Stefan I Crnojević

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Stefan I Crnojević
Стефан I Црнојевић
Lord of Zeta
Coat of arms of the house of Crnojevic.svg
Coat of arms of the house of Crnojevic
Predecessor Đurađ Đurašević Crnojević
Successor Ivan Crnojević
Spouse(s) Maria Kastrioti, also called Mamica
Noble family Crnojević noble family
Father Đurađ Đurašević Crnojević
Mother daughter of Koja Zaharia
Died 1465
Buried Kom Monastery
Religion Serb Orthodox Christian

Stefan Crnojević also known as Stefanica (Montenegrin and Serbian Cyrillic: Стефан, Стефаница Црнојевић; Croatian: Stjepan Crnojević[1] fl. 1426–1465)[2] was a medieval lord of the Principality of Zeta (in Old Montenegro), from the House of Crnojević that ruled it from 1451 to 1465. The earliest documents which mentions him is from 1426.[3] Until 1441 he was one of many governors in Zeta which was at that time a province of Serbian Despotate. He then aligned with Stefan Vukčić Kosača and remained his vassal until 1444 when he accepted Venetian suzerainty. In Venetian held Lezhë on 2 March 1444 Stefan and his sons forged an alliance (League of Lezhë) with several noblemen from Albania, including Skanderbeg. In 1448 he returned under suzerainty of Serbian Despot Đurađ Branković. In 1451, Stefan took over the leadership of the house of Crnojević and became the ruler of a large part of Zeta.

Early life and family[edit]

Stefan was born as the third son of the Zetan Duke Đurađ Đurašević Crnojević and the daughter of Albanian nobleman Koja Zaharia of the Zaharia family. Stefan's parents had four sons: Đurašin Đurašević, Gojčin Crnojević, Stefan and fourth son with unknown name and historical role.[4] Stefan became nicknamed "Stefanica". Stefan had three sons, Ivan, Andrija, nicknamed as the brave Albanian and Božidar, who in other sources is mentioned as his brother. At that time Zeta was considered as integral part of Albania while its noblemen were sometimes referred to as Albanians.[5]



Crnojević family properties

At adulthood, Stefan became one of the many noblemen who governed parts of Zeta within the Serbian Despotate, but did not agree with the other Crnojević members and pursued his goals on his own, outside the mainstream of the family. With the temporary Ottoman capture of the Serbian Despotate's main continental territories in 1441, Despot Đurađ Branković came from Ragusa to Zeta to organize resistance and restore his control over the occupied parts. His attempt failed and resulted with the blinding of the despot's two captured sons in retaliation. With his departure back to Hungary, Stefan aligned with the Bosnian nobleman Stefan Vukčić Kosača of Hum.[6] At the end of September 1441 Kosača captured the territory of upper Zeta on the left bank of Morača. Stefan Crnojević, who represented the whole Crnojević family, joined him in this campaign and was awarded by Kosača with control over five villages. He kept two of them (Goričane and Kruse) under his control and gave the other three to his brothers.[7]

War in Zeta (1441–1444) Duchy of Stephen Vukcic Kosaca annexed to the Upper Zeta Podgorica and square fortress Medun. Conquered the city of Bar, with the fortress (now Old Bar) in Lower Zeta.

Stefan married the oldest daughter of the lord of Mat Gjon Kastrioti, Maria Kastrioti, also called Mamica.[8] This family link became really important when in November 1443 Gjon's son and Maria's brother, George Kastrioti Skanderbeg rebelled in Albania against his Ottoman sovereign. According to Vasilije Petrović-Njegoš Stefan sent soldiers under the command of Božidar to help Skanderbeg in his fight against Ottomans, but Lekë Dukagjini and members of Zaharia family ambushed and killed them.[9]

