Časlav (Greek: Τζεέσθλαβος, Serbian Cyrillic:
Часлав[a] ; c. 890s – 960) was Prince of the Serbs from
c. 927 until his death in c. 960.[b] He significantly expanded the
Serbian Principality when he managed to unite several Slavic tribes,
stretching his realm over the shores of the Adriatic Sea, the Sava
river and the Morava valley. He successfully fought off the Magyars,
who had crossed the
Carpathians and ravaged Central Europe, when they
Časlav is remembered, alongside his predecessor
Vlastimir, as founders of
Serbia in the Middle Ages.
Časlav was the son of Klonimir, a son of
Strojimir who ruled as
co-prince in 851–880. He belongs to the first Serbian dynasty, the
Vlastimirovićs (ruling since the early 7th century), and is the last
known ruler of the family.
2 Early life
4 War with
Magyars and death
8 See also
12 External links
After the death of Prince Vlastimir,
Serbia was ruled as an oligarchy
by his three sons: Mutimir,
Gojnik and Strojimir, although Mutimir,
the eldest, had supreme rule.
In the 880s,
Mutimir seized the throne, exiling his brothers and
Klonimir, who was Strojimir's son, to the Bulgar Khanate; the court of
Boris I of Bulgaria. This was most likely due to treachery.
Petar, the son of Gojnik, was kept at the Serbian court of
political reasons, but he soon fled to Croatia.
Mutimir died, his son Pribislav inherited the rule, but he only
ruled for a year; Petar returned and defeated him in battle and seized
the throne; Pribislav fled to
Croatia with his brothers Bran and
Stefan. Bran was defeated, captured and blinded (blinding was a
Byzantine tradition that meant to disqualify a person to take the
throne). In 896,
Klonimir returned from Bulgaria, backed by Boris
I, taking the important stronghold Destinikon.
Klonimir was defeated
Byzantine–Bulgarian Wars made de facto the First Bulgarian
Empire the most powerful Empire of Southeastern Europe. The Bulgarians
won after invading at the right time, they met little resistance in
the north because of the Byzantines fighting the
Arabs in Anatolia.
Časlav was born in the 890s (before 896) in Preslav, the capital of
the First Bulgarian Empire, growing up at the court of Simeon I.
His father was Klonimir.
Časlav was sent to
Serbia with a large Bulgarian army. The
army ravaged a good part of Serbia, forcing Zaharija to flee to
Croatia. Symeon summoned all the Serbian dukes to pay homage to
their new Prince, but instead of instating Časlav, he took them all
captive, annexing Serbia. Bulgaria now considerably expanded its
borders; neighbouring ally
Michael of Zahumlje
Michael of Zahumlje and Croatia, where
Zaharija was exiled and soon died.
Croatia at this time was ruled
by the most powerful monarch in Croatian history, Tomislav.
Višeslav (c. 780)
Radoslav (after 800)
Prosigoj (before 830)
Vlastimir (c. 830–851)
Mutimir (c. 851–891)
Bulgarian rule was not popular, many Serbs fled to
Byzantium. After the death of Simeon (927)
Časlav and four
friends escaped to Serbia.
Časlav found popular support and
restored the state, many exiles quickly returned. He immediately
submitted to Byzantine overlordship of
Romanos I Lekapenos
Romanos I Lekapenos and gained
financial and diplomatic support for his efforts. He maintained
close ties with Byzantium throughout his whole reign. Byzantine
influence (Byzantine church in particular) greatly increased in
Serbia, Orthodox influences from Bulgaria as well. The period was
crucial to the future Christian demonym (Orthodox versus Catholic), as
ties formed in this era were to have great importance on how the
different Slavic churches would line up when they would split (Great
Schism, 1054). Many scholars have felt that the Serbs, being in the
middle of the Roman and Orthodox jurisdiction, could have been either
way, unfortunately information on this era and region is scarce.
He enlarged Serbia, uniting the tribes of Bosnia, Herzegovina, Old
Montenegro (incorporated Zeta, Pagania, Zahumlje,
Travunia, Konavle, Bosnia and
Rascia into Serbia, "ι
Σερβλια"). He took over regions previously held by Michael
of Zahumlje, who disappeared from sources in 925.
Magyars and death
Main article: Magyar-Serb conflict
Execution of Časlav.
Magyars had settled in the
Carpathian basin in 895. In the
Byzantine-Bulgarian Wars, Emperor Leo had employed the
the Bulgars in 894. In the years following, the
concentrated on the lands to the west of their realm. In 934 and
Magyars raided far into the Balkans, deep into Byzantine
According to CPD, the
Magyars led by Kisa invaded Bosnia, and Časlav
hurried and encountered them at the banks of river Drina. The
Magyars were decisively defeated, with Kisa being slewn by voivode
Časlav married off his daughter to Tihomir, as a result
of his courage and slaying of the Magyar leader. Kisa's widow
requested from the Magyar leaders to give her an army for
vengeance. With an "unknown number" of troops, the widow returned
Časlav at Syrmia. In the night, the
the Serbs, captured
Časlav and all of his male relatives. On the
command of the widow, all of them were bound by their hands and feet
and thrown into the
Sava river. The events are dated to around
960 or shortly thereafter, as
De Administrando Imperio
De Administrando Imperio does not
mention this event.
Map of Theme Sirmium within
Byzantine Empire in 1045.
After Časlav's death the realm crumbled, local nobles restored the
control of each province, and according to the 'CPD', his son-in-law
Tihomir ruled Rascia. The written information about the first
dynasty ends with the death of Časlav.
