Fall of the Serbian Empire

its fallremnants of the Serbian Empirethe end of Serbian power
Serbian epic poems speak of the fall of the Serbian Empire. *Ferjančić, B. (1975) Vladarska ideologija u srpskoj diplomatici posle propasti Carstva, 1371. in: Božić I., Đurić B. [ed.] O knezu Lazaru, naučni skup, Kruševac, 1971, Beograd: Filozofski fakultet, 139-150 * Serbian lands. List of Serbian rulers. Ferjančić, B. (1975) Vladarska ideologija u srpskoj diplomatici posle propasti Carstva, 1371. in: Božić I., Đurić B. [ed.] O knezu Lazaru, naučni skup, Kruševac, 1971, Beograd: Filozofski fakultet, 139-150. Ferjančić, B. (1975) Vladarska ideologija u srpskoj diplomatici posle propasti Carstva, 1371. in: Božić I., Đurić B. [ed.]

Stefan Dečanski

Stefan Uroš IIIStephen Uroš III Dečanski of SerbiaStefan Uroš III Dečanski
Tensions between Dubrovnik and Serbia continued: in August 1325 Vojvoda Vojin plundered Dubrovnik, resulting in a brief trade ban. On 25 March 1326 Stefan reaffirmed privileges previously granted to Ragusa by Milutin. Tensions began again, however, when Bosnia and Dubrovnik took actions against the Branivojevići. Stefan generally maintained an alliance with Andronikos II, aside from occasional disruptions. He avoided taking a position in the Byzantine civil war between Andronikos II and Andronikos III Palaiologos. Nevertheless, as Andronikos III gained control, he developed an alliance with Tsar Michael Asen III of Bulgaria.

Stefan Dušan

Stefan Uroš IV DušanDušan the MightyEmperor Dušan
Dušan is the only monarch of the Nemanjić dynasty who has not been canonised as a saint. Much like his ancestors, Emperor Dušan was very active in renovating churches and monasteries, and also for founding new ones. First, he cared for the monasteries in which his parents were buried. Both the Banjska monastery, built by King Milutin, where his mother was buried, and the monastery of Visoki Dečani, an endowment of his father, were generously looked after. The monastery was built for eight years and it is certain that the Emperor's role in the building process was huge.

Miloš Vojinović

Miloš Vojinović (Милош Војиновић; 1332) was a Serbian nobleman who served Emperor Stefan Dušan (r. 1331–55) as stavilac, the son of general Vojin and brother of Vojislav and Altoman. He is a hero of the pre-Kosovo cycle in Serbian epic poetry. Miloš was the eldest son of Vojin, a vojvoda (general) that served King Stefan Dečanski and King Stefan Dušan and held the title of knez of Hum. Vojin was one of the more powerful nobles of King Stefan Dečanski, while his sons were in Young King Dušan's circle. When a conflict occurred between the King and his son, Dušan, however, Vojin and other noblemen joined the Young King Dušan (1330–31).


SerbianSerbethnic Serb
The Nemanjić dynasty ruled over Serbia until the 14th century. Nemanja's older son, Stefan Nemanjić, became Serbia's first recognized king, while his younger son, Rastko, founded the Serbian Orthodox Church in the year 1219, and became known as Saint Sava after his death. Over the next 140 years, Serbia expanded its borders, from numerous minor principalities, reaching to a unified Serbian Empire. Its cultural model remained Byzantine, despite political ambitions directed against the empire. The medieval power and influence of Serbia culminated in the reign of Stefan Dušan, who ruled the state from 1331 until his death in 1355.

Stefan the First-Crowned

Stefan NemanjićStefanStefan Prvovenčani
Stefan Nemanjić (Serbian Cyrillic: Стефан Немањић, ) or Stefan the First-Crowned (Стефан Првовенчани / Stefan Prvovenčani, ; around 1165 – 24 September 1228) was Grand Prince of Serbia from 1196, and the King of Serbia from 1217 until his death in 1228. He was the first Rascian king, and through his promotion of the Serbian Grand Principality into a kingdom and helping his brother Saint Sava in establishing the Serbian Church, he is regarded one of the most important of the Nemanjić dynasty. Stefan Nemanjić was the second-eldest son of Grand Prince Stefan Nemanja and Anastasija.

