Although the Serbs have come to be identified closely with the Eastern Orthodox tradition of Christianity, it is an important indication of the continuing marginality of Zeta that Michael, the first of its rulers to claim the title king, had this honour bestowed on him by Pope Gregory VII in 1077. It was only under the later Nemanjic rulers that the ecclesiastical allegiance of the Serbs to Constantinople was finally confirmed. On the death of Stefan Dusan in 1355, the Nemanjic empire began to crumble, and its holdings were divided among the knez (prince) Lazar Hrebeljanovic, the short-lived Bosnian state of Tvrtko I (reigned 1353-91), and a semi-independent chiefdom of Zeta under the house of Balsa, with its capital at Skadar. Serb disunity coincided fatefully with the arrival in the Balkans of the Ottoman armies, and in 1389 Lazar fell to the forces of Sultan Murad I at the Battle of Kosovo.
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