Stephen II, Ban of Bosnia

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Stephen II
Stephenkotromanicthesecond.PNG
Detail of the scene The Death of Ban Kotromanič depicted on the Chest of Saint Simeon.
Ban of Bosnia
Reign 1322–1353
Predecessor Stephen I
Successor Tvrtko I
Spouse a countess of Ortenburg
a Bulgarian princess
Elizabeth of Kuyavia
Issue
Elizabeth, Queen of Hungary
Catherine, Countess of Cilli?
House House of Kotromanić
Father Stephen I, Ban of Bosnia
Mother Elizabeth of Serbia
Born 14th century
Bosnia
Died September, 1353
Bosnia
Burial Mile, near Visoko
Religion Bosnian Christian, from 1347 Roman Catholic[1]

Stephen II (Bosnian: Stjepan II/Стјепан II) was a Bosnian Ban from 1314, but in reality from 1322 to 1353 together with his brother, Vladislav in 1326–1353. He was the son of Bosnian Ban Stephen I Kotroman and Elizabeth, sister of King Stephen Vladislav II of Syrmia. Throughout his reign in the fourteenth century, Stephen ruled the lands from Sava to the Adriatic and from Cetina to Drina. He was a member of the House of Kotroman. He was buried in his Roman Catholic Franciscan church in Mile, near Visoko, Bosnia.

Life[edit]

Exile and return[edit]

When his father died in 1314 and Croatian Ban Mladen II Šubić emerged as Count of Zadar, Princeps of Dalmatia and Second Bosnian Ban, Stephen's mother Elizabeth took him and his siblings and fled with them into exile to the Republic of Dubrovnik. Mladen was not popular in Bosnia and had fought bloody but losing wars against the Serbian Kingdom (under Stephen Uroš II Milutin), and the Venetians (to whom he lost Zadar in 1313), along with numerous internal opponents of his regime. Mladen came to the idea to impose Stjepan Kotromanić as his vassal in Bosnia, for he was sure that he would be well accepted in Bosnia. The Šubić, vengeful enemies of the House of Kotromanić now became their protectors. Mladen decided to keep Stephen II under his firm grip and to use him to eradicate the Bosnian Church, so he arranged a marriage between Stephen and a Princess from the family of the Count Meinhard of Ortenburg that ruled in Carniola. The Pope was against the marriage since both families were of same German roots, but it would give Stephen certain advantages, so he convinced the Pope to allow it.

Ban[edit]

Mladen's II plight[edit]

Member of the Šubić noble family, Mladen II Šubić was a Ban of Croatia and Lord of all of Bosnia.[2] He become Ruler of Bosnia, after death of his uncle Bosnian Ban Mladen I Šubić in 1304. His army had almost entirely retreated from Bosnia as he had numerous troubles with rebelling Šibenik in 1319 and also later Trogir. What's more, both cities recognized supreme Venetian rule in 1322. Mladen II Šubić's army could not crush fortified towns, so they burned the surrounding fields and cut down the nearby vineyards and fruit groves. In the spring of 1322, Mladen II called a council to make the Croatian nobility help him crush the rebellion, but the noblemen soundly refused, which led to numerous accusations of treason by Mladen II. It created a huge rift between Mladen II and his subjects, and his rule was now seriously threatened. This disorder greatly helped Stjepan II as he gained the chance to rule on his own and build up his realm. Stephen's supreme liege, the Hungarian king Charles I Robert, had plans too. Charles Robert went on a campaign to eradicate the Croatian major nobility in order to become the sole ruler of his realm. He isolated Matthew III Csák and destroyed the Kőszegi (Güssing in German) family. The time had come for the Šubićs. Near the end of 1321, he ordered Stephen II to act from Bosnia supported by Ban Ivan Babonežić from Slavonia, encircling and isolating Croatia. Stephen II now fell under King Charles Robert's direct command. Due to the fact that he wanted to get revenge and get rid of the Šubićs, this was useful to him for the time being, for if he could free himself of the Šubićs, he could rule Bosnia almost entirely by himself; as his Hungarian Lieges would be too far away to watch his every move. Besides that, he also got a chance to expand his influence in Croatia. The decisive battle happened near Mladen's capital Skradin in 1322, where the Croatian nobility defeated him decisively. Mladen fell back to Klis Fortress and waited for Charles Robert to came, blindly believing that the King would help him keep his power because of the help that he received from the Šubićs during his coming to power. The King came to Knin and invited Mladen to meet him there. Mladen was imprisoned and sent to a dungeon in Hungary where he died.

