Despot (court title)
Despot or despotes was a senior Byzantine court title, bestowed on the sons or sons-in-law of reigning emperors, denoted the heir-apparent of the Byzantine emperor. From Byzantium it spread throughout the late medieval Balkans and was granted in the states under Byzantine cultural influence, such as the Latin Empire, the Second Bulgarian Empire, the Serbian Empire and its successor states, the Empire of Trebizond. With the political fragmentation of the period, the term gave rise to several principalities termed "despotates" which were ruled either as independent states or as appanages by princes bearing the title of despot. In modern usage, the word has taken a different meaning: "despotism" is a form of government in which a single entity rules with absolute power; the semantic shift undergone by the term is mirrored by "tyrant", an ancient Greek word that bore no negative connotation, the Latin "dictator", a constitutionally sanctioned office of the Roman Republic. In colloquial Modern Greek, the word is used to refer to a bishop.
In English, the feminine form of the title is despotess or despotissa, which denoted the spouse of a despot, but the transliterated traditional female equivalent of despotes, despoina, is commonly used. The original Greek term δεσπότης meant "lord" and was synonymous with κύριος; as the Greek equivalent to the Latin dominus, despotēs was used as a form of address indicating respect. As such it was applied to any person of rank, but in a more specific sense to God and the patriarchs, the Roman and Byzantine Emperors used in formal settings, for example on coins or formal documents. Although it was used for high-ranking nobles from the early 12th century, the title of despot began being used as a specific court title by Manuel I Komnenos, who conferred it in 1163 to the future King Béla III of Hungary, the Emperor's son-in-law and, until the birth of Alexios II in 1169, heir-presumptive. According to the contemporary Byzantine historian John Kinnamos, the title of despot was analogous to Bela's Hungarian title of urum, or heir-apparent.
From this time and until the end of the Byzantine Empire, the title of despot became the highest Byzantine dignity, which placed its holders "immediately after the emperor". The Byzantine emperors from the Komnenoi to the Palaiologoi, as well as the Latin Emperors who claimed their succession and imitated their styles, continued to use the term despotes in its more generic sense of "lord" in their personal seals and in imperial coinage. In a similar manner, the holders of the two junior titles of sebastokrator and Caesar could be addressed as despota; the despot paneutychestatos. During the last centuries of Byzantium's existence, the title was awarded to the younger sons of emperors as well as to the emperor's sons-in-law; the title entailed extensive honours and privileges, including the control of large estates – the domains of Michael VIII's brother John Palaiologos for instance included the islands of Lesbos and Rhodes – to finance their extensive households. Like the junior titles of sebastokrator and Caesar however, the title of despot was a courtly dignity, was not tied to any military or administrative functions or powers.
Women bore the titles of their husbands. Thus the spouse of a despot, the despotissa, had the right to bear the same insignia as he. Among the women of the court, the despotissai took the first place after the empress; the use of the title spread to the other countries of the Balkans. The Latin Empire used it to honour the Doge of Venice Enrico Dandolo and the local ruler of the Rhodope region, Alexius Slav. After ca. 1219 it was borne by the Venetian podestàs in Constantinople, as the Venetian support became crucial to the Empire's survival. In 1279/80, it was introduced in Bulgaria to placate the powerful magnate George Terter in 1279/80. During the Serbian Empire it was awarded among the various Serbian magnates, with Jovan Oliver being the first holder, it was held by lesser principalities as well, including the self-proclaimed Albanian despots of Arta. In the 15th century, the Venetian governors of Corfu were styled as despots; as the title of despot was conferred by the emperor and implied a degree of submission by the awardee, the Palaiologan emperors tried long to persuade the Emperors of Trebizond, who claimed the Byzantine imperial title, to accept the title of despot instead.