Serbian Empire

The Serbian Empire (Српско царство / Srpsko carstvo, ) is a historiographical term for the empire in the Balkan peninsula that emerged from the medieval Serbian Kingdom. It was established in 1346 by King Stefan Dušan, known as "the Mighty", who significantly expanded the state. Under Dušan's rule Serbia was the major power in the Balkans, and a multi-lingual empire that stretched from the Danube to the Gulf of Corinth, with its capital in Skopje. He also promoted the Serbian Archbishopric to the Serbian Patriarchate. His son and successor, Uroš the Weak, lost most of the territory conquered by Dušan, hence his epithet.

Serbian national identity

national identitySerbian identityNational identity of Serbia
Three elements, together with the legacy of the Nemanjić dynasty, were crucial in forging identity and preservation during foreign domination: the Serbian Orthodox Church, Kosovo Myth, and the Serbian language. The identification with medieval heritage through venerating Serbian saints, together with Serbian epic poetry, had helped develop a national consciousness separate from other Orthodox peoples in the Balkans. The heroic epic cycles inspired the Serbs to revive their heroic past and freedom.


SRBRepublic of SerbiaSerbian
Between 1166 and 1371 Serbia was ruled by the Nemanjić dynasty (whose legacy is especially cherished), under whom the state was elevated to a kingdom (and briefly an empire) and Serbian bishopric to an autocephalous archbishopric (through the effort of Sava, the country's patron saint). Monuments of the Nemanjić period survive in many monasteries (several being World Heritage sites) and fortifications. During these centuries the Serbian state (and influence) expanded significantly. The northern part, Vojvodina, was ruled by the Kingdom of Hungary.

Prince Marko

MarkoMarko MrnjavčevićKing Marko
The Balšić and Mrnjavčević families, Konstantin Dragaš (maternally a Nemanjić), Vuk Branković and Radoslav Hlapen continued ruling their respective regions. In addition to Marko, Tvrtko I was crowned King of the Serbs and of Bosnia in 1377 in the Mileševa monastery. Maternally related to the Nemanjić dynasty, Tvrtko had seized western portions of the former Serbian Empire in 1373. On 15 June 1389 Serbian forces led by Prince Lazar, Vuk Branković, and Tvrtko's nobleman Vlatko Vuković of Zachlumia, confronted the Ottoman army led by Sultan Murad I at the Battle of Kosovo, the best-known battle in medieval Serbian history.

Lazar of Serbia

Lazar HrebeljanovićPrince LazarLazar
In Serbian epic poetry, he is referred to as Tsar Lazar (Цар Лазар / Car Lazar). Lazar was born around 1329 in the Fortress of Prilepac, 13 km southeast of Novo Brdo, then an important mining town. His family were the hereditary lords of Prilepac, which together with the nearby Fortress of Prizrenac protected the mines and settlements around Novo Brdo. Lazar's father, Pribac, was a logothete (chancellor) in the court of Stefan Dušan, a member of the Nemanjić dynasty, who ruled as the King of Serbia from 1331 to 1346 and the Serbian Emperor (tsar) from 1346 to 1355. The rank of logothete was relatively modest in the hierarchy of the Serbian court.

Vojinović noble family

House of VojinovićVojinovićbrothers Vojinović
Its founder was Vojvoda Vojin, who during the reign of Stefan Dečanski controlled areas around Gacko. Over the years, their property expanded, and his heirs, Vojislav, and Nikola, held an area from the borders of the Republic of Ragusa, Bay of Kotor and Zvečan Fortress to Rudnik. The power of the last representative of Vojinović, broke the joint coalition that consisted of Prince Lazar (1371–1389) and the Ban Tvrtko (Ban 1353–1377, King 1377–1391), with the support of King of Hungary Louis I (1342–1382) who sent the Ban of Mačva Nikola Gorjanski Elder with 1000 lancers, during the summer and autumn of 1373.

