Stefan Uroš II Milutin of Serbia


Stefan Uroš II Milutin of Serbia

Infobox Monarch
name = Stefan Uroš II Milutin Nemanjić
title = King of Serbia


caption = King Stefan Uroš II Milutin
reign = 1282 - 1321
coronation = 1282
predecessor = Stefan Dragutin
successor = Stefan of Dečani
consort =
issue = Stefan Uroš III Dečanski, Stefan Constantine
religion = Serbian Orthodox
royal house = House of Nemanjić
royal anthem =
father = Stefan Uroš I
mother = Hélène d'Anjou
date of birth = 1253
place of birth =
date of death = death date and age|1321|10|29|1253|1|1|mf=y
place of death =
buried =

Stefan Uroš II Milutin (Serbian cyrillic: Стефан Урош II Милутин), (c. 1253ndash October 29, 1321), was a king of Serbia (reigned 1282–1321), and member of the House of Nemanjić.

He was the youngest son of King Stefan Uroš I and his wife, Queen Helena (Hélène d'Anjou) from House of Anjou. Unexpectedly he became king of Serbia after the abdication of his brother Stefan Dragutin. He was around 29. Immediately upon his accesssion to the throne he attacked Byzantine lands in Macedonia. In 1282, he conquered the northern parts of Macedonia with the city of Skoplje, which became his capital. Byzantine Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos began preparations for war but he died before their completion. The next year Milutin advanced with his brother deep into Byzantine territory all the way to Kavala. In 1284, Milutin also gained control of northern Albania and the city of Dyrrachion (Durrës). For the next 15 years there were no changes in the war. Peace was concluded in 1299 when Milutin kept the conquered lands as the dowry of Simonis, daughter of Emperor Andronikos II Palaiologos who became his 4th wife.

Around 1287 or 1288 Milutin helped his brother Stefan Dragutin to pacify two Bulgarian nobles in today's north-east Serbia, in the Branicevo region, but those nobles were vassals of the Bulgarian prince of Vidin Shishman who sought revenge. Shishman attacked Milutin but was defeated and Milutin in return sacked his capital Vidin. But Shishman was a vassal of Nogai Khan, Khan of the Golden Horde. Nogai Khan threatened to punish Milutin for his insolence, but changed his mind when the Serbian king sent him gifts and hostages. Among the hostages was his son Stefan Dečanski who managed to escape back to Serbia after Nogai Khan's death in 1299.

Disputes began between Milutin and Dragutin after a peace treaty with the Byzantine Empire was signed in 1299. Dragutin in the meantime held lands from Braničevo in the east to the Bosna river in the west. His capital was Belgrade, appearing for the first time in Serbian history. War broke out between the brothers and lasted, with sporadic cease-fires, until Dragutin's death in 1314. During this war Milutin appointed Stefan Dečanski as regent in Zeta, modern Montenegro. This meant that Stefan Dečanski was to be heir to the throne in Serbia and not Dragutin's son Stefan Vladislav II.

Upon Stefan Dragutin's death in 1314 Milutin conquered most of his lands including Belgrade. But in 1319 Charles I of Hungary regained control over Belgrade and banovina Mačva while Milutin held control in Braničevo. In the year 1314 Milutin's son Stefan Dečanski rebelled against his father, but was captured, blinded and sent to exile in Constantinople. For the rest of Milutin's reign his youngest son Stefan Constantine was considered as heir to the throne, but in the spring of 1321 Stefan Dečanski returned to Serbia and was pardoned by his father.

At the end of Milutin's life many things changed in Serbia. Serbia was one of the strongest countries in south-eastern Europe, except for Hungary. During his reign many court ceremonials were taken over from the Byzantine court and Byzantine culture overflowed into Serbia. Milutin was also well known as the founder of many monasteries: Gračanica monastery, Our Lady of Ljeviš, the church of Vavedenje in Hilandar and many more. After his death a short civil war followed, after wnich the Serbian throne was ascended by his eldest son, Stefan Dečanski.

Family

By his wife, Anna, the daughter of George I of Bulgaria, Stefan Uroš II Milutin had the following children:
* Stefan Uroš III Dečanski, who succeeded as king
* Anna Neda, who married Michael Shishman of BulgariaBy his second wife, Elizabeth, daughter of King Stephen V of Hungary and Elizabeth the Cuman, Milutin had:
* Stefan Constantine, rival king of Serbia from 1321 to 1322By his third wife Simonis, the daughter of Emperor Andronikos II Palaiologos, he had no children.

References

* John V.A. Fine, Jr., "The Late Medieval Balkans", Ann Arbor, 1987.
* Group of authors, "History of Serbian people I-III", Belgrade 1994.


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