Catepanate of Ras
Catepanate of Ras is established between 971–976, during the
John Tzimiskes (r. 969–976). A seal of a strategos of
Ras has been dated to Tzimiskes' reign, making it possible for
Nikephoros II Phokas
Nikephoros II Phokas to have enjoyed
recognition in Rascia. The protospatharios and katepano of Ras
was a Byzantine governor named John. Data on the katepano of Ras
during Tzimiskes' reign is missing. Byzantine military presence
ended soon thereafter with the wars with Bulgaria, and was
re-established only c. 1018 with the short-lived Theme of Sirmium,
which however did not extend much into
Rascia proper. Bosnia
emerges as a state after the death of Časlav.
In the 990s,
Jovan Vladimir emerges at the most powerful Serbian
noble. With his court centered in Bar on the Adriatic coast, he had
much of the Serbian
Pomorje ('maritime') under his control including
Travunia and Zachlumia. His realm may have stretched west- and
northwards to include some parts of the Zagorje ('hinterlands', inland
Serbia and Bosnia) as well.
Cedrenus calls his realm "Trymalia or
Serbia", according to Radojicic and Ostrogorski, the Byzantines
calls Zeta – Serbia, and its inhabitants Serbs. Vladimir’s
pre-eminent position over other Slavic nobles in the area explains why
Basil II approached him for an anti-Bulgarian alliance. With
his hands tied by war in Anatolia, Emperor Basil required allies for
his war against Tsar Samuel, who had much of Macedonia. In
retaliation, Samuel invaded
Duklja in 997, and pushed through Dalmatia
up to the city of Zadar, incorporating Bosnia and
Serbia into his
realm. After defeating Vladimir, Samuel reinstated him as a vassal
Stevan Sremac (1855–1906) authored Veliki župan
According to the Chronicle of the Priest of Duklja,
Časlav had one
Unnamed, married Tihomir, who succeeded in ruling terram Rassa
List of Serbian monarchs
Serbia in the Middle Ages
Chronicle of the Priest of Duklja
^ Name: The first attestation of his name is the Greek Tzeésthlabos
(Τζεέσθλαβος), in Latin Caslavus, in Serbian Časlav. He
was a descendant of Vlastimirović, his father was Klonimir, hence,
according to the contemporary naming culture, his name was Časlav
^ Reign [and death]: Ćorović dates his accession to 927 or shortly
thereafter, Ostrogorsky to 927 or 928, supported by Fine.
Ćorović dates his death to around 960, as does Fine.
^ Tihomir: The only mention of Tihomir is taken from the Chronicle of
the Priest of Doclea. Various inaccurate and wrong claims make it an
unreliable source, the majority of modern historians conclude that it
is mainly fictional, or wishful thinking, pointing at the religious
tone of the region and "author" itself. One of the main controversies
lies in the fact that the "Antivari Archepiscopate" did not exist
between 1142 and 1198 – at which time [supposedly], Grgur, the
author, was Archbishop. The work enumerates the Serbian rulers
mentioned in De Administrando Imperio, but contradict the forming and
divisions of the South Slavs. It nevertheless gives a unique sight
into South Slavic history. The oldest copies of the manuscript date to
the 17th century, thereof claims of dubious status.
^ a b c d Fine 1991, p. 141.
^ a b c Đekić 2009.
^ Longworth, Philip (1997), The making of Eastern Europe: from
prehistory to postcommunism (1997 ed.), Palgrave Macmillan,
p. 321, ISBN 0-312-17445-4
^ Fine 1991, p. 154.
^ Theophanes Continuatus, p. 312., cited in Vasil'ev, A. (1902) (in
Russian). Vizantija i araby, II. pp. 88, p. 104, pp. 108–111
^ a b c The entry of the Slavs into Christendom, p. 209
^ a b c d e Fine 1991, p. 153.
^ a b c d e f g h i j Fine 1991, p. 159.
^ a b c d e f g h i j k Srbi između Vizantije, Hrvatske i Bugarske;
^ Fine 1991, p. 160.
^ a b c d Stephenson, p. 39
^ a b c Живковић 2006, p. 57.
^ GK, Abstract: "the establishment of catepanate in Ras between 971
^ a b Stephenson, Paul. The Legend of Basil the Bulgar-slayer.
^ Paul Magdalino, Byzantium in the year 1000, p. 122
^ Academia, 2007, Byzantinoslavica, Volumes 65–66, p. 132
^ Krsmanović 2008, p. 189.
^ Ćirković 2004, p. 40–41.
Cedrenus II, col. 195.
^ Nikola Banasevic, Letopis popa Dukqanina i narodna predawa, p. 79,
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Born: 896 Died: 960
Prince of Serbia
as Prince of Rascia
Title next held by
as Prince of Serbs
Monarchs of Serbia
Serbian Principality (1st; Raška), 641–969
Duklja subsequently emerging as seat
Serbian Principality (2nd; Duklja), 998–1101
Raška re-emerging as seat (Grand Principality)
Serbian Grand Principality, 1101–1217
Stefan the First-Crowned
Proclamation of Kingdom
Serbian Kingdom, 1217–1346
Serbian Empire, 1346–1371
Stefan the First-Crowned
Stefan Uroš I
Vladislav at Syrmia
Proclamation of Empire
Stefan Uroš V
Fall of the Serbian Empire
Moravian Serbia, 1371–1402
Serbian Despotate, 1402–1537
Proclamation of Despotate
Ottoman annexation, titular:
Revolutionary Serbia, 1804–1837
Principality of Serbia, 1837–1882
Proclamation of Kingdom
Kingdom of Serbia, 1882–1918
Proclamation of Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes
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