Kingdom of Albania (medieval)


The Kingdom of Albania (, lat, Regnum Albaniae) was established by
Charles of Anjou Charles I (early 1226/12277 January 1285), commonly called Charles of Anjou, was a member of the royal Capetian dynasty and the founder of the second House of Anjou. He was Count of Provence (1246–85) and County of Forcalquier, Forcalquier (124 ...
in the Albanian territories with the help of the local
Albanian nobility The Albanian nobility was an elite hereditary ruling class in Albania, parts of the western Balkans and later in parts of the Ottoman Empire, Ottoman world. The Albanian nobility was composed of landowners of vast areas, often in allegiance to state ...
he conquered from the
Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

Byzantine Empire
in 1271. The Kingdom of Albania was declared in late February 1272. The kingdom extended from the region of Durazzo (Dyrrhachium, 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 ...

) south along the coast to
Butrint Butrint ( el, Βουθρωτόν and Βουθρωτός, ''Bouthrōtón'', la, Buthrōtum) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kin ...

. A major attempt to advance further in direction of Constantinople failed at the Siege of Berat (1280–1281). A Byzantine counteroffensive soon ensued, which drove the Angevins out of the interior by 1281. The
Sicilian Vespers The Sicilian Vespers ( it, Vespri siciliani; scn, Vespiri siciliani) was a successful rebellion on the island of Sicily that broke out at Easter 1282 against the rule of the French-born king Charles I of Naples, Charles I, who had ruled the Kin ...
further weakened the position of Charles, and the Kingdom was soon reduced by the
to a small area around Durazzo. The Angevins held out here, however, until 1368, when the city was captured by
Karl Thopia 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 1392, Karl Thopia's son surrendered the city to 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 ( ...



During the conflict between the
Despotate of Epirus Despot or ''despotes'' ( el, δεσπότης, despótēs, "lord", "master") was a senior Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern ...
and the
Empire of Nicaea The Empire of Nicaea or the Nicene Empire is the conventional historiographic name for the largest of the three Byzantine Greek Medieval Greek (also known as Middle Greek or Byzantine Greek) is the stage of the Greek language Greek (mod ...

Empire of Nicaea
in 1253, lord
Golem of Kruja Golem was an Albanians, Albanian Albanian nobility, nobleman who ruled the Principality of Arbanon, in its phase of semi-independency. He was the last ruler of Arbanon before its final annexation in the Nicaean Empire, reemerging Byzantine Empire. ...
was initially allied with Epirus. Golem's troops had occupied the
area trying to prevent the Nicaean forces of
John Vatatzes John is a common English name and surname: * John (given name) John (; ') is a common masculine gender, masculine given name in the English language of Semitic languages, Semitic origin. The name is derived from the Latin ''Ioannes'' and '' ...
from entering Devoll. Vatatzes managed to convince Golem to switch sides and a new treaty was signed between the parties where Vatatzes promised to guarantee Golem's autonomy. The same year Despot of Epirus
Michael II Michael II the Amorian ( gr, Μιχαὴλ ὁ ἐξ Ἀμορίου, Michaēl ho ex Amoríou; 770–829), nicknamed the Stammerer (, ''ho Travlós'' or , ''ho Psellós''), reigned as Byzantine Emperor This is a list of the Byzantine empero ...

Michael II
signed a peace treaty with Nicaea acknowledging their authority over west Macedonia and Albania. The fortress of
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 ...

was surrendered to Nicaea, while the Nicean emperor acknowledged the old privileges and also granted new ones. The same privileges were confirmed later by his successor
Theodore II Laskaris Theodore II Doukas Laskaris or Ducas Lascaris ( gr, Θεόδωρος Δούκας Λάσκαρις, Theodōros Doukas Laskaris; 1221/1222 – 16 August 1258) was Byzantine emperor, Emperor of Empire of Nicaea, Nicaea from 1254 to 1258. He was t ...

Theodore II Laskaris
. The Nicaeans took 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 ...

from Michael II in 1256. During the winter of 1256–57,
George Akropolites George Akropolites (Latinized Latinisation or Latinization can refer to: * Latinisation of names, the practice of rendering a non-Latin name in a Latin style * Latinisation in the Soviet Union, the campaign in the USSR during the 1920s and 1930s to ...
tried to reinstall Byzantine authority in the area 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 i ...

. Autonomy was thus banished and a new administration was imposed. This was in contrast to what the Nicaeans had promised before. The local Albanian leaders revolted and on hearing the news, Michael II also denounced the peace treaty with the Nicaea. With the support of Albanian forces he attacked the cities of
Dibra Debar ( mk, Дебaр ; 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 oth ...

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 ...

Prilep Prilep ( mk, Прилеп ) is the fourth-largest city in North Macedonia North Macedonia, ; sq, Maqedonia e Veriut, (Macedonia before February 2019), officially the Republic of North Macedonia,, is a country in Southeast Europe ...
. In the meantime
Manfred of Sicily Manfred ( scn, Manfredi di Sicilia; 123226 February 1266) was the last King of Sicily The monarchs of Sicily ruled from the establishment of the County of Sicily in 1071 until the "perfect fusion" in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies in 1816 ...

Manfred of Sicily
profited from the situation and launched an invasion into Albania. His forces, led by Philip Chinard, captured Durrës,
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 ...

