Voisava Tripalda

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Ethnicity Disputed
Known for Mother of Skanderbeg
Religion Christianity[B]
Spouse(s) Gjon Kastrioti
Children 9 children, see Family

Voisava, known erraneously as Voisava Tripalda[A] (fl. 1402–05) was a noble woman, the wife of Gjon Kastrioti, with whom she had nine children, one of whom was the most powerful Albanian nobleman in history, proclaimed national hero George Kastrioti "Skanderbeg".

Early sources[edit]

The earliest works mentioning Voisava are:

  • Marin Barleti (1450–1513), the Albanian-Venetian historian, wrote in his biography of Skanderbeg (published between 1508–10), that her "father was a Triballian nobleman".[1][2] In another chapter, when talking about the inhabitants of Upper Debar that defended Svetigrad, he calls them "Bulgarians or Triballi".[3] However, the term "Triballians" (Triballoi) appears frequently in Byzantine and other European works of the Middle Ages, referring exclusively to Serbs.[4][5][6]
  • Gjon Muzaka (fl. 1510), an Albanian nobleman of the Muzaka family, alleged in his Muzaka Chronicle (published in 1510) that the "Marquis of Tripalda" was maternally related to the Muzaka, and that Voisava was related to the Marquis.[7][clarification needed] Furthermore, in another chapter, he explains that "Tribali" is another name for Serbs.[8]

Modern sources[edit]

  • Johann Georg von Hahn (1811–1869), an Austrian expert in Albanian studies, had several theses on the geneaology of Voisava in Albanesische Studien (1854), including a possible relation with the Branai family or Vrana Konti.[9]
  • Karl Hopf (1832–1873), a German historian and expert in Byzantine studies, in Chroniques Greco-romanes (1873) concluded that Voisava was daughter of a Serbian lord from Polog.[10]
  • Boban Petrovski (b. 1972), a modern Macedonian historian and author of Voisava Tribalda (2006), the only work about Voisava and her possible geneaologies, concluded that Voisava was of undoubtedly Slavic origin, most likely Serb, as she was the daughter of a lord of the "Triballians" (Serbs) in Polog, that had ruled before the Ottoman conquest.[16] He had several theses on the ultimate identity of Voisava's father: "If the Branković family indeed governed Polog in the last decade of the 14th century, it arises the chance that Voisava was a daughter of Grgur Branković or even Vuk Branković."[17]
  • Strashimir Dimitrov (1892–1960), a Bulgarian historian, said that Vojsava was a daughter of a local Bulgarian lord (boyar) from Macedonia.[18]
  • Oliver Schmitt (b. 1973), a professor of South-East European history at Vienna University, in his biography Skanderbeg: Der neue Alexander auf dem Balkan (2009) supported that she was a Serbian noblewoman of the Branković family and a close relative to Mara Branković.[19]


Voisava married Gjon Kastrioti, the "Lord of a part of Albania" (dominus partium Albanie). She bore 9 children with Gjon, 4 sons and 5 daughters:


  1. ^ Name: Barleti gives her name as simply "Voisava",[1] without any surname. According to Muzaka her name was "Voisava Tripalda".[23] According to Potter,[24] and Hahn, the surname added by Muzaka is a corruption or derivative from Barleti's quote on the Triballi.[25][26] Her name is also rendered Vojsava. The name "Voisava" is Slavic,[27][28] derived from Vojislava.[29]
  2. ^ Religion: The religion of Gjon Kastrioti, Voisava's husband, was directly influenced by the international balance of political powers. When he was an ally of Venice, in period 1407—1410, he was Roman Catholic. After he allied himself with Stefan Lazarević, despot of Serbian Despotate in period 1419—1426, he converted to Orthodoxy, and in 1431 he was converted to Islam due to his vassalage to the Ottoman Empire.[30]


