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Ban was a noble
title A title is one or more words used before or after a person's name, in certain contexts. It may signify either generation, an official position, or a professional or academic qualification. In some languages, titles may be inserted between the firs ...

title
used in several states in
Central Central is an adjective In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign languag ...

Central
and
Southeastern The points of the compass are the vectors by which planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar remnant that is massive enough to be Hydrostatic equilibrium, rounded by its own gravity ...

Southeastern
Europe between the 7th century and the 20th century, primarily in the territory of
Croatia , image_flag = Flag of Croatia.svg , image_coat = Coat of arms of Croatia.svg , anthem = "Lijepa naša domovino ''Lijepa naša domovino'' (; ) is the national anthem A national anthem is a song that ...

Croatia
.


Sources

The first known mention of the title ''ban'' is in the 10th century by
Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus Traditionally, born in the purple (sometimes "born to the purple") was a category of members of royal family, royal families born during the reign of their parent. This notion was later loosely expanded to include ...
, in the work ''
De Administrando Imperio ''De Administrando Imperio'' ("On the Governance of the Empire") is the Latin title of a Greek-language work written by the 10th-century Eastern Roman Emperor Constantine VII. The Greek title of the work is ("To own son Romanos"). It is a dom ...
'', in the 30th and 31st chapter "Story of the province of Dalmatia" and "Of the Croats and of the country they now dwell in", dedicated to the Croats and the Croatian organisation of their medieval state. In the 30th chapter, describing in
byzantine greek Medieval Greek (also known as Middle Greek or Byzantine Greek) is the stage of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek ...
, how the Croatian state was divided into eleven ''ζουπανίας'' (zoupanias;
župa A župa (or zhupa, županija ''Županija'' (singular; plural ''županije'') is a South Slavic administrative subdivision in: * Croatia: counties of Croatia The counties of Croatia ( hr, Županija, županije) are the primary Administrative di ...
s), the ban ''βοάνος'' (Boanos), ''καὶ ὁ βοάνος αὐτῶν κρατεῖ'' (rules over) ''τὴν Κρίβασαν'' (
Krbava Krbava (; ) is a historical region located in Mountainous Croatia Croatia proper ( hr, Hrvatska) is one of the four historical region, historical Regions of Croatia, regions of the Republic of Croatia, together with Dalmatia, Slavonia, and Ist ...
), ''τὴν Λίτζαν'' (
Lika Lika () is a traditional region of Croatia proper Croatia proper ( hr, Hrvatska) is one of the four regions of Croatia, historical regions of the Croatia, Republic of Croatia, together with Dalmatia, Istria, and Slavonia. It is located betw ...
) ''καὶ'' (and) ''τὴν Γουτζησκά'' (
Gacka Gacka is a river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course without reaching an ...
). In the 31st chapter, describing the military and naval force of Croatia, " Miroslav, who ruled for four years, was killed by the ''βοέάνου'' (boeanou) ''Πριβουνία'' (Pribounia, ie.
Pribina Pribina (c. 800861) was a Slavic prince whose adventurous career, recorded in the '' Conversion of the Bavarians and the Carantanians'' (a historical work written in 870), illustrates the political volatility of the Franco–Slavic frontie ...
)", and after that followed a temporary decrease in the military force of the Croatian Kingdom. In 1029, was published a Latin charter by Jelena, sister of ban Godemir, in Obrovac, for donation to the monastery of ''St. Krševan'' in
Zadar Zadar ( , ; see also Zadar#Etymology and historical names, other names) is the List of oldest continuously inhabited cities, oldest continuously inhabited Croatian city. It is situated on the Adriatic Sea, at the northwestern part of Ravni Kota ...

Zadar
. In it she is introduced as "''Ego Heleniza, soror Godemiri bani...''".
Franjo Rački Franjo Rački (25 November 1828 – 13 February 1894) was a Croatian historian, politician and writer. He compiled important collections of old Croatian diplomatic and historical documents, wrote some pioneering historical works, and was a key fo ...
noted that if it is not an original, then it is certainly a transcript from the same 11th century. In the 12th century, the title was mentioned by an anonymous
monk A monk (, from el, μοναχός, ''monachos'', "single, solitary" via Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (f ...

