Zdeslav of Croatia

Zdeslav (Croatian pronunciation: [zdêslaʋ], Latin: Sedesclavus) was a duke (Croatian: knez) in Croatia from 878 until his death in 879. He was from the Trpimirović dynasty.[1]

Duke of Croatia
Reign878–May 879
Predecessorunnamed son of Duke Domagoj
DiedMay 879
near Knin
FatherTrpimir I


Zdeslav was the son of Trpimir I. After his father's death in 864, an uprising was launched by a powerful Croatian nobleman from Knin called Domagoj. Zdeslav was exiled along with his brothers Petar and Muncimir to Constantinople.[2] Domagoj died in 876, and was succeeded by his son. Zdeslav overthrew him in 878 with the help of the Byzantines, expelled Domagoj's sons and restored peace with Venice.[3] He acknowledged the supreme rule of Byzantine Emperor Basil I.

In 879, Pope John VIII asked Duke Zdeslav for an armed escort and protection for his legate who was crossing Croatia on his way to Bulgaria, ruled by Boris I.[4] In early May 879, Zdeslav was killed by arrows near Knin in an uprising led by Branimir, a relative from Domagoj, instigated by Pope John VIII fearing Byzantine power.[1]


  1. ^ a b Hrvatski leksikon (1996-1997) (in Croatian)
  2. ^ Fine, John Van Antwerp (1991). The early medieval Balkans: a critical survey from the sixth to the late twelfth century. University of Michigan Press. p. 257. ISBN 978-0-472-08149-3.
  3. ^ Iohannes Diaconus: Istoria Veneticorum, p. 140 (in Latin)
  4. ^ Ivo Goldstein. Hrvatski rani srednji vijek, Zagreb, 1995, p. 229

Further readingEdit

Zdeslav of Croatia
 Died: 879
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Duke of the Croats
Succeeded by