Uglješa Mrnjavčević

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Jovan Uglješa
Born Jovan Uglješa Mrnjavčević
Died 26 September 1371
Cause of death Killed in action
Title Grand Voivode (Veliki Vojvoda)
Spouse(s) Jelena (Jefimija)
Parent(s) Mrnjava
Domain of Vukašin and Uglješa Mrnjavčević (in 1360).
Domain of King Vukašin Mrnjavčević and Despot Jovan Uglješa (in 1371).

Uglješa Mrnjavčević (Serbian: Угљеша Мрњавчевић; fl. 1346–1371), known as Jovan Uglješa (Јован Угљеша, Bulgarian: Иван/Йоан Углеша) was a Serbian medieval nobleman of the Mrnjavčević family that served the Serbian Empire. He held the title of despot during the rule of Uroš V. His brother was magnate Vukašin Mrnjavčević.


Uglješa was the son of Mrnjava, a treasurer of Helen of Anjou, the queen consort of Stephen Uroš I of Serbia.

He held Travunia in 1346, during the rule of Stephen Uroš IV Dušan of Serbia (1331–1355).[1]

Uglješa married Jelena (later nun Jefimija), daughter of Vojihna, the Caesar of Drama.[2][3] This boosted the power of Uglješa, who would later govern the region alongside his father-in-law.[3] Vojihna died in ca 1360, and his lands were inherited by Jovan Uglješa.[4]

He was given the title of despotes by Empress Helena of Bulgaria in 1365. His province was situated along the lower course of the Struma with Serres as seat. And in order to be regarded as a proper Christian ruler, it was his duty to conform to the traditional practice of patronage. He made substantial donations to monasteries at Mount Athos, particularly Hilandar and repairing and refurbishing Simonopetra monastery in 1364. Like so many other Serbian rulers before and after him, one of the main purposes of his patronage and pilgrimage to the Holy Mountain was to ask the Athonites' blessing on his struggle against the Turks.

His realm was under the religious jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople since 1368. The Patriarch mentioned the master of Raška (another name for Serbia), Jovan Uglješa, in a letter from 1371.

Death and legacy[edit]

With the Ottoman threat rising in the Balkans, Jovan Ugleša and his brothers Vukašin Mrnjavčević and Gojko Mrnjavčević tried to oppose the Turks. Jovan Uglješa was killed on 26 September 1371 in the Battle of Maritsa. Their troops were smashed by those of Ottoman commanders Lala Shahin Pasha and Gazi Evrenos at the Battle of Maritsa in 1371. The defeat resulted in big portions of the region of Macedonia falling under Ottoman power. Additionally, two brothers were killed during the fight. Their courage and self-sacrifice made them heroes of Bulgarian and Serbian epic poetry.


  1. ^ Književno delo monahinje Jefimije, p. 1
  2. ^ Jeffreys 2006, pp. 78-79
  3. ^ a b Fajfric, p. 5
  4. ^ The Late Medieval Balkans, p. 364


  • Dr Željko Fajfrić, Sveta loza Stefana Nemanje, p. 5; 41-50. Šid, 1998
  • 1
  • [1]
  • Rift within the Dynasty
  • Juhas-Georgievska Ljiljana, Književno delo monahinje Jefimije, Zbornik Matice srpske za književnost i jezik, 2002, vol. 50, br. 1-2, str. 57-70, Scindeks document
  • Scindeks document
  • Mikloshich, F & Muller, J. "Acta et diplomata" I, 1860, pp. 571
  • Novakovich, S. "Zakonski spomenici Srpskih drzhava srednjeg veka", 1912, pp. 509
Preceded by
Jelena Nemanjić
Ruler of Serres
Recovery of Serres
by the Byzantine Empire
Title last held by
Stefan Konstantin
Count of Travunia