Early Ruling Families in the Balkans




This is a series of sections attempting to account for the genealogy of some of the medieval rulers of the Balkans. There are lots of uncertainties about these lines, since many records have not survived. Source materials for most things in the medieval Balkans are usually not from contemporary writers, and the few contemporary sources existing are usually from Byzantine writers, not writers from the various states themselves. The information listed here is based largely on Europäische Stammtafeln, but modified by some recent scholarship by John V. A. Fine in his two books, "The Early Medieval Balkans" and "The Late Medieval Balkans".






Section 1. The Kings of Croatia of the house of Trpimirovic.




The first native prince to rule as Duke of Croatia was one Trpimir I, who ruled 845-864; he ruled under the suzerainty of the Emperor Lothar, but brought relations with Byzantium much closer. He d.864; he had issue:


1a) Petar, d.ca 879


2a) Zdeslav, succeeded his father as Duke of Croatia, but was overthrown the same year by his cousin Demagoj; Zdeslav later succeeded Demagoj's son Iljiko, ca 878; he was overthrown in 879 by a nobleman named Branimir


3a) Mutimir, Duke of Croatia ca 892-910; he was probably, though not certainly, the father of these two sons:


1b) Tomislav, recognized in 925 as King of Croatia, d.ca 928


2b) Trpimir II


1c) King Kresimir I of Craotia, reigned ca 935-944


1d) King Miroslav, reigned ca 944-9, murdered by the Ban Pribina


2d) King Mihail Kresimir II, reigned 948-69; m.Jelena N


1e) Stjepan Drzislav, King of Croatia and Dalmatia


1f) Svetoslav, Duke of Croatia


2f) King Kresimir III of Croatia


1g) King Stjepan I of Craotia and Dalmatia


1h) King Petar Kresimir IV of Croatia and Dalmatia, d.after 1074


2h) [probably] Castimir


1i) King Stjepan II of Croatia and Dalmatia, d.1090/1


3f) Gojislav, Regent ca 1000


2e) [probably] Trpimir III, King 986-995


1f) King Mucimir 995-1000


2f) Suronja


1g) Stjepan; m.Hicela Orseola, dau.of Pietro Orseolo, Doge of Venice



NOTE: Duke Demagoj of Croatia, who overthrew Zdeslav in 864, was probably a first cousin of Trpimir I; he had a son, Iljiko, who was Duke 976-8; Iljiko was ancestor of Zvonimir Dmitar, who reigned as King of Croatia and Dalmatia 1075-187/8; m.ca 1063 Helena, Queen of Croatia 1088-1091, dau.of King Bela I of Hungary; Zvonimir and Jelena had 2 daughters:

1.Claudia; m.Vonick, of the family Lapcani

2.Radova, d.young after 1083





Part 2. The Kings of Bosnia of the House of Kotromanic



The first of this family was one Uban Prijezda, who in 1254 became Great Ban of Bosnia; he d.1287, leaving issue:


1a) Prijezda, Zupan of Zemunik 1267, Great Ban of Bosnia 1287, d.ca 1295


2a) Stjepan Kotroman, Ban of Bosnia as a vassal of the Nemanjiden family of Serbia and of the Counts of Bribir, d.ca 1314; m.after 1283 Jelisaveta (d.1331) dau.of King Stephan Dragutin of Serbia


1b) Stjepan Kotromanic, Ban of Bosnia, he won the territory of Zahumlje (Hercegovina) during his reign; he d.1353;  he was engaged in 1319 to a dau.of Graf Meinhard von Ortenburg, but they never married; he m.1324 Elzbieta, dau.of Kazimierz of Kujavia, Pr of Inowraclaw and Gnesen


1c) Jelisaveta (drowned in prison in Dalmatia shortly before 16 Jan 1387); m.1353 King Louis I of Hungary and Poland (d.1382)


2b) Vladislav Kotromanic Knez, Regent of Bosnia, d.1354; m.at Klis 1338 Jelena (d.after 1378) dau.of Juraj Subic, Ct of Bribir


