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Early History

Byzantine Rule

Bulgarian Rule

Serbian Rule

Ottoman Rule

Üsküb Sançak 1453-1877

2nd Bulgarian Rule

 Jugoslav rule



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Early History




Present North Macedonia covers the main part of the territory of Roman Dardania. Its capital Scupi was destroyed by an earthquake in  518.



Scupi became the capital of Dardania, which extended from Naissus to Bylazora, in the second century BC The Dardanians had remained independent after the Roman conquest of Macedonia, because they had supported the Romans, hoping to enlarge their territory in this way. It is not clear when the Romans finally annexed Dardania and it seems most likely that the Dardani actually lost independence in 28 BC Scupi grew up as a colony of legionnaires, mainly veterans of the Legio VII Claudia in the time of Domitian (AD 81–96), even though several legions of Crassus' army of 29-28 BC, may already have been stationed there, before the official imperial command in this area was instituted. Scupi was included in Moesia Superior after the province was formed in AD 6. From 272 AD, it was a colony inside the Roman province of Dardania after Dardania was established. Scupi was ravaged several times by barbarians, in AD 269 by the Goths, in 5th century by the Huns and finally in the year 518 was completely destroyed by an earthquake. Life in Scupi stopped after the earthquake and it is assumed that the people from Scupi moved to live on Kale, a hill in the center of Skopje.[5]


Gallienus coin, celebrating LEG VII CLA VI P VI F

(Seventh legion Claudia, six times faithful, six times loyal,

and bearing the bull, symbol of the legion, on the reverse.


In the late Roman Empire, the province of Dardania, with its capital Scupi (Skoplje), belonged to the prefecture of Illyricum and the diocese of Dacia. This diocese was split again into the provinces of Moesia I, Dacia mediterranea, Dacia Ripuaria, Prævalitana and Dardania. The province of Dardania came to Byzantium after the fall of the Western Roman Empire. In the twelfth century Macedonia became part of Bulgaria. which declared its independence in 1186 and became a kingdom in 1203. However,the country disintegrated again in the course of the thirteenth century and Macedonia returned to Byzantium


Notitia Dignitatum fol 197v: Credentials of the Dux Moesia I. Forts under the command of the Dux Moesia I: Flaviana, Pinco, Tricornio, Aureomonto, Viminacio, Laederata, Cuppis, Ad Novas


When the Roman Empire was divided into eastern and western halves in 395AD, Scupi came under Byzantine rule from Constantinople and became an important trading and garrison town for the region. The Byzantine Emperor Justinian (527-565AD) was born in Tauresium (about 20 km southeast of present-day Skopje) in 483AD, and after Scupi was almost completely destroyed by an earthquake in 518 AD. Justinian built a new town at the fertile entry point of the River Lepenec into the Vardar.


Mosaic in Constantinople with the portrait of

 Justinian I

Cypher of Justinian I, Ephes

Crown of laurel crested with a square cross moline


Some historians believe this might be the city of Justiniana Prima. During much of the early medieval period, the town was contested between the Byzantines and the Bulgarian Empire. From 972 to 992 it was the capital of the First Bulgarian Empire. After that, it was a capital of Byzantine administrative region (katepanate) Bulgaria after the fall the First Bulgarian Empire in 1018. Skopje was a thriving trading settlement but fell into decline after being hit by another devastating earthquake at the end of the 11th century.


Byzantine Rule

 until 1204


Byzantine official (1164)

Sf Pantaleimon, Nerezi


The church is said to be constructed in 1164 as a foundation of Alexius Angelus Comnenus, a son of Constantine Angelos (†1156) and Theodora Komnene, a daughter of Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos

The representation of the official is supported by two peacocks, badge of rank of a prefect, the two peacocks the emblem of a prefecture. The purple himation the dress of a senator.


The peacocks, emblems of a prefecture


Bulgarian Rule



Constantine Tikh

Emperor of Bulgaria  1257-1277


Skopje was a capital of the estate of the Bulgarian feudal lord, later Emperor Konstantin Asen Tikh (r.1257-’77) in the middle of the 13th century. The Byzantine Empire took advantage of the decline in Skopje to regain influence in the area, but lost control of it once again in 1282 to King Stefan Uroš II Milutin of Serbia. Milutin's grandson, Stefan Dusan, made Skopje his capital, from which he proclaimed himself Tsar in 1346.