Only John II of Trebizond and his son Alexios II, accepted the title, they continued to use the usual imperial title of "basileus" domestically. With the death of the last Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI on May 29, 1453, the creation of a despot became irregular; the title was granted by Pope Paul II to Andreas Palaiologos, heir to the Byzantine throne in 1465, by the king of Hungary to the heirs of the Serbian Despotate. From the mid-14th century on, various territories were given to imperial princes with the rank of despot to
Stephen III of Hungary
Stephen III was King of Hungary and Croatia between 1162 and 1172. He was crowned king in early June 1162, shortly after the death of his father, Géza II. However, his two uncles and Stephen, who had joined the court of the Byzantine Empire, challenged his right to the crown. Only six weeks after his coronation, the Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Komnenos launched an expedition against Hungary, forcing the Hungarian lords to accept Ladislaus' rule. Stephen returned and seized Pressburg. Ladislaus, who died on 14 January 1163, was succeeded by Stephen's younger uncle and namesake, Stephen IV, without resistance, but his rule was unpopular; the young Stephen expelled him from Hungary. Stephen IV attempted to regain his throne with Emperor Manuel I's support, but the latter made peace with Stephen III, he agreed to send his younger brother, Béla, to Constantinople and to allow the Byzantines to seize Béla's duchy, which included Croatia and Sirmium. In an attempt to recapture these territories, Stephen III waged wars against the Byzantine Empire between 1164 and 1167, but could not defeat the Byzantines.
Historians attribute the creation of the "Székesfehérvár laws", the first example of extensive privileges granted to a town in the Kingdom of Hungary, to him. He concluded a concordat with the Holy See in 1169, renouncing the control of the appointment of the prelates, he died childless. Stephen was the eldest child of his wife Euphrosyne of Kiev, he was born in the summer of 1147 when the French crusaders were marching through Hungary towards the Holy Land. King Louis VII of France sponsored his baptism. One Lady Margaret, who wrote her last will in 1152, mentioned that "King Géza reigned together with his son, Duke Stephen" in that year, indicating that the King had nominated the child Stephen as his heir. However, his position as his father's successor remained insecure after his two uncles and Ladislaus, left Hungary in the late 1150s, they would settle in the court of the Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Komnenos in Constantinople. Géza II granted Dalmatia and Sirmium to his younger son Béla as an appanage shortly before his death.
Géza II died on 31 May 1162. Lucas, Archbishop of Esztergom, crowned the 15-year-old Stephen king without delay. On hearing of Géza II's death, Emperor Manuel hastened towards Hungary, because he "put a high value on the overlordship" of the country, according to the Byzantine historian John Kinnamos. Another Byzantine historian, Niketas Choniates, wrote that the Emperor decided to support the young King's uncle and namesake, Stephen, to acquire the throne in the hope that "he might receive the undisputed and guaranteed possession" of Sirmium and Zimony from his protégé; when supporting the claim of the late King's brother to the crown, the Emperor referred to "the law of the Hungarians" which prescribed that the crown should pass "always to the survivors of brothers", according to Kinnamos. Emperor Manuel dispatched an army to Hungary which advanced as far as Haram where his envoys opened negotiations with the Hungarian barons. Bribed by the Byzantines and fearful of an invasion by the Emperor, the magnates agreed to accept Ladislaus, the older of the young King's two uncles, as a "compromise candidate".
The young Stephen's army was routed at Kapuvár. He sought refuge in Austria six months after his coronation. Archbishop Lucas was one of the few who remained loyal to the young monarch, refusing to crown his uncle. After Mikó, Archbishop of Kalocsa, performed Ladislaus's coronation, Archbishop Lucas excommunicated the usurper, stating that he had unlawfully seized the crown from his nephew. Stephen III returned from captured Pressburg, he could not take advantage of his uncle's death on 14 January 1163, because Ladislaus II was succeeded by his younger brother, Stephen IV. However, Stephen IV's unveiled support for the interests of the Byzantine Empire caused discontent among the Hungarian barons; the young Stephen mustered an army of the barons who had deserted his uncle and supplemented it with German mercenaries. Stephen III defeated his uncle at Székesfehérvár on 19 June 1163; the elder Stephen was captured. The archbishop, along with the Dowager Queen Euphrosyne, remained the young monarch's principal advisors throughout his reign.
