You are on page 1of 46

Teskeredzic 1

Creating a Bosnian Identity in Medieval Europe

By: Dino Teskeredzic
Advisor: Dr. Florin Curta
Teskeredzic 2
Table of Contents
Creating a Bosnian Identitypp. 4-32
Chapter I: An Introduction................4-9
Chapter II: Bosnia in the Greek Sources................10-13
Chapter III: A Discussion of Papal Policies in the Balkans prior to the Fourth Crusade..14-19
Chapter IV: Hungarian Interests20-25
Chapter V: Internal Serbian Politics...26-29
Chapter VI: Conclusions30-32
Bibliography.....pp. 33-34
Translationspp. 35-46
Theobaldos 1180 Letter...35-36
Vukans 1199 Letter to Innocent III.37-38
Innocent IIIs 1200 Letter to King Emeric of Hungary39-40
Innocent IIIs 1202 Letter to the Archbishop of Split and Johannes....41-42
Bilino Polje Renunciation of 120343-46
Teskeredzic 3
First and foremost, I would like to thank Dr. Curta for helping me choose and pursue my
topic. He was instrumental to this paper, particularly when I needed help deciphering archaic
Church Latin. I could not have finished it without him. I would also like to extend my thanks to
Dr. Louthan for helping me structure my paper and ensure that I made the deadlines. Finally, I
would like to thank my mother, who helped me translate the Serbo-Croatian Cyrillic documents.
Teskeredzic 4
Chapter I: An Introduction
The Balkans have traditionally been regarded as the powder keg of Europe, a region in
which competing national interests and views collide. The area of present-day Bosnia, the home
of the medieval kingdom by the same name, found itself in much the same position in the late
twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. Back then, as much as now, religion played a considerable
role in the construction of a Bosnian identity.
Bosnia is first mentioned in an indirect (adjectival) form as an epithet in the imperial title
of Manuel I Komnenos (1143-1180) in his edict of 1166 carved on a large piece of marble now
in the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.
However, the first mention of Bosnian in reference to
Bosnians appears in a letter sent in 1180 by Theobaldo, a legate of Pope Alexander III. There is
no other surviving mention of the term until 1199, the year of a letter sent by Vukan of Duklja to
Pope Innocent III. It is important to note that the term Bosnian appears in the context of papal
concerns with heresy and in direct association with specific references to heretics believed to
reside in the area. Can one therefore speak of a Bosnian identity in the late twelfth or early
thirteenth century? If so, where and why did that identity take shape?
The purpose of this thesis is to show that Bosnia and Bosnians are names invented and
used by outsiders, primarily Pope Innocent III. I will examine the pertinent Greek sources,
before moving to Alexander III and Innocent IIIs letters, the first sources in Latin to mention
Bosnia. Before that, however, it is important to turn briefly to the political scene in the Balkans
Cyril Mango, The conciliar editct of 1166, Dumbarton Oaks Papers 17 (1963), p. 324: Manuel, emperor who
believes in God, born in the purple, ruler of the Romans, most pious, forever glorious, Augsutus, Isaurian, Cilician,
Armenian, Dalmatian, Hungarian, Bosnian, Croatian, Lazian, Iberian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Zychian, Khazer,
Gothic (emphasis added).
Teskeredzic 5
ca. 1200 and to introduce the key historical actors who influenced the Bosnian identity emerging
at that time.
In the late twelfth century, the western Balkans were as fragmented politically as they are
now. The neighbors of medieval Bosnia were Hum and Raka to the south, Serbia to the east,
and Hungary and Croatia to the north and west, respectively. The papacy had both an interest
and a great deal of influence in the region, which was at that time on the frontier between
Catholicism and Orthodox Christianity.
From 1180 to 1204, Bosnia was ruled by a man named Kulin, who took the title of Ban.
Little information exists on him for the years prior to 1199, which is when he was suddenly
accused of harboring heretics.
Judging from the limited sources that we have, it appears that
Kulin came to power during the reign of Manuel I Komnenos, but began to style himself Ban of
Bosnia only after the emperors death in 1180. Three years later, he shed the protective cloak of
the Byzantines and instead paid homage to the king of Hungary, who was at that time actively
involved in the expansion of his kingdom into the northern Balkans.
During this period, his
name is found on several inscriptions and in a few charters. However, it was in 1199 that he was
thrust into the greater international arena. This was the year in which Ban Kulin caught the eye
Ban Kulins name appears in a Cyrillic inscription from Biskupii-Muhainovii (near Visoko), ca. 1194. A
second inscription was also found in Podbreje near Zenica, which mentions Gradea, a judge appointed by Kulin.
A third Cyrillic inscription in Blagaj cites a contemporary upan, who is supposed to have built a church in the
days of the celebrated Nemanja. All three inscriptions have been published by Branko Fui, Croatian Glagolitic
and Cyrillic epigraphs, in Croatia in the Early Middle Ages. A Cultural Survey, edited by Ivan Supii
(London/Zagreb: Philip Wilson Publishers/AGM, 1999), pp. 277 and 279.
Upon King Colomans coronation in 1102 in Biograd, Croatia became a part of the medieval Hungarian kingdom.
The incorporation of Croatia resulted in a prolonged era of Hungarian hegemony in the Balkans. Under King Bla
II and Helena, the daughter of the Serbian upan Uro the Hungarians invaded Bosnia in 1137. However, in 1150
the Serbs and the Hungarians were defeated by Emperor Manuel I Komnenos at the battle on the Tara River in
western Serbia. Following Manuel Is death, Stephen I Nemanja allotted Hum to his brother, Miroslav, and Duklja
to his son, Vukan. With the death of Manuel in 1180, Croatia and the majority of Byzantine Dalmatia came under
Hungarian rule. See Florin Curta, Southeastern Europe in the Middle Ages, 500-1250 (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 2006), pp. 266, 329, and 347. For the location of the battle at the Tara River, see Milo Blagojevi,
"Seenica (Setzenica), Strymon (Strymon) i Tara (Tara) u delu Jovana Kinama," Zbornik radova Vizantolokog
Instituta 17 (1974), 65-76.
Teskeredzic 6
of Innocent III because of a letter the pope had previously received from Vukan, the ruler of Zeta
Vukan had first established contact with the pope in the late 1190s in order to obtain
religious guidance.
Innocent III readily obliged and acquiesced to the request of Vukan, whom
he called the illustrious king of Dalmatia and Dioclea. Two papal legates were dispatched to
Zeta, and Innocent III re-instituted the see of Bar (now in Montenegro) as an archbishopric.
1199, a synod was summoned in Bar to deal with such issues as priestly celibacy and beards, an
indication that the goal of the papal policies in the region was to eliminate Orthodox practices.
Vukan added heresy to the papal agenda, when in that same year (1199), he accused Ban Kulin
of harboring heretics in Bosnia. He also accused Kulin and his family, including his sister, of
embracing the said heresy. Such a personal accusation without evidence suggests that Vukan
may have had political motives, such as territorial ambitions and a possible crown from the pope,
two issues which will be discussed later. Nonetheless, the accusations were sufficient for
attracting papal attention to the region.
Pope Innocent III (1198-1216), the most powerful of all medieval popes, was already
troubled by the issue of heresy, as is evident from his vexation with the growing strength of the
Cathars in southern France. Vukans simple mention of heresy was therefore sufficient to garner
the popes attention. Furthermore, the steady and slow withdrawal of the Byzantines from
Dalmatia provided Innocent with an opportunity to intervene and strengthen the Catholic faith in
the region. It was for this reason, and in order to cement Kulins loyalty that in 1203, the pope
Vukan of Duklja was the first ruler in the western Balkans to seek papal guidance. However, he was not to be the
last. He was followed in 1208 by Demetrius, a local potentate in northern Alabania. See Alain Ducellier, La faade
maritime de l'Albanie au Moyen Age. Durazzo et Valona du XI-me au XVme sicle (Thessaloniki, Institute for
Balkan Studies, 1981), p. 139.
In 1089, the bishop of Bar had been elevated to archbishop. However, in the twelfth century he was downgraded to
a suffragan of the archbishop of Ragusa (Dubrovnik). See Lothar Waldmller, Die Synoden in Dalmatien, Kroatien
und Ungarn. Von der Vlkerwanderung bis zum Ende der Arpaden (1311)(Paderborn/Munich/Vienna/Zrich, F.
Schningh, 1987), p. 160.
Teskeredzic 7
sent a delegation led by his chaplain, Johannes de Casamaris, to investigate the charges laid
against the Ban of Bosnia. Meanwhile, Innocent III had exchanged a number of letters with
King Emeric of Hungary, the purpose of which seems to have been not only to gather support,
but also to pressure Kulin, whom the pope regarded as Emerics subject. It is against the
background of this affair that Innocent first referred to the inhabitants of Bosnia, and called
Kulin the Bosnian Ban as opposed to Ban of Bosnia.
King Emeric is another key figure in the region. By 1200, Hungary had become a major
power in Central Europe, with increasing influence and territory in the Balkans. In the aftermath
of the Byzantine withdrawal from Dalmatia, Hungary took advantage of the power void to
occupy the entire area. Immediately after Emperor Manuel Is death in 1180, a Hungarian army
under Duke Maurus invaded Dalmatia and seized Zadar. Maurus became Count of Dalmatia and
the king appointed a Hungarian as Archbishop of Split. When King Bla III (1172-1196) died,
his two sons went to war with one another. Andrew (the future king Andrew II) declared Croatia
and Dalmatia an independent principality and granted privileges to the local aristocracy.
Similarly, his brother Emeric (king of Hungary between 1196 and 1204) intervened in the
succession conflict in Serbia, which had pitched two of Nemanjas sons against each other after
their fathers death in 1199. Emeric decided to support the younger son Vukan, the ruler of
Duklja, against Stephen (future King Stephen Prvovenani).
