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The harems and beauties that live in them today are mostly associated by Eastern rulers. That is why the majority is surprised by the fact that a Serbian duke has his own harem in the middle of Karadjordj's state! Although he was probably not the only one, he has certainly remained the most famous to this day!
Milenko Stojković was a Serbian duke during the First Serbian Uprising. He gained the greatest fame after he and his retinue on Ada Kale, on the orders of both the Serbian and Turkish authorities, killed the Dahis because of whose arbitrariness and oppression the First Serbian Uprising began.
He confirmed the image of a fearless fighter who never loses battles in the battle of Ivankovac in August 1805, when, with Peter Dobrnjac and Stevan Sindjelic, he defeated the far stronger army of Hafiz Pasha, who headed for Belgrade.
After this battle, the revolt against the Dahis escalated into an uprising against Turkish rule. Milenko penetrated the Negotin region with the insurgents and captured the fortified Poreč on the Danube, and he fought hard on Štubik and Malajnica.
During the summer of 1806, Karađorđe proclaimed him duke for his heroism and military merits.
However, Milenko Stojković is best known today for one, almost mythical story from his private life - the fact that he had his own harem!
The practice of having more women was not uncommon among the leaders of the First Serbian Uprising. Most were married once, but had another who lived on another estate. It was not uncommon for a person to have children with different women in parallel.
However, until today, Milenko Stojković has remained the only one when it is known with certainty that he held a harem, made entirely after the Turkish model.
The duke allegedly had several wives before the fortifications in Rama were built. After capturing this Turkish city, he entered the harem of the city commander and from there captured several women he liked the most.
On the other hand, he was helped by the fact that during the uprising, many Turks who lived in Belgrade were left widows and children orphans. The story says that there were so many of them that the streets were full of these poor people, so the new Serbian authorities organized ships to take them back to Turkey along the Danube.
However, Milenko waited for the boats in Poreč, on the bank of the Danube, chose the most beautiful girls and women and thus "supplemented" his harem. According to the story, the total number of women in the harem was 42, and many of these women were considered "lucky" because they saved themselves from misery or persecution in Turkish regions where they had no one of their own.
All the women in the harem served only Milenko. In addition to the pleasures of the night, they were also in charge of cooking, taking care of the duke's clothes, bringing him chips and coffee and courting him at all times. These women were also in charge of taking care of the guests who would come to Milenko, and the duke allowed some of these guests to spend nights with them.
The women from Milenko's harem served and courted even when he was on a trip. Namely, then he would take with him four or five of his favorite slaves who would make sure that the duke had everything he needed during the holidays.
On the other hand, when a woman was "fed up", Milenko would find her a husband among his servants and soldiers with a rich dowry, or, with enough money, he would release her to lead the life she wanted. In Serbian families in which there were no children, he gave children that some women brought with them to the harem, and it is not excluded that some children, among whom he was a father, were among them.
Milenko Stojković clashed with Karađorđe for the first time after the defense of Deligrad in 1809, and the leader then resembled him in command of the insurgent army. Advocating for the restriction of the ruler's supreme power and the decentralization of the administration, Milenko fiercely resented Karadjordj and the people around him, and after he refused to accept the duty of the Custodian of Foreign Affairs - his destiny was sealed!
He was exiled from Serbia in 1811 and went to Russia, where he retired as a colonel. Realizing that he could not support himself and his wives from the modest state rent granted to him by the Russian state, Stojković disbanded the harem by giving women money to marry or live freely.
The story says that he kept only one woman by his side - a certain Vlahinja Katinka, who was his favorite and with whom he later married and had a son, Ilija.
He died in a small town in the Crimea on the Black Sea coast in 1831.