The dethroned Stephen IV first fled to the Holy Roman Empire, but left shortly afterwards for the Byzantine Empire, where Emperor Manuel again promised him support. Emperor Manuel sent an army to Hungary to help Stephen IV to regain the throne from his nephew; the young Stephen sought assistance from Vladislaus, King of Bohemia, against his uncle and the Byzantines, but the Bohemian barons refused to fight. Thereafter Stephen III sent envoys to Emperor Manuel, but "they promised nothing genuine", according to Kinnamos; the Emperor continued his campaign, but in short "realized that it was impossible for" his protégé "to rule the Hungarians' land", opened negotiations with Stephen III. According to their peace treaty, Emperor Manuel recognized the rule of the young Stephen, the latter agreed to send his brother, Béla, to Constantinople. Stephen III promised that he would allow the Byzantines to take control of Béla's duchy. Abandoned by Emperor Manuel, Stephen IV approached Holy Roman Emperor.
Around the same time, a group of Hungarian barons and prelates sent a letter to Emperor Frederick, stating that they were willing to accept his suzerainty. Stephen III dispatched his envoys to Fred
Fruška Gora is a mountain in north Srem. Most of it is in Syrmia, but a small part on its western side overlaps into Croatia. Sometimes it is referred to as jewel of Serbia due to its beautiful landscape protection area and its picturesque countryside. In Serbian, it is known as Fruška gora, in Hungarian as Tarcal, in German as Frankenwald, in Latin as Alma Mons. In Medieval Greek, it was known as Frangochoria; the mountain's name originates in the old Serbian word "Fruzi" of which singular form is "Frug". The name of "Fruška Gora" is "Frankish mountain" in English whose meaning is based on describing a historical event, the mountain served as a natural border when Frankish campaigns were set up in the area. In the time of the Roman Empire, its name was Alma Mons, meaning the "fertile mount", it is recorded that during the reign of the emperor Marcus Aurelius Probus, 276-282, born in the nearby Sirmium, first grapevines were planted on the mountain. The mountain is a natural geological phenomenon as it is built from the rocks from all geological periods.
It used to be an island during the existence of the Pannonian Sea. To the north, the mountain is bordered by the Danube river, while to the south it descends into the Syrmian lowlands. Lengthwise, it is 80 km from east to west and is 15 km from north to south, its highest peak is Crveni Čot at 539 m. Fruška Gora divides Syrmia in two geographically distinct parts: Wine Syrmia and Swine Syrmia. Slopes of the mountain were established as one of the most prestigious vineyards in Hungary since the 15th century. Golden age of the Fruška Gora's viticulture began after 1699 and the Treaty of Karlowitz, when Ottomans were expelled from the area, until the late 19th century. In Sremski Karlovci, a famous bermet is produced, a sweet, dessert wine with the protected geographical indication, it is recorded that the crates of bermet were used as the bribe, used by the Serbs to obtain certain privileges from the Austrian empress Maria Theresa. The wine was served at the Russian and British courts, was on the wine list of Titanic.
The slopes of Fruška Gora are suited for growing grape arbors on there, there are many wine-makers producing Traminer and other wines in the region. Many people have been captivated by its picturesque beauty, due to its outstanding location, famous for the peaceful and lucrative lifestyles of its inhabitants, a perfect destination for sightseeing where tourists can relax and enjoy themselves in the spectacular natural environment. After the fall of communism, the Serbian Orthodox Church got 10,000 hectares restitution in the area of their nationalized properties. A national park Fruška Gora was declared in 1960 and covers an area of 266.72 km2. It is the oldest modern national park in Serbia. Rich fossil fauna is preserved and 90% of the park area is forested; the predominant tree species include linden and beech. Altogether, 1,500 plant species inhabits the park. There are 400 species of fungi. Pannonian plant endemites include broadleaf wild leek and Hungarian leopard's - bane. There are some 30 species of orchids in the park.
Protected insect species include Balkan goldenring, certain species of dragonflies and hoverflies, Hungarian ground beetle, which went extinct in some other European countries. Park is the habitat of 13 amphibian species and 11 reptilians, of which 14 are protected, among them fire salamander and European adder. Park is home to 211 bird species. Symbol of Fruška Gora is 3 remaining breeding couples. There are 60 mammalian species, of which 17 are protected, including edible dormouse, European pine marten, European polecat and Mediterranean water shrew. Out of 30 species of bats which live in Serbia, 15 inhabits the mountain and all are under strict protection. In January 2018, for the first time after the 1960s, additional mouflons were introduced in the park. 30 animals were relocated from Slovakia, which raised the number of mouflons in the park to 70. There are traces of human habitation in this area. Before the Roman conquest and Celts inhabited this region. In 31 AD, this area was included into Pannonia province.
