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Uroš the Weak
King of Serbia, Emperor of the Serbs and the Greeks
Fresco of Uroš the Weak
Reign King 1346 – 1355)
emperor (tsar) 1355 – 1371).
Full name Stefan Uroš V
Born c. 1336
Died 4 December 1371
Predecessor Dušan the Mighty
Successor Position abolished
Royal House House of Nemanjić
Father Dušan the Mighty
Mother Helena of Bulgaria

Saint Stefan Uroš V Nejaki ("The Weak"; Serbian: свети Стефан Урош V Нејаки; 1336 – December 2/4, 1371) was king of the Serbian Empire (1346-1355) as co-ruler of his father Stefan Uroš IV Dušan Silni ("The Mighty") and then emperor (tsar) (1355-1371).



Stefan Uroš V was the only son of Stefan Uroš IV Dušan by Helena of Bulgaria, the sister of Ivan Alexander of Bulgaria. He had been crowned as king in the capacity of co-ruler after Dušan had himself crowned emperor in 1346. Although by the time of his succession as sole ruler and emperor in 1355 Stefan Uroš V was no longer a minor, he remained heavily dependent on his mother and various members of the court.

Fictional Coat of Arms of Stefan Uroš V

Incompetent to sustain the great empire created by his father, Uroš could neither repel attacks of foreign enemies, nor combat the independence of his nobility. The Serbian Empire of Dušan fragmented into a conglomeration of principalities, some of which did not even nominally acknowledge his rule. The first major challenge to Stefan Uroš was posed by his uncle, Simeon Uroš Palaiologos, who attempted to seize the throne in 1356. Defeated, Simeon Uroš withdrew into Thessaly and Epirus, where he continued to rule with the title "emperor of Romans and Serbians". This effectively amputated much of Dušan's conquests from the area under his son's control.

Stefan Uroš's position was not helped by his mother Helena, who started to rule autonomously from Serres in alliance with Jovan Uglješa. A similarly autonomous posture was assumed by the Dejanovićs, the Balšićs, Nikola Altomanović, and Uglješa's brother Vukašin Mrnjavčević. By 1365 the latter had himself associated on the throne as king by Stefan Uroš. At the end of his reign the only lands under Stefan Uroš's direct control were those between the Šar Mountain and the Danube.

Stefan Uroš V died childless in December 1371, after much of the Serbian nobility had been destroyed by the Turks in the Battle of Marica earlier that year. Vukašin's son Prince Marko inherited his father's royal title, but real power in northern Serbia was held by Lazar Hrebeljanović. The latter did not assume the imperial or royal titles (associated with the House of Nemanjići), and in 1377 accepted king Tvrtko I of Bosnia (a maternal grandson of Stefan Dragutin) as titular king of Serbia. Serbia proper became a vassal of the Ottomans in 1390 but remained effectively ruled by the Lazarevićs and then by their Brankovićs successors until the fall of Smederevo in 1459.

Following the great conquests of his father, emperor Uroš became victim of new nobles in a Serbia enriched by recent war and pillages. The maintaining of order and state instruments was impossible because of weak or nonexistent infrastructure between old and new territories. The exceptional modesty and tolerance of this ruler was the main reason he was called "the weak", and also the reason he was canonised 211 years after his death.

Stefan Uroš V was canonised by Serbian Orthodox Church. His body is kept in the Jazak monastery on Fruška Gora mountain.

See also

External links

Regnal titles
Preceded by
Stefan Uroš IV Dušan
King of Serbia
Succeeded by
Vukašin Mrnjavčević
Preceded by
Stefan Uroš IV Dušan
Emperor of the Serbs and the Greeks
Succeeded by
Prince of Serbia


  • John V.A. Fine, Jr., The Late Medieval Balkans, Ann Arbor, 1987.
  • Translated with small changes from small encyclopedia "Sveznanje" published by "Narodno delo", Belgrade, in 1937 which is today in public domain.
  • This article is written from the point of view of that place and time and may not reflect modern opinions or recent discoveries.


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