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 ...
, Spinarizza and their surroundings and the southern coastline of Albania from Vlorë to
Butrint Butrint ( el, Βουθρωτόν and Βουθρωτός, ''Bouthrōtón'', la, Buthrōtum) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kin ...

. Facing a war in two fronts, despot Michael II came to terms with Manfred and became his ally. He recognized Manfred's authority over the captured regions which were ceded as a dowry gift following the marriage of his daughter Helena to Manfred. Following the defeat of Michael II's and Manfred's forces in the
Battle of Pelagonia The Battle of Pelagonia or Battle of Kastoriae.g. ; . took place in early summer or autumn 1259, between the Empire of Nicaea and an anti-Nicaean alliance comprising Despotate of Epirus, Kingdom of Sicily, Sicily and the Principality of Achaea. I ...
, the new Nicaean forces continued their advance by capturing all of Manfred's domains in Albania, with the exception of Durrës. However, in September 1261, Manfred organized a new expedition and managed to capture all his dominions in Albania and he kept them until his death in 1266. Manfred respected the old autonomy and privileges of the local nobility and their regions. He also integrated Albanian nobles into his administration, as was the case with
Andrea Vrana Andrea Vrana (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 (fro ...
who was the general captain and governor of Durrës and the neighboring region of Arbanon. Albanian troops were also used by Manfred in his campaigns in
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest ...

. Manfred appointed Philippe Chinard as the general-governor of his dominions in Albania. Initially based in Corfu, Chinard moved his headquarters to Kanina, the dominant center of the Vlorë region. There he married a relative of Michael II.


After defeating Manfred's forces in the
Battle of Benevento The Battle of Benevento was a major medieval battle fought on 26 February 1266, near Benevento Benevento (, , ; la, Beneventum; Beneventano: ''Beneviénte'') is a city and ''comune The (; plural: ) is a Administrative division, loc ...

Battle of Benevento
in 1266, the
Treaty of Viterbo The Treaty of Viterbo (or the Treaties of Viterbo) was a pair of agreements made by Charles I of Sicily Charles I (early 1226/12277 January 1285), commonly called Charles of Anjou, was a member of the royal Capetian dynasty and the founder of t ...
of 1267 was signed, with
Charles of Anjou Charles I (early 1226/12277 January 1285), commonly called Charles of Anjou, was a member of the royal Capetian dynasty and the founder of the second House of Anjou. He was Count of Provence (1246–85) and County of Forcalquier, Forcalquier (124 ...
acquiring rights on Manfred's dominions in Albania, together with rights he gained in the Latin dominions in the Despotate of Epirus and in the Morea. Upon hearing the news of Manfred's death in the battle of Benevento, Michael II conspired and managed to kill Manfred's governor Philippe Chinard, with the help of Chinard's wife, but he could not capture Manfred's domains. Local noblemen and commanders refused to surrender Manfred's domains in Albania to Michael II. They gave the same negative response to Charles' envoy, Gazo Chinard in 1267, when following the articles of the Treaty of Viterbo, he asked for them to surrender Manfred's dominions in Albania. After the failure of the
Eighth Crusade The Eighth Crusade was a crusade launched by Louis IX of France against the Hafsid dynasty in 1270. The Eighth Crusade is sometimes counted as the Seventh, if the Fifth Crusade, Fifth and Sixth Crusades of Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, Frederic ...
, Charles of Anjou returned his attention to Albania. He began contacting local Albanian leaders through local catholic clergy. Two local Catholic priests, namely John from Durrës and Nicola from Arbanon, acted as negotiators between Charles of Anjou and the local noblemen. During 1271 they made several trips between Albania and Italy eventually succeeding in their mission. On 21 February 1272, a delegation of Albanian noblemen and citizens from Durrës made their way to Charles' court. Charles signed a treaty with them and was proclaimed King of Albania "by common consent of the bishops, counts, barons, soldiers and citizens" promising to protect them and to honor the privileges they had from Byzantine Empire. The treaty declared the union between the Kingdom of Albania (Latin: ''Regnum Albanie'') with the
Kingdom of Sicily Kingdom may refer to: Monarchy * A type of monarchy A monarchy is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, ente ...

Kingdom of Sicily
under King Charles of Anjou (''Carolus I, dei gratia rex Siciliae et Albaniae''). He appointed Gazo Chinard as his Vicar-General and hoped to take up his expedition against Constantinople again. Throughout 1272 and 1273 he sent huge provisions to the towns of Durrës and Vlorë. This alarmed the Byzantine Emperor,
Michael VIII Palaiologos Michael VIII Palaiologos or Palaeologus ( el, Μιχαὴλ Δούκας Ἄγγελος Κομνηνὸς Παλαιολόγος, Mikhaēl Doukas Angelos Komnēnos Palaiologos; 1223 – 11 December 1282) reigned as the co-emperor of the Empire ...

Michael VIII Palaiologos
, who began sending letters to local Albanian nobles, trying to convince them to stop their support for Charles of Anjou and to switch sides. The Albanian nobles sent those letter to Charles who praised them for their loyalty. Then, Michael VIII's hopes of stopping the advance of Charles were laid on the influence of
Pope Gregory X Pope Gregory X ( la, Gregorius X;  – 10 January 1276), born Teobaldo Visconti, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 1 September 1271 to his death and was a member of the Secular Franciscan Order. He was ...