The Danube river was a border of the Roman Empire, on the northern side of the mountain several Roman border fortresses were built. In the Early Middle Ages, this area was settled by Quadi, Goths, Gepids and Avars; the Franks expelled Huns, Avars and Lombards from this area and formed the southern border of the Frankish Empire giving its name to the mountain. It was inhabited by Bulgarians and Hungarians. In the 11th century, when Christianity was split between Catholicism and Orthodoxy, both communities had their churches in this region. A important group of Serb medieval monasteries was formed on the mountain. Since the 19th century, during the Austro-Hungarian period, cities developed so as the trade and crafts. Settlements on the mountain itself developed, designed in the typical folk tradition. Two most distinct settlements, in terms of architectural inheritance, are Sremski Karlovci, which grew into the center of the political and cultural life of the Serbs in Austria and Austria-Hungary, Irig, one of the most developed Syrmian settlements since the 18th century.
During the time, the area was part of the Hun Empire, the Ostrogothic Kingdo
The Byzantine Empire referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survived the fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic and military force in Europe. Both the terms "Byzantine Empire" and "Eastern Roman Empire" are historiographical terms created after the end of the realm. Several signal events from the 4th to 6th centuries mark the period of transition during which the Roman Empire's Greek East and Latin West diverged. Constantine I reorganised the empire, made Constantinople the new capital, legalised Christianity. Under Theodosius I, Christianity became the Empire's official state religion and other religious practices were proscribed.
Under the reign of Heraclius, the Empire's military and administration were restructured and adopted Greek for official use in place of Latin. Thus, although the Roman state continued and its traditions were maintained, modern historians distinguish Byzantium from ancient Rome insofar as it was centred on Constantinople, oriented towards Greek rather than Latin culture, characterised by Eastern Orthodox Christianity; the borders of the empire evolved over its existence, as it went through several cycles of decline and recovery. During the reign of Justinian I, the empire reached its greatest extent after reconquering much of the Roman western Mediterranean coast, including North Africa and Rome itself, which it held for two more centuries; the Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628 exhausted the empire's resources and contributed to major territorial losses during the Early Muslim conquests of the 7th century, when it lost its richest provinces and Syria, to the Arab caliphate. During the Macedonian dynasty, the empire expanded again and experienced the two-century long Macedonian Renaissance, which came to an end with the loss of much of Asia Minor to the Seljuk Turks after the Battle of Manzikert in 1071.
This battle opened the way for the Turks to settle in Anatolia. The empire recovered during the Komnenian restoration, by the 12th century Constantinople was the largest and wealthiest European city. However, it was delivered a mortal blow during the Fourth Crusade, when Constantinople was sacked in 1204 and the territories that the empire governed were divided into competing Byzantine Greek and Latin realms. Despite the eventual recovery of Constantinople in 1261, the Byzantine Empire remained only one of several small rival states in the area for the final two centuries of its existence, its remaining territories were progressively annexed by the Ottomans over the 15th century. The Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire in 1453 ended the Byzantine Empire; the last of the imperial Byzantine successor states, the Empire of Trebizond, would be conquered by the Ottomans eight years in the 1461 Siege of Trebizond. The first use of the term "Byzantine" to label the years of the Roman Empire was in 1557, when the German historian Hieronymus Wolf published his work Corpus Historiæ Byzantinæ, a collection of historical sources.