1c) Stjepan Tvrtkoi, Ban and then King (Kralj) of Bosnia, b.ca 1338, d.1391; m.Doroteja (d.ca 1390) dau.of Pr Ivan Sracimir of Vidin


1d) [illegitimate] Stjepan Tvrtko II, King of Bosnia 1404-9 and again 1421-43; b.before 1382, d.1443; engaged to, but never married, Dorottya Garay, dau.of Janos Garay, Ban of Usora


2d) [illegitimate, and there is not complete certainty about his exact relationship to this house] Stjepan Ostoja, King of Bosnia 1398-1404 and again 1409-18; m.1st Vitaca N; m.2nd Kujeva N, whom he repudiated 1415; m.3rd before Oct 1416 Jelena Nelipic (d.ca 1422) sister of Ivanic, Knez of Cetin, Ban of Croatia


1e) [by 2nd m.]Stjepan Ostrojic, King of Bosnia 1418 to 1420, when he was overthrown; he was dead by 1422


2e) [illegitimate]Radivoj of Komothyn, pretender to the throne 1431-43, murdered by the Turks 1463; m.before 19 Jun 1449 Katharina von Velike


1f) Trvitko, murdered by the Turks 1463


2f) Djuradj (George), d.shortly after 1455


3f) Matija, living 1465


3e) [illegitimate] Stjepan Tomas Ostojic, King of Bosnia 1443-61, d.1461; m.1st Vojaca N, whom he repudiated 1445; m.2nd 1446 Katarina (b.1424, d.Rome 1478, bur Ara Coeli), dau.of Stephan Vukcic, Duke of San Sava


[by 1st m.]:


1f) Stjepan Tomasevic, Despot of Raska 1459, King of Bosnia 1461-3, beheaded bythe Turks 1463; m.1459 Mara (d.in Hungary after 1498) dau.of Lazar Brankovic, Despot of Raska


2f) a son, d.aged 14 before 1460


[by 2nd m.]:


3f) Zilmunt, in 1463 he went to Turkey, became a Moslem, and was Sandzak-Beg of Karas in Asia Minor à issue


4f) Stipana=Katharina, b.1460, captured by the Turks 1463, and became a Moslem


2c) Stjepan Vuk, usurped the throne 1463-4, d.after 1374


3c) Katarina; m.1362 Ct Hermann I von Cilli


3b) Ninoslav Kotromanic; m.NN


1c) [parentage not certain] Marija (ca 1333-1403, bur Bad Überkirchen); m.before 26 Apr 1352 Graf Ulrich von Helfenstein (murdered 1372)


2c) [illegitimate] Stjepan Dabis, King of Bosnia 1391-5, d.1395; m.Jelena Gruba (d.after 5 Mar 1399)


4b) Katarina, d.ca 1355; m.before 1338 Knez Nikola, Zupan of Zahumlje


5b) Marija


3a) Vuk, living 1287






Part 3. The Zupans of Trebinje and Kings of Diocleia of the house of St.Vladimir



This house started with two brothers, who may have been sons of Predimir Knez of Diocleia and Trebinje (regions in southern Bosnia and Montenegro):


1a) Petrislav, Knez of Diocleia and Trebinje sometime during the period 971-998


1b) [St.] Vladimir, Knez of Diocleia and Trebinje, murdered in Prespa 1016, bur Krajina; m.ca 998 Kossara, dau.of Theodoros Chryselios, Archon of Durrazo


2a) Dragomir, Knez of Diocleie and Trebinje, d.1018; m.a dau.of Ljutomir Velji, Knez of Srpsko Zagorje


1b) Stephan Dobroslav, Knez of Diocleia, freed himself from Byzantine suzerainty ca 1043; d.ca 1052, bur in his capital, Prapratna; m.before 1015 a dau.of Tsar Gavriil Radomir of Bulgaria