Pope Gregory X
. Gregory had high hopes of reconciling Europe, unifying the
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

churches, and launching a new crusade: to that end, he announced the Council of Lyon, to be held in 1274, and worked to arrange the election of an Emperor, so he ordered Charles to stop his operations. Charles of Anjou imposed a military rule on Kingdom of Albania. The autonomy and privileges promised in the treaty were "de facto" abolished and new taxes were imposed. Lands were confiscated in favor of Anjou nobles and Albanian nobles were excluded from their governmental tasks. In an attempt to enforce his rule and local loyalty, Charles I, took as hostages the sons of local noblemen. This created a general discontent in the country and several Albanian noblemen began contacting Byzantine Emperor Michael VIII who promised them, to acknowledge their old privileges.

Byzantine offensive

As Charles I's intentions for a new offensive were stopped by the Pope and there was a general discontent within Albania, Michael VIII caught the occasion and began a campaign in Albania in late 1274. Byzantine forces helped by local Albanian noblemen captured the important city of
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 ...

and later on
Butrint Butrint ( el, Βουθρωτόν and Βουθρωτός, ''Bouthrōtón'', la, Buthrōtum) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kin ...

. On November 1274, the local governor reported to Charles I that the Albanian and Byzantine forces had besieged Durrës. The Byzantine offensive continued and captured the port-city of Spinarizza. Thus Durrës alongside the Krujë and Vlora regions became the only domains in mainland Albania which were still under Charles I's control, but they were landlocked and isolated from each other. They could communicate with each other only by sea but the Byzantine fleet based in Spinarizza and Butrint kept them under constant pressure. Charles also managed to keep the island of Corfu. Michael VIII also scored another important diplomatic victory on Charles I by agreeing to unite the two churches in the
Second Council of Lyon :''The First Council of Lyon The First Council of Lyon (Lyon I) was the thirteenth ecumenical council An ecumenical council (or oecumenical council; also general council) is a conference of ecclesiastical dignitaries and theological exp ...
in 1274. Enthusiastic from the results of the council, Pope Gregory X, forbade any attempt by Charles on Michael VIII's forces. Under these circumstances Charles of Anjou was forced to sign a truce with Michael VIII in 1276.

Angevin counteroffensive

The Byzantine presence in Butrint alarmed
Nikephoros I Komnenos Doukas Nikephoros I Komnenos Doukas, Latinized as Nicephorus I Comnenus Ducas ( el, Νικηφόρος Κομνηνός Δούκας, Nikēphoros Komnēnos Doukas; – ) was ruler of Despotate of Epirus, Epirus from 1267/8 to his death in 1296/98. ...
the Despot of Epirus. He contacted Charles of Anjou and his vassal
William II of Villehardouin William of Villehardouin (french: Guillaume de Villehardouin; Kalamata, 1211 – 1 May 1278) was the fourth Principality of Achaea, prince of Achaea in Frankish Greece from 1246 to 1278. The younger son of Geoffrey I of Villehardouin, Prin ...
who was at that time the
prince of Achaea The Prince of Achaea was the ruler of the Principality of Achaea, one of the crusader states Frankokratia, founded in Greece in the aftermath of the Fourth Crusade (1202–1204). Though more or less autonomous, the principality was never a fully in ...
. Nikephoros I promised to make an oath of homage to Charles of Anjou in return for some land property in Achaia. In 1278 Nikephoros I's troops captured the city of Butrint. In March 1279 Nikephoros I declared himself a vassal of Charles of Anjou and surrendered to him the castles of Sopot and Butrint. As a pledge, Nikephoros I delivered his own son to the Angevin
castellan A castellan is the title used in Medieval Europe In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and ...
of Vlorë to be held as hostage. Ambassadors were exchanged in this occasion, but Charles did not wait for the formalities to end; instead he ordered his captain and vicar-general at Corfu to capture not only Butrint, but everything that once belonged to Manfred and now were under the Despotate of Epirus. At the same time Charles began creating a network of alliances in the area in the brick of the new offensive, which would have pointed first to
Thessaloníki Thessaloniki (; el, Θεσσαλονίκη, ), also known as Thessalonica (), Saloniki or Salonica () is the second-largest city in Greece, with over 1 million inhabitants in its Thessaloniki metropolitan area, metropolitan area, and the capital ...
and later to
Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , alternate_name = Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Nova Roma ("New Rome"), Miklagard/Miklagarth (Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian is a stage of development of North Germa ...

. He entered in alliance with the kings of Serbia and Bulgaria. He also tried to get the support of the local Albanian nobles. After continuous requests from other Albanian nobles, he liberated from Neapolitan prisons a number of Albanian nobles who were arrested before being accused of collaborating with Byzantine forces. Among them were Gjin Muzaka, Dhimitër Zogu and Guljem Blinishti. Gjin Muzaka especially was important to Charles' plans because the Muzaka family territories were around city of Berat. They were liberated, but were ordered to send their sons as hostages in Naples. On August 1279, Charles of Anjou appointed Hugo de Sully as ''Captain and Vicar-General of Albania, Durrës, Vlorë, Sopot, Butrint and Corfu''. In the following months a great Angevin counteroffensive was prepared. A lot of materials and men including Saracen archers and siege engineers were sent to de Sully, who had captured Spinarizza from Byzantine forces making it his headquarters. The first goal of the expedition was the recapture of the city of Berat, which had been under Byzantine control since 1274. However, Charles' preparations were restrained by
Pope Nicholas III Pope Nicholas III ( la, Nicolaus III; Wiktionary:circa, c. 1225 – 22 August 1280), born Giovanni Gaetano Orsini, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 25 November 1277 to his death. He was a Roman nobleman who had ...
who had forbidden Charles from attacking the Byzantine Empire. However, Pope Nicholas III died on August 1280 and for more than six months the Pope's seat was vacant. This gave Charles an opportunity to move on. During Autumn 1280 he gave the order to Hugo de Sully to move on. In December 1280 Angevin forces captured the surroundings of Berat and besieged its castle.

