|King of all the Serbian and Maritime Lands|
King Milutin, founder's portrait (fresco) in "King's Church" of the Studenica monastery, painted during his lifetime, around 1314
|Successor||Stephen of De?ani|
|Born||Uro? II Milutin Nemanji?|
|Died||29 October 1321(aged 68)|
Stephen Uro? III De?anski
|Father||Stefan Uro? I|
|Mother||Helen of Anjou|
Stefan Uro? II Milutin (Serbian Cyrillic: ? II ?; c. 1253 - 29 October 1321), known as Stefan Milutin ( ?), was the King of Serbia between 1282–1321, a member of the Nemanji? dynasty. He was one of the most powerful rulers of Serbia in the Middle Ages. Milutin is credited with strongly resisting the efforts of Byzantine Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos to impose Roman Catholicism on the Balkans after the Union of Lyons in 1274. As most of the Nemanji? monarchs, he was proclaimed a saint by the Serbian Orthodox Church with a feast day on October 30.
He was the youngest son of King Stefan Uro? I and his wife, Helen of Anjou. Unexpectedly he became king of Serbia after the abdication of his brother Stefan Dragutin. He was around 29. Immediately upon his accession to the throne he attacked Byzantine lands in Macedonia. In 1282, he conquered the northern parts of Macedonia including 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. In Nerodimlje ?upa Milutin had three courts, in Nerodimlje (protected by Petri?), Svr?in and Pauni.
At the end of the 13th century Bulgarian feudal lords Darman and Kudelin were jointly ruling the region of Brani?evo (in modern Serbia) as independent or semi-independent lords. They regularly attacked Stefan Dragutin's Syrmian Kingdom, in Ma?va, an area previously under the sovereignty of Elizabeth of Hungary. The Hungarian queen had sent troops to claim Brani?evo in 1282-1284, but her forces had been repelled and her vassal lands plundered in retaliation.
Another campaign, this time organized by both Dragutin and Elizabeth, failed to conquer Darman and Kudelin's domains in 1285 and suffered another counter-raid by the brothers. It was not until 1291 when a joint force of Dragutin and the Serbian King Stefan Milutin managed to defeat the brothers and, for the first time ever, the region came under the rule of a Serb, as it was annexed by Dragutin. Responding to Dragutin's annexation of Brani?evo the Bulgarian prince named Shishman that came to rule the semi-independent principality of Vidin around 1280, began to attack the Serbian domains to his west.
Shishman was a vassal of Nogai Khan, Khan of the Golden Horde and sought to expand his territories to the west, invading Serbia coming as far as Hvosno, the Bulgarians failed to capture Zdrelo (near Pe?) and were pursued back to Vidin by the Serbs. Milutin devastated Vidin and the rest of Shishman's dominion, making Shishman take refuge on the other side of the Danube. The two however became allies after Milutin married Serbian ?upan Drago? to the daughter of Shishman, later Milutin would give his daughter Neda (with title Anna) to Shishman's son Michael who would become the Tsar of Bulgaria in 1323.
Milutin and Nogai Khan would soon come into conflict because of the war with the Tsardom of Vidin. Nogai launched a campaign against Serbia but Milutin offered peace sending his son Stefan De?anski to Nogai's court. Stefan stayed with his entourage there until 1296 or Nogai Khan's death in 1299.
Disputes began between Milutin and his brother Stefan Dragutin after a peace treaty with the Byzantine Empire was signed in 1299. Dragutin in the meantime held lands from Brani?evo in the east to the Bosna river in the west. His capital was Belgrade. War broke out between the brothers and lasted, with sporadic cease-fires, until Dragutin's death in 1314. During this war Milutin appointed Stefan De?anski as regent in Zeta, modern Montenegro. This meant that Stefan De?anski was to be heir to the throne in Serbia and not Dragutin's son Stefan Vladislav II.
The Battle of Gallipoli (1312) was fought by Serbian troops sent by Stefan Milutin to aid Byzantine Emperor Andronikos in the defense of his lands against the Turks. After numerous attempts in subduing the Turks, the rapidly crumbling Byzantine Empire was forced to enlist the help of Serbia. The Turks were looting and pillaging the countryside and the two armies converged at the Gallipoli peninsula where the Turks were decisively defeated. Out of the gratitude to Serbia, the town of Kucovo was donated.
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 Ma?va while Milutin held control in Brani?evo. In the year 1314 Milutin's son Stefan De?anski 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 De?anski returned to Serbia and was pardoned by his father.
Time of his reign was marked hostility to Catholicism and conversion of Catholics which provoked rebellion of Catholic nobility. Pope John XXII called Stefan Milutin as "the enemy of the Christian faith".
By his first wife, Jelena, a minor Serbian noblewoman, he had two children:
At the end of Milutin's life Serbia was second in strength in Southeast Europe after 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: Gra?anica monastery, Our Lady of Ljevi?, the church of Vavedenje in Hilandar and many more. After his death a short civil war followed, after which the Serbian throne was ascended by his eldest son, Stefan De?anski.
He is included in The 100 most prominent Serbs.
|Bukovo monastery||Negotin, Serbia||13-14th century|
|Church of St. Nicetas||Banjane, North Macedonia||ca. 1300|
|Our Lady of Ljevi?||Prizren, Kosovo[a]||1306-1307|
|"King's Church" of the Studenica monastery||Kraljevo, Serbia||1313-1314|
|Church of St. George||Kumanovo, North Macedonia||1313-1318|
|Banjska monastery||near Zve?an, Kosovo[a]||1318|
|"Church of Entrance of the Theotokos" of the Hilandar monastery||Mount Athos, Greece||1320|
|Gra?anica monastery||Gra?anica, Kosovo[a]||1321|
|Korogla? monastery||near Negotin, Serbia||14th century|
|Vratna monastery||near Negotin, Serbia||14th century|
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