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Karl Thopia ( sq, Karl Topia) 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 ...

Albanian
feudal prince and warlord who ruled
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
from the middle of the 14th century until the first Ottoman conquest of Albania. Thopia usually maintained good relations with the
Roman Curia The Roman Curia ( la, Romana Curia ministerium suum implent) comprises the administrative institutions of the Holy See The Holy See ( lat, Sancta Sedes, ; it, Santa Sede ), also called the See of Rome or Apostolic See, is the jurisdi ...
.


Family

The first mention of the Thopia is from 1329, when
Tanusio Thopia Tanusio Thopia or Tanush Thopia ( sq, Tanush Topia 1329–38) was an Albanian count that served Princes of Taranto Philip I, Prince of Taranto, Philip I and Robert, Prince of Taranto, Robert, and Dukes of Durazzo John, Duke of Durazzo, John and C ...
was mentioned as one of the counts of Albania. In 1338, Tanusio was mentioned as Count of Matia (conte di Matia). According to Karl Hopf, Tanusio's son or brother Andrea, as told by
Gjon Muzaka Gjon Muzaka (fl. ''Floruit'' (), abbreviated fl. (or occasionally flor.), Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (fr ...
(fl. 1510), had fallen in love with the daughter of King
Robert of Naples Robert of Anjou ( it, Roberto d'Angiò), known as Robert the Wise ( it, Roberto il Saggio; 1276 – 20 January 1343), was King of Naples, titular King of Jerusalem and Count of Provence and Count of Forcalquier, Forcalquier from 1309 to 1343, the ...

Robert of Naples
when her ship, en route to the
Principality of the Morea The Principality of Achaea () or Principality of Morea was one of the three vassal A vassal or liege subject is a person regarded as having a mutual obligation to a lord or monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College Diction ...
to be wed with the ''
bailli A bailiff (french: bailli, ) was the king’s administrative representative during the ''ancien régime The '' Storming of the Bastille'' on 14 July 1789, later taken to mark the end of the ''Ancien Régime''; watercolour by Jean-Pierre Houël ...

bailli
'', had stopped at Durazzo where they met. Andrea abducted and married her, and they had two sons, Karl and George. King Robert, enraged, under the pretext of reconciliation had the couple invited to Naples where he had them executed.Karl Thopia is first mentioned in 1350, at a time when Anjou still owned
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
.


Control of Durrës and the Princedom of Albania

The long protracted turmoil of dynastic wars had made germinate in their real victims, the Albanians, the seeds of national sentiment which contained great promise, so that, when after Emperor
Stefan Dušan Stefan Uroš IV Dušan ( sr-Cyrl, Стефан Урош IV Душан, ), known as Dušan the Mighty ( sr, Душан Силни / Dušan Silni; circa 1308 – 20 December 1355), was the King of Serbia This is an archontological list of Se ...
's death, a descendant of
Stefan Uroš I Stefan Uroš I ( sr-cyr, Стефан Урош I; 1223 – May 1, 1277), known as Uroš the Great (Урош Велики) was the King of Serbia This is an archontological list of Serbian monarchs, containing monarchs of the medieval pri ...
, returned to the province, the inhabitants rose en masse and, under the leadership of Karl Thopia, cut down the pretender and his entire force in the battle of Acheloos. In 1358, Karl rose against the rule of the
Anjou Anjou (, ; ; la, Andegavia) was a French province straddling the lower Loire River The Loire (, also ; ; oc, Léger, ; la, Liger) is the longest river in France and the 171st longest in the world. With a length of , it drains , more th ...
and managed to drive them out of Durrës from
Epirus sq, Epiri rup, Epiru , native_name_lang = , settlement_type = Historical region Historical regions (or historical areas) are geography, geographical areas which at some point in time had a culture, cultural, ethnic group, ethn ...
and Albania. He ruled most of modern central Albania from 1358 to 1388 and claimed the title of ''princeps Albaniae''. Since 1362, Karl sought
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
, which was in the possession of Duchess
Joanna Joanna is a feminine given name deriving from from he, יוֹחָנָה, translit=Yôḥānāh, lit=God is gracious. Variants in English include Joan, Joann, Joanne Joanne (alternate spellings Joann, Jo Ann, Johann, Johanne{{Infobox given name ...
. The first, certainly still unsuccessful siege lasted from April 1362 until May 1363. Then, Thopia had to withdraw his troops, who were weakened by an epidemic disease. Only in 1367 could Karl conquer Durrës, who had attained in the meantime the tacit agreement of the Venetians for his project and turn this important port into his residence. Karl gained control of
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
in 1368, which was where the Angevins held out due to their
Kingdom Kingdom may refer to: Monarchy * A type of monarchy * A realm ruled by: **A king, during the reign of a male monarch **A queen regnant, during the reign of a female monarch Taxonomy * Kingdom (biology), a category in biological taxonomy Arts an ...
becoming smaller in size. In 1374,
Pope Gregory XI Pope Gregory XI ( la, Gregorius, born Pierre Roger de Beaufort; c. 1329 – 27 March 1378) was head of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number o ...