1c) Gojislav, k.a.1054/5


2c) Mihai, recognized by the pope in 1077 as King of Diocleia; he added Zahumlje (a large Bosnian territory) to his lands; d.ca 1082; m.1st NN; m.2nd NN, a niece of an undetermined Byzantine emperor


1d) Konstantin Bodin=Petar, Tsar of Bulgaria, King of Diocleia, conquered Serbia, d.ca 1101; m.1080 Jakvinta (d.after Apr 1115) dau.of a Norman lord in Bari


1e) Dobroslaw, King of Diocleia 1101-2, he was overthrown, blinded and banished to a monastery


2e) Djordje, King of Diocleia 1114-8 and again 1125-31, d.in Byzantine imprisonment after 1131


3e) Markus, living 1114


4e) Arcisius, living 1114


5e) Mihailo


6e) Tomas


2d) Vladimir, King of Diocleia 1115, d.of poisoning at the orders of Queen Jakvinta; he married a dau.of Vukan, Grand Zupan of Srpsko Zagorje; J.Fine says that this Vladimir was son of another Vladimir, who was son of King Mihail


3d) Petrislav, Zupan of Srpsko Zagorje, d.ca 1082; he had a known son, Kocopar; J.Fine suggests that he was also father of Marko, Zupan of Diocleia, and Vukan, Zupan of Raska (Serbia); other sources list these two men as uncles of Uros, the ancestor of the Nemjaniden family


4d) Nicephoros


5d) Theodoros


3c) Saanec, b.before 1025


4c) Radoslav, Knez of Zahumlje


1d) Branislaw, d.1101


1e) Grubesa, Knez of Diocleia 1118-25, k.a.Antivari 1125


1f) Radoslav Gradisnic, Knez of Diocleia


2f) Jovan


3f) Vladimir


2e) Gradinha, Knez of Diocleia ca 1135-46


3e) Predinha, beheaded by Konstantin Bodin ca 1101 at Dubrovnik


4e) Predislav


5e) Tvardislav


6e) Dragello


2d) Dobroslav, King of Diocleia 1102, he was deposed, castrated and blinded; J.Fine suggests that he may have been a son of King Mihail's 2nd marriage


5c) Predimir, k.a.1054/5






Part 4. The Zupans of Serbia in the 12th century



One Uros became Zupan of Serbia, first under Hungarian, then Byzantine suzerainty; b.ca 1080, d.after 1130; m.Anna, probably dau.of Konstantinos Diogenes; they had issue:



1a) Uros, Zupan of Serbia, abdicated before 1161, d.in Hungary


2a) Desa, Zupan ofDiocleia, Trebinje and Zahumlje before 1151, Zupan of Serbia 1155-62


1b) a dau., m.Leonardo Michiel, a Venetian noble


3a) Jelena, b.after 1109, d.after 1146; m.1127 King Bela II of Hungary (d.1141)


4a) Marija, d.after 1190; m.1132 Konrad of Moravia, Pr of Znaim


5a) a dau., m.Bjelos, Ban of Croatia, Regent of Hungary, may have reigned briefly in Serbia; J.Fine suggests that Bjelos was son, not son-in-law, of Uros






Part 5.The Nemanjiden. It is unknown where this family came from or how they so quickly acquired their prominence in Serbia, but some scholars suggest that they may have been related to or part of the family shown in Part 4. What is certain is that they descended from one Zupan Zavida, whose 4 sons divided Serbia up and fought with each other:



1a) Tihomir, Duke of Serbia, k.a.1169


1b) Stefan Prvoslav, Zupan


2a) Stracimir, ruled in northern Serbia west of the Moldau, d.after 25 Dec 1189


3a) Miroslav, Duke of Zahumlje (Hercegovina), d.1190/9; m.a sister of Ban Kulin of Bosnia


1b) Toljen; m.[though Fine says he was engaged but never married to] a dau.of Duke Berthold of Meran, Margrave of Istria; he may have been father of:


