Thopia family

Thopia family was one of the most powerful Albanian feudal families in the Late Middle Ages. It was initially part of the nobility of the Angevin Kingdom of Albania.

Topia, Theopias, Thopias, Topias
Noble house
Topia coat of arms
Coat of arms of the Thopia family[1][2]
FounderTanusio Thopia
Final rulerNiketa Thopia
Titlesconte (count), lord
Estate(s)Between rivers Mat and Shkumbin
Dissolutionafter 1479
Cadet branchesToptani family

Early history

The first mention of the Thopia is from 1329,[3] when Tanusio Thopia was mentioned as one of the counts of Albania.[4] In 1338, Tanusio was mentioned as Count of Matia (conte di Matia).[5] According to Anamali & Prifti, Tanusio had a brother, Dominik, who was a high cleric and served as a counsel of Robert of Anjou.[6]

According to Karl Hopf, Tanusio's son or brother Andrea, as told by Gjon Muzaka (fl. 1510), had fallen in love with the daughter of Robert of Naples when her ship, en route to the Principality of the Morea to be wed with the 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.[7]

The family converted from Eastern Orthodoxy to Catholicism.[8]

By 1340 the Thopia controlled much of the territory between the rivers Mati and Shkumbin rivers. Together with the Muzaka family, they agreed to recognize Angevin suzerainty after rebelling against the Serbs. However except for Andrea Muzaka who defeated the Serbs in a battle in the Peristeri mountains, no action was taken to realize the treaty with the Angevins.[9]

Karl Thopia

Kingdom of Albania in 1368 AD
Princedom of Albania before Karl Thopia's conquest of Durrës

Under Karl Thopia the family reached its zenith. After the death of Emperor Stefan Dušan (1355), Karl managed to capture much of central Albania which was part of the Serbian Empire until then. In 1362 his forces attacked the city of Durrës, then in Angevin hands. Although he couldn't capture the city, he forced them to pay an annual tribute to his family. In 1368 Karl managed to capture the city of Durrës.[6] Around 1370 Karl attacked the dominions of the Muzaka family and managed to capture from them the territory between Shkumbin and Seman. Now the territory of Thopia extended from Mat river to Seman, reaching its maximum extension.[10] This aggressive behavior brought a complicated situation and many enemies. 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. However, in 1383, Karl Thopia took control of the city again.[11]

Muzaka family allied with Balša II against Thopia. In the beginning of 1385, the city of Durrës was captured by Balša II in a surprise attack. Karl called for Ottoman help and Balša's forces were defeated in the Battle of Savra. Thopia 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 Venice.[12]

After Karl

Karl Topia, by Kostandin Shpataraku, Ardenica Monastery
Karl Thopia,Ardenica Monastery

After the death of Karl, his dominion was divided between his daughter Helena Thopia and his son Gjergj Thopia. Gjergj kept the city of Durrës and his surroundings which he later surrendered to Venice Republic, while Helen Thopia kept the city of Krujë and its surroundings. She was married to Venetian nobleman Marco Barbarigo. The count Niketa Thopia, a cousin of Gjergj, ruled in the region south of Durrës. In 1403, Niketa Thopia managed to capture the city of Krujë from his cousin Helena, thus gaining another part of the territory previously held by Thopia. He had good relations with Venice which was interested in having some buffer zone between them and advancing Ottoman army. However, in 1412, Niketa Thopia suffered a heavy defeat from the forces of Teodor II Muzaka. He himself felt prisoner and with the intervention of Ragusan Republic he was released, but only after giving some territories around Shkumbin river to Muzaka family. Upon his death in 1415, the castle of Krujë felt to the Ottomans.[13]

Later representatives

Later well known representatives include Tanush Thopia a famous commander of Skanderbeg army and the commander of Krujë garrison during Second Siege of Krujë.