monk
of Dioclea and in the
Supetar Cartulary Supetar cartulary or Sumpetar cartulary ( hr, Supetarski kartular) is a 12th-century cartulary which contains charters from the years 1080 to 1187. Although the cartulary itself just lists the possessions of the monastery of St. Peter in Polji ...
. The Byzantine greek historian
John Kinnamos Joannes Kinnamos or John Cinnamus ( el, or Κίναμος; born shortly after 1143, died after 1185) was a Greeks, Greek historian. He was imperial secretary (Greek "grammatikos", most likely a post connected with the military administration) to ...
wrote the title in the greek form ' (). In the
Chronicle of the Priest of Duklja The ''Chronicle of the Priest of Dioclea or Duklja'' ( sh, Ljetopis popa Dukljanina) is the usual name given to a purportedly medieval chronicle A chronicle ( la, chronica, from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, f ...
, which is dated to 12th and 13th century, in the Latin redaction is written as ''banus'', ''banum'', ''bano'', and in the Croatian redaction only as ''ban''. The Supetar Cartulary includes information until the 12th century, but the specific writing about bans is dated to the late 13th and early 14th century, a transcript of an older document. It mentions that there existed seven bans and they were elected by the six of twelve Croatian noble tribes, where the title is written as ''banus'' and ''bani''.


Etymology

The Late
Proto-Slavic Proto-Slavic is the unattested, reconstructed Reconstruction may refer to: Politics, history, and sociology *Reconstruction (law), the transfer of a company's (or several companies') business to a new company *''Perestroika'' (Russian for ...
word '' *banъ'' is considered to not be of native Slavic lexical stock and is generally argued to be a borrowing from a
Turkic Turkic may refer to: * anything related to the country of Turkey * Turkic languages, a language family of at least thirty-five documented languages ** Turkic alphabets (disambiguation) ** Turkish language, the most widely spoken Turkic language * T ...

Turkic
language, but such a derivation is highly criticized by the modern historians who rather argue Western European origin. The title's origin among medieval Croats is not completely understood, and as much is hard to determine the exact source and to reconstruct the primal form of the Turkic word it is derived from. According to mainstream theory it is generally explained as a derivation from the personal name of the
Pannonian Avars The Pannonian Avars (; also known as the Obri in chronicles of Rus, the Abaroi or Varchonitai< ...
ruler, Bayan, which is a derivation of the
Proto-Turkic The Proto-Turkic language is the linguistic reconstruction Linguistic reconstruction is the practice of establishing the features of an unattested ancestor language of one or more given languages. There are two kinds of reconstruction: * In ...
root ''*bāj-'' "rich, richness, wealth; prince; husband". The Proto-Turkic root ''*bāj-'' is sometimes explained as a native Turkic word,; however, it is generally considered a borrowing from the Iranian ''
bay A bay is a recessed, coastal body of water that directly connects to a larger main body of water, such as an ocean The ocean (also the sea or the world ocean) is the body of salt water which covers approximately 71% of the surface ...
'' (from Proto-Iranian ''* baga-'' "god; lord"). Within the
Altaic Altaic (; also called Transeurasian) is a ''sprachbund A sprachbund (, lit. "language federation"), also known as a linguistic area, area of linguistic convergence, diffusion area or language crossroads, is a group of language A language ...
theory, the Turkic word is inherited from the Proto-
Altaic Altaic (; also called Transeurasian) is a ''sprachbund A sprachbund (, lit. "language federation"), also known as a linguistic area, area of linguistic convergence, diffusion area or language crossroads, is a group of language A language ...
''*bēǯu'' "numerous, great". The title word ''ban'' was also derived from the name
Bojan Bojan (Serbian Cyrillic The Serbian Cyrillic alphabet ( sr, / , ) is an adaptation of the Cyrillic script The Cyrillic script ( ) is a writing system used for various languages across Eurasia and is used as the national script in various S ...
, and there were additionally proposed Iranian, and Germanic, language origin. The Avar nameword ''bajan'', which some scholars trying to explain the title's origin interpreted with alleged meaning of "ruler of the horde", itself is attested as the 6th century personal name of Avar
khagan Khagan or Qaghan ( otk, 𐰴𐰍𐰣, Kaɣan, mn, Xаан or ᠬᠠᠭᠠᠨ, Khaan, ota, خواقين, Ḫākan, or خان ''Ḫān'', tr, Kağan or ''Hakan'', ug, قاغان, Qaghan) ''Khāqān'', alternatively spelled Kağan, Kagan, Kh ...
Bayan I Bayan I reigned as the first khagan of the Avar Khaganate between 562 and 602. As the Göktürk Empire expanded westwards on the Eurasian Steppe during the 6th century, peoples such as the Pannonian Avars, Avars (also known as the ''Pseudo-Avars ...
which led the raids on provinces of the Byzantine Empire. Some scholars assume that the personal name was a possible misinterpretation of a title, but Bayan already had a title of khagan, and the name, as well its derivation, are well confirmed. The title ''ban'' among the Avars has never been attested to in the historical sources, and as such the Avarian etymological derivation is unconvincing.