Early reign and other marriages[edit]

Immediately after the death of Serbian King Stephen Uroš II Milutin of Serbia in 1321, he had no problem in acquiring his lands of Usora and Soli, which he fully incorporated in 1324. He helped his uncle Vladislav II of Syrmia to regain all Serbia, but after the fall of Ostrvica at Rudnik at the hands of Stephen Uroš III of Serbia, there was no more point in supporting him during the struggles for the Serbian throne, so he took Usora and Soli for himself. The hostility caused by this between Bosnia and Serbia would lead to Stephen II of Kotroman's war against Stephen Uroš III several years later.

When his uncle Vladislav II died, he gained some parts of his realm of Syrmia.

After this, Stephen II spent the first years of his reign in relative peace. He gave numerous privileges to the local nobility to increase popularity. One of the most famous was the dict in which he gave some Zhupanates to Prince Vukoslav. In the dicts he refers to his brother Vladislav with the title Prince of Bosnia sharing equal rule with him since 1326, although Stephen had, being Ban, the real rule.

In 1323 Hungarian King Charles Robert wanted to increase influence over Ban Stephen II Kotroman. He offered Stephen the hand of his wife's distant relative, Elizabeth of Kuyavia, daughter of Duke Casimir II of Kuyavia and received from the King as a gift with the marriage the lands to the west formerly held by Mladen I Šubić Bribirski and Usora and Soli in the north formerly held by Stephen Dragutin and his son, Vladislav II of the House of Nemanja. The marriage was legalized by 1339. Up to 1339 Stephen was still married to the daughter of the Bulgarian tsar and had been previously married to a countess of Ortenburg.

Nelipac's plight[edit]

The Hungarian king Charles I Robert had placed the Slavonian Ban Ivan Babonežić as the new Ban of Croatia. After the King's return to Hungary, one of the most powerful Croatian nobleman Prince Ivan I Nelipac (Prince Nelipić) moved fast and took Knin from the Royal Forces. He was supported by the three brothers of Mladen II Šubić; Juraj II Šubić, Grgur III Šubić and Pavao II Šubić. He did not allow Ivan to ascend to his throne in Knin, so King Charles Robert deposed Ivan from his duty in 1323. He ordered the new Ban of Slavonia Nikola Omodijev and Stephen II of Kotroman to launch a joint offensive against Nelipac in Croatia. Nikola's expedition eventually failed, although it did rise up Juraj II Šubić (brother of Mladen II Šubić) against Nelipac, as well as the Princes from Krka Frangepans, the City of Zadar and eventually, Bosnian Ban Stephen II himself. The movement wanted to return the Šubić dynasty to power in Croatia with Juraj II Šubić on the Throne. Stephen again changed allegiances and now fought for the Šubićs again. It all eventually turned into an all-out war when the armies of Prince Prince Nelipac and Juraj II Šubić clashed near the waterfalls of Krka in the Summer of 1324. Stephen gave considerable support to the Šubićs, but he did not dare get involved in the fight himself. It was good that he didn't, because the Šubić's party was massacred near Knin and Juraj II Šubić himself was captured by Prince Nelipac soon. Stephen had attempted to liberate Juraj II from imprisonment, but all attempts ended in failure.

Prince Nelipac immediately pushed the fight against Stephen II. Nelipac managed to conquer the city of Visuć, but Stephen's long-ago given privileges to the nobility had finally been proven useful, as Vuk of Vukoslav had helped him to retake the city. Although Stephen's military ambitions were only relatively successful he continued to wage war against the enemies of the Šubićs. His target was the City of Trogir which was one of the major supporters of Nelipac's campaigning. Stephen adopted a harsh tactic. His forces raided Caravans from Trogir, which eventually forced its denizens to humbly sign a peace and addressed him as the high and mighty lord Stephen free ruler and master of Bosnia, Usora and Soli and many other places and Prince of the Hum. It is because of this that Stephen started a conflict with the Republic of Dubrovnik regarding trade. Stephen was shown as a very tough negotiator and the negotiations finally ended in 1326.

