Lješev Stup
Before the war
Vuk Lješevostupac
Vuk Raslapčević
Clan Kuzman
Wars before 1918
Resistance and KPJ
World War II
End of XX century
Mont icon Icon Eng

Vuk Raslapčević

ORIGIN of the Vuk Raslapčević, famous Montenegrin hero and personal of the "Mountain wreath", who is according to tradition associated with the clan Popivoda, represent the theme historians were dealing with for the last ninety years . However, despite this, to date they have not made a final answer, and it seems that we still have to wait until they reach agreement. There was not so much debate and different opinions about any other personality from "Mountain wreath", as their origin is concerned, and on this occasion, nor we can avoid that question.

Vuk Raslapčević was first time mentioned in written sources in the song about the battle of Carev Laz (1712), published by Simo Milutinovic 1835. The part of the song which describes spying of the Turkish army, the verses read:

"Pa ih pita Vladika Danile: "

Oli poći Janko i Bogdane!

Poći ćemo, vladika Danile,

nego daj ni druga i trećega,

golemoga Raslapčević Vuka,

tursku zemlju jeste pohodio,

znade turski znade arbanaški"

In one of several versions of this song, Vuk was named Vuk Jankovic:

"Pak poslaše da uhodi Turke "

Đurašković Janka i Bogdana,

i deliju Jankovića Vuka,

koi znade turski govoriti" .

Mentioning Vuk Raslapčević - as Vuk Jankovic, impacted likely, among other things, that its origin may arise on various traditions, and that three more districts and tribes tried to  "steal" him .

In the 1894 was launched serious debate in Cetinje "Prosvjeta" about the origins of Vuk Raslapčević when Mitar S. Vukcevic tried to prove that Vuk Raslapčević was from Lješanska district. Next year, 1895. first L. Pejovic, and then Andrija Jovićević and M. Strugar, tried to prove that Raslapčević was from Ceklin. Živko Dragović categorically stated that Raslapčević was from Bjelice,  while Pavle Rovinski beleives that he was from Dobrsko Selo, a similar opinion had Dr. Jovan Erdeljanović, Dušan Vuksan published in 1927 and 1937. some documents in which he stated that Vuk could be from Očinići, and Ivan Kaluđerović had similar thoughts. About Vuk origins wrote P. Šubajić, Janko Lopičić, Dr. Nikola Vukcevic, Dr. Vladimir Djurovic, Risto Dragicevic and others, but none of them provided evidence that would once and for all illuminating this issue.

Dr Jovan Erdeljanović has paid special attention to dobrska tradition, analyzed it in detail, and claimed that "dobrljanska tradition is undoubtedly true" - it says that the Vuk Raslapčević was born in Dobrska parish. This tradition as Dr. Erdeljanović stated in 1910. abounds with many details - as far as the past 450 years, or 240 years before the birth of Vuk Raslapčević - and that makes it improbable. Erdeljanović tried to dismiss all different opinions stated by then with the power of the multitude of details, but we can not say that he succeeded.

In Bjelice and one part of the Rijeka district still lives a very old tradition which says that Vuk Raslapčević was born in Lješev Stup - in the clan Popivoda. Tradition tells how Vuk father (who according to legend was the brother of Vukosav - Vuk Lješevostupac), was killed in the battle against the Turks in Rudine, and Vuk mother who was a native of Vukcevic clan from Lješanska district, married for Raslap Janković in Rijeka district - and took Vuk who was minor with her (Bjelica at that time controlled part of the Rijeka district until Skaradsko lake, and mixing of the population of Rijeka and Bjelica was a regular occurrence). Vuk stepfather Raslap had later "the blood" and moved with his family in Zeta, where Vuk learned Turkish. Surname Raslapčević received by his stepfather Raslap Jankovic, from Jankovica Krš.

At the time of the great Turkish visit to Montenegro 1712. Vuk sent news to Bishop Danilo in Cetinje, which inform him about the strength of the Turkish army, the direction of movement, etc. Montenegrins made a wait in Carev Laz, and at the crucial moment, Vuk, as a master key of the Turkish army - in the form of songs sang to the Montenegrins notice when and to which column should be hit. Turks were drawn into a trap, suddenly attacked and slaughtered them, and he kills Turkish commander Zotović.