Research history


20th century

The title etymological and functional origins are unknown. It was used as "evidence" throughout the history of historiography to prove ideological assumptions on Avars, and specific theories on the origin of early medieval Croats. The starting point of the debate was year 1837, and the work of historian and philologist
Pavel Jozef Šafárik ; german: Paul Joseph Schaffarik; sr, Павле Јосиф Шафарик; la, Paulus Josephus Schaffarik; hu, Pál József Safarik , citizenship = Kingdom of Hungary The Kingdom of Hungary was a monarchy in Central Europe that exist ...
, whose thesis has influenced generations of scholars. In his work ''Slovanské starožitnosti'' (1837), and later ''Slawische alterthümer'' (1843) and ''Geschichte der südslawischen Literatur'' (1864), was the first to connect the ruler title of ''ban'', obviously not of Slavic lexical stook, which ruled over župas of today
Lika Lika () is a traditional region of Croatia proper Croatia proper ( hr, Hrvatska) is one of the four regions of Croatia, historical regions of the Croatia, Republic of Croatia, together with Dalmatia, Istria, and Slavonia. It is located betw ...
region, with the Pannonian Avars. He concluded how Avars lived in that same territory, basing his thesis on a literal reading of the statement from Constantine VII's 30th chapter, "there are still descendants of the Avars in Croatia, and are recognized as Avars". However, modern historians and archaeologists until now proved the opposite, that Avars never lived in Dalmatia proper (including Lika), and that statement occurred somewhere in Pannonia. Šafárik assumed that the Avars by the name word ''bayan'' called their governor, and in the end concluded that the title ''ban'' derives from the "name-title" Bayan, which is also a Persian title word (see Turkish ''
bey "Bey" ( ota, بك “''Beik''”, chg, بك “''Bek''”, tk, beg, uz, bek, kz, бек, tt, bäk, sq, beu, bs, beg, fa, بیگ “''Beigh''” or “''Beg''”, tg, бе, ar, بيه “''Beyeh''”) is a Turkic Turkic may refer to: ...
'' for Persian ''bag/bay''), and neglected that it should derive from the Slavic name Bojan. His thesis would be later endorsed by many historians, and both South Slavic titles ban and
župan Župan is a noble and administrative title used in several states in Central Europe, Central and Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe between the 7th century and the 21st century. It was (and in Croatia still is) the leader of the administrative ...
were asserted as Avars official titles, but it had more to do with the scholar's ideology of the time than actual reality.
Franz Miklosich Franz Miklosich (also known in Slovene as ; 20 November 1813 – 7 March 1891) was a Slovene Slovene or Slovenian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Slovenia, a country in Central Europe * Slovene language, a South Slavic language ...
wrote that the word, of Croatian origin, probably was expanded by the Croats among the Bulgarians and Serbs, while if it is Persian, than among Slavs is borrowed from the Turks. Erich Berneker wrote that became by contraction from ''bojan'', which was borrowed from Mongolian-Turkic ''bajan'' ("rich, wealthy"), and noted Bajan is a personal name among Mongols, Avars, Bulgars, Altaic Tatars, and Kirghiz.
Đuro Daničić Đuro Daničić ( sr-Cyrl, Ђуро Даничић, ; 4 April 1825 – 17 November 1882), born Đorđe Popović ( sr-cyr, Ђорђе Поповић) and also known as Đura Daničić ( sr-Cyrl, Ђура Даничић), was a Serbia Serbia (, ...

Đuro Daničić
decided for an intermediate solution; by origin is Avar or Persian from ''bajan'' (duke).
J. B. Bury John Bagnell Bury (; 16 October 1861 – 1 June 1927) was an Anglo-Irish Anglo-Irish () is a term which was more commonly used in the 19th and early 20th centuries to identify an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping o ...
derived the title from the name of Avar khagan Bayan I, and Bulgarian khagan
Kubrat Kubrat ( el, Κοβρᾶτος, Kούβρατος; bg, Кубрат ) was the ruler of the Onogur–Bulgars The Bulgars (also Bulghars, Bulgari, Bolgars, Bolghars, Bolgari, Proto-Bulgarians) were Turkic semi-nomadic warrior tribes that flour ...

