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Mihajlo Kresimir II and Jelena (946 - 969)

Mihajlo Kresimir II and Jelena ruled the Kingdom concurrently with Miroslav until his assassination in 959 by Governor (Ban) Pribina. Despite the political instability of the first few years, Mihajlo Kresimir's and Jelena's reign was marked by peace, order and expeditious growth.

Mihajlo Kresimir II invested considerable effort integrating the province of Bosnia within the Croatian Kingdom. His influence in Bosnia was highlighted in the Chronicle of the Priest of Duklja, which also defined the geographical terms Red Croatia and White Croatia with the former encompassing modern Hercegovina, Dubrovnik and the Montenegran coast and the latter encompassing the rest of modern Croatia and Bosnia.

Mihajlo Kresimir II and Jelena were revered by their subjects. The generous Mihajlo Kresimir donated his Diklo estate to the Benedictine Monastery of Sv. Krsevan (St. Chrysogonus) in Zadar. However it was Queen Jelena who was most adored for her charity. Jelena built the churches of Sv. Stjepan (St. Stephen) and Sv. Marija (St. Mary) in Solin. The atrium of the latter became the Mausoleum of Croatian Kings and Queens and is preserved to the present day. Jelena was also known by her subjects as "Mother of the Kingdom and protectress of orphans and widows".

Ancient Solin.

Queen Jelena played a central role in uniting Croatian and Latin elements within the Kingdom thus laying the groundwork for her son, Stjepan Drzislav, to assume sovereignty over the Dalmatian thema (which was under nominal Byzantine rule).

Mihajlo Kresimir II died in 969 and was buried in the Church of Sv. Marija built by his wife. Queen Jelena died in 976 and was buried by his side. The royal inscription on her sarcophagus is one of the most important epitaphs discovered by archaeologists. The epitaph, which shed light on the genealogy of early Croatian rulers, was discovered by Don Frane Bulic at the end of the 19th century. The front part of the sarcophagus that contains the epitaph has been reconstructed at the Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments in Split. The English translation is as follows:

In this grave rests the glorious Jelena, wife of King Mihajlo, mother of King Stephen. She ruled/ brought peace to the Kingdom. On the 8th day of October 976 from the incarnation of Our Lord..... she was buried here. During her life as Queen she was also mother of orphans and protectress of widows. May those who look here say: God have mercy upon her soul.

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