Constantine I was the son of a nobleman named Tih (short for Tihomir or the like) and probably a descendant of a Skopje notable named Tihomir, who lived at the beginning of the 13th century. Through his mother, Constantine was descended from Stefan Nemanja of Serbia.

In 1257, Constantine was elected by the nobles (boyars) to replace the ineffective Mitso Asen as emperor of Bulgaria. By 1261 Mitso Asen was decisively defeated, and sought asylum with Michael VIII Palaiologos, the emperor of Nicaea. To enhance his position as legitimate ruler, Constantine adopted the name Asen and married Eirene of Nicaea, a daughter of emperor Theodore II Doukas Laskaris by Elena of Bulgaria, the daughter of Ivan Asen II of Bulgaria.


On the frescoes in Boyana Church Constantine and his wife are represented in thoroughly Byzantine official dress. No badge of rank or office is seen on the dress of Empress Eirene. [14] Instead badges of rank are depicted on the carpet exposed above their heads. This shows medallions charged with lions passant and (single-headed) eagles.

Fresco of a carpet with lion and eagle medallions

in Boyana Church  (Bulgaria)


In the early 13th century, a revived Bulgarian Empire gained control of the region. Plagued by political difficulties, the empire did not last, and the region came once again under Byzantine control in the early 14th century. In the 14th century, it became part of the Serbian Empire. Skopje became the capital of Tsar Stefan Dušan's empire. Following Dušan's death, a weak successor appeared, and power struggles between nobles divided the Balkans once again. These events coincided with the entry of the Ottoman Turks into Europe.


Serbian Rule



In 1282, King Milutin of Serbia conquered Macedonia from the Byzantines. Stefan Dusan, who had become co-king of his father Stefan III Uros in 1321, probably resided in Skoplje. Stefan Dusan rebelled against his father and defeated him in 1331. From the time of Stefan Dusan, the manuscript of Angelino Dulcerta (1339), which depicts a golden flag with a red double eagle at Skoplje, dates from the time.


During the decline of Serbian power under Uros, the Vukasin and Ugljesa brothers succeeded in gaining power in Macedonia. In January 1366, Vukašin Mrnjavčević (c. 1320 – 26 September 1371)  who at that time ruled Skoplje, Prizren, Prilep and Tetovo, assumed the title of king. . [1]



Ottoman Rule



n the monastery of St. Demetrius in Markov near Skopje, the construction of which was started in 1346 by Vukašin and his son Marko Kraljevic, on the altar was a tile depicting in low relief a double eagle between two lions. A chandelier in the same church was hung on links with alternately the monogram of Vukasin and a double eagle. [2] When we combine these facts with Guilelmus Soleri's map from 1385 (possibly copied from Angelino Dulcerta), Vukasin's eagle would also have been red on a gold field.

The two headed eagle which was the badge of  a „Megalou Primikuriou” which in fact was the title of the chief of ceremonies and the commander of the central imperial Byzantine regiments This is in keeping with the practice in Byzantium where a red eagle was the symbol of the co-emperor or basileus

Markov Monastery Skopje

Two-headed eagle on a candelabrum


On 26 September 1371, Vukašin was killed and his forces defeated in the Battle of Maritsa. About two months later, Tsar Uroš died. This formally made Marko the king of the Serbian land; however, Serbian noblemen, who had become effectively independent from the central authority, did not even consider to recognise him as their supreme ruler. Sometime after 1371, he became an Ottoman vassal; by 1377, significant portions of the territory he inherited from Vukašin were seized by other noblemen. King Marko, in reality, came to be a regional lord who ruled over a relatively small territory in western Macedonia. He funded the construction of the Monastery of Saint Demetrius near Skopje (better known as Marko's Monastery), which was completed in 1376. Marko died on 17 May 1395, fighting for the Ottomans against the Wallachians in the Battle of Rovine.


Konstantin (Kostadin) Dejanović 



Konstantin (Kostadin) Dejanović  fl.1365-1395) also known as Constantine Dragaš, was a Serbian magnat that ruled a large province in eastern Macedonia under Ottoman suzerainty, after the fall of the Serbian Empire. He succeeded his older brother Jovan Dragaš, who had been an Ottoman vassal since the Battle of Maritsa (1371) which had devastated part of the Serbian nobility. The brothers had their own government and minted coins according to the Nemanjić style. His daughter Jelena married Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaiologos in 1392. He fell at  the Battle of Rovine (17 May 1395), serving the Ottomans against Wallachia, fighting alongside Serbian magnates Stefan Lazarević and Marko Mrnjavčević.