Kubrat
's son
Batbayan Batbayan ( bg, Батбаян) ruled the Khazaria The Khazars; he, כוזרים, Kuzarim; la, Gazari, or ; zh, 突厥曷薩 ; 突厥可薩部 ''Tūjué Kěsà bù'' () were a semi-nomad A nomad ( frm, nomade "people without fixed ...
, with which tried to prove the Bulgarian-Avar (Turkic) theory on the origin of early medieval Croats. Historian
Franjo Rački Franjo Rački (25 November 1828 – 13 February 1894) was a Croatian historian, politician and writer. He compiled important collections of old Croatian diplomatic and historical documents, wrote some pioneering historical works, and was a key fo ...
didn't discard the possibility South Slavs could obtain it from Avars, but he disbelieved it had happened in Dalmatia, yet somewhere in Pannonia, and noticed the existence of ''bân'' ("dux, custos") in Persian language. and Vatroslav Jagić thought that the title should not derive from ''bajan'', but from ''bojan'', as thus how it is written in the Greek historical records (''boan'', ''boean'').
Vjekoslav Klaić Vjekoslav Klaić (21 June 1849 – 1 July 1928) was a Croatian historian and writer, most famous for his monumental work ''History of the Croats''. Klaić was born in Garčin near Slavonski Brod as the son of a teacher. He was raised in German pe ...

Vjekoslav Klaić
pointed out that the title before 12th century is only among Croats documented, and did not consider a problem that Bajan was a personal name and not a title, as seen in the most accepted derivation of Slavic word *korljь (kral/lj, krol). He mentioned both thesis (from Turkic-Persian, and Slavic "bojan, bojarin"), as well the German-Gothic theory derivation from
banner A banner can be a flag A flag is a piece of fabric A textile is a flexible material made by creating an interlocking network of yarn Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibres, suitable for use in the production of ...

banner
and power of
ban Ban may refer to: Law * Ban (law) A ban is a formal or informal prohibition Prohibition is the act or practice of forbidding something by law; more particularly the term refers to the banning of the manufacture, storage (whether in bar ...
and
King's ban ''Königsbann'', literally king's ban ( lat, bannus, more rarely ''bannum'', from the OHG: ''ban''), was the exercise of royal jurisdiction in the Holy Roman Empire. A specific ban (German: ''Bann'') identified: * the actual order or prohibition * ...
.
Gjuro SzaboGjuro Szabo (, sometimes also Đuro Szabo; February 3, 1875 in Novska – May 2, 1943 in Zagreb) was a Croatian historian, art conservation, art conserver and museologist. He published over 200 papers about Croatian national history, the history ...
shared similar Klaić's viewpoint, and emphasized the widespread distribution of a toponym from India to Ireland, and particularly among Slavic lands, and considered it as an impossibility that had derived from a personal name of a poorly known khagan, yet from a prehistoric word ''Ban'' or ''Pan''. Ferdo Šišić considered that is impossible it directly originated from a personal name of an Avar ruler because the title needs a logical continuity. He doubted its existence among Slavic tribes during the great migration, and within early South Slavic principalities. He strongly supported the Šafárik thesis about Avar descendants in Lika, now dismissed by scholars, and concluded that in that territory they had a separate governor whom they called ''bajan'', from which after Avar assimilation, became Croatian title ''ban''. The thesis of alleged Avar governor title Šišić based on his personal derivation of ''bajan'' from the title khagan. Nada Klaić advocated the same claims of Avars descendants in Lika, and considered bans and župans as Avar officials and governors. The latter conclusion by Šišić and Klaić was previously loosely opposed by Rački, who studying old historical records observed that ban could only be someone from one of the twelve Croatian tribes according to Supetar cartulary. This viewpoint is supported by the Chronicle of Duklja; Latin redaction; ''Unaquaque in provincia banum ordinavit, id est ducem, ex suis consanguineis fratribus'' ( vatoplukin every province allocated a ban, and they were duke's consanguin brothers); Croatian redaction defines that all bans need to be by origin native and noble. The mainstream view of the time was mainly opposed by Stjepan Krizin Sakač, who emphasized that the word ''bajan'' is never mentioned in historical sources as a title, the title ''ban'' is never mentioned in such a form, and there's no evidence that Avars and Turks ever used a title closely related to the title ''ban''. Sakač connected the Croatian ''bân'' with statements from two Persian dictionaries (released 1893 and 1903); the noun ''bàn'' (lord, master, illustrious man, chief), suffix ''bân'' (guard), and the
Sasanian The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians (, ''Ērānshahr The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians (Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its ...