The term comes from "Byzantium", the name of the city of Constantinople before it became Constantine's capital. This older name of the city would be used from this point onward except in historical or poetic contexts; the publication in 1648 of the Byzantine du Louvre, in 1680 of Du Cange's Historia Byzantina further popularised the use of "Byzantine" among French authors, such as Montesquieu. However, it was not until the mid-19th century that the term came into general use in the Western world; the Byzantine Empire was known to its inhabitants as the "Roman Empire", the "Empire of the Romans", "Romania", the "Roman Republic", as "Rhōmais". The inhabitants called themselves Romaioi and as late as the 19th century Greeks referred to Modern Greek as Romaiika "Romaic." After 1204 when the Byzantine Empire was confined to its purely Greek provinces the term'Hellenes' was used instead. While the Byzantine Empire had a multi-ethnic character during most of its history and preserved Romano-Hellenistic traditions, it became identified by its western and northern contemporaries with its predominant Greek element.
The occasional use of the term "Empire of the Greeks" in the West to refer to the Eastern Roman Empire and of the Byzantine Emperor as Imperator Graecorum were used to separate it from the prestige of the Roman Empire within the new kingdoms of the West. No such distinction existed in the Islamic and Slavic worlds, where the Empire was more straightforwardly seen as the continuation of the Roman Empire. In the Islamic world, the Roman Empire was known as Rûm; the name millet-i Rûm, or "Roman nation," was used by the Ottomans through the 20th century to refer to the former subjects of the Byzantine Empire
Manuel I Komnenos
Manuel I Komnenos was a Byzantine Emperor of the 12th century who reigned over a crucial turning point in the history of Byzantium and the Mediterranean. His reign saw the last flowering of the Komnenian restoration, during which the Byzantine Empire had seen a resurgence of its military and economic power, had enjoyed a cultural revival. Eager to restore his empire to its past glories as the superpower of the Mediterranean world, Manuel pursued an energetic and ambitious foreign policy. In the process he made alliances with the resurgent West, he invaded the Norman Kingdom of Sicily, although unsuccessfully, being the last Eastern Roman Emperor to attempt reconquests in the western Mediterranean. The passage of the dangerous Second Crusade was adroitly managed through his empire. Manuel established a Byzantine protectorate over the Crusader states of Outremer. Facing Muslim advances in the Holy Land, he made common cause with the Kingdom of Jerusalem and participated in a combined invasion of Fatimid Egypt.
Manuel reshaped the political maps of the Balkans and the eastern Mediterranean, placing the kingdoms of Hungary and Outremer under Byzantine hegemony and campaigning aggressively against his neighbours both in the west and in the east. However, towards the end of his reign Manuel's achievements in the east were compromised by a serious defeat at Myriokephalon, which in large part resulted from his arrogance in attacking a well-defended Seljuk position. Although the Byzantines recovered and Manuel concluded an advantageous peace with Sultan Kilij Arslan II, Myriokephalon proved to be the final, unsuccessful effort by the empire to recover the interior of Anatolia from the Turks. Called ho Megas by the Greeks, Manuel is known to have inspired intense loyalty in those who served him, he appears as the hero of a history written by his secretary, John Kinnamos, in which every virtue is attributed to him. Manuel, influenced by his contact with western Crusaders, enjoyed the reputation of "the most blessed emperor of Constantinople" in parts of the Latin world as well.
Modern historians, have been less enthusiastic about him. Some of them assert that the great power he wielded was not his own personal achievement, but that of the dynasty he represented. Manuel Komnenos was the fourth son of John II Komnenos and Piroska of Hungary, so it seemed unlikely that he would succeed his father, his maternal grandfather was St. Ladislaus. Having distinguished himself in his father's war against the Seljuk Turks, in 1143 Manuel was chosen as his successor by John, in preference to his elder surviving brother Isaac. After John died on 8 April 1143, his son, was acclaimed emperor by the armies, yet his succession was by no means assured: At his father's deathbed in the wilds of Cilicia far from Constantinople, he recognised that it was vital he should return to the capital as soon as possible. He still had to take care of his father's funeral, tradition demanded he organise the foundation of a monastery on the spot where his father died. Swiftly, he dispatched the megas domestikos John Axouch ahead of him, with orders to arrest his most dangerous potential rival, his brother Isaac, living in the Great Palace with instant access to the imperial treasure and regalia.
