Thomas Preljubović

Last updated
Thomas Preljubović
Despot of Epirus
Maria Paleolog.JPG
Thomas and Maria Paleologina
Reign1366–1384
Predecessor Simeon Uroš
Successor Maria Palaeologina
Born14th century
DiedDecember 23, 1384
Ioannina, Despotate of Epirus
Spouse Maria Palaeologina
Issue see Family
Fathercaesar Preljub
MotherIrene
Religion Serbian Orthodox Christian

Thomas Preljubović (Serbian : Тома Прељубовић, romanized: Toma Preljubović; Greek : Θωμάς Κομνηνός Παλαιολόγος, romanized: 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 (Greek: Αλβανοκτόνος [1] /Αλβανιτόκτονος [2] ) after torturing Albanian prisoners in order to terrify his enemies. [1] [2]

Contents

Thomas is remembered for presenting several outstanding icons to the monastery of the Transfiguration at Meteora and in Cuena, in Spain. He also made gifts to the Athonite monasteries of Great Lavra, Vatopedi and Hilandar. Preljubović was particularly attached to his namesake the apostle Thomas. In one of the icons at Meteora, a composition of Doubting Thomas includes Thomas' wife, Maria-Angelina, among the apostles. It is possible that he was responsible for having the frescoes painted in the Hilandar parekklesion of the Holy Archangels, where in the lower zone, the apostle Thomas and the warrior St. Procopius occupy a prominent place.[ citation needed ]

Ancestors

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 Nemanjić was a daughter of Stephen Uroš IV Dušan of Serbia [3] and Helena of Bulgaria.

Life

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.

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 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 [4] and hostile against Preljubović. [5] 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.

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, Pjetër Losha of Arta.[ citation needed ] Thomas betrothed his daughter to Losha's son in 1370, satisfying the Albanians and ending conflicts. [6] In 1374, Pjetër Losha died of the plague in Arta, after which Gjin Bua Shpata took over the city. [6] At this time he was not bound by agreement to Thomas; he laid siege to Ioannina and ravaged the country-side. [6] Thomas brought peace when he betrothed his sister Helena to Gjin Bua Shpata the following year. [6] Attacks on Ioannina continued, however, by the Malakasioi, who were finally defeated by Thomas (1377 and 1379). [6] In May 1379, Gjin Bua Shpata devastated the country-side of Ioannina. [7]

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, the Albanians under Gjin Bua Shpata, together with the Mazarakii tribe held their defensive positions and ultimately defeated Thomas once again. [8]

Nevertheless, 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 assassinated by his guards. [9] the population of Ioannina swore allegiance to Maria and invited her brother John Uroš Doukas Palaiologos to come and advise her in the government.

Assessment

Preljubović is generally treated in a negative outlook in contemporary sources. The Chronicle of Ioannina, written about his rule in Ioannina, regularly describes him as "wicked", a "merciless sadist" and a "murderer". In the Chronicle, Preljubović is described as "greedy and avaricious" and special mention is made to his tyrannical actions towards the church, the nobility and regular citizens of Ioannina. [10]

Issue

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:

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Despotate of Epirus</span> Byzantine successor state (1204–1479)

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 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Arta, Greece</span> Place in Greece

Arta is a city in northwestern Greece, capital of the regional unit of Arta, which is part of Epirus region. The city was known in ancient times as Ambracia. Arta is known for the medieval bridge over the Arachthos River. Arta is also known for its ancient sites from the era of Pyrrhus of Epirus and its well-preserved 13th-century castle. Arta's Byzantine history is reflected in its many Byzantine churches; perhaps the best known is the Panagia Paregoretissa, built about 1290 by Despot Nikephoros I Komnenos Doukas.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nikephoros II Orsini</span> Ruler of Epirus (1335–1338, 1356–1359)

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

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Simeon Uroš</span> Emperor of Serbs and Greeks

