This is one of several translated excerpts from Byzantine sources produced and mounted with historical introduction and commentary by Paul Stephenson.


 

Chronicle of the Priest of Duklja, 1: Chapters 30-35

XXX. At this time Peter, the emperor of the Bulgars, died [AD 969]. He used to rule from the city of Great Preslav. The Greek emperor [John I Tzimiskes, 969-76] mustered a mighty host of his people and conquered the whole of Bulgaria which he subjected to his imperial rule. He then returned to his palace and relinquished command of his army. However, those whom he placed in charge led the army to capture the whole province of Rassa. [It is questionable whether Tzimiskes or his generals subjugated Rassa (Rashka).] The zupan of Rassa fled to King [325] Predimir, along with his two sons, Plenus and Radigrad, and his daughter who was named Prechvala. They found the king in the zupania of Onogost. When King Predimir saw his daughter, who was peculiarly beautiful and divinely proportioned, cupid's arrow lodged in his heart. He summoned his sons and commanded them to negotiate with the girl's father. They let it be known that if the zupan agreed to subject himself and his land forthwith to the king, and if he would swear fealty to the king and his sons, then the king would take his daughter as his wife. The zupan was delighted by these suggestions. Both he and his sons swore fealty to the king and his sons, and they pledged to devote themselves to whatever the king commanded. The king received the daughter as his wife, celebrating the nuptials in a regal fashion. He gave Tribessa to his [new] relatives [as a marriage gift], and established Radigrad as zupan of Onogost.

Not long after, when the Greek emperor had died [AD 976], King Predimir and his father-in-law sent orders to the citizens of Rassa, their allies. Since they now had nothing to fear they should murder the [326] Greeks who had been placed in charge of them. This was done. Once the Greeks had been killed, the king came with his father-in-law and cousins, took charge of the whole of Rassa, and instituted his father-in-law as the senior zupan, as he had been previously. His cousins were made zupans under their father's command, so that they might hold and rule that region fairly and justly.

Afterwards, King Predimir sired four sons, who bore the following names: The first born was called Chlavimir, the second Boleslav, the third Dragislav, and the fourth Svevlad. He divided his kingdom between them in this way: to Chlavimir he gave the region of Zenta with its cities and these zupanias: Lusca, Podlugiae, Gorsca, Cupelnich, Obliquus, Prapratna, Cermenica, Budva with Cuceva and Gripuli; to Boleslav he gave these zupanias: Libomir, Vetanica, Rudina, Crusceviza, Vrmo, Rissena, Draceviza, Canali, Gernoviza; [327] to Dragislav he gave the region of Chelmania and these zupanias: Stantania, Papava, Yabsko, Luca, Vellica, Gorimita, Vecenike, Dubrava and Debre; to Svevlad he gave the region which the Slavs call Podgoria, in Latin "Submontana", and these zupanias: Onogost, Moratia, Comerniza, Piva, Gerico, Netusini, Guisemo, Com, Debreca, Neretva and Rama. He called these four territories Tetrarchies.

King Predimir lived for many years and saw his sons' sons before he died at a ripe old age. He was entombed with great honour, reverence and glory in church of St. Peter in the episcopate of Rassa.
 

XXXI. His brother Cresimir [Crescimir] had a son named Stephen. After his father's death he ruled White Croatia and Bosna, and after him they [his descendants ?] always reigned in Croatia. Cresimir's son had a son by his concubine who had two crippled legs, and for a long time was unable to walk. He was called Leghec. After the death of his father, Leghec was taken to Tribunia [328] to his cousin Boleslav. He [Leghec] was served by a girl named Lovizza, who delighted him so much that they married, and she bore him seven sons who grew up to be bellicose youths who were formidable with arms.

Turning away from their father's path, the sons of King Predimir began to behave harshly and proudly towards the population they ruled. These people became increasingly disgruntled until they could no longer conceal their displeasure at the atrocities, and secretly sent messengers to the aforementioned seven brothers, and at the same time rose and drove out the sons and grandsons of the King [Predimir]. Having taken counsel, the seven sons, their father [Leghec] and the whole population together and willingly rose up and pursued the sons of the King [Predimir], and put them to the sword, from the youngest to the oldest. Only one escaped, a son of Boleslav named Sylvester, who fled with his mother Castreca to Lausium, which is now called Ragusium, (whence the mother of Sylvester had led her progeny). After they had completed the fratricide and slaughter Leghec's sons [329] began to rule the land. Their father lived on the Gulf of Kotor, at a place called Traiectus, where he had built a fortress and court for himself. However, after a short time the almighty Lord, who is pleased by good but frowns on evil practices and sins, caused the father's body and mind to be crippled, and also infected his sons with a pestilent disease. The brothers in turn infected the grandsons, until not a single one among them was left alive.

XXXII. When the population saw this a great fear overcame them, since they were without a king. Therefore, they decided to travel to Lausium and fetch Sylvester, the only surviving heir to the glorious king Predimir. They ordained him as their king, and once he had come into the kingdom, Sylvester ruled the whole of Tetrarchy in peace, and with reverence and justice. He sired a son named Tugemir, and died peacefully.

XXXIII. [330] Tugemir succeeded to the kingdom. Having taken a wife he sired a son whom he named Chvalimir. At that time, among the race of Bulgars, a certain Samuel commanded that he be called emperor, fought many battles with the Greeks, and drove them completely from Bulgaria. During his reign the Greeks did not dare approach that land. [Samuel Kometopoulos, with his three brothers, rebelled in AD 976, was sole ruler of Bulgaria by 987, and proclaimed himself Tsar in 997-8. 'That Land' was centred on Ohrid and Prespa, in the modern Republic of Macedonia]

XXXIV. After the death of King Tugemir, his son Chvalimir succeeded him as king. He took a wife and sired three sons: the first-born was named Petrislav, who ruled the region of Zenta, the second was Dragimir, who ruled Tribunia and Chelma, the third was Miroslav who held the territory of Podgoria. After he had divided the land among his sons, he [Chvalimir] died well into his dotage.

XXXV. On another occasion Miroslav had reason to visit his older brother. He boarded a ship and was sailing through Balta [Lake Scutari, or Skadarsko Jezero, which is bisected by the modern border between Montenegro and Albania] when a suddenly storm blew up. He and all those with him perished. His brother took over his land to rule in his stead. [331] Afterwards, King Petrislav sired a son whom he named Vladimir. After his death he was entombed in the church of St. Maria in a place called Gazeni. [Sisic corrects this to Craini, i.e. Krajina.]


Paul Stephenson 1998, 2000; January 2012