Croatia

   A Slavic state in the northwest of the Balkan Peninsula (q.v.). The origins of the Croatians have been the subject of much controversy. According to Constantine VII's De administrando imperio (qq.v.) the Croats emigrated to the Balkan Peninsula (qv.) at the invitation of Herakleios (q.v.), who sought their aid against the Avars (q.v.). Having defeated the Avars, they were themselves settled by Herakleios, were converted to Christianity, and they became the nominal subjects of Byzantium (q.v.). The overlordship of Charlemagne (q.v.) was accepted in 803, but in 879, by which time Frankish power had declined, the Croats switched their loyalty to the papacy (q.v.), and, in effect, became independent. However, when it was advantageous to do so, Croatia allied itself with Byzantium, e.g., as prince Tomislav (q.v.) did in opposition to Symeon of Bulgaria (q.v.). Byzantine influence declined in Croatia after 1060, when the liturgy in Church Slavonic (q.v.) was prohibited. By this time Croatia's orientation had shifted decisively to central and western Europe, as seen in 1102 when Croatia and Hungary were united.

Historical Dictionary of Byzantium . .

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