|Lady of Krujë (First reign)|
|Reign||1388 - 1392 (First reign)|
|Lady of Krujë (Second reign, with Konstantin Balšić, Ottoman vassal)|
|Reign||1394 - 1402|
|Lady of Krujë (Second reign, Ottoman vassal)|
|Reign||1402 - 1403|
|Spouse(s)||Marco Barbarigo (1st), Konstantin Balšić (2nd)|
Helena Thopia (fl. 1388–1403) was an Albanian princess of the Thopia family who held the Krujë region as sovereign lady for two terms; 1388-1392 and 1394-1403.
The Albanians are an ethnic group native to the Balkan Peninsula and are identified by a common Albanian ancestry, culture, history and language. They primarily live in Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia as well as in Croatia, Greece and Italy. They also constitute a diaspora with several communities established in the Americas, Europe and Oceania.
Thopia family was one of the most powerful Albanian feudal families in the Late Middle Ages. It was initially part of the nobility of the Angevin Kingdom of Albania.
Krujë is a town and a municipality in north central Albania. Located between Mount Krujë and the Ishëm River, the city is only 20 km north from the capital of Albania, Tirana.
She was married to Marco Barbarigo, a Venetian nobleman. After the death of her father, Karl Topia, in 1388, she inherited the castle of Krujë and the surrounding region. In 1392 as a result of the hostilities between her husband and the Venetian forces, her cousin, Niketa Thopia, a Venice loyal, attacked the city of Krujë and forced them to find refuge among the Balšić family.
Marco Barbarigo was a Venetian nobleman, who married Helena Thopia and thus inherited the rule of Croia (Krujë), which he initially held under Venetian and later, after quarrelling with Venetian noblemen, Ottoman suzerainty, until in late 1394 when he was defeated by Venetian subject Niketa Thopia and forced into exile at the court of Đurađ II Balšić. He was appointed the Venetian governor of Cattaro (Kotor) in ca. 1422.
The Republic of Venice or Venetian Republic, traditionally known as La Serenissima was a sovereign state and maritime republic in northeastern Italy, which existed for over a millennium between the 7th century and the 18th century from 697 AD until 1797 AD. It was based in the lagoon communities of the historically prosperous city of Venice, and was a leading European economic and trading power during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
Niketa Thopia was the Lord of Krujë between 1392—1394 and 1403—1415. He was a member of the Thopia family and the son of Karl Topia, the Prince of Albania.
In 1394 Konstantin Balšić, who was appointed by the Ottomans to govern Krujë, married her. Konstantin ruled as an Ottoman vassal and was killed in 1402. In 1403 Niketa Thopia captured the castle from Helena.After Konstantin's death Helena and their son Stefan first went to Venice and then lived with her sister Maria.
Konstantin Balšić, was a lord of the Balšić family, who ruled over lands in northern Albania.
She married Marco Barbarigo, and then Konstantin Balšić in 1394. She had a son with Konstantin, Stefan Maramonte.
Stefan Balšić, known as Stefan Maramonte, was a Zetan nobleman. He was the son of Konstantin Balšić and Helena Thopia. After Konstantin's death (1402), Helena entered the Republic of Venice and then lived with her sister Maria. Since Maria was married to Phillip Maramonte, the Venetians and Ragusans often referred to Stefan Balšić with the name Maramonte. He was initially a close associate to Zetan lord Balša III, being his vassal. Balša III and Stefan fought against the Republic of Venice, and Stefan helped in the administration of the land as co-ruler with Balša III, he did however not succeed Balša III. Balša III, who died on 28 April 1421, had decided to pass the rule of Zeta to his uncle, the Serbian Despot Stefan Lazarević. When the Second Scutari War between Venice and Despot Stefan began, he [...]. Stefan left Apulia in the summer of 1426, seeking to take Zeta. During the 1427–28 conflict, Maramonte went to the Ottoman court where he sought the support of Sultan Murad II for his appointment as the Lord of Zeta. There, he met Skanderbeg, who was a hostage at the Ottoman court. Maramonte married Vlajka Kastrioti, the sister of Skanderbeg. Supported by the Ottomans, Maramonte, accompanied by Gojčin Crnojević and Little Tanush, plundered the region around Scutari and Ulcinj, and attacked Drivast in 1429, but failed to capture it. Since his attempts failed, Maramonte surrendered to the Venetians and served as their military officer in the campaigns in Flanders and Lombardia.
The League of Lezhë was a military alliance of Albanian feudal lords forged in Lezhë on 2 March 1444, with Skanderbeg as leader of the regional Albanian and Serbian chieftains united against the Ottoman Empire.
Konstantin Dejanović was a Serbian magnate that ruled a large province in eastern Macedonia under Ottoman suzerainty, during the fall of the Serbian Empire. He succeeded his older brother Jovan Dragaš, who had been an Ottoman vassal since the Battle of Maritsa (1371) which had devastated part of the Serbian nobility. The brothers had their own government and minted coins according to the Nemanjić style. His daughter Jelena married Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaiologos in 1392. He fell at the Battle of Rovine, serving the Ottomans against Wallachia, fighting alongside Serbian magnates Stefan Lazarević and Marko Mrnjavčević.