After so great and heroic derived role Vuk stays in Rijeka district because his return in Zeta was not possible. In the conflict between Ceklin and Bjelice about the territory which Bjelica kept, Vuk sided vith Ceklin, and forever stayed there.

This tradition has always lived in the unchanged version, and has several supporters among historians who have studied this issue. This version, supported by their research, supported Živko Dragović, Janko Lopičić and Dr. Nikola Vukčević.

Živko Dragovic 1895. wrote "According to everything mentioned so far... - I stand at that Vuk Raslapčević nor was Lješnjanin or Ceklinjanin, but was Bjelica, and in Ceklin he was raised and lived...". Janko Lopičić also clearly states: "The Vuk Raslapčević was Popivoda born in Bjelice, between 1680-1685.", and then in detail state Ceklin tradition that is almost identical with Bjelice one. "Interesting history of the Raslapčević, give sufficient reasons to Ceklin and Lješnjani and Bjelice so that each side claimed him, although he was by blood Popivoda and Vukčević "- concludes Dr. Nikola Vukčević.

Janko Lopičić, in his already mentioned work, mentions the controversy about Vuk Raslapčević between Bjelice and Ceklin, which came before Prince Nikola. In the absence of facts upon which to give his judgment, and to avoid conflict, Prince said that he will study the matter and later say who can claim Vuk. However, as Lopičić stated, he never gave his judgment.

This dispute lives in Bjelice tradition, but with a little more detail. In Bjelica said that the dispute led around 1870. year, and then Prince said: "The Vuk wolf is not born under a fig tree, but the beech, which meant that he was born in Bjelice. There was, as they say, the Duke Petar Vukotic who interfered, saying: "These Lješevistupci got to many Wolves", referring to Vuk Lješevostupac, Vuk Raslapčevića and Vuk Kuzman. Prince doubted and promised to study the matter, but in that all ended.

If we start from the assumption that the Prince uttered such a court, we can only interpret it by the thought that the custom of giving names wolf was "under the beech," and not "under the fig tree." Because Prince is certainly better than anyone knew how many Wolves - heroes were born under the fig tree. Different interpretation of these words, as it is sometimes done, would be to abuse them, because it would be illusory to think that the Prince could afford some unserious, and more - unfounded sense of the word. Regarding the interruption from Duke Peter, whose advice had a large impact on Prince decisions, it is possible that he saw Solomon solution in that matter, to "lie it down" and avoid conflict among the tribes.

Characteristically that Bjelice after this argument  never went to the Prince regarding the controversy about Vuk origin, considering the issue resolved, and that was proved that Vuk was born in Lješev Stup. Felt that way there was no more to say about the matter, and that Vuk Raslapčević was claimed by those who he did not belonged to. Even today sometimes we can hear the song with the verse "And three Vuk of the Lješev Stup" and refer to the aforementioned Vuk Lješevostupac, Vuk Raslapčević and Vuk Kuzman.

How Popivoda firmly believed that the Vuk Raslapčević belonged to their clan, shows the fact that before World War II were attempts by individuals to change the surname Popivoda to Raslapčević. This, in the 1836. officially made Novak Bojičin Popivoda with the approval of the then government, inspired by tradition and supported by some documents, he changed his last name, and his descendants still have surname - Raslapčević.

The only document that was mentioned in connection with the origin and Vuk Raslapčević stated Dusan Vuksan 1927, and 1937., and recently they were analyzed and commented by Ivan Kaluđerović. According to these documents (it is about lists of donators to church Sv. Gospođea in Cetinje), as interpreted by Vuksan, and his opinion is close to Ivan Kaluđerović - Vuk Raslapčević could be from Očinići, a village near Cetinje.  However, this document, the in our opinion, confirmed only that in Očinići lived persons with a name: Raslo, Raslav, Raslap and that among them was some Vuko Raslapčev (Raslavčev), but it certainly does not mean that it is of the Vuk Raslapčević - one from "Mountain wreath". Therefore, it is a strange claim from Ivan Kaluđerović when he says that he totally refuted "the claim that science so far had accepted, because it is too easily pronounced, although he admittedly says that the question of where was the Vuk Raslapčević remains open.