  • Tanusio, Count of Matia (1328–38), one son
    • Andrea, married illegitimate daughter of Robert I of Naples, both were murdered by Robert, two sons
      • Karl (or Carlo), married Voislava Balšić, in c. 1370., three children. Karl had seven children in total
      • Unknown (possibly George/Giorgio), no issue


  1. ^ Heraldika Shqiptare, Gjin Varfi, 2000, ISBN 9992731850 ISBN 978-9992731857
  2. ^ Genc Myftiu. Albania, a patrimony of European values: a short encyclopedia of Albanian history and cultural heritage. The emblem of his principality was a lion with Angevin lilies. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  3. ^ Johann Georg von Hahn (1867). Reise durch die Gebiete des Drin und Wardar: im Auftrage der K. Akademie der Wissenschaften unternommen im Jahre 1863. Aus der Kaiserlich-Königlichen Hof- und Staatsdruckerei. p. 282.
  4. ^ Émile G. Léonard (1932). Histoire de Jeanne 1re, reine de Naples, comtesse de Provence (1343-1382): La jeunesse de la reine Jeanne. Imprimerie de Monaco. p. 107.
  5. ^ Bollettino della Badia Greca di Grottaferrata. Scuola Tipografica Italo-Orientale "S.Nilo". 1978.
  6. ^ a b Anamali, Skënder and Prifti, Kristaq. Historia e popullit shqiptar në katër vëllime. Botimet Toena, 2002, ISBN 99927-1-622-3 p. 249
  7. ^ Carl Hermann Friedrich Johann Hopf (1960). Geschichte Griechenlands vom Beginn des Mittelalters bis auf unsere Zeit. B. Franklin. darauf in der Hand jenes Tanussio Thopia (1328 — 1338) waren, dem König Robert von Neapel 1338 den Besitz der Grafschaft Mal bestätigte. Des letztem Sohn oder Bruder Andreas war es, der sich mit dem Haufe Eapet verschwägerte. König Robert, so erzählt Musachi, hatte seine natürliche Tochter dem Bailli von Morea — vielleicht dem Bertrand de Baux — zur' Gattin bestimmt und sie nach Durazzo gesandt, wo damals Thopia weilte. Er verliebte sich in sie, entführte und heirathete sie. Zwei Söhne, Karl und Georg, ent« sprossen dieser Ehe. Aber schwer traf die Gatten bald die Rache des erzürnten Vaters; unter dem Scheine der Versöhnung lud er beide zu sich nach Neapel ein und ließ sie dort hinrichten; die Kinder aber, in denen somit wirtlich das Blut der Angiovlnen stoß, wurden gerettet; in der festen Burg Kroja , die er später ausbaute, nicht, wie die Sage meldet , erst gründete "), wuchs Karl auf, entschlossen, den Mord des vaters zu rächen
  8. ^ Kristaq Prifti (1993). The Truth on Kosova. Encyclopaedia Publishing House. p. 52. Retrieved 5 January 2014. ... Tanush Thopia from a family which passed easily from Orthodoxy to Catholicism ...
  9. ^ Fine, John V. A.; Fine, John Van Antwerp (1994-01-01). The Late Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Late Twelfth Century to the Ottoman Conquest. University of Michigan Press. p. 291. ISBN 0472082604.
  10. ^ Anamali, Skënder and Prifti, Kristaq. Historia e popullit shqiptar në katër vëllime. Botimet Toena, 2002, ISBN 99927-1-622-3 p. 250
  11. ^ Fine, John Van Antwerp (1994), The Late Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Late Twelfth Century to the Ottoman Conquest, University of Michigan Press, ISBN 978-0-472-08260-5 p. 384
  12. ^ Men of empire: power and negotiation in Venice's maritime state Johns Hopkins University studies in historical and political science Men of Empire Men of Empire: Power and Negotiation in Venice's Maritime State, Monique O'Connell Author Monique O'Connell Edition illustrated Publisher JHU Press, 2009 ISBN 0-8018-9145-0, ISBN 978-0-8018-9145-8 p.23
  13. ^ Anamali, Skënder and Prifti, Kristaq. Historia e popullit shqiptar në katër vëllime. Botimet Toena, 2002, ISBN 99927-1-622-3 p.251-252
  14. ^ Akademia e Shkencave e Shqipërisë; K. Prifti; Xh. Gjeçovi; M. Korkuti; G. Shpuza; S. Anamali; K. Biçoku; F. Duka; S. Islami; S. Naçi; F. Prendi; S. Pulaha; P. Xhufi (2002). Historia e Popullit Shqiptar. Tirana, Albania: Toena. p. 309. ISBN 99927-1-622-3. Retrieved 2012-04-23.
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 world. The Albanian nobility was composed of landowners of vast areas, often in allegiance to states like the Byzantine Empire, various Serbian states, the Republic of Venice, the Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Naples in addition to the Albanian principalities. They often used Byzantine, Latin or Slavic titles, such as sebastokrator, despot, dux, conte and zupan.