Since Vukan was in contact with
the papacy, the support of the Hungarian king may be regarded as a Catholic intervention against
the Orthodox ruler of Serbia, Stephen. Because of his need to have a Catholic foothold in the
Balkans, Pope Innocent III encouraged the militant policies of the Hungarian king and used them
The inscription above the door to the Church of St. Luke in Kotor shows that Vukan took the royal title (Grand
upan) while his father (Stephen I Nemanja) was still living (before 1199). See Curta, Southeastern Europe, p. 389.
Teskeredzic 8
to advance his own interests in the region. Emerics involvement in Bosnia may thus be
interpreted as the result of both of his political and territorial aspirations and of papal policies.
The counterweight to Hungarian ambitions was the Grand upan of Serbia, Stephen
(Stefan) (1196-1202, 1203-1228). A brother of St. Sava, and therefore Orthodox, Stephen relied
on the political and military support of the Bulgarians, whose strength and growing power had by
now alarmed the Hungarian kings. Stephens other brother, Miroslav, had been the ruler of Hum.
His wife, a widow in 1199, was Ban Kulins sister, who is explicitly mentioned as a heretic in
Vukans incendiary letter to Innocent III.
Bulgaria (or the Second Bulgarian Empire) was another significant player and
Hungarys greatest rival in the region. The ruler of Bulgaria, Ioannitsa (John) Kaloyannis
(1197-1207) henceforth Kalojan supported the Serbs against the Hungarians, and offered
asylum and protection to the Grand upan Stephen when the latter was briefly ousted from
Serbia by his brother, Vukan. Kalojan sent an expedition to Serbia in 1203, at the end of which
he occupied the city of Ni, in the middle of the region Emeric claimed as part of the dowry to be
granted to his sister Margaret, who had married Emperor Isaac II Angelos in 1185. Kalojans
significance for the history of Bosnia is two-fold. First, he helped divert Hungarian attention and
manpower from Bosnia further to the east, in the region of Ni-Branievo, and thus prevented
Hungarian military intervention against Kulin. Moreover, the Bulgarian involvement sheds a
new light on the Bosnian heresy. In the early thirteenth century, Bulgaria was still the hotbed of
Bogomilism, and may thus have been the source of the heresy, of which Vukan accused the
inhabitants and Ban of Bosnia.
In 1211, Kalojans successor, Boril, summoned a synod in which he condemned the priest Bogomil, who [had]
adopted the Manichean heresy under the Bulgarian king Peter, and [had] disseminated it in the Bulgarian land.
See Ivan Bozhilov, A. Totomanova and Ivan Biliarski, Borilov Sinodik. Izdanie I prevod. (Sofia: PAM, 2010), pp.
121 and 344. In 1221, St. Sava convened a synod at ia, where he delievered a sermon concerning heresy, which
may have well been directed at Bosnia (Curta, Southeastern Europe, p., 393).
Teskeredzic 9
But what was Bosnia? And where were its borders? In order to answer those questions
and elucidate the origin of the term Bosnia, one needs to turn to the Greek sources.
Chapter II: Bosnia in the Greek Sources
Teskeredzic 10
History is constantly evolving and changing with the availability of new information
the history of Bosnia is no exception. Therefore, before any discussion can begin, a serious error
must be cleared up in the interpretation of the Greek sources. This error arises from the
following statement made by Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus at the end of Chapter 32 in De
Administrando Imperio (DAI), a work written in the mid-tenth century: In baptized Serbia are
the inhabited cities of Destinikon, Tzernabouske, Megyretous, Dresnek, Lesnik, Salines; and in
the territory of Bosona, Katera and Desnik.
The area of Bosona has long been thought to be Bosna, the Serbo-Croatian name for
Bosnia. Such an interpretation relies heavily on the modern notion of Bosnia and Herzegovina
as a discrete political entity. However, if Bosnians were indeed a group in that region, why were
they never mentioned by Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus, who has otherwise much to say
about Croatia and Serbia? Furthermore, the exact location of Desnik of Katera remains unknown,
although some would place the latter to the south of modern-day Sarajevo.
If so, then at least
Katera, if not Desnik as well, were located outside the territory of medieval Bosnia, which is
known to have been farther to the north. The territory of Bosona mentioned by Emperor
Constantine may not have been Bosnia at all. It is much more probable that the name refers to
De administrando Imperio 32, edited by Gyula Moravcsik and transl. by Romilly J. H. Jenkins, (Washington:
Dumbarton Oaks Center for Byzantine Studies, 1967), p. 161.
Moreover, some now argue that Emperor Constantine was using several sources from different time periods in
order to compile his chapters on Serbia and Croatia. This may have resulted in much confusion and the
inconsistencies. See Tibor ivkovi, Constantine Porphyrogenitus kastra oikoumena in the Southern Slavs
principalities Istorijski asopis 57 (2008), 9-28.
Teskeredzic 11
the river Bosna and its adjacent territories, which have nothing to do with either the Bosnian
nation or people, or with the country known by that name.
The very first mention of Bosnia in the Greek sources occurs in an inscription from
Istanbul, which contains the full text of a decree issued by Emperor Manuel I Komnenos. The
text opens with a long list of titles and epithets attached to the name of the emperor, in the
tradition of the Roman emperors of ancient times, whom Manuel sought to emulate: Manuel,
emperor who believes in God, born in the purple, ruler of the Romans, most pious, forever
glorious, Augustus, Isaurian, Cilician, Armenian, Dalmatian, Hungarian, Bosnian, Croatian,
Lazian, Iberian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Zychian, Khazar, Gothic.
Although the Roman imperial
tradition dictated that imperial epiphets derive from names of defeated barbarian tribes, Manuel
used this title in reference to the territory of Bosnia. At any rate, much like Dalmatian or
Isaurian, Bosnian did not refer to the people Manuel had presumably defeated, but to the
territory in which he had campaigned. It would take a pope and the Catholic Church to develop
the identity of those people as Bosnian. Before we tackle that problem, however, our focus will
shift to the Byzantine influence in the Balkans, particularly in Bosnia.
Understanding the Byzantine position in the Balkans requires looking as far back as the
1150s. The Balkans were an arena for competing claims made by rival powers, e.g. Byzantium
and Hungary, looking to dislodge one another from the region. The border between the
Byzantines and Hungarians was in a constant state of flux, and Bosnia was at its forefront. This
constant vacillation and lack of direct rule either by the Hungarian kings or by the Byzantine
It is important to note that the reading Bosthna (instead of Bosona) does not appear in the original manuscript
(Vaticanus Palatinus gr. 126), dated to the early sixteenth century, but was instead proposed by Pavel Josef afarik
in the early nineteenth century. See De administrando Imperio 32, p. 161.
Mango, The conciliar editct, p. 324.
Teskeredzic 12
emperors left the leaders of the region with only nominal loyalty to an ever-changing suzerain.
Therefore, the rulers of Bosnia were largely independent in their self-rule.
In 1154, a poorly-documented and little-known figure came to rule Bosnia as Ban Bori.
Nothing is known about him, except that he came to power with the assistance of the Hungarian
king. In turn, Bori provided the Hungarian king with military assistance in 1167 at the battle of
Zemun against the Byzantines.
Following the Hungarian defeat, Bosnia most likely became a
Byzantine dominion. The next Ban of Bosnia would emerge only thirteen years later.
Ban Kulin came to power in 1180 with Byzantine support; however, Hungarys renewed
penetration into Croatia and Dalmatia forced Kulin to exchange a Hungarian king for a
Byzantine emperor.
Additionally, the death of Manuel I Komnenos in 1180 ended a relatively
long period of Byzantine influence and rule in Bosnia. Henceforth, the Byzantines were
involved in a slow and steady retreat out of the Balkans due to the pressure of the Seljuk Turks in
Asia Minor and of the Hungarians and the Bulgarians from the north. Hungarian monarchs were
now virtually free to impose their will upon Bosnia. Such a thrust came in 1192 when the
Hungarians persuaded the pope to transfer Bosnia from the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of
Dubrovnik to that of the Archbishop of Split.
Split, unlike Dubrovnik, was under direct
Hungarian rule and more lenient to the imposition of Hungarian will. Clearly, the Catholic
Church was an instrument by which to gain a stronger foothold in Bosnia. This is also true for
the circumstances in which Vukan accused Ban Kulin of heresy in 1199.
However, the most important consequence of Byzantine rule and interaction in the area is
the use of the word Bosnia. As was mentioned above, it is in the Greek sources that Bosnia is
John V. A. Fine, The Late Medieval Balkans. A Critical Survey from the Late Twelfth Century to the Ottoman
Conquest. (Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press, 1987), p.17.
Fine, Late Medieval Balkans, p. 17.
John V. A. Fine, The Bosnian Church: A New Interpretation (New York, Columbia University Press, 1975), p.
Teskeredzic 13
first mentioned. Pope Alexander III would bestow upon Ban Kulin the term Bosnian, but it
was Innocent III who would use the name for the inhabitants of that country. For this reason, it
would be reasonable to suppose that the popes became acquainted with the term Bosnia from
Byzantine sources.
Teskeredzic 14
Chapter III:
A Discussion of Papal Policies in the Balkans prior to the Fourth Crusade
Papal policies towards the central Balkans, particularly Bosnia, changed drastically in the
years preceding 1204. The first mention of Ban Kulin by the papal chancery is in the 1180 letter
from Theobaldo, Pope Alexander IIIs legate.
In this letter, Kulin is named Bosnian Ban
(bano Bosine) in the context of a friendly request for a gift of two slaves and marten pelts
(duos famulos et pelles marturinas). No mention is made of heresy. Theobaldo had been sent
in 1180 to investigate the circumstances surrounding the conflict between Rainier, the
Archbishop of Split, and Miroslav, the Prince of Hum, whom the archbishop had accused of
Hoping to find an ally in Kulin, the papal legate may have simply tried to make him
show his respect to the pope by means of a symbolic gesture of generosity. On the other hand, in
the context of his efforts to diminish the influence of the Byzantine Church in Dalmatia in the
aftermath of Emperor Manuel Is death, the pope was no doubt attempting to expand the
influence of the Roman Church in Bosnia.
