Tanush Thopia

Last updated
Tanush Thopia
Arolsen Klebeband 01 455 1.jpg
Noble family Thopia family
OccupationMilitary commander

Tanush Thopia or Tanusio Thopia (Albanian : Tanush Topia, Latin : Tanusas Thopius; d. 1467) was an Albanian nobleman and one of the closest collaborators of George Kastrioti Skanderbeg.

Albanian language Indo-European language

Albanian is an Indo-European language spoken by the Albanians in the Balkans and the Albanian diaspora in the Americas, Europe and Oceania. It comprises an independent branch within the Indo-European languages and is not closely related to any other language in Europe.

The Albanian nobility was an elite hereditary ruling class in Albania, parts of the western Balkans and later in parts of the Ottoman world. The Albanian nobility was composed of landowners of vast areas, often in allegiance to states like the Byzantine Empire, various Serbian states, the Republic of Venice, the Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Naples in addition to the Albanian principalities. They often used Byzantine, Latin or Slavic titles, such as sebastokrator, despot, dux, conte and zupan.

Thopia descended from the Thopia family that converted from Orthodox Christianity to Catholicism. [1] In 1444, together with his uncle Andrea Thopia, he participated in the founding of the League of Lezhe, the military alliance led by Skanderbeg. [2] He was a commander of the infantry of the League of Lezhë, and his garrison became famous for their resistance during the Second Siege of Krujë. After that siege he is no longer mentioned in historical sources, and some suppose that he might have been killed in the end of that battle or died soon afterwards. He was a skillful commander and his loyalty to Skanderbeg was undeterred and that was the reason why he was appointed in that delicate position. [3]

Thopia family

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.

Andrea Thopia or Andrew Thopia was 15th century noble man from Albania whose domains included the territory of Scuria. He was a member of the Thopia family and one of the founders of the League of Lezhë.

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.

The name Tanush is an Albanian exonym for Athanassius. [4]

Related Research Articles

Siege of Berat (1455)

The Siege of Berat began July, 1455 at the Albanian city of Berat, when the Albanian army of Skanderbeg besieged the fortress held by Ottoman forces.

Gjergj Arianiti Albanian nobleman

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.

Hamza Kastrioti

Hamza Kastrioti was a 15th-century Albanian nobleman. He was the nephew of George Kastrioti Skanderbeg. Probably born in Ottoman territory, after the death of his father he was raised by Skanderbeg, who took him in his military expeditions. After the Battle of Niš he deserted Ottoman troops together with his uncle Skanderbeg, converted to Christianity and changed his name to Branilo. He supported Skanderbeg's uprising and was the vice captain of Skanderbeg's troops when they captured Kruja in 1443.

Battle of Torvioll

The Battle of Torvioll, also known as the Battle of Lower Dibra, was fought on 29 June 1444 on the Plain of Torvioll, in what is modern-day Albania. Skanderbeg was an Ottoman Albanian captain who decided to go back to his native land and take the reins of a new Albanian rebellion. He, along with 300 other Albanians fighting at the Battle of Niš, deserted the Ottoman army to head towards Krujë, which fell quickly through a subversion. He then formed the League of Lezhë, a confederation of Albanian princes united in war against the Ottoman Empire. Murad II, realizing the threat, sent one of his most experienced captains, Ali Pasha, to crush the rebellion with a force of 25,000 men.

Principality of Kastrioti A principality of medieval Albania

Principality of Kastrioti (1389–1444) was one of the most important principalities in Medieval Albania. It was created by Gjon Kastrioti and then ruled by the national hero of Albania, George Kastrioti Skanderbeg.

Albanian–Venetian War war

The Albanian–Venetian War of 1447–48 was waged between Venetian and Ottoman forces against the Albanians under George Kastrioti Skanderbeg. The war was the result of a dispute between the Republic and the Dukagjini family over the possession of the Dagnum fortress. Skanderbeg, then ally of the Dukagjini family, moved against several Venetian held towns along the Albanian coastline, in order to pressure the Venetians into restoring Dagnum. In response, the Republic sent a local force to relieve the besieged fortress of Dagnum, and urged the Ottoman Empire to send an expeditionary force into Albania. At that time the Ottomans were already besieging the fortress of Svetigrad, stretching Skanderbeg's efforts thin.