Royal portraits: f. 2v: Constantine Dejanovic (1395), the son-in-law of Tsar Ivan Alexander, dressed in a purple himation strewn with white two-headed eagles flanked by three daughters of the tsar: Kerathamar (Constantine's wife), Keratsa and Desislava from the Gospels of Ivan Alexander, Bulgaria, 1355-1356, Add MS 39627, ff. 2v-3r  [3]


In the eighties of the fourteenth century Macedonia was conquered by the Ottomans. It is possible that under Ottoman rule, the Brankovic family, who controlled Kosovo, came to occupy an important place after the battle on at Kosovo Polje in 1389. It is certain that the Branković' became vassals of the Turkish Sultan.

Skopje (Üsküb) had previously been the capital of the Serbian Empire between 1346 and 1371.

The Brankovic crest was a lion passant. It is on the seal of Vuk Brankovic (*1345-1397) of 20 January 1387. This lion also appears on later seals of the family, still as a crest. [4]


Vuk Brankovic




Seal of Vuk Brankovic 20.01.1387

Lion passsant


The District of Branković or Vuk's Land was one of the short lived semi-independent states that emerged from the collapse of the Serbian Empire in 1371, following the death of the last Emperor Uroš the Weak (1346-1371). The founder of this realm was Vuk Branković, the son of sebastokrator Branko Mladenović who governed Ohrid under Stefan Dušan the Mighty (1331-1346). Through Vuk's marriage with Mara, the daughter of Moravian Serbia's Prince Lazar, he was given substantial lands to govern in Kosovo.

The Realm of Branković was located in the largest part of today's Kosovo. Vuk also governed eastern parts of the Raška region (including the old Serbian capital Ras) and lands in Polimlje, in present-day northern Montenegro, as well a Skoplje. After the death of Đurađ I Balšić of Zeta, Vuk captured cities of Prizren and Peć and the area of Metohija. The most important cities in Vuk's Realm were Priština, Prizren, Peć, Skopje and Ras, as well as the rich mining settlements of Novo Brdo, Trepča, Janjevo, Gluhavica and others.

The semi-independent lordship ceased to exist as such with the establishment of Serbian Despotate by Stefan Lazarević. Still, the Branković yielded a very significant amount of power in the state, controlling most of Serbia's extremely rich mining sites. Đurađ Branković inherited the title of Serbian despot as Stefan died childless.


The Kingdom of Prilep was one of the short-lived states that emerged from the collapse of the Serbian Empire in the 14th century, which was seized by the Ottomans at the end of the same century. Gradually, all of the central Balkans were conquered by the Ottoman Empire and remained under its domination for five centuries as part of the province or Eyalet of Rumelia. The name Rumelia (Rumeli) means "Land of the Romans" in Turkish, referring to the lands conquered by the Ottoman Turks from the Byzantine Empire. Over the centuries Rumelia Eyalet was reduced in size through administrative reforms, until by the 19th century it consisted of a region of central Albania and western North Macedonia with its capital at Manastir or present-day Bitola. Rumelia Eyalet was abolished in 1867 and that territory of Macedonia subsequently became part of the province of Manastir Vilayet until the end of Ottoman rule in 1912. With the beginning of the Bulgarian National Revival in the 19th century, many of the reformers were from this region, including the Miladinov brothers,[ Rajko ŽinzifovJoakim KrčovskiKiril Pejčinoviḱ  and others. The bishoprics of Skopje, DebarBitolaOhridVeles, and Strumica voted to join the Bulgarian Exarchate after it was established in 1870.


Üsküb Sançak 1453-1877

Üsküb Sanjak in Rumeli ca. 1650


Üsküb (Skopje) became part of Ottoman Empire after it was captured from the District of Branković on 6 January 1392. The first Ottoman governor of Skopje was Pasha Yiğit Bey, who conquered Skopje for the Ottoman Empire. The next one was Isak-Beg who was sent to lead military actions in Serbia in spring of 1439, and was replaced by his son Isa-Beg Isaković in the position of sanjakbeg of the Sanjak of Skopje.[4]

The sanjak was initially formed as the so-called krajište (Skopsko Krajište; lit. borderland of Skopje) that was transformed into a full sanjak in the mid-16th century.