  1. ^ a b Barletius, l. I, fo 2: «uxori Voisavae nomen erat non indignam eo viro tum pater nobilissimus Triballorum princeps, tum forma...»
  2. ^ Gegaj 1937, p. 40
  3. ^ Barletius, l. V, fo. 62: "Superior Dibra montuosa est et aspera, ferax tarnen et Macedoniam tum ipsa loci vicinitate, tum similitudine morum contingens. Bulgari sive Tribali habitant"
  4. ^ The Journal of Hellenic Studies. Council of the Society. 1922. p. 48. Byzantine historians [...] calling [...] Serbs Triballians 
  5. ^ Fanula Papazoglu (1978). The Central Balkan Tribe in Pre-Roman Times: Triballi, Autariatae, Dardanians, Scordisci and Moesians. Hakkert. ISBN 978-90-256-0793-7. The Triballi lived deep in the interior of the Balkan Peninsula, between the lower course of the Southern Morava and the ... many centuries later, learned Byzantine writers, seeking the ancient name for the Serbs, chose the term Triballi as the ... 
  6. ^ Zbornik radova Vizantološkog instituta 44 (2). Naučno delo. 2007. The Serbs were often called Triballi by Byzantine authors. 
  7. ^ Musachi, p. 301: "Accio sappiate, in che modo c'era parente il Signor marchese della Tripalda, ve dico, che l'e per parte de donna... (Know that the Marquis of Tripalda is related to us by a female line);
  8. ^ Hopf 1873, p. 313: "...Tribali overo Misii ch' hoggi se nominato Serviani.".
  9. ^ Hahn, p. 309, elaborating on possible relation of Voisava with the Branai family or Vrana Konti.
  10. ^ Hopf 1873, p. 533: "fille du seigneur (Serbe) de Polog".
  11. ^ Noli 1947, p. 189, note 33.
  12. ^ Babinger 1992, p. 53.
  13. ^ Hodgkinson, p. 240
  14. ^ Schmitt 2009, p. 8: "Gelandekundige, wie etwa ein britischer Geheimdienstoffizier des Zweiten Weltkriegs (H.Hodgkinson), wiederum, hatten keine Archivarbeit betrieben"
  15. ^ James Pettifer (2008). "Obituary: Harry Hodgkinson". London, United Kingdom: The Independent. Retrieved 27 November 2010. throughout his life he fought for the Albanian cause and took up strong anti-Serb and anti-Bulgarian positions 
  16. ^ Petrovski 2006, pp. 2, 3, 10.
  17. ^ Petrovski 2006, "Доколку ја прифатиме оваа варијанта, според која Бранковиките биле господари на/во Полог до почетког на последната деценија од XIV век, во тој случај произлегува дека Воисава била керка на Гргур или пак, можеби на Вук Бранковик.".
  18. ^ Димитров, Страшимир: Георги Кастриоти-Скендербег и неговата освободителна борба, В: Г. Кастриоти Скендербег 1468-1968 г. София, сп. “Балкани”, БАН, No2, 1970, стр. 11.
  19. ^ Schmitt (2009), pp. 44, 45.; "Skanderbegs Mutter Vojsava war eine Serbin aus der einflussreichen Familie Brankovic."
  20. ^ a b c Nicol 1997, [1] p. 96
  21. ^ Noli 1947, p. 64: "Vlajka me Stefan Stres Balshën"
  22. ^ Gopčević 1914, p. 460: "Bezüglich der Strez herrscht Verwirrung. Hopf macht Ivo und Gojko BalSid zu Söhnen des Stefan Strez, welcher Vlajka Kastriota geheiratet hätte und Sohn des Gjuragj Balšić gewesen wäre, eines Bastards des Gjuragj I.".
  23. ^ Hopf 1873, p. 301, quoting Muzaka: "Muzachi "E la madre de detto Signor Scanderbeg, moglie del detto Signor Giovanni, hebbe nome Signora Voisava Tripalda e venne da bonna parte"
  24. ^ JSTOR: The English Historical Review, Vol. 53, No. 209 (Jan., 1938), pp. 129-131
  25. ^ J.G. von Hahn, Reise durch die Gebiet des Drin und Wardar, p. 305: "Skanderbeg's Mutter wird von dem Despoten einmal Visava Tribalda (*), ein andersmal Voisava Tripalda genannt, ...". (*)(Footnote 3) "Dieser Name mag vielleicth Anlass zu der sonderbaren Angabe des Barletius S. 4 gegeben haben, dass ihr Vater nobilissimus Tribalorum princeps gewesen sei." ("Tribalda" or "Tripalda" is a corruption or derivative from Barleti's quotation on Triballi)
  26. ^ Denkschriften Vol. 16, 1869, p. 117
  27. ^ *Gegaj, Athanase (1937), L'Albanie et l'Invasion turque au XVe siècle (in French), Universite de Louvain, p. 36, OCLC 652265147, Le nom Voisava est certes d'origine slave, mais on ne peut en conclure, comme le fait JORGA, Brève histoire 
  28. ^ Jireček, Geschichle der Bulgaren, t. II, p. 368: "affirme aussi l'origine slave des Castriota"
  29. ^ Šimundić 1988, p. 370
  30. ^ Egro 2010, p. 20: "Gjon Kastrioti...was a Roman Catholic from 1407-1410, as an ally of Venice ... he converted to Orthodoxy from 1419-1426, accepting the alliance of Stephen Lazarevic of Serbia.".