The legend of the migration of Croats

The legend about the immigration of Croats and about five brothers and two sisters who led them was created on the basis of records of the Byzantine emperor Constantine VII. Porphyrogenitus (912-959) in his work “De administrando imperio” (“On the management of the empire”)…

And he says: “…But at that time, Croats lived behind Bavaria, where the White Croats are now. A family of five brothers separated from them, Klukas and Lobelos and Koseniz and Muhlo and Hrvat and two sisters, Tuga and Buga, and they came with their people to Dalmatia and found the Avars as lords of the land. After fighting each other for several years, the Croats overpowered and killed some of the Avars and forced others to submit. And so since that time this country has been occupied by Croats, and in Croatia (Hrobatia) there are still descendants of the Avars, and they are recognized as Avars. The other Croats stayed with Francia and are now called White Croats, they are White Croats, and they have their own prince, they are subject to Otto, the great king of Francia, or Saxony, and they are unbaptized, and they marry pagans and make friends with them.


Of the Croats who came to Dalmatia, a part separated, and occupied Illyricum and Pannonia, they also had their own independent prince, who maintained friendly relations, and only through envoys, with the prince of Croatia. Croats in Dalmatia were subject to the Franks for many years, as they had been in their own country before, but the Franks oppressed them with such cruelty that they also killed infants and threw them to the dogs. The Croats could no longer tolerate such behavior of the Franks, so they rebelled, and killed those Franks they had as their leaders. Because of this, a large army marched on them from Franconia, and after seven years of war, the Croats finally managed to defeat the Franks together with their leader whose name was Kotzilin (Kocelj). From that time they were independent and self-governing, and, they demanded holy baptism from the bishop of Rome, and bishops were sent to baptize them, in the time of their prince Porin… “

Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus also states that the Croats came to today’s homeland at the beginning of the 7th century at the invitation of the Byzantine emperor Heraclius, to help him as war allies in the fight against the savage Avars. The Croats, who were organized as a tribe of warrior-horsemen and known for their strength, were not chosen by chance. The Byzantine Empire calculated that the Croats, after helping them carry out their plans, would disappear over time as did their former allies, but they were wrong.

Unlike Byzantium, the papacy did not underestimate but correctly judged the possibilities of the Croatian people. Thus, the first contacts and connections between the pope and the Croats were recorded in the papal chronicle “Liber Pontificalis”. It is written in it that Pope John IV. (640-642) sent to Dalmatia and Istria Abbot Martin, to pay ransoms for the captives and bones of the old Christian martyrs. Thanks to the help of Croatian leaders, Abbot Martin traveled to Dalmatia, and at the same time monitored the situation for the establishment of permanent relations.

Soon after settling, the Croats embraced Christianity thanks to the papacy, which performed baptisms according to the instructions of Pope Gregory I the Great, who advocated “the application of the true faith to the customs of the popular pagan faith.” So Pope Gregory I the Great states, among other things: “we do not climb by jumping to the top of a mountain, but a little, step by step … In the first place we should avoid demolishing the temples of idols; and to put holy powers in them … If temples are well built, it is a good and useful thing to pass from the service of demonism to the service of the true God, for the people, seeing thus transformed their old sanctuaries, will by habit be inclined to come there and worship the true God… “

Of course, everything that Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus writes about is not exactly correct. Some of the general things he talks about are accurate and correspond to what has been proven in other historical sources, but to take everything he wrote for truth word for word is meaningless because he writes about events that took place 300 years before they were described, and that is very much in the early Middle Ages.

The story of the brothers Klukas, Lobelos, Kosenz, Muhlo and Hrvat and the sisters Tuga and Buga as representatives of seven Croatian clans who defeated the Avars and immigrated to the Roman province of Dalmatia remained vividly in the people’s memory. After the eldest of the brothers, Hrvat (Hrvat = Croat) was later named by the entire nation, managing to survive despite numerous enemies. This is something that the common man could easily identify with by sticking to the folk tale and legend. Interestingly, the Czech people have a similar legend about the immigration of brothers and sisters, only the story is reversed with them. They immigrated to Czechia from the area of ​​today’s Croatia. The similarity of these two legends is certainly very intriguing.

Published by borisbirosevic

Hi! My name is Boris Birošević. I live in Zagreb, Croatia. My father studied history so he passed the love for it on me from my youth ages. He always told me interesting stories from history. I loved listening to him and I was always attracted to that, for me, unexplored and mystical world. I read all six books “History of the Croats” by Vjekoslav Klaić during my elementary school. During high school, I was (I could say) the best in history in my generation, and I further expanded my knowledge in college because we had a lot of history-related subjects. By the way, I have a master of journalism degree. I have been studying and dealing with history for 25 years, on a daily basis. I have a broad and deep knowledge of Croatian, European and worldwide history. My goal is to transfer my knowledge to others in an interesting and even so objective way. On my website and blog, I will try to bring details from Croatian history closer to foreigners because it is still unknown to many and difficult to access. I will also cover some topics that are close and related to Croatian history in a certain way (Western Balkans, Slavs, Austria-Hungary, etc.) I hope that on my page everyone will find something for himself. For me, history is not a job but a calling… Join me on my website "HISTORY OF CROATIA and related history"...

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