No. XLV (2014)

The Double Wreath: A Contribution to the History of Kingship in Bosnia

Sima M. Ćirković
Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts

Published 01.12.2014


  • Bosnia,
  • Serbia,
  • Tvrtko I,
  • Hungary,
  • double wreath,
  • ideology of kingship,
  • coronation
  • ...More

How to Cite

Ćirković, S. M. (2014). The Double Wreath: A Contribution to the History of Kingship in Bosnia. Balcanica - Annual of the Institute for Balkan Studies, (XLV), 107–143.


The fact that ban Tvrtko of Bosnia had maternal ties with Nemanjić dynasty and seized certain areas of the former Serbian Empire was used as a basis for him to be crowned king of the Serbs and Bosnia in 1377 in the monastery of Mileševa over the grave of Saint Sava. His charter issued to the Ragusans in 1378 contains the term “double wreath” which figuratively symbolized the rule of Tvrtko I over two Serb-inhabited states, Bosnia and Serbia. Tvrtko’s choice not to annex the conquered territory to his own state, Bosnia, but to be crowned king of Serbia as well required the development of a new ideology of kingship and a new form of legitimation of power.Although his royal title was recognized by his neighbours, including probably the rest of the Serbian lands, that the project was unrealistic became obvious in the aftermath of the Battle of Kosovo in 1389. What remained after his death was only the royal title, while the state ruled by his successors became exclusively related to Bosnia. Yet,echoes of his coronation in medieval Bosnia can be followed in the further development of the title and of the concept of crown and state. Interestingly, an attempt to revive the double crown concept was made in the early fifteenth century by the king Sigismund of Hungary, who requested that the Bosnians crown him the way Tvrtko had been crowned.


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