Byzantine counteroffensive

The Byzantine Emperor was hoping for the Pope to stop his Latin adversaries. In fact after the death in 1276 of Pope Gregory X, the main supporter of the union of the churches, his successors maintained the same course and this restricted Charles' movements. However, in February 1281 Charles of Anjou achieved a diplomatic victory by imposing a
French Pope This page is a list of popes by country of origin. They are listed in chronological order within each section. As the office of pope The pope ( la, papa, from el, πάππας, translit=pappas, "father"), also known as the supreme pontiff ...

French Pope
, as the head of the Catholic Church. The Byzantine Emperor Michael VIII was excommunicated by the new Pope and Charles' expedition against him blessed as a new crusade. The situation was very complicated for Michael VIII; however, he sent help to the besieged garrison. The Byzantine army which also included Turkish mercenaries arrived near Berat in March 1281. They were under orders to avoid pitched battle and to focus on ambushes and raids. They managed to defeat Angevin forces by capturing first their commander Hugo de Sully in an ambush. This spread panic throughout his army, routing them from the battlefield. The Angevin army lost the major part of its forces and only a small part found refuge in the Kaninë castle, which was in Angevin hands. The Byzantine army continued its advance further into the territory. They besieged the Angevin bases of Vlorë, Kaninë, and Durrës but could not capture them. The Albanian nobles in the region of Krujë allied themselves with the Byzantine Emperor and he granted them a charter of privileges for their city and bishopric.

Charles' preparations and Sicilian Vespers

Treaty of Orvieto

The failure of Hugo de Sully's expedition convinced Charles of Anjou that an invasion of the Byzantine Empire by land was not feasible, and he thus considered a naval expedition against Byzantium. He found an ally in
Venice Venice ( ; it, Venezia ; vec, Venesia or ) is a city in northeastern Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of delimited by the and surrounding ...

and in July 1281, the
Treaty of Orvieto The Treaty of Orvieto was an agreement made in 1281 between Charles I of Sicily, Giovanni Dandolo, Doge of Venice, and Philip of Courtenay, titular Latin Emperor, for recovery of the Latin Empire, with the blessing of the Papacy. Intended to restor ...
formalized this collaboration. Its stated purpose was the dethronement of Michael VIII in favor of the titular Latin emperor
Philip of Courtenay Philip, also Philip of Courtenay (1243 – 15 December 1283), held the title of Latin Empire, Latin Emperor of Constantinople from 1273–1283, although Constantinople had been reinstated since 1261 AD to the Byzantine Empire; he lived i ...
and the forcible establishment of the Union of the Churches, bringing the
Greek Orthodox Church The Greek Orthodox Church (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population ...

Greek Orthodox Church
under the authority of the Pope. Its principal motivation, however, was to re-establish the Latin Empire, under Angevin domination, and to restore Venetian commercial privileges in Constantinople. Under the terms of the treaty, Philip and Charles were to supply 8,000 troops and cavalry, and sufficient ships to transport them to Constantinople. Philip, the
Doge of Venice The Doge of Venice (; vec, Doxe de Venexia ; it, Doge di Venezia ; all derived from Latin ', "military leader"), sometimes translated as Duke (compare the Italian '), was the chief magistrate Chief magistrate is a public official, executive o ...
Giovanni Dandolo Giovanni Dandolo was the 48th Doge of Venice, elected late in his life on 31 March 1280, died on 2 November 1289. During his reign the first Venetian gold ducat was introduced into circulation. Family Dandolo came from a prominent Venetian family ...
, and Charles himself or Charles' son,
Charles, Prince of Salerno
Charles, Prince of Salerno
, were to personally accompany the expedition. In practice, Charles would have supplied almost all of the troops, Philip having little or no resources of his own. The Venetians would supply forty
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 ...

s as escorts for the invasion fleet, which was to sail from
Brindisi Brindisi ( , ; scn, label= Brindisino, Brìnnisi; la, Brundisium; grc, Βρεντέσιον, translit=Brentésion; cms, Brunda) is a city in the region of Apulia it, Pugliese , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , ...

no later than April 1283. Upon Philip's restoration to the throne, he was to confirm the concessions of the Treaty of Viterbo and the privileges granted to Venice at the
founding Founding may refer to: * The formation or of a corporation, government, or other organization * The laying of a building's Foundation (engineering), Foundation * The casting of materials in a mold See also

* Foundation (disambiguation) * Inc ...
of the Latin Empire, including recognition of the Doge as ''dominator'' of "one-fourth and one-eighth of the Latin Empire." A second document was also drawn up to organize a
vanguard The vanguard (also called the advance guard) is the leading part of an advancing military formation Military organization or military organisation is the structuring of the armed forces of a State (polity), state so as to offer such military c ...
to precede the main expedition of 1283. Charles and Philip were to supply fifteen ships and ten transports with about 300 men and horses. The Venetians were to provide fifteen warships for seven months of the year. These forces would make war against Michael VIII and "other occupiers" of the Latin Empire (presumably the
Genoese Genoese may refer to: * a person from Genoa * Genoese dialect, a dialect of the Ligurian language * Republic of Genoa (–1805), a former state in Liguria See also

* Genovese, a surname * Genovesi, a surname * * * * * Genova (disambiguati ...
), and would meet in
Corfu Corfu (, ) or Kerkyra ( el, Κέρκυρα, Kérkyra, ), ; ; la, Corcyra. is a Greek island Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group *Greek language, a branch ...

by 1 May 1282, paving the way for the next year's invasion. The two treaties were signed by Charles and Philip on 3 July 1281, and were ratified by the Doge of Venice on 2 August 1281.

