Aleksandar Krstić, Adrian Magina, The Belmužević Family. The Fate of a Noble Family in South-East Europe During the Turbulent Period of the Ottoman Conquest (the 15th and First Half of the 16th Centuries)
Voivode Miloš Belmužević was a significant figure in 15th century Serbian history. He was born to a noble family, whose members performed administrative duties in Zeta and northern Serbia during the reign of Despot Đurađ Branković (1427–1456). Shortly before the downfall of the Serbian medieval state, Belmužević supported the pro-Ottoman faction of Michael Angelović. Due to this fact, he fell into disgrace at the court and was deprived of his property in 1458. After the fall of Smederevo (1459) he entered into Ottoman military service and became a sipahi. In 1476/7, he held the market place of Jagodina in the Morava valley as a timar. He moved to Hungary most probably during the great Hungarian offensives against the Ottomans in northern Serbia in 1480 and 1481, when tens of thousands of Serbs were taken across the Sava and the Danube and resettled in southern Hungary, including Banat. After moving to Hungary, Belmužević fought the Ottomans along the border, but also on other battlefields, as the commander of a large detachment of light cavalry – hussars. He was wounded serving King Matthias Corvinus in Silesia in 1488, and he distinguished himself during the wars of King Wladislas II Jagello against Maximilian Habsburg and Jan Albrecht in western and northern Hungary (1490–1491). For his loyal service and military merits, Belmužević was rewarded by King Matthias on several occasions, starting from 1483, with estates in Timiş, Cenad and Bač counties. It is after one of these estates in the vicinity of Timişoara that he was given the noble appellation “of Saswar“. In 1496, King Wladislas II confirmed to Miloš Belmužević and his sons Vuk and Marko the earlier donations of Matthias Corvinus. However, the voivode lost both of his sons in the next few years: Marko died under unknown circumstances before 1498, while Vuk was killed in battle against the Ottomans in 1499 or 1500, during an Ottoman incursion into southern Hungary. In this conflict voivode Miloš was also wounded. Later, in order to avenge his son, he ravaged the surroundings of Smederevo. Left without a male heir, Belmužević left his estate to his mother Olivera, his wife Veronica and his underage daughter Milica. King Wladislas II confirmed the will of Belmužević, written in the Serbian language and preserved to the present day, after his death in the autumn of 1500. Veronica, who came from the noble family Arka of Densuş from Hunedoara County, remarried after her husband’s death to Stephen Bradacs of Lodormercz, a Hungarian nobleman of Croatian origin. With this marriage, the largest part of Belmužević’s property was transferred to Bradacs (the voivode left some possessions to his familiares). Becoming of age, Milica Belmužević started a series of legal processes in order to regain estates that were rightfully hers. Milica was married to Nicholas Kendeffy of Râu de Mori. This marriage strengthened Milicaʼs ties with the home region of her mother, the land of Haţeg in Hunedoara County. Her life can be traced through a series of documents that span a period of six decades, outliving both her husband and son, John Kendeffy.