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The Battle of Savra ( sq, Beteja e Savrës, sr, Bitka na Saurskom polju, tr, Savra Muharebesi; "Battle on the Saurian field") or the Battle of the Vjosë was fought on 18 September 1385 between
Ottoman Ottoman is the Turkish spelling of the Arabic masculine given name Uthman (name), Uthman (Arabic: عُثْمان ''‘uthmān''). It may refer to: Governments and dynasties * Ottoman Caliphate, an Islamic caliphate from 1517 to 1924 * Ottoman Empi ...
and much smaller
Zeta Zeta (, ; uppercase Ζ, lowercase ζ; grc, ζῆτα, el, ζήτα, label=Demotic Greek Demotic Greek or Dimotiki ( el, Δημοτική Γλώσσα, , , lit. "language of the people") was a colloquial vernacular form of Modern Greek, in c ...
n forces, at the Savra field near
Lushnjë Lushnjë (; in Lushnje's own dialect: ''Lushnje'' ; sq-definite, Lushnja) is a city and municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subd ...
(in modern-day southern
Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a par ...

Albania
). The Ottomans were invited by Karlo Thopia to support him in his feud against
Balša II Balša Balšić ( sr-cyr, Балша Балшић; died September 18, 1385), known in historiography as Balša II, was the Zeta under the Balšići, Lord of Lower Zeta from 1378 to 1385. He managed to expand his borders towards the south; defeating ...
.


Background

In 1372, Balša II married Komnina, the daughter of
John Komnenos Asen John Komnenos Asen ( bg, Йоан Комнин Асен, Yoan Komnin Asen; gr, Ίωάννης Κομνηνός Ἀσάνης, Iōannēs Komnēnos Asanēs; sr, Јован Комнин Асен, Jovan Komnin Asen) was the ruler of the Principality ...
, the Despot of Valona. As a dowry, Balša gained the cities of Valona (modern
Vlorë Vlorë ( , ; sq-definite, Vlora) is the third most populous city of the Republic of Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeastern Europ ...
),
Berat Berat (, sq-definite, Berati) is the ninth largest city by population of the Republic of Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeastern ...

Berat
, and Kanina (in modern-day southern Albania), located in Asen's province. In 1385
Balša II Balša Balšić ( sr-cyr, Балша Балшић; died September 18, 1385), known in historiography as Balša II, was the Zeta under the Balšići, Lord of Lower Zeta from 1378 to 1385. He managed to expand his borders towards the south; defeating ...
conquered Durazzo (modern
Durrës Durrës ( , ; sq-definite, Durrësi) is the second most populous city of the Republic of Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeastern ...

Durrës
), presumably from
Karl Topia Karl Thopia ( sq, Karl Topia) was an Albanians, Albanian feudal prince and warlord who ruled Albania from the middle of the 14th century until the first Ottoman wars in Europe, Ottoman conquest of Albania. Thopia usually maintained good relatio ...
. In a charter to Ragusa issued in April 1385, he called himself "Duke of Durazzo". The expansion of Balšić's realm into Epirus brought him to the frontline against the Ottomans. Being aware of Ottoman aspirations to his territory, on 8 August 1385 Balša II asked Venetians to support him with four galleys.


Battle

Karlo Thopia invited the Ottomans to support him in conflict with Balša II. Thopia's invitation was accepted and
Hayreddin Pasha Hayreddin Pasha ( aeb, خير الدين باشا التونسي Khayr ed-Din Pasha et-Tunsi; ota, تونسلى حيرالدين پاشا; tr, Tunuslu Hayreddin Paşa; 1820 – 30 January 1890) was an Ottoman Empire, Ottoman-Tunisia, Tunisian ...
brought his forces from the region of
Ohrid Ohrid ( mk, Охрид ) is a city in North Macedonia and is the seat of the Ohrid Municipality. It is the largest city on Lake Ohrid and the List of cities in North Macedonia, eighth-largest city in the country, with the municipality recording ...

