Rhythm of Serbia » RitamSrbije | 95 O knjizi Od kako je objavljena početkom septembra prethodne godine, knjiga Mitovi srpske istorije istoričara Dejana Ristića, u izdanju Vukotić medija, ne prestaje da privlači veliku pažnju javnosti u Srbiji, regionu i dijaspori. Posebnu pažnju, osim samoga teksta, privukle su i originalne ilustracije koje je za potrebe ove knjige izradio jedan od najistaknutijih mladih srpskih i evropskih grafičara dr Nikola Radosavljević. ABOUT THE BOOK Since the publishing of historian Dejan Ristić’s book at the beginning of September last year, under the title Myths of Serbian History and published by Vukotić Media, the work has continued to attract great public attention in Serbia, around the region and among the diaspora community. Apart from the text itself, special attention has been given to the original illustrations, which were created for the needs of this book by Nikola Radosavljević, one of the most prominent young Serbian and European graphic artists. Mitski događaji i ličnosti predstavljali su za naše slavne pretke primere koje je trebalo slediti / Mythical events and personalities were examples for our glorious ancestors to follow Myths arise, on the one hand, froma lack of knowledge and the skills required to arrive at a truthful and enduring answer to the important questions that life throws at us. Simultaneously, and not uncommonly, myths arise as a consequence of the need to identify, define, describe, interpret, empower, encourage, support, celebrate, mourn, yearn, preserve from oblivion an event or person that enduringly captures the attention of members of a nation or religious, social or other communities. It’s tough to single out just two myths that we in Serbia believe in themost, but let’s make them these next two. One is the very famous myth that refers to the meeting between Frederick Barbarossa, the German king and Holy Roman Emperor, and great Serbian leader Stefan Nemanja (1166-1196), which took place in the city of Niš on 27th July 1189. We can hear in public very often that during the luncheon organised in Niš the German ruler ate with his hands, while the great Serbian prefect and his nobles did so using forks made of nothing less than pure gold. It is indicative that the only historical sources testifying to this meeting are of German and Byzantine provenance, but not Serbian. It is also peculiar that not a single mention of this important event was made by Nemanja’s biographers and his sons Saint Sava I of Serbia and King Stefan the First-Crowned. Sources of German provenance are significantly richer and encompass more writings. However, even these written sources don’t make mention of any cutlery that was allegedly used by Stefan Nemanja. What historical records can say refers to the fact that this myth originated at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, on the wave of a then ubiquitous romanticised view of Serbia’s glorious past. We are also very proud of the alleged fact that Helen [Jelena], the wife of King Stefan Uroš I, aka Uroš the Great (1243-1276), was amember of France’s royal Anjou family. We are particularly fond of the presumed romantic gesture of our ruler, who, in honour of the arrival of his bride, ordered lilacs to be planted along the banks of the River Ibar through the valley which the road to be used by Jelena ran. However, if we search historical sources for the origins of Queen consort Helenwewould be surprised to find that her roots had nothing whatsoever to do with the Anjou family. Namely, Helen’s actual father was one John Angelos (who held the title of Duke of Syrmia [Srem] and Count of Kovin), and her mother was Mathilde de Vianden. John Angelos was the son of Byzantine emperor Isaac II Angelos andMargaret of Hungary, the daughter of Hungarian King Bela III. His wife Mathilde de Vianden was the daughter of Marguerite de Courtenay and Henry I, Count of Vianden. us, iit is completely factually incorrect to include “Anjou” in Queen Jelena’s title. e Anjou origins of Queen Jelena were only created at the end of the 19th century, while the “Valley of Lilacs” was imagined into existence in the most beautiful way possible in 1991 and published in the eponymous collection of fairy tales that same year by prominent Serbian writer Tiodor Rosić. To conclude, I would like to state that it’s also important to note that science does not oppose myths, but rather studies them. Why is it necessary to know that? Because it is extremely important to distinguish between historical Mitovi srpske istorije (Vukotić medija) Mitovi srpske istorije Myths of Serbian History (Vukotić Media) andmythical reality, not to confuse themand to be very familiar with them. Both are equally precious and should be jealously guarded, but it is clear to distinguish that which really happened in the past, and that which is something completely different representing the fruit of the imagination of the creators of myths and legends who mostly remain unknown to us today.