Little has been written about this period of Serbian history, perhaps because the splendor of Dušan's empire overshadowed those years that people mostly associate with the disintegration of the Serbian state after the Battle of Kosovo. But the Serbian despotism survived 70 years after the battle, as a more or less independent state. Serbian-Ottoman relations at that time were very strange: they are still relations between two independent states, later it will become relations between one people who conquered another people and will get different dimensions, but still in the late Middle Ages all established elements of our later relationships; everything that will happen to us later, began here.
We have the wrong perception that women left a deeper and more significant mark in the 19th and 20th centuries, but if we look at the Middle Ages, in accordance with the general elements of the time, women were extremely important in our country. They were not in a coma, they had access to a court and they did not have to be represented by a man, which did not exist in some western countries either. There were many powerful women of that time in Serbia who were rulers, such as DuchessMilica, who after Lazar's death led politics and diplomacy on her own.
Almost a year has passed since the Battle of Kosovo.
The Serbian state, and literally beheaded by the death of Prince Lazar on the battlefield, is led by his widow, Princess Milica. Lazarus, moving into battle, gave her the authority to rule the country until she returned. Duke Stefan is still a minor, relations with Vuk Brankovic after the Kosovo battle are on the brink of conflict, and the Hungarians are invading from the north. The Turks, again, are waiting for Serbia to kneel down and accept a vassal position.
One day, Milica called the nobleman, state officials, the patriarch, the high clergy. They decide to make peace with the Turks. There are three conditions before Serbia - to pay the agreed tax annually, to send the army as an aid in the Turkish military campaigns and to - marry Oliver to Bayezid.
The third condition is the most difficult for everyone. Olivera is to marry her father's killer.
Milica cut in. He decides to sacrifice his youngest, 16-year-old daughter, believing that her political marriage with the ruler of Turkey will ensure the survival of the Serbian state and people. At least for a while.
Olivera was taken to Bayazit's temple by brothers Stefan and Vuk. It is also their first vassal journey to pay homage to the supreme lord. At that time, the harem was located in Edirne, in the European part of today's Turkey, on the river Marica, about 250 kilometers east of Krusevac.
The legend says: The people, saying goodbye to Olivera, with sadness and admiration at the same time, sprinkled her way with rose petals. Celebrating and mourning her at the same time.
And, when the heart of the people was torn, how was it for mother Milica ?! According to one legend, she personally tied her child's ovaries so that she would not give birth to Bajazita's children.
Some medical procedure has certainly been performed. It is not known for sure whether it was on Milica's initiative, or maybe it was done by the Turks because Olivera did not want to change her religion. She did not want to renounce Orthodoxy and convert to Islam. The fact that Olivera did not have children supports that thesis.
How, then, the young Serbian woman had such a great influence on Bayazit, who immediately married her, as soon as she was with her brothers over the walls of the sailing steps.
The arrogant heir to the Turkish throne, who already has three wives and six children, falls in love with Oliver. Crazy, deadly, at first glance. He holds her like a little water in the palm of his hand and allows her to remain her own in faith. She will be married for twelve years, and she will not convert to Islam. He will remain faithful to Orthodoxy and will have a personal priest at the court in Jedren. Of course, Bayazit also blessed her to remain Orthodox, but don't forget, at that time, while she was not yet at the peak of her power, Turkey was relatively liberal on the issue of religious freedoms.
However, being the wife of the Turkish sultan, one of the most powerful people in the world at the time and being also a Christian, is a fact that indicates that Olivera really had a special place in the heart and life of a powerful Turk who was estimated to be about 15 years older than her. The secret, they say, lay in her moderation and modesty. She took care of her every move and did not interfere in court intrigues.
Not only for herself, but also for her husband, so as not to harm him, because she has already been accused of being guilty of Bayazit, in spite of all religious rules and customs, starting to drink wine with his wife. At the same time, with her diplomatic wisdom, she influenced important decisions of her husband, which also concerned Serbia. Olivera helped the homeland with her "female diplomacy" as much as she could, and she saved her brother Stefan's head when he turned against the Tutrak and wanted to make an alliance with the Hungarians.
