Emperor Heraclius and the conversion of the Croats and the Serbs

Emperor Heraclius and the conversion of the Croats and the Serbs

By Florin Curta

Medieval Christianitas. Different Regions, “Faces,” Approaches, edited by Tsvetelin Stepanov and Georgi Kazakov (Sofia, 2010)

Introduction: “For a number of years the Croats of Dalmatia were subject to the Franks, as they had formerly been in their own country; but the Franks treated them with such brutality that they used to murder Croat infants at the breast and cast them to the dogs. The Croats, unable to endure such treatment from the Franks, revolted from them, and slew those of them whom they had for princes.” When a Frankish army was sent to quell the rebellion, a long, protracted war began, at the end of which, however, the Croats managed to defeat the Franks. “From that time they remained independent and autonomous, and they requests the holy baptism from the bishop of Rome, and bishops were sent who baptized them in the time of Porinos their prince.” So did Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus describe in the mid-tenth century the conversion of the Croat to Christianity, an event which he explained in terms of a victory obtained at the end of a long war of liberation from Frankish oppression.

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