John Zenevisi

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John Zenevisi
Lord of Argyrokastron and the regions of Vagenetia and Paracalo
Spouse N.N. Shpata
Titles and styles
Noble family Zenevisi family
Born 14th century
Died 1418

John Zenevisi (see below about names) (died 1418) was an Albanian lord of Argyrokastron and the regions of Vagenetia and Paracalo.[1]

Name[edit]

Zenevisi can be found with different name in historical documents. His name in English is John Zenevisi[2][1] or John Sarbissa.[1] His name has also been spelled as Giovanni Sarbissa.[3] His surname has also been spelled Zenebises. In Albanian, his name is mostly spelled as Gjin Zenebishi, with the given name also spelled as Ghin or Gjon, while the surname has been spelled Zenebishti.

Rise to power[edit]

Zenevisi was born into the Zenevisi family from the Zagoria region, between Përmet and Gjirokastër.[4]

In 1380, Zenevisi was appointed[by whom?] Sebastocrator or prefect of Vagenetia (modern-day Chameria). He was also ruler of Pyrgo and Sayada. He submitted to the Ottomans after their victory in the Battle of Savra in 1385, and gave them his son as a hostage to be sent to Edirne to the court of the sultan. This son became known as Hamza Bey, an Ottoman military leader who in 1460 became a sanjakbey of the Sanjak of Mezistre and should not be confused with Skanderbeg's nephew Hamza Kastrioti.[5] Shortly after his submission, Zenevisi revolted and seized the fortress of Gjirokastër, encouraged no doubt by the attack on Ioannina by the Albanians of Acarnania. In 1386 he titled himself with the Byzantine title of sevastokrator.[6]

Zenevisi was married with the daughter of Gjin Bua Shpata, Despot of Arta, Irene, and thus became the son-in-law of Shpata and the brother-in-law of the wife of Esau de' Buondelmonti Despot of Epiros. In 1399 Esau, supported by some Albanian clans, marched against his wife's brother-in-law John Zenevisi of Gjirokastër. Now Esau was routed and captured, and much of his land was occupied by Zenevisi. The neighboring magnates determined to restore the captured despotes and secured Venetian intercession in his favor. Esau returned to Ioannina in 1400, regaining the reign from Zenebishi. In 1414 Zenebishi was defeated by the Ottomans and fled to the Venetian island of Corfu where he died in 1418.[4]

Aftermath[edit]

In the same year the Turks, after a prolonged siege, took Gjirokastër. Zenevisi's son, Depa Zenebishi, fled to Corfu. He landed again on the mainland and laid siege to Gjirokastër in 1434, but was killed in battle with a reinforcing Ottoman army in 1435.

Descendants[edit]

Zenevisi's descendants continued to live undisturbed in the mountains of Zagoria and eventually faded into history. In 1455, a certain Simon Zenebishi, who was ruler of Kastrovillari (Castro i Vivarit near Butrint) was active at the court of the king of Naples and Aragon on behalf of Skanderbeg in order to gain back Neapolitan support for his land in Albania. In 1455, Venice, the only power to support his claim, reminded him of his pledge of allegiance to the Republic but was not able to change his political orientation, i.e. his ties with Naples. A son of this Zenebishi was also a hostage at the court of the sultan, this time of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror, but fled to Naples where King Alphonso had him baptized and made him his vassal. The fate of this Alphonso Zenebishi was to be closely linked to that of Skanderbeg.[citation needed]

Zenebishi Family[edit]

John married a daughter of Gjin Bua Shpata, whose name is unknown. They had the following children:

  • A1. Anna "Kyrianna", Lady of Grabossa; married Andrea III Musachi (fl. 1419)
  • A2. Maria, +after 1419; married Perotto d'Altavilla, the Baron of Corfu (+1445)
  • A3. Bua Thopia, Lord of Argyrokastron (1418–34), deposed by Turks, +1435
    • B1. Simone, Lord of the Strovilo’s castel (1443–61), deposed by Turks
      • C1. Alfonso, fl 1456
      • C2. Alessandro/Lech, Lord of Strovilo’s castle in 1473, sold to venetian in 1473 (destroyed 1479)
      • C3. Filippo, Lord of Strovilo’s castle in 1473 with his brother
  • A4. Hamza Zenevisi, a Muslim, fl 1456-59. In 1460 he became a sanjakbey of the Sanjak of Mezistre.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Elsie 2003, p. 53: "Lord John Sarbissa (Zenevisi) was lord of the town of Gjirokastra and the region of Vagenetia and Paracalo (Parakalamo)."
  2. ^ Fine 1994, p. 356: "John (Gjin) Zenevisi"
  3. ^ Akademie der Wissenschaften 1869, p. 124: "Giovanni Sarbissa"
  4. ^ a b Elsie, Robert (24 December 2012). A Biographical Dictionary of Albanian History. I.B.Tauris. p. 501. ISBN 978-1-78076-431-3. ZENEBISI, GHIN ( -1418) Mediaeval ruler. Ghin Zenebisi, also known as John Zenevisi and by the Albanian neologism of Gjon Zenebishti, descended from a family of the Zagoria region between Gjirokastra and Përmet. In 1380, he was given 
  5. ^ Osmanlı tarihi. Türk Tarih Kurumu. 1983. p. 62. İskender'in yeğeni olan bu Hamza Kastriyota ile yine Arnavut senyörlerinden Gin Zenibisi'nin oğlu olup Osmanlı devleti hizmetinde bulunara 1460'da Mora'da Mizistra sancakbeyliği etmiş olan Hamza Zenebisi'yi birbirine karıştır mamalıdır. 
  6. ^ Bulgarian historical review. Publishing House of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. 2003. p. 164. Due to long Byzantine rule Albanian aristocracy used titles of Byzantine titulature like despot, (Balsha and Gjin Bue Shpata), sevastocrator (Gjin Zenebishi) and comes. 
  7. ^ Osmanlı tarihi. Türk Tarih Kurumu. 1983. p. 62. İskender'in yeğeni olan bu Hamza Kastriyota ile yine Arnavut senyörlerinden Gin Zenibisi'nin oğlu olup Osmanlı devleti hizmetinde bulunara 1460'da Mora'da Mizistra sancakbeyliği etmiş olan Hamza Zenebisi'yi birbirine karıştır mamalıdır. 

References[edit]

  • "History of Albanian People" Albanian Academy of Science.ISBN 99927-1-623-1
  • Ekrem Bey Vlora: The Ruling Families of Albania in the pre-Ottoman Period
Preceded by
Post created
Prince of Gjirokastër
1386–1418
Succeeded by
Depa Zenebishi
(titular)