Krešimir III of Croatia

Krešimir III
King of Croatia
Reign 1000–1030
Predecessor Svetoslav Suronja of Croatia
Successor Stjepan I of Croatia
Died 1030
Burial Church of St. Stephen, Solin
Issue unnamed daughter
House House of Trpimirović,
founder of House of Krešimirović
Father Stjepan Držislav of Croatia
Religion Christian
Croatian Kingdom c. 1000, during the reign of king Krešimir III of Croatia

Krešimir III (Latin: Cresimir) (died 1030) was a King of Croatia in 1000–1030 from the House of Trpimirović and founder of its cadet line House of Krešimirović. He was the middle son of former King Stjepan Držislav. Until 1020, he co-ruled with his brother Gojslav.



After Croatia's King Stjepan Držislav died in 997, his brother Svetoslav Suronja had become King of Croatia. Together with his two brothers Gojslav and Krešimir, they fought between each other for the crown in a civil war. The two brothers probably used his alliance with the Byzantine Empire to ask Bulgaria for help. During that time, a Bulgarian invasion was taking place in which the Bulgarian monarch Samuil pillaged the Dalmatian cities and great parts of Bosnia.[1] During last two years (999–1000) of the Croatian civil war, the revolters had managed to depose Svetoslav Suronja probably with some Bulgarian help, who later turned to the Venetian Doge for alliance in year 1000. Answering that political change, the Venetian Doge Pietro II Orseolo started military intervention in Dalmatia in which he will emerge victorious.

In Trogir, which was brought under Venetian control, there was a meeting between Doge Pietro Orseolo II and the deposed king, in which his son Stephen was to be taken hostage and marry the Doge's daughter, Joscella (Hicela) Orseolo,[2][3] as part of the agreement made at their meeting. It is assumed that he is the same one who succeeded Krešimir III as king, but this is controversial, since the father of king Stephen is referred as Krešimir in other sources. At that point, all the Dalmatian rulers submitted to the Doge "except for the King of the Croats".[4]

Around 1015, Krešimir was given the honorary title of patrician from the Byzantines, possibly as a token of gratitude for his policy in the Balkans.

The war between Venice and Croatia was renewed in Summer 1018, when Krešimir launched a campaign against the Dalmatian cities in an attempt to retake the lost territories. The cities requested Otto Orseolo for help, who intervened on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea and managed to successfully repel these incursions from Croatia. According to surviving legal documents, the islands Krk and Rab, that were previously under Croatian control, restated their allegiance to Venice and promised to pay an annual tribute.[5]

Krešimir III and Gojslav have spent their reign attempting to restore control over the Dalmatian cities that were now under Venetian rule. After the defeat and absorption of the First Bulgarian Empire, John Skylitzes records that, certain Croats "who had two brothers as their rulers", after approaching Basil, had subjected themselves to him, after which the tribes did as well. Later chronicler Cedrenus, makes a similar record, instead implying that the two brothers had subjected themselves to him.[6]

Later years

On 1 September 1024, Basil Boioannes, Byzantine general and governor of the Byzantine Catapanate of Italy sailed across the Adriatic from Bari and invaded Croatia. In subsequent clashes, he captures Krešimir's wife, who was first taken to Bari, and then to Constantinople as a hostage.[7] This proves that Croatia had poor relations with the Byzantine Empire at that time.

After the death of Emperor Basil II in 1025, Krešimir stopped paying tribute to the empire.[8] Around 1027, he collaborated with Stephen I of Hungary against Venice in an attempt to regain the cities of Dalmatia. The Hungarian king previously took his nephew Peter Urseolo, who was forced to flee from the republic when his father was deposed in a 1026 revolt.[9] It is also assumed by one chronicle that Krešimir took part in the 1030 war against the Holy Roman Emperor Conrad on the Hungarian side, though this is not corroborated in any other source.[10] Stephen I also might have betrothed his son, Emeric, to one of Krešimir's daughters, however records show that the preparations were cancelled due to Emeric's sudden death.[8]

Krešimir was succeeded by his son Stjepan around 1030, when he returned from Venice back to Croatia.

See also



  1. Chronicle of the Priest of Duklja
  2. Cawley, Charles, VENICE, Medieval Lands database, Foundation for Medieval Genealogy,
  3. Marek, Miroslav. "genealogy of Orseolo family". Genealogy.EU.
  4. Fine, When ethnicity did not matter in the Balkans, pp 39-40.
  5. Šišić, pp. 479
  6. Šišić, pp. 482
  7. Rački doc. 434
  8. 1 2 Profile,; accessed 13 August 2015.
  9. Šišić, pp. 484
  10. Švab, pp. 138
Krešimir III of Croatia
Died: c. 1030
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Svetoslav Suronja
King of Croatia
with Gojislav

Succeeded by
Stephen I
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