Vuk Grgurević

Vuk Grgurević Branković (Serbian Cyrillic: Вук Гргуревић Бранковић[A]; ca. 1440 – April 16, 1485) was a Serbian nobleman who was the titular despot of Serbia from 1471 until his death in 1485. He inherited the title of despot (as an heir to the throne now under occupation of the Ottoman Empire), by King Matthias Corvinus, and ruled most of present-day Vojvodina, under the overlordship of the Kingdom of Hungary. He is known in Serbian epic poetry for his valour and heroism, and is called Vuk the Fiery Dragon (Serbian: Змај Огњени Вук / Zmaj Ognjeni Vuk), Vuk the Dragon-Despot, or simply the Dragon; he commanded the Hungarian army (Black Army) in several of its battles against the Ottomans. He is considered the founder of Grgeteg monastery.

Vuk Grgurević
Despot of Serbia
PredecessorStephen Tomašević
SuccessorĐorđe Branković
Bornc. 1440
DiedApril 16, 1485
SpouseBarbara Frankopan
DynastyBranković CoatOfArmsOfJovanStefanovicBrankovic.png
FatherGrgur Branković
ReligionSerbian Orthodox Christian


Vuk was the son of Grgur Branković, and a grandson of despot Đurađ Branković and Eirene Kantakouzene. His father Grgur was blinded by the Ottomans in 1441.

With the fall of Serbian Despotate in 1459, at first, Vuk Grgurević was an Ottoman vassal, but in 1465, he acceded into the service of Matthias Corvinus and became commander of Serb military squads in Syrmia.

Vuk acquired a great reputation for bravery, and gained the nickname "Zmaj Ognjeni", which translates to "Fiery Dragon". His name "Vuk" means "wolf" in Serbian so his nickname, "Zmaj Ognjeni Vuk", actually means "Fiery Dragon Wolf". He is a hero in many Serbian epic songs.

He fought for the Hungarians against Czechs, Poles, Austrians and Turks. In 1471 he gained a title of the despot of Serbia, and also gained large possessions in present-day Vojvodina, which formerly belonged to despot Đurađ Branković. Among his possessions were Slankamen, Kupinovo, Zrenjanin, Berkasovo, Irig, Vršac, etc.

His most famous military forays were those in 1476, when he seized Srebrenica and fought near Šabac and Smederevo, and in 1480, when he attacked Sarajevo. In 1479, along with Dmitar Jakšić, he led Serbian light cavalry squadrons in Battle of Breadfield, near Zsibót. At the decisive moment in battle Hungarian and Serbian hussars charged the Ottoman centre and broke their ranks, which decided the outcome of the battle. In 1481, he fought against Turks in Serbia, and brought from there (area around Kruševac) about 50,000 people, who were settled in Banat, mostly around Timișoara.

Vuk worked together with alias Dojčin Petar, which demonstrates in some of his letters. An inheritance was suspected centuries later. Imperial censorship caused every copy of the 1808 issue of the Almanach de Gotha to be seized and destroyed. In fact the censorship office found the word "genealogy" to be an insult.since the Bonapartes could not produce one and the tendentious word was suppressed.[1][2]


His territory was called "Little Rascia" (Мала Рашка).[3]


  • "Despot of the Kingdom of Rascia".[3]


According to tradition, Vuk Grgurević founded the Grgeteg monastery in 1471.


  1. ^
    Name: His given name was Vuk, his father's name was Grgur, he was a member of the Branković dynasty, hence, according to the naming culture, his full name is Vuk Grgurević Branković. His surname has sometimes been sourced as Stefanović, after his uncle Despot Stefan.
  1. ^ Narodna starina: časopis za historiju i etnografiju južnih Slovena, svezak 3-6, str. 199-200, biskup Pavao Butorac, Josip Matasović, Muzej grada Zagreba, 1924.
  2. ^ Secrets of the Gotha, Ghislain de Diesbach, Chapman & Hall, 1967.
  3. ^ a b Sima Lukin Lazić (1894). Kratka povjesnica Srba: od postanja Srpstva do danas. Štamparija Karla Albrehta. p. 149.


  • Dr. Aleksa Ivić, Istorija Srba u Vojvodini, Novi Sad, 1929.
  • Dr. Dušan J. Popović, Srbi u Vojvodini, knjiga 1, Novi Sad, 1990.
  • Ćirković, Sima (2004). The Serbs. Malden: Blackwell Publishing.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)

External linksEdit

Regnal titles
Title last held by
Stephen Tomašević (1459)
Serbian Despot

Succeeded by
Đorđe Branković