1c) Toljen, Duke of North Zahumlje, d.1239


2b) Petar, Duke of Zahumlje 1198-1227, Ct of Split 1222-5


3b) Andrija, Knez in Primorje, Duke in southern Zahumlje, d.ca 1250


1c) Bogdan, Zupan of Zahumlje 1249, d.after 1252


2c) Djordje, living 1280


3c) Radoslav, Zupan of Zahumlje 1249, d.after 22 May 1254


4c) Vukoslava; m.Barbo di Crossio, patrician of Dubrovnik


5c) Dragoslava; m.Drago de Mare


4a) Stefan Nemanja, Duke of all Serbia 1195, including Zahumlje and Diocleia, b.1113, d.as the monk Simeon on Holy Mount Athos 1200; m.Ana N (d.as the nun Anastasia)


1b) Vukan, King of Diocleia and Dalmatia, d.ca 1208; m.a relative of Pope Innocent III


1c) Djordje, Knez of Diocleia 1242, d.after 21 Aug 1242


2c) Bladinus. living 1208


3c) Stefan


4c) Demetrius, a monk


2b) Stefan Prvovencani ("the First-Crowned"), crowned by papal legate as King of Raska [Serbia] 1217, d.as the monk Simon 1227; m.1st 1191 Eudoxia Angelina, whom he repudiated 1201/2, dau.of Byzantine emperor Alexios III; m.2nd 1204/7 NN; m.3rd 1216/7 Anna(d.ca 1264) dau.of Rainero Dandolo, Procurator of San Marco


[by 1st m.]:


1c) Stefan Radoslav Dukas, King of Raska 1224-34, d.as the monk Jovan after 1235; m.1219/20 (separated 1234) Anna (d.in Serbia ca 1258) dau.of Byzantine emperor Theodoros Angelos


2c) Kominia; m.1st Dimitri Progonovic, Archon of Albania (d.1215); m.2d 1215 Grgur Kamonas, Archon of Kroja and Elassan


3c) a dau., m.Alexander N, an official related to the Tsar of Bulgaria


[by 2nd or 3rd m.]:


4c) Predislav, Archbishop of Serbia 1263-70


5c) Stefan Vladislav, King of Raska, d.ca 1269; m.ca 1233 Beloslava (d.after 1285) dau.of Tsar John Asen II of Bulgaria


1d) Stefan


2d) Desa, living 1285


3d) a dau., m.Djure Kacic, Knez of Omis


[by 3rd m.]:


6c) [St.] King Stefan Uros I "the Great" of Raska [Serbia] 1243, abdicated 1276, d.as the monk Simon 1280, bur Sopocani; m.ca 1250 Jelena (d.as a nun at Skodra 1314) believed to be related to the Kings of Naples


1d) Stefan Dragutin, King of Serbia 1276-82, Ban of Macva-Bosnia, d.as a monk 1316; m.before 1271 Katalin, dau.of King Stephen V of Hungary


1e) Vladislav; he spent his life trying to gain the thrones of Serbia and Hungary, but was unsuccessful in both quests; d.in Hungary after 1326; m.1st ca 1293 Constanza, dau.of Michele Morosoni; m.2nd 1309 a dau.of the Voivode Ladislaus of Siebenbürgen; he had issue of whom I have no details


2e) Urosic, a monk, d.ca 1306


3e) Jelisaveta, d.1331; m.Stefan Kotroman, Ban of Bosnia


2d) Stefan Uros II Milutin, King of Serbia 1282-1331, b.ca 1253, d.Castle Nerodimlja 1321, bur Sofia; m.1st 1273/6 (repudiated 1283) Helene Angelina, dau.of Joannes Dukas Angelos, Sebastokrator in Neopatros; m.2nd 1284 (repudiated ca 1294) Ana, dau.of Tsar George Terter of Bulgaria; m.3rd ca 1295 (repudiated 1298/9) Elizabeth, dau.of King Stephen V of Hungary; m.4th ca 1300 Simonida Palaiologina (1292/3-after 1336) dau.of Emperor Andoronikos II