Interestingly, after this initial contact with the
Catholic Church, there was no further mention of Kulin in papal sources until 1199, when
accusations of heresy were now made against him by Vukan of Duklja.
In the years following Alexander IIIs death (1181), the Cathar heresy became the
foremost problem on the papal agenda. With the ascension of Lando di Sezze to the papal throne
Ep. 167 (from 1180), in Codex Diplomaticus Regni Croatiae, Dalmatiae et Slavoniae, edited by Tadija Smiiklas,
vol. 2 (Zagreb: Officina Societatis Typographicae 1904), pp. 168-169.
Codex Diplomaticus, vol. 2, pp. 121, 137, and 157-159. Archbishop Rainier and Miroslav of Hum came into
conflict when Miroslav did not allow Rainier to ordain a bishop for Ston and confiscated the money that was to be
sent to the Archbishop. In turn, Rainier turned to the Pope and accused Miroslav of heresy.
For Alexander III and Innocent IIIs efforts to eradicate the Orthodox influence from the region, see Curta,
Southeastern Europe, p. 340.
This is not to say that there is no evidence of Kulin from 1180-1199. Indeed there are Church inscriptions and
charters attributed to him and dated to this period. See Fine, The Bosnian Church, 121-122.
Teskeredzic 15
as Innocent III, papal policies were implemented to root out and crush any heresy. Therefore,
when news reached him of the heresy in Bosnia in 1199 by way of Vukan of Duklja, the pope
immediately acted upon the information.
Not only was this the first mention of Bosnia in papal
sources in almost two decades, but the language used by Vukan was especially harsh.
Furthermore, the accusations leveled were of a personal nature and directed at Kulins immediate
and extended family. One of the family members to bear explicit mention was Kulins sister, the
widow of Miroslav. Interest should be paid to the relationship between Kulin and Miroslav, the
recently deceased ruler of Hum and brother to Vukan, as it gives a possible political motive to
naming Kulin as a heretic. Furthermore, Vukan mentions that some 10,000 Christians have
converted to the heresy, and that the Hungarian king should tear him [Kulin] from his kingship,
like a weed from wheat.
These two aspects of the letter come under further scrutiny below.
Vukan mentions 10,000 followers of the heresy, but fails to describe or even name the
supposed heterodox doctrine to which Kulin and many in his realm have adhered. Moreover,
looking at the mention of heresy in the context of the letter it becomes evident that it is listed
only briefly in the last few sentences. If this were a matter of serious concern, the heresy should
have appeared first in the list of issues Vukan tried to bring to the popes attention. Additionally,
looking at the last two sentences it becomes evident that Vukan is asking for the intervention of
the Hungarian king. This brings forth another question: why should a letter concerning heresy
and misdeeds focus more on the intervention of a king than of the pope? The answer can only be
Precisely, we do not wish to hide from your fatherhood that a not small heresy can be seen spreading in the land
of the Hungarian king, namely Bosnia. In all that land, the heresy was introduced with all the sins brought forward
by the same Ban Kulin with his wife and sister, who was the wife of the late Miroslav, and with many relatives, in
addition to 10,000 Christians. Whence the Hungarian king has been irritated, he has compelled those to come to
your presence to be examined by you. They have forged letters and told you to read them. When we ask that you
may suggest to the Hungarian king that he may tear him from his kingship, like a weed from wheat. See Ep. 176
(from 1199), in Patrologiae Cursus Completus, Series Latina, ed. by J.-P. Migne, volume 214 (Paris: Garnier, 1890),
col. 726.
Ep. 176, col. 726.
Teskeredzic 16
that political motives and interests fueled Vukans accusations of heresy, specifically when one
looks at the context and material of the three subsequent letters, which is where our attention
shall now turn.
Following Vukans letter in 1199, Innocent took the advised action of using Emeric of
Hungary to pressure Ban Kulin. In a letter he sent to the king on October 11
, 1200, the Pope
called the heresy Patarene and, like Alexander III before him, referred to Kulin as Banus
bossinus (Bosnian Ban).
One of the very first mentions of Bosnian in reference to
identity thus comes in conjunction with accusations of heresy. Furthermore, the letter discusses
only the action that Emeric and Kulin should take when dealing with heretics in general.
However, like Vukans letter of 1199, the popes fails to mention the doctrines and beliefs of the
said heretics. If the heresy did indeed exist, which is of course possible, why was the popes
letter to Emeric so brief and vague? It could therefore safely be assumed that the Pope was as
unaware of events in Bosnia as the Hungarian monarch, who also appears to have had no
knowledge of a heresy brewing in the lands of Ban Kulin. Finally, Innocent uses the words
autonomastice christianos to describe the heretics.
The word autonomastice is of Greek, not
Latin origin, and it was used by the Orthodox to describe those who had deviated from canon law,
but not necessarily from the correct faith. Why was the pope using a Greek word to describe
heretics to a Catholic king?
About the extirpation of evil deeds [] we have learned that recently our venerable brother, the Archbishop of
Split, chased not a few Patarenes from the cities of Split and Trogir. The noble man Kulin, the Bosnian Ban, had
provided not only asylum for their wrongdoings but also protection, thus by such means opening his country and
himself up to their wickedness. See Ep. 19 (dated to 1200 or 1201), in Acta Innocentii PP. III (1198-1216), ed. by
Theodosius Haluynskyj (Vatican: Pontificia Commissio ad Redigendum 1944), p. 209.
And unless the above-mentioned Ban exiles all the heretics from the land under his authority, confiscates all their
goods, you ought to exile him and those heretics not only from his land but also from the entire Kingdom of
Hungary. See ep. 19, p. 209.
I have translated the phrase as undisciplined Christians (ep. 19, p. 209).
Teskeredzic 17
Were the Bosnians then heretics, or were they a group whose Christian beliefs were a
variation of the Latin rite? If these men, including Kulin, had indeed been heretics, then would
their errors not have immediately come to the attention of the pope and been explicitly stated?
The use of autonomastice points to two possible explanations. First, the pope may have chosen
the Greek word to describe people who were true heretics. The alternative is that the heretics
in question were Christians who had diverged from the Latin rite, possibly blending Orthodox
and Catholic practices.
Such an interpretation is further substantiated by the scant description
of the heresy and its contradictory identification, first Patarene, then Cathar.
It was only at the end of 1202 that Innocent finally gave instructions to his legate,
Johannes de Casamaris, and to Bernard, Archbishop of Split, who were sent to the lands of Ban
Kulin to investigate the claims made by Vukan in 1199. The Pope called the heretics Cathars
instead of Patarenes, suggesting that he had no factual knowledge of a heresy, especially since he
was sending his personal chaplain to research the matter. Additionally, Innocent speaks in
hypothetical statements when instructing the legates on how to deal with heretics, using the word
if quite often.
It appears that the pope himself was unsure as to whether or not there was a
heresy in the remote region of Bosnia. Another matter of importance is that the pope asked the
Snezhana Rakova, "Regestes des chartes des souverains bosniaques XIIe-XVe sicles. Quelques remarques sur la
terminologie dans les titres de ces souverains," Revue des tudes sud-est-europennes 42 (2004), 31-36. has noted
that there is a Cyrillic charter issued by Kulin on August 29, 1189 for the merchants in Ragusa. Kulin calls himself
Bosnian Ban, not Ban of Bosnia. Leaving aside the possibility that the titulature used by the papal chancery was
therefore a Latin translation of the self-designation employed by Kulin, the use of Slavonic for this and many other
inscriptions and charters strongly suggests that the Bosnian Church used the Slavic rite.
Therefore within the land of the noble man, Ban Kulin, some group of people live there, who are suspect of being
of the wicked heresy of the Cathars See ep. 28 (dated 1202), in Acta Innocentii PP. III (1198-1216), p. 224.
If indeed you will find among them those who embraced heretical wickedness and are hostile to the right
doctrine, you will bring them back to the path of truth following the rule of the faith (ep. 28, p. 225).
Teskeredzic 18
legates to interview Ban Kulin and those closest to him, in person.
This demonstrates that
Innocent took the heresy seriously enough to have it investigated. However, his mention of the
possibility that following the Catholic faith, you have found the Apostolic doctrine confirmed
reveals his skepticism about heresy at the court of Kulin. Why else would he have presupposed
that the legates would find nothing of a heterodox nature amongst Kulin and his courtiers?
Nonetheless, he sent men to investigate claims of heresy; for one must also consider that Kulins
knowledge of his own realm beyond his court would have been hindered by the mountainous
terrain of Bosnia.
The final papal source to be examined is the Bilino Polje Abjuration of 1203, better
known as the Bilino Polje Renunciation.
The document exists in the form of a letter from April
, 1203, which was sent by Johannes de Casamaris, the papal legate and chaplain. It is clear
from the letter that Casamaris discovered no heresy. This can be found through the examination
of several key aspects of the document.
The letter is concerned only with confirming the Latin rite.
For example, all Catholic
churches in Bosnia were to have crosses and altars; priests were to receive communion from
other priests a minimum of seven times a year; and members of the clergy were to be buried in
cemeteries that were a part of or adjoined to churches. At most, this would imply that before the
papal legate had come to Bosnia, some churches, at least, did not have either crosses or altars;
priests rarely took communion from one another; and they were commonly buried in locations
Being sent with authority given by Apostolic writ and arriving at some point in the land of the said Kulin, you
are to seek most diligently the truth about the faith and conduct of Kulin, his wife, and the men in his lands; and
following the Catholic faith, you have found the Apostolic doctrine confirmed (ep. 28, p. 225).
See ep. 36 (dated 1203), in Acta Innocentii PP. III (1198-1216), pp. 235-237.
In the first, we repudiateand receive with the ancient practices (ep. 36, pp. 235-236).
Teskeredzic 19
other than church graveyards, presumably on family grounds. However, it is much more
important to note that the letter makes no reference to heresy, although Casamaris gives specific
instructions on how to combat heterodox teachings and their teachers. Clearly, Casamaris found
no heretics; otherwise, he would have explicitly stated whom he had encountered and what
actions and measures he had taken. Furthermore, he may have believed that there were heretics
in the area, but they had been hidden from him; hence, he explicitly stated the Latin rite as a
precautionary measure. Although there appears to have been no heresy in Bosnia at the time, the
letter gives another key insight into the mindset of the clergy and upper Church officials. It
shows that any heresy was perceived as a real and potential threat that was to be investigated and
dealt with immediately.
The five papal sources that were examined above are essential for our understanding of
the role of the popes in shaping a Bosnian identity in the years between 1180 and 1204. While
Alexander III extended his recognition to the Bosnian Ban, Kulin, it was Innocent III who
enlarged the role and the realm of the Catholic Church in Bosnia. Indeed, Innocent was so
involved in the region from 1199 to 1204, that the argument could easily be made that he helped
form a Bosnian identity by considering and investigating the possibility of a heterodox group of
renegades residing in the area. The term Bosnian, when applied by Innocent, associated the
Bosnians with heresy, giving them the material with which to construct an identity.
Teskeredzic 20
Chapter IV: Hungarian Interests
Hungary was a dominant force and presence in the central and eastern Balkans in the late
twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. Therefore, any discussion of medieval Bosnia must take
developments in Hungary into consideration. After all, Emeric was Ban Kulins nominal
The issue of Hungarian interests in the region first appears in the letter sent by Vukan to
Innocent III in 1199. Vukan explicitly lists Bosnia as the domains and territory of the Hungarian
The letter then leads into a discussion of how to deal with Kulin, his family, and his
subjects, and about the power of the Hungarian king in the region.
Vukan knew that when the
Hungarian king has been irritated, he has compelled those to come to your presence to be
examined by you [Innocent III]. They have forged letters and told you to read them. Vukan
asked the pope to suggest to the Hungarian king that he may tear him [Kulin] from his kingship,
like a weed from wheat.
Apparently, in Vukans eyes King Emeric had the ability to select
and depose Bosnian rulers.
Precisely, we do not wish to hide from your fatherhood that a not small heresy can be seen spreading in the land
of the Hungarian king, namely Bosnia (Ep. 176, col 726).
The Hungarians increasingly maintained a presence in the northern and central Balkans with the slow and steady
Byzantine withdrawal, which began in the 1180s.
Ep. 176, col. 726.
Teskeredzic 21
Hungarys dominance in the region is further detailed in Pope Innocent IIIs 1200 letter
to Emeric. The pope reasserted Emerics claim to Bosnia.
In this case, however, Innocent
went further than Vukan, encouraging the king to confiscate all the goods by whatever means
they have arrived in your lands. Do not take your eyes from the above-mentioned Ban [Kulin] to
the point of exercising your temporal authority against him if you cannot bring him back to the
straight path.
The Hungarian monarch now had papal sanction not only to replace Kulin, but
also to confiscate the property and goods of any of those accused of heresy, including Kulin
himself. This viewpoint is substantiated by the papal bull of Viterbo (1199), which made heresy
and treason equivalent in the eyes of the Church; for now, politicians and local potentates could
punish heretics along with their Church colleagues.
Therefore, religious and secular judgment
and punishment overlapped. Emeric of Hungary had what amounted to a blank check to deal
with Bosnia. His designs for the region were only halted by the growing strength of a resurgent
The above-mentioned papal correspondence helps to introduce the complex and intricate
relationship that existed in the Balkans at the time. The situation was further complicated by the
withdrawal of Byzantium, the reemergence of Bulgaria as a separate state, and the growing
power of Hungary and Serbia. The presence of Hungary in the central Balkans dates back to
And unless the above-mentioned Ban exiles all the heretics from the land under his authority, confiscates all their
goods, you ought to exile him and those heretics not only from his land but also from the entire Kingdom of
Hungary (Ep. 19, p. 209).
Ep. 19, p. 209.
E. Vacandard, The Inquisition. A Critical and Historical Study of the Coercive Power of the Church (New York:
Longmans, Green, and Co., 1915), pp.45-46. Vacandard notes that Innocent issued this bull against the Cathars and
the Patarenes of Italy, and that Innocent gave local rulers the right to punish heretical princes and confiscate their
lands. It is important to note at this point that Vukans first accusations of heresy against Kulin came in that same
year (1199).
Teskeredzic 22
1102, when Coloman was proclaimed King of Croatia.
This was followed by a similar
annexation in Dalmatia in 1107. From 1107 onward, Bosnia, Hum, Serbia, and Duklja remained
part of a shifting sphere of influence, belonging either to Hungary or Byzantium. An example of
the constant flux in Bosnia emerges with Ban Bori, a Hungarian subject.
Ban Bori was not only the predecessor to Ban Kulin, but he was a Slavonian. Little is
known of him, except that he ruled the region from 1153 to approximately 1167.
In his final
year, he provided troops and assistance to the Hungarian army at Zemun.
However, following
the Hungarian defeat, Ban Kulin came to power with the assistance of Emperor Manuel I
Komnenos. This defeat would prove a serious setback for Hungarian interests in the region for
the following thirteen years.
The death of Komnenos in 1180 ended the period of Byzantine dominion. Therefore,
Kulin, like his predecessor, was to return Bosnia to the Hungarian fold. It is after 1180 that the
Bosnian-Hungarian relationship became hotly contested. Bosnia was mentioned in the title of
the King of Hungary, and some of the nobles in the northern parts of Bosnia probably even
recognized his suzerainty. There is no evidence, however, that the Hungarians actually occupied
any part of BosniaUnder Kulin in the 1180s and 1190s there is no sign of direct Hungarian
influence within Bosnia.
Nonetheless, there is good evidence in the papal correspondence that
the Hungarians had a free hand to intervene in Bosnia, if necessary.
Fine, Late Medieval Balkans, p. 17.
That date can be disputed since Kulin was brought to prominence in 1163 with Manuel I Komnenos.
Fine, Late Medieval Balkans, p. 17.
Fine, Late Medieval Balkans, p. 17.
Teskeredzic 23
Sima irkovi has demonstrated that, in fact, by the late twelfth century Bosnia and
Kulin were controlled from Hungary, not Byzantium.
His argument is clearly supported by
Innocent IIIs correspondence, which shows an established relationship between Kulin and
Innocent refers to Emeric as Kulins lord, and, evidently, he thought of Emeric as
capable and powerful enough to handle the supposed heresy, as well as Kulin. The idea of Kulin
as a Hungarian vassal is further substantiated by the Hungarian intervention in Bosnia in the
The papal sources and irkovis argument indicate that Hungary could and would
eventually spread its influence and territorial hold into Bosnia. Moreover, the rebellion of
Andrewfuture King Andrew IIwho established himself in the region strongly suggests that
Hungary had a good grip of local politics in the central Balkans. In 1198, Andrew forced his
brother, King Emeric, to acknowledge him as Duke of Croatia and Dalmatia and thus as a
virtually autonomous Hungarian ruler over the Balkan territories.
Andrews troops later
occupied Hum as far as the Neretva River.
This brought Hungary or at least the rule of a
Hungarian prince to the doorstep of Kulins Bosnia. It is therefore likely that Pope Innocent IIIs
request of a strong-handed intervention in the region have received Andrews approval. What
seems to have prevented a showdown in Bosnia was the Fourth Crusade, especially the
complications resulting for the papal-Hungarian relations from the conquest of Zara. In addition,
the war with Serbia and Bulgaria distracted the attention of the Hungarian king away from the
Bosnian problem.
Sima M. irkovi, Jedan prilog o banu Kulinu. Istorijski asopis 9-10 (1959-1960), 71-78.
Ep. 19, p. 209, and ep. 28, p. 225.
Fine, Late Medieval Balkans, p. 22.
Fine, Late Medieval Balkans, p. 45.
Teskeredzic 24
The Second Bulgarian Empire emerged as a counterbalance to Byzantine and Hungarian
designs in the Balkans. Under Kalojan (1197-1207), Bulgaria became a formidable bulwark
against Hungarian intervention in the Balkans. When attacked by his brother Vukan of Duklja
and his Hungarian supporters, Stephen II Nemanja of Serbia fled to Kalojan, who helped him
regain his position on the Serbian throne, strengthening Bulgaria in the process. It was also at
this time that Ban Kulin attacked the lands of the Hungarian king, which were most likely the
lands of Vukan, his subject.
From the evidence that we have, it appears that Kulin was acting
in cooperation with Nemanja, who was his relative through Kulins widowed sister. Whatever
the motives, the aftermath is clear. The Pope received word from Emeric of the attack, but
instead of acknowledging his complaint, Innocent refocused his attention on the Fourth Crusade.
Innocents reaction may have been based on several factors. During this period, Innocent
had been attempting to expand his influence not only to the south but also to the east, into
Bulgaria. Consequently, Hungarys war with Bulgaria and Serbia was viewed as a threat to
Kalojans acceptance of papal authority. These tense negotiations between the papacy and
Bulgarians began in 1199 and did not end until 1204.
The fact that Emeric delayed the passage
of a papal legate destined for Bulgaria as late as 1204 demonstrates the strain in the relationship
between the papacy, Hungary, and Bulgaria. Therefore, in 1201, when hostilities had only just
begun, the situation must have been worse for the Pope, who sought to keep Emeric and Kalojan
under the same Catholic banner.
This must have weighed in on the Popes reply to Emeric, which diminished the
importance of his complaints about Kulin. Furthermore, Kulins family ties to Nemanja further
irkovi, Jedan prilog, pp. 71-78.
R. L. Wolff, The Second Bulgarian Empire. Its origin and history to 1204, Speculum 24 (1949),190-206; Vasil
Giuzelev, Papstvoto i blgarite prez srednovekovieto (IX-XV v.) (Sofia: Blgarsko istorichesko nasledstvo, 2009), pp.
Teskeredzic 25
complicated the situation, as it could have easily destroyed the already precarious situation of
Catholicism in the eastern and central Balkans. It was only with Emerics reaffirmation of his
pledge to go on crusade that the Popes attention turned once again to Bosnia. After a balance-
of-power-like arrangement had been reached, Innocent ordered his legates to travel to the lands
of Kulin to find and eradicate the heresy growing there.
Therefore, when examining Hungarian interests in the central Balkans, particularly
Bosnia, in the years of Ban Kulin, it becomes evident that the area was a wrought with political
problems emerging from competing interests. Although the Hungarian monarch and his younger
brother had plans to take over the region, the Fourth Crusade and the war with Serbia and
Bulgaria eventually prevented their intervention in the area. However, this is not to say that the
Hungarian king did not flex his muscle in the region. The Bilino Polje Renunciation shows that
Kulins son and the members of his court went before the Hungarian monarch to ratify the
proclamation. However, Hungarian ambitions in Bosnia could not be realized until the
intervention of the 1230s, when the crown and the papacy began to battle the supposed heresy
entrenched in the region.
Teskeredzic 26
Chapter V: Internal Serbian Politics
It would be an understatement to say that the state of Serbian politics in the late twelfth
and early thirteenth centuries had a profound effect upon Bosnia. It was mentioned previously
that Ban Kulin himself had marital ties to Stephen II Nemanja, the ruler of Serbia, through his
sister, the widow of Miroslav of Hum. Therefore, Bosnias involvement in Serbian politics was
guaranteed, and the events of 1199 only help to reinforce this notion.
In order to assess the political situation in Serbia at the time, it is essential to discuss the
relationship between the various Serbian rulers. Stephen I Nemanja had several brothers, the
most important of whom was Miroslav of Hum, who took Ban Kulins sister as his wife. After
the death of Miroslav and the exile of his heir, Ban Kulins sister returned to the court of her
brother in Bosnia. Furthermore, Stephen I Nemanja had three sons of his own: the future
Stephen II, Vukan of Duklja, and Rastko (the future St. Sava). Of these three, it was only Sava
who managed to evade and downplay any conflict between Vukan, the eldest, and Stephen II, the
heir presumptive. Add to this Vukans desire to rule the entirety of Serbia and Bosnia, and it
becomes apparent that there were serious tensions in the region.
In 1199, Vukan directed accusations of heresy against Ban Kulin to Innocent III. As was
noted previously, Kulin is not mentioned in the papal sources between 1180 and 1199. One can
Teskeredzic 27
therefore wonder why was a charge of heresy leveled against Kulin, his wife, his sister, and his
family after 19 years of near indifference by the papacy? To answer this question it is necessary
to delve into the sources and determine the state of Serbian politics.
Vukan of Duklja, the elder brother of Stephen II and Miroslav, was styling himself by
the same grace of God king of Duklja and Dalmatia by 1199.
In the few years prior to his
heresy accusations, he had submitted himself and his domains to the pope, going as far as to
request a papal crown.
Furthermore, he had petitioned and gained papal sanction to restore Bar
to the rank of archbishopric. The bishop of Bosnia was to be its suffragan. Ban Kulin chose to
ignore Bar and deferred to Dubrovnik in all Church matters. This must have created more
animosity, as Vukan had a well-established relationship with Hungary and the papacy. It is quite
clear from this political context that Vukans motives were of a secular, non-religious nature.
The political nature and consequences of the accusations were significant. For example,
why would Vukan mention Kulins own sister? This question has a two pronged answer. First
and foremost, Miroslav of Hum had harbored the murderers of Archbishop Rainer of Split,
refusing to return the money they had stolen and to punish them.
To frustrate the pope even
further, he drove out the bishop of Ston, earning himself an excommunication in the process.
Miroslav then proceeded to transform the province into a bastion of Orthodoxy. Additionally,
Kulins sister had given birth to several heirs, who could counter any claims to the throne of
As for the charges of heresy that were brought against Kulin by Vukan, the only
ecclesiastical reason lies in Kulins refusal to acknowledge the bishop of Bosnia as a suffragan of
Ep. 176, col 726.
Curta, Southeastern Europ, p. 389.
Fine, Late Medieval Balkans, p. 20.
Teskeredzic 28
the archbishop of Bar, particularly since the archbishop had been selected by Vukan. Indeed,
Vukans elevation of Bar was motivated by his desire to concentrate more power in his hands,
especially in spheres where his brother Stephen could not lay claim, e.g. Bosnia.
The political basis of the heresy accusations is further substantiated by an examination of
Vukans actions between 1202 and 1203. With Hungarian support, Vukan attacked and seized
power from Stephen Nemanja in 1202. Later in that same year, or in the early 1203, Innocent III
addressed him as the Great upan of Serbia and sent a legate to bring the Church of Serbia
into union with the Roman Church.
The legate in question was no other than the Archbishop
of Kalocsa, who was told on that same day that he was in charge of severing the ties of the
Serbian Church with Constantinople and with ensuring its obedience to Rome.
The papal
sources demonstrate that the pope condoned the regime change implemented by Vukan with
Emerics support. However, it is important to note that at this point that the ruler Vukan had
ousted, Stephan Nemanja, had previously sought a papal crown himself. Why would the pope
then support a coup against his proteg? Vukan was Emerics man, and Pope Innocent viewed
Emeric as his most important ally in the region. The pope, therefore, may have hoped to control
Vukan by proxy. That was definitely not the case with Stephen Nemanja, who was at war with
Emeric. From a papal point of view, it made sense to sanction and even support Vukans
personal ambitions for the throne of Serbia.
See Ep. 33 (dated to 1202-1203), in Acta Innocentii PP. III (1198-1216), p. 209. The pope announced that he
would send his legate to the lands of the Great upan of Serbia for the purpose of implementing the institutions of
the Roman Church to bring the Church of Serbia into union with the Roman Church. The editor noted that these
lands had been brought to the Hungarian king by Vukan.
See Ep. 35 (dated to March 22 1203), in Acta Innocentii PP. III (1198-1216), pp. 234-235.
Teskeredzic 29
In November 1202, Emerics lands were attacked by Ban Kulin.
The lands in question
were most likely not within Hungary proper, but belonged to Emerics ally, Vukan.
this was in retaliation for the claims made by Vukan or part of a bid by Stephan to regain the
throne is unclear. What is clear is that Kulin was now in direct conflict with Vukan, and the
latters complaints reached Emeric. From Emeric they were sent to the pope, who seems to have
downplayed their importance, as he recommended instead that Emeric return his focus to the
Fourth Crusade. By now, the power configuration in the region had changed again. Stephen
Nemanjas supporter was Kalojan, the ruler of Bulgaria, who had meanwhile acknowledged
papal supremacy. However, Innocent III decided to send a legate, Johannes de Casamaris, to
investigate Kulin and his lands for heresy. In the end, Vukans earlier accusations seem to have
grown legs.
By 1203, Kulin and the abbots of Bosnia signed the Bilino Polje Renunciation, indicating
that there was no heresy to boot. Furthermore, in 1204, Stephen regained his throne, and Vukan
eventually returned to Duklja to rule his domains.
Looking back at the years between 1199 and 1204, Serbian politics definitely had a great
deal of influence on the situation in Bosnia. Vukan of Duklja, in particular, and his political and
territorial desires seem likely candidates for motivating the accusations of heresy directed against
Ban Kulin. It is of course possible that there were heretics in Bosnia at that time, but if there
were any at Ban Kulins court or among the members of his family, then Johannes de Casamaris
would not have missed the opportunity to report them. Since no heretics were named and no
heresy found, the case for Vukans desire to acquire Bosnia, by any means necessary, is made
Fine, Late Medieval Balkans, p. 48.
Fine, Late Medieval Balkans, 48, notes that the Hungarian king added Serbia to his title. Hungarian kings were
to retain the name Serbia in their titles.
Teskeredzic 30
stronger. Therefore, when constructing Bosnia and its identity, credit must be given to the
Nemanji rulers of Serbia, Duklja, and Hum.
Chapter VI: Conclusions
The creation of an ethnic or national identity requires years of development and
evolution. The Bosnian identity emerging in the late twelfth and early thirteenth century Balkans
was no exception. It was the product of the beliefs and preconceptions of foreigners about what
it meant to be Bosnian, as is demonstrated by the Greek and papal sources.
The first true reference to Bosnia was in the title of Emperor Manuel I Komnenos.
Interestingly, it was used in the adjectival form; hence its translation as Bosnian. The term
banus Bos(s)inus or Bosnian Ban - was not used until 1180, when Theobaldo, Pope Alexander
IIIs legate, was addressing Ban Kulin, the ruler of Bosnia. Again, the adjectival form of Bosnia
was used. This was to be repeated by Innocent III in his letter of 1200 to Emeric of Hungary,
when he referred to Kulin as Bosnian Ban. Clearly, both popes, or at the very least their
legates and scribes, had familiarized themselves with this name through the Greek sources.
There is no other logical explanation for the term Bosnian to exist in both papal and Greek
sources. Furthermore, although the term arose with the Byzantine emperors, the credit for the
creation of a Bosnian identity ultimately lies with Alexander and Innocent III.
Teskeredzic 31
Another intriguing fact lies in the use of the word Bosnian in the papal
correspondence. The popes called Kulin a Bosnian Ban. Kulin then began to use the title
Bosnian Ban as his own title in the Church inscriptions and charters that remain from his time.
The kings, lords, and rulers of other Western European dominions never used the adjectival
forms when referring to themselves, e.g. Hungarian King or French King. Why would Kulin
then style himself Bosnian Ban and not Ban of Bosnia?
Kulins own understanding of the term was not quite on par with the high Latin used by
the Popes and their legates. Therefore, Kulin came to use a term invented by outsiders to define
himself and those under his rule. Additionally, it is highly likely that Kulin began to adopt this
term increasingly because he wished to create a separate identity for himself and his subjects.
This is supplanted by the notion that the area of Bosnia was at that time being carved out from
the mountainous terrain over which Kulin was Ban. Creating an identity in this region was
further complicated by the territorial and political desires of the local magnates and rulers
surrounding Kulins Bosnia.
