Golem was an
Albanian Albanian may refer to: *Pertaining to Albania in Southeast Europe; in particular: **Albanians, an ethnic group native to the Balkans **Albanian language **Albanian culture **Demographics of Albania, includes other ethnic groups within the country ...

nobleman Nobility is a social class normally ranked immediately below Royal family, royalty and found in some societies that have a formal aristocracy (class), aristocracy. Nobility has often been an Estates of the realm, estate of the realm that p ...
who ruled the
Principality of Arbanon Arbanon ( sq, Arbër or , el, Ἄρβανον, ''Árvanon''; la, Arbanum) was a principality ruled by the native Progoni The Progoni were an Albanian nobility, Albanian noble family which established the first Albanian state to be recorded in ...

Principality of Arbanon
, in its phase of semi-independency. He was the last ruler of Arbanon before its final annexation in the reemerging Byzantine Empire. His holdings included
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 ...

and probably
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 ...



He rose to rule Arbanon through marriage with the daughter of
sebastos ''Sebastos'' ( grc-koi, σεβαστός, sebastós, venerable one, Augustus, ; plural ''sebastoí'' ) was an honorific An honorific is a title that conveys esteem, courtesy, or respect for position or rank when used in addressing or referring ...
Gregorios Kamonas and Komnena Nemanjić and then succeeded him to rule Arbanon. The ascension of Golem is regarded as a reversion to the native rule of Albania.: "But he was overruled by Demetrios Chomatianos M. In due course the daughter of Kamonas married a local magnate called Golem (or Goulamos), and Kroia and Arbanon reverted to native rule. Golem was connected not only with the Serbian royal family but also by marriage with John Batatzes of Nicaea; and it was through this latter connexion that he was tempted into joining the winning side in Macedonia in 1252, when the armies..." Komnena was the daughter of
Stefan the First-Crowned Stefan Nemanjić (Serbian Cyrillic alphabet, Serbian Cyrillic: Стефан Немањић, ) or Stefan the First-Crowned ( sr, Стефан Првовенчани / Stefan Prvovenčani, ; around 1165 – 24 September 1228) was Grand Prince of S ...
and grand-daughter of
Alexios III Angelos Alexios III Angelos ( gkm, Ἀλέξιος Γ′ Ἄγγελος; 1211) was Byzantine Emperor from March 1195 to 17/18 July 1203. He reigned under the name Alexios Komnenos, associating himself with the Komnenos dynasty (from which he was descen ...
, the last Byzantine Emperor before the
Fourth Crusade The Fourth Crusade (1202–1204) was a Roman Catholic Church, Latin Christian armed expedition called by Pope Innocent III. The stated intent of the expedition was to recapture the Islam, Muslim-controlled city of Jerusalem, by first defeating th ...
. This particular aspect of her origin would become important in later political developments as she was the niece of Irene Laskarina, Empress of Nicaea and thus related to the Nicaean Emperor John III Doukas Vatatzes. The exact date of Golem's rise to power is unknown. In his time, Arbanon had moved from independence under Dhimitër Progoni to semi-independence under the high suzerainty of Theodore Komnenos Doukas of the Despotate of Epirus until 1230 when Ivan Asen II of Bulgaria expanded westwards. When he died in 1240, the Despotate of Epirus under the Komneno-Doukai exerted again its influence in central Albania. This was the era of the rise of the Nicaean Empire which sought to take hold of all post-Byzantine states and reform the Byzantine Empire. In this context, the struggle between Michael II Komnenos Doukas and John III Doukas Vatatzes developed. In 1246, the two expanded in the region of Macedonia and the new border between them in the area between Albania and western Macedonia. Golem was in control of Ohrid at the time. He, Theodore Petraliphas and others who were allies of Michael Doukas negotiated with Vatatzes and changed sides. "In 1252, Prince Golem of Arbanon submitted to the empire of Nicaea, but this did not last, since, in 1257/58, the Albanians rebelled again and rejoined the party of Michael II, ruler of Epirus.": "They had barely crossed the frontiers of Albania when Golem, the chieftain of Kroia and Elbassan, who had been helping Michael's army in the region of Kastoria, surrendered himself and his soldiers to Vatatzes. Golem was probably in control 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 ...

and Petraliphas of Kastoria. Both men were in the region of Kastoria with their armies in order to support Michael against Vatatzes but instead of preparing to fight against him, they reached an agreement with Vatatzes who had also camped in western Macedonia. The exact details of the agreement are not known but contemporary historian George Pachymeres writes that Golem (''Goulielmos'') was "honored with Roman dignities" by the Nicaean Emperor. Golem is last mentioned in the historical records among other 'notables' of Arbanon, in a meeting with George Akropolites in Durrës that occurred in the winter of 1256–1257. Akropolites subsequently annexed the statelet and installed a Byzantine civil, military and fiscal administration.

In historiography

Golem of Kruja is mentioned in two contemporary accounts. As ''Goulamos'' in that of George Akropolites and as ''Goulielmos'' in that of George Pachymeres. Thus, his name could either be a variant of William, which had entered Albanian as ''Gulielm'' or ''Golem'', which had entered Albanian either via Latin ''Gulielmus'' or south Slavic/Bulgarian and signified one's high status. In Albanian historiography, those scholars who have favored the second hypothesis have proposed a possible connection to the Arianiti family, some members of which also used ''Golem'' in their names (Moisi Golemi).


*According to Donald M. Nicol, Golem was the "chieftain of Krujë and Elbasan".: "29. For "Goulamos" or Golem, Prince of Kroia and Elbasan c.1254, see Karl Hopf, ''Chroniques gréco-romanes inedites ou peu connues'' (Berlin, 1873), p. 535 (table XI. 13) and Donald M. Nicol, The Despotate of Epiros (Oxford, 1957), pp. 152–53, 161–162, 237 (table III). Golem married the daughter of Gregorios Kamonas, Prince of Kroia c.1215 by his second wife, a daughter of Stefan II Prvovencani, King of Serbia and his first wife Eudokia Angelina." Other modern sources also call him "Prince of Krujë and Elbasan", "Prince of Arbanon", or "Territorial lord of Albanon".: "Im Jahre 1253 wird als Landesherr von "Albanon' ein gewisser Golem, Goulâmos genannt, dessen Frau, Georgios..."




* * * * * * * * * * {{DEFAULTSORT:Golem Of Kruja 13th-century rulers in Europe 13th-century Albanian people Albanian princes Medieval Albanian nobility People of the Empire of Nicaea People of the Despotate of Epirus Eastern Orthodox Christians from Albania