Emperor of the Serbs

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Emperor of the Serbs
Flag of the Serbian Empire, reconstruction.svg
First monarch Stefan Uroš IV Dušan
Last monarch Stefan Uroš V
Formation 16 April 1346
Abolition 2/4 December 1371
Appointer Hereditary

The Emperor of the Serbs or Emperor of the Serbs and Greeks (Serbian: Цар Срба и Грка, Car Srba i Grka, Greek: Bασιλεὺς καὶ αὐτoκράτωρ Σερβίας καὶ Pωμανίας) was the imperial title used during the Serbian Empire (1345–1371), by only two monarchs; Stefan Uroš IV Dušan the Mighty and Stefan Uroš V the Weak.


Coronation of Stefan Uroš IV Dušan.

In 1345 Stefan Uroš IV Dušan proclaimed himself Emperor (Tsar) and was crowned as such at Skopje on 16 April 1346 by the newly created Patriarch of Serbia, and by the Patriarch of Bulgaria and the autocephalous Archbishop of Ohrid.[1] His imperial title was recognised by Bulgaria and various other neighbors and trading partners but not by the Byzantine Empire.

When Stefan Uroš IV Dušan died in 1355, his son Stefan Uroš V became the next "Emperor of the Serb and Greeks". The new emperor's uncle Simeon Uroš contested the succession and claimed the same titles as a dynast in Thessaly. After his death around 1370, he was succeeded in his claims by his son John Uroš, who retired to a monastery in about 1373.

With the extinction of the House of Nemanjić in Serbia in 1371, the imperial title became obsolete. The royal title was preserved by Vukašin Mrnjavčević, a Serbian ruler in Macedonia, who had been associated by Stefan Uroš V as king, but lapsed on the death of his son Marko in 1395. The Bosnian ban Tvrtko I also assumed the Serbian royal title, but he and his heirs reigned as kings of Serbs and Bosnia, while Serbian part in fact remained under the rule of princes, occasionally granted the Byzantine title of despotēs.

Post-nemanyid ruler Lazar Hrebeljanović is referred to as Tsar Lazar in Serbian epic tradition, although he never wore the title.

Emperors (1346–1371)[edit]

Portrait Name Emperor From Emperor Until Relationship with Predecessor(s)
Serbian Emperor Stefan Dušan, cropped.jpg Stefan Uroš IV Dušan
the Mighty
16 April 1346 20 December 1355 Son of Stefan Uroš III Dečanski
UrosV.jpg Stefan Uroš V
the Weak
20 December 1355 2/4 December 1371 Son of Stefan Uroš IV Dušan

Empress of Serbia[edit]

As consorts of the Serbian Emperor, the following wore the title:

  • Helena of Bulgaria, married Stefan Uroš IV Dušan on 19 April 1332, regent of Serbia between 1355–1356

Titular emperors[edit]

Portrait Name Real title Claiming years Relationship with Nemanjić
Loza Nemanjica Decani c 5 2.jpg Simeon Uroš Despot of Epirus and Thessaly
1356–1370 Uncle of Stefan Uroš V. He was appointed governor in the southwestern conquered regions in 1348. He proclaimed himself "Emperor of Serbs and Greeks" in 1356, after the death of Dušan, however against the wishes of nobility of Serbia proper and Macedonia.
Megala4.png Jovan Uroš Ruler of Thessaly
1370–1373 Son of Simeon Uroš. Succeeded his father as titular Emperor and ruled an area of Thessaly before taking monastic vows. In 1384–1385 he helped his sister Empress Maria Angelina Doukaina Palaiologina govern Epirus.

Titular empresses of Serbia[edit]

As relatives to the Serbian Emperors or claimants to that title, the following claimed it:[2]

Titular emperor of Serbia[edit]

Portrait Name Emperor From Emperor Until Relationship with Predecessor(s)
Tsar Jovan Nenad monument crop.jpg Jovan Nenad
the Black
1526 1527 He himself claimed to be "a descendant of Serbian and Byzantine rulers"

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Temperley Harold William Vazeille (2009). History of Serbia, BiblioLife, p. 72. ISBN 1-113-20142-8
  2. ^ Istorijsko Društvo NR Srbije 1953, p. 20