Just when Stefan, with the urgency of Bajazit, took over Kosovo from Brankovic and when Serbia became a stable vassal state, the young prince made a mistake that could have cost him his life.
Stefan begins negotiations with Hungary to unite and get rid of Serbia's Turkish vassalship. At that time, the Turks suffered a defeat in Bosnia and Herzegovina and blamed the Serbian duke for that.
Milica and Jefimija go to Jedrene to investigate the situation. The main reason for the trip is to beg Bajazit to allow them to transfer the relics of St. Petka to Serbia, which, with Olivera's help, they succeed. By the way, they "feel" the atmosphere a bit to see how angry the powerful son-in-law is with Stefan. Olivera tells them that the Serbian nobles beat Stefan Bajazita and that he is furious. He tells his mother to tell his brother to come to Jedrene and to - admit everything! To say that he was wrong and to ask Bayazit for forgiveness and to say that he will not sin again.
Olivera, knowing how the others who "screamed" passed, gave her brother advice that would save his life. Bajazit, satisfied that the young Serbian nobleman came to his feet in repentance, forgives him everything. Moreover, he fatherly embraces him and gives important advice for governing Serbia. Stefan doesn't forget his sister's husband's generosity either. He will become, it will be shown, his most faithful and best warrior. And when it's hardest. The idyll in Bajazit's and Oliver's lives lasted until 1402, when the Mongols began to threaten Turkey in Asia Minor. Bayezid sends an army to intervene, but is defeated. The battle of Angora will soon begin, which will be fateful for both.
In a relentless hand-to-hand fight, the Turks begin to lose, Bayezid is surrounded, but a knight in silver armor with a golden cross on a black uniform appears on the battlefield. He and his men instill fear in the bones of the Mongols and, like kamikazes, rush into the depths of the battlefield to pull out Bayezid.
Tamerlane, the Mongol khan, is in awe. Fascinated, he thinks that they may be members of a Turkish dervish order. Because, who would fight so fanatically for Bayazit ?!
He would later find out that it was a Serbian knight, the brother of the beautiful sultan he had captured. Stefan fails to pull out Bayezid and Tamerlane enslaves him. Coincidentally, he captures Oliver as well.
Bajzit dies in captivity, but Tamerlane is allowed to be buried in a mosque in Bursa according to Muslim customs. He releases Oliver and the Serb detainees, in recognition of Stefan's chivalry in battle.
Olivera returns to Serbia, for a while she lives with her brother in Belgrade, but not at the court, but in the house near the court in Kalemengdan. She was Stefan's most valuable advisor because she knew the circumstances and nature of the chieftain at the Turkish court. After Stefan's death in 1427, of her brothers and sisters, only her sister Jela Balšić Kosača remained, with whom she spent some time in Dubrovnik.
After Bayezid, she did not marry. She died in 1444. It is believed that she was between 65 and 71 years old and did not experience the final fall of Serbia under Turkish rule in 1459. Her grave is unknown. Bones believed to be Oliver's were found in a church on the island of Beska on Skadar Lake, built by her sister Jela, who was later buried there. Awaiting the result of DNA analysis.
The Serbian Orthodox Church has not forgotten Olivera's sacrifice. Her figure is painted in the holiest place of the the Saborna church in Belgrade - in the altar. With a halo and the inscription Holy Martyr Empress Olivera.
The church thus identified Lazar's sacrifice, who gave his head for the fatherland and the sacrifice of his daughter Olivera, who gave her life for Serbia. Her figure is also on the stained glass window of the St. George's Church in Novi Sad, where she is shown with a turban on her head and a cross in her hand.
Although the church has not forgotten it, ordinary people have. Much is known about the glorious Sultanate of Hurem. Today, grandiose monuments have been erected to her in Ukraine, postage stamps with her image are printed a little by Russians, a little by Ukrainians (they are still arguing whose it is), while Olivera has no monument, not even a bust in Belgrade where she lived when Belgrade became the capital.
Teske odluke, teska istorija, ali sta da radimo, zivot ide dalje, uvek se nekako setim kad se pokrenu ove teme i pesme Janicar od Cuneta Gojkovica, preporucujem svima da odslusate, ako vec niste