Sasanian
title ''merz-bân'' (مرزبان marz-bān,
Marzban Marzbān, or Marzpān (Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its endonym Pārsīk or Pārsīg (𐭯𐭠𐭫𐭮𐭩𐭪) in its later form, is a Western Middle Iranian language which became the literary language of the Sasan ...
). He considered that the early Croats originated from the Iranian-speaking
Sarmatians The Sarmatians (; Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appro ...
probably
Alans The Alans or Alāns (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power o ...

Alans
and
Aorsi Image:East-Hem 100bc.jpg, 400px, The Eastern Hemisphere in 100 BC. The Alans/Aorsi are located immediately north of the Caspian Sea. The Aorsi, known in Greek language, Greek sources as the Aorsoi (Ἄορσοι), were an ancient Iranian peoples, I ...
. The view of the possible Iranian origin (from ''ban''; keeper, guard), besides Avarian, was shared by the modern scholars like Vladimir Košćak,
Horace Lunt Horace Gray Lunt (September 12, 1918 – August 11, 2010) was a linguistics, linguist in the field of Slavic Studies. He was Professor Emeritus at the Slavic Language and Literature Department and the Ukrainian Institute at Harvard University. B ...
and Tibor Živković.


21st century

In the 21st century, historians like Mladen Ančić (2013) and
Neven Budak Neven Budak (3 May 1957 in Zagreb) is a Croats, Croatian historian and professor at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb. Biography Neven Budak was born on 3 May 1957 in the city of Zagreb, then part of Socialist R ...
(2018) in their research and synthesis of Croatian history concluded that the Avar linguistic argumentation is unconvincing and the historical sources poorly support such a thesis, emphasizing rather the Frankish origin of the title. Ančić emphasized that Avarian derivation is related to cultural and political ideologization since the 19th century which avoided any association with Germanization and German heritage. According to him, the title and its functions directly derive from a Germanic medieval term ''ban'' or ''bannum'', the royal power of raising of armies and the exercise of justice later delegated to the counts, which was widely used in
Francia Francia, also called the Kingdom of the Franks ( la, Regnum Francorum), Frankish Kingdom, Frankland or Frankish Empire, was the largest History of the Roman Empire, post-Roman barbarian kingdom in Western Europe. It was ruled by the Franks du ...

Francia
. Archaeologist Vladimir Sokol (2007) independently came to a very similar conclusion relating it to the influence of Franks during their control of
Istria Istria ( ; Croatian Croatian may refer to: *Croatia *Croatian cuisine *Croatian language *Croatian name *Croats, people from Croatia, or of Croatian descent *Citizens of Croatia, see demographics of Croatia See also * Croatia (disambiguation) ...

Istria
and
Liburnia Liburnia ( grc, Λιβουρνία) in ancient geography was the land of the Liburnians The Liburnians or Liburni ( grc, Λιβυρνοὶ) were an ancient tribe inhabiting the district called Liburnia, a coastal region of the northeastern ...
. In 2013, historian Tomislav Bali noted the possible connection of the title with the military and territorial administrative unit '' bandon'' of the
Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

Byzantine Empire
. The unit term derives, like the Greek ''bandon'' (from the 6th century) and Latin ''bandus'' and ''bandum'' (from the 9th century;
banner A banner can be a flag A flag is a piece of fabric A textile is a flexible material made by creating an interlocking network of yarn Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibres, suitable for use in the production of ...

banner
), from the
Gothic Gothic or Gothics may refer to: People and languages *Goths or Gothic people, the ethnonym of a group of East Germanic tribes **Gothic language, an extinct East Germanic language spoken by the Goths **Crimean Gothic, the Gothic language spoken by ...
''bandwō'', a military term used by the troops who had
Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germanic languages ** List of ancient Germanic peoples and tribes * Germanic languages :* Proto-Germanic language, a reconstructed proto-language of ...

Germanic
or fought against Germanic peoples. Bali considered that the Croatian rulers possibly were influenced by the Byzantine model in the organization of the territory and borrowed the terminology and that such thesis can be related to Sokol's arguing of Western influence.


Use of the title

Sources from the earliest periods are scarce, but existing show that since
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
''"ban"'' was the title used for local land administrators in the areas of Balkans where Southern Slavic population migrated around the 7th century, namely in
Duchy of Croatia The Duchy of Croatia (; also Duchy of the Croats, ''Kneževina Hrvata''; Greek: ''Χρωβατία'') was a medieval state that was established in the former Roman province of Dalmatia. Throughout its time it had several seats – namely, Klis, ...

