Travunia (Serbo-Croatian: Travunija / Травунија; Greek: Τερβουνία, romanizedTervounía; Ancient Greek: Τερβουνία, romanizedTerbounía; Latin: Tribunia) was a South Slavic medieval principality that was part of Medieval Serbia (850–1371), and later the Medieval Bosnia (1373–1482). The principality became hereditary in a number of noble houses, often kin to the ruling dynasty. The region came under Ottoman rule in 1482. Its seat was in the city of Trebinje.

Principality of Travunia
9th century–11th century
Travunia in 9th century
Travunia in 9th century
• before 839
Beloje (first known)
• c. 1054
Domanek (last independent)
• Established
9th century
• Conquered by Duklja
11th century
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Seal of Strojimir.gif Principality of Serbia
Today part ofCroatia
Bosnia and Herzegovina

In the 9th and 10th centuries, the Župa of Travunia was held by the Belojević noble family, who were entitled the rule during the reign of Prince Vlastimir (r. 830–850), of the Vlastimirović dynasty. After the death of Časlav, the last dynastic member, the principality disintegrated, and the provinces were annexed by the Bulgars and Byzantines. In 1034, Stefan Vojislav (the founder of the Vojislavljević dynasty) incited a rebellion and renounced Byzantine rule, becoming the Prince of Serbs, ruling from the seat at Duklja. In the early 12th century, Desa of the Vukanović dynasty wrestled the region, and it continued under the rule of the Nemanjić dynasty (1166–1371), either held by dynastic members or close associates (most often military commanders), of which was the notable Vojinović noble family. After Nikola Altomanović, the holder of a large province during the fall of the Serbian Empire, was defeated in 1373, his estates were divided between Prince Lazar Hrebeljanović of Serbia, Đurađ I Balšić of Zeta, and Ban Tvrtko I Kotromanić of Bosnia. Trebinje continued under the Bosnian crown in the hands of the Pavlović family, then in 1435, it became part of the Duchy of Saint Sava of the Kosača family, in Ottoman vassalage. It was finally annexed in 1482 by the Ottomans and organized into the Sanjak of Herzegovina.


Early Middle AgesEdit

Slavic principalities in ca. 814 AD.

The Slavs invaded the Balkans during the reign of Justinian I (r. 527–565), when eventually up to 100,000 Slavs raided Thessalonica. The Western Balkans was settled with Sclaveni (Sklavenoi), the east with Antes.[1] The Sklavenoi plunder Thrace in 545, and again the next year. In 551, the Slavs crossed Niš initially headed for Thessalonica, but ended up in Dalmatia. In 577 some 100,000 Slavs poured into Thrace and Illyricum, pillaging cities and then settling down.[2] Charlemagne, King of the Franks from 768 until his death in 814, expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of western and central Europe.[3] Dalmatia which was southeast of the Frankish empire, was in the hands of the Croats and Serbs.[4] Radoslav of Serbia or his son was the ruler of Serbia during the uprisings (819–822) of Ljudevit Posavski against the Franks. According to the Royal Frankish Annals, in 822, Ljudevit went from his seat in Sisak to the Serbs who controlled a great part of Dalmatia ("ad Sorabos, quae natio magnam Dalmatiae partem obtinere dicitur") but according to John (Jr.) Fine, it was hard to find Serbs in this area since the Byzantine sources were limited to the southern coast, also it is possible that among other tribes exists tribe of group of small tribes of Serbs.[5][6] The mentioning of "Dalmatia" in 822 and 833 as an old geographical term by the authors of Frankish Annals was Pars pro toto with a vague perception of what this geographical term actually referred to.[7] In late 870s, the Theme of Dalmatia ("thema Dalmatias") was established, with the strategos seated at Dubrovnik (Ragusa, Ragusion). These small cities in the region (also Dyrrachium) did not stretch into the hinterlands, and had no military capacity, thus Basil I paid a tax of '72 gold coins' to the princes of Zahumlje and Travunia.[8] [9]

"From the city of Decatera begins the domain of Terbounia and stretches along as far as Ragusa, and on the side of its mountain country it is neighbour to Serbia."
"Travunia (Terbounia) and Konavli are united. Its inhabitants originate from the unbaptized Serbs, who lived there since the archont that fled from White Serbia to Emperor Heraclius until the time of Vlastimer archon of Serbia."
"The archonts of Travunia have always been subject to the archont of Serbia"
"Populated cities in Travunia and Konavli are: Travunia (η Τερβουνια), Vrm (το Ορμος), Risan (τα Ρισενα), Lukavete (το Λουκαβεται), Zetlivi (του Ζετλεβε)."
- taken from
De Administrando Imperio,
by Constantine VII (905–959)