After seeing that Ban Nikola Omodejev was unable to weaken the position of Prince Nelipac, Hungarian King Charles I Robert deposed him. The new man for the job was one of his most trusted men, Mikac Mihaljević. Ban Mikac advanced to Croatia in the Summer of 1325. Bosnian Ban Stephen II sent squadrons of troops to assist him in his offensive. In 1326, Mikac took the cities of the Babonežić family and advanced deeper into Croatia, meeting Stephen's reinforcements. The expedition eventually had little success, so Mikac sent a portion of his army to Bihać which would serve as defence against Nelipac's possible counterattacks and retreated to Hungary, to the King.

War with Serbia[edit]

In 1326, Ban Stephen II attacked Serbia in a military alliance with the Republic of Dubrovnik and conquered Krajina, gaining access to the Adriatic Sea and including a large Serbian Orthodox Christian population and a highly advanced Serbian Orthodox Church. This changed the balance in Bosnia, as the Bosnian Bogumils had lost majority in the realm. He also expanded into Završje, including the Fields of Glamoč, Duvno and Livno. The province of Zahumlje that he conquered was ruled by the Serbian noble rogue dynasty, the House of Branivojević. That Serbian family had tricked Stefan of Dečani's vassalaged Prince, Crep, who was a close friend, so King Stefan had no desire to defend those areas from Ban Stephen's forces. Bosnia controlled the coast from the border with the Dubrovnik Republic across Neretva to Omiš. Ban Stephen himself killed two members of the House of Branivoj, while Branko Branivojević fled to Serbia and sought help from King Stefan and then headed to the Republic of Dubrovnik, from where he proceeded to Ston. Ban Stephen pursued the chase of Brajko, but eventually the forces of Dubrovnik caught the last of the four brothers from the House of Branivoj. The Bosnian titles included Lord of the Hum Land ever after. Ban Stephen became the ruler of all the lands from Cetina to Neretva with the exception of Omiš which was taken by the Hungarians.

In 1329, Ban Stephen II Kotroman pushed another military attempt into Serbia, assaulting Lord Vitomor of Trebinje and Konavli, but the main portion of his force was defeated by the Young King Dušan who commanded the forces of King Stefan of Dečani at Pribojska Banja. The Ban's horse was killed in the battle, and he would have lost his life if his vassal Vuk of Vukoslav had not given him his own horse. By doing so, Vuk sacrificed his own life, and was killed by the Rascians in open battle. Thus the Ban managed to add Nevesinje and Zagorje to his realm.

Although the Zachlumoi mostly accepted the Ban's rule, some resisted, like Peter of Tolien who ruled the Seaside from his capital in Popovo; he was the grandson of the famous Zachlumian Prince Andrew. Peter raised a rebellion, wishing either more autonomy or total independence and the eventual restoration of the conquered territories to Serbia. He lost a battle against Ban Stephen II and was imprisoned and put in irons. Stephen had him thrown with his horse off a cliff. Peter survived for a full hour after the fall.

The Ban's vassal that governed the Hum started to raid Dubrovnik's trade routes, which worsened Bosnia-Dubrovnik relations that were very high during the conquest of Zahumlje. To make matters worse, Ban Stephen II asked Dubrovnik to pay him the old traditional mogorish tax that it traditionally paid to the Zachlumian and Serbian rulers and even asked it to recognize his supreme rule. Dubrovnik refused outright.

The Ban's edicts[edit]

Stephen withdrew all demands as can be seen in his edict to the Republic from 1332 in which he guaranteed future friendships between the Banate of Bosnia and the Republic of Dubrovnik. In the edict he called his people Bosnians (Bošnjani).[3]

Ban Stephen II issued several edicts to the Republic of Dubrovnik in 1333. There were four documents. Here is an excerpt of the documents edict' copies:

Scanned copy of the Charter of Stephen II of Kotroman from 1333
Original version English translation

да имамо и дрьжимо до конца свиета непомачно. и за то
ставлю я (господинь) бань Стефань свою златѹ печать, да
ѥ веровано, сваки да знаѥеть и види истинѹ. а томѹи сѹ .д̄.
повелле..а.. двие латинсци а дви срьпсцие, а све сѹ печа-
тене златиеми печати: двие ста повелле ѹ господина бана
Стефана а двие повелле ѹ Дѹбровници. а то ѥ писано подь

to have and hold to the end of the world moveless. And for that
have put I (lord) ban Stefan my golden seal, to
be believed, everyone to know and see the truth. And to that are IV
charters..a.. two Latin and two cyrillic, and all are sea-
led with golden seals: two are charters in lord ban
Stefan and two charters in Dubrovnik. And that is written under