Sicilian Vespers

On Easter Monday 30 March 1282, in Sicily the local people began attacking French forces in an uprising which would become known as the
Sicilian Vespers The Sicilian Vespers ( it, Vespri siciliani; scn, Vespiri siciliani) was a successful rebellion on the island of Sicily that broke out at Easter 1282 against the rule of the French-born king Charles I of Naples, Charles I, who had ruled the Kin ...
. The massacre went on for weeks throughout the island and they also destroyed the Angevin fleet gathered in the harbor of
Messina Messina (, also , ; scn, Missina ; lat, Messana; grc, Μεσσήνη, Messḗnē) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger ...

which Charles had intended to use in the new expedition against Byzantium. Charles tried to suppress the uprising, but on 30 of August 1282,
Peter III of Aragon Peter III of Aragon ( 12 November 1285) was King of Aragon This is a list of the kings and queens of Aragon. The Kingdom of Aragon was created sometime between 950 and 1035 when the County of Aragon, which had been acquired by the Kingdom ...

Peter III of Aragon
landed in Sicily, it was clear that Charles had no more chances of attacking Byzantium. In September 1282, the Angevin house forever lost Sicily. His son
Charles II of Naples Charles II, also known as Charles the Lame (french: Charles le Boiteux; it, Carlo lo Zoppo; 1254 – 5 May 1309), was King of Naples, Count of Provence and Count of Forcalquier, Forcalquier (1285–1309), Prince of Achaea (1285–1289), and Coun ...

Charles II of Naples
was captured by the Aragonese army in the
Battle of the Gulf of Naples The naval Battle of the Gulf of Naples took place on 5 June 1284 in the south of the Gulf of Naples, Italy, when an Aragonese-Sicilian galley fleet commanded by Roger of Lauria defeated a Neapolitan galley fleet commanded by Charles of Salerno (l ...

Battle of the Gulf of Naples
and was still a prisoner when his father, Charles of Anjou, died on 7 January 1285. Upon his death Charles left all of his domains to his son, who at the time was held by the Catalans. He was kept as prisoner up to 1289, when he was finally released.


Loss of Durrës

The Angevin resistance continued for some years in Kaninë, Durrës and Vlorë. However Durrës fell in Byzantine hands in 1288 and in the same year Byzantine Emperor
Andronikos II Palaiologos Andronikos II Palaiologos ( gr, Ἀνδρόνικος Δούκας Ἄγγελος Κομνηνός Παλαιολόγος, Andronikos Doukas Angelos Komnēnos Palaiologos; Summer 1258 – 13 February 1332), usually Latinization of names, ...

Andronikos II Palaiologos
renewed the privileges that his predecessor had granted to the Albanians in the Krujë region. Kaninë castle was the last to fall to the Byzantines probably in 1294, while Corfu and Butrint remained in Angevin hands at least up to 1292. In 1296 Serbian king
Stephen Milutin Stefan (title), Stefan Uroš II Milutin ( sr-cyr, Стефан Урош II Милутин; 1253 – 29 October 1321), known as Stefan Milutin (Стефан Милутин), was the Kingdom of Serbia (medieval), King of Serbia between 1282–1 ...
took possession of Durrës. In 1299 Andronikos II Palaiologos married his daughter Simonis Palaiologina, Simonis to Milutin and the lands he had conquered were considered as a dowry gift.

Recapture of Durrës

Although the Albanian territories were lost, the notion and rights of the Kingdom of Albania continued for the Angevins for a long time after Charles of Anjou's death. The Kingdom was inherited by Charles II after the death of his father in 1285. In August 1294, Charles II passed his rights on Albania to his son Philip I, Prince of Taranto. In November 1294, Philip I was married to the daughter of the Epirote Despot Nikephoros I, renewing the old alliance between the two states. His plans of recovering old Angevin domains were paused for a while when in 1299 Philip of Taranto became a prisoner of Frederick III of Sicily in the Battle of Falconaria. However, after his release in 1302, he claimed his rights on the Albanian kingdom and began preparations to recover it. He gained the support of local Albanian Catholics who preferred a Catholic Italian power as their protector instead of the Orthodox Serbs and Greeks, as well as the support of Pope Benedict XI. In the summer of 1304, Serbs were expelled from the city of Durrës by its citizens and local nobles, who in September submitted themselves to Angevin rule. Philip and his father Charles II renewed the old privileges that Charles of Anjou had promised to the citizens and nobility of Durrës. In 1305, further extensive exemptions from dues and taxes were granted to the citizens of Durrës and the local nobles from Charles II. The territory of the Kingdom of Albania under Philip of Taranto was restricted to roughly the modern Durrës District. In an attempt to resolve the tensions between the house of Anjou and the Aragonese, the Kingdom of Albania and the lands in Principality of Achaea, Achaea under Angevin dominion were offered in exchange for the Kingdom of Trinacria ruled by Frederick III of Sicily, Frederick II. These negotiations lasted some years but were abandoned in 1316.