Axouch arrived in the capital before news of the emperor's death had reached it. He secured the loyalty of the city, when Manuel entered the capital in August 1143, he was crowned by the new Patriarch, Michael Kourkouas. A few days with nothing more to fear as his position as emperor was now secure, Manuel ordered the release of Isaac, he ordered 2 golden pieces to be given to every householder in Constantinople and 200 pounds of gold to be given to the Byzantine Church. The empire that Manuel inherited from his father had undergone great changes since the foundation of Constantinople by Constantine I eight centuries before. In the time of his predecessor Justinian I, parts of the former Western Roman Empire had been recovered including Italy and part of Spain. However, the empire had diminished following this, the most obvious change had occurred in the 7th century: the soldiers of Islam had taken Egypt and much of Syria away from the empire irrevocably, they had swept on westwards into what in the time of Constantine had been the western provinces of the Roman Empire, in North Africa and Spain.
In the centuries since, the emperors had ruled over a realm that consisted of Asia Minor in the east, the Balkans in the west. In the late 11th century the Byzantine Empire entered a period of marked military and political decline, arrested and reversed by the leadership of Manuel's grandfather and father, yet the empire that Manuel inherited was a polity facing formidable challenges. At the end of the 11th century, the Normans of Sicily had removed Italy from the control of the Byzantine Emperor; the Seljuk Turks had done the same with central Anatolia. And in the Levant, a new force had appeared – the Crusader states – which presented the Byzantine Empire with new challenges. Now, more than at any time during the preceding centuries, the task facing the emperor was daunting indeed; the first test of Manuel's reign came in 1144, when he was faced with a demand by Raymond, Prince of Antioch for the cession of Cilician territories. However that year the crusader County of Edessa was engulfed by the tide of a resurgent Isl
Croatia the Republic of Croatia, is a country at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, on the Adriatic Sea. It borders Slovenia to the northwest, Hungary to the northeast, Serbia to the east and Herzegovina, Montenegro to the southeast, sharing a maritime border with Italy, its capital, forms one of the country's primary subdivisions, along with twenty counties. Croatia has an area of 56,594 square kilometres and a population of 4.28 million, most of whom are Roman Catholics. Inhabited since the Paleolithic Age, the Croats arrived in the area in the 6th century and organised the territory into two duchies by the 9th century. Croatia was first internationally recognized as an independent state on 7 June 879 during the reign of duke Branimir. Tomislav became the first king by 925, elevating Croatia to the status of a kingdom, which retained its sovereignty for nearly two centuries. During the succession crisis after the Trpimirović dynasty ended, Croatia entered a personal union with Hungary in 1102.
In 1527, faced with Ottoman conquest, the Croatian Parliament elected Ferdinand I of Austria to the Croatian throne. In October 1918, in the final days of World War I, the State of Slovenes and Serbs, independent from Austria-Hungary, was proclaimed in Zagreb, in December 1918 it was merged into the Kingdom of Serbs and Slovenes. Following the Axis invasion of Yugoslavia in April 1941, most of the Croatian territory was incorporated into the Nazi-backed client-state which led to the development of a resistance movement and the creation of the Federal State of Croatia which after the war become a founding member and a federal constituent of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. On 25 June 1991, Croatia declared independence, which came wholly into effect on 8 October of the same year; the Croatian War of Independence was fought for four years following the declaration. The sovereign state of Croatia is a republic governed under a parliamentary system and a developed country with a high standard of living.
It is a member of the European Union, the United Nations, the Council of Europe, NATO, the World Trade Organization, a founding member of the Union for the Mediterranean. As an active participant in the UN peacekeeping forces, Croatia has contributed troops to the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan and took a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2008–2009 term. Since 2000, the Croatian government has invested in infrastructure transport routes and facilities along the Pan-European corridors. Croatia's economy is dominated by service and industrial sectors and agriculture. Tourism is a significant source of revenue, with Croatia ranked among the top 20 most popular tourist destinations in the world; the state controls a part of the economy, with substantial government expenditure. The European Union is Croatia's most important trading partner. Croatia provides a social security, universal health care system, a tuition-free primary and secondary education, while supporting culture through numerous public institutions and corporate investments in media and publishing.
The name of Croatia derives from Medieval Latin Croātia. Itself a derivation of North-West Slavic *Xrovat-, by liquid metathesis from Common Slavic period *Xorvat, from proposed Proto-Slavic *Xъrvátