Dukagjini family

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Dukagjini family
Current region Albania
Earlier spellings Ducagini
Members Pal Dukagjini, Nicholas Dukagjini, Nicholas Pal Dukagjini and Lekë Dukagjini

The Dukagjini family was one of the most important feudal families in medieval Albania.


The term "Ducagini d'Arbania" is first mentioned in a document from Ragusa (Dubrovnik).[1] According to this document, the Ducagini instigated a revolt against Byzantine rule in Bosnia and, in particular, in the city port of Ragusa where they were said to have intervened twice, coming de terra ferma, i.e. overland. They failed and had to submit after the second unsuccessful intervention in Ragusa.[1]

The name Ducagini is thought to derive from the Latin dux (alb. Duka) and the common Albanian name Ghin (Gjin). In fact, in a document dated to 1281, an Albanian chieftain referred as dux Ginius Tanuschus Albanensis[1] is mentioned as an enemy of Angevin rule in Albania and that he was later captured and imprisoned for his actions.[2]

A person with Dukagjini name was mentioned in 1377 document in Dubrovnik, as Nicolaus Tuderovich Duchaghi.[3] It is not possible to connect this person as being relative of any other member of the Dukagjini family.[4] According to Gjon Muzaka (not completely reliable primary source) the coat of arms of Dukagjini family was a white eagle.[5]

History, and branches[edit]

The origins of the family's branches are not clear. In the 15th century, sources appear for two separate branches of the Dukagjin family. The representative of one branch, Gjergj Dukagjini, appears as an owner of some villages near Lezhë and a commander of a force of 40 cavalry and 100 infantry. Although the Venetian Senate accepted his services believing in his loyalty, he supported Zetan lord Balša III and fought against Venice when Balša III captured Venetian possessions near Scutari.[6] Gjergj Dukagjini died before 1409. In 1409 Venetian Senate pardoned his son Nikola (Nikollë) for the activities of his father, based on the request of Dimitrije Jonima.[7]

According to the chronicle of Gjon Muzaka, Gjergj Dukagjini had three sons, Gjergj, Tanush and Nikollë Dukagjini. Nikollë Dukagjini is first mentioned in a document dated to 1409. He was a participant in League of Lezhë, a supporter of Scanderbeg in the Albanian-Ottoman wars and appears to have died somewhere between 1452-1454. His sons, Draga and Gjergj Dukagjini who were killed around 1462, ambushed by other nobleman from Albania, played minor political roles.[2][8]

The Dukagjini had a Slavic chancellery.[9] The Dukagjini remained neutral during the First Scutari War.[10] They supported Serbian Despot Stefan Lazarević during the Second Scutari War until January 1423, when they, alongside some other nobility, were bribed over by the Venetians.[11] They were never mobilized, but left the ranks of Despot Stefan.[11] Although Venetian admiral Francesco Bembo offered money to Gjon Kastrioti, the Dukagjini and to Koja Zaharija in April 1423 to join the Venetian forces against the Serbian Despotate, they refused.[12]

The names of the other branches of Dukagjini's family are mentioned in a Ragusian document from 1387. The brothers Lekë and Paul Dukagjini are described as owners of Lezhë who secured a free pass to Ragusan merchants in their dominion.

Pal Dukagjini (died 1393) had five sons named Tanush (the Little), Progon, Pal (II), Andrea, and Gjon Dukagjini. Pal II Dukagjini was killed in 1402 in Dalmatia while he was returning from Venice; Progon died in 1394. In a later document Tanush appears as an ally of Koja Zaharia and appears to have died somewhere before 1433. Andrea Dukagjini died in 1416, while his brother Gjon became a priest and appears to have died in 1446.

Lekë Dukagjini had two sons, Progon and Tanush (Major) Dukagjini and one daughter Boša who was married to Koja Zaharia.[13] Progon Dukagjini married the girl of Karl Thopia and appears to have been killed in 1402 under Venetian service. Tanush (Major) Dukagjini moved into Shkodër with his family, composed of two sons Pal and Lekë Dukagjini and two girls, of whom we only know one's name, Kale. In 1438, Tanush (Major) Dukagjini was interned in Padua and is not mentioned again in the chronicles.[14]

His little son, Lekë Dukagjini (born in 1420), did not play a great political role and is mentioned for the last time in 1451, as an enemy of Venice. His other son Pal Dukagjini (1411–1458) participated in the League of Lezhë and was an ally of Scanderbeg. On 21 October 1454 Alphonso V of Naples informed Skanderbeg that Pal Dukagjini sent his envoys and declared his loyalty and vassalage to the Kingdom of Naples. Based on that Alphonso V awarded Pal Dukagjini with 300 ducats of annual provisions.[15]

Pal had four sons, Lekë, Nikollë, Progon and Gjergj Dukagjini.[16]

The name of Gjergj Dukagjini is mentioned only once in historical sources, while his brother Progon died before 1471. The other two brothers, Lekë and Nikollë Dukagjini, left the country after the capture of Shkodër in 1479, going to Italy. They returned in 1481 trying to recapture their former territories from the Ottomans. One of their sons, Progon Dukagjini tried to do the same in 1501 but with little success.[16]

After Dukagjini family left the League of Lezhë in 1450, together with Arianiti family, they concluded a peace with Ottoman Empire and started their actions against Skanderbeg.[17]

Dukakinzade Ahmed Pasha (died March 1515) (Albanian: Ahmed Pasha Dukagjini), another descendant of the family, was an Albanian Ottoman statesman. He was grand vizier of the Ottoman Empire from 1512 to 1515.[18]


Pal and Nicholas' possessions[edit]

Pal Dukagjini and his kinsman Nicholas Dukagjini were initially subjects of Lekë Zaharia, a Venetian vassal who had possessions around Shkoder. Nicholas murdered Lekë, and the Dukagjini continued to rule over their villages Buba, Salita, Gurichuchi, Baschina under Venetian vassalage. Pal and Nicholas were part of the League of Lezhë, a military alliance forged in 1444 that sought to capture Albania from the Ottoman Empire, led by Skanderbeg. In 1450 they abandoned Skanderbeg's army and allied with Ottomans against Skanderbeg.[19]


  1. ^ a b c Hammond, Nicholas Geoffrey Lemprière (1976). Migrations and invasions in Greece and adjacent areas. Noyes Press. p. 56. ISBN 978-0-8155-5047-1. Retrieved 21 April 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Historia e Popullit Shqiptar Albanian Academy of Science Tiranë 2002,Toena p. 264
  3. ^ Šufflay, Milan (1925). Srbi i Arbanasi: (njihova simbioza u srednjem vijeku). Seminar za arbanasku filologiju. p. 203. Retrieved 25 December 2013. Osim ovih, kako Musachi veli, pravih Dukadzina (la casa dei veri Du* cagueni) bilo je jos drugih linija (questi altri Ducagini). Takova jedna (Nicolaus Tuderovich Duchaghin) spominje te g. 1377. U Lesu odrzali se oni daleko u tursko doba. 
  4. ^ Spremić, Momčilo (1964). Zbornik Filozofskog fakulteta (in Serbian). Naučno delo. p. 388. Retrieved 7 January 2014. ... али нема могућности да се он родбински веже за неког било старијег било млађег члана куће Дукађина. 
  5. ^ "John Musachi: Brief Chronicle on the Descendants of our Musachi Dynasty". 
  6. ^ Božić, Ivan (1979), Nemirno pomorje XV veka (in Serbian), Beograd: Srpska književna zadruga, p. 355, OCLC 5845972, ... мада је Сенат примио у службу Ђорђа Дукађина у уверењу да ће "увек бити веран нашој влади и послушан нашим управницима" он је убрзо окренуо леђа Млечанима и борио се против њих на страни Балше III.. " 
  7. ^ Božić, Ivan (1979), Nemirno pomorje XV veka (in Serbian), Beograd: Srpska književna zadruga, p. 355, OCLC 5845972, ...Умро је пре 1409, када је Сенат, на молбе Димитрија Јониме, опростио његовом сину Николи очеве поступке против Млечана..." 
  8. ^ Božić, Ivan (1979), Nemirno pomorje XV veka (in Serbian), Beograd: Srpska književna zadruga, p. 379, OCLC 5845972, ...Млечани нису ништа предузимали, Турци нису проваљивали... ситна господа су несметано рашчишћавала старе рачуне. Ту је као жртва пао и Драга Дукађин ..." 
  9. ^ Slijepčević 1983, p. 31

    Дукађини (1387) и Кастриоте (1422) имају словенску канцеларију

  10. ^ Fine 1994, p. 512.
  11. ^ a b Fine 1994, p. 517.
  12. ^ Vujović, Dimitrije; Risto Dragićević, Nikola Đakonović, Milinko Đurović, Mirčeta Đurović, Pavle Mijović, Đoko Pejović, Vlado Strugar (1970), Milinko Đurović, ed., Istorija Crne Gore [History of Montenegro] (in Serbian) II, Titograd: Naučno Delo, p. 144, OCLC 633018773, Франћеско Бембо је настојао да привучена млетачку страну најистакнутије арбанаске господаре. Ивану Кастриоту је нудио 300, Који Закарији 200, а двојици Дукађина по сто дуката....Ни он ту није ништа учинио... 
  13. ^ M. Bešić, Zarij (1970), Istorija Crne Gore / 2. Crna gora u doba oblasnih gospodara. (in Serbian), Titograd: Redakcija za istoiju Crne Gore, p. 101, OCLC 175122851, Како је Којина женабила Боша, сестра Тануша Великог Дукађина 
  14. ^ The Late Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Late Twelfth Century to the Ottoman Conquest Author John Van Antwerp Fine Edition reprint, illustrated Publisher University of Michigan Press, 1994 ISBN 0-472-08260-4, ISBN 978-0-472-08260-5 p. 535-536
  15. ^ Spomenik, Volumes 95-97 (in Serbian). Serbian Academy of Science and Arts. 1942. p. xvi. Retrieved 2 February 2012. Кастел Нови код Напуља, 21. октобар 1454: Краљ Алфонс V јавља Скендербегу да му је Павле Дукађини преко свог посланика изјавио оданост и покорност и да му је као свом вазалу, одредио годишњу провизију од 300 дуката ... 
  16. ^ a b Historia e Popullit Shqiptar Albanian Academy of Science Tiranë 2002,Toena p. 265
  17. ^ Frashëri 1964, p. 78: "In 1450 two powerful aristocratic families, Arianits and Dukagjins, left the league.... Skanderbeg tried to keep them near him. But his efforts failed. The Dukagjins not only did not accede, but on the contrary, concluded peace with Sultan and began to plot against Skanderbeg."
  18. ^ http://www.arnavutum.com/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=123
  19. ^ Frashëri, Kristo (1964), The history of Albania: a brief survey, Shqipëria: Tirana, p. 78, OCLC 230172517, retrieved 23 January 2012, In 1450 two powerful aristocratic families, Arianits and Dukagjins, left the league.... Skanderbeg tried to keep them near him. But his efforts failed. The Dukagjins not only did not accede, but on the contrary, concluded peace with Sultan and began to plot against Skanderbeg.