Duchy of Durazzo

Upon the death of Philip of Taranto in 1332, there were various claims on his domains within the Angevin family. The rights of the Duchy of Durazzo (Durrës) and the Kingdom of Albania together were given to John of Gravina with a sum of 5,000 pounds of gold. After his death in 1336, his dominions in Albania passed to his son Charles, Duke of Durazzo. During this period there were different Albanian noble families who began consolidating their power and domains. One of them was the Thopia family whose domains were in central Albania. The Serbs were pressing hard in their direction and the Albanian nobles found a natural ally in the Angevins. Alliance with Albanian leaders was also crucial to the safety of the Kingdom of Albania, especially during the 1320s and 1330s. Most prominent among these leaders were the Thopias, ruling in an area between the rivers Mat and Shkumbin, and the Muzaka family in the territory between the rivers Shkumbin and Vlorë. They saw the Angevins as protectors of their domains and made alliances. During 1336–1337 Charles had various successes against Serb forces in central Albania.Abulafia (1996), ''The New Cambridge Medieval History, Volume VI: c. 1300-c. 1415'', p. 495

Last decades

The pressure of the Kingdom of Serbia (medieval), Serbian Kingdom on the Kingdom of Albania grew especially under the leadership of Stefan Dušan. Although the fate of city of Durrës, the capital of the Kingdom, is unknown, by 1346 all Albania was reported to be under the rule of Dushan. In 1348, Charles, Duke of Durazzo, was decapitated by his cousin Philip II, Prince of Taranto, who also inherited his rights on the Kingdom of Albania. Meanwhile, in Albania, after the death of Dušan, his empire began to disintegrate and, in central Albania, the Thopia family under Karl Topia, claimed rights to the Kingdom of Albania. In fact Stefan Uroš I was married to Helen of Anjou and Karl Topia was recognized as Count of Albania. Karl Thopia took Durrës from the Angevins in 1368 with the consensus of its citizens. In 1376 Louis of Évreux, Duke of Durazzo who had gained the rights on the Albanian Kingdom from his second wife, attacked and conquered the city, but in 1383, Thopia took once again control of the city. In 1385 the city of Durrës was captured by Balša II. Topia called for Ottoman Empire, Ottoman help and Balša's forces were defeated in the Battle of Savra. Topia recaptured the city of Durrës the same year and held it until his death in 1388. Afterwards, the city of Durrës was inherited by his son Gjergj, Lord of Durrës. In 1392 Gjergj surrendered the city of Durrës and his domains to the Republic of Venice.


The kingdom of Albania was a distinct entity from the Kingdom of Naples. The kingdom had the nature of a military oriented political structure. It had its own structure and organs of government which was located in Durrës. At the head of this governmental body was the captain-general who had the status of a viceroy. These persons usually had the title of ''capitaneus et vicarius generalis'' and were the head of the army also, while the local forces were commanded by persons who held the title ''marescallus in partibus Albaniae''. The royal resources, especially income from salt production and trade, were paid to the ''thesaurius'' of Albania. The port of Durrës and sea trade were essential to the kingdom. The port was under the command of ''prothontius'' and the Albanian fleet had its own captain. Other offices were created and functioned under the authority of the viceroy. With the attrition of the territory of the kingdom, the persons appointed as captain-generals began losing their powers, becoming more like governors of Durrës, than representatives of the king. The role of local Albanian lords became more and more important to the fate of the kingdom and the Angevins integrated them into their military structure especially in the second phase of the kingdom. When Philip of Taranto returned in 1304, one Albanian noble, Gulielm Blinishti, was appointed head of Angevin army in the Kingdom of Albania with the title ''marascallum regnie Albaniae''. He was succeeded in 1318 by Muzaka family, Andrea I Muzaka. From 1304 on, other western titles of nobility were bestowed by the Angevins upon the local Albanian lords. Although the Angevins tried to install a centralized state apparatus, they left great autonomy to the Albanians cities. In fact, in 1272 it was Charles of Anjou himself who recognized the old privileges of Durrës' community.