Simeon Uroš, nicknamed Siniša (Синиша), was a self-proclaimed Emperor of Serbs and Greeks, from 1356 to 1370. He was son of Serbian King Stephen Uroš III 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 Stephen Dušan. After Dušan's death in 1355, the Serbian throne passed to Dušan's son Stephen 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 his death in 1370. He was succeeded by his son Jovan Uroš.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Esau de' Buondelmonti</span> Despot

Esau de' Buondelmonti was the ruler of Ioannina and its surrounding area from 1385 until his death in 1411, with the Byzantine title of Despot.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gjin Bua Shpata</span> 14th century Albanian ruler in western Greece

Gjin Bua Shpata was an Albanian ruler in Western Greece with the title of Despot. Together with Pjetër Losha, he led raids into Epirus, Acarnania and Aetolia in 1358. He was recognized as Despot by the titular Eastern Roman Emperor in the early 1360s and ruled Aetolia (1360s–?), Angelokastron (?–1399), Naupactus (1378–1399), and Arta (1370s–1399). He was born some time in the first half of the 14th century in Epirus, as his father was a ruler in the region.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Despotate of Arta</span> Former state

The Despotate of Arta was a despotate established by Albanian rulers during the 14th century, after the defeat of the local Despot of Epirus, Nikephoros II Orsini, by Albanian tribesmen in the Battle of Achelous in 1359 and ceased to exist in 1416, when it passed to Carlo I Tocco.

Muriki or Maurice Shpata was the ruler of Arta from late 1399/early 1400 until his death in 1414 or 1415. Muriq’s reign was dominated by his wars with Carlo I Tocco. Muriq was able to defend his capital of Arta, but despite some victories failed to prevent the fall of Ioannina to Tocco. As a result, his brother Yaqub Shpata who succeeded him was defeated in October 1416, ending the Despotate of Arta.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bua (tribe)</span> Albanian tribe and noble family

The Bua were a medieval Albanian tribe. The name is first attested in 14th-century historical documents as one of the Albanian tribes living in the Despotate of Epirus. Later on, the Bua settled southwards in the Peloponnese, and a part of them found refuge in Italy in the Arbëreshë migrations that followed the Ottoman conquest of the Balkans. A branch of the tribe regiments was ennobled in the Holy Roman Empire after its service in the Stratioti, a Balkan mercenary unit. Mërkur Bua, its most prominent member, was Count of Aquino and Roccasecca.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Peter Losha</span>

Pjetër Losha was an Albanian clan leader in medieval Epirus. He belonged to the Losha fis and was the leader of a combined force of his own clan and the fis of Mazaraki and Malakasi. In 1360, he became Despot of Arta, Rogoi and the area of Amphilochia. He died in 1374 and was succeeded by his close ally, Gjin Bua Shpata. The Chronicle of the Tocco is an important primary source for his life and the Albanians in medieval Epirus in general.

The term Albanian Principalities refers to a number of principalities created in the Middle Ages in Albania and the surrounding regions in the western Balkans that were ruled by Albanian nobility. The 12th century marked the first Albanian principality, the Principality of Arbanon. It was later, however, in the 2nd half of the 14th century that these principalities became stronger, especially with the fall of the Serbian Empire after 1355. Some of these principalities were notably united in 1444 under the military alliance called League of Lezhë up to 1480 which defeated the Ottoman Empire in more than 28 battles. They covered modern day Albania,western and central Kosovo, Epirus, areas up to Corinth, western North Macedonia, southern Montenegro. The leaders of these principalities were some of the most noted Balkan figures in the 14th and 15th centuries such as Gjin Bua Shpata, Andrea II Muzaka, Gjon Zenebishi, Karl Topia, Andrea Gropa, Balsha family, Gjergj Arianiti, Gjon Kastrioti, Skanderbeg, Dukagjini family and Lek Dukagjini.