Pope Gregory XI
awarded him the title "Grande Conte d'Albania" (Great Count of Albania). Karl lost
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
in 1376, conquered by Joanna's husband
LouisLouis may refer to: * Louis (given name) Louis is the French language, French form of the Old Frankish language, Old Frankish given name Clovis (given name), Chlodowig and one of two English language, English forms, the other being Lewis (given nam ...
, but recovered it in 1383 when the last mercenaries of the
Navarrese Company The Navarrese Company ( es, Compañía navarra; eu, Nafarroako konpainia) was a company of mercenaries A mercenary, sometimes known as a soldier of fortune, is a private individual, particularly a soldier, who takes part in military conflict ...
moved to Greece. Thopia ruled over the regions of
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
,
Kruja
Kruja
,
Peqin Peqin (, sq-definite, Peqini) is a town and municipality in Elbasan County, central Albania. The municipality was formed at the 2015 local government reform by the merger of the former municipalities Gjoçaj, Karinë, Pajovë, Peqin, Përparim, Pe ...
,
Elbasan Elbasan ( ; sq-definite, Elbasani ) is the List of cities and towns in Albania, fourth most populous city of the Republic of Albania and seat of Elbasan County and Elbasan Municipality. It lies in the north of Shkumbin, Shkumbin River between t ...

Elbasan
, Mokra and Gora, that is, along both sides of the
Via Egnatia The Via Egnatia (Greek language, Greek: ''Egnatía Hodós'') was a Roman road, road constructed by the Ancient Rome, Romans in the 2nd century BC. It crossed Illyricum (Roman province), Illyricum, Macedonia (Roman province), Macedonia, and Th ...

Via Egnatia
as far east as
Lake Ohrid Lake Ohrid ( mk, Охридско Езеро , al, Liqeni i Ohrit , ''Liqeni i Pogradecit'';) is a lake which straddles the mountainous border between the southwestern part of North Macedonia and Albanian Ohrid Lake Coast, eastern Albania. It is ...

Lake Ohrid
.


Rivalry with the Balsha

In 1380, Karl Thopia tried to make an alliance with King
Louis I of Hungary Louis I, also Louis the Great ( hu, Nagy Lajos; hr, Ludovik Veliki; sk, Ľudovít Veľký); or Louis the Hungarian ( pl, Ludwik Węgierski; 5 March 132610 September 1382), was King of Hungary The King of Hungary ( hu, magyar király) was t ...
, who confirmed it in the possessions he had in Durrës and the surrounding area. This alliance was not welcomed by either the
Venetians Venetian often means from or related to: * Venice, a city in Italy * Veneto, a region of Italy * Republic of Venice (697–1797), a historical nation in that area Venetian and the like may also refer to: * Venetian language, a Romance language sp ...
or the
Roman Curia The Roman Curia ( la, Romana Curia ministerium suum implent) comprises the administrative institutions of the Holy See The Holy See ( lat, Sancta Sedes, ; it, Santa Sede ), also called the See of Rome or Apostolic See, is the jurisdi ...
, as long as the Hungarian king supported Avignon's antipope. Rejecting Charles's legitimacy over
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
, the Pope turned his brother-in-law Balsha II against him.
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 ...
made a fourth attempt to conquer Durrës, an important commercial and strategic center, which was ruled by his rival, Karl Thopia. In 1385, Balša II started an offensive, capturing Durrës from Karl Thopia the following year, and proclaimed himself ''Duke of Durazzo'' (Durrës). Thopia called on the Turks for assistance.
Murad I Murad I ( ota, مراد اول; tr, I. Murad, Murad-ı Hüdavendigâr (nicknamed ''Hüdavendigâr'', from fa, خداوندگار, translit=Khodāvandgār, lit=the devotee of God – meaning "sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied ...

Murad I
gladly sent an army of 40,000 men from Macedonia. In the plain of Savra between Elbasan and Lushnja, Balša II fought the Turks and was defeated and killed. Thopia again gained control over Durazzo, probably under Ottoman suzerainty.


Venetian alliance

In the last decade of his rule, Karl closely followed the
Republic of Venice The Republic of Venice ( it, Repubblica di Venezia; vec, Repùblega de Venèsia) or Venetian Republic ( it, Repubblica Veneta; vec, Repùblega Vèneta), traditionally known as La Serenissima ( en, Most Serene Republic Most Serene Republic ( ...
, particularly with regard to foreign policy. On 17 August 1386, Karl Thopia allied himself with Venice and committed himself to participate in all wars of the Republic or pay auxiliary funds and supply grain. In addition, he promised the Venetian buyers protection in his lands. In return, Venice supplied a
galley A galley is a type of ship A ship is a large watercraft that travels the world's oceans and other sufficiently deep Sea lane, waterways, carrying goods or passengers, or in support of specialized missions, such as defense, research, and fis ...

galley
, permitted recruitment of Thopia's mercenaries in Venetian areas and instructed the captain of their Adriatic fleet to protect Karl's coasts from the Ottomans. The Ottomans undertook several heavy attacks on Durrës, which also still persisted as Karl died in January 1388. His son, Gjergj, became Karl's successor.


St. Gjon Vladimir's Church

In 1381, Karl built the St. Gjon Vladimir's Church in the proximity of
Elbasan Elbasan ( ; sq-definite, Elbasani ) is the List of cities and towns in Albania, fourth most populous city of the Republic of Albania and seat of Elbasan County and Elbasan Municipality. It lies in the north of Shkumbin, Shkumbin River between t ...

Elbasan
, where
Jovan Vladimir Jovan Vladimir or John Vladimir ( sr-cyr, Јован Владимир; c. 990 – 22 May 1016) was the ruler of Duklja, the most powerful Serbs, Serbian principality of the time, from around 1000 to 1016. He ruled during the protracted war be ...

Jovan Vladimir
's remains were held until 1995. He is depicted in the icon of St. Vladimir, painted by
Onufri Onufri Argitis or Onoufrios of Elbasan, Neokastro or Onoufrios Argytes ( el, Ονούφριος) was an Orthodox icon painter and Archpriest of Elbasan, active in the 16th century in southern Albania and south-western Macedonia (region), Macedonia ...
, wearing a crown and standing by the Church of the Saint. Inscriptions: *A calligraphic inscription in Greek says: "''ΚΑΡΛΑ ΘΕΩΠΙΑϹ ΚΑΙ ΚΤΗΤΩΡ ΤΗϹ ΑΓΙΑϹ ΜΟΝΗϹ ΤΟΥ ΑΓΙΟΥ''" (Karla Theopias, builder of the Holy Monastery of the Saint). *Another Greek inscription in the building refers to him as: "... ο πανυψηλώτατος πρώτος Κάρλας Θεωπίας ανεψιός δε και αίματος ρύγας της Φραγγίας... οικοδόμησεν τον πάνσεπτον ναόν τούτον του αγίου Ιωάννου του Βλαδιμήρου ..." (''the highest and prime Karlas Theopias, nephew and by blood king of Francia ... built this holy church of St. John Vladimir ...'' ) dated 1382. This inscription is currently located in the Albanian Historical Museum in
Tirana Tirana ( , ; aln, Tirona) is the capital and largest city of Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe ...

Tirana
. *"''These signs of a great lord ... Carla Thopea''" (ετούτα τα σιμάδηα αυθέντου μέγα ... Κάρλα Θοπήα).


Issue

Karl married Vojislava Balšić, in 1370. The pair had four children: *George Thopia, Gjergj Thopia (fl. 1388–d. 1392), Lord of Durrës (Durazzo), married Teodora Branković *Helena Thopia (fl. 1388–1403), married Venetian count Marco Barbarigo di Croia, Marco Barbadigo (first marriage) and lord Konstantin Balšić (second marriage) *Voisava Thopia, married N. Cursachio (first marriage) and in 1394, Progon Dukagjini, Lord of Lezhë and uncle of Pal Dukagjini (second marriage) Karl had two more children but the parentage is unknown: *Maria Thopia, married Filippo di Maramonte *Niketa Thopia, married a daughter of Komnen Arianiti. **Mara, married Balša III in 1407 (divorced by 1412).


References


Sources

* {{DEFAULTSORT:Topia, Karl 14th-century births 1387 deaths 14th-century Albanian people Albanian monarchs, Karl Thopia family, Karl People from Durrës Albanian Roman Catholics