Trebinje is first attested in DAI by Constantine VII (905–959), when describing the migration and geography of the Serbs in 7th century,[10] but the population's 7th Century identity remains a matter of dispute as it rather indicates Serbian political and ethnic connection [11] during the time of Časlav in 10th Century.[12][13][14][15][16] Travunia (Τερβουνια) was a province subservient to Serbian Principality under the Vlastimirović Dynasty. The first known office holder was Beloje, a count, who ruled under Prince Vlastimir (also possibly under Radoslav or Prosigoj, fl. 819). In the mid 9th century, Vlastimir marries his daughter to Krajina, the son of Beloje, and gives him the Župa of Trebinje to govern under his suzerainty. The Belojević noble family is entitled the rule of Travunia; Hvalimir, and his son Čučimir continue the office under the Serbian crown.

From 927 to 960, Časlav Klonimirović, the last of the Vlastimirović dynasty, held supreme rule of Travunia which at the time bordered Zahumlje to the west, the city of Ragusa or Dubrovnik to the southwest, Duklja to the south and Serbia (crownland, see Rascia) to the north. Its coastline spanned from Dubrovnik to Boka Kotorska. With the death of Časlav, Serbia disintegrated and Duklja absorbed most of Rascia along with Zahumlje and Trebinje.[17] The Catepanate of Ras was established during the rule of John Tzimiskes (r. 969–976).[18] A seal of a strategos of Ras has been dated to Tzimiskes' reign, making it possible for Tzimiskes' predecessor Nikephoros II Phokas to have enjoyed recognition in Rascia.[19][20]

In the 990s, Bulgarian Tsar Samuel made client states out of most of the Balkans, including Duklja and Zahumlje.[21] In 998, Samuel launched a major campaign against Jovan Vladimir to prevent a Byzantine-Serbian alliance. When his troops reached Duklja, Vladimir withdrew to the mountains, Samuel left part of the army at the foot of the mountains and led the remaining soldiers to besiege the coastal fortress of Ulcinj. In an effort to prevent bloodshed, he asked Jovan Vladimir to surrender, but Jovan refused, some Serb nobles offered their services to the Bulgarians and, when it became clear that further resistance was fruitless, the Serbs surrendered. Jovan Vladimir was exiled to Samuel's palaces in Prespa.[22] The Bulgarian troops proceeded to pass through Dalmatia, taking control of Kotor and journeying to Dubrovnik. Although they failed to take Dubrovnik, they devastated the surrounding villages. The Bulgarian army then attacked Croatia in support of the rebel princes Krešimir III and Gojslav and advanced northwest as far as Split, Trogir and Zadar, then northeast through Bosnia and Raška and returned to Bulgaria.[22]

Border area of Duklja and Travunija in the Bay of Kotor and churches from the 9th (red) and 10th–11th centuries (white)

The dawn of the 10th century brought a short-lived Bulgarian occupation after the fall of the Rascian lands, but prince Caslav restored a Principality of Serbia by 931 and ruled Travunia as well. Travunia flourished under the greatest Serbian early medieval ruler – Saint Jovan Vladimir of Duklja and Travunia in the late 10th and early 11th century. With the trickery of Jovan Vladimir in 1016, Byzantine domination was restored under old Prince Dragomir. Dragomir was assassinated in Kotor in 1018 which brought upon Byzantine military occupation. Stefan Vojislav raised a rebellion in the 1030s.[23] Prince of Zachlumia Ljutovid exerted his influence over Travunia, even though Stefan Vojislav claimed it. After inflicting a sound defeat to the Byzantines at Bar, Vojislav dispatched 50 captured Greeks to demoralize Liudevit's army that was awaiting at Klobuk. Vojislav's son Gojislav led the Dioclean forces and easily defeated Liutovid's forces, killing Liutovid himself with the help of two bodyguards. Travunia was fully incorporated into Doclea. When Gojslav became the ruler, he elected Trebinje as the new Serbian capital. He was assassinated by Travunian Prince Ljutovid who raised a rebellion in 1047–1050 and Mihailo I Vojislavljević had to depose Domanec, Liutovid's son, and move the capital from Travunia, placing his brother Saganek as Prince of Travunia. Saganek was overthrown in 1055, and it took Radoslav, Mihailo's faithful brother to finally kill Domanec and seize control over Travunia. In 1077 a Slavic Kingdom of Doclea and Dalmatia was proclaimed. It commanded the road from Ragusa to Constantinople, traversed, in 1096, by Raymond of Toulouse and his crusaders. With the coming of the 12th century, Travunia was fully incorporated into the unified Serbian state. Later, the Nemanjić dynasty took over since 1166/68. In 1217, the Serbian Kingdom was proclaimed.