Vratko Nemanjić

Jug BogdanVratkoPrince Vratko
Vratko Nemanjić (, ; fl. 1325-1355) was a Serbian warrior and Hero character known as Jug Bogdan in Serbian epic poetry. He was born in the early 14th century to Vratislav of the Nemanjić Dynasty, the son of Dmitar, and grandson of Prince Vukan (r. 1202-1204). He was a commander of Serb Emperor Stefan Dušan, and was sent with Serbian-Greek Jovan Oliver to negotiate with Byzantine Emperor John VI Kantakouzenos prior to the Byzantine civil war of 1341–1347 in which the Serbian Empire would fight on both sides. Vratko and Oliver led the Serbian army to attack Serres on orders by John VI Kantakouzenos.

Konstantin Dejanović

Constantine DragašKonstantinKonstantin Dragaš
Dejanović is venerated in Serb epic poetry as Beg Kostadin (in poetry he was given a title of beg because he became an Ottoman vassal). * Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, Oxford University Press, 1991. Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, Oxford University Press, 1991.

Stefan Konstantin

Stephen ConstantineConstantineConstantine of Serbia
Nicholas, Zvečan, in Kosovo, an endowment of the Nemanjić dynasty. According to Vasojevići folklore, the tribe was founded by Vaso, great-grandson of Stefan Konstantin. The Vasojevići tribe, and Vaso, the founder, is mentioned for the first time in a document found in an archive of Dubrovnik (Ragusa), dated 1444. *

Ottoman Empire

The Ottoman Empire (, also in Persian, ', literally "The Exalted Ottoman State"; Modern Turkish: Osmanlı İmparatorluğu or Osmanlı Devleti; Empire ottoman ), known in Western Europe as the Turkish Empire or simply Turkey''', was a state and caliphate that controlled much of Southeast Europe, Western Asia and North Africa between the 14th and early 20th centuries. It was founded at the end of the 13th century in northwestern Anatolia in the town of Söğüt (modern-day Bilecik Province) by the Oghuz Turkish tribal leader Osman I. Although initially the dynasty was of Turkic origin, it was Persianised in terms of language, culture, literature and habits.

Serbian Orthodox Church

Serbian OrthodoxOrthodoxSerbian Orthodox Christian
Serbian prince Rastko Nemanjić, the son of Stefan Nemanja, took monastic vows at Mount Athos as Sava (Sabbas) in 1192. Three years later, his father joined him, taking monastic vows as Simeon. Father and son asked of the Holy Community that the Serbian religious centre be founded at the abandoned site of Hilandar, which they renovated, marking the beginning of a renaissance (in arts, literature and religion). Sava's father died at Hilandar in 1199, and was canonised as St. Simeon.


After being ruled by the Nemanjić dynasty for two centuries, the independent Principality of Zeta emerged in the 14th and 15th centuries, ruled by the House of Balšić between 1356 and 1421, and by the House of Crnojević between 1431 and 1498, when the name Montenegro started being used for the country. After falling under Ottoman rule, Montenegro regained de facto independence in 1697 under the rule of the House of Petrović-Njegoš, first under the theocratic rule of prince-bishops, before being transformed into a secular principality in 1852. Montenegro's de jure independence was recognised by the Great Powers at the Congress of Berlin in 1878, following the Montenegrin–Ottoman War.

Medieval Serbian nobility

Serbian noblemanSerbian nobilitynobility
Nemanjić. Ivaniš (fl. 1348), despot, ruled a region in Toplica. Voihna (d. ca 1360), vojvoda, caesar. Governed Drama. Grgur (fl. 1361), vojvoda, caesar. Governed Polog. Branko Rastislalić (d. 1352), vojvoda, domestikos. Governed Podunavlje. Nikola Radonja (d. 1399),caesar. Estate in Serres. Son of Branko Mladenović. Vratko (fl. 1331–47), vojvoda. Governed Prokuplje. Nemanjić. Radoslav Hlapen, vojvoda. Governed Veria, Voden and Kastoria. Đuraš Ilijić (d. 1356), čelnik. Governed Upper Zeta. Son of Ilija. Vlatko Paskačić (fl. 1365), sevastokrator. Governed Slavište. Son of Paskač. Palman, knight, bodyguard and mercenary commander. Vojin (fl. 1322-1347), vojvoda. Governed Gacko.