Duchy of Croatia
(8th century–c. 925), Kingdom of Croatia,
Hungarian kingdom The Kingdom of Hungary was a monarchy A monarchy is a form of government in which a person, the monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 2001. p. 707. Life tenure, fo ...
and
Croatia in union with Hungary The Kingdom of Croatia (925–1102), Kingdom of Croatia ( la, Regnum Croatiae; hr, Kraljevina Hrvatska, ''Hrvatsko kraljevstvo'', ''Hrvatska zemlja'') entered a personal union with the Kingdom of Hungary in 1102, after a period of rule of kings f ...
(1102–1526), the
Banate of Bosnia The Banate of Bosnia ( sh, Banovina Bosna / Бановина Босна), or Bosnian Banate (''Bosanska banovina'' / Босанска бановина), was a medieval state based in what is today Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina ...
(1154–1377), and
Banate of Macsó The Banate of Macsó or the Banate of Mačva ( hu, macsói bánság, sr, Мачванска бановина) was an administrative division (banate Ban was a noble title A title is one or more words used before or after a person's name, i ...
(1254–1496). According to
Noel Malcolm Sir Noel Robert Malcolm, (born 26 December 1956) is an English political journalist, historian and academic. A King's Scholar at Eton College, Malcolm read history at Peterhouse, Cambridge, and received his doctorate in history from Trinity Col ...
, usage of the Croatian title "ban" in Bosnia indicates that political ties with the Croatian world was from the earliest times, while supreme leader of the Serbs has always been called the
Grand Prince Grand prince or great prince (feminine: grand princess or great princess) ( la, magnus princeps Princeps (plural: principes) is a Latin word meaning "first in time or order; the first, foremost, chief, the most eminent, distinguished, or noble; ...
() and never the "ban". The meaning of the title changed with time: the position of a ''ban'' can be compared to that of a
viceroy A viceroy () is an official who runs a polity in the name of and as the representative of the monarch of the territory. The term derives from the Latin prefix ''vice-'', meaning "in the place of" and the French word ''roy'', meaning "king". A ...

viceroy
or a high vassal such as a hereditary
duke Duke is a male title either of a monarch ruling over a , or of a member of , or . As rulers, dukes are ranked below s, s, s, s, and sovereign s. As royalty or nobility, they are ranked below princes of nobility and grand dukes. The title comes ...

duke
, but neither is accurate for all historical ''bans''. In Croatia a ''ban'' reigned in the name of the ruler, he is the first state dignitary after King, the King's legal representative, and had various powers and functions. In South Slavic languages, the territory ruled by a ''ban'' was called ''Banovina'' (or ''Banat''), often transcribed in English as ''
Banate Ban was a noble title used in several states in Central Europe, Central and Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe between the 7th century and the 20th century, primarily in the territory of Croatia. Sources The first known mention of the title ' ...
'' or ''Bannate'', and also as ''
Banat Banat (, ) is a geographical and historical region Historical regions (or historical areas) are geographical Geography (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, ...
'' or ''Bannat''.


Croatia

Earliest mentioned Croatian ban was
Pribina Pribina (c. 800861) was a Slavic prince whose adventurous career, recorded in the '' Conversion of the Bavarians and the Carantanians'' (a historical work written in 870), illustrates the political volatility of the Franco–Slavic frontie ...
in the 10th century, followed by Godemir (969–995), Gvarda or Varda (c. 995–1000), Božeteh (c. 1000–1030),
Stjepan Praska Stephen Praska (Croatian language, Croatian: ''Stjepan Praska'') was Ban of Croatia under King Stephen I of Croatia, Stephen I. According to the chronicle of Archdeacon Goricensis John, he was established by king Stephen I around 1035 (after his mil ...
(c. 1035–1058), Gojčo (c. 1060–1069), and later
Dmitar Zvonimir Demetrius Zvonimir ( hr, Dmitar Zvonimir, ; died 1089) was a King of Croatia and Dalmatia from 1076 until his death in 1089. He was crowned as king in Solin, Croatia, Solin on 8 October 1076. Zvonimir also served as Ban of Croatia (1064–1074) ...
(c. 1070–1075) and possibly
Petar Snačić Petar Snačić (commonly misspelt Petar Svačić) was a feudal lord, notable for being one of the claimants of the Croatian throne during the War of the Croatian Succession, wars of succession (c. 1093–1097). It is assumed that he began as a ban ...
(c. 1075–1091) who would become last native Croatian kings. The fairly late mid-10th century mention, because is not mentioned in older inscriptions and royal charters, indicates it was not preserved from the period of
Avar Khaganate The Pannonian Avars (; also known as the Obri in chronicles of Rus, the Abaroi or Varchonitai< ...
as was previously presumed in historiography. It rather indicates to the influence of the expansion of the Northern border by King
Tomislav of Croatia Tomislav (, la, Tamisclaus) was the first king of Croatia This is a complete list of rulers of Croatia under domestic ethnic and elected dynasties during the Croatian Kingdom (925–1918). This article follows the monarch's title number accord ...
, after the conquest of
Slavonia Slavonia (; hr, Slavonija) is, with Dalmatia Dalmatia (; hr, Dalmacija ; it, Dalmazia; see #Name, names in other languages) is a region on the east shore of the Adriatic Sea, a narrow belt stretching from the island of Rab in the nort ...

