Spata family


Spatas, Shpata
Noble house
FounderJohn Spata
Titlesconte (count), despot

The Spata family (Albanian: Shpata, Greek: Σπάτα, Σπάτας), was an Albanian noble family active in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, initially as Venetian vassals and later as Ottoman vassals. The family's progenitors were the brothers John Spata and Sgouros Spata.

It is possible that the name "Spata" is derived from the Latin and Greek spatha meaning "long sword",[1] which is found in Albanian as shpatë meaning "sword".

In the first half of the 14th century, mercenaries, raiders and migrants known in Greek as Άλβανοί (Albanoi or "Albanians", a demonym that included Vlachs) flooded into Greece (specifically raiding Thessaly in 1325 and 1334).[2] In 1358, Albanians and Vlachs overran the regions of Epirus, Acarnania and Aetolia and established two principalities under their leaders, John Spata and Peter Losha.[3] Naupactus (Lepanto) was later taken in 1378.[3] The Spata family frequently collaborated with Ottomans and saw them as protectors of the Spata family.[4]

Although German historian Karl Hopf provided a genealogy of the Spata family, it is deemed by modern scholarship as "altogether inaccurate".[5]

The Spata family was not kin (blood relatives) with the later Bua family.[7]



  1. ^ Aleksić 2007, pp. 9ff.
  2. ^ Hammond 1976, pp. 39, 57.
  3. ^ a b Hammond 1976, p. 59.
  4. ^ Imber, Colin (1990). The Ottoman empire: 1300-1481. Isis. p. 113. ISBN 978-975-428-015-9. The Spata clan, however, continued to see the Ottomans as their protectors.
  5. ^ a b Luttrell 1982, p. 122.
  6. ^ Madgearu & Gordon 2008, p. 83: "The despots Gjin Buia Spata and Peter Liosha were recognized by Symeon Uroš in 1359–1360 as rulers in Epirus and Aetolia. Albanian historians consider Gjin (or Ghinu) Buia and Peter Liosha Albanian, but it is sure that at least the Buia family was of Aromanian origin..."
  7. ^ Schirò 1971–1972, p. 81.


  • Aleksić, Marko (2007). Mediaeval Swords from Southeastern Europe: Material from 12th to 15th Century. Belgrade: Marko Aleksić. GGKEY:UJ4HA53C8R7.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Hammond, Nicholas Geoffrey Lemprière (1976). Migrations and Invasions in Greece and Adjacent Areas. Park Ridge, NJ: Noyes Press. ISBN 0-8155-5047-2.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Luttrell, Anthony (1982). Latin and Greece: The Hospitallers and the Crusades, 1291–1440. London: Ashgate Publishing Limited. ISBN 978-0-86078-106-6.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Madgearu, Alexandru; Gordon, Martin (2008). The Wars of the Balkan Peninsula: Their Medieval Origins. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-0-8108-5846-6.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Pipa, Arshi (1978). Albanian Folk Verse: Structure and Genre. Munich: Trofenik. ISBN 978-3-87-828119-1.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Schirò, Giuseppe (1971–1972). "La genealogia degli Spata tra il XIV e XV sec. E due Bua sconosciuti". Rivista di Studi Bizantini e Neoellenici. 28–29: 67–85.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)