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Simeon Uroš or Siniša Uroš, also Symeon Ouresis Palaiologos (Serbian Cyrillic: Симеон Урош; Greek: Συμεών Ούρεσης Παλαιολόγος, Symeōn Ouresēs Palaiologos), was the ruler of Epirus from 1359 to 1366 and of Thessaly from 1359 until his death in c. 1370.

Life

Simeon Uroš, nicknamed Siniša, was the son of King Stefan Uroš III Dečanski of Serbia by his second wife, Maria Palaiologina, the daughter of the despotes John Palaiologos, a grandson of Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos.

When his half-brother Emperor Stefan Uroš IV Dušan conquered Epirus and Acarnania in 1348, he appointed as governor of these regions Simeon Uroš, whom he had granted the title of despotes traditionally reserved for emperors' brothers and younger sons. Simeon Uroš consolidated his position in relation to the local aristocracy by marrying Thomais, the daughter of the former ruler of Epirus, John Orsini.

Simeon Uroš's relatively uneventful governorship was interrupted when, shortly after Dušan's death in 1355, his brother-in-law Nikephoros II Orsini, the deposed ruler of Epirus, reappeared in Greece and gained the support of the nobility in Thessaly and Epirus. In 1356 Nikephoros entered Epirus and forced Simeon Uroš to flee to Kastoria, where he attempted to proclaim himself emperor of Serbs and Greeks in the place of his nephew Stefan Uroš V. Although he gained the support of some important magnates like John Komnenos Asen (the brother of Dušan's widow), Simeon Uroš was unable to assert himself against the wishes of the nobility of Serbia proper and Macedonia.

After he was forced to retreat from his attempt to invade Zeta (Montenegro) in 1358, Simeon Uroš gave up hope of asserting himself in Serbia. The next year, however, Nikephoros II Orsini was killed in a skirmish against the Albanians, and opened up a welcome opportunity for Simeon Uroš. Consequently, he rapidly swept into Thessaly and was acknowledged as its ruler in 1359. He then invaded Epirus, where the towns, harried by the Albanian clansmen who had taken over the countryside, also recognized his authority.

While Simeon Uroš was in Epirus, Radoslav Hlapen of Vodena attempted to seize Thessaly on behalf of his stepson Thomas Preljubović. Simeon Uroš was forced to cut his losses by recognizing Radoslav Hlapen's conquests, turning over Kastoria to him, and marrying his daughter Maria to Thomas. Hlapen recognized Simeon Uroš's suzerainty in at least some of these lands and provided a buffer between him and the Serbian nobles to the north. Simeon Uroš established himself in Trikkala in Thessaly, and spent the remaining decade of his reign in relative peace. The effectiveness of his rule over Epirus was curtailed, however, by the Albanian clans, and he was forced to recognize two of their leaders, John Bova Spata and Peter Liosha, as his vassals in Arta and Angelokastron. In 1366 he turned over Ioannina, his last major possession in Epirus, to his son-in-law Thomas, who reigned there as vassal despotes.

In Trikala Simeon Uroš presided over a court including Byzantine, Serbian, and Albanian nobles, but he showed preference for the Byzantine relatives of his wife. He also founded and generously endowed the monasteries of Meteora. He died sometime between 1369 and 1371.

Family

By his marriage to Thomais Orsini, Simeon Uroš had three children:

Preceded by
Nikephoros II
Ruler of Epirus
1359–1366
Succeeded by
Thomas II
Preceded by
Nikephoros II
Ruler of Thessaly
1359–1370
Succeeded by
John Uroš

References

  • The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, Oxford University Press, 1991.
  • John V.A. Fine Jr., The Late Medieval Balkans, Ann Arbor, 1987.
  • George C. Soulis, The Serbs and Byzantium, Athens, 1995.
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