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Battle of Maritsa
Part of the Ottoman wars in Europe
Serbian-Ottoman Wars
Vukasin ugljesa 1371 en.png
Domain of King Vukašin Mrnjavčević and Despot Jovan Uglješa before the Battle of Maritsa (in 1371).
Date26 September 1371
Result Decisive Ottoman victory[1]
 Serbian Empire  Ottoman Empire
Commanders and leaders
Vukašin Mrnjavčević †
Uglješa Mrnjavčević †
Gojko Mrnjavčević
Lala Şâhin Paşa

20,000[2]-70,000 men[2] [3] [4]


800 men[2]

Casualties and losses

heavy combat losses[8]
thousands drowned


The Battle of Maritsa, or Battle of Chernomen (Serbian: Marička bitka/ Маричка битка, Bulgarian: Битката при Марица, битката при Черномен, Turkish: Çirmen Muharebesi, İkinci Meriç Muharebesi in tr. Second Battle of Maritsa) took place at the Maritsa River near the village of Chernomen (today Ormenio in Greece) on 26 September 1371 between Ottoman forces commanded by Lala Shahin Pasha and Evrenos, and Serbian forces commanded by King Vukašin Mrnjavčević and his brother Despot Jovan Uglješa, who also wanted to get revenge after the First Battle of Maritsa.[10] [11] [12] [13]


Before the Battle of Maritsa, Vukašin intended to recapture Skadar (now Shkodër) for the Serbian Empire. The army led by King Vukašin and his son Prince Marko approached Skadar in June 1371, but when they were informed about a large Ottoman army advancing from the east they headed east to prepare for the Battle of Maritsa.[14]


The Christian army numbered 20,000[2]–70,000[2][3][4][5][6] men. Most sources agree on the higher number. Despot Uglješa wanted to make a surprise attack on the Ottomans in their capital city, Edirne, while Murad I was in Asia Minor. The Ottoman army was much smaller,[15] Byzantine Greek scholar Laonikos Chalkokondyles[2] and other sources[7] give the number of 800 men, but due to superior tactics, by conducting a night raid on the Christian camp, Şâhin Paşa was able to defeat the Christian army and kill King Vukašin and despot Uglješa. Thousands of Christians were killed, and thousands drowned in the Maritsa river when they tried to flee. After the battle, the Maritsa ran scarlet with blood.[9][16]


Parts of Macedonia and Thrace fell under Ottoman power after this battle. The battle was a part of the Ottoman campaign to conquer the Balkans and was preceded by the Ottoman capturing of Sozopol in modern Bulgaria and succeeded by the capture of the cities of Drama, Kavála, and Serrai in modern Greece. The battle preceded the later 1389 Battle of Kosovo, and was one of many in the Serbian–Turkish wars.

See also


  1. ^ Sedlar, Jean W., East Central Europe in the Middle Ages, 1000-1500, (University of Washington Press, 1994), 385.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Boskovic, Vladislav (2009). King Vukasin and the disastrous Battle of Marica. GRIN Verlag. p. 11. ISBN 978-3-640-49264-0.
  3. ^ a b The New Encyclopædia Britannica: Micropaedia. Encyclopædia Britannica. 1993. p. 855. ISBN 978-0-85229-571-7.
  4. ^ a b Grumeza, Ion (2010). The Roots of Balkanization: Eastern Europe C.E. 500-1500. University Press of America. p. 93. ISBN 978-0-7618-5134-9.
  5. ^ a b DeVos, Julius Emil. Fifteen hundred years of Europe. O'Donnell Press, 1924, page 110.
  6. ^ a b Kaemmel, Otto. Spamer's Illustrierte Weltgeschichte: mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der Kulturgeschichte, O. Spamer, 1902, page 740 (in German)
  7. ^ a b Veiter, Theodor (1971). Volkstum zwischen Moldau, Etsch und Donau: Festschrift für Franz Hieronymus Riedl: Dargeboten zum 65. Lebensjahr. W. Braumüller. p. 294. ISBN 978-3-7003-0007-6.
  8. ^ Rossos, Andrew, Macedonia and the Macedonians. Hoover Institution Press Publications, 2008. p. 40.
  9. ^ a b Hertzberg, Gustav Friedrich. Geschichte Griechenlands: Th. Vom lateinischen Kreuzzuge bis zur Vollendung der osmanischen Eroberung (1204-1740). F.A. Perthes, 1877, page 323 (in German)
  10. ^ Jirecek, Konstantin. History of the Bulgarians, p. 382
  11. ^ Fine, J. V. A. The Late Mediaeval Balkans, p. 379
  12. ^ Stavrianos, L. S., The Balkans since 1453, p. 44
  13. ^ Jirecek, Konstantin. Geschichte der Serben, pp. 437-438
  14. ^ Andrija Veselinović; Radoš Ljušić (2008). Srpske dinastije. Službene glasink. p. 67. ISBN 978-86-7549-921-3. Retrieved 5 March 2013. У јуну 1371. војска коју су предво- дили краљ Вукашин и његов син Марко дошла је под Скадар, али је поход нагло прекинут
  15. ^ The New Encyclopædia Britannica: Micropaedia. Encyclopædia Britannica. 1993. p. 855. ISBN 978-0-85229-571-7.
  16. ^ Temperley, Harold William Vazeille. History of Serbia, H. Fertig, 1917, page 97.


  • Rossos, Andrew, Macedonia and the Macedonians, Hoover Institution Press Publications, 2008.
  • Sedlar, Jean W., East Central Europe in the Middle Ages, 1000-1500, University of Washington Press, 1994.
  • Stavrianos, L. S. The Balkans Since 1453, C. Hurst & Co. Publishers, 2000.
  • Turnbull, Stephen R. The Ottoman Empire 1326-1699, Osprey Publishing, 2003.

External links

  • Battle of the Maritsa River Encyclopædia Britannica

Coordinates: 41°43′N 26°13′E / 41.717°N 26.217°E / 41.717; 26.217