With the death of Stefan Vojislav, the rule was divided between the five sons.[24] Gojislav had received Travunia (Trebinje), and briefly ruled until he was killed by local nobles, who set up Domanek as Prince.[24] Mihailo pursued and attacked Domanek, who fled, in his place Saganek was put to govern Travunia.[24] Domanek then returned, and drove out Saganek.[24] Mihailo offered the office to Radoslav, who declined, afraid of losing Luška župa (future Zeta).[24] Radoslav perhaps distrusted his brother, thinking he would seize Zeta, but Mihailo seems to have offered him a deal.[24] The Byzantine Empire, wanting to take advantage of the death of Stefan Vojislav, prepared an offensive against unstable Duklja.[24] At this time, the four remaining brothers made peace and made an alliance.[24] The treaty concluded is the oldest in Serbian history.[24] After the agreement, Radoslav attacked Trebinje, killing Domanek.[24] After this event, their mother (who had acted as an stability in the relations between the brothers) died.[24] While in no imminent danger from that side, Mihailo found it favorable to further strengthen ties with Byzantium around 1052, gaining the title of protospatharios, also marrying a niece of Constantine IX Monomachos. This might have implied titular recognition of Constantinople's authority, but no real concessions on his part. It corresponded to the then-current balance of forces, and bought some 20 years of peace and prosperity to his land.

Late Middle AgesEdit

Under the name of Tribunia or Travunja (the Trebigne of the Ragusans), it belonged to the Serbian Empire until 1355.[citation needed] Trebinje became a part of the expanded Medieval Bosnian state under Tvrtko I in 1373.[25] There is a medieval tower in Gornje Police whose construction is often attributed to Vuk Branković.[26] The old Tvrdoš Monastery dates back to the 15th century.

The Area of Trebinje, has produced the House of Mrnjavčević and was at times ruled by members of the Serbian royal family, like Queen Hellen of Anjou in the 13th century.[citation needed] Travunia got a neighbour by 1326, as the Bosnians conquered Zachlumia. In 1345, the Serbian Empire was created. After the collapse of the Serbian Empire in 1371, the area of Trebinje became ruled by the House of Vojinović Serbian dynasty from Hum. With Nikola Altomanović's defeat, the Bosnian King Tvrtko took the area in 1377[27] and it has been a component of Herzegovina ever since.

List of RulersEdit

This lists only the rulers who had Travunia as their appanage or fief and will not house the rulers of the region of Travunia. Travunia was merged into neighbouring states and lost its importance several times in history (amalgamation).