Battle of Velbazhd

Battle of VelbuždBulgarian-Serbian War (1330)Velbazhd, Battle of
The battle is believed to be depicted in traditional Serbian epic poetry, in the Gusle song Ban Milutin and Duka Hercegovac. *Васил Н. Златарски, История на българската държава през средните векове, Част I, II изд., Наука и изкуство, София 1970. Second Bulgarian Empire. Bulgarian-Serbian Wars. Medieval Bulgarian Army. Medieval Serbian army. Йордан Андреев, Милчо Лалков, Българските ханове и царе, Велико Търново, 1996. Васил Н. Златарски, История на българската държава през средните векове, Част I, II изд., Наука и изкуство, София 1970. The battle of Velbazhd (in Bulgarian). The battle of Velbazhd (in Bulgarian).


Andrija is exiled to Rascia, to the court of his cousin, the Grand Prince Stefan Nemanjić. In the meantime, Petar fought successfully with neighbouring Bosnia and Croatia. Stefan Nemanjić sided with Andrija and went to war and secured Hum and Popovo field for Andrija sometime after his accession. Petar was defeated and crossed the Neretva, continuing to rule the west and north of the Neretva, which had around 1205 been briefly occupied by Andrew II of Hungary. Toljen Toljenović, the son of Toljen I, succeeded as Prince, ruling 1227-1237. Andrija's sons Bogdan, Radoslav and Djordje succeed as Princes of Hum in 1249, Radoslav held the supreme rule.

Đurađ II Balšić

Đurađ IIĐurađ II Stracimirović BalšićĐurađ Stracimirović
He is known in Serbian epic poetry as Strahinja Banović. His father was Stracimir, one of the three Balšić brothers who came to rule Zeta in the 1360s. His mother was Milica Mrnjavčević (Jerina), the daughter of Serbian King Vukašin Mrnjavčević. On 18 September 1385, Đurađ's uncle Balša II was killed at the Battle of Savra, while fighting the Ottomans. Following the temporary rule under Balša II's widow Komnena and daughter Ruđina, Đurađ II inherited parts of Zeta and northern Albania, including the cities of Scutari, Drivast and Lezhë, as per the Balšićs' traditional rule of seniority, as "self-holder to the Zeta and Coast land".

Music of Serbia

Serbian musicSerbianSerbia
During the Nemanjić dynasty era musicians played an important role at the royal court, and were known as sviralnici, glumci and praskavnici. The rulers known for the musical patronage included Emperor Stefan Dušan and Despot Đurađ Branković. Medieval musical instruments included horns, trumpets, lutes, psalteries, drums and cymbals. Traditional folk instruments include the gajde, kaval, dajre, diple, tamburitza, gusle, tapan (davul), sargija, ćemane (kemenche), zurla (zurna), and frula among others. Sung Serbian epic poetry has been an integral part of Serbian and Balkan music for centuries.

Princess Milica of Serbia

Princess MilicaMilicaMilica of Serbia
Princess Milica Hrebeljanović née Nemanjić (Милица Немањић Хребељановић · ca. 1335 – November 11, 1405) also known as Empress (Tsaritsa) Milica, was a royal consort of Serbia. Her husband was Serbian Prince Lazar and her children included despot Stefan Lazarević, and Jelena Lazarević, whose husband was Đurađ II Balšić. She is the author of "A Mother's Prayer" and a famously moving poem of mourning for her husband, My Widowhood's Bridegroom . She was the daughter of Prince Vratko Nemanjić (known in Serb epic poetry as Jug Bogdan), who as a great-grandson of Vukan Nemanjić was part of a minor branch of the Nemanjić dynasty.

Poland–Serbia relations

Queen Jadwiga of Poland ((r. undefined – undefined) 1384–99) had partial Serbian ancestry, through King Stefan Dragutin (r. 1276–82) of the Nemanjić dynasty. Serbian fiddlers (guslars) were mentioned at the court of Polish king Władysław II Jagiełło (r. 1386–1434) in 1415. Polish knight Zawisza Czarny, who joined Bohemian King Sigismund's war against the Ottomans, fell at the Golubac fortress in eastern Serbia in 1428; there is a commemorative plaque on the fortress in his honour (Česma Zaviše Crnog).