a printing-press in Venice and established it at Obod in Montenegro, from which issued in 1493 the first church book (the Octoich) printed on Servian territory. There is a copy of this book in the British Museum. Vicentius, the son of Bozhidar Vukovich, carried on the enterprise of his father, and their printing-press continued to work up to 1566, issuing several church books in the Servian-Slavonic language. During the first half of the 16th century the Servians had printing-presses in Belgrade, Skadar (Scutari) on the river Boyana, Gorazhde, Mileshevo and elsewhere. But in the second half of that century all printing absolutely ceased in the Servian countries under the direct rule of the Turks, and was not resumed until the middle of the 18th century. Books for the use of the churches had to be imported from Russia, printed in the Russian-Slavonic language.
3. Dalmatian Literature.—While among the Servians belonging to the Eastern Church all literary work had practically stopped from the middle of the 16th century to the middle of the 18th, the Roman Catholic Servians of Dalmatia, and more especially those of the semi-independent republic of Ragusa, became more active. Being for centuries politically, ecclesiastically and commercially connected with Venice, Rome and Italy in general, they came under the influence of Italian civilization, and during the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries were the most cultured branch of the Servian nation. The awakening of literary ambition among these Servians of the Adriatic coast was originally due to the influence of immigrant Greek scholars who came to Ragusa after the fall of Constantinople in 1453.
Between 1450 and 1530 there had already been founded in Spalato a small literary society, in which the Servian poets Marulich, Papalich, Martinich and others read their poetical compositions, mostly lyrical and religious songs. About the same time (1457-1501) there appeared in Ragusa the poet Menchetich, who wrote nearly four hundred love-songs and elegies, taking Ovid as his model, and George Drzhich (1460-1510), author of many erotic poems and of a drama. Two of the finest works of this early period of the Servian literature of Ragusa are the poem Dervishiyada, written by the Ragusan nobleman Stepan Guchetich (1495-1525), rich in humour and satire, and the poem Yegyupka (“The Gipsy Woman”), written by Andreas Chubranovich (1500-1550), a goldsmith by profession and a very original and clever lyrical poet. Another remarkable Ragusan poet was Hectorovich (1486-1572), who wrote the poem Ribanye (“The Fishing and Talking with Fishermen”), and anticipated a new movement in Servian literature by publishing three national songs as he heard them from the popular bards (guslars). But the true glory of Ragusan literature was established by its three poets, Ivan Gundulich (1558-1638), Gyon Palmotich (1606-1657) and Ignacius Gyorgyich (1675-1737). Of these the greatest was Gundulich (q.v.). Palmotich is remarkable as a dramatic poet. The subects of most of his dramas were taken from Latin and Italian poets (Atalanta after Ovid, Lavinia after Virgil, Armida after Tasso); but at least in two dramas, Pavlimir and Tsaptislava, he displayed some originality, taking his themes from Servian national history. All the works of Palmotich have been published by the South Slavonic Academy (Stari Pisči, vols. xii., xiii., xiv. xix.). Gyorgyich's best work is considered to be his translation of the Psalms into Servian verse (Saltiyer Slovinski). He also wrote The Sighs of the Repenting Magdalen and the unfinished tragedy Judith.
After Gyorgyich the Servian literature of Ragusa and Dalmatia during the 18th, century has no great name to show, except that of the mathematician, Ruggiero Boshkovich (see Boshkovich). His two brothers and his sister Anitsa Boshkovich were known in their time as poets. But on the whole Servian literature on the Adriatic coast showed little originality in the 18th century; its writers were content to produce good translations of Latin, Italian and French works.
