Thomas Preljubović

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Thomas Preljubović
Duke of Epirus
Maria Paleolog.JPG
Thomas and Maria Paleologina
Predecessor Simeon Uroš
Successor Maria Palaeologina
Born14th century
DiedDecember 23, 1384
Ioannina, Despotate of Epirus
Spouse Maria Palaeologina
Issuesee Family
Fathercaesar Preljub
Religion Serbian Orthodox Christian
Map of the Serbian Empire in 1360 with territories of local rulers Serbia 1360 en.png
Map of the Serbian Empire in 1360 with territories of local rulers

Thomas Preljubović (Serbian : Тома Прељубовић / Toma Preljubović; Greek : Θωμάς Κομνηνός Παλαιολόγος, Thōmas Komnēnos Palaiologos) was ruler of the Despotate of Epirus in Ioannina from 1366 to his death on December 23, 1384. He also held the title of Albanian-slayer after receiving aid from the Ottoman Empire to capture Ioannina from Albanian ruler of the despotate of Arta, John Spata, after failing do to so independently.(Ἀλβανοκτόνος). [1]

Serbian language South Slavic language

Serbian is the standardized variety of the Serbo-Croatian language mainly used by Serbs. It is the official language of Serbia, co-official in the territory of Kosovo, and one of the three official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In addition, it is a recognized minority language in Montenegro, where it is spoken by the relative majority of the population, as well as in Croatia, North Macedonia, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.

Greek language Language spoken in Greece, Cyprus and Southern Albania

Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.

Despotate of Epirus Former country

The Despotate of Epirus was one of the Greek successor states of the Byzantine Empire established in the aftermath of the Fourth Crusade in 1204 by a branch of the Angelos dynasty. It claimed to be the legitimate successor of the Byzantine Empire, along with the Empire of Nicaea and the Empire of Trebizond, its rulers briefly proclaiming themselves as Emperors in 1225/1227–1242. The term "Despotate of Epirus" is, like "Byzantine Empire" itself, a modern historiographic convention and not a name in use at the time.



Thomas was the son of caesar Gregorios Preljub (Greek : Grēgorios Prealimpos), the Serbian governor of Thessaly, who died in late 1355 or early 1356. His mother Irene was a daughter of Stephen Uroš IV Dušan of Serbia [2] and Helena of Bulgaria.


After the violent death of his father, Thomas' claim to Thessaly was asserted by his mother Irene, but they were forced to flee to Serbia by the advance of Nikephoros II Orsini in 1356. Here, Irene married Radoslav Hlapen, the ruler of Vodena, who took Thomas under his wing.

Nikephoros II Orsini - Doukas, was the ruler of Epirus from 1335 to 1338 and from 1356 until his death in 1359.

Radoslav Hlapen was a Serbian magnate who served Serbian Emperor Stefan Dušan and Stefan Uroš V as vojvoda. He took part in the conquest of Byzantine lands, and was given a region north of Thessaly to govern in the early 1350s.

Edessa, Greece Place in Greece

Edessa, until 1923 Vodena, is a city in northern Greece and the capital of the Pella regional unit, in the Central Macedonia region of Greece. It was also the capital of the defunct province of the same name.

During the absence of Thessaly's new ruler, Simeon Uroš Palaiologos, in the Despotate of Epirus in 13591360, Hlapen invaded Thessaly, attempting to win it for his stepson. Although Simeon Uroš managed to contain the invasion, he was forced to cede Kastoria to Thomas and to marry him to his daughter Maria. Over the next several years, Simeon Uroš recognized that he could not assert effective authority over most of Epirus and delegated power in Arta and Angelokastron to local Albanian chieftains. In 1366 the citizens of Ioannina, the last major fortress to remain under Simeon Uroš's control, sent him a petition to appoint a governor who could protect them from the raids of Albanian clansmen.

Simeon Uroš Emperor of Serbs and Greeks (pretender)

Simeon Uroš, nicknamed Siniša (Синиша), was a self-proclaimed Emperor of Serbs and Greeks, from 1356 to 1370. He was son of Serbian King Stefan Dečanski and Byzantine Princess Maria Palaiologina. Initially, he was awarded the title of despot in 1346, and appointed governor of southern Epirus and Acarnania in 1347 by his half-brother, Serbian Emperor Stefan Dušan. After Dušan's death in 1355, Serbian throne passed to Dušan's son Stefan Uroš V, but despot Simeon decided to seize the opportunity in order to impose himself as co-ruler and lord of all southern provinces of the Serbian Empire. That led him to conflict with his nephew in 1356, when Simeon started to expand his control in southern regions of the Empire, trying to take Thessaly and Macedonia. He proclaimed himself Emperor of the Serbs and Greeks, creating a separate state, centered in regions of Thessaly and Epirus, where he ruled until death in 1370. He was succeeded by his son Jovan Uroš.

Kastoria Place in Greece

Kastoria is a city in northern Greece in the region of Western Macedonia. It is the capital of Kastoria regional unit. It is situated on a promontory on the western shore of Lake Orestiada, in a valley surrounded by limestone mountains. The town is known for its many Byzantine churches, Byzantine and Ottoman-era domestic architecture, its lake and its fur clothing industry.

Maria Angelina Doukaina Palaiologina Basilissa of Epirus

Maria Angelina Doukaina Palaiologina or Marija Angelina Nemanjić or Anna Maria Angelina Doukaina Palaiologina was the self-proclaimed basilissa of Epirus from 1384–85, succeeding the rule of her murdered husband Thomas Preljubović. Maria and her husband were a famed couple as patrons of the arts during Tomo's rule of Ioannina from 1366 to 1384. She is even portrayed in the icons.