Slavonia
by the Hungarians, making the position of ban similar to that of a
margrave Margrave was originally the medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the ...
defending a frontier region. That the ban was significant almost as a king is seen in a 1042 charter in which a certain ban "S", most probably Stjepan Praska, founded by himself a monastery of ''Chrysogoni Jaderæ'' granting it land, wealth, cattle, peasants, and that he attained the Byzantine imperial title of
protospatharios ''Prōtospatharios'' ( el, πρωτοσπαθάριος) was one of the highest court dignities of the middle Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Emp ...
. This imperial title, somehow related to that of a ban, was given to provincial governors and foreign rulers, and most probably was used to highlight the connection between the Croatian and Byzantine royal court. After 1102, as
Croatia , image_flag = Flag of Croatia.svg , image_coat = Coat of arms of Croatia.svg , anthem = "Lijepa naša domovino ''Lijepa naša domovino'' (; ) is the national anthem A national anthem is a song that ...

Croatia
entered
personal union A personal union is the combination of two or more states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The Stat ...

personal union
with
Hungarian kingdom The Kingdom of Hungary was a monarchy A monarchy is a form of government in which a person, the monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 2001. p. 707. Life tenure, fo ...
, the title of ban was appointed by the kings. Croatia was governed by the ''viceroys'' as a whole between 1102 and 1225, when it was split into two separate banovinas:
Slavonia Slavonia (; hr, Slavonija) is, with Dalmatia Dalmatia (; hr, Dalmacija ; it, Dalmazia; see #Name, names in other languages) is a region on the east shore of the Adriatic Sea, a narrow belt stretching from the island of Rab in the nort ...

Slavonia
and Croatia, and
Dalmatia Dalmatia (; hr, Dalmacija ; it, Dalmazia; see #Name, names in other languages) is a region on the east shore of the Adriatic Sea, a narrow belt stretching from the island of Rab in the north to the Bay of Kotor in the south. The Dalmatian Hin ...

Dalmatia
. Two different bans were appointed until 1476, when the institution of a single ban was resumed. The institution of ban would persist in Croatia until the mid-20th century.


Bosnia

When the
Bosnian Bosnian may refer to: *Anything related to the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina or its inhabitants *Anything related to Bosnia (region) or its inhabitants * Bosniaks, an ethnic group mainly inhabiting Bosnia and Herzegovina and one of three Ethnic gr ...
state during Middle Ages achieved a de facto independence in the 12th century, its rulers were called bans, and their territory ''banovina''. At the beginning Bosnian status as a de facto independent state fluctuated, depending of era, in terms of its relations with Hungary and Byzantium. Nevertheless, the Bosnian bans were never viceroys, in the sense as their neighbors in the west in Croatia, appointed by the king. Earliest mentioned Bosnian bans were Borić (1154–1163) and Kulin (1163–1204). The Bosnian medieval dynasties who used the title Ban from the 10th until the end of 13th centuries includes Borić, Kulinić with Ban Kulin and Matej Ninoslav being most prominent member, and Kotromanić dynasty. Some of the most prominent bans from the 12th until the end of 13th centuries includes Ban Borić, Ban Kulin, Ban Stephen Kulinić, Ban Matej Ninoslav, Prijezda I, Ban of Bosnia, Prijezda I, Prijezda II, Ban of Bosnia, Prijezda II, Stephen I, Ban of Bosnia, Stephen I and Stephen II, Ban of Bosnia, Stephen II. The Bosnian medieval state used the title "ban" until the rulers adopted the use of the title "king" under the Kingdom of Bosnia, with Ban Stephen's II successor Tvrtko I of Bosnia, Tvrtko I being the first who inaugurate the title "king".


Mačva and Banat

The regions of Mačva and Banat (now in Romania) were also ruled by bans. Mačva (Macsó) was part of the medieval Hungarian kingdom though under various levels of independence; some of the bans were foreign viceroys, some were native nobles, and one even rose to the status of a royal palatine (Kingdom of Hungary), palatine.