Of 60 words in the excerpt:

  • 29 (48.3%) are completely the same in contemporary Bosnian — or, for that matter Croatian or Serbian
  • 15 (25%) differ only in slightly changed sound of a letter (usually through iotation, or loss or it, or by transfer of "ou" to "u")
  • 8 (13.3%) differ in one phoneme
  • * 8 (13.3%) differ more but are fully recognisable

Religious tensions in Bosnia[edit]

The Pope was enraged by the religious tensions that grew in Bosnia, installed Fabian of the Franciscan Order as the Inquisitor in Slavonia and gave him the task of rooting out heresy in Bosnia. The Pope requested Bosnian Ban Stjepan's full assistance. In 1327 the Dominicans and Franciscans argued over who would be granted the task of burning the heretics. Although Fabian eventually took over the leadership over the movement, he utterly failed. Then the Pope wrote to the Hungarian King for a military intervention in Bosnia.

In 1334, the Bosnian Bishop Peter died, and a huge dispute began over his successor. Hungarian King Charles Robert managed to replace his supporter, but it would take until 1336 for the final dispute to be resolved in the Catholic Church's favour.

Pope Benedict XII lost all patience and eventually accepted the offer of Prince Nelipac of Croatia in 1337, who not only wanted to restore Bosnia under Croatian control, but also desired personal revenge on Stephen II Kotroman for the past troubles that he had caused him. The still powerful Croatian Šubićs family protested Nelipac's decision. Talks took place of joining the House of Šubić and the House of Kotroman into one. An arranged marriage was made between Bosnian Ban Stephen II's brother, Vladislav of Kotroman and the sister of Ban of Croatia Mladen III Šubić, Jelena Šubić in 1338 in Klis Fortress. Mladen III Šubić's wife was Jelena Nemanja, sister of the Serbian King Stefan Dušan, so this created a strong dynastic alliance of three families: the House of Kotroman, the House of Šubić and the House of Nemanja that strictly opposed Prince Nelipac's reign. The first to fall to Nelipac's hand were the Šubićs who were, despite constant help from Bosnian Ban Stjepan II, were forced to sign a peace treaty with Prince Nelipac and compensate him for the war. The Hungarian King Charles Robert did not watch easily as his subjected lands were being war-torn. He was preparing to move to Croatia and depose Nelipac. Stjepan II seized the opportunity and pushed against Nelipac, talking some of his lands for himself.

Soon, Ban Stephen II of Kotroman would finally stop the constant threat of the Western Crusades to the Bogumil population of Bosnia. In 1339, during Franciscan General Gerard's stay at the Hungarian Court of King Charles Robert, Gerard paid a visit to the Bosnian Ban to negotiate an arranged prosecution of Bosnia's heretics. At first, Stephen II thought that it was time to bow to the Roman Catholic Church; but he realised that the neighboring Shismatics might stand up to him if he moved against the Bogumils, their allies. In addition, Serbia wanted a reason to involve itself in a conflict, for its King desired revenge for the losses in the Bosnian war against the Serbs, so Ban Stephen abandoned the thought. Nevertheless, Stephen's diplomatic efforts convinced the Pope that he was a loyal Roman Catholic Christian in February 1340, once again saving Bosnia.

After the final peace between the Bosnian Ban and the Papacy, the Roman Catholic Church started to grow in influence rapidly throughout Bosnia in 1340 - 1343. The Roman Catholic Monks have constructed numerous Monasteries in Usora and Hum and baptised a large number of Bosnia's heretics on their way to Ston in the Republic of Dubrovnik. This process eventually brought on the demise of the Bosnian Church that held supremacy over the religious life in Bosnia.