Simeon Uroš responded by designating Thomas as his governor and forwarding the Ioanninan and Vagenetian (Thesprotian) embassy to him. Thomas entered Ioannina sometime in 1366 or 1367. Thomas' reign in Epirus is reflected in most detail in the so-called Chronicle of Ioannina, which is deeply prejudiced [3] and hostile against Preljubović. [4] It represents him as a cruel and capricious tyrant. Thomas seized various properties of the Church of Ioannina and awarded them to his Serbian retainers. In 1382 a new appointee to the local archbishopric, Matthew, was sent out from Constantinople, and invested Thomas with the title of despotes on behalf of the Byzantine Emperor John V Palaiologos. Nevertheless, later Thomas quarreled with the archbishop and exiled him from Ioannina.

The Chronicle of Ioannina is a prose chronicle written in Greek about the history of Ioannina during the rule of Thomas Preljubović, the Serb Despot of Epirus, who was based in Ioannina in the second half of the 14th century.

Constantinople capital city of the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire, the Latin and the Ottoman Empire

Constantinople was the capital city of the Roman Empire (330–395), of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire, of the brief Crusader state known as the Latin Empire (1204–1261) and of the Ottoman Empire (1453–1923). In 1923 the capital of Turkey, the successor state of the Ottoman Empire, was moved to Ankara and the name Constantinople was officially changed to Istanbul. The city is located in what is now the European side and the core of modern Istanbul. The city is still referred to as Constantinople in Greek-speaking sources.

John V Palaiologos Emperor and autocrat of the romans

John V Palaiologos or Palaeologus was a Byzantine emperor, who succeeded his father in 1341 at the age of eight.

Thomas was also accused of persecuting the local nobility, which inspired a series of revolts against his rule. In addition to seizing ecclesiastical and private property, Thomas established new taxes and monopolies on various commodities, including fish and fruit. In addition to relying on his military forces to enforce these imposts, Thomas waged a continuous war against the Albanians of Arta and Angelokastron.

Soon after taking possession of Ioannina, Thomas was unsuccessfully besieged by Albanian nobleman, Peter Losha of Arta.[ citation needed ] Thomas betrothed his daughter to Losha's son in 1370, satisfying the Albanians and ending conflicts. [5] In 1374, Peter Losha died of the plague in Arta, after which John Spata took over the city. [5] At this time he was not bound by agreement to Thomas; he laid siege to Ioannina and ravaged the country-side. [5] Thomas brought peace when he betrothed his sister Helena to John Spata the following year. [5] Attacks on Ioannina continued, however, by the Malakasioi, who were finally defeated by Thomas (1377 and 1379). [5] In May 1379, John Spata devastated the country-side of Ioannina. [6]

Peter Losha was an Albanian nobleman in medieval Epirus, the leader of the Mazaraki and Malakasi clans, who served as the despot of Arta from 1359 until his death in 1374, mostly as vassal under Serbian magnates Simeon Uroš (1359–1366) and Toma Preljubović, though at times independent (1367-1370). Peter and John Bua Spata had been given the title despot in 1359 by Simeon Uroš, the brother of deceased Emperor Stefan Dušan, following their victory over Nikephoros II Orsini, who had sought to recover Epirus.

John Spata was an Albanian ruler in western Greece with the title of Despot. Together with Peter Losha, he led raids into Epirus, Acarnania and Aetolia in 1358. He was recognized as Despot by titular Serbian Emperor Simeon Uroš in the early 1360s and ruled Aetolia (1360s–?), Angelokastron (?–1399), Naupactus (1378–99), and Arta (1370s–99).

After repeated failure, Thomas turned for help to his Frankish and then his Ottoman neighbors. The latter responded promptly and dispatched an auxiliary force in 1381. Thomas put this force to good use and conquered many fortresses from his enemies in 13811384. He was given the epithet "Albanian-Slayer" (Αλβανοκτόνος, Albanoktonos).

However, Thomas had come to be on bad terms with his wife Maria, who participated in the subsequent conspiracy against her husband. On December 23, 1384, Thomas was murdered by his guards and the population of Ioannina swore allegiance to Maria and invited her brother John Uroš Doukas Palaiologos to come and advise her in the government.


By Tsarevna Princess Jerina (daughter of Tsar Dusan), Thomas II Preljubović had at least one daughter:

By his wife Maria Angelina Doukaina Palaiologina Thomas II possibly had a son:


  2. J. V. A. Fine"The Late Medieval Balkans, A Critical Survey from the Late Twelfth Century to the Ottoman Conquest" (1994) p 346
  3. Nicol, Donald MacGillivray (1984). The Despotate of Epiros, 1267-1479: A Contribution to the History of Greece in the Middle Ages. Cambridge University Press. p. 143. ISBN   978-0-521-26190-6. The Chronicle of Ioannina is deeply prejudiced against Thomas Preljubovic.
  4. Ellis, Steven G.; Klusáková, Lud'a (2007). Imagining Frontiers, Contesting Identities. Edizioni Plus. p. 139. ISBN   978-88-8492-466-7. ...the Chronicle of Ioannina, hostile to Thomas Preljubovic...
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 Nicol 1984, p. 146.
  6. Nicol 1984, p. 147.

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Preceded by
Simeon Uroš
Ruler of Epirus
Succeeded by