Vukan of Dukljas motives for declaring Kulin a heretic were clearly political, as
Johannes de Casamaris found no heresy in the region in 1203. The first accusations of heresy in
1199 preceded Vukans power play for the Serbian throne. With the recent death of Stephen I
Nemanja, Vukan most likely did not have the resources or recognition to expand into the Serbian
realm held by his brother, Stephen II Nemanja. Thus, expansion into the realm of Bosnia would
have been logical, as it was a small fiefdom ruled by a single man, whose allegiance changed
with the ebb and flow of Hungarian and Byzantine power. Additionally, the expansion of
Andrew, Duke of Croatia and Dalmatia, into the areas west of the Neretva River, gave Vukan the
Teskeredzic 32
support he needed. However, no decisive action was ever made against Bosnia and Ban Kulin
either by Vukan or the Hungarians.
Hungarian and Dukljan ambitions for Bosnia were thwarted by the ill-fated war with
Serbia. Vukan succeeded in taking the Serbian throne from his brother Stephen in 1202.
However, what neither he nor his suzerain, Emeric of Hungary, had anticipated came to fruition.
Stephen fled to the Bulgarian ruler, Kalojan, for protection and support. The resurgent Second
Bulgarian Empire managed not only to resist Hungary, but also to take precious ground away
from Emeric and Vukan, when Stephen was restored to power in 1207 or 1208. The further
complication that Kalojan, Emeric, Vukan, and Ban Kulin were all subjects of the Pope
prevented any further action. Emeric and Vukan were actually held in check to a great deal by
the Popes fear that war with Bulgaria would alienate his most recent convert. These same fears
may have prevented Vukan and Emeric from invading Ban Kulins lands, especially since Kulin
had family ties to Nemanja and, by proxy, to Kalojan.
Whether or not the people residing in Bosnia were heretics is still a matter of
scholarly debate, but it is certain that an identity began to take shape and to grow in medieval
Bosnia, particularly in the years after 1199 when Vukan first accused Kulin and his court of
heresy. If it were not for the impetus of Vukans claims, then the Bosnian identity would not
have formed in the manner in which it did. It could be said that the supposed heresy was integral
in formulating an identity for the Bosnians of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. In fact,
these previously nameless people became a unit or group through the beliefs, perceptions, and
labels of others. Consequently, had there been no heresy, there would have been no Bosnia.
Teskeredzic 33
Primary Sources
Acta Innocentii PP. III (1198-1216). Edited by Theodosius Haluynskyj.Vatican: Pontificia
Commissio ad Redigendum, 1944.
Branko Fui, Croatian Glagolitic and Cyrillic epigraphs. In Croatia in the Early Middle Ages.
A Cultural Survey. Edited by Ivan Supii, pp. 277-279. London/Zagreb: Philip Wilson
Publishers/AGM, 1999.
Codex Diplomaticus Regni Croatiae, Dalmatiae et Slavoniae. Edited by Tadija Smiiklas. Vol. 2.
Zagreb: Officina Societatis Typographicae, 1904.
Constantine Porphyrogenitus. De administrando Imperio.Edited by Gyula Moravcsik and transl.
by Romilly J. H. Jenkins. Washington: Dumbarton Oaks Center for Byzantine Studies, 1967.
Cyril Mango, The conciliar editct of 1166. Dumbarton Oaks Papers 17 (1963), pp. 324-330.
Patrologiae Cursus Completus, Series Latina, edited by J.-P. Migne. Volume 214. Paris: Garnier,
Secondary Sources
Milo Blagojevi, "Seenica (Setzenica), Strymon (Strymon) i Tara (Tara) u delu Jovana
Kinama," Zbornik radova Vizantolokog Instituta 17 (1974), pp. 65-76.
Ivan Bozhilov, A. Totomanova and Ivan Biliarski,. Borilov Sinodik. Izdanie i prevod. Sofia:
PAM, 2010.
Sima M. irkovi, Jedan prilog o banu Kulinu. Istorijski asopis 9-10 (1959-1960), pp. 71-78.
Florin Curta, Southeastern Europe in the Middle Ages, 500-1250. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 2006.
Teskeredzic 34
Alain Ducellier, La faade maritime de l'Albanie au Moyen Age. Durazzo et Valona du XI-me
au XVme sicle. Thessaloniki : Institute for Balkan Studies, 1981.
John V. A. Fine, The Bosnian Church: A New Interpretation. New York, Columbia University
Press, 1975.
John V. A. Fine. The Late Medieval Balkans. A Critical Survey from the Late Twelfth Century to
the Ottoman Conquest. Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press, 1987.
Vasil Giuzelev, Papstvoto i blgarite prez srednovekovieto (IX-XV v.).Sofia: Blgarsko
istorichesko nasledstvo, 2009.
Snezhana Rakova, "Regestes des chartes des souverains bosniaques XIIe-XVe sicles. Quelques
remarques sur la terminologie dans les titres de ces souverains," Revue des tudes sud-est-
europennes 42 (2004), pp. 31-36.
E. Vacandard, The Inquisition. A Critical and Historical Study of the Coercive Power of the
Church. New York: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1915.
Lothar Waldmller, Die Synoden in Dalmatien, Kroatien und Ungarn. Von der
Vlkerwanderung bis zum Ende der Arpaden (1311). Paderborn/Munich/Vienna/Zrich, F.
Schningh, 1987.
R. L. Wolff, The Second Bulgarian Empire. Its origin and history to 1204, Speculum 24
(1949), pp. 190-206.
Tibor ivkovi, Constantine Porphyrogenitus kastra oikoumena in the Southern Slavs
principalities Istorijski asopis 57 (2008), pp. 9-28.
Teskeredzic 35
Nobili et potenti viro Culin bano Bosine Thebaldus dei gratia sancte romane ecclesie
subdianconus apostolice sedis legatus cum benedictione et victoria salutem. Multum
desiderauimus personam vestram videre et benedictionem et litteras domini pape vobis
representare. Nunc vero quia per nosmetipsos non possumus, per latorem presentium et
benedictionem et litteras domini pape mittimus et representamus magnitudienm liberalitatis et
glorie vestre rogantes, ut pro reuerentia beati Petri apostolic et domini pape et pro salute anime
vestre duos famulos et pelles marturinas nobis mittatis, et si placet prudentie vestre per nos
aliquid domino pape significare, sciatis quod libenter et fideliter vos exaudiemus.
Teskeredzic 36
To the noble and powerful man, Kulin, Bosnian Ban, I, Theobaldo, by the grace of God
subdeacon of the Holy Roman Apostolic See sent as a legate, salute you with praise and victory.
Much have we desired to see your person and to show the praise and letters of our lord Pope
(Alexander III). Now, truly because we cannot on behalf of ourselves, then enquiring of your
fame through the present lawgiver and letters of the lord Pope, we send and represent the bulk
generosity, on behalf of the reverence of the apostle, St. Peter, and of the lord Pope. May you
send two servants and marten pelts for the health of your soul. And if it pleases your discretion
to show us anything on behalf of the lord Pope, you may know that with pleasure and reliance on
God we shall listen to you in the future.
Teskeredzic 37
(1199 C.E.)
Sed et regnum suum pontifici commendat, et hortatur ut ad Ungariae regem scribat de expulsion
Beatissimo atque sanctissimo Patri et domino INNOCENTIO Dei gratia sacrosanctae
Romanae Ecclesiae summo pontifici et universali papae, WLCANUS eadem gratia Diocliae
atque Dalmatiae rex, salutem et devotionis affectum.
Venientibus ad nostram praesentiam domino Joanne capellano et domino Simone
religiosis et discretis sanctae catholicae et apostolicae sedis legatis, amodo jucundati sumus: quia
sicut solis detur illustrare, ita illorum sancta et salubri praelicatione totum regnum nostrum
creditur fore illustratum. Un le merito dicimus: Visitavit nos oriens ex alto (Luc I, 78). Illorum
itaque probitate et scientia nos informati, Deo et paternitati vestrae innumeras grates rependere
curamus, qui tales ad nos misistis, quales in voto semper habuimus suscipiendos, divino munere
praeditos, quia omne datum optimum et omne donum perfectum desursum est. Praesentatis
igitur litteris vestris, intelleximus, quia postulationibus nostris apostolatus vestri beatitudo
misericorditer acquievit. Unde nos cum magna animi devotione praecepimus ut per totum
regnum nostrum omnia quae secundum Deum sunt ordinent ex confirment; quae autem contraria
sunt, juxta illud propheticum, evellant et destruant. Accedentes itaque ad locum ubi antiquitus
concilium celebrari solitum fuit, sanctum synodum celebrare studuerunt, de vitiis et virtutibus
subtiliter disserentes, in communi Deo et beatissimae Mariae perpetuae virgini et beato Petro
apostolorum principi nec non et apostolatui vestro laudum praeconia persolventes. Interea
noverit paternitas vestra, quia augustali stemmate undique insignimur et, quod gloriosius et
beatius est, vestry generosi sanguinis affinitatem habere cognovimus. Igitur innotescimus quia in
voto habuimus nunc legatos nostros ad pedes beatitudinis vestrae transmittere. Sed quia terram
illam turbatam esse audivimus, facere non potuimus: quia vestris legatis ubique debita reverentia
exhibetur; sed nostri, dum illuc ire voluerint, cum magna honoris magnificentia, damna forsitan
et exitium patientur. Sed dum opportunum aut congruum tempus affuerit, honorificentius
faciemus; qui sanctae exhortationis vestrae verba perferant, quae dulciora nobis sunt super mel et
favum. Siquidem sperantes et certum tenentes, quia ex quo vicarius Domini nostri Jesu Christi
existis, ipse per te nobis aditum regni caelestis aperire dignetur. Et quia nullo in hoc saeculo
Teskeredzic 38
indigemus, multum rogamus ut pro nobis peccatoribus preces ad Dominum fundatis. Demum
vero paternitatem vestram nolumus latere quia haeresis non modica in terra regis Ungariae,
videlicet Bessina pullulare videtur, in tantum quod peccatis exigentibus, ipse Bacilinus cum
uxore et cum sorore sua, quae fuit defuncti Mirosclovichemensi, et cum pluribus consanguineis
suis seductus, plusquam decem millia Christianorum in eamdem haeresim introduxit. Unde rex
Ungariae exacerbatus, illos ad vestram praesentiam compulit venire a vobis examinandos. Illi
autem simulatis litteris redierunt, dicentes a vobis concessam sibi legem. Unde rogamus ut regi
Ungariae suggeratis ut eos a regno suo evellat, tanquam zizania a tritico.