The Sançak of Üsküp had often been given to beylerbeys as arpalik. Up to the 19th century, the sanjak was part of the Eyalet of Rumelia.

Uprisings against the Ottoman government occurred in the sanjak in 1572, 1584, 1585 and 1595. During the Great Turkish War, Austrian general Silvio Piccolomini burnt down Skopje in 1689.

In 1868 the Sanjak of Skopje together with the Sanjaks of Prizren, Dibra and Niš became part of the newly established Prizren Vilayet. When Kosovo Vilayet was established in 1877, the Prizren Vilayet (without several nahiyas annexed by Serbia) and its Sanjak of Skopje became part of Kosovo Vilayet, with Skopje as its seat.

During the First Balkan War in 1912 and the beginning of 1913, the Sanjak of Skopje was occupied by the Kingdom of Serbia. On the basis of the Treaty of London signed during the London Conference in 1913, its territory became a part of Serbia.


The earliest governors, of the so-called Skopje krajište:

Pasha Yiğit Bey: (1392–1414)

Ishak Bey: (1414–1439)

Nesuh Bey: (1439–1454)

Isa-Beg Ishaković: (1454–1463)


Sançaks at the Battle of Vienna, 1683


A coat of arms for (historical) Dardania in which Üsküb Sançak was situated, was given by Ritter Vitezovic after the Battele of Vienna (1683) in the Köprülü Era (1656–1703), during which effective control of the Ottoman Empire was exercised by a sequence of Grand Viziers from the Köprülü family.


Arms of Dardania (1695-1701)


Arms: Argent, a  crowned lion rampant reversed Gules armed with a spear.

Crown: A royal crown [5]


The Trojans land, the King gave names

He was born, on the one side of Priam, Dardanus, progenitor

poprio now lies in the soil itself bereft of the old

name; Troy are only ruins

From: Vitezovic, Ritter, Paulus alias: Stemmatographia, sive armorum Illyricorum delineatio, descriptio et restitutio, 1701. Autore Equite Paulo Ritter | Vitezovic (1695/1701)


From: Jefarovic, Christofor: Izobrajenie Uruji Illyriceskich Avtorom Pavlom Ritterom v dialekt latinskom izdanoje na ckrit i po ego urajdenio na slavsno serbski jezije. 1741.



Governements flag, 1841

A six-pointed star addsd


Sançak (Flag) 1899 (of Skopje -1877)

a five pointed star added


Mustafa Pasha Kara Mehmed-zade: (July 1755–?)

Osman Pasha: (September 1844 – August 1845)

Mehmed Selim Pasha Eneste Haseki: (August 1845 – March 1848)

Hafiz Mehmed Pasha the Cherkessian: (March 1848 – May 1850)

Ismail Pasha Paisli: (May 1850 – April 1851)

Mustafa Tosun Pasha: (April 1851 – October 1853)

Ali Riza Mehmed Pasha: (November 1853 – February 1854)

Akif Pasha: (1857–?)

Mahzar Osman Pasha Arnavut: (September 1858 – August 1859)

Rustem Pasha Ebubekir: August 1859 – March 1860

Alyanak Mustafa Pasha: (March 1860—July 1863)

Mahmud Faiz Pasha: (July 1863 – January 1864)


İsmail Hakkı Paşa Şehsüvarzade Leskovikli: (November 1865 – July 1869)



Bulgarian Rule



Bulgaria (1878)


Bulgaria  after 1877 (treaty of San Stefano) Principality of autonomous Bulgaria / Eastern Rumelia (Ottoman province) / Ottoman Macedonia


At the Treaty of San Stefano of 1877, Skopje was added to Bulgaria (together with Ottoman Macedonia). As Western Rumelia, however, no separate blazon was included for the area in the royal coat of arms. For the whole of Rumelia, which at the time meant Macedonia, Thrace and South Bulgaria, the royal coat of  arms initially contained a triple cross, but later the coat of arms already given by Ulrich Richental for the area: the chief with the crowns and the pales and the two arms holding up a crown.