Andrea Thopia

Andrea Thopia or Andrew Thopia (Albanian: Andrea Topia; died before March 1445) was 15th century noble man from Albania whose domains included the territory of Scuria (between Durazzo and what would later become modern day Tirana). He was a member of the Thopia family and one of the founders of the League of Lezhë.

Arianiti family

The Arianiti were an Albanian noble family that ruled large areas in Albania and neighbouring areas from the 11th to the 16th century. Their domain stretched across the Shkumbin valley and the old Via Egnatia road and reached to the east today's Bitola.

Bua family

The Bua or Boua was an Albanian noble family."The despots Gjin Buia Spata and Peter Liosha were recognized by Symeon Uroš in 1359–1360 as rulers in Epirus and Aetolia. According to G. Schirò, "Bua" originated as a surname or as a given name perhaps derived from the diminutive form of Benedetto. Another possible derivation is from bua, "buffalo". It was not kin (blood relatives) with the earlier Spata family. Meksi family is believed to be the main branch of Bua family.Its members were:

Peter Bua (fl. 1450s), Morean rebel leader

Theodore Bua (fl. 1479), Venetian mercenary captain

Mercurio Bua (1478–1542), Venetian mercenary captain, son of Theodore

Durrës Castle

Durrës Castle (Albanian: Kalaja e Durrësit) is the fortified old city of Durrës, Albania. It is enclosed by city walls built in the late 5th century, and repaired and reinforced in the Middle Ages and early modern periods.

George Thopia

George Thopia (Albanian: Gjergj Topia, Italian: Giorgio Topia, fl. 1388–d. 1392) was the Lord of Durazzo (Durrës) from 1388 to 1392. He was the son of Karl Topia and Vojislava Balšić. George married Voislava (Teodora), the daughter of sevastokrator Branko Mladenović, of the Serbian Branković family.George was required to return Durazzo to the Republic of Venice in 1392. Later that year, he died without issue. His sister, Elena, gained the bulk of the rest of his holdings, whilst a smaller portion was left to his younger sister, Vojsava.

Helena Thopia

Helena Thopia (fl. 1388–1403) was an Albanian princess of the Thopia family who held the Krujë region as sovereign lady for two terms; 1388-1392 and 1394-1403.

Karl Thopia

Karl Thopia (Albanian: Karl Topia) was an Albanian feudal prince and warlord who ruled Albania from the middle of the 14th century until the first Ottoman conquest of Albania. Thopia usually maintained good relations with the Roman Curia.

List of Albanian monarchs

This article includes a list of Albanian monarchs. Albania was first established by the Progon family in 1190, with Progon, Lord of Kruja as the nation's first monarch.

List of castles in Albania

This page lists the castles and fortifications of Albania. There are a total of 158 castles and fortifications in the country that have achieved the status of monument of cultural heritage. The English equivalent for Kala in Albanian is Fortress. The latter is most fit for usage to describe many of the below structures as documented by official travel guides.

List of wars involving Albania

This is a list of wars that Albanian states and Albanian forces have been involved in.

