On this day, the 28th of June (15th of June back in the day, since the Gregorian calendar was introduced some two centuries later, and Julian calendar was still in use in both Catholic and Orthodox states and Churches) in year 1389, largely outnumbered army of Serbian states, led by Prince Lazar Hrebeljanović, supported by a small force led by Duke Vlatko Vuković Kosača, sent by Bosnian King Tvrtko I, and a small force of Croatian Hospitallers, fought a battle on the Kosovo plain, against the invading army of Ottoman Turks, led by Sultan Murad I and his sons. A battle that will prove to be one of the most important pillars of Serbian people's survival, and of their national identity.
In the first phase of the battle, the Serbian army pushed back the enemy, and one of Serbian knights, Miloš Obilić, managed to slay the Ottoman Sultan. In the next phase, Murad's son, Bayezid, managed to consolidate the Turkish forces and to launch a counter-attack, during which Prince Lazar was captured. He was beheaded by Bayezid's order, and the Turkish army retreated from the battlefield and left Serbia. The casualties were great on both sides, so the clear outcome of the battle is not determined with unquestionable confidence. However, later on, the Turks launched another campaign on Serbia, and eventually, small Serbian states, whose lords were struggling for power after the death of the Serbian Emperor Dušan, were conquered in XV century.
Serbia won back its independence in XIX century, and one of the liberation's main initiating factors was the collective memory of what is now known as the Kosovo myth. The importance of this battle can be illustrated with the fact that Serbian epic (folk) poetry is divided into Pre-Kosovo Cycle, Kosovo Cycle, and Post-Kosovo Cycle.
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