Mention must be made, however, of an author whose work connects the literature of the Adriatic Servians of the 18th century with the regenerative efforts of the Danubian Servians in the second decade of the 19th century. The literature of the Adriatic Servians was, with very few exceptions, Servian only in language, but Italian in form and spirit. About the middle of the 18th century a learned Dalmatian monk, Andrea Kachich Mioshich by name, emancipated himself from the yoke of pseudo-classicism and slavery to Western models. As a papal delegate he had to visit all the Roman Catholic communities in Dalmatia, Herzegovina and Bosnia, and had numerous opportunities of hearing the bards recite songs on old national heroes. In 1756 he published a book entitled Razgovor Ugodni Naroda Slovinskoga (“The Popular Talk of the Slavonic People”), in which in 261 songs he described—in the manner and in the spirit of the national bards—the more important historic or legendary events and heroes of the “Slavonic people.” Under this denomination he comprised Servians, Croats, Slovenes and Bulgarians, anticipating the modern appellations of the Yugo-Sloveni (Southern Slavs). His book immediately became the most popular that ever appeared among the Servians, and was again and again reprinted, under the less ponderous title Pesmaritsa, “The Book of Songs.” Some sixty years after its appearance it inspired Vuk Stefanovich Karajich with the vision of his true mission. But Kachich Mioshich found no immediate followers among the Servian literati of the second half of the 18th century.
4. The Revival of Servian Literature: Obradovich and Karajich.—As long as the countries inhabited by the Orthodox Servians were under the deadening immediate rule of the Turks, they produced no serious literature. But when the Austrian wars of the 17th century began to roll back the Turkish power, and Hungary recovered its freedom, the Servians living in that country rapidly acquired some culture, and their literature began to revive. During the 18th century, however, they did not write in the living language of the Servian people. After the disappearance of the Servian printing-presses in the 16th century, all liturgical books were brought from Russia and printed in the Russian-Slavonic language; while the teachers in the Servian schools were Russians. Russian-Slavonic thus became the literary language of the Orthodox Servians.
The more important works of the time were the History of Montenegro, by the Montenegrin bishop Basil Petrovitch (Moscow, 1754); the Short Introduction into the History of the Origin of the Slaveno-Servian Nation, by Paul Yulinats (Venice, 1765); and above all the History of the Slavonic Nations, more especially of the Bulgarians, Croats and Servians, by Archimandrite Yovan Raich (Vienna, 1794). During extensive travels in Russia and the Balkan countries Raich had collected a rich historical material and was able to write, for the first time in the annals of Servian literature, a work which has every claim to be considered as a real history. The Servians call him “the father of Servian history.”
But Russian-Slavonic was not readily understood by the Servian reading public. It was not much better when through the influence of the living language it began to approach nearer to Servian than to Russian, and was called “Slavonic-Servian” (Slaveno-Serbski). The Servians had some authors in the 18th century, but it could hardly have been said that they had readers. All this suddenly changed when Dositey (Dositheus) Obradovich (1739-1811) appeared on the scene. In boyhood he had entered the monastery of Hoppovo in south Hungary and had become a monk. But as very soon he found that the monastery could not satisfy his aspirations, he left it and started to travel, acquiring a knowledge of classical and modern languages and literatures. An ardent Servian patriot, he proclaimed the principle that books ought to be written for the people and therefore in the language which the people understood and spoke. His first book, The Life and the Adventures of Demeter Obradovich—a monk named Dositey (Leipzig, 1783), was written in the language spoken in Servian towns. It immediately made a great impression, which was enhanced by the continuation of his autobiography (Home Letters) and especially by his Fables of Aesop and of other Writers (Leipzig, 1789). These books created a reading public among the Servians and mark the beginning of a really modern period of Servian literature. Obradovich, or rather “Dositey” as Servians call him, was so highly appreciated as an author, savant and patriot that in 1807 Karageorge invited him to Servia and appointed him a senator and minister of public education, in which capacity he established in Belgrade the first Servian college (Velika Shkola). Dositey was an admirer of England and English literature. While staying in London in 1783 he was much encouraged by the patronage and friendship of Dr William Fordyce, while his pupil, Paul Solarich, another distinguished author, was befriended by the Hon. Frederick North, afterwards 5th earl of Guildford, state secretary for public instruction in the Ionian Islands.