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Hupchick, Dennis P. The Balkans: From Constantinople to Communism. Palgrave Macmillan, 2004. ISBN 1-4039-6417-3
  2. ^ J B Bury, History of the Later Roman Empire from Arcadius to Irene, Vol 2 L
  3. ^ Ross 1945, pp. 212–235
  4. ^ The early medieval Balkans, p. 257
  5. ^ Nachrichten von der Georg-Augusts Universität und der Königliches Gesellschaft der Wisenschaften zu Göttingen, Vol 11, 1865, p. 59
  6. ^ When ethnicity did not matter in the Balkans, p. 35
  7. ^ Ančić, Mladen (1998). "Od karolinškoga dužnosnika do hrvatskoga vladara. Hrvati i Karolinško Carstvo u prvoj polovici IX. stoljeća". Zavod Za Povijesne Znanosti HAZU U Zadru. 40: 32.
  8. ^ Ćirković 2004, p. 24.
  9. ^ The early medieval Balkans, p. 258
  10. ^ Ćirković, Sima (2008) [2004]. Srbi među europskim narodima [The Serbs] (PDF) (in Serbo-Croatian). Zagreb: Golden marketing / Tehnička knjiga. pp. 26–27. ISBN 9789532123388.
  11. ^ Budak, Neven (1994). Prva stoljeća Hrvatske (PDF). Zagreb: Hrvatska sveučilišna naklada. pp. 58–61. ISBN 953-169-032-4. Glavnu poteškoću uočavanju etničke raznolikosti Slavena duž jadranske obale činilo je tumačenje Konstantina Porfirogeneta, po kojemu su Neretvani (Pagani), Zahumljani, Travunjani i Konavljani porijeklom Srbi. Pri tome je car dosljedno izostavljao Dukljane iz ove srpske zajednice naroda. Čini se, međutim, očitim da car ne želi govoriti ο stvarnoj etničkoj povezanosti, već da su mu pred očima politički odnosi u trenutku kada je pisao djelo, odnosno iz vremena kada su za nj prikupljani podaci u Dalmaciji. Opis se svakako odnosi na vrijeme kada je srpski knez Časlav proširio svoju vlast i na susjedne sklavinije, pored navedenih još i na Bosnu. Zajedno sa širenjem političke prevlasti, širilo se i etničko ime, što u potpunosti odgovara našim predodžbama ο podudarnosti etničkog i političkog nazivlja. Upravo zbog toga car ne ubraja Dukljane u Srbe, niti se srpsko ime u Duklji/Zeti udomaćilo prije 12. stoljeća.
  12. ^ Dvornik 1962a, p. 139, 142: C.’s general claim that the Zachlumians were Serbs is, therefore, inaccurate; and indeed his later statements that the Terbouniotes (34/4—5), and even the Narentans (36/5-7), were Serbs and came with the Serbs, seem to conflict with what he has said earlier (32/18-20) on the Serb migration, which reached the new Serbia from the direction of Belgrade. He probably saw that in his time all these tribes were in the Serb sphere of influence, and therefore called them Serbs, thus ante-dating by three centuries the state of affairs in his own day ... For C.’s statement that the Pagani are ‘descended from the unbaptized Serbs’ (36/5-6), see on 33/18-19. It is obvious that the small retinue of the Serbian prince could not have populated Serbia, Zachlumia, Terbounia and Narenta.
  13. ^ Curta 2006, p. 210: According to Constantine Porphyrogenitus, the Slavs of the Dalmatian zhupanias of Pagania, Zahumlje, Travounia, and Konavli all "descended from the unbaptized Serbs."51 This has been rightly interpreted as an indication that in the mid-tenth century the coastal zhupanias were under the control of the Serbian zhupan Časlav, who ruled over the regions in the interior and extended his power westwards across the mountains to the coast.
  14. ^ Gračanin, Hrvoje (2008), "Od Hrvata pak koji su stigli u Dalmaciju odvojio se jedan dio i zavladao Ilirikom i Panonijom: Razmatranja uz DAI c. 30, 75-78", Povijest U Nastavi (in Croatian), VI (11): 67–76, Kraniometrijske analize provedene na kosturnim ostacima iz grobišta od jadranskog priobalja do duboko u unutrašnjost upućuju na zaključak da su se populacije koje se smatraju starohrvatskima postupno širile u zaleđe sve do južne Panonije tek u vrijeme od 10. do 13. stoljeća.. Izneseni nalazi navode na zaključak da se Hrvati nisu uopće naselili u južnoj Panoniji tijekom izvorne seobe sa sjevera na jug, iako je moguće da su pojedine manje skupine zaostale na tom području utopivši se naposljetku u premoćnoj množini ostalih doseljenih slavenskih populacija.. Širenje starohrvatskih populacija s juga na sjever pripada vremenu od 10. stoljeća nadalje i povezano je s izmijenjenim političkim prilikama, jačanjem i širenjem rane hrvatske države. Na temelju svega ovoga mnogo je vjerojatnije da etnonim "Hrvati" i doseoba skrivaju činjenicu o prijenosu političke vlasti, što znači da je car političko vrhovništvo poistovjetio s etničkom nazočnošću. Točno takav pristup je primijenio pretvarajući Zahumljane, Travunjane i Neretljane u Srbe (DAI, c. 33, 8-9, 34, 4-7, 36, 5-7).
