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Voisava Tripalda
Mother of Skanderbeg

Voisava Tripalda

Voisava Tripalda
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Mother of Skanderbeg
A.K.A. Voisava
Is Noble
From Albania
Field Royals
Gender female
Birth Polog, North Macedonia
Father: Grgur Golubić
Spouse: Gjon Kastrioti
Children: Skanderbeg
The details (from wikipedia)


Voisava (fl. 1402–05) was the wife of Gjon Kastrioti (fl. 1386–d. 1437), a nobleman with whom she had nine children, one of whom was the most powerful Albanian nobleman in history, regarded a national hero, George Kastrioti "Skanderbeg" (1405–1468). She is mentioned in passing in two sources from the start of the 16th century. The first source, comes from the testament of Gjon Muzaka (Giovanni Musachi). In his genealogy he writes: Dominicus alias Moncinus [genuit]: 1. Agnese Andre Angeli mater, & 2. Voisava Ivani uxorem. Uxor is Latin for "wife, spouse" and Dominicus alias Moncinus is Voisava's father according to the document. The second source, a biography on her son, mentions her as the daughter of a "Triballian nobleman", which is interpreted as her being Serbian, modern scholars pointing to the Branković dynasty, but there aren't any other proofs which point in the favor of this thesis. Her name is Slavic, as are several of her children's names.

Early sources

The earliest works mentioning Voisava are:

  • Marin Barleti (1450–1513), the Albanian-Venetian historian, wrote in his biography of Skanderbeg (published between 1508–10), that her "father was a Triballian nobleman" (pater nobilissimus Triballorum princeps). In another chapter, when talking about the inhabitants of Upper Debar that defended Svetigrad, he calls them "Bulgarians or Triballi" (Bulgari sive Tribali habitant). The term "Triballians" (Triballoi) was used in Byzantine works as an exonym for Serbs.
  • Gjon Muzaka (fl. 1515), a member of the Albanian Muzaka family in Italy, mentioned her in his chronicle (published in 1515) as Voisava Tripalda, "who was of a noble family". Furthermore, in another chapter, Muzaka explains that "Tribali" is another name for Serbs. According to W. Miller, and von Hahn, the surname (Tripalda) added by Muzaka is a corruption, a derivative from Barleti's quote on the Triballi. In another passage, it is alleged that the "Marquis of Tripalda" was maternally related to the Muzaka, which has led to F. Noli and H. Hodgkinson theorizing that Voisava was a Muzaka (see next section).

Modern sources

  • Johann Georg von Hahn (1811–1869), an Austrian expert in Albanian studies, had several theses on the genealogy of Albanian noble families in Albanesische Studien (1854). In Reise durch die Gebiete von Drin und Wardar (1867/69), he theorized that if one of Vrana Konti's descendants held the title "Marchese di Tripalda", that Vrana and Voisava Tripalda were related by blood.
  • Karl Hopf (1832–1873), a German historian and expert in Byzantine studies, in Chroniques Greco-romanes (1873) concluded that Voisava was daughter of a Serbian lord from Polog.
  • William Miller (1864–1945), the English medievalist, said the following, in his review of Athanase Gegaj's work which claimed that Skanderbeg was purely Albanian: "...Skanderbeg's mother had a Slav name, and the epithet 'Tripalda' given to her is a corruption of the tribal name 'Triballi', which the pedantic Byzantine historians applied to the Serbs. Moreover, if he had no connexion with Serbia, why should he have given two villages to Chilindar ... the famous Serbian monastery on Mount Athos, immemorially connected with Serbian kings, medieval and modern?".
  • In Bulgarian historiography, Vasil Zlatarski (1866–1935), the prominent scholar, mentioned her as the daughter of a Serbian nobleman. Historian Strashimir Dimitrov (1892–1960) said that she was a daughter of a local Bulgarian lord (boyar) from Macedonia.
  • Fan S. Noli (1882–1965), an Albanian-American writer, in his biography of Skanderbeg (1947), adopted the view that Vojsava came from the Muzaka family. British Harry Hodgkinson (1913–1994) too, considered her a member of the Muzaka family. Schmitt refuted this view and notes that Hodgkinson had done no archival research.
  • Boban Petrovski (b. 1972), a Macedonian historian and author of Voisava Tribalda (2006), the only work about Voisava and her possible genealogies, concluded that Voisava was of undoubtedly Slavic origin, most likely Serb, as she was the daughter of a lord of the "Triballians" (Serbs) in Polog, that had ruled before the Ottoman conquest. He had several theses on the ultimate identity of Voisava's father: "If the Branković family indeed governed Polog in the last decade of the 14th century, it arises the chance that Voisava was a daughter of Grgur Branković or even Vuk Branković."
  • Oliver Schmitt (b. 1973), a professor of South-East European history at Vienna University, in his biography Skanderbeg: Der neue Alexander auf dem Balkan (2009) supported that she was a Serbian noblewoman of the Branković family and sister to Mara Branković.
  • Robert Elsie (born 1950), an Albanologist, mentioned her as "a Slavic woman ... related to the noble Serbian Brankovići family".


Voisava married Gjon Kastrioti, the "Lord of a part of Albania" (dominus partium Albanie). She bore 9 children with Gjon, 4 sons and 5 daughters:

  • Reposh (fl. 1426–d. 1431), monk, buried at a monastery.
  • Stanisha (fl. 1426–d. 1445), commander.
  • Konstandin (fl. 1426),
  • Mara, married Stefan Crnojević, Lord of Zeta (r. 1451–65)
  • George "Skanderbeg" (1405–1468), Albanian magnate and general; Ottoman subaşi of Krujë, sanjakbey of Dibra, later organizer of the League of Lezhe, and Napolitan vassal as of 1451
  • Jelena (or Jela), married Pavle Balšić with whom she had, according to Noli, three sons.
  • Mamica, married Musachio Thopia in 1445
  • Angelina, married Vladan Arianiti, brother of Gjergj Arianiti.
  • Vlajka, married Ghin Musachi, secondly Stefan Strez Balšić with whom she possibly had sons Ivan and Gojko.


  1. ^ Barleti gives her name as simply "Voisava", without any surname, while Muzaka wrote her name as "Voisava Tripalda". According to W. Miller, and von Hahn, the surname added by Muzaka is a corruption, or derivative, from Barleti's quote on the Triballi. The name "Voisava" is Slavic, derived from Vojislava. Her name is also rendered Vojsava.


The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 18 May 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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