Only a few of his contemporaries followed the example which Dositey set in writing in the vernacular (although even he introduced from time to time purely Slavonic words and forms). It was believed that the vernacular could not be raised to the dignity of a literary language, and that literature and science needed words and expressions which were entirely lacking in the common language. But Vuk Stefanovich Karajich, a self-taught writer, proved the fallacy of that assumption. By his publication of the national songs and poems, which he carefully collected, he opened the eyes of Servian authors to the wealth and beauty of their own language, as spoken by the mass of the people and used by the national bards. Besides collecting national songs and poems, folk-lore, proverbs, &c., he wrote a grammar of the Servian language (Vienna, 1814) and the first Servian lexicon, with explanations in German and Latin (Vienna, 1818). His thorough knowledge of the Servian language led him to reform the Cyrillic alphabet, in which several letters were redundant and certain sounds of the spoken language were unrepresented. His efforts to make Servian writers adopt his reformed alphabet, and accept the language of the common people as a literary language, met with fierce opposition, especially on the part of the clergy and friends of the artificial Slaveno-Servian literary language. It was only after 1860 that his principles won a complete victory in all directions. (See Karajich.)
5. Modern Servian Literature.—The activity of Karajich brought new life to the Servian literature of the 19th century; The poets abandoned classical models and ceased to write in hexameters; they preferred to derive their inspiration from popular poetry, of which Karajich collected for them hundreds of examples. Writers in different departments of literature vied with each other to write in pure and correct Servian. And, although it could not be justly said that the Servians of the 19th century produced a really great work from the literary point of view, they certainly made progress and produced some remarkable poetry.
Their three greatest poets are Sima Milutinovich Sarayliya (1791-1847), Peter Petrovich Nyegosh (1813-1851), prince-bishop of Montenegro, and “Zmay” Yovan Yovanovich (1833-1904). Sarayliya's most important work is Serbiyanka (Leipzig, 1826), in which he describes the rising of the Servians against the Turks in 1804 and 1815. His imagination is lively, his descriptions graphic, but the impetuosity of his genius cannot find adequate words to express itself, and then he creates new words of which the meaning is not always clear. For this reason he never was really popular among the Servians. Nyegosh composed his first important poem, Lucha Microcosma or “The Light of the Microcosm” (Belgrade, 1847), under the influence of Paradise Lost. In the Lucha he describes how the spirit of man wished to solve the problem of human destiny. He was led by a protecting angel to the beginning of time when Satan, supported by an angel called Adam, was in full rebellion against God. But the co-rebel Adam repented and God then created the Earth and sent Adam to expiate his sin by living amidst difficulties and sufferings on that planet. In Gorski Viyenats, “The Mountain Wreath” (Vienna, 1847), Nyegosh describes the liberation of Montenegro from the Turks towards the end of the 17th century in the form of a drama. There is, however, hardly anything dramatic in the poem, but the characters deliver magnificent descriptions of Montenegro and Montenegrins, and the play is full of noble sentiments and great thoughts. The Servians consider Gorski Viyenats the finest poetical work in their literature. It has been translated into all the principal European languages except English. Dr Yovan Yovanovich, called by his admiring countrymen Zmay (the Dragon) on account of the high flight of his poetry and his ardent patriotism, began his poetical career by producing melodious translations of some of the best poems of other nations (the Hungarian Arany's Toldi János, Petöfi's János Vitéz, Lermontov's Demon, Tennyson's “Enoch Arden,” Bodenstedt's Mizra-Shaffy, Goethe's Iphigenie, &c.). His own lyrical and satirical poems are without a rival in Servian literature. In his later years he gave much of his time and talent to the interests of children, editing papers for boys and dedicating hundreds of his finest songs to children. There are several editions of his collected poems; one of the best is that of the Servian Literary Association (Belgrade, 1896).
Among the other prominent Servian poets of the 19th century may be mentioned Dr Milosh Svetich (1799-1869), Branko Radichevich (1824-1853), Gyura Yakshich (1832-1878), Yovan Subotich (1817-1886), Dr Laza Kostich (b. 1841), Aberdar (1842-1893), Voislav Ilich (1862-1894), Prince Nicholas of Montenegro (b. 1841). The Servians have as yet no great novelist, but they have several very successful writers of short stories. Among these the first place belongs to Dr Laza Lazarevich. After him the most popular authors of short stories are: Stefan Sremats, whose mild satire and sparkling humour earned for him the name of the “Servian Dickens”; Yanko Veselinovich, author of some delightful sketches from the life of Servian peasants; Sima Matavuly, whose stories give a true picture of the Servians of Dalmatia and of Montenegro. Delightful stories of old times and of the Adriatic coast were written by Stefan Mitrov Lyubisha (1824-1878).
