epirus despotate

Principalities of Albania

House of Progon - The Progon family (Albanian: Progoni) established the first Albanian state, the Principality of Arbër, which fell under the influence of the Byzantine Empire, the Despotate of Epirus and the Kingdom of Serbia. Progon, the founder, held the title of archon (lord), while one of his sons, Dimitri, held the title of panhypersebastos. The family had a considerable degree of autonomy.

House of Spata - The Spata family (Albanian: Shpata, Greek: Σπάτα, Σπάτας), was an Albanian noble family active in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, initially as Venetian vassals and later as Ottoman vassals. The family’s progenitors were the brothers John Spata and Sgouros Spata.

House of Muzaka - The Muzaka were an Albanian noble family that ruled over the region of Myzeqe (central Albania) in the Late Middle Ages. The Muzaka are also referred to by some authors as a tribe or a clan.

House of Thopia - Thopia family was one of the most powerful Albanian feudal families in the Late Middle Ages. It was initially part of the nobility of the Angevin Kingdom of Albania.

House of Zenebishi - The Zenevisi or Zenebishi (fl. 1304–1460) was a medieval noble family in southern Albania that served the Angevins, Venetians and Ottomans, and at times was also independent. They governed territories in Epirus, centered in Gjirokaster.

House of Dukagjini - The Dukagjini family (Latin: Ducagini or Ducaginus, Turkish: Dukakinzâde or Dukagin Oğulları) was one of the most important feudal families in medieval Albania.

House of Kastrioti - The House of Kastrioti (Albanian: Dera e Kastriotit) was an Albanian royal and now Italian noble family active in the 14th and 15th centuries as the rulers of the Principality of Kastrioti. The most notable member was Skanderbeg, a magnate and general, regarded an Albanian national hero. 

House of Arianiti - The Arianiti were an Albanian noble family that ruled large areas in Albania and neighbouring areas from the 11th to the 16th century. Their domain stretched across the Shkumbin valley and the old Via Egnatia road and reached to the east today’s Bitola.

This isn’t as much a serious delve into alternate history, instead more trying out a technique involving both GIMP and Inkscape. Tell me what you all think! I’m hoping it’ll be a nice way to use both methods of mapmaking, and with some inspiration from 1Blomma’s Photoshop maps.

The basic idea of the map is that, rather than the Palaiologoi dynasty taking over the rule of the Roman Empire (or, as it was later known, the Byzantine Empire), the Komnenos Doukas dynasty from the Despotate of Epirus under Theodore Komnenos Doukas succeeded in reuniting the Roman Empire and taking back Constantinople decades earlier than the Palaiologoi. With this earlier success comes a greater age following the retaking of Constantinople for the Romans. Theodore and his successors managed to not just retake the empire but expand its borders, driving deep into the vulnerable Bulgarians and driving out all the Latin Empire holdouts. Even Trezibond is brought back into the imperial fold.

This map depicts the Roman Empire at its maximum extent while ruled by the dynasty, specifically under Michael III Komnenos Doukas, who pushed back both Iconium and Servia, the former with a little help by the Ilkhanate who is still set on extending its rule over all Muslims in the Middle East. Under Michael III, the Roman Empire has become a powerful force in the region once again, showing off the muscle that once ruled most of the European continent.

However, misfortune strikes the Komnenos Doukas dynasty shortly after Michael III’s death, as both his sons had died and rule is passed to a young nephew who, after a short rain of 1307-1311, abdicates in favor of a new family: the Palaiologoi. Though in our history they lost their empire, the Palaiologoi of this world come into power at the helm of a much stronger Roman Empire, one flush with trade and business and blessed with a strong military. However, both Iconium and the Ilkhanate border on the edge of collapse, which could spill chaos across the whole of Asia Minor. Even by 1311, Trebizond is ruled only in theory by Constantinople. Meanwhile, in Europe, the Golden Horde is a major threat to the east, while the Hungarians and Holy Roman Empire, as well as the rise of Venice and Genoa, threaten Roman sovereignty.

Only time will tell whether the Roman Empire will whether this crisis as they have before, perhaps even growing stronger by taking advantage of their enemies, or whether, as in our world, the Palaiologoi will be the last rulers of Rome.


The bridge of Arta:

The bridge of Arta, right over the river Arachthos has a long history beginning during the hellenistic times, when the first stone bases were erected. Throughout history there have been many additions, alterations and restorations. On the hellenistic bases, the great four arches were erected during the first years of the Despotate of Epirus. Literary sources agree that the bridge was fully constructed in 1612.

Up until 1881 with the addition of the city of Arta to the independent greek state, this bridge was the frontier between the free Greece and the rest of the now greek territories that were under Ottoman rule.

The bridge of Arta is mostly famous in greek tradition through various folk songs and poems that refer to the gruesome legend of the sacrifice of the chief engineer’s wife, who was built within the bridge to keep it stable.