Changes in the throne[edit]

In 1342 Hungarian King Charles Robert died and so did Bosnian Ban Stephen II of Kotroman's past ally, Ban Mikac of Slavonia in 1343. This gave rise to a new idea. The opportunity arose to detach Bosnia from the Kingdom of Hungary and for Ban Stephen II to rule it independently, vassalaged to no one. He immediately sought help from Hungary's greatest foe, the Republic of Venice. In the Summer of 1343 he sent an emissary to Venice, proposing an alliance. The Venetians wanted to act only if victory was certain, so they wanted another member in their alliance; their traditional ally, the Kingdom of Serbs. The Serbian King was, unfortunately for the Venetians, busy with other matters. Venice was just waging war against Prince Nelipac of Croatia, so it only agreed to arm and help build up Bosnia's military, but begged Stephen II not to move against Hungary without it. It became evident that the Venetians only wanted to push Ban Stephen II of Kotroman against Nelipac for additional support.

In 1344 Croatia's Prince Nelipac unexpectedly died; so the new Hungarian King ordered the new Slavonian Ban Nikola to move and take Knin from Nelipac's widow Vladislava and son Ivan. Vladislava initially decided to cede to all Regal demands when she saw the Royal Hungarian Army in front of Knin. She attempted to negotiate help from Venice, but the Croatian nobility stopped her from this because of their most recent war with them. The Hungarian King became impatient, so he commanded Ban Nikola to move to Knin immediately and ordered Ban Stephen II of Kotroman to send help at once. Ban Stephen came leading his forces. A large 10,000 strong Army was amassed near Knin, and this was only the first wave as the main part of the Army was arriving headed by the Hungarian King himself. This time Princess Vladislava of Nelipac had no choice but to accept demands. The Hungarian King planned the shape of his coastal territories in the new order that he would create. He annexed several cities from the Nelipac family of Croatia, but left them the two largest until Stephen II gave the Cetina region to Croatia. Ban Stephen II of Kotroman swore an Oath to respect the treaty in front of his Twelve Knights, whom he had just formed out of the most valiant and experienced of the Bosnian Nobility to assist him in his reign. In the middle of 1345 the new order was ratified in Bihać. The Hungarian King subsequently issued a proclamation in Zagreb accepting Ban Stephen II as a member of his family and returned with his 30,000 men to Hungary before attempting to reconquer the coastal cities taken by the Venetians.

Upon the numerous changes, Zadar switched side from Venice back to Hungary, but their letter missed the Hungarian King during his stay in Bihać, so they had to seek alternative allies whom they found in the Croatian Šubić dynasty and the Serbian King Stefan Dušan. When it became evident that the Venetians were going to attack, Zadar asked Hungary directly to intervene. The Hungarian King ordered Ban Stephen II of Kotroman and Ban Nikola of Slavonia to move with their forces in assistance. The two Bans moved with their 10,000 man Army to Zadar, only to find out that the Venetians had constructed an improvised Wooden Fortification with 28 Bastidas (Towers), huge enough to man the entire Venetian Army. Deciding not to move against the Venetians, the Bans accepted a bribe of 1,000 florins each, although Zadar had accused them of treason.

The Hungarian King was amassing forces for a new strike against the Venetian positions, but both parties had elected the new Emperor of All Serbs, Albanians, Greeks and Bulgarians Stefan Dušan to assist Ban Stephen II of Kotroman and form a mediation party to decide a truce between the two warring sides. Eventually, all agreements failed. In the spring of 1346 the Hungarian King arrived with his vast Royal Army of 100,000 men of whom more than 30,000 were Horsemen and [Man-at-Arms|Men-at-Arms] and 10,000 soldiers under Ban Stephen II arrived. The Venetians had attempted to bribe several Hungarian Generals, including the Bosnian Ban. Ban Stephen II of Kotroman gave away the positions of the Hungarian troops for a handsome sum of money, thereby earning the nickname the Devil's Student. On 1 July 1346 a fierce clash occurred, which the Hungarian side eventually won only due to numerical superiority and achieved a "Pyrrhic Victory" with more than 7,000 Hungarian troops killed in battle Hungarians. The Hungarian King lost trust in Ban Stephen II of Kotroman and, losing confidence as well, returned to Hungary.