Serbian / Jugoslav rule



Following the two Balkan Wars of 1912 and 1913 and the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, most of its European-held territories were divided between Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia. The territory that was to become North Macedonia was annexed by Serbia conforming to the treaty of peace concluded at Bucharest. Following the partition, an anti-Bulgarian campaign was carried out in the areas under Serbian and Greek control. 


Coat of arms of Skopje, 1928


World War II in Yugoslav Macedonia started with the Axis invasion of Yugoslavia in April 1941

After Bulgaria switched sides in the war in September 1944, the Bulgarian 5th. Army stationed in Macedonia, moved back to the old borders of Bulgaria.




After WW.II, Macedonia became a separate (people's) republic as a part of Yugoslavia in 1946. For this people's republic a coat of arms of the Soviet model was in use.

The Coat of Arms of the Republic of Macedonia represents the sun of freedom rising above Macedonia, just as mentioned in the national anthem. In forefront of the shield is the Shar mountain, and the waters of Lake Ohrid. The shield is surrounded with wheat and poppy plants and on the basis with a ribon of a Macedonian national motif, often found on the Macedonian national outfits (dresses)


The Coat of Arms of the People’s Republic of Macedonia was adopted by law at the second special session of the People’s Assembly on 26 July 1946 in Skopje. (Prezidium na narodnoto sobranie na Narodna Republika Makedonija, Zakon za grbot na Narodna Republika Makedonija, br 559, Skopje 27 Juli 1946)


Article 1 of this law gives the description of these Arms:

The Coat of Arms of the Peoples Republic of Macedonia is a field surrounded by stalks of wheat interwoven with fruits of opium poppy and tobacco leaves, which at the bottom are connected with a ribbon with folk design. The ribbon bears the text „ N. R. Makedonija” (P. R. Macedonia). Between the top of the stalks of wheat there is a five- pointed star. In the center of the field a mountain is outlined, at the bottom of which a river is flowing. Behind the mountain there is a sunrise.

In “Nova Makedonija”, (The only daily newspaper of that time which was the gazette of the Peoples Front)# 482, 28 July 1946, a wider explanation is given, formulated as follows:



 “The Coat of Arms of the Peoples Republic of Macedonia is symbol of freedom and brotherhood of the Macedonian people and the riches of the Macedonian land. The stalks of wheat, opium poppies and tobacco leaves represent the riches of Macedonia and the diversity of its economy. The five-pointed star is a symbol of the people’s liberation war by which the Macedonian people won its freedom. The folklore motif on the ribbon is representing the richness and beauty of the people’s essence. In the middle, there is Pirin mountain, the largest Macedonian mountain, which was the centre of people’s liberation wars in the past, and the river that flows, is the Vardar river, the most famous river in the Republic. Pirin and Vardar at the same time represent the unity of all parts of Macedonia and the ideal of the Macedonian people for national unification. The sun represent the freedom and the creative life of Macedonia.” [6]


Republic of Macedona

Republic of North Macedonia




When Yugoslavia fell apart Macedonia declared its independence in 1992 but it retained the coat of arms adopted in 1946

The Coat of Arms of the Republic of Macedonia was adopted on 16 November 2009, by adoption of the Law of the Coat of Arms and Flag of the Republic of Macedonia (Official Gazette No. 138 of 17 November 2009).




Article 2 describes the Coat of Arms as follows:

(1) “The Coat of Arms of the Republic of Macedonia is a field surrounded with wheat sheafs that merge at the top, interwoven with poppy and tobacco leaves, connected at the bottom with a ribbon of a folk pattern”.

(2) “In the middle of the field is a mountain is outlined with a river at its foot, and sunrise behind it”.


A new, third article is added, stating:

“The design of the Coat of Arms of the Republic of Macedonia is an integral part of this Law”.[7]


Actually, this is only the removal of the red five pointed star off the Arms on the People’s Republic of Macedonia from 1946.


The name Macedonia was mainly objected by Greece because the historical kingdom of that name (650 BC - 168 AD) would have been Greek and claims to the Greek part of Macedonia were feared. The names proposed were "Republic of Skopje" or "Republic of Macedonia-Skopje". On 4 November 2004, the press reported that the US had decided to name FYROM Macedonia from now on. and the republic is now known internationally as FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) pending final settlement of the state name

In state symbolism, the republic indeed harks back to the historical kingdom. The flag, known since 1992, features the so-called "Star of Vergina", which appears in the burial place of Alexander the Great's father, Philip II (359-336). This star (sun) can be considered to be the state symbol of the Empire of Alexander the Great that included Persia in addition to Macedonia.



