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1191 Battle of Morava ★ ★ ★ ★
Outcome: Byzantine victory against the Serbs of Stefan Nemanja 1191
War  &  Enemy: Enemy:
Serbian Uprising
Battle Type:
Pitched Battle
The Battlefield Morava Location:
On the South Morava river in South Serbia
Modern Country:
  The Byzantines(emperor:  Isaac II Angelos) The Enemies
Commander: Emperor Isaac II Angelos Prince Stefan Nemanja
Forces: Unknown Unknown
Background story: In 1167, Stefan Nemanja became Grand Prince (Župan) of the Serbian Grand Principality (which was under Byzantine rule), after deposing his brother Tihomir and defeating him in the battle of Platino.
In 1172, Nemanja joined the anti-Byzantine coalition with the Kingdom of Hungary, the Venetian Republic and the Holy Roman Empire. The alliance collapsed soon and the Serb leader was left alone. The same year, Emperor Manuel I Komnenos defeated him and Nemanja was taken prisoner in Constantinople but he was able to earn the trust of Manuel and he did not loose his rule. In the following decades he continued to cause trouble harassing Byzantium and its allies. In 1188 made an alliance with Friedrich Barbarossa and the crusaders of the 3rd Crusade, but he was left alone again when Barbarossa made peace with Byzantium.
The Battle:
The fresco of Saint Simeon (Stefan Nemanja), in Studenica monastery
In fall of 1191, the new Byzantine Emperor Isaac II Angelos led personally a well-prepared army against Nemanja. The main battle took place on the South Morava river, in southern Serbia. Stefan Nemanja suffered a heavy defeat and retreated to the mountains. The Byzantines raided all lands around the bank of the river and even burned down Stefan's Court in Kuršumlija. Nemanja did not surrender and started an irregular warfare, so the emperor preferred to negotiate a final peace treaty.
Stefan Nemanja had to give up a large part of his conquests, east of the river of Velika Morava and recognize the Byzantine Emperor's supreme rule, while the Emperor recognized him as the rightful Grand Župan.
Noteworthy: In 1196, Nemanja abdicated in favor of his son Stefan, and went to Mount Athos, where he became a monk and took the name of Simeon. Together with his son Sava, Simeon built the Hilandar Monastery there.
Aftermath: To signify the final peace, Nemanja's son Stefan married the Byzantine Princess Eudokia Angelina and received the title of Sebastokrator. The Principality of Serbia remained a vassal of Byzantium until 1345.