Historically the territory where the Kingdom of Albania lay was subject to different metropolitan powers such as Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Bar, Antivari, Durrës, Orthodox Archbishopric of Ohrid (ancient), Ohrid and Nicopolis (titular see, Epirus), Nicopolis, where Catholicism, Greek Orthodox, Greek, Serbian Orthodox, Serbian and Bulgarian Orthodox, Bulgarian Churches applied their power interchangeably or sometimes even together. The presence of the kingdom reinforced the influence of Catholicism and the conversion to its rite, not only in the region of Durrës but also in other parts of the country. The Archbishopric of Durrës was one of the primary bishoprics in Albania and before the East–West Schism, Great Schism (1054), it had 15 episcopal sees under its authority. After the split it remained under the authority of Eastern Church while there were continuous, but fruitless efforts from the Roman church to convert it to the Latin rite. However, things changed after the Fourth Crusade, fall of Byzantine Empire in 1204. In 1208, a Catholic archdeacon was elected for the archbishopric of Durrës. After the reconquest of Durrës by the Despotate of Epirus in 1214, the Latin Archbishop of Durrës was replaced by an Orthodox archbishop. After his death in 1225, various nearby metropolitan powers fought over the vacant seat. At last a Nicean archbishop was appointed in 1256 but he could not effectively run its office since, in 1258, the city was captured by Manfred. After the creation of Kingdom of Albania in 1272, a Catholic political structure was a good basis for the papal plans of spreading Catholicism in the Balkans. This plan found also the support of Helen of Anjou, a spouse of King Stefan Uroš I and cousin of Charles of Anjou, as Queen consort of the Serbian Kingdom, who was at that time ruling territories in North Albania. Around 30 Catholic churches and monasteries were built during her rule in North Albania and in Serbia. New bishoprics were created especially in North Albania, with the help of Helen of Anjou. Durrës became again a Catholic archbishopric in 1272. Other territories of the Kingdom of Albania became Catholic centers as well. Butrint in the south, although dependent on Corfu, became Catholic and remained as such during 14th century. The same happened to Vlorë and Krujë as soon as the Kingdom of Albania was created. A new wave of Catholic dioceses, churches and monasteries were founded, a number of different religious orders began spreading into the country, and papal missionaries also reached the territories of the Kingdom of Albania. Those who were not Catholic in Central and North Albania converted and a great number of Albanian clerics and monks were present in the Dalmatian Catholic institutions. However, in Durrës the Byzantine rite continued to exist for a while after Angevin conquest. This double-line of authority created some confusion in the local population and a contemporary visitor of the country described Albanians as ''nor they are entirely Catholic or entirely schismatic''. In order to fight this religious ambiguity, in 1304, Dominican Order, Dominicans were ordered by Pope Benedict XI to enter the country and to instruct the locals in the Latin rite. Dominican priests were also ordered as bishops in Vlorë and Butrint. Among the Catholic orders operating during that period in Albania, one could mention the Franciscan order, Carmelites, Cistercians and Premonstratensians. Also from time to time, the local bishops were appointed from different orders as different popes had their favorites among them. Krujë became an important center for the spread of Catholicism. Its bishopric had been Catholic since 1167. It was under direct dependence from the pope and it was the pope himself who consecrated the bishop. Local Albanian nobles maintained good relations with the Papacy. Its influence became so great, that it began to nominate local bishops. The Catholic cause had a drawback while Stephan Dushan ruled in Albania. The Catholic rite was called ''Latin heresy'' and Dušan's Code, Dushan's code contained harsh measures against them. However, the persecutions of local catholic Albanians did not begin in 1349 when the Code was promulgated, but much earlier, at least since the beginning of 14th century. Under these circumstances the relations between local Catholic Albanians and the papal curia became very close. Between 1350 and 1370, the spread of Catholicism in Albania reached its peak. At that period there were around seventeen Catholic bishoprics in the country, which acted not only as centers for Catholic reform within Albania, but also as centers for missionary activity in the neighboring areas, with the permission of the pope.


While the Byzantine Pronoia was the dominant form in the country, the Angevins introduced the Manorialism, Western type of feudalism. In the 13th and 14th centuries, pronoiars earned a great number of privileges and attributes, taking power away from the central authority. The benefit earned by the pronoiars from their land increased. Pronoiars began to collect land taxes for themselves which was an attribute of the state. They also began to exercise administrative authorities which replaced the state's, such as the ability to gather workers, guards, soldiers, and sometimes their own judges. In the 13th century, it was common for pronoiars to arrogate their own right to trial, initially for petty issues and then for serious crimes, taking away central authority from the main prerogatives to the practice of sovereignty. By the 14th century, the pronoia had reached the status of feudal possession. It could now be passed on to succession, split, and sold. The pronoia increasingly rarely fulfilled the military needs of the state. Alongside the pronoiars were landowners who owned large tracts of land worked by farmers. The landownership also included pronoiars from Durrës, Shkodër, and Drisht. Citizens of Durrës owned property and grazing land in the nearby mountain of Temali. The splitting, inheritance, and selling of the property was a common occurrence. The feudal possessions in Albania, as in the West and the Byzantine Empire, were made up of two parts: the land of the peasants and the land which was directly owned by the lords of the land. The peasant's land was not centralized, but was split into many small plots, often far from each other. The lord's land was continually expanded along the same lines that the aristocracy strengthened. Land was also centralized under religious institutions, including monasteries and bishoprics. Unlike the 12th century, where the area under control was donated by the central authority, after the 12th century, most donors of land to the monasteries and bishoprics were small and large landowners. By the beginning of the 14th century, monasteries and bishoprics had been able to collect large sums of land funds. The income of the monasteries came mainly from agricultural products, but a small part also came from craftwork and other activities. A central source of income to the church were from taxes gathered in kind and in cash. A good of portion went to Rome or Constantinople. The delivery of bonds was one of the causes of friction between the local clergy and the Pope in Rome or the Patriarch in Constantinople. In an effort to find additional means of finance, especially in times of war, the central authority imposed high taxes on the population. The pyramid of society depended upon the work of the farmers. Besides the main category of farmers, categories of farmers included "free" farmer and "foreign" farmers. They were deprived of land and any form of possession and were therefore not registered, placing them in a feud for the quality of wages. Eventually, they received a piece of land for which they paid their duties, and were fused with the main category of farmers. The feudal duties of the peasant were not the same for all the Albanian areas but differed according to the terrain. The systems of payment in kind or in cash also changed accordingly, but the strengthening of the nobility against the central authority in the 13th century caused the payments in cash to increase compared to payments in kind. From the 12th to the 14th century, the vertical shift of power to the nobles was deepened. Not only were the plains brought under the control of the nobles, but also mountainous areas. The feudal possessions also began to include communal areas such as forests, pastures, and fisheries. This evolution took place during the period of Byzantine decline and saw the conversion of the pronoia into an estate very similar to the feudal one. The overwhelming majority of the population under the lords' rule was made up of agricultural workers. Contemporary sources reveal that in large parts of Albania, the village population had fallen to the status of serfdom. An anonymous traveler in 1308 revealed that farmers in the regions of Këlcyrë, Tomorricë, Stefaniakë, Kunavë, and Pultë of Dibra worked the lands and vineyards of their respective lords, turned over their products, and performed household work for them. The Byzantine historian Kantakouzenos, testifies that the power of the lords of these areas depended mostly on livestock which were present in large numbers.