The flag is dark red, the star has sixteen points and is yellow / gold, the medallion in the center white with gold edges and with a blue six-leaf rosette.

The coat of arms of the republic is the coat of arms with the golden crowned lion on a red field and covered with a crown.



As for the symbol on the flag, the republic had to back down due to international pressure. The flag is now a yellow shining sun on a red field.


On the governments session of 5 December 2014 a new poposal for a coat of arms of the Republic of Macedonia was put forward based on Macedonia’s heraldic heritage.

This showed the 18th century lion gules from Ritter Vitezovic, however with a mural crown instead of a roya crown.




On 15 (or 13) June 2018 an agreement was reached on the renaming of the area in North Macedonia



Presidential arms


Intelligence Service



The coat of arms/emblem of the Intelligence Agency of the Republic of North Macedonia is converse colored eight-ray divergent sun applied on round dividend into eight golden and eight dark red rays that end up in the converse colored shield rim. Under the shield, there is a garland of two Macedonian oak arms with acorns interlaced with dark red ribbons merging into a golden key. The text "АГЕНЦИЈА ЗА РАЗУЗНАВАЊЕ" is placed above the shield I an arc form.






People’s Republic from 1991





The Macedonia’s security sector has its foundations from the previous system in ex-Yugoslavia, though many reforms took part since it became an independent state in 1991. With the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 90s, when the Yugoslav People’s Army left the country, the Macedonian police took over many of the tasks that are usually seen as applicable to the Armed Forces since it lacked Armed forces on its own. This contributed to the general opinion of that the Macedonian police often times has been perceived as one of the protectors of Macedonia’s independence in the early 90s considering it that part of its tasks included among others keeping the territorial integrity of the country.

There are three main points in time considering this context of Macedonia’s security sector reform:


  • 1991-2001 (independence to 2001 ethnic conflict),
  • 2001-2008 (post-conflict pre-NATO),
  • 2008-current (post- NATO veto).
  • 2018 present Renaming into North Macedonian Police


Armed Forces


Six Byzantine Warriors 1164


The church is said to be constructed in 1164 as a foundation of Alexius Angelus Comnenus, a son of Constantine Angelos (†1156) and Theodora Komnene, a daughter of Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos. On an architrave of the church is the inscription: “The church of the holy and renowned great-marty Panteleimon was beautifully made with the aid of Lord Alexios Komnenos, son of the purple born Theodora in the month of September, indiction 13, 1164. Ionnikos the monk being hegoumenos.”

The three warriors may be a representation of the military governor (strategos) of the theme Bulgaria together with his commanders (turmachai) of its brigades (turmai). The one in the middle, dressed in purple and a cuirass and armed with sword and shield, being the strategos[8]


The three warriors of the other fresco may be their predecessors or succesors.


Sf Pantaleimon, Nerezi

Byzantine frescoes (1164)

St George Staro Nagoricane (1316)


This St. George may have been the patron saint of Skopje, On the other side of the entrance is a Virgin Mary.


Reconstruction of the shield of St, George


Army of the Republic of (North-) Macedonia






Military Police

The tradition started on the 29th of October 1878 when the Macedonian uprising in Kresna demanded forming of military police units in the liberated territory of Macedonia, consequently, these were the first Military Police forces. Therefore, the historical date of the 29th of October is pronounced as the Day of the Unit for the Military Police Battalion


Air Force





Coat of arms







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 © Hubert de Vries 2021-01-06




[1] Solovjev, A.P. op cit 1935. p. 140. Vukasin believed in January 1366 that "God had given him dominion over Serbia, over all the Greeks, of the Pomorze and the Dysis (western areas). The document is signed "The very pious Vukasin, king of the Serbs, Greeks and the Western Areas. This area would then include the Dalmatian Coast, Albania, Macedonia and Thrace.

[2] Solovjev A.V.: Les emblemes heraldiques de Byzance et les Slaves. In: Sbornik Statej po Archeologii i Vizantinovedeniju. (Recueil d' etudes seminarium Kondakovianum Archeologie et histoire d'art. Etudes Byzantines). Praha, 1935, pp. 119-164. pp 140-141.

