Balša III

Balša III Stracimirović
Lord of Zeta and the Coast

Coat of arms
Reign April 1403 – 28 April 1421
Predecessor Đurađ II
Successor Stefan Lazarević
Born 1387
Died 28 April 1421
Belgrade, Serbian Despotate
House Balšić
Father Đurađ II
Mother Jelena
Religion Serbian Orthodox

Balša Stracimirović (last name is sometimes Balšić or Đurđević) or Balša III (1387 – 28 April 1421, Belgrade) was the fifth and last ruler of Zeta from the Balšić noble family, from April 1403 – April 1421. He was the son of Đurađ II and Jelena Lazarević.


In April 1403, the seventeen-year-old Balša III became the ruler of Zeta when his father Đurađ II died as a result of the injuries he had suffered at the Battle of Tripolje. As he was young and inexperienced, his main advisor was his mother, Jelena, a sister of the ruler of Serbia at the time, Stefan Lazarević. Under the influence of his mother, Balša III reverted the order of the state religion, passing a law declaring Christian Orthodox as the official confession of the state, while Catholicism became a tolerant confession.

Balša III waged a 10-year war against Venice, the First Scutari War. In 1405, Ulcinj, Bar and Budva were seized by the Venetians. Balša then became a vassal to the Ottoman Turks. In 1409, however, Venice had purchased the rights to Dalmatia from King Ladislaus of Naples and began fighting for control of Dalmatian cities. After a huge effort, Balša seized Bar from the Venetians in 1412. Venice, pressed with difficulties, had no choice but to agree to return territories it had previously seized.[1] In 1413 he built a church dedicated to Saint Nicholas in Praskvica Monastery.[2] According to a chapter Balša III issued in 1417 he was probably a ktitor of the Moračnik Monastery.[3]

Possessions of Venice and Balša III.

Balša had waged a new war against Venice, which was connected to the war with the Hungarians and the Turks. In 1418, he conquered Shkodër from the Venetians, but lost Budva and Luštica with its salt works. In the next year, 1419, he made an unsuccessful attempt to recapture Budva. He went to Belgrade to ask for aid from Stefan Lazarević, but never returned to Zeta. In 1421, before his death and under the influence of his mother, he passed the rule of Zeta to his uncle, Despot Stefan Lazarević.

Marriage and issue

In 1407 Balša III married Mara, a daughter of Niketa Thopia. In his second marriage, Balša III married Bolja, a daughter of Koja Zaharia, in 1412 or at the beginning of 1413.[4] They had two daughters, Jelena (named after Balša's mother) and Teodora.

Jelena married Stjepan Vukčić Kosača and was mother of Queen Catherine of Bosnia and Vladislav Hercegović.[5] In 1415 Balša's only son and the only male descendant of the Balša family died.[6]



  1. Ćirković 2004, p. 92
  2. Pavle S. Radusinović (1978). Stanovništvo Crne Gore do 1945. godine: opšta istorijsko-geografska i demografska razmatranja. Srpska akademija nauka i umetnosti. p. 42. Retrieved 13 June 2013. манастир Прасквица (св. Николе, коју је подигао 1413. године Балша III)
  3. MobileReference. Travel Montenegro: Illustrated Guide, Phrasebook and Maps. MobileReference. p. 390. ISBN 978-1-61198-237-4. Retrieved 27 July 2013. "Moracnik Monastery" is located on the island of Moracnik on Skadar Lake. It was first mentioned in 1417, in the Charter of Balsa III. The monastery complex consists of a church dedicated to the Holy Mother of God, an accommodation building
  4. Albanološki institut u Prištini 1968 p. 125: "Poznato je takođe da se Balša III krajem 1412 ili početkom 1413 godine oženio u drugom braku ćerkom Koe Zaharije"
  5. Ekmečić, Milorad (1997). Zbornik za istoriju Bosne i Hercegovine. Serbian Academy of Science and Arts, board for history of Bosnia and Herzegovina. p. 75. Retrieved 18 January 2013. Послије смрти зетског великаша Балше III иза њега није остало мушких потомака, већ само двије кћери: Јелена и Теодора које су живјеле под надзором Балшине мајке Јелене
  6. Spremić 2004, pp. 73–108
    ускоро је дочекао велику несрећу: 1415. умро му је син јединац. Тако је Јелена сахранила унука, а династија Балшића остала је без мушког наследника)


Preceded by
Đurađ II
Lord of Zeta and the Coast
Succeeded by
Stefan Lazarević
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