During the 13th century, many cities in Albania made the move from being primarily military strongholds to becoming urban centers. Unable to contain the development inside the city walls, many cities expanded outside them. Quarters outside the walls began to form, called ''proastion'' and ''suburbium'' and became important economic centers. In these quarters, trade took place and shops along with workshops were centered here. Eventually, many of these quarters too were surrounded by walls to protect them. In order to secure a supply of water, cisterns in open, safe spaces were used to gather water. In some unique cases, water was also gathered from nearby rivers. In the first half of the 14th century, the population of the cities grew greatly. Durrës is estimated to have had 25,000 inhabitants. The city became a center which attracted inhabitants from the rural areas. Durrës is known to have had a large number of inhabitants who came from the surrounding villages. Those farmers who migrated to the city were often forced to pay a fixed payment or to make up for this payment by working in a commune. Along with the farmers came noblemen from the surrounding areas, who either migrated permanently or spent a large amount of time in the cities to look after their economic interests. Many had possessions, stores, and houses in the city. The movement of noblemen to urban areas became normal and they were eventually integrated into the city become citizens and often taking government positions.


The spread of Catholicism affected the architecture of religious buildings, with a new Gothic architecture, Gothic style, mainly in the Center and North Albania. These areas were attached to the Catholic church and thus had greater Western connections. Both the Catholic and Orthodox churches operated in Durrës and the surrounding areas, and therefore both Western and Byzantine architectural styles were followed. Western architecture could also be found in areas where Western rulers had possessions. Churches built in this form were built in Upper and Central Albania and were characterized by an emphasis on an East-West longitudinal axis with circular or rectangular apses. Among the most notable architectural monuments of this period include the Church of Shirgj Monastery near the village of Shirgj near Shkodër, the Church of Saint Mary in Vau i Dejës, and the Church of Rubik, Albania, Rubik. The former two churches were built in the 13th century AD while the latter in the 12th century AD. Most of the churches built in this period were decorated with murals.

List of rulers

Kings of Albania

* Charles I of Naples, Charles I 1272–1285 * Charles II of Naples, Charles II 1285–1294 Charles surrendered his rights to Albania to his son Philip in 1294. Philip reigned as ''Lord of the Kingdom of Albania''.

Lords of the Kingdom of Albania

* Philip I of Taranto, Philip 1294–1331 * Robert of Taranto, Robert 1331–1332 Philip died on 26 December 1331, and was succeeded by his son Robert. Robert's uncle, John, did not wish to do him homage for the Principality of Achaea, so Robert received Achaea from John in exchange for 5,000 ounces of gold and the rights to the diminished Kingdom of Albania. John took the style of Duke of Durazzo.

Dukes of Durazzo

* John, Duke of Durazzo, John 1332–1336 * Charles, Duke of Durazzo, Charles 1336–1348 * Joanna, Duchess of Durazzo, Joanna 1348–1368 ** Louis, Duke of Durazzo, Louis 1366–1368 and 1376, in right of his wife In 1368, Durazzo fell to Karl Topia, who was recognized by Republic of Venice, Venice as ''Prince of Albania''.

Captains and Vicars-General of the Kingdom of Albania

These officers were styled ''Capitaneus et vicaris generalis in regno Albaniae''. * Gazo Chinard (1272) * Anselme de Chaus (May 1273) * Narjot de Toucy (died 1293), Narjot de Toucy (1274) * Guillaume Bernard (23 September 1275) * Jean Vaubecourt (15 September 1277) * Jean Scotto (May 1279) * Hugues de Sully le Rousseau (1281) * Guillaume Bernard (1283) * Guy of Charpigny (1294) * Ponzard de Tournay (1294) * Simon de Mercey (1296) * Guillaume de Grosseteste (1298) * Geoffroy de Port (1299) * Rinieri da Montefuscolo (1301)

Marshals of the Kingdom of Albania

These officers were styled ''Marescallus in regni Albaniae''. * Guillaume Bernard * Philip d'Artulla (Ervilla) * Geoffroy de Polisy * Jacques de Campagnol * Andrea I Muzaka (1279) * Gulielm Blinishti (1304)



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * {{DEFAULTSORT:Albania, Kingdom of Kingdom of Albania (medieval), 1368 disestablishments States and territories established in 1272 Albanian monarchs, Dukes of Durazzo, Kings of Albania, Former kingdoms 13th century in the Kingdom of Sicily Charles I of Anjou Former countries in the Balkans