Mezamir (Greek: Μεζαμηρος, Cyrillic: Мезамир; c. 560) was the chieftain of the Antes, an early Slavic tribal confederation in Eastern Europe, believed to have been active around the year 560, at which time the Avar expanded further into Europe. He was the son of Idariz, and had a brother, Kelagast. Mezamir was recorded by Menander Protector (fl. 558–582).[1] Mezamir was described as "powerful", and had most likely established a Slavic confederation sometime before the 560s, which initially thwarted the Avar khaganate. At this time, the Antes were subject to the Byzantine Empire, ruled by Justinian I (r. 527–565), with the supreme chieftain holding the Byzantine title of archon. The Antes were given old Roman towns and stipends, in exchange for securing the Danube from the Huns,[2] and other Barbarians. At this time, the Antes held an "extensive polity, capable of military mobilization against the Avars."[2] The Avars were ruled by khagan Bayan I, and they used to pillage the Antes land, which at the time was neighbouring the Kutrigurs, who were Avar allies. After the Avars had ravaged and plundered the Antes, Mezamir was sent as an envoy to the Avars, to negotiate the ransom of captured Antes tribesmen.[3] At the talks, Mezamir appeared to be a "loudmouth braggart" who spoke arrogantly and rashly; upon feeling that Mezamir became more arrogant than suitable for an envoy, a Kutrigur Bulgar[4] who was a "friend of the Avars" and "hostile to the Antes"[5] (believed by some to be khagan Zabergan; fl. 558–562) persuaded the Khagan that:[5]

archon (ἄρχων)[citation needed]
Chieftain of the Antes
Reignc. 560
Predecessor(possibly) Idariz
BornAntes tribe

This man is the most powerful of all amongst the Antae and is able to resist any of his enemies whomsoever. Kill him, and then you will be able to overrun the enemy's land without fear.

The Avars disregarded the immunity of ambassadors (according to the jus gentium) and killed Mezamir.[5] The Avars proceeded to conquer the Antes,[6] and other Slavs.[7] This took place in the time period of 560–62, according to some historians.[7][8]

Preceded by Chieftain of the Antae
ca. 560
Avar conquest
Title next held by


  • Name: In historiography, he is mostly known as Mezamir (Cyrillic: Мезамир), derived from Greek Mezamiros (Μεζαμηρος). Another spelling is Mezamer. The Bulgar variant is Bezmer. In Slavic, his name has been theorized to have been Mežamir (Межамир), Mužimir[9] and Mezimir.[10]


  1. ^ Boris Dmitrievich Grekov (1959). Kiev Rus. Foreign Languages Publishing House. p. 389.
  2. ^ a b Florin Curta (12 July 2001). The Making of the Slavs: History and Archaeology of the Lower Danube Region, c.500–700. Cambridge University Press. pp. 332–. ISBN 978-1-139-42888-0.
  3. ^ Menander (Protector); R. C. Blockley (1985). The history of Menander the Guardsman. F. Cairns. p. 51. ISBN 978-0-905205-25-0.
  4. ^ Hrushevskyi 2009, p. 281
  5. ^ a b c Edward Luttwak (1 November 2009). THE GRAND STRATEGY OF THE BYZANTINE EMPIRE. Harvard University Press. pp. 103–. ISBN 978-0-674-03519-5.
  6. ^ The Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland. Trubner and Company. 1873. pp. 126–.
  7. ^ a b Joachim Lelewel (1972). Dzieła. Państwowe Wydawn. Naukowe. Mezamir od Sławian wysłany do Bajana awarskiego, zuchwalstwo przypłacił życiem (P. ś. w. II, 29). 560-562. Awarowie zawzięli się na Sławian, pustosząc ziemie Antów, przegnawszy okolice Polan, Dulebów, Chrobatów...
  8. ^ Johann Thunmann (1774). Untersuchungen über die Geschichte der östlichen Europäischen Völker. pp. 83–. Die Anten schicken einen Gesandten, Mezamir, zu den Avaren hin, um einige Gefangene auszulösen. Die Avaren tödten den Gesandten ... und verheeren das Antische Gebieth noch grausamer als vorher. Diese Begebenheiten fallen in die Jahre 560, 561, und 562.
  9. ^ Pavel Josef Šafařík; Wawrzyniec Surowiecki (1828). Über die Abkunft der Slawen nach Lorenz Surowiecki [in his Sledzenie początku narodów słowiańskich]. pp. 25–.
  10. ^ Pavel Josef Šafařík (1862). Slovanské starožitnosti, oddíl dějepisný. Okres 1,2. pp. 409–.


  • Menander Protector (582). Fragmenta (in Greek).