A golden bull or chrysobull was a decree issued by Byzantine Emperors and monarchs in Europe during the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

Imperial chrysobull of Alexios III of Trebizond, 1374
The Golden Bull of 1356 issued by Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV
The Golden Bull of 1242 by Béla IV to inhabitants of Zagreb in Croatia


A golden bull was a decree issued by Byzantine Emperors. It was later used by monarchs in Europe during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, most notably by the Holy Roman Emperors.

For nearly eight hundred years, they were issued unilaterally, without obligations on the part of the other party or parties. However, this eventually proved disadvantageous as the Byzantines sought to restrain the efforts of foreign powers to undermine the empire. During the 12th century, the Byzantines began to insert into golden bulls sworn statements of the obligations of their negotiating partners.[citation needed]


The term was originally coined for the golden seal (a bulla aurea), attached to the decree, but came to be applied to the entire decree. Such decrees were known as golden bulls in western Europe and chrysobullos logos, or chrysobulls, in the Byzantine Empire (χρυσός, chrysos, being Greek for gold).[1]

Notable golden bullsEdit

Notable golden bulls included:

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ χρυσός. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project.
  2. ^ Crowley, Roger (2012). City of Fortune: How Venice Ruled the Seas. New York: Random House. ISBN 978-1400068203.
  3. ^ 750th Anniversary of the Golden Bull Granted by Bela IV Archived 2005-04-28 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ M. Šašić (1998-11-17). "»Zlatna bula« - temelj razvoja Zagreba kroz stoljeća". Vjesnik (in Croatian). Zagreb. Archived from the original on 2009-01-04.

External linksEdit