Albanian victory

Albanian defeat

Another result (e.g. a treaty or peace without a clear result, status quo ante bellum, result of civil war or internal conflict, result unknown, mixed results, stalemate, ceasefire or indecisive)

Ongoing conflict

Niketa Thopia

Niketa Thopia (Albanian: Niketa Topia, Latin: Nicetas Thopia; fl. 1388 – d. 1415) was the Lord of Krujë between 1392—1394 and 1403—1415. He was a member of the Thopia family and the son of Karl Topia, the Prince of Albania (r. 1368–1388).

Saint Gjon Vladimir's Church

Saint Gjon Vladimir's Church (Albanian: Kisha e Shën Gjon Vladimirit) is a church in Shijon, Elbasan County, Albania. It is dedicated to the Dukljan prince and saint Jovan Vladimir, the son-in-law of the Bulgarian Tsar Samuil. It became a Cultural Monument of Albania in 1948. The first temple is the oldest large Orthodox basilica from the times of Tsar Samuil, rebuilt as present church by the Thopia family in 1381. During the 18th century Kostandin Shpataraku painted the walls of the church.An Orthodox monastery grew around the church, and became the seat of the newly founded Archdiocese of Dyrrhachium in the 18th century. Gregory of Durrës, the archbishop of Dyrrhachium from 1768 to 1772, wrote there the Elbasan Gospel Manuscript, the oldest work of Albanian Orthodox literature; the manuscript is also notable for being the only document in the Albanian Elbasan script.

Tanush Thopia

Tanush Thopia or Tanusio Thopia (Albanian: Tanush Topia, Latin: Tanusas Thopius; d. 1467) was an Albanian nobleman and one of the closest collaborators of George Kastrioti Skanderbeg.

Thopia descended from the Thopia family that converted from Orthodox Christianity to Catholicism. In 1444, together with his uncle Andrea Thopia, he participated in the founding of the League of Lezhe, the military alliance led by Skanderbeg. He was a commander of the infantry of the League of Lezhë, and his garrison became famous for their resistance during the Second Siege of Krujë. After that siege he is no longer mentioned in historical sources, and some suppose that he might have been killed in the end of that battle or died soon afterwards. He was a skillful commander and his loyalty to Skanderbeg was undeterred and that was the reason why he was appointed in that delicate position.The name Tanush is an Albanian exonym for Athanassius.

Tanusio Thopia

Tanusio Thopia or Tanush Thopia (Albanian: Tanush Topia; fl. 1329–38) was an Angevin Albanian count that served Princes of Taranto Philip I and Robert, and Dukes of Durazzo John and Charles. He had domains in Matia.


Thopia may refer to:

Thopia family, one of the most powerful Albanian feudal families in the Late Middle Ages

Tanusio Thopia

Karl Thopia

George Thopia

Helena Thopia

Niketa Thopia

Andrea Thopia

Tanush Thopia

Topia (disambiguation)

Topia is a city and seat of the municipality of Topia, in the state of Durango, north-western Mexico.

Topia may also refer to:

Topia Municipality, one of the municipalities in the state of Durango, north-western Mexico

Thopia family, one of the most powerful Albanian feudal families in the Late Middle Ages

Tanusio Thopia

Karl Thopia

George Thopia

Helena Thopia

Niketa Thopia

Andrea Thopia

Tanush Thopia

Tane Topia (born 1976), New Zealand cricketer


Topias may refer to:

Thopia family, one of the most powerful Albanian feudal families in the Late Middle Ages

Topias Palmi, a Finnish basketball player

Toptani family

The Toptani family was the leading Albanian noble family in central Ottoman Albania at the beginning of the 20th century. The Toptani family belonged to a small number of noble families appointed by the Ottomans who used local chieftains to control Ottoman Albania more easily. Essad Pasha Toptani, the head of the family at the beginning of the 20th century, claimed that the family descended from the Thopia family. According to some sources, the name is derived from the word top, which means cannon, as the family owned a cannon at a time when artillery was rare.

Royal houses of Europe


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