Ohrid
(modern-day Macedonia) to Saurian field, near
Lushnjë Lushnjë (; in Lushnje's own dialect: ''Lushnje'' ; sq-definite, Lushnja) is a city and municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subd ...
. News about the incursion of the Ottoman forces into the region of Berat reached Balša II while he was in Durrës. According to
Mavro Orbini Mavro Orbini (1563–1614) was a Republic of Ragusa, Ragusan chronicler, notable for his work ''The Realm of the Slavs'' (1601) which influenced Pan-Slavism, Slavic ideology and historiography in the later centuries. Life Orbini was born in Ragus ...
, Balša II rounded up one thousand men in Durrës and, ignoring the advice of his nobles, headed out to take on the Ottoman raiders. Unsurprisingly, Balša's small forces had little success and Balša II was killed. Orbini's work is the only source that mention Ivaniš Mrnjavčević as participating in this battle. Some scholars believe he did not even exist, while others believe that he was not an independent medieval lord, but a loyal member of the Balšić family. Another person mentioned only by Orbini is Balša's
voivode Voivode (, also spelled Voievod, Voivoda, Vojvoda or Wojewoda) is a title denoting a "military-leader" or "warlord A warlord is a person who exercises military, economic, and political control over a region in a country without a strong nat ...
Đurađ Krvavčić, described as a brave warrior who also died in this battle. Mavrini explains that the body of Balša II was decapitated and his head taken to Hayreddin Pasha.


Aftermath

Since the Ottomans were victorious, most of the local Serbian and Albanian lords became vassals. Immediately after this battle Thopia recaptured Durrës, probably under the Ottoman suzerainty. The Ottomans captured
Krujë Krujë ( sq-definite, Kruja; see also the #Etymology, etymology section) is a town and a Municipalities of Albania, municipality in north central Albania. Located between Mount Krujë and the Ishëm River, the city is only 20 km north from ...

Krujë
,
Berat Berat (, sq-definite, Berati) is the ninth largest city by population of the Republic of Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeastern ...

Berat
, and
Ulcinj Ulcinj ( cyrl, Улцињ, ; sq, Ulqin or ''Ulqini''; tr, Ülgün; it, Dulcigno) is a town on the southern coast of Montenegro Montenegro (; cnr, Crna Gora, , , ; sq, Mali i zi) is a country in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe o ...

Ulcinj
and soon retreated from them keeping only
Kastoria Kastoria ( el, Καστοριά, ''Kastoriá'' ) is a city in northern Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe ...

Kastoria
under their permanent control. Some sources explain that Ottomans probably remained in Berat with the intention to use it as a foothold to capture Vlorë. The work of
Mavro Orbini Mavro Orbini (1563–1614) was a Republic of Ragusa, Ragusan chronicler, notable for his work ''The Realm of the Slavs'' (1601) which influenced Pan-Slavism, Slavic ideology and historiography in the later centuries. Life Orbini was born in Ragus ...
(''The Realm of the Slavs'') is one of the main primary sources about this battle. It contains many incorrect and imprecise data. Another primary source about the Battle of Savra is
Marin Barleti Marin Barleti ( la, Marinus Barletius, it, Marino Barlezio; – ) was a historian A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodica ...
who explained that Balša II was brave and idealistic. This battle set the foundation for centuries-long Ottoman presence in this part of the Balkans. Serbian historian Stojan Novaković emphasized that the battle's importance for these Serbian and Albanian lords was comparable to that of the Battle of Marica and
Battle of Kosovo A battle is an occurrence of combat in warfare War is an intense armed conflict between states, government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. ...

Battle of Kosovo
together. The important result of this battle was the influx of Albanians into Ottoman forces who had been a significant source of its strength during the next 527 years.


References


Sources

* * * * * {{DEFAULTSORT:Savra, Battle Of 1385 in Europe Battles involving the Ottoman Empire Battles involving Serbia in the Middle Ages History of the Serbs 14th century in Serbia Conflicts in 1385 Medieval Albania 1385 in the Ottoman Empire Ottoman Albania