Advertisement
Articles

White Croatia and the arrival of the Croats: an interpretation of Constantine Porphyrogenitus on the oldest Dalmatian history

Constantine_VII_Porphyrogenitus

Constantine_VII_PorphyrogenitusWhite Croatia and the arrival of the Croats: an interpretation of Constantine Porphyrogenitus on the oldest Dalmatian history

Francesco Borri

Early Medieval Europe: 2011, 19 (2) 204-231

Abstract

“The article examines Constantine Porphyrogenitus’ (913–59) witness on the arrival of the Croats in Dalmatia during the seventh century. The emperor’s narrative proposes a migration from a land called White Croatia, located somewhere in central Europe, and a battle with the Avars in order to secure their new territory. The migration, although becoming an important element in nationalist thought, is not confirmed by any other source, neither contemporary, nor later, being reported only by Constantine. I propose that the migration was instead a literary pattern deployed by the emperor in order to explain the complex developments which brought a new elite, called Croats, to a leading position in tenth-century Dalmatia.”

The Byzantine emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus (913-59) was the first Greek author to write about the Croats. The population was previously unknown in the Byzantine world and the only witnesses to a so-called group settled in Dalmatia are, until the tenth century, a few Latin documents whose reliability has long been debated. The emperor described the Croats on different occasions: they are mentioned very briefly in the Life of Basil, which constitutes the fifth book of the biographical collection called Theophanes Continuatus; Croatian archons are listed among the many Barbarian chieftains receiv-ing Byzantine tribute in the forty-eighth chapter of the second book of the text, On the Ceremonies; and, finally and most important, Croats are the subject of lengthy chapters in On the Administration of the Empire (De Administrando Imperio, henceforth DAI).

Click here to read this article from Early Medieval Europe



Sign up to get a Weekly Email from Medievalists.net

* indicates required

Smartphone and Tablet users click here to sign up for
our weekly email


Malcare WordPress Security