Lower Pannonia (9th century)

"Duchy of Lower Pannonia" redirects here. It is not to be confused with Principality of Lower Pannonia.

Lower Pannonia (Latin: Pannonia inferior)[a] was an entity located in the southwestern parts of the former Roman province of Pannonia, held by Slavic rulers between the fall of the Avar Khaganate starting in the 790s, and the Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin in the 890s. The Slavic counts were predominantly under Frankish suzerainty, part of Frankish Pannonia, and are known from Frankish primary sources. In the mid-9th century, Lower Pannonia was inhabited by a Slavic majority.


During the reign of Justinian I (527–565), in the mid-6th century, the Avars that stayed in Dobrudja had demanded Byzantine territory, but refused the offer of Lower Pannonia.[1] After Justin II discontinued the tribute to the Avars, they marched on Eastern Frankish territory.[1]

The Royal Frankish Annals makes mention of a Wonomyrus Sclavus (Vojnomir the Slav) active in 795.[2] Eric, Duke of Friuli, sent Vojnomir with his army into Pannonia, between the Danube and Tisza, where they pillaged the Avars' dominions.[2] The next year the Avars were defeated and Frankish power was extended further east, to the central Danube.[2]


Initially, the Slavic counts were under Frankish suzerainty, part of Frankish Pannonia (the Pannonian March),[3] and are known from Frankish primary sources.

Ljudevit was mentioned in the Frankish Annals as Liudewitus, dux Pannoniae inferioris,[4] having led an uprising against the Franks, joined by the Carantanians and other Slavic tribes.

In 827, the Bulgars under Great Khan Omurtag invaded and conquered Lower Pannonia and parts of Frankish territories to the north. In 829 the Bulgars imposed a local Slavic prince, Ratimir, as the new ruler of Pannonia. His province is believed to have been the territory of Roman Pannonia Savia.[5] In 838, nine years later, following the Bulgar conquest of Macedonia, the Danubian count Radbod, prefect of the East March, deposed Ratimir and restored Frankish rule in Pannonia. Ratimir fled the land, and the Franks next instated Slavic princes Pribina and Kocel as rulers of Pannonia.

In the mid-9th century, Lower Pannonia was inhabited by a Slavic majority.[6] Christian Avars were found in Lower Pannonia in 873.[7]

Braslav's duchy

Braslav was the Duke of Lower Pannonia[8] between 884 and 896. His territory initially spanned between the Drava and Sava, which he held under the overlordship of Arnulf of Carinthia. He participated in the Frankish–Moravian War, and in 896 Arnulf handed over Pannonia to him in order to secure the Frankish frontier against the Hungarians, however, the Hungarians subsequently overran all of Pannonia and continued into Italy.


Following the rise of the Principality of Hungary in the mid 890s, no further Slavic rulers were recorded in the territory until the mid 920s when the Duke of Croatia Tomislav united the territory with Dalmatian Croatia to form the Kingdom of Croatia.[9]

There has remained a general uncertainty and dispute over the relationship between the Croatian and Hungarian kingdoms in the 10th and 11th century, with Croatian historian Ferdo Šišić and his followers assuming Tomislav of Croatia had ruled most of the area inhabited by Croats, including Slavonia, while the Hungarian historians Gyula Kristó, Bálint Hóman and János Karácsonyi thought the area between Drava and Sava belonged neither to Croatia nor to Hungary at the time, an opinion that Nada Klaić said she would not preclude, because the generic name "Slavonia" (lit. the land of the Slavs) may have implied so.[10]

See also

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  1. ^ Contemporary Latin sources referred to the polity as Pannonia inferior (Lower Pannonia).[4][8] In 19th- and 20th-century Croatian historiography, the focus was usually placed on the territories between the rivers Drava and Sava. They referred to the polity as "Pannonian Croatia" (Croatian: Panonska Hrvatska), to describe this entity in a manner that emphasized its Croatian nature mainly based on De Administrando Imperio (DAI) chapter 30.[11] While DAI claims that the Croats had moved into Pannonia in the 7th century and ruled over it, a modern analysis of sources indicates this was unlikely. Nevertheless, according to Croatian historian Hrvoje Gračanin, the traditions and language of the Slavs of southern Pannonia did not differ from those in Dalmatia, so during the periods when Frankish sources did not record a specific ruler of Lower Pannonia, it is possible that the Croatian dukes of Dalmatia, who were also Frankish vassals at the time, extended control over the region.[11] The Croat name was not used in contemporary sources, until the late 9th century, rendering the name anachronistic before then;[11][12] While the term "Croat" was not used in sources about Pannonia, the rulers of the Trpimirović dynasty after Trpimir called themselves the rulers of the Croats and of the Slavs.[13]


  1. 1 2 Henry Melvill Gwatkin; James Pounder Whitney; Joseph Robson Tanner; Charles William Previté-Orton, Zachary Nugent Brooke (1957). The Cambridge Medieval History. 2. Macmillan. pp. 435–436. Cite uses deprecated parameter |coauthors= (help)
  2. 1 2 3 Luthar 2008, pp. 94–95.
  3. Luthar 2008, p. 105.
  4. 1 2 Balcanoslavica. 5–7. 1977. p. 114. The report refers to the uprising of Liudewitus, dux Pannoniae inferioris (Ljudevit Posavski), which was joined by the inhabitants of Carniola (Annales regni Francorum, ad a. 818 — 823).
  5. Ernst Dümmler (1856). Über die älteste Geschichte der Slaven in Dalmatien: (549-928). Braumüller in Komm. pp. 46–.
  6. Belgrade (Serbia). Vojni muzej Jugoslovenske narodne armije (1968). Fourteen Centuries of Struggle for Freedom. Military Museum. p. xiv. Lower Pannonia In the middle of the ninth century, the Pannonian Slavs constituted the majority of the population of Lower Pannonia.
  7. Karl Heinrich Menges (1953). An Outline of the Early History and Migrations of the Slavs. Department of Slavic Languages, Columbia University. p. 28. Christian Avars are still mentioned under the year 873 as found in Lower Pannonia.
  8. 1 2 Brašnić, Mijo (1871). "Odlomci iz zemljopisa i narodopisa Hrvatske i Slavonije u 9. stoljeću". Rad Jugoslavenske Akademije Znanosti i Umjetnosti (in Croatian). Zagreb: Yugoslav Academy of Sciences and Arts (16): 8. Pannonia inferior cum duce Braslao ad officium rediit
  9. Opća enciklopedija JLZ. Yugoslavian Lexicographical Institute. Zagreb. 1982.
  10. Heka, Ladislav (October 2008). "Croatian-Hungarian relations from the Middle Ages to the Compromise of 1868, with a special survey of the Slavonian issue". Scrinia Slavonica (in Croatian). Slavonski Brod: Croatian Historical Institute - Department of History of Slavonia, Srijem and Baranja. 8 (1): 155. ISSN 1332-4853. Retrieved 2012-05-10.
  11. 1 2 3 Gračanin, 2008
  12. Goldstein, 1985, pp. 241242
  13. John V. A. Fine, Jr. (2006). When Ethnicity Did Not Matter in the Balkans. University of Michigan Press. p. 28. ISBN 0-472-11414-X.


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