In dramatic literature the Servians are comparatively rich. The poet Dr Laza Kostich made excellent translations from Shakespeare (King Lear, Romeo and Juliet, King Richard III.), and gave the Servian stage two of its best tragedies: Maxim Tsrnoyevich and Petar Segedinats; also the comedy Gordana. Matiya Ban's Meyrimah is considered the best tragedy in the Serbo-Croatian language. The patriotic drama Balkanska Tsaritsa, by Prince Nicholas of Montenegro, has been often played and enthusiastically received by the public, but the critics deny to it much dramatic value. Milosh Tsvetich has given fine and lasting contributions to the Servian stage in his drama Stefan Nemanya and tragedy Todor of Stalach. Among the writers of comedy the first place must be assigned to Kosta Trifkovich (d. 1875); Milovan Glishich (d. 1908) was also very popular; and Branislav Nushich was the most successful of Servian dramatists early in the 20th century.
In modern scientific literature the principal Servian names are those of the electrician Nicholas Tesla, the botanist Dr Josif Panchich, and the geologists Dr Yovan Zhuyevich and Dr Yovan Tsviyich (Cvijić). In philology a very high place is occupied by Gyuro Danichich, once professor of philology at the high school in Belgrade and secretary to the South Slavonic Academy at Agram, where he was for years the principal editor of the great lexicon of the Servian or Croatian language. He had a very distinguished pupil in Stoyan Novakovich, who wrote numerous studies on philological subjects, and whose Servian grammar is still the standard book in all Servian schools. In historical literature, we find besides Yovan Raich, mentioned earlier, Panta Sretykovich, with his History of the Servian Nation; Stoyan Boshkovich (d. 1908), with his Servia under Tsar Dushan; Stoyan Novakovich, with his numerous essays on subjects from the medieval history of Servia, his History of Servian Literature, his Resurrection of the Servian National State and Rising against the Dahis (the two last-named books appeared in Bvelgrade in 1904); Lyubomir Kovachevich and Lyuba Yovanovich, who together wrote a standard work on the history of the Servian nation; Chedo Mijatovich, with his monographs on Gyuragy Brankovich and the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks.
Bibliography.—The best works on the Servian language and literature are those already mentioned as written by Servian authors: Karajich, Danichich, Stoyan Novakovich, &c. See also on the language Dr F. Miklosich's Vergleichende Lautlehre der slav. Sprachen; Section II.: Serbisch und Chorvatisch (Vienna, 1879), and his Wortbildungslehre der slav. Sprachen (Vienna, 1876); W. Vondrak Vergleichende slavische Grammatik (Göttingen, 1906 and 1908); J. Florinsky, Lektsi po slavyankomu yazykoznaniye (Kiev, 1895). Good text-books are P. Budmani, Grammatica della lingua serbo-croata (Vienna, 1867): Parchich, Grammaire de la langue serbo-croate (Paris, 1877); Fr. Vymezal, Serbische Grammatik (Brünn, 1882). For the literature see A. N. Pypin and V. D. Spassovich, History of Slavonic Literatures (in Russ., St Petersburg, 1879, in French, Paris, 1881), and Dr Mathias Murko, Die Kultur osteuropäischer Literaturen und die slavischen Sprachen (Berlin and Leipzig, 1908). (C. Mi.)
- The English—speaking races alone write this word with a vinstead of a b, Servia for Serbia; a practice resented by the Serbs, as suggesting the derivation of their name from the Latin Servus. “a slave.”
- One yutro is the area which two oxen can plough in a day.
- One member is chosen to represent every 4500 electors.
- Dushan is a term of endearrnent, derived from dusha, “the soul,” and not, as formerly believed by Western philologists, from dushiti, “to strangle.”