Donika Kastrioti

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Andronika (Donika) Kastrioti
Donika Kastrioti.jpg
1596 engraving by Johann Theodor de Bry (1561-1623)
Spouse Skanderbeg


Gjon Kastrioti II
Full name
Andronika (Donika) Arianiti Muzaka
Noble family
Father Gjergj Arianiti
Mother Maria Muzaka
Born 1428
Kaninë, Ottoman Empire
Died Kingdom of Naples

Donika Kastrioti (née Arianiti Muzaka)[a] was an Albanian noblewoman, the daughter of Gjergj Arianiti, one of the greatest leaders in the war against the Ottoman Empire for more than two decades, and his first wife Maria Muzaka. Donika is known as the spouse of George Kastrioti Skanderbeg.


Donika was born in Kaninë, in 1428. Her father was Gjergj Arianiti, of the Arianiti family, whose domain stretched across the Shkumbin valley and the old Via Egnatia road and reached to the east today's Bitola.[1] Her mother was Maria Muzaka, of the Muzaka family, whose domain was the Myzeqe region.

A month after the Treaty of Gaeta (in which Skanderbeg became a vassal of Alfonso the Magnanimous in exchange for military aid[2]), on 21 April 1451, Skanderbeg married Donika, and thus strengthened the ties with the Arianiti's,[3] in the Eastern Orthodox Ardenica Monastery,[4][5] in Fier, present-day southwestern Albania.

Her sister, Angelina, was married to Serbian ruler Stefan Branković, and is venerated as a saint in the Serbian Orthodox Church.[6]

After the Ottoman conquest of Albania, the Kastrioti's were given peerage in the Kingdom of Naples.[7] They obtained a feudal domain, the Duchy of San Pietro in Galatina and the County of Soleto (Province of Lecce, Italy).[8] Gjon Kastrioti II, Donika's and Skanderbeg's only child, married Irene Branković Palaiologina, the daughter of Lazar Branković, Despot of Serbia.[8]


  1. ^ Her name is mentioned as Andronica Comneniates in Gjon Muzaka's work about the Muzaka family.[9] Oliver Jens Schmitt names her Andronika Arianiti in his biographical work on Skanderbeg.[10]


  1. ^ Anamali, Skënder (2002), Historia e popullit shqiptar në katër vëllime (in Albanian) I, Botimet Toena, pp. 255–257, OCLC 52411919 
  2. ^ Frashëri 2002, pp. 310–316
  3. ^ Frashëri 2002, p. 181
  4. ^ Elsie, Robert (2000). A dictionary of Albanian religion, mythology, and folk culture. New York University Press. p. 14. ISBN 0-8147-2214-8. 
  5. ^ Gjika, Ilirjan. "Manastiri i Ardenices" (in Albanian). Retrieved 28 July 2010. 
  6. ^ Elsie, Robert (2001). A dictionary of Albanian religion, mythology and folk culture. C. Hurst. p. 9. ISBN 978-1-85065-570-1. Retrieved 26 November 2010. 
  7. ^ Gibbon 1901, p. 467
  8. ^ a b Runciman 1990, pp. 183–185
  9. ^ John Musachi: Brief Chronicle on the Descendants of our Musachi Dynasty
  10. ^ Schmitt Oliver, Skanderbeg, Der neue Alexander auf dem Balkan, Verlag Friedrich Pustet, 2009, p. 45