Stephen Dušan

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Stephen Dušan

Stephen Dušan (both: stĕ´fän dōō´shän), c.1308–1355, king (1331–46) and czar (1346–55) of Serbia, son of Stephen Uros III. He is also known as Stephen Uros IV. He was proclaimed king after rebelling against his father, whom he then imprisoned. He reduced Bulgaria to dependency, gained the support of the prince of Walachia, and, taking advantage of the war between the rival Byzantine emperors, John V and John VI, conquered Macedonia (except Thessaloníki), Thessaly, and Epirus. After raising the archbishop of Serbia to the rank of patriarch, with his seat at Peč, he had himself crowned (1346), at Skopje, "czar and autocrat of the Serbs, Greeks, Bulgarians, and Albanians" by the patriarch of Peč and by the Bulgarian patriarch of Trnovo. He introduced Byzantine titles and ceremony into his court and drew up (1349–54) a law code for his empire. He later was involved in indecisive warfare against Bosnia and Louis I of Hungary, but in 1355, on the news of the fall of Emperor John VI, he decided to march on Constantinople. He died of fever en route. Stephen Dušan was one of the great conquerors in European history. Under his rule Serbia attained its greatest extent and glory. However, his empire lacked unity and fell apart soon after his death.

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