Ban Stjepan II Kotromanić played [Venetia|Venice] and Hungary against each other, slowly ruling Bosnia more and more independently and soon initiated a conspiracy with some members of the Croatian and Hungarian nobility against his Hungarian Liege. In 1346 Zadar finally returned to Venice, and the Hungarian King, seeing that he had lost the war, made peace in 1348. Ban of Croatia Mladen II Šubić was greatly opposed to Stephen II's policy, accusing him of treason and the relations between the two Bans worsened ever afterwards. Bosnian Ban Stephen II's relations with [Venetia|Venice] started to improve, as the Bosnian Bishop Peregreen was a notable Venetian member of the Franciscan Order.

More wars against the Serbia[edit]

The Serbian Emperor Stefan Dušan was constantly demanding that Ban Stephen II of Kotroman return the Hum area to the Nemanjić dynasty, but Stephen II always refused.

Ban Stepen's Bosnia was weaker than the Serbian Empire, so he asked Venice, as a mutual ally, to act as a mediator. Eventually the Serbian Emperor accepted a three-year non-aggression pact because he was busy with his conflicts with the Byzantine Empire. The Bosnian Ban immediately proceeded with war preparations and went to construct a fortress in the Hum land right near the river of Neretva. He also attempted to convince the Venetians to give him naval support in the case of war with the Tsar. The Venetians discouraged him from building a fort, but he constructed it anyway. The distant wars of Tsar Stefan Dušan gave Stephen II of Kotroman the chance to move first. In the Christmas of 1349 Bosnia's Ban moved quickly, proceeding all the way across Konavli which he raided heavily until he reached the Bay of Kotor. Trebinje, Rudine and Gacko were razed during his military operations. Venice attempted to make another peace between the warring sides, but the Serbian emperor agreed only to stall his counterattack a little.

In October 1350, Tsar Stefan Dušan crossed the river of Drina with 50,000 horsemen and 30,000 Infantriers. Ban Stephen II of Kotroman did not have the strength to meet his army in open battle, so he decided to use a guerrilla tactic. Using trees he blockaded all major roads in Bosnia and slowly withdrew his forces to forests, mountains and forts that were easier to defend. He planned the defence of Bosnia, splitting his forces enough to defend every possible entryway into his realm. His plan soon fell to dust, as Tsar Dušan had bribed a number of his most trusted servants who crossed to the Serbian side.

Losing control over the conflict, Ban Stephen II was shocked. Not knowing what to do further, he retreated with his most trusted men to the most unreachable mountains of Bosnia. He no longer knew whom he could trust, so he regularly dismissed and recruited new men to serve him. His older daughter Jelisaveta hid from Dušan in Bosnia's strongest fortification of Bobovac. Tsar Dušan's forces easily defeated the scattered Bosnian squadrons and went on a campaign to slowly conquer Bosnia. Bobovac was besieged, but Dušan failed to seize it, so he ordered his armies to raid Bosnia. After he created a strong foothold of his forces in Bosnia, he sent a portion of his Army on raiding quests towards Cetina and the other to Croatia towards Krka, while he returned with the rest of his troops to Serbia to resolve new conflicts that the Byzantines stirred in Macedonia.

The failed siege of Bubovac and the retreat of Dušan from the main Army from Bosnia gave hope to Stephen II of Kotroman. Ban Stephen II therefore won the war, even though he lost all battles. This encouraged the Ban to refuse all suggestions from Dušan to share Hum as a common area as joint rulers. Dušan ordered his forces to retreat to Hum and keep only that. Ban Stephen II soon launched a military campaign to conquer all the territories that he had previously lost to Dušan. The Republic of Ragusa was enraged by the war over the Hum because it greatly damaged their trade, so, backed up by the Venetian Republic, Dubrovnik suggested a peace to Dušan that would constitute a marriage between the Emperor's son King Uroš and Stephen II of Kotroman's daughter Jelisaveta. The peace treaty also required the giving of the Hum area to Stephen II, but as a land of the Nemanjić. Stephen II had better plans for his daughter, so he refused the agreement. Ban Stephen gambled considering that a large multi-ethnic Empire ruled autocratically by one man could not succeed. He was eventually proved right, as he witnessed the first traces of demise of Dušan's Tsardom and retook control over Bosnia.