Wallachia

The title was also used in Wallachia, and the region of Oltenia or Banate of Severin, by its medieval rulers from the 13th century up to the 19th century. The Wallachian bans were military governors, associated with the highest boyar office, and their jurisdictions in Wallachia were called ''banat'' or ''bănie''. The main Wallachian ruler was titled Voivode, voivod, the higher position than bans.


Bulgaria

The title ''ban'' was also awarded in the Second Bulgarian Empire on few occasions, but remained an exception. One example was the 14th-century governor of Sredets (Sofia) Ban Yanuka.


Habsburg-era Croatia

The title of ''ban'' persisted in Croatia after 1527 when the country became part of the Habsburg Monarchy, and continued all the way until 1918. In the 18th century, Croatian bans eventually become chief government officials in Croatia. They were at the head of Ban's Government as well Court (Tabula Banalis), effectively the first prime ministers of Croatia.


Kingdom of Yugoslavia

Ban was also used in the 19th century Kingdom of Serbia and Kingdom of Yugoslavia between 1929 and 1941. Ban was the title of the governor of each province (called ''Banovinas of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, banovina'') of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia between 1929 and 1941. The weight of the title was far less than that of a medieval ban's feudal office.


Legacy

The word ''ban'' is preserved in many modern toponym and place names, in the regions where bans once ruled, as well as in the personal names. A region in central Croatia, south of Sisak, is called Banovina (region), Banovina or Banija. The region of Banat in the Pannonian Basin between the Danube and the Tisza rivers, now in Romania, Serbia and Hungary. In the toponymys ''Bando'', ''Bandola'', ''Banj dvor'' and ''Banj stol'' and ''Banovo polje'' in
Lika Lika () is a traditional region of Croatia proper Croatia proper ( hr, Hrvatska) is one of the four regions of Croatia, historical regions of the Croatia, Republic of Croatia, together with Dalmatia, Istria, and Slavonia. It is located betw ...
, In Bosnia and Herzegovina numerous toponyms exist, such as ''Banbrdo'', village Banova Jaruga, city Banovići, and possibly Banja Luka. The term ''ban'' is still used in the phrase ''banski dvori'' ("ban's court") for the buildings that host high government officials. The Banski dvori in Zagreb hosts the Croatian Government, while the Banski dvor in Banja Luka hosts the President of Republika Srpska (a first-tier subdivision of Bosnia and Herzegovina). The building known as ''Bela banovina'' ("the white banovina") in Novi Sad hosts the parliament and government of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina in Serbia. The building received this name because it previously hosted the administration of Danube Banovina (1929–1941). ''Banovina'' is also the colloquial name of the city hall building in Split, Croatia, Split, and of the administrative building (rectorate and library) of the University of Niš. In Croatian Littoral ''banica'' or ''banić'' signified "small silver coins", in Vodice, Croatia, Vodice ''banica'' signified "unknown, old coins". The Banovac was a coin struck between 1235 and 1384. In the sense of money same is in Romania, Bulgaria (bronze coins), and Old Polish (shilling). The term is also found in personal surnames: Ban, Banić, Banović, Banovac. The Falcon (film), Banović Strahinja, a 1981 Yugoslavian adventure film, is based on Strahinja Banović, a fictional hero of Serbian epic poetry.


See also

* Ban of Croatia * Ban of Slavonia * List of rulers of Bosnia#Banate of Bosnia (1136–1377), Bans of Bosnia * Banate of Mačva, Bans of Mačva * Banate of Kučevo, Bans of Kučevo * Banate of Braničevo, Bans of Braničevo * List of Bans of Severin, Bans of Severin * Banate of Lugoj and Caransebeș, Bans of Lugoj and Caransebeș * Danube Banovina#Bans of Danube Banovina (1929–1941), Bans of Danube Banovina * Banovina (region), Banovina * Banat * Župan * Bandon (Byzantine Empire), Bandon *
Marzban Marzbān, or Marzpān (Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its endonym Pārsīk or Pārsīg (𐭯𐭠𐭫𐭮𐭩𐭪) in its later form, is a Western Middle Iranian language which became the literary language of the Sasan ...


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External links

* {{cite web, title=Ban (Banus), url=http://www.enciklopedija.hr/Natuknica.aspx?ID=5627, author=Croatian Encyclopaedia, year=2011 Bans (title) Croatian noble titles Gubernatorial titles Hungarian noble titles Slavic titles Banate of Bosnia History of Banat History of Wallachia Oltenia Slavic words and phrases Titles of national or ethnic leadership Viceroys Bosnian noble titles Bosnian royal titles