We consider unfounded statement by Ivan Kaluđerović that the traditions about Vuk origin appeared after more than two centuries since the time when, presumably, Vuk lived. This is because the people believed, which is quite logical that the legend about him existed since the Vuk glorious days and his character of folk song, or "Mountain wreath", was taken from the popular traditions - and not vice versa.

From numerous discussions about Vuk background it is easy to see that, because of the lack of written sources, there was a lot of assumptions. Well, if we, in the absence of evidence, must deal with them, we should note the following:

- There is no doubt that the Vuk Raslapčević lived among Ceklin and Dobrljani - and there died. Therefore, it is understandable that it serves as the motive and the main reason that some of their traditions, especially dobrsko say he could be born there. However, Bjelice did never claimed that the Vuk lived with them (except for a few years after birth), and neither operated, but they claimed him as they were undoubtedly convinced that he was born there. If we even accept the premise that he was neither born nor lived in Bjelica, raises the question of where they got the reason that his origins are linked to Lješev Stup and a clan Popivoda. A reason for this had to exist. It is hard to believe that the Bjelice simply invented their tradition, and they accepted it as such in the two districts (part of the Rijeka and partly in Lješanska), and later several authors supported. So, we come to the conclusion that Bjelice had to have a strong reason why the counted Vuk as theirs, and they were in fact so persistent and consistent.  And that it may be just that - that Vuk Raslapčević was born in Bjelice.

  - In this issue must be taken into account the customs related to naming in Montenegro. About this Dr. Nikola Vukčević said: "Before the First World War a large part of Montenegro's names were typically Montenegrin, so by the name could be presumed that the concerned comes from Montenegro."  In analogy to this, by the name is often possible to assume from which district, or tribe one comes from. So we, when we were talking about the name Vuk (On Vuk Lješevostupac page), we saw that in Katunska district are common names in whose root is the name Vuk (Vuko, Vukota, Vukani and the like), while it is much less common case in other districts. Confirmation to that can be found in the following example, six persons from "Mountain wreath" have the name of Vuk, and two Vukota (Vuk Raslapčević, Vuk Tomanović, Vuk Mićunović, Vuk Mandušić, Vuk Lješevostupac and Vuk Markovic, then serdar Vukota and Vukota Mrvaljević). No other personal from this novel does not have a similar name, and they are all from Čevo, Cuce and Bjelice (only Vuk Raslapčević issue is controversial). Author, of "Mountain wreath" was, no doubt, well aware of the tradition and historical facts, and there are many reasons for believing that the Vuk Raslapčević part of this "group". To that, among other things, instructs too, Nikola's remark during discussion that, as they say, took part before of him. So, folk customs related to the frequency of certain names in certain tribes, or district, must be taken into account in the case with the name of Vuk, as is well known that in these times, some names were right "ownership" of certain tribes.

We could for long pluck what-what in the various traditions, state and comment on the origin of writings about Vuk, but this, in the final, would little contribute to shedding light on this issue. On the basis of all that was available to us in connection with the treatment of this issue, we come to some conclusions that we can make significant reduction to this discussion:

a) well-known written document about the origins of Vuk Raslapčević, which would definitely illuminate this issue - does not exist, and therefore there is no evidence that would be called undeniable. Documents cited by Dušan Vuksan, and Ivan Kaluđerović, as we have already said, did not give an answer on this issue.

b) Most of the published opinions about Vuk origin are really burdened "localy and prominent tribal interests," or remain in the domain assumptions.

v) If, despite everything, the answer to the question of where was born Vuk Raslapčević now must be based on folk tradition, and is based, it is really most convincing what bjeličko-ceklinsko-lješanska tradition, which says that Vuk originated from Bjelice, from Lješev Stup. This is, after all, the only tradition that lives two or three centuries in an unchanged version - in three districts. Well, if they are burdened with "local and tribal interests," and certainly they are, we must give special attention, because it must be admitted that there was a serious reason that all these district agree in the same, i.e. that Vuk Raslapčević was by birth Lješevostupac.