In 1444 lord Stefan Crnojević found strong new protectors in the Venetian Republic. In Venetian held Lezhë on 2 March 1444 Stefan and his sons forged an alliance (League of Lezhë) with several noblemen from Albania, including Skanderbeg.[10] With the restoration of the Serbian Despotate after the Crusade, Stefan gave his loyalty to Despot Đurađ Branković in 1448. Together with Branković and Skanderbeg he attacked Venetian held Bar and Ulcinj.[11] Venetians were reluctant to fight against Serbian Despotate and had intention to estrange Branković and Skanderbeg. In July 1448 Jakov Dolfin, the governor of Bar, was victorious in the battle against Altoman's forces whose part was commanded by Stefan.[12]

Military despots Đurađ Brankovic is broken under the Bar, in mid-July 1448th year: 1. Altoman (Duke Đurađ Brankovic), 2nd Stefanica Crnojević (Duke Đurađ Brankovic) held the position in the hills above the Bar, 3rd Paštrovići (most) on the side of the Serbian despot Đurađ; 4th Mrkojevići (paid warrior troupe of 130 homes, the parish Prapratna, between Bar and Ulcinj) most contributed to victory Venetians; 5.Venice properties.

Lord of Zeta[edit]

After the disappearance of Stefan's brother Gojčin Crnojević from political life in 1451, Stefan took over the leadership of the house of Crnojević and became the ruler of a large part of Zeta. Stefan was never good with his brothers and always led politics on his own. To strengthen his position, he decided to immediately seek foreign protection. In 1452 he allied himself with Venice and recognized its authority over the region and was subsequently entitled Duke of Upper Zeta.[13] The reasons of the alliance are related to his anticipation of the downfall of the Serbian Despots. Venetan dodge Francesco Foscari wrote a letter to Stefan in 1455 asking him to return to Budva its territory he captured.[14] In 1455 the Ottomans invaded Serbia and conquered all of its territories south of the Western Morava river, completely cutting Zeta off from the core of the Despotate. Therefore, Duke Stefan Crnojević along with representatives from all 51 municipalities from Upper Zeta signed an agreement the same year with the Venetians in Vranjina, by which Upper Zeta accepted Venetian rule. Venice came to rule only the cities, while all internal affairs were left to duke Stefan. The Republic of Venice also bound itself not to mettle with the ecclesiastical authority Serbian Orthodox Metropolitan of Zeta in any way.

Coat of arm

Montenegro slowly became the name of Stefan's Zetan realm. He reigned peacefully without the intervention of Venice and the Ottomans until his death in late 1464 or the beginning of 1465, when his son Ivan succeeded him.


  1. ^ Hortus artium medievalium: journal of the International Research Center for Late Antiquity and Middle Ages. International Research Center for Late Antiquity and Middle Ages. 2004-01-01. p. 191. Retrieved 20 January 2012. 
  2. ^ Institut zur Erforschung des Deutschen Volkstums im Süden und Südosten in München; Mathias Bernath; Felix von Schroeder; Südost-Institut München, Universität Passau. Institut für Ostbairische Heimatforschung, Südostgemeinschaft Wiener Hochschulen, Deutsches Auslandswissenschaftliches Institut (Berlin, Germany) (1974). Südosteuropäische Arbeiten. Oldenbourg. p. 336. ISBN 978-3-486-47961-4. Retrieved 22 April 2013. "Stefan Crnojevic (Stefanica), Herrscher der Zeta 1426—1465, Sohn des Djuradj C. Er sicherte sich die Macht dadurch, daß er seine Brüder ausschaltete und" 
  3. ^ Istorijski Glasnik. 1969. p. 30. Retrieved 24 April 2013. "За Стефана Црнојевића (помиње се од 1426. годи- не)," 
  4. ^ M. Bešić, Zarij (1970), Istorija Crne Gore / 2. Crna gora u doba oblasnih gospodara. (in Serbian), Titograd: Redakcija za istoiju Crne Gore, p. 190, OCLC 175122851, "Ђурађ је имао четири сина" 
  5. ^ Bešić 1970, p. 137