[3] The Gospels of Tsar Ivan Alexander, with added Menologion: The four Gospels, in Slavonic, with marked chapters and Ammonian sections. The chapters are not distinguished in the text, but their titles have been written in gold in the margins. Liturgical directions are inserted in red. A menology, a guide to the time and manner of the study of the Scriptures, and a synaxaria have been added at the end (fifteenth century). Copied from a Greek original by the monk Simeon for the Bulgarian Tsar, Ivan Alexander (see the colophon on ff. 274-275). Contents: f. 1r: Table of miniatures by H. Omont. ff. 2v-3r: Royal portrait. ff. 3v-86v: Gospel of St Matthew, with initial table of contents (ff. 3v-4r). ff. 87r-134v: Gospel of St Mark, with initial table of contents (f. 87r). ff. 135r-212r: Gospel of St Luke, with initial table of contents (ff. 135r-136r). ff. 212v-272v: Gospel of St John, with initial table of contents (f. 212v). f. 273v: Magic square encoding the name of Tsar Ivan Alexander. ff. 274r-275r: Colophon of the scribe Simeon. Decoration: The manuscript is lavishly illustrated by several anonymous artists in the tradition of the Turnovo school, with 367 miniatures depicting 630 different scenes. Each of the Gospels includes a half-page headpiece at the opening of the Gospel text, featuring a roundel portrait of the Evangelist on a decorative floriated field. At the end of each Gospel is an image of the Evangelist presenting his text to Tsar Ivan Alexander (ff. 86v, 134v, 212v, and 272v). Miniatures within the Gospels depict scenes from the text: Matthew (104 miniatures, ff. 6r-86r), Mark (65 miniatures, ff. 88r-134v), Luke (100 miniatures, ff. 137r-212r), and John (90 miniatures, ff. 213r-272v). Highlights of the illustration include: f. 2v-3r: Royal portrait. On f. 2v is Constantine, the son-in-law of Ivan Alexander, flanked by three daughters of the tsar: Kerathamar (Constantine's wife), Keratsa and Desislava. On f. 3r, Ivan Alexander is represented full length in imperial garb, accompanied by his wife Theodora, his son Ivan Shishnan in imperial garb (he is mentioned as Tsar along with his father in the colophon), and another son Ivan Asen. Above, two hands emerge from a cloud, making gestures of blessing over the Tsar and his wife. f. 6r: Headpiece of the Gospel of Matthew. Roundel portrait of the Evangelist in the center of a floriated background. Five smaller roundels are arranged around him, depicting ‘the ancient of days’ (above), two six-winged cherubim, Abraham (lower left), and Isaac (lower right). f. 10r: The Nativity. The Magi are depicted twice: once in adoration, and a second time at their departure. f. 88r: Headpiece of the Gospel of Mark. Roundel portrait of the Evangelist in the center of a floriated background. Three smaller roundels above depict Christ (in the center, shown as a youth), John the Baptist (left) and Isaiah (right). f. 124r: Miniature of the Last Judgement. Includes a depiction of Tsar Ivan Alexander in conversation with Mary. f. 137r: Headpiece of the Gospel of Luke. Roundel portrait of the Evangelist in the center of a floriated background. Two smaller roundels depict Christ (above, bearded) and Zacharaiah (below). f. 213r: Headpiece of the Gospel of John. Roundel portrait of the Evangelist in the center of a floriated background. Three smaller roundels below each depict a member of the Trinity. f. 273v: The 'magic square' diagram.

[4] Ivic, Aleksa: Stari Srpski Petcati i Grbovi, prilog srpskoj sfragistici i heraldici. Knige Matice Srpske, Novi Sad, 1910 1910. no 27.

[5] From: Vitezovic, Ritter, Paulus alias: Stemmatographia, sive armorum Illyricorum delineatio, descriptio et restitutio, 1701. Autore Equite Paulo Ritter | Vitezovic

[6] https://heraldika.org.mk/en/arms-of-the-republic-of-macedonia/

[7]  https://heraldika.org.mk/en/arms-of-the-republic-of-macedonia/  

[8] For an other opinion see: Cernevodeanu, Dan: Contributions à l’étude des origines lointaines de l ‘héraldique (Moyen Orient) et son développement du XIIe au XVe siècles à Byzance et dans le sud-est européen. In: Genealogica & Heraldica. Copenhagen, 1980. pp. 339-358.

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