Letter of King Vukan of Duklja and Dalmatia to the Lord Pope
But and he commits his kingship to the Pontiff, and he is urged that he may write to the
Hungarian king of the expulsion of the heretics.
Most blessed and sacred Father and lord Innocent most sacred pontiff of the Roman
Church and universal pope by the grace of God, Vukan by the same grace of God king of Duklja
and Dalmatia sends his greetings and the expression of his devotion.
As John, the chaplain, and Simon, a monk and special legate of the sacred Holy Catholic
and Apostolic See, came to our presence we were delighted to learn the following: because just
as the splendor of the sun in its virtue, radiating across the whole world, demonstrates in the
same way their holy and proper sermon is supposed to have shown publicly in our entire realm.
On which account we say: because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will
come to us from heaven (Luke I: 78). As we learned from their competence and knowledge, we
give innumerable thanks to your fatherhood and to God that those whom you have always
promised to us are the same as those who were sent to us, rich in Gods grace because all the best
giving and the all the perfect gifts are from above.
After they have shown us your letters, we understand the pontificate of your holiness
mercifully rejoiced in our petition. Consequently, we order with great devotion of the soul so
that through our entire realm those who live according to God be ordained and confirmed;
however, all those who are against it, as has been said in the prophecies, are to be eradicated and
destroyed. And arriving in that place where the old council used to be celebrated, they were
eager to summon the holy synod to discuss in detail the vice and virtues and they rendered public
praises in communion with God, the holy and perpetual Virgin Mary, and St. Peter, prince of the
Apostles, as well as your apostolate. In the meantime, your fatherhood will learn that we are
distinguished through a venerable pedigree on all sides and, which is blessed and glorified, we
know have affinity to your noble blood. Therefore, we proclaim that we promise to now send
our envoys to the feet of your holiness. But because we have heard that land to be disturbed, we
have not been able to do much. In addition your legates were due the appropriate honor while
ours who wanted to go there, carrying great and magnificent gifts were about to suffer harm and
perhaps destruction. But when the opportune and good time will appear, we will keep our
promise. We will take the words of your holy exhortation, words that are sweeter to us than
Teskeredzic 39
honey and honeycomb. Therefore, we hope and are certain that through you as the vicar of Jesus
Christ our Lord the Kingdom of Heaven will open to us. And because we demand nothing in
this generation, we ask much in prayers to God for our sins. Precisely, we do not wish to hide
from your fatherhood that a not small heresy can be seen spreading in the land of the Hungarian
king, namely Bosnia. In all that land, the heresy was introduced with all the sins brought
forward by the same Ban Kulin with his wife and sister, who was the wife of the late Miroslav,
and with many relatives, in addition to 10,000 Christians. Whence the Hungarian king has been
irritated, he has compelled those to come to your presence to be examined by you. They have
forged letters and told you to read them. When we ask that you may suggest to the Hungarian
king that he may tear him from his kingship, like a weed from wheat.
Pontificatus Annus III
22 febr. 1200 21 febr. 1201
(Anno 1200 die 11oct.)
Rex Hungariae, ut contra haereticos Patarenos Bosnae strenue procedat, admonetur.
Karissimo in Christo filio H. Regi Hungarorum Illustri.
Cum ad vindictam maleficiorum []
Accepimus autem, quod nuper ven[erabilis] f[rater] n[oster],Spalaten[sis]
Archiepiscopus, Patarenos non paucos de Spalaten[si] et Tragurien[si] civitatibus effugasset,
nobilis vir Culinus, Banus bossinus, iniquitati eorum non solum tutum latibulum sed et
praesidium contulit manifestum, et perversati eorumdem terram suam et se ipsum exponens,
ipsos pro catholicis, immo ultra catholicos honoravit, vocans eos autonomastice christianos. Ne
igitur huiusmodi morbus, si eius non obsistatur principiis, vicina corrumpat, et in Regnum, quod
absit, Ungariae defluat labes eius, serenitatem regiam rogamus, monemus et exhortamur in
Domino, in remissionem tibi peccaminum iniungentes, quatinus ad vindicandam tantam Christi
et christianorum iniuriam potenter et regaliter accingaris, et nisi Banus praedictus universes
haereticos de terra suae potestati subiecta proscripserit, bonis eorum omnibus confiscatis, tu eum
et haereticos ipsos non solum de terra eius sed de toto Ungariae regno proscribas, et bona talium,
ubicunque per terram tuam potuerunt inveniri, confisces, nec parcat oculus tuus Bano praedicto,
quin contra eum iurisdictionem exerceas temporalem, si alias ad viam rectitudinis non poterit
revocari. []
Datum Laterani V id[us] octobris.
Teskeredzic 40
Year III of the Pontificate
22 February 1200 21 February 1201
(11 October 1200)
The King of Hungary is reminded so that he may actively proceed against the Patarenes of
To the dearest son in Christ the noble Hungarian king.
About the extirpation of evil deeds [] we have learned that recently our venerable
brother, the Archbishop of Split, chased not a few Patarenes from the cities of Split and Trogir.
The noble man Kulin, the Bosnian Ban, had provided not only asylum for their wrongdoings but
also protection, thus by such means opening his country and himself up to their wickedness. He
honored them as Catholics, even as more than Catholics, calling them undisciplined Christians.
Thus in this way the disease corrupts the neighbors, lest it is resisted by the princes, and it flows
into the neighboring Kingdom of Hungary. We bring the Lords name to mind and are
encouraged in Him to beseech you for the remission of sins to the point of preparing for the
punishment of all the injustice perpetrated on Christ and the Christians. And unless the above-
mentioned Ban exiles all the heretics from the land under his authority, confiscates all their
goods, you ought to exile him and those heretics not only from his land but also from the entire
Kingdom of Hungary. And you ought to confiscate all the goods by whatever means they have
arrived in your lands. Do not take your eyes from the above-mentioned Ban to the point of
exercising your temporal authority against him if you cannot bring him back to the straight path.
Issued on Lateran 5 Ides of October.
Teskeredzic 41
De haeresi Patarenorum in Bosna
(Anno 1202 die 21 nov.)
B. Spalatensi Archiepiscopo, et I. Capellano nostro.
Illam gerimus de discretione vestra fiduciam [] Cum igitur in terra nobilis viri, Culini
Bani, quorundam hominum multitudo moretur, qui de dampnata Catharorum haeresi sunt
vehementer suspecti et graviter infamati; nos carrisimo in Christo filio nostro Henrico, Regi
Ungarorum illustri, apostolica scripta direximus contra illos, qui praefatum Culinum super hoc
arguens et obiurgans praecepit, ut huiusmodi homines de tota terra sibi subiecta proscriberet,
bonis eorum omnibus confiscatis. []
Nuper ergo praefatus Culinus, Ven[erabilem] f[ratrem] n[ostrum]Archiepiscopum, et
dilectum fi[lium]Archidiaconum Ragusanum, et cum eis quosdam ex praefatis hominibus ad
nostram praesentiam destinavit, petens humiliter, ut aliquem virum idoneum de latere nostro in
terram suam mittere dignaremur, qui tam ipsum quam homines susos de fide ac conversatione
diligenter examinet, evellens et plantans, quae secundum Deum evellenda cognoverit et plantada.
Nos igitur, qui licet indigni, vicem eius exercemus in terries, qui non vult mortem
peccatorum sed ut convertantur et vivant, petitionem huiusmodi decrevimus admittendam, cum
correctionem eorum paterno desideramus affectu. Quocirca de communi fratrum nostrum
consilio, te fili Iohannes ad huius executionem negotii duximus destinandum, quod ut perfectius
executioni mandetur, te frater Archiepiscope, qui tum vicinitate locorum quam rerum experientia
super hoc notitiam obtines pleniorem, duximus adiungendum. Discretioni vestrae per a[postolica]
s[cripta] praecipiendo mandantes, quatinus ad terram praefati Culini pariter accedentes, de fide
ac conversatione tam ipsius quam uxoris, et hominum terrae suae inquiratis diligentissime
veritatem; et quae secundum fidem catholicam, apostolicamque doctrinam inveneritis
confirmanda, nostra freti auctoritate secundum ritum ecclesiasticum confirmetis. Si quae vero
inveneritis inter eos, quae sapiant haereticam pravitatem, et sanae adversentur doctrinae, ad viam
veritatis secundum fidei regulam reducatis. Quod si forsan monitis et mandatis vestris noluerint
acquiescere, vos in eos ap[pellatione] remota secundum constitutionem, quam edidimus adversus
haereticos, procedatis, attentius provisuri, ut, Deum habentes prae oculis, mandatum nostrum
cum omni puritate ac sollicitudine studiatis implere. Nos enim sententiam, quam canonice
protuleritis, ratam habebimus et faciemus auctore Deo inviolabiliter observari.
Datum Laterani XI kal[endas] decembris.
Teskeredzic 42
Concerning the Patarene Heresy in Bosnia
(21 November 1202)
To Bernard, the Archbishop of Split, and our chaplain Johannes.
We have placed that trust to your discretion [] Therefore within the land of the noble
man, Ban Kulin, some group of people live there, who are suspect of being of the wicked heresy
of the Cathars, and their reputation is seriously in doubt; we have sent the Apostolic writ to our
beloved son in Christ Henry, the noble King of Hungary, against them, and asked him to put the
above-mentioned Kulin in charge of the matter, to denounce and chastise, so that in this way
those people be banished from all the lands under his rule and all their goods be confiscated. []
Therefore, the above-mentioned Kulin, has sent to us our venerable brotherthe
Archbishop, and beloved son, the Archdeacon of Dubrovnik, and with them some of those
men mentioned above, asking humbly, so that we send in our magnanimity from our parts a few
suitable to his land, to whom he is going to look for instruction about faith and debate. They will
tear out [the heresy] and plant [the true faith] that which he will know through God to eradicate
and to plant.