Skanderbeg's Macedonian campaign was a preemptive campaign into the Ottoman Empire in Macedonia by Skanderbeg to defeat three Ottoman armies which had been prepared for the joint-invasion of Albania. From 1461 to 1462, Skanderbeg campaigned in Italy to protect his ally, Ferdinand I, from being overrun by the Angevin dynasty which claimed the Kingdom of Naples. Before setting out for Italy, Skanderbeg forged a truce with Sultan Mehmed II. Upon returning to Albania after securing Ferdinand, the Venetians became hostile to Skanderbeg and a sort of undeclared war took place. Mehmed saw an opportunity to attack Skanderbeg and sent three armies in one year. All three were defeated by Skanderbeg, however, in August 1462 making it the first time that he would win three battles against the Ottomans in one month.

Ajdin Muzaka was the brother in law of George Kastrioti Skanderbeg and one of his commanders. He was converted to Islam and served in Ottoman army before joining Skanderbeg in 1443. He was the commander of the central group in the Battle of Torvioll and he played a crucial role in the Albanian victory. He was wounded in that battle and died soon afterwards. He was known for his extreme courage and was the first high-rank Albanian commander who died in Skanderbeg's battles against Ottoman forces.

Lekë Zaharia, was an Albanian nobleman from Zaharia family. He was the only son of his father Koja Zaharia and mother Bosa who also had one daughter, Bolja, who named her son Koja after her father.

Giammaria Biemmi was an Italian priest who published a work on Skanderbeg titled Istoria di Giorgio Castrioto Scanderbeg-Begh. His work was published in Brescia, Italy in 1742.

Lekë Dushmani was an Albanian nobleman and one of the founding members of League of Lezhë, formed on 2 March 1444.

Pal Dukagjini or Paul Ducagin was an Albanian nobleman, a member of the Dukagjini family. He 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 under Venetian vassalage. Pal and Nicholas were part of the League of Lezhë, a military alliance that sought liberation of Albania from the Ottoman Empire, founded by the powerful Skanderbeg. In 1454, the Dukagjini accepted vassalage of Alfonso V of Aragon, as other chieftains had done three years earlier. Pal later abandoned Skanderbeg's army and deserted to the Ottomans.

Peter Spani was a Catholic Albanian nobleman and Venetian pronoier in the first half of 15th century. His family domains included several villages around Shkodër (Scutari) and Drisht (Drivasto). He ruled over Shala, Shosh, Nikaj-Mërtur (Lekbibaj) and Pult; the whole region under the Ottomans took his name, Petrişpan-ili. Between 1444 and 1450 he was a member of the League of Lezhë.

Gojko Balšić and his brothers George Strez and John were the lords of Misia, a coastal area from the White Drin towards the Adriatic. The brothers were members of the Serbian noble house of Balšić, which earlier held the Lordship of Zeta. They participated in founding the League of Lezhë, an alliance led by their maternal uncle Skanderbeg. Gojko supported Skanderbeg until the latter's death in 1468, and then continued to fight against the Ottomans within Venetian forces.

George Strez Balšić Albanian noble

George Strez Balšić and his brothers Gojko and John were the lords of Misia, a coastal area from the White Drin towards the Adriatic. The brothers were members of the Balšić family, which had earlier held Zeta. They participated in founding of the League of Lezhë, an alliance led by their maternal uncle Skanderbeg. George later betrayed Skanderbeg, by selling a domain to the Ottomans, while his two brothers continued to support Skanderbeg until his death and then continued to fight for the Venetian forces.

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.

Komnen Arianiti was an Albanian nobleman of the Arianiti family, who held an area in central Albania around Durrës. His son Gjergj became a prominent leader of the Ottoman-Albanian wars.

Skanderbegs rebellion

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.


  1. Kristaq Prifti (1993). The Truth on Kosova. Encyclopaedia Publishing House. p. 52. Retrieved 5 January 2014. Together with them, there was a religious personage like Tanush Topia from a family which passed easily from Orthodoxy to Catholicism and, then, the dubious experience of Patarinism.
  2. Noli, Fan Stylian, George Castroiti Scanderbeg (1405–1468), International Universities Press, 1947
    "p.36: Andrea Thopia of Scuria between Tirana and Durazzo with his nephew, Tanush Thopia"
  3. Noli, Fan Stylian, George Castroiti Scanderbeg (1405–1468), International Universities Press, 1947
  4. Elsie, Robert. "The Christian Saints of Albania". Balkanistica. American Association for South Slavic Studies. 13: 46.