Marko Miljanov

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Marko Miljanov
Marko Miljanov.jpg
Born (1833-04-25)25 April 1833
Medun, Ottoman Empire (present-day Montenegro)
Died 2 February 1901(1901-02-02) (aged 67)
Herceg Novi, Principality of Montenegro (present-day Montenegro)
Cause of death Natural
Nationality Montenegrin
Education None
Occupation Clan chief, statesman, writer
Known for Literary works on Montenegrin society.
Title Chief of the Kuči clan
Chief of the Bratonožići clan
Denomination Serbian Orthodox Christian

Marko Miljanov Popović (Serbian Cyrillic: Марко Миљанов Поповић, pronounced [mâːrkɔ mǐʎanɔʋ pɔ̌pɔʋit͡ɕ]; 25 April 1833 – 2 February 1901) was a Montenegrin Serb general, clan chief and writer. He entered the service of Danilo I, the first secular Prince of Montenegro in the modern era, and led his armed Kuči clan against the Ottoman Empire in the wars of 1861-1862 and 1876-1878, distinguishing himself as an able military leader. He had unified his clan with Montenegro in 1874. There was later a rift between Miljanov and Prince Nikola I. He was also an accomplished writer who gained repute for his descriptions of Montenegrin society.


Marko was born on April 25 (St. Mark's Day), 1833, and was given the name "Marko" by his father Miljan Jankov Popović. His mother was Borika, born in Oraovo.[1] He was baptized by priest Spasoje Jokov Popović.[2]

The village of Medun was located in the Kuči tribe (in present-day Podgorica municipality, Montenegro), which at the time was independent from the Ottoman Empire as well as the direct rule of Petar II Petrović-Njegoš. Like his fellow highlanders, he took part in hajdučija (guerilla fighting) against the Ottoman Empire in the region.

In 1856, he came to the Montenegrin capital Cetinje and entered the service of Prince Danilo in his guards unit called perjanici. For his bravery and successes in raids on Ottoman territory and as a man of confidence, he was awarded in 1862 the position of judge and head of Bratonožići clan. For his work on unification of Kuči with Montenegro in 1874, he had a price set on his head by the Turks. The same year saw his appointment to the Montenegrin Senate (from 1879 transformed into a State Council). In the 1876-78 war against the Turks, he victoriously commanded Montenegrin forces in the Battle of Fundina. In 1879 the Montenegrin forces he commanded were defeated by the Ottoman irregulars in the Battle of Novšiće. After a fierce disagreement with Prince Nikola in 1882, he had to leave the State Council and decided to retire from public life to his native Medun.

Although he was 50 years old, Marko Miljanov, who was illiterate like the most of his countrymen, decided to learn to write. Though much younger than Petar II Petrović Njegoš, Marko Miljanov was closer to the people by virtue of his lack of learning, and thus he expressed more directly and in less altered form what he found among the people. He states explicitly that man is governed by higher powers of good and evil: This is not permitted by nature, this is not permitted by the blood which contains some divine force which rules over man's good will and bad. Putting quotations aside, Miljanov is lost in admiration for the good, for humanity and reason as the higher imperatives over man.

He explained his urge in a foreword to the lost manuscript of his epic songs with the words: Dear Serb brother, if you had the chance to see the heroes that I have seen, your heart would give you no peace until you have responded to the heroes who die merrily for their own and rights of all of us.

He died at Herceg Novi in 1901.


Statue in Podgorica.

Marko Miljanov died before any of his works were published. All works were originally published in Serbia, as Marko was a well known dissident to King Nicholas.

  • The Examples of Humanity and Bravery (Serbian: Примјери чојства и јунаштва, Belgrade 1901), his most important work, is a collection of true anecdotes depicting practical examples of achieved ethical ideal Montenegrins of his time strived for. It is a lasting monument to the otherwise unsung heroes of the Montenegrin struggle for independence in the 19th century. The anecdotes describe common and humble people, their language and customs and their deeds that made other Montenegrins and Albanians admire them. Marko's language and phrase is plain and coarse, however, his message is resounding.
  • The Kuči Clan in Folk Stories and Poems (Serbian: Племе Кучи у народној причи и пјесми, Belgrade 1904), his second published book, is a collection of historical, folkloric and ethnographical data.
  • Life and the Customs of Albanians (Serbian: Живот и обичаји Арбанаса, Belgrade 1908), is a work on the immediate neighbouring Albanian Catholic tribes which describes their culture and daily life.
  • Serbian Haiduks (Serbian: Српски хајдуци), epic
  • Something about the Bratonožići (Serbian: Нешто о Братоножићима), epic


Miljanov considered himself a Serb. Near the end of his life, Miljanov wrote a letter to one of the Kuči clan leaders. In the letter he writes:

I am dying happy, and although I didn't live long enough to read my books, I'll be listening from the grave as grandsons of my friends read them. As a Kuč, I am dying mostly happy, but as a Serb, I'm dying unhappy and dissatisfied.

— Mirović, Dejan (15 May 2013). "Marko Miljanov – srpski heroj i pisac". Nova srpska politička misao. Retrieved 26 May 2016. 


  1. ^ Trifun Đukić (1957). Marko Miljanov. Nolit. p. 10. ... беше син Миљана Јанкова Поповића и жене му Борике, која је била родом са Ораова. Рођен на Марков-дан 1833 године, Миљанов син доби име Марко. Његови родитељи живели су као остали сељаци, обрађујући нешто мало ... 
  2. ^ Марко Миљанов (1904). Племе Кучи у народној причи и пјесми. p. vii. 


  • J. Jovanović, Marko Miljanov, Cetinje 1952.

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