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Coins of Serbia
The Medieval Serbian Empire rose from Byzantine patronage to become a threat to the very existence of Constantinople itself. Under a string of accomplished leaders, from Stefan Demanja, through the great Stefan Dusan, and culminating with the death of Prince Lazar at Kosovo in 1389, the medieval Serbs created a political entity which today still resonates strongly in the Serbian culture. These pages are interested in the Serbian kingdom from the ascent of Stefan Nemanja to the Turkish conquest. The medieval Serbian coinage contains an extraordinarily broad array of types, with iconography drawn from a variety of sources. Numerous types followed a Venetian model. It is telling how by this period the Venetian grosso was the international currency of trade, Byzantium too weak and its solidii too debased to maintain the position it had held for nearly a millennium. Of course, the St. Mark of the Venetian currency was replaced with the Serbian St. Stephan.
|Ðurad Brankovic, frequently called George Brankovic in English, was the Serbian despot from 1427 to 1456 and a baron of the Kingdom of Hungary. His wife was a Byzantine princess, Eirene Kantakouzene, a granddaughter of Emperor John VI Kantakouzenos. When the Ottomans captured Thessalonica in 1430, Brankovic paid ransom for many of its citizens. In 1439 the Ottomans captured his capital Smederevo (near Belgrade). The prince fled to Hungary where he had large estates. After the conflict between the Kingdom of Hungary and the Ottomans concluded in 1443, negociations restored his rule. On 22 August 1444 the prince peacefully took possession of the evacuated town of Smederevo. Serbian independence ended a year after his death when the Ottoman Empire formally annexed his lands.|