Serbian History Through Coinage

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King Vukasin Mrnjavcevic (1366-1371)

COIN IMAGE

Dinar Obv.: 5-line Cyrillic legend: V HA BA BLAGOVERNII KRA VLKAS ("In Christ our God pious King Vukasin"); Rev.: Christ enthroned

HISTORICAL NOTES: Father of epic folk hero Kraljevic Marko, King Vukasin, just like his son, remains historically rather obscure. Although his murderous plotting against the Emperor Uros is probably an invention of 17th c. chroniclers, he contributed to the state's disintegration, and epic tradition didn't treat him kindly. To his credit, together with his brother Despot Ugljesa he managed to organize a respectable expedition to sack Adrianople and expell Turks from the Balkans once and for all; but their military prowess proved no match for that of their foes, and their death and debacle in the infamous Battle of Marica (southern Thrace) in 1371 opened the door for broader Ottoman conquests in Europe.

NUMISMATIC NOTES: The fact that a junior ruler (king) minted his own money alongside a living emperor attests to the weakening of central rule (although the Byzantine state had survived many such situations). This ushered the proliferation of independent coinages of many petty rulers - a practice to last over three decades, until Serbia got reconstituted as a united Despotate in the early 15th c. under Stefan Lazarevic.

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