  15. ^ Bilogrivić, Goran (2015). "Bosnia i Hum/Hercegovina" [Bosnia and Hum/Herzegovina]. In Zrinka Nikolić Jakus (ed.). Nova zraka u europskom svjetlu: Hrvatske zemlje u ranome srednjem vijeku (oko 550 − oko 1150) [Croatian lands in the Early Middle Ages (o. 550. – o. 1150.)] (in Croatian). Zagreb: Matica hrvatska. p. 486. ISBN 978-953-150-942-8. Porfirogenet piše kako stanovnici svih triju sklavinija vuku podrijetlo od Srba, no vjerojatnije je tumačenje toga navoda u smislu njihove podložnosti Srbiji, pod čiju su vlast potpali najvjerojatnije tijekom prve polovice 10. stoljeća, u vrijeme srpskoga kneza Petra ili pak Časlava. U prilog odvojenoj etničkoj pripadnosti govori i podatak prema kojemu bi Travunjani bili Srbi samo od vremena bizantskoga cara Heraklija do srpskoga kneza Vlastimira, kada su stekli određenu neovisnost pod županom Krajinom, kao i navođenje jasne i odvojene lokalne tradicije vladajućeg roda Zahumljana o podrijetlu njihovih predaka s područja Visle.
  16. ^ Budak, Neven (2018), Hrvatska povijest od 550. do 1100. [Croatian history from 550 until 1100], Leykam international, pp. 51, 177, ISBN 978-953-340-061-7, Sporovi hrvatske i srpske historiografije oko etničkoga karaktera sklavinija između Cetine i Drača bespredmetni su, jer transponiraju suvremene kategorije etniciteta u rani srednji vijek u kojem se identitet shvaćao drukčije. Osim toga, opstojnost većine sklavinija, a pogotovo Duklje (Zete) govori i u prilog ustrajanju na vlastitom identitetu kojim su se njihove elite razlikovale od onih susjednih ... Međutim, nakon nekog vremena (možda poslije unutarnjih sukoba u Hrvatskoj) promijenio je svoj položaj i prihvatio vrhovništvo srpskog vladara jer Konstantin tvrdi da su Zahumljani (kao i Neretvani i Travunjani) bili Srbi od vremena onog arhonta koji je Srbe, za vrijeme Heraklija, doveo u njihovu novu domovinu. Ta tvrdnja, naravno, nema veze sa stvarnošću 7. st., ali govori o političkim odnosima u Konstantinovo vrijeme.
  17. ^ The early medieval Balkans, p. 193
  18. ^ GK, Abstract: "the establishment of catepanate in Ras between 971 and 976"
  19. ^ Stephenson, Paul (2003-08-07). The Legend of Basil the Bulgar-slayer. p. 42. ISBN 9780521815307.
  20. ^ Paul Magdalino, Byzantium in the year 1000, p. 122
  21. ^ The early medieval Balkans, p. 274
  22. ^ a b Šišić, p. 331.
  23. ^ Pranke, Piotr; Žečević, Milos (2020). Medieval Trade in Central Europe, Scandinavia, and the Balkans (10th-12th Centuries): A Comparative Study. BRILL. p. 104. ISBN 978-9-00443-164-5.
  24. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k The early medieval Balkans, p. 212
  25. ^ Zlatar, Zdenko (1992). Our Kingdom Come: The Counter-Reformation, the Republic of Dubrovnik, and the Liberation of the Balkan Slavs. East European Monographs. p. 407. ISBN 978-0-88033-239-2.
  26. ^ Tomašević, Nebojša (1983). Treasures of Yugoslavia: An Encyclopedic Touring Guide. Yugoslaviapublic. p. 329.
  27. ^ Ćirković 2004, p. 80.
  28. ^ Živković 2008, p. 336.
  29. ^ Goršič, Fr. (1929). "Zupani in knezi v jugoslovanski pravni zgodovini". Časopis za zgodovino in narodopisje. Založba obzorja. 24: 37.
  30. ^ a b Samardžić, Radovan; Duškov, Milan (1993). Serbs in European Civilization. Nova. p. 23. ISBN 978-8-67583-015-3.
  31. ^ Gopčević, Spiridion (1914). Geschichte von Montenegro und Albanien. F.A. Perthens. p. 12. Dragomir, Župan von Travunija war und zwar vermählt mit einer Tochter des 980 — 1019 regierenden..
  32. ^ Tăpkova-Zaimova, Vasilka (2018). Bulgarians by Birth: The Comitopuls, Emperor Samuel and their Successors According to Historical Sources and the Historiographic Tradition. BRILL. p. 133. ISBN 978-9-00435-299-5. Then the emperor sent a note to Vladimir's uncle Dragimir, so that he might come and receive the land of Tribunia, where he might gather his people and strengthen his country, and this was done.
  33. ^ Stephenson, Paul (2000). Byzantium's Balkan Frontier: A Political Study of the Northern Balkans, 900-1204. Cambridge University Press. p. 139. ISBN 978-0-52177-017-0.
  34. ^ Sbutega, Antun; Serio, Maurizio (2006). Storia del Montenegro: dalle origini ai giorni nostri. Rubbettino. p. 53. ISBN 978-8-84981-489-7. Desa, si trovò a governare una parte della Zeta e della Travunija..


Primary sources
Secondary sources

Coordinates: 42°43′02″N 18°22′10″E / 42.7172547°N 18.3694839°E / 42.7172547; 18.3694839