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Expansion of Rascia during the reign of Stefan Nemanja (1167–1196)

Raszien ( Serbian Рашка Raška , Latin Rascia ) is a geographic region between Serbia and Montenegro . In the Middle Ages, the Serbian principality of Raszien existed here , after which the region was named. The Raška region should not be confused with the Raška Okrug , but the latter is part of the region. Another part of the historical Raszien has been counted as part of the Sandžak in cultural and historical terms since the Ottoman era . The latter is also sometimes referred to as the Raška region in Serbia , although depending on the definition it goes well beyond the actual Sandžak.


Raszien was in the area between the Ibar and Lim rivers in what is now the south-west of Serbia and Kosovo . Territorially, the region was roughly identical to the later Sanjak of Novi Pazar or today's geographical Raška region . It extends from the east over an area in the area of ​​the rivers Ibar and Lim, Kosovo, Serbia and over the south-western mountain region on the border with Montenegro to Herzegovina . From the north it covers most of the areas of today's Zlatibor , Raška and Moravica districts . The southern part is now predominantly in northern Montenegro and a small part in northern Albania.


One theory has it that the name of the historical region is derived from the city of Ras , according to which Raszien is a Slavic Roman name. This can be found in the South Slavic Chronicle of the Priest of Dioclitia ( Presbyter Diocleas ), which is dated to the 12th century, but also contains many legendary features.

Another theory suggests that this was a Serbian name for a pre-migration region or tribal chief with whom they populated the new area and named it after him. The name also appears in a modified form in Eastern Germany, the Czech Republic and Poland. Examples are Rudolf Raschka , Jiří Raška , Rašov (CZ), Rašovice (CZ), Raška Gratica (BG). The origins of Raschka and Raška go back to the names Rastko, Radslav, Radoslav, Raslav and Rastislav.

There is also the theory that the name of the Raszier, as well as the name of Russians , from the self-description of Roxolani derived. This is also indicated by the etymology of some place names, such as Rakša in Slovakia or Racşa in Romania.

The name Raszien later migrated north to the Serbian populated areas in Syrmia and in the Banat and remained there until the 17th century. The earlier German and Hungarian designation for the Serbs such as Raizen , Ratzen or Rác was formed from the "raszischen" .


Raszien was initially under Byzantine rule. Not far from Arsa , Emperor Justinian I founded the fortified bishopric Iustiniana Prima , which soon became the Byzantine center in the northern Balkan Peninsula . This possibly helped that Arsa , called Ras in Serbian , developed into one of the centers of the earliest Serbian statehood and the headquarters of Serbian princes, the Župani , although old Serbia had no permanent capital until the 14th century , similar to Germany or Hungary at that time .

Slavic peoples settled in the 6th century . Later the area came under Bulgarian rule or dependence. The first ruler of a relatively independent Serbian principality is Vlastimir , who lived in the middle of the 9th century and who founded the house of Vlastimirić . He recognized the sovereignty of Byzantium. According to the Byzantine emperor and historian Constantine VII, his rulership is said to have included Bosnia and Rascia - although Rascia itself is not mentioned by name, rather Constantine VII writes of Serbia, in which Bosnia held a special position, at least geographically.

In the middle of the 11th century, Raszien came under the influence of the Dioclitic prince Stefan Vojislav . His grandson Konstantin Bodin set up the Župan Vukan for the administration of the country , which made Raszien the leading political entity again. Uroš the Elder was able to further expand the political importance of Rascia. The name Raška was then carried over to a larger area, and from the 12th century it was generally understood as the name for central Serbia. The Nemanjids , the most important Serbian dynasty of the Middle Ages , officially carried the title of kings of Rascia, of the coastal lands and of all Serbs .

Around 1167, Stefan Nemanja , the founder of the house of the Nemanjids , became a Serbian Großžupan. He united Raszien with Zeta around 1183 and expanded the territory to the east.

In 1217, Raszien became the heart of the Nemanjid kingdom. Because Hungary had been claiming the title of king of Serbia since the time of Nemanja, the Nemanjids usually dubbed themselves the kings of Raszien, the coastal countries and all Serbs . The Nemanjid state then became known in Europe as Raszien.

In 1219 the Diocese of Ras , which until then was under the Archdiocese of Ohrid, came under the Archdiocese of Peć and thus under the jurisdiction of the autocephalous Serbian Orthodox Church . In 1346 it was raised to an archbishopric.

In the middle of the 15th century, Raszien was conquered by the Ottomans . Under these conditions it became the core area of ​​the Sanjak of Novi Pazar until the First Balkan War and the repulsion of the Ottomans by Serbia .

Raška School

Between the 12th and 14th centuries, Raszien developed its own art style , the so-called Raška School . It was characterized by a mixture of Byzantine and Western style elements.

See also


Individual evidence

  1. Chronicle of the priest of Duklja (Ljetopis' Popa Dukljanina) ( Memento from June 20, 2001 in the Internet Archive )
  2. ^ Lexicon for the History of Southeast Europe, p. 554