These words were inscribed on the marble pillar in Kosovo

Despot Stefan Lazarević


  • Thou who set foot on Serbian land,
    whether thou be foreign or native,
    whoever or whatever thou may be,
    when thou come to this field,
    which is called Kosovo[1],
    thou shalt likely see many bones of the dead,
    and with them a stony landscape,
    me thou shalt see as a cross and as a banner,
    standing upright in the midst of the field.

    Do not pass and overlook,
    as something futile and vile,
    but please come closer and come to me,
    oh beloved one,
    and hear the words that I convey to thee,
    and from them thou shalt understand for what reason
    and how and why I stand here,
    for I tell thee the truth,
    none less than the living one,
    that I shall tell unto thee all that happened in actuality.

    There was once here a great autocrat,
    an earthly wonder and Serbian lord,
    called Lazar, the great prince,
    an unbending pillar of piousness,
    the ocean reason and the depth of wisdom,
    a fiery mind and protector of strangers,
    provider for the hungry and caresser of the meek,
    caresser of the custodians and comforter,
    who loves all who desire Christ,
    whom he goes to of his own free will,
    with all of his kind, the countless multitude,
    as much as is under his hand.

    [1] Field of Blackbirds

  • Husbands good, husbands bold,
    husbands truly in words and deeds,
    who glow like shining stars,
    as the land with colourful flowers,
    dressed in gold and adorned in precious stones,
    many horses chosen and saddled in gold,
    all-wonderful and beautiful their horsemen.

    All-noble and glorious
    like a good shepherd and guardian,
    he wisely fetches the spiritual lambs
    that they may come to be well in Christ
    and receive the wreath of anguish
    and partake in higher glory.

    And such a united countless multitude
    together with a gracious and great lord,
    a good soul and most firm faith,
    like on a stunning hall and foods of many smells
    they rushed the enemy
    and they crushed the true serpent
    and they put to death the wild beast and great opponent
    and the ruse of unsatiable hell
    the great Murad and his son,
    the offspring of the asp and the adder,
    the pup of the lion and the basilisk,
    and along with them quite a many others.

    Oh, the miracles of God’s fates,
    the courageous martyr was caught
    by the lawless hands of the infidel
    and he took well the end of the suffering
    and Christ’s martyr became
    the great Prince Lazar.

  • But he was cut down by none other, oh beloved one,
    than the hand of that murderer, the son of Murad.
    and all that was said here ended
    in the year 6897, indiction 12, month 15, on a Tuesday,
    and the hour was the sixth or the seventh,
    I do not know, the Lord knows.

    Testimony of the inscription on the marble pillar, the Patriarchy Library in Belgrade

    A large stone pillar was erected in Kosovo, near the Church of the Holy Virgin, the so-called Samodreža, likely in the spring or summer of 1404 CE, with words commemorating the Battle of Kosovo etched into it. There is testimony from c. 1496 of the existence of this pillar, left by Konstantin Mihailović from Ostrovica, near Novo Brdo.

    Translated Into English By Vuk Tošić