Nemanjić dynasty

Nemanjić dynasty
House of Nemanja


  • Grand Principality
  • Kingdom
  • Empire
Ancestral house Vukanović dynasty
  • Grand Prince (Велики Жупан/Veliki Župan)
  • King of Serbia (Краљ/Kralj)
  • Emperor of Serbia (Tsar, Цар/Car)
Founder Stephen Nemanja
Final sovereign Stephen Uroš V the Weak
Founding 1166
Dissolution 1371 (see fall of the Serbian Empire)
Cadet branches
Coat of arms attributed to the Nemanjić dynasty in the Fojnica Armorial, based on the Ohmućević Armorial (late 16th century). The double-headed eagle is attested for the flag of the medieval kingdom of Serbia by Angelino Dulcert (1339).

The Nemanjić (pronounced [nɛ̌maɲitɕ], Serbian: pl. Немањићи, Nemanjići) was the most important dynasty of Serbia in the Middle Ages, and one of the most important in Southeastern Europe. The royal house produced eleven Serbian monarchs between 1166 and 1371. It's progenitor was Stephen Nemanja, who descended from a cadet line of the Vukanović dynasty (1101–1166). After Stephen (Stefan) Nemanja, all monarchs used Stefan as a personal name, a tradition adopted for the royal pretensions. The monarchs began as Grand Princes, and with the crowning of Stephen II in 1217, the realm was promoted to a Kingdom, and the Serbian Church was established. In 1346, Stephen Uroš IV Dušan was crowned Emperor of the Serbs and Greeks [and Albanians and Bulgarians], and the Archbishopric of Serbia was elevated to a Patriarchate. In 1371, with the death of child-less Uroš the Weak (r. 1355-1371), the fall of the Serbian Empire was ensured; provincial lords obtained the rule of the past provinces, and the Nemanjić survived only through maternal lines in several Serbian houses.



The Serbs, as Slavs in the vicinity of the Byzantine Empire, lived in so-called Sklavinia ("Slav lands"), territories initially out of Byzantine control and independent.[1] In the 8th century, the Vlastimirović Dynasty established the Serbian Principality. In 822, Serbia "stretched over the greater part of Dalmatia",[2] and Christianity was adopted as state-religion in ca 870.[3] In the mid 10th century the state had emerged into a tribal confederation that stretched to the shores of the Adriatic Sea by the Neretva, the Sava, the Morava, and Skadar.[4] The state disintegrated after the death of the last known Vlastimirid ruler – the Byzantines annexed the region and held it for a century, until 1040 when the Serbs under the Vojislavljević Dynasty (Vlastimirović branch) revolted in Duklja (Pomorje).[5] In 1091, the Vukanović Dynasty (Vojislavljević branch) established the Serbian Grand Principality, based in Rascia (Zagorje).[5] The two halves were reunited in 1142.[6]

In 1166, Stefan Nemanja takes the throne, marking the beginning of a prospering Serbia, henceforth under the rule of the Nemanjići (Vukanović branch).[7]

Serbia under the Nemanjić dynasty

Nemanjic's Serbia, 1150–1220, during the rules of Stefan Nemanja and Stefan Prvovenčani.

Serbia reached its height of power during the Nemanjići. The Serbian Kingdom was proclaimed in 1217. Direct result of this was the establishment of the Serbian Orthodox Church in 1219. In the same year Saint Sava published the first constitution in Serbia — St. Sava's Nomocanon.

Stefan Dušan proclaimed the Serbian Empire in 1346. During Dušan's rule, Serbia reached its territorial, political and economical peak, proclaiming itself as the successor of the Byzantine Empire, and indeed was the most powerful Balkan state of that time. Tsar Dušan enacted the known Dušan's Code, an extensive constitution, and opened new trade routes and strengthened the state's economy. Serbia flourished, becoming one of the most developed countries and cultures in Europe. Medieval Serbia had a high political, economic, and cultural reputation in Europe. The Serbian identity has been profoundly shaped by the rule of this dynasty and its accomplishments, with the Serbian Orthodox Church who assumed the role of the national spiritual guardian.

Serbian Empire, 1355 A.D.

Before his sudden death, Stefan Dušan tried to organize a Crusade with the Pope against the threatening Turks. He died in December 1355 at the age 47. He was succeeded by his son Uroš, called the Weak, a term that might also apply to the state of the empire which slowly slided into a feudal anarchy. This was a period marked by the rise of a new threat: the Ottoman Turk sultanate which spread from Asia to Europe. They conquered Byzantium and then the other states in the Balkans.


The House of Nemanjić, fresco from Visoki Dečani monastery
  • Stefan Nemanja also Stefan I, Nemanja (ca 1166-1199)
  • Vukan II Nemanjić (1196–1208), elder son of Stefan Nemanja
  • Stefan Prvovenčani (Stefan the Firstcrowned) also Stefan II, Nemanja (1199–1228), younger son of Stefan Nemanja
  • Đorđe Nemanjić (1208–1243), Ruler of Zeta
  • Stefan Radoslav (1228–1233)
  • Stefan Vladislav I (1234–1243)
  • Stefan Uroš I (1243–1276)
  • Stefan Dragutin (1276–1282)
  • Stefan (Uroš II) Milutin (1282–1321)
  • Stefan Vladislav II (1321 - about 1325)
  • Stefan (Uroš III) Dečanski (1321–1331)
  • Stefan (Uroš IV) Dušan (Dušan the Mighty) (1331–1355), King of Serbia (1331–1346); Tsar of Serbs and Greeks (1346–1355)
  • Stefan Uroš V (Uroš the Weak) (1355–1371), tsar
  • Tsar Simeon-Siniša of Epirus (1359–1370), son of Stefan Uroš III and the Greek Princess
  • Tsar Jovan Uroš of Epirus (1370–1373), son of Simeon-Siniša; is the very last ruler of Epirus

See also


  1. ^ Ćorović, Istorija srpskog naroda, Prvi Period – III
  2. ^ Ćorović, Istorija srpskog naroda, Drugi Period – II; Eginhartus de vita et gestis Caroli Magni, p. 192: footnote J10
  3. ^ Ćorović, Istorija srpskog naroda, Drugi Period – IV;
  4. ^ Ćorović, Istorija srpskog naroda, Drugi Period – V;
  5. ^ a b Ćorović, Istorija srpskog naroda, Drugi Period – VII;
  6. ^ Ćorović, Istorija srpskog naroda, Drugi Period – VIII
  7. ^ Ćorović, Istorija srpskog naroda, Treći Period – I;


External links

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