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Zdeslav (878 - 879)

Zdeslav (son of Trpimir) was without doubt the most controversial of Croatian Princes, having spent many years in Constantinople as a protege of Byzantine Emperor Basil I. He returned to Croatia following Domagoj's death and participated in a bitter dispute over succession with Domagoj's sons. In 878 Zdeslav won the dispute, with Byzantine assistance, and assumed the title of prince. Shortly thereafter he allied Croatia with Byzantium and, according to some historians, acknowledged jurisdiction of the Constantinople Patriarchate.

Zdeslav's actions angered many Croats and a revolt to overthrow him was launched by Duke Branimir. Within a few months Zdeslav was assassinated, effectively ending the first (and last) attempt to separate Croatia from the Holy Roman Church and place it under Byzantine dominion. Branimir assumed the title of prince and reaffirmed Croatia's allegiance to Rome.

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