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From Margins to Nation: Church Slavonic Marginal Inscriptions and their Value as Historical Sources for Macedonian Historiography (2015-2016)

Field of study: Nationalism Studies, Church Slavonic Manuscripts

The Church Slavonic notes inscribed in the margins of religious manuscripts during the Ottoman period often have been celebrated by Macedonian literary critics and some historians for the evidence they offer about the ‘suffering’ of the subject population under the Turkish ‘yoke’. As it will be demonstrated here, the truth value of these accounts cannot be taken for granted. This paper is divided
into three sections. First, I will provide an overview of the views on the Ottoman rule in Macedonian historiography, moving towards an analysis of the role Church Slavonic marginal notes have played in the construction of the historical myth about the Turkish ‘yoke’. In the last part, the paper aims to suggest possible approaches to the study of the large paratextual historiographical corpus.

Keywords: Ottoman Macedonia, Church Slavonic colophons and marginalia, Church Slavonic manuscripts, Macedonian historiography

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