Later reign[edit]

The rest of Ban Stephen II of Kotroman's reign passed mostly in peace. The only conflict that he had was a dispute with the Republic of Venice and Dubrovnik since the Ban's men had raided their trade caravan. The Ban managed to elevate his supporter, Monk Petergreen as the new Bosnian Bishop. After 1352 Stephen II of Kotroman referred to himself as Bosnia's Herzeg (or herceg) in resemblance of the German title. The same year he gave his sister or niece, Marija, in marriage to Count Ulrich of Helfenstein, which was sanctioned by the Hungarian King. He sent his daughter Catherine (some sources describe Catherine as the daughter of Stephen's brother Vladislav) to marry Count Herman I of Celje, but the actual marriage happened long after Stephen II's death.

Elisabeth of Poland, the mother of the Hungarian King had heard that Stephen II had a little daughter Elizabeth, and she insisted immediately on bringing her to the Hungarian Court for fosterage. Stephen was reluctant at first, but eventually dispatched Elizabeth. After three years of life at the Hungarian Court, the King's mother invited Stephen II of Kotroman to Hungary and arranged a marriage so that she would become the King's second wife. The first queen, a Bohemian princess had died earlier without children. The Bosnian Ban became heavily ill and could not be present at the actual wedding. On 20 June 1353, it was discovered that Elizabeth and the Hungarian King were related in the fourth degree through a common ancestor, a Duke of Kujavia in Poland (some have also insinuated a link through a branch of the House of Nemanja), so the Roman Catholic Church regarded the marriage to be in the prohibited degree of consanguinity and some eccleasiastics were tempted to curse the couple. Later the same year Pope Innocent IV wrote to the Bishop in Zagreb granting a dispensation for the marriage and forgiving the sin.

After Stephen II's death, his daughter Elizabeth, Queen of Hungary and Poland, gave birth to Stephen's three granddaughters (one died young), of whom Mary I of Hungary was to succeed her father as reigning Queen of Hungary, and Hedwig was to succeed Louis as reigning Queen of Poland. Elizabeth of Bosnia acted as the Regent of Hungary from 1382 onwards on behalf of her daughter Queen Mary, but was murdered in 1387. However, these girls proved unable to have surviving children, so Elizabeth's progeny went extinct with the death of Hedwig, the last surviving of them, in 1399.

Death[edit]

Stepan II Kotromanić died in September 1353. He was ceremonially buried in his own foundation, the Roman Catholic Church of Saint Nicholas of the "Little Brother" in Mile, near Visoko. Upon his death his nephew, Tvrtko, son of Stephen's brother and co-regent Prince Vladislav inherited the title of Ban of Bosnia as Stephen II of Kotroman had previously arranged. Although, Tvrtko was still to young to rule, so Prince Vladislav asserted the actual rule over Bosnia. Tvrtko would become the first Bosnian king to be crowned in an orthodox monastery Mileseva, on the Saint Sava grave.

Marriages and children[edit]

Bosnian Ban Stjepan II Kotromanić was married three times:

  • daughter of Count Meinhard of Ortenburg in Carniola (concluded from sources, this remained an engagement only, the couple not having come to live together)
  • daughter of a Tsar of Bulgaria, unclear which tsar, up to 1329 (historical connections place this marriage during the Serbian activities of Michael Asen III of Bulgaria, but the bride's identity and parentage remains unclear - she most probably was not Michael's daughter, but possibly a daughter of his some predecessor, or a female relative of his)
  • Elizabeth of Kuyavia, daughter of Duke Casimir, nephew of Ladislaus the Short, king of Poland, since 1339

Bosnian Ban Stjepan II of Kotroman had at most three children:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fine, John Van Antwerp (1994). The Late Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Late Twelfth Century to the Ottoman Conquest. Michigan: The University of Michigan Press. p. 281. ISBN 0472100793. 
  2. ^ http://www.camo.ch/grbovibhvlastele.htm
  3. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=Ki1icLbr_QQC&pg=PA45
  • Franz Miklosich, Monumenta Serbica, Vienna 1858, p. 105-109; obtained from slike/1333.GIF at [1]
  • 1Mak Dizdar, Antologija starih bosanskih tekstova, Alef
  • Istorija za I razred gimnazije opšteg i društveno-jezickog smera, Smilja Marjanović-Dušanić and Marko Šujica, Belgrade, 2002
  • Srpske dinastije, Andrija Veselinović and Radoš Ljušić, Platoneum, Novi Sad, 2001

External links[edit]


Regnal titles
Preceded by
Stephen I Kotroman
Bosnian Ban
1314–1353
Succeeded by
Tvrtko I