Gjergj Arianiti or George Aryaniti (1383–1462) was an Albanian lord who led several campaigns against the Ottoman Empire. He was father of Donika, the ally of Scanderbeg, as well as great uncle of Moisi Arianit Golemi. Gjergj Arianiti is enumerated in Albanian folk tellings. Gjergj Arianiti was Skanderbeg's ally within League of Lezhë only for a short period of time because he abandoned their alliance after the defeat in Berat in 1450. Robert Elsie emphasizes that Arianiti was often Skanderbeg's rival who allied with the Kingdom of Naples in 1446, left his alliance with Skanderbeg by 1449 and allied with Venice in 1456.
The Crnojević was a medieval noble family that held Zeta, or parts of it; a region north of Lake Skadar corresponding to southern Montenegro and northern Albania, from 1326 to 1362, then 1403 until 1515. Its progenitor Đuraš Ilijić, was the head of Upper Zeta in the Medieval Kingdom of Serbia and Empire, under Stefan Dečanski, Dušan the Mighty and Stefan Uroš V. Đuraš was killed in 1362 by the Balšić family, the holders of Lower Zeta ; Zeta was in the hands of the Balšići under nominal Imperial rule until 1421, when Serbian Despot Stefan Lazarević was given the province by Balša III (1403–1421). The family fought its rivals following the murder of Đuraš, and the Crnojevićs controlled Budva from 1392 until 1396, when Radič Crnojević was murdered by the Balšićs. They are mentioned again in 1403, as vassals of the Republic of Venice, taking power in their hereditary lands.
Đurađ Balšić, also known as Đurađ I was the Lord of Zeta between 1362 and 13 January 1378. He was the eldest of the three sons of Balša I, and belonged to the Balšić family.
Đurađ Stracimirović, or Đurađ II was the Lord of Zeta from 1385 to 1403, as a member of the Balšić noble family. He was the son of Stracimir Balšić, and succeeded his paternal uncle Balša II in ruling Zeta. He reigned from 1386 up to 1389 in the still officially undissolved Serbian Empire in the form of a family alliance, then up to 1395 as an Ottoman vassal. He ruled until his death in 1403, when he was succeeded by his only son, Balša III. He is known in Serbian epic poetry as Strahinja Banović.
Karl Thopia was an Albanian feudal prince and warlord who ruled Albania from the middle of the 14th century until the first Ottoman conquest of Albania. Thopia usually maintained good relations with the Roman Curia.
Balša Stracimirović or Balša III was the fifth and last ruler of Zeta from the Balšić noble family, from April 1403 to April 1421. He was the son of Đurađ II and Jelena Lazarević.
The House of Kastrioti was an Albanian royal and noble family, active in the 14th and 15th centuries as the rulers of the Principality of Kastrioti. The first Kastrioti mentioned in historical documents was a kephale of Kaninë in 1368. At the beginning of the 15th century the family controlled the region around Debar at the end of the 14th and the beginning of the 15th century. The most notable member was Skanderbeg, a magnate and general, regarded as an Albanian national hero. After the fall of the Principality and Skanderbeg's death in 1468 the Kastrioti family gave their allegiance to the Kingdom of Naples and were given control over the Duchy of San Pietro in Galatina and the County of Soleto in the Province of Lecce, Italy, where a maternal branch of the family still exists today as part of the Sanseverino family.
George Thopia was the Lord of Durazzo (Durrës) from 1388 to 1392. He was the son of Karl Topia and Vojislava Balšić. George married Voislava (Teodora), the daughter of sevastokrator Branko Mladenović, of the Serbian Branković family.
Principality of Albania (1368–1392) was an Albanian principality formed after the disestablishment of Kingdom of Albania, by Karl Thopia. The principality changed hands between the Thopia dynasty and the Balšić dynasty, until 1392, when Durrës was annexed by the Republic of Venice.
Zeta was one of the medieval polities that existed between 1356 and 1421, whose territory encompassed parts of present-day Montenegro and northern Albania, ruled by the Balšić family.
Ivan Strez Balšić and his brothers George Strez and Gojko Balšić were the lords of Misia, a coastal area from the White Drin towards the Adriatic. The brothers were members of the Balšić family, which earlier held Zeta, but had now placed itself among the nobility in Albania. They participated in founding of the League of Lezhë, an alliance led by their maternal uncle Skanderbeg. Ivan and Gojko supported Skanderbeg until he died in 1468 and then continued to fight against Ottomans together with Venetian forces. After Skanderbeg's death Venice installed Ivan Strez Balšić as Skanderbeg's successor.
Paternal Balšić family members in bold.
Skanderbeg's rebellion was an almost 25-years long anti-Ottoman rebellion led by renegade Ottoman sanjakbey Skanderbeg on the territory which belonged to the Ottoman sanjaks of Albania, Dibra and Ohrid. This rebellion was result of initial Christian victories in the Crusade of Varna in 1443. After Ottoman defeat in the Battle of Niš Skanderbeg, then sanjakbey of the Sanjak of Debar, mistakenly believed that Christians would succeed in pushing the Ottomans out of Europe. Like many other regional Ottoman officials, he deserted the Ottoman army to raise rebellion in his sanjak of Dibra and the surrounding region. Initially, his plan was successful and soon large parts of the Sanjak of Dibra and north-east parts of the Sanjak of Albania were captured by the rebels who also fought against regular Ottoman forces in the Sanjak of Ohrid.
as Prince of Albania
| Lady of Krujë |
Served alongside: Marco Barbarigo di Croia
| Lady of Krujë |
Served alongside: Konstantin Balšić (1402†)