precisely formulated, the close involvement of Stefan Nemanja and his descendants with the Holy Mountain was of inestimable value in establishing the dynasty. Sava embedded their piety in his Life of his father, in his translation of the Nomokanon, and in the monastic rulebook (Typikon), which he composed for Chilandar.28 His work went far towards turning these Serb chieftains not merely into a dynasty, but into a holy family, incomparable in sacred order and law. Through harping on parallels with scriptural figures, literary apologists for the dynasty sought to bring definition and a sense of common purpose to disparate subject-populations, by presenting them as a New Israel with a mission from God. This, in turn, reinforced the dynasty's title to legitimate self-determination. At the same time the ruling house's self-identification with Mount Athos and its patronage of the Serbs' sacral rallying-point on 'the Holy Mountain' wove ties, gossamer-thin yet durable, with the Roman emperors once the latter returned to Constantinople: the basileus's protection and fiscal privileges remained of inestimable value to the monks of Chilandar, as to other Athonite houses.
It was against this background that Stefan Uros II Milutin (1282-1321) looked to Athos as well as to the patronage of monasteries and churches within the dominions he inherited or acquired. After overrunning Byzantine territories as far south as Prilep and Ohrid and then capturing Durres (Dyrrakhion), Milutin came to terms, wedding Simonis, the infant daughter of Andronikos II, in 1299. This marked a turningbacktowards Byzantium and away from the west, which had provided the most lucrative markets for the production of Serbia's silver-mines. Western influence was all too clear in the Romanesque and early Gothic, which had hitherto predominated in Serb church architecture. Milutin now sought to set in stone his hegemony over newly conquered subjects, truculent Serb nobles, and his own disgruntled elder brother and nephew, but he chose to call on the services, not of Latins, but of the most proficient Byzantine-trained architects and craftsmen. Their skills shine out not only from the mausoleums and show-churches built at his expense within his dominions, but also from Chilandar and from monuments in Constantinople, Thessalonike and Jerusalem. These extensive building-projects were recorded among other feats of this new Constantine by his biographer, Danilo.29 Milutin also made substantial gifts of lands to the monastery of Chilandar, which served as a
28 V. Corovic, Spisi sv. Save, in Zbornik za Istoriju,Jezik i Knizevnost Srpskog Naroda 17 (1928),
29 Danilo II, Zitije kralja Milutina, in Archbishop Danilo etal., Zivoti kraljeva arhiepiskopa srpskih, ed. D. Danicic (Zagreb: US. Galca, 1866), 148-51.
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