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Despotess of Kumanovo
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro Despotess of Kumanovo
Gender female
Birth 1330
Death 1381
Mother: Maria Palaiologina
Father: Stephen Uroš III Dečanski of Serbia
Siblings: Stephen Uroš IV Dušan of SerbiaSimeon Uroš
Spouse: Dejan
Children: Jovan DragašConstantine Dragaš
The details

Teodora Nemanjić (Serbian: Теодора Немањић; 1330 – after 1381) was the despotess of Kumanovo as the wife of Despot Dejan (fl. 1355). She was the daughter of King Stephen Uroš III Dečanski of Serbia and her eldest half-brother was Serbian emperor, Stephen Uroš IV Dušan. She was the mother of two sons, Constantine Dragaš and Jovan Dragaš, and one daughter. She later became a nun adopting the name Evdokija (Евдокија, gr. Eudokia), hence she is known in historiography as Teodora-Evdokija (Теодора-Евдокија).


Theodora was born in 1330, the youngest daughter and child of King Stephen Uroš III Dečanski of Serbia by his second wife, Maria Palaiologina. Her maternal grandparents were John Komnenos Palaiologos, Governor of Thessaloniki and Irene Metochitissa. Theodora had one full brother, Simeon Uroš and a sister, Jelena; she also had two half-siblings from her father's first marriage to Theodora Smilets of Bulgaria, Stephen Uroš Dušan and Dušica. When Theodora was a year old, at the insistence of the nobility, Stephen Uroš Dušan had their father deposed and imprisoned in chains. He consequently usurped the Serbian throne as Stephen Uroš IV Dušan. Five years later, Theodora's father was murdered by strangulation. Her mother unsuccessfully attempted to obtain the crown for Simeon; defeated in her efforts, she retired to a convent and died in 1355.


In 1347, at 17 years of age, Theodora married Despot Dejan. He was granted the title of sebastokrator by her brother, Stephen Dušan. Sometime after her marriage a fresco painting of Theodora was executed at the Serbian Orthodox Christian monastery of Visoki Dečani. Together Theodora and Dejan had three children:

  • Constantine (d. 1395), fell at the Battle of Rovine, he had issue with an unnamed woman, married secondly Eudokia of Trebizond, without issue
  • Jovan (d. 1378), fell at the Battle of Maritsa,
  • Theodora, married 1. Žarko, 2. Đurađ I Balšić

Religious life

On an unrecorded date, Theodora followed in her mother's footsteps and also entered a religious life. Her mother had taken the name Marta, and Theodora, upon becoming a nun, adopted the name Eudokia. In a charter dated 1379, it was recorded that Eudocia imperatrix et filius Constantinus donated property to the Chilandar Monastery. No explanation was given for the charter having described her erroneously as an empress.


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