House of Shishman

Shishman (Bulgarian: Шишман), also Shishmanids or Shishmanovtsi (Bulgarian: Шишмановци), was a medieval Bulgarian royal dynasty of Cuman[1] (or partial Cuman)[2] origin.

House of Shishman
Coat of Arms of the Emperor of Bulgaria (by Conrad Grünenberg).png
Parent houseSratsimir dynasty (since 1331)
CountryPrincipality of Vidin
Principality of Karvuna
Tsardom of Tarnovo
Principality of Valona
Tsardom of Vidin
Principality of Serres
FounderPrince Shishman of Vidin
Current headExtinct
Final rulerPrince Rostislav of Tarnovo
TitlesKnyaz, Tsar, Despot
Cadet branchesShishmanoğlu family
Family tree for the Shishman dynasty

The Shishman dynasty consecutively ruled the Second Bulgarian Empire for approximately one century, from 1323 to 1422, until it was conquered by the Ottomans. The Shishmanids were related to the earlier Asen dynasty, and according to the Ragusan historian Lukarić, also to the immediately preceding Terter dynasty.[2] In Plamen Pavlov's view, the Shishman dynasty's founder, despot Shishman of Vidin, may have been the brother of George I, the first Bulgarian Terterid ruler, thus also coming to Bulgaria from the Kingdom of Hungary after 1241.[2]


Among its more notable members were:

Main branch:

Sratsimir branch:

List of monarchsEdit

Principality/Tsardom of VidinEdit

Portrait Name From Until Short description
  Shishman 1280 1308 The founder of the dynasty.
  Michael I 1308 1323 Son of prince Shishman, elected to tsar of Bulgaria and uses the name Michael III.
  Belaur 1323 1337 Brother of prince Michael I.
  Michael II 1337 1356 Son of prince Michael I.
  Sratsimir 1356 1397 Third son of Ivan Alexander. Ruled in Vidin. Captured by the Ottomans in 1396 and imprisoned in Bursa where he was strangled.[4]
  Constantine 1397 1418 Spent most of his life in exile. Most historians do not include him in the list of the Bulgarian monarchs.

Principality of KarvunaEdit

Portrait Name From Until Short description
  Sratsimir 1300 1330 Father of tsar Ivan Alexander of Bulgaria.
  Keratsa 1330 1340 Wife of Sratsimir and mother of tsar Ivan Alexander of Bulgaria.

Tsardom of TarnovoEdit

Portrait Name From Until Short description
  Michael III Shishman 1323 1330 Bolyar of Vidin. Mortally wounded in the battle of Velbazhd on 28 July 1330 against the Serbs.[5]
  Ivan Stephen 1330 1331 Son of Michael III Shishman. Deposed in March 1331 and fled to Serbia.[6] Might have died in 1373.
  Ivan Alexander 1331 1371 Bolyar of Lovech. Descended of the Asen, Terter and Shishman dynasties. Second Golden Age of Bulgarian culture. Died of natural death on 17 February 1371, leaving Bulgaria divided among his sons.[5]
  Ivan Shishman 1371 1393 Fourth son of Ivan Alexander. Beheaded by the Ottomans on 3 June 1395.[7]

Principality of ValonaEdit

Portrait Name From Until Short description
  Komnenos 1346 1363 Brother of tsar Ivan Alexander.
  Alexander 1363 1368 Son of prince Komnenos.
  Komnena 1368 1396 Daughter of prince Komnenos. Married with Balša II Balšić (1372–1385), Lord of Kanina and Valona, and eventually Duke of Albania.

Principality of SerresEdit

Portrait Name From Until Short description
  Helena 1355 1367 Daughter of Sratsimir of Kran and Keratsa Petritsa and the sister of Tsar Ivan Alexander of Bulgaria.
Family tree of the Shishman Dynasty[b]
married to Unknown
Michael Shishman
(r. 1323–1330) married to 1. Anna Neda 2. Theodora Palaiologina
BelaurKeratsa Petritsa, married to despot Sratsimir
1. Ivan Stephen
(r. 1330–1331)
1. Shishman1. Michael,
married to unknown
1. Ludovik2. Unknown
Ivan Alexander
(r. 1331–1371) married to 1. Theodora Besarab 2. Sarah-Theodora
John Komnenos Asen married to 1. Unknown 2. Anna PalaiologinaMichael
married to unknown
married to Stefan Dushan (r. 1331–1355)
Alexander Komnenus Asen, Xenia Ivanina KomnenaShishman
1. Michael IV Asen married to Irina Palaiologina1. Ivan Sratsimir
(r. 1356–1396) married to Anna
1. Ivan Asen IV1. Kera Tamara married to Constantine Murad I (r. 1362–1389)2. Keratsa-Maria married to Andronikos IV Palaiologos (r. 1376–1379)2. Ivan Shishman
(r. 1371–1395) married to 1. Kira Maria 2. Dragana
2. Ivan Asen V2. Desislava2. Vasilisa
Constantine II
(r. 1397–1422)
Dorothea married to Tvrtko I (r. 1353-1391)Unknown daughterJohn VII Palaiologos (r. 1390)2 unknown daughtersAlexanderFruzhin married to unknownKeratsa4 unknown; Patriarch Joseph II possible illegitimate son
Shishman2 unknown


^ a: Only Ivan Alexander and Ivan Shishman claimed the title Emperor of all Bulgarians and Greeks.
^ a: The numbers designate which wife each child was born to.


  1. ^ Vásáry, István. Cumans and Tatars: Oriental Military in the Pre-Ottoman Balkans, 1185-1365 (PDF). Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-83756-1.
  2. ^ a b c Павлов, Пламен (2005). "Метежници и претенденти за търновската царска корона през XIV в.". Бунтари и авантюристи в средновековна България (in Bulgarian). Варна: LiterNet.
  3. ^ Павлов, Пламен (2007-06-15). "Щрихи към портрета на Вселенския патриарх Йосиф ІІ" (in Bulgarian). Nobility BG. Archived from the original on 2008-07-27. Retrieved 2008-08-25.
  4. ^ Andreev, p. 298
  5. ^ a b Andreev, p. 263
  6. ^ Andreev, p. 267
  7. ^ Andreev, p. 286



  • Андреев (Andreev), Йордан (Jordan); Милчо Лалков (Milcho Lalkov) (1996). Българските ханове и царе [The Bulgarian Khans and Tsars] (in Bulgarian). Велико Търново (Veliko Tarnovo): Абагар (Abagar). ISBN 954-427-216-X.
  • Ivanov, Yordan (1970). Bulgarian Antiquities from Macednia (in Bulgarian). Sofia: BAN.

External linksEdit