Princess Milica of Serbia

Princess Milica Hrebeljanović née Nemanjić (Serbian: Милица Немањић Хребељановић · ca. 1335 – November 11, 1405) also known as Empress (Tsaritsa) Milica, was a royal consort of Serbia by marriage to Prince Lazar who fell in the Battle of Kosovo. After her husband's death, she took the role as queen regent of Serbia from 1389 to 1393, until her son, despot Stefan Lazarević came of age.

Milica Nemanjić Hrebeljanović
Милица Немањић Хребељановић
Tsaritsa Milica
DiedNovember 11, 1405
Venerated inEastern Orthodox Church
SpouseLazar of Serbia
IssueStefan Lazarević
HouseNemanjić dynasty
FatherVratko Nemanjić
ReligionSerbian Orthodox
Statue of Princess Milica in Trstenik

She later became a Serbian Orthodox nun under the name Jevgenija. She is the author of "A Mother's Prayer" (Serbian: Молитва матере) and a famous poem of mourning for her husband, My Widowhood's Bridegroom (Serbian: Удовству мојему женик).

Biography Edit

Early life Edit

She was the daughter of Prince Vratko Nemanjić (known in Serb epic poetry as Jug Bogdan), who as a great-grandson of Vukan Nemanjić, Grand Prince of Serbia (ruled 1202–1204)), was part of the collateral, elder branch of the Nemanjić dynasty. Her husband was Prince Lazar Hrebeljanović. She was the fourth cousin once removed of Emperor Dušan of Serbia. Through female linage, her children with Prince Lazar are the reason members of the Lazarević dynasty are direct descendants of Nemanjić dynasty.

Tsaritsa Milica was particularly known for her strong personality,[1]

Regency Edit

After the death of her husband at the Battle of Kosovo in 1389, Milica ruled Serbia until 1393 when her son, Stefan Lazarević, came of age to take the throne.[2] The aftermaths of the Battle in Kosovo were considered very turbulent times for Serbia. Almost immediately in her reign, in November 1389, she was attacked by the Hungarians under Sigismund, who hoped to take advantage of Serbia's weakness after the Battle of Kosovo. The Hungarians took a series of the Serbs’ northern fortresses and penetrated as far south as Kragujevac. Scholars disagree on the results of this attack and of the further fighting that occurred between Hungary and Serbia in the ensuing years. It is possible that Hungarians abandoned those lands, making it possible for Milica to regain some of it.[3]

Vuk Branković, one of the leaders led by Prince Lazar in the Battle of Kosovo, became an issue for Milica's reign. Branković had prior to the battle accepted Lazar as his overlord, and now that Lazar was dead and his son wasn't of age, he attempted to overthrow Milica. As a result, the queen regent found herself caught between two ambitious enemies, the Hungarians and Branković, who were now negotiating together and on the verge of forging an alliance. The pressure continued when Ottomans had reached Milica's border in the summer of 1390, in which she saw no other choice than accepting Ottoman suzerainty and allowed the Turks free passage through her lands.[4]

This quarrel between Branković and Milica, though very short-lasting, seems to have led Milica to unleash a propaganda campaign of slander. Therefore, it has made scholars to believe it might have influenced the early sources about Battle of Kosovo, in which Branković is accused of alleged treachery against Prince Lazar by having secret negotiations with Sultan Murad.[4]

Nun Edit

She founded the Ljubostinja monastery around 1390 and later took monastic vows at her monastery and became the nun Eugenia (Јевгенија, later abbess Euphrosine, Јефросина) around 1393.[5]

Ljubostinja monastery was founded by Princess Milica

In later diplomatic negotiations with Sultan Bayezid I, Eugenia and Euphemia, the former Vasilissa of Serres, both travelled to the Sultan's court in 1398/99.[6]

In 1403, Eugenia went to the Sultan at Serres, arguing in favour of her son Stefan Lazarević in a complicated dispute that had emerged between her two sons and Branković.[5]

Writer Edit

Princess Milica was also a writer. She wrote several prayers and religious poems. In 1397 she issued the "A Mother's Prayer" together with her sons at the Dečani monastery.[7] She commissioned the repairing of the bronze horos of Dečani.[5]

Death and burial Edit

She was buried in Ljubostinja, her monastery. She was canonized by the Serbian Orthodox Church.

Family Edit

With Prince Lazar she had five daughters and three sons:

Legacy Edit

Street names Edit


Several streets throughout Central Serbia are named after the Princess. In the once thriving industrial city of Trstenik, Serbia, the main street that runs directly through city center is named Kneginje Milice. Trstenik, Serbia, is the closest major city to her burial site at Ljubostinja Monastery.

There is a Kneginje Milice street also located in Lazarevac, in borough Lukavica. The street is about 250 m long. Near that street is Kolubarski trg and Zivojina Zujovica street.

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ Godišnjak Društva istoričara Bosne i Hercegovine: Annuaire de la Société historique de Bosnie et Herzégovine (in Serbian). Društvo istoričara Bosne i Hercegovine. 1986. p. 130. Retrieved 18 January 2013. Po svemu izgleda da je Jelena bila snažna ličnost, vjerovatno slična svojoj majci, kneginji Milici. Način kako Dubrovčani o njoj govore mogao bi to da potvrdi.
  2. ^ Vujić, Joakim (2006), "The transformation of symbolic geography: Characteristics of the Serbian people", in Trencsényi, Balázs; Kopeček, Michal (eds.), Late enlightenment emergence of the modern 'national idea, Budapest New York: Central European University Press, p. 115, ISBN 9789637326523.
  3. ^ Fine, John V. A. (1994). The Late Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Late Twelfth Century to the Ottoman Conquest. University of Michigan Press. p. 411. ISBN 978-0-472-08260-5.
  4. ^ a b Fine, John V. A. (1994). The Late Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Late Twelfth Century to the Ottoman Conquest. University of Michigan Press. p. 413. ISBN 978-0-472-08260-5.
  5. ^ a b c Gavrilović, Zaga (2006), "Women in Serbian politics, diplomacy and art at the beginning of Ottoman rule", in Jeffreys, Elizabeth M. (ed.), Byzantine style, religion, and civilization: in honour of Sir Steven Runciman, New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 75–78, ISBN 9780521834452.
  6. ^ Ćirković, Sima M.; Korać, Vojislav; Babić, Gordana (1986). Studenica Monastery. Belgrade: Jugoslovenska Revija. p. 144. OCLC 17159580.
  7. ^ Popovich, Ljubica D. (1994). "Portraits of Knjeginja Milica". Serbian Studies. North American Society for Serbian Studies. 8 (1–2): 94–95. Archived from the original on 2017-11-23. Retrieved 2015-05-29. Pdf.

Sources Edit