The Legend of Kosovo
Oral Tradition, 6/2 3 (1991):253-265
The two greatest legends of the Serbs are those about Kosovo and Marko Kraljević. Many different views have been advanced about the creation of the legend of Prince Lazar and Kosovo (Ređep 1976:161). The most noteworthy, however, are those of Dragutin Kostić (1936) and Nikola Banašević (1935). According to Banašević, the legends of Marko Kraljević and Kosovo sprang up under the influence of French chansons de geste. Kostić, however, takes a different stance. Rejecting Banašević’s interpretation along with the opinion that the legend of Kosovo arose and took poetic form in the western regions of Yugoslavia, which in the second half of the fifteenth century had strong ties with western Europe and in which the struggle against the Turks was most
intense, Kostić points out that Banašević does not distinguish between the legend and its poetic expression in the Kosovo poems. He states that “French chivalric epics did not affect the formation and even less the creation of the first poem about Kosovo, not to mention the legend of Kosovo, but only modified the already created and formed legend and its first poetic manifestations” (1936:200; emphasis in original). It seems reasonable to accept Kostić’s opinion that the legend originated in the region in which the battle of Kosovo took place.