Domagoj (864 - 876)
Domagoj assumed the title of prince in place of Trpimir's two sons and heirs, Zdeslav and Muncimir. Although his lineage is unclear, it is known that he did not belong to the House of Trpimirovic. His autocratic style of leadership resulted in a strengthening of Croatia's political influence in foreign affairs and the ostracism of domestic political opponents. Among those opponents was Zdeslav who moved to Constantinople as a protege of the Byzantine Emperor.
Domagoj rebelled against Frankish rule and severely weakened their authority within Croatia. Many historians believe this was the first major step towards international recognition of Croatia's independence.
In 871 he sent troops and naval vessels to the Italian coast to assist in the liberation of Bari from Arab raiders.
Sv. Donat in Zadar (9th century)
Pope John VIII often liased with Domagoj on a range of domestic and regional issues. A transcript of a letter addressed to Domagoj in 873 discusses the growing influence of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and its expansion into neighbouring Bulgaria. Aware of the danger that Croatia could soon be lost, the Pope was keen to maintain close relations with the Croatian Prince. Nevertheless, this did not stop him from censuring Domagoj for his severe treatment of political rivals. In 874 he urged Domagoj to abolish the death penalty for conspirators and instead punish them with exile.
Domagoj died in 876 leaving behind a power vacuum disputed by his sons and Zdeslav. Two years later, Zdeslav triumphed and assumed the title of prince.
Copyright © Karl Baricevic. All rights reserved.