Battle of Savra

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Battle of Savra
Part of the Ottoman wars in Europe
Balsa II posjedi van Zete 1385 godine.png
Domains of Balša II outside Zeta
Date 18 September 1385
Location Saurian field, near Lushnjë
Result Decisive Ottoman victory[1]
Ottoman Empire Zeta
Commanders and leaders
Hayreddin Pasha Balša II 
Ivaniš Mrnjavčević 
40,000[2] 40,000 [3]

The Battle of Savra (Serbian: Битка на Саурском пољу; "Battle on the Saurian field") or the Battle of the Vijose[4] was fought on 18 September 1385 between Ottoman and much smaller Zetan forces,[5] at the Savra field near Lushnjë (in modern-day southern Albania). The Ottomans were invited by Karlo Thopia to support him in his feud against Balša II.[6]


In 1372, Balša II married Komnina, the daughter of John Komnenos Asen, the Despot of Valona.[A] As a dowry, Balša gained the cities of Valona, Berat and Kanina (in modern-day southern Albania), located in Asen's province.[7] In 1385 Balša II conquered Durazzo, presumably from Karl Topia. 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.[8][9]


Karlo Thopia invited Ottomans to support him in conflict with Balša II. Thopia's invitation was accepted and Hayreddin Pasha[10] brought his forces from region of Ohrid (modern-day Macedonia)[11] to Saurian field, near Lushnjë. News about incursion of the Ottoman fources into the region of Berat reached Balša II while he was in Drač.[12] According to Mavro Orbini, Balša II rounded up one thousand men in Drač and, ignoring the advice of his nobles, headed out to take on the Ottoman raiders.[13] 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 participant in this battle. Some scholars believe he did not even exist, while other believe that he was not independent medieval lord, but loyal member of Balšić family.[14] Another person mentioned only by Orbini is Balša's voivode Đurađ Krvavčić, described as brave warrior who also died in this battle. Mavrini explains that body of Balša II was decapitated and his head taken to Hayreddin Pasha.


Since the Ottomans were victorious, most of the local Serbian and Albanian lords became vassals.[15] Immediately after this battle Thopia recaptured Drač,[16] probably under the Ottoman suzerainty.[13] The Ottomans captured Kroje, Ulcinj and Berat and soon retreated from them keeping only Castoria under their permanent control.[17] Some sources explain that Ottomans probably remained in Berat with intention to use it as foothold to capture Valona.[11]

The work of Mavro Orbini (The Realm of the Slavs) is one of the main primary sources about this battle. It contains many incorrect and imprecise data.[18] Another primary source about the Battle of Savra is Marin Barleti who explained that Balša II was brave and idealistic.[19]

This battle set 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 together.[20] The important result of this battle was influx of Albanians into Ottoman forces who had been a significant source of its strength during next 527 years.[11]


  1. Sedlar, Jean W., East Central Europe in the Middle Ages, 1000-1500, (University of Washington Press, 1994), 385.
  2. TBR. TBR Company. 2000. p. 41.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Historical Dictionary of the Ottoman Empire
  4. Kiel 1990, p. 17.
  5. Група аутора. Историја српксог народа II. Српска књижевна задруга. p. 40.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Somel, Selcuk Aksin (2010). The A to Z of the Ottoman Empire. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-8108-7579-1. ...the Ottomans supported Lord Carlo Thopia against Balsha II, defeating the latter...<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Fine 1994, p. 372
  8. Ivić, Mrđenović & Spasić 1987, p. 102.
  9. Ecrits historiques. 1987. p. 31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Houtsma, M. Th. (1993). E.J. Brill's First Encyclopaedia of Islam, 1913-1936. BRILL. p. 556. ISBN 90-04-09791-0.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Gibbons, Herbert Adam (21 August 2013). The Foundation of the Ottoman Empire: A History of the Osmanlis Up To the Death of Bayezid I 1300-1403. Routledge. p. 159. ISBN 978-1-135-02982-1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Recueil des travaux de la Faculté de philosophie: Les sciences historiques. Univerzitet. 1994. p. 164.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. 13.0 13.1 Fine 1994, p. 390.
  14. Veselinović, Andrija & Ljušić, Radoš (2001). СРПСКЕ ДИНАСТИЈЕ, СРЕДЊОВЕКОВНЕ ДИНАСТИЈЕ
  15. Sedlar, Jean W. East Central Europe in the Middle Ages, 1000-1500, University of Washington Press, p. 385
  16. Jovetić, Jovan (1985). Odjeci Srpske prošlosti: eseji, govori, polemike. Jovan Jovetić. p. 29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Pitcher, Donald Edgar (1968). An Historical Geography of the Ottoman Empire: From Earliest Times to the End of the Sixteenth Century. Brill Archive. p. 45. GGKEY:4CFA3RCNXRP.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. Orbini, Mauro; Barišić, Franjo; Samardžić, Radovan (1968). Kraljevstvo Slovena. Srpska književna zadruga. p. 321.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. Barleti, Marin (2012). The Siege of Shkodra: Albania's Courageous Stand Against Ottoman Conquest, 1478. David Hosaflook. p. 60. ISBN 978-99956-87-77-9.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. Istorija: spisanie na Sojuzot na društvata na istoričarite na SR Makedonija. Sojuz na društvata na istoričarite na SR Makedonija. 1980. p. 183. Тука беше и Марица и Косово за господата српско-албанска.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


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