Therefore we, who are undeserving, exercise the authority of Him, Who takes no
pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. We
declare in this way his request granted, and we wish with paternal love for their correction.
Wherefore from the common advice of our brothers and for the completion of this matter, we
delegate our son Johannes to you to be the one in charge. To him we add you, brother
Archbishop, because of the knowledge you have on the matter as a result of your proximity to
those places and your experience in such things. Being sent with authority given by Apostolic
writ and arriving at some point in the land of the said Kulin, you are to seek most diligently the
truth about the faith and conduct of Kulin, his wife, and the men in his lands; and following the
Catholic faith, you have found the Apostolic doctrine confirmed. You will confirm the
ecclesiastical right by our trusting authority. If indeed you will find among them those who
embraced heretical wickedness and are hostile to the right doctrine, you will bring them back to
the path of truth following the rule of the faith. If by any chance they shall not submit to your
advice and recommendations, you will take action against them according to the edict, which we
issued against heretics. Noting with God in your eyes, you will observe the execution of our
recommendation with all strictness and concern. We shall have made this judgment, which is to
be carried forth canonically, and we shall make it heeded without any alteration, inviolable by
the authority of God.
Teskeredzic 43
Issued on Lateran 11 Calends of December.
Instrumentum, quo Bosnae monachi constitutiones Ecclesiae Romanae servare promittunt.
(Anno 1203 die 30 apr.)
In nomine Dei aeterni, Creatoris omnium, et humani generis Redemptoris, anno ab ipsius
Incarnationis MCCIII, domini vero Innocentii papae III anno VI.
Nos priores illorum hominum, qui hactenus singulariter Christiani nominis praerogativa
vocati sumus in territorio Bosnae, omnium vice constituti pro omnibus, qui supra de nostra
societate fraternitatis, in praesentia domini Jde Casam[aris], capellani summi pontificis et
Romanae Ecclesiae in Bosna propter hoc delegati, praesente patrono Bano Culino, domino
Bosnae, promittimus coram Deo et sanctis eius stare ordinationibus et mandatis sanctae
Romanae Ecclesiae, tam de vita et conversatione nostra, quam ipsius obsecundare oboedientiae
et vivere institutis obligantis nos pro omnibus, qui sunt de nostra societate, et loca nostra cum
possessionibus et rebus omnibus, si aliquo tempore deinceps sectati fuerimus haereticam
In primis abrenuntiamus schismati, quo ducimur infamati, et Romanam Ecclesiam
matrem nostram et caput totius ecclesiasticae unitatis recognoscimus, et in omnibus locis nostris,
ubi fratrum conventus commoratur oratoria habebimus, in quibus fraters de nocte ad matutinas et
diebus ad horas cantandas publice simul conveniemus. In omnibus autem ecclesiis habebimus
altaria et cruces; libros vero tam novi quam veteris testamenti, sicut facit Ecclesia Romana,
legemus. Per singular loca nostra habebimus sacerdotes, qui dominicis et festivis diebus ad
minus missas secundum ordinem ecclesiasticum debeant celebrare, confessiones audire et
poenitentias tribuere. Cimiteria habebimus iuxta oratoria, in quibus fratrets sepeliantur et
adventantes, si casu ibi obierint. Septies in anno ad minus corpus Domini de manu sacerdotis
accepimus, scilicet in Natali Domini, Pascha, Pentecoste, Natali apostolorum Petri et Pauli,
Assumptione Virginis M[ariae], Natavitate eiusdem et Omnium Sanctorum commemoratione,
quae celebratur in kal[endis] novembris. Ieiunia constituta ab ecclesia observabimus, et ea, quae
maiores nostril provide praeceperunt, custodiemus. Feminae vero, quae de nostra erunt religione,
a viris separatae erunt tam in dormitoriis quam refectoriis, et nullus fratrum solus cum sola
confabulabitur, unde possit sinistra suspitio suboriri. Neque de cetero recipiemus aliquem vel
aliquam coniugatam, nisi mutuo consensu continentia promissa ambo pariter convertantur.
Festivitates autem sanctorum a sanctis patribus ordinatas celebrabimus, et nullum deinceps ex
certa scientia Manichaeum, vel alium haereticum ad habitandum nobiscum recipiemus. Et sicut
separamur ab aliis saecularibus vita et conversatione, ita etiam habitu secernamur vestimentorum,
quae vestimenta erunt clausa non colorata, usque ad talos mensurata. Nos autem de caetero non
Christianos, sicut hactenus, sed fraters nos nominabimus, ne singularitate nominis aliis
christianis iniuria inferatur. Mortuo vero Magistro, de hinc usque in perpetuum priores cum
consilio fratrum Deum timentium eligent praelatum a Romano tantum pontifice confirmandum.
Teskeredzic 44
Et si quid aliud Ecclesia Romana addere vel minuere voluerit, cum devotione recipiemus et
Quod ut in perpetuum robur obtineat, nostra subscriptione firmamus.
Actum apud Bosnam, iuxta flumen, loco qui vocatur Bolino Poili VI Idus aprilis. Dragite,
Lubin, Drageta, Pribis, Luben, Rados, Bladosius, Banus Culinus, Marinus archidiaconus Ragusii
subscripsimus. Idem nos Lubin et Tregeta ex voluntate omnium fratrum nostrum in Bosna et
ipsius Bani Culini, cum eodem Domino I. Capellano, ad H. illustrem Ungariae et
christianissimum euntes, in praesentia ipsius regis, et venerabilisColocensis archiepiscopi, et
Quinqueecclesiensis episcopi et aliorum multorum, in persona omnium iuravimus haec statuta
servare, et si quae alia Ecclesia Romana super nos ordinare voluerit, et secundum fidem
catholicam constituere. Factum in Insula Regia, II. kal. Amii.
Teskeredzic 45
The document, by which the monks of Bosnia promise to protect the decrees of the Roman
(30 April 1203)
In the name of God eternal, Creator of all, and redeemer of the human race, the year of
this Incarnation 1203, year six of the true lord Pope Innocent III.
To our abbots among those men (heretics), who thus far alone we can call Christian by
name in the territory of Bosnia and in all the villages established all throughout (which are apart
from our society of brotherhood). In the presence of our lord Johannes de Casamaris, the
chaplain of the highest pontiff and Holy See in Bosnia on behalf of this delegation, by the
present patron Ban Kulin, lord of Bosnia, whom we charge before God to remain by His sacred
regulations and mandates of the Holy Roman See, to our way of life and devotion, which
themselves comply with obedience, and to live according to our mandatory laws in all things,
which are of our society, and our dignity and territories and in all affairs, lest we root out
perverse heresies in later times.
In the first, we repudiate those who do not submit to Rome, by whom we (the Christian
community) are led to sin, and we recognize the Holy Roman See as our mother and the head of
the entire Universal Church. And in all our places, we shall have speakers, assembled from our
brothers, where it (heresy) lingers. We shall simultaneously convene and brothers shall sing in
public by night, morning, and throughout the hours of the day. Furthermore, in every church we
shall have altars and crosses. Indeed we shall read the books of the New and Old Testaments
just as is done in the Roman Church. For each place we shall have our priests, whose duty it will
be to celebrate Holy Mass and feast days for the lesser masses of secondary ecclesiastical
importance, hear confessions, and exact penitence. We shall have cemeteries placed near the
churches in which the brothers may be buried and visited, if by some cause they may die there
(Bosnia). Seven times a year we shall accept a small portion of the body of Christ from the hand
of a priest, indeed on Christmas, Easter, Pentecost, the birth of the apostles Peter and Paul, the
Assumption of the Virgin Mary, and in commemoration of all the Saints and their birthdays [All
Saints Eve], which may be celebrated on the Calends of November. We shall observe the
fasting instituted by the Church. And these we shall observe, which our elders of old taught us.
Indeed, women who observe our religion shall remain separate from the men with the result that
the former shall remain in dormitories and the latter in refectories, and none of the brothers shall
be able to speak with a woman alone; so that the fear of sin may come into being. Neither shall
we accept anyone or any type of other marriage, unless it is composed by mutual consent sent
equally from both parties. Moreover, we shall celebrate the feasts of saints set down by the Holy
Church fathers, and henceforth neither any of the teachings of Manichaeus, or any other heresy
shall we accept to remain among us. And just as we of the monastic life are separated from
Teskeredzic 46
others of the secular life, may we also be separated by our habits and vestments, which are
closed and not colored, and hang to the ankles. Moreover, in respect to others who are non-
Christians, we shall call them our brothers just as has been done to this day, so that injuries will
not be inflicted specifically upon those called Christians. Indeed by the counsel of the Dead
Teacher (Christ), the abbots, chosen from the brothers in God, shall fear the prelates (laws)
confirmed by the Roman Pope, just as has been done in perpetuity. Indeed, if someone should
wish to add or take anything to or from the Roman Church, we shall yet observe and receive with
the ancient practices.
So that all the above may be held in eternal strength, we affix our signatures.
Done in Bosnia, bordering rivers, which are called in that place Bilino Polje on the
day of April Year 6 (of Innocent III). We Dragite, Lubin, Drageta, Luben, Rados,
Bladosius, Ban Kulin, and Marinus Archdeacon of Ragusa (Dubrovnik) all sign this. Our same
Lubin and Tregeta (Drageta) by the wish of all of our brothers in Bosnia and Ban Kulin, himself,
along with the lord chaplain, Johannes, to the illustrious who is going to the illustrious and most
Christian Emeric of Hungary, in the presence of the king (Emeric) himself, and his elders
(advisors)Archbishop Colocensis (Kalocsa), and the five churches of the bishops and the other
congregations, we swear to abide by these statutes in the names of all these people, in order to
prevent anyone wishing to place himself above our Holy Roman Church and to create a second
Catholic faith. Signed in the palace of the Kingdom on the second kalends of May.