|Battle of Tripolje|
|Part of the Ottoman wars in Europe|
|Serbian Despotate (House of Lazarević)||
House of Branković |
|Commanders and leaders|
Đurađ II Stracimirović
Ottoman troops from Suleiman
The Battle of Tripolje took place in November 1402 between the Serbian Despotate and the Brankovic family. The Brankovic family, who were attempting to seize the Serbian throne for themselves, entered the battle along with Ottoman troops given to them by Suleiman, and were decisively defeated by Stefan Lazarević.
The Serbian Lazarevic army had come from Zeta (in modern-day Montenegro). A local Serb lord, Đurađ II of the Balšić dynasty, the Despot's brother-in-law, had prepared the Despot for establishment of his rule on the field of battle as well.
Open conflict between Lazarević and Branković, started a few months earlier, during their stay in Constantinople. They were returning home after the battle of Ankara in which they participated as vassals of the Ottoman sultans. Đurađ Branković, on the order of Stefan Lazarević, was imprisoned in the dungeon. The real reason is not known, but most likely it was the Đurad’s plan to approach Süleyman Çelebi, one of the sons of Sultan Bayezid I who fought for the throne. After Lazarević left Constantinople with the ships, Đurađ managed to escape from prison and went to Süleyman . Süleyman gave him auxiliary force in order to stop Stefan’s return to his country. With these troops and with his own forces, Đurađ blocked all the main roads throughout Kosovo and Metohia. He expected brothers to return from Zeta. Süleyman didn’t trust Đurađ and sent his own commander to command Ottoman forces and to oversee Đurađ.
Stefan and Vuk had about 260 man who traveled with them. They were reinforced with the forces of Đurađ Balšić, who was married with their sister Jelena. Their mother Milica also sent some military detachments from Serbia. Using side roads, they traveled from Bar across Shkodër and reached Gračanica in Kosovo, where they met with rest of their forces.
Lazarević’s and Branković’s forces clashed on 21. November at Tripolje, near Gračanica. Despot Stefan divided his forces. His brother Vuk commanded the main part of the army who attacked Đurađ’s forces, while he commanded smaller part and attacked Ottomans. Stefan’s forces managed to rout Ottomans and the big part that event played kesar Uglješa Vlatković, who was in the ranks of the Ottoman forces as their vassal. He told Stefan all about Ottoman battle plans and he spread the stories among Ottomans of how Stefan’s forces were powerful. This caused drop of the moral among Ottoman soldiers and when the battle started he crossed to the Stefan’s side. On the other side Vuk Lazarević has been suppressed, but ultimately battle has been ended with the Branković's defeat.
After the battle, Lazarević brothers went to Novo Brdo. In Novo Brdo, there was verbal confrontation between Stefan and Vuk. Stefan was angry at Vuk’s ignorance in the art of war and high casualties in the Vuk’s rank. This confrontation had high impact on their relationship and would later lead to open conflict between them. Because of his great contribution in battle, Stefan confirmed Uglješa Vlatković’s authority over Vranje, Ingošt (modern-day Surdulica) and Preševo, also Uglješa became Stefan’s vassal. Stefan Lazarević managed to return to Serbia and regain his power. Battle alone started civil war between Lazarević and Branković, who would last for a decade. The war will end in 1412, when two only remaining representatives of the two families, Stefan and Đurađ, made peace and started together to strengthen Serbia.
- Fine, John Van Antwerp, The Late Medieval Balkans, Vol.2, (University of Michigan Press, 1994), 502
- Fine, John Van Antwerp, The Late Medieval Balkans, Vol.2, 502.
- Fine, John Van Antwerp, The Late Medieval Balkans, University of Michigan Press, 1994.
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