1e) [by 2nd m.] Stefan Konstantin, Knez of Zahumlje, pretender to the Serbian throne, k.a.1323


2e) [maternity uncertain] Ana, d.after 1346; she was engaged 1308 to Charles, Cte de Valois, but never married him; she m.after 1308 Tsar Mihailo Sisman of Bulgaria (d.1330)


3e) [illegitimate] Stefan Uros III, King of Serbia (ca 1276-1331); m.1st ca 1293 Teodora (d.1322) dau.of Tsar Smilec of Bulgaria; m.2d 1325/6 Maria Palaiologina (1313/4-1355) dau.of Joannes Palaiolog, Despot of Macedonia


[by 1st m.]:


1f) Stefan Dusan, King of Serbia (ca 1308-1355); m.1332 Jelena (d.1374) sister of Tsar Ivan Asen Alexander of Bulgaria


1g) Stefan Uros IV, King of Serbia (1336/7-1371); m.1360 Ana Basaraba, dau.of Nicolae Alexandru, Voivode of Wallachia


2f) Dusica


[by 2nd m.]:


3f) Simeon Uros Palaiologos, Tsar of the Serbs, Greeks and Albania 1356, b.1324/6, d.1369/72; m.before 1349 Tomaida Orsini, dau.of Joannes Orsini, Despot of Epirus


1g) Jovan Uros Dukas Palaiologos, Lord of the Thessalonians, b.ca 1349, d.1423


2g) Stefan Dukas, Lord of Pharsalos and Domokos, d.1397; m.ca 1386 Maria (murdered 1395) dau.of Luiz Fadrique de Aragon, Lord of Zituni, Cte di Salona


3g) Marija Angelina Dukaina Palaiologina, Lady of Jannina (1350.1-1394); m.1st Toma Preljubovic, Despot of Jannina (murdered 1384); m.2nd 1385 Isaul Buondelmonti-Acciaiuoli, Despot of Jannina (d.1411)


4f) Teodora, b.1330, d.after 1381; m.ca 1347 Dejan, Stattholder of Macedonia


3d) Brnca; m.Zupan Djordje


3b) Rastko; he became a monk and the first Archbishop of the independent Serbian Church; he was called Sava and was, soon after his death, recognized as St. Sava; b.1174, d.Trnovo 1235/6


4b) Efimija; m.ca 1216 Manuel Angelos Dukas, Regent of Thesaloniki (d.1241)


5b) a dau., m.Tich Boljar of Skopje





Part 6.The Kings of Serbia of the House of Mrnjavcevic



One Mrnja, a treasurer to Queen Jelena, was father of:


1a) Vukasin Mrnjavcevic, a courtier who became King of Serbia in 1365; he was killed in battle (actually drowning in the Maritza) 1371; he m.Jelena N


1b) Marko Kraljevic, King of Serbia 1371-94; b.ca 1335, k.a.1395; m.1st Jelena, dau.of Radoslav, Voivode of Edessa; m.2nd Todora N; m.3rd his 1st wife, whom he had repudiated for his 2nd wife


2b) Andrijas, d.after 1403


3b) Ivanis, k.a.against the Turks at Berat 1385


4b) Dmitar Kraljevic, who became an official in Hungary, where he d.after 1407


5b) Olivera; m.Djuradj Balsic, Lord of Zeta and Primorje (d.1378)


2a) Jovan Ugljesa, Zupan of Zahumlje, k.a.1371; m.ca 1364 Jelena Voinovic, a poet (d.after 1404)


1b) Trvtko, d.1366/71


2b) Ugljesa, d.ca 1371


3b) Eupraxia, a nun 1405


3a) Jelena, d.ca 1365, bur Prodromoskl; m.ca 1350 Nikola Radonja Brankovic (d.after 1365 on Mount Athos)