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Heavenly Serbia

From Myth to Genocide

Branimir Anzulovic

Publication Year: 1999

As violence and turmoil continue to define the former Yugoslavia, basic questions remain unanswered: What are the forces behind the Serbian expansionist drive that has brought death and destruction to Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo? How did the Serbs rationalize, and rally support for, this genocidal activity?

Heavenly Serbia traces Serbia's nationalist and expansionist impulses to the legendary battle of Kosovo in 1389. Anzulovic shows how the myth of "Heavenly Serbia" developed to help the Serbs endure foreign domination, explaining their military defeat and the loss of their medieval state by emphasizing their own moral superiority over military victory. Heavenly Serbia shows how this myth resulted in an aggressive nationalist ideology which has triumphed in the late twentieth century and marginalized those Serbs who strive for the establishment of a civil society.

"Modern Serbian nationalism...and its contradictory connections...have been sources of considerable scholarly interest...Branimir Anzulovic's compendium is a good example of the genre, made all the more useful by Anzulovic's excellent command of the literature."
—Ivo Banac, History of Religions

Author interview with CNN: http://www.cnn.com/chat/transcripts/branimir_chat.html

Published by: NYU Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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p. xi-xi

I wish to recognize the benefit I derived from discussions with Alan F. D. Potter, as well as with E. Wayles Browne, Philip J. Cohen, Daniele Conversi, Roy Gutman, Nenad Moacanin, Ivo Rendic-Miocevic, Katherine J. Rosich, James J. Sadkovich, Ivan Slamnig, and Aleksandar...

A Note on Pronunciation,Transliteration, and Translation

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pp. xiii-xiv

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pp. 1-10

An event from medieval Serbian history permeates present- day Serbian culture and politics. The 1389 battle with the Ottoman Turks on the Field of Kosovo still exerts a powerful influence on the Serbs, who see it as the pivotal moment...

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1. Heavenly Serbia

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pp. 25-32

Folk singers played a very important role in the illiterate and eliteless Serbian society following the Turkish conquest. Accompanying their chanting with a one-stringed fiddle called the gusle, they were not merely entertainers but bards...

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2. The Encounter with the Turks

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pp. 33-44

The union of Serbian church and nation, a Byzantine heritage, became even tighter after the Ottoman Turkish conquest, when Serbia ceased to exist as a territorial and political entity. Since the nation was no longer associated with a state...

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3. Dinaric Highlanders and Their Songs

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pp. 45-68

The idolatry of state and nation, nourished by their fusion with a national church, is an important source of violence in the Balkans, but not the only one. Ahigh level of endemic violence can be found among the inhabitants...

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4. The Dilemmas of Modern Serbian National Identity

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pp. 69-98

The cultural history of Serbia, like that of Russia and other Eastern European Orthodoxcountries, followed a development different from that of Catholic and Protestant Europe. In Orthodoxcountries, the equivalent of the Middle...

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5. A Vicious Circle of Lies and Fears

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pp. 99-146

Yugoslavia would have been less susceptible to violent disintegration if, at the end of World War II, there had been a reconciliation between the nations and factions that had fought one another. All of them, and especially the two most guilty ones...

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6. The Outsiders' Myth-Calculations

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pp. 147-174

Serbian myths were first received and amplified in the West,as outlined above,during the Romanticist period. The second wave of Western glorification of Serbia started during the First World War,when that country,having precipitated the war...

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pp. 175-182

The campaign for a Greater Serbia, which intensified around 1980 and led to the war ten years later, should not make us forget that many Serbs want to live in peace with their neighbors and build an orderlyand tolerant society...


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pp. 183-216

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 217-226


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pp. 227-233

E-ISBN-13: 9780814707838
E-ISBN-10: 0814707831
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814706718
Print-ISBN-10: 0814706711

Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 1999