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Stefan Tomašević

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Stefan Tomašević

Stephen Tomašević
King of Bosnia
Reign 10 July 1461 – 5 June 1463
Predecessor Stephen Thomas
Despot of Serbia
Reign 1 April 1459 – 20 June 1459
Predecessor Stephen
Spouse Mary of Serbia
House House of Kotromanić
Father Stephen Thomas of Bosnia
Mother Vojača
Died 5 June 1463
Carevo Polje, Jajce
Burial Franciscan monastery of Saint Luke, Jajce
Religion Roman Catholic

Stephen Tomašević [1] was the last King of Bosnia (1461–1463) and also the last Despot of Serbia (1459).

Family

He was the son of King Stephen Thomas of Bosnia. According to the "Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten" (1978) by Detlev Schwennicke, his mother was Vojača, first wife of his father. Catherine of St Sava was his stepmother, by whom he had a half-brother named Sigismund and a half-sister named Catherine.[2]

His paternal grandfather was King Stephen Ostoja of Bosnia. Stephen Ostoja is considered a member of the House of Kotromanić but his exact relation to his predecessors is unknown. He was possibly an illegitimate son of King Stephen Tvrtko I of Bosnia.[3]

Despot

Lazar Branković of Serbia died in 1458. He was succeeded by his older brother Stefan Branković, a blind man. Stephen Thomas took advantage of the occasion to campaign against Serbia. He managed to capture Srebrenica and a number of other towns previously held by the Branković dynasty. In 1459, Stephen Thomas entered negotiations with Helena Palaiologina, widow of Lazar. The result of the negotiations was the marriage of Stephen Tomašević to Helena Branković, the eldest daughter of Lazar and Palaiologina. The marriage took place at Smederevo on 1 April 1459. The younger Helena changed her name to "Maria" at the time of her wedding. Tomašević replaced the deposed Stefan on the throne of Serbia.[4]

Tomašević was earlier supposed to marry an illegitimate daughter of Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan, probably Drusiana Sforza. His father sent the Duke a letter of apology for breaking their deal.[5]

His reign in Serbia was short-lived. On 20 June 1459, forces under Mehmed II of the Ottoman Empire managed to capture Smederevo and proceeded to annex the remnants of the Serbian state to their realm. Stephen Tomašević and Maria fled to Bosnia, seeking refuge at the court of his father.[4]

King

On 10 July 1461, Stephen Thomas died. Stephen Tomašević succeeded him as King of Bosnia. In 1461, Stephen Tomašević sent to Pope Pius II for help in the face of an impending Ottoman invasion. In November 1461, a papal legate presented Stephen Tomašević with a royal crown, offered by the Pope.[6]

Later, in 1463, he sent for help from the Venetians. However, none ever reached Bosnia. In 1463, Sultan Mehmed II led an army into the country. The royal city of Bobovac soon fell, leaving Stephen Tomašević to retreat to Jajce and later to Ključ. The Bosnian Kingdom was soon conquered by the Ottoman Empire. The King was captured in Ključ, and despite promises to the contrary, brought back to Jajce and beheaded on the nearby field known as Carevo Polje (Tzar's Field).

According to Fine, Queen Maria survived by fleeing to the coast of the Adriatic Sea.[7] According to "The Fall of Constantinople 1453" (1965) by Steven Runciman, Maria later joined the harem of an unnamed Turkish general.[8] The "Massarelli manuscript" of the 16th reports that Stephen Tomašević and Maria had children. However, none are mentioned by name. Their eventual fates are unknown.[6]

In 1888, renowned Croatian archeologist Ćiro Truhelka excavated a locality in Jajce known as "Kraljev Grob" (King's Tomb) and found a skeleton of a decapitated adult male. Though there is no direct evidence that these are the remains of Stephen Tomašević, folk tradition and circumstantial evidence make it almost a foregone conclusion that they are. The remains have since been housed, with minor interceptions, in the Franciscan monastery in Jajce.

References

Regnal titles
Preceded by
Stephen Thomas
King of Bosnia
1461–1463
Ottoman conquest
Preceded by
Stefan Branković
Despot of Serbia
1459
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