After the weakening of the Byzantine Empire and the Bulgarian Empire in the middle and late 13th century, the northern territory of modern-day Albania became part of Serbia. Firstly, as part of Serbian Grand Principality and later as part of Serbian Empire. Serb control in southern Albania is unclear. Some suggest they acquired towns, but others believe they only obtained submission, possibly nominal, from Albanian tribes. Central and southern Albanian towns were not conquered until 1343–45. Between 1272 and 1368, some areas of the modern-day state were also ruled by the Angevins as the Kingdom of Albania. In the late 14th century, Albanian Principalities were created throughout Albania.

The Battle of Achelous took place in 1359 near the river Achelous, in Aetolia, modern Greece fought between Albanian troops, under Peter Losha and John Spata, and forces of the Despotate of Epirus, under Nikephoros II Orsini. The Albanians defeated Orsini's army, which suffered massive casualties during the battle. The battle established two despotates from regions previously part of the Despotate of Epirus: the Despotate of Arta and the Despotate of Angelokastron and Lepanto.

Thomais Orsini was the queen consort of the Serbian tsar and ruler of Epirus and Thessaly, Simeon Uroš Nemanjić.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Malakasioi</span> Historical Albanian tribe

The Malakasi were a historical Albanian tribe in medieval Epirus, Thessaly and later southern Greece. Their name is a reference to their area of origin, Dangëllia in southern Albania, centered around the village of Malakas, on the Western slope of mount Radomir. They appear in historical records as one of the Albanian tribes which raided and invaded Thessaly after 1318 and throughout the 14th century were active in the struggles of the Albanian Despotate of Arta against the Despotate of Epirus.

The Spata were a noble Albanian family active in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, initially as Venetian vassals and later as Ottoman vassals. The family's progenitors were the brothers Gjin Bua Shpata and Skurra Bua Shpata. Shpata means "sword" in Albanian.

The Albanian-Epirote War of 1367–70 was waged between the Despotate of Arta, led by Pjeter Losha and the Despotate of Epirus, led by Thomas II Preljubović.

The Albanian-Epirote War of 1374–75 was waged between the Despotate of Arta, led by Gjin Bua Shpata and the Despotate of Epirus, led by Thomas II Preljubović.

The Albanian-Epirote War of 1381–84 was waged between Albanian raiders and Despotate of Epirus, ruled and led by Thomas II Preljubović. Throughout the campaigns, Thomas earned the nickname 'Albanian-slayer' for the cruelty he exhibited towards captured Albanian prisoners.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mazreku (Epirus)</span>

The Mazreku, or alternatively, the Mazaraki, Mazarech and Masarachi, were a historical Albanian tribe in medieval Epirus and Thessaly. They appear in historical records as one of the Albanian tribes which raided and invaded Thessaly after 1318 and throughout the 14th century were active in the struggles of the Albanian Despotate of Arta against the Despotate of Epirus.

References

  1. 1 2 Ellis, Steven G.; Klusáková, Lud'a (2007). Imagining Frontiers, Contesting Identities. Edizioni Plus. p. 135. ISBN   978-88-8492-466-7.
  2. 1 2 Oswald, Brendan (2011). "Citizenship in Medieval Ioannina" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 July 2011.
  3. J. V. A. Fine"The Late Medieval Balkans, A Critical Survey from the Late Twelfth Century to the Ottoman Conquest" (1994) p 346
  4. 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.
  5. 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...
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 Nicol 1984, p. 146.
  7. Nicol 1984, p. 147.
  8. Hammond, 1976 & ps "The Albanians and in particular the Mazarakii of the Kalamas valley held firm against him. In 1385 he was assassinated by some of his own bodyguards" (Epeirotica 2.230), p. 59.
  9. Sansaridou-Hendrickx 2017, p. 289.
  10. Sansaridou-Hendrickx 2017, p. 294.

Bibliography

Preceded by Ruler of Epirus
13671384
Succeeded by