    Чињеница да историјски извори који говоре о Зети у XIV и XV вијеку често употребљавају и шири појам „Албанија" изискује извјесно објашњење...Иначе су Дубровчани земље Балшића и Црнојевића редовно називали Зетом...они су ... подвлачили да Зета припада Србији....називали су Балшиће „српском господом"...Константин Филозоф, називао је Балшу „арбаваским господином"...Которани.... поручивали су им да ће,ако их они не прихвате, морати да се потчине „или Арбавасима, или Србима или Турцима"...Како им је у том тренутку пријетила опасност од Радича Црнојевића, СандаљаХранића и турских провала, јасно је кога су уврстили у Арбанасе... Стефан Душан назива ... је он Поморје изједначио са Албанијом)

  6. ^ Medieval and Renaissance Studies (1978). Viator. University of California Press. pp. 388–389. ISBN 0-520-03608-5. 
  7. ^ Bešić 1970, p. 196

    У другој половини септембра 1441. год. Стефан Вукчић је провалио у Горњу Зету и најприје заузео крајеве до Мораче. Придобио је Стефаницу Црнојевића, који је још био у слози с браћом и иступао у име читаве породице. Зато му је на oсвојеномподручју уступио пет катуна... Стефашца је по један катун уступио сваком брату, а сам задржао Горичане и Крусе

  8. ^ Andrija Veselinović; Radoš Ljušić (2008). Srpske dinastije. Službene glasink. p. 127. ISBN 978-86-7549-921-3. Retrieved 21 April 2013. 
  9. ^ Petrović-Njegoš, Petar I (1835), Кратка Историја Црне Горе (Short History of Montenegro) (in Serbian), retrieved 17 January 2012, "У овога Стефана бише три сина: Иван, Божидар и Андрија, наречени Арванит Храбри.... Стефан бјеше у вријеме великога и славнога у великијем дјелам Георгија Кастриота, реченога Скендер-бега коме пошиљаше помоћ противу Тураках под начелством сина својега Божидара, којега вјероломни Лека Дукађин, уједно са Захаријем Амнисфером, књазом од неке части Арбаније и сојузником Скендер-беговијем, дочека бусијом на некојему мјесту и обојицу уби, и велику жалост Кастриоту и свој његовој војсци, како и Стефану, учини." 
  10. ^ Schmitt 2001, p. 297

    Nikola und Paul Dukagjin, Leka Zaharia von Dagno, Peter Span, Herr der Berge hinter Drivasto, Georg Strez Balsha sowie Johann und Gojko Balsha, die sich zwischen Kruja und Alessio festgesetzt hatten, die Dushman von Klein-Polatum sowie Stefan (Stefanica) Crnojevic, der Herr der Oberzeta

  11. ^ Schmitt 2001, p. 302

    Georg Branković, Stefan Crnojević und Skanderbeg erschienen mit starken heeren vor den venezianischen Stadten [Georg Branković, Stefan Crnojević and Skanderbeg appeared with a strong army before the Venetian cities]

  12. ^ Dragoslav Srejović; Slavko Gavrilović; Sima M. Ćirković (1982). Istorija srpskog naroda: knj. Od najstarijih vremena do Maričke bitke (1371). Srpska književna zadruga. p. 266. Retrieved 22 April 2013. "У међувремену, неочекивано, средином јула 1448, барски потестат Јаков Долфин, издашно се служећи лукавством, потукао је Алтоманову војску, чијим је једним делом командовао Стефаница Црнојевић." 
  13. ^ Ćirković, Sima M. (2004-06-14). The Serbs. John Wiley & Sons. p. 107. ISBN 978-0-631-20471-8. Retrieved 20 January 2012. 
  14. ^ Ivan Pederin (1990). Mletačka uprava, privreda i politika u Dalmaciji: 1409-1797. Časopis "Dubrovnik". p. 8. Retrieved 25 April 2013. 


Preceded by
Gojčin Crnojević
Duke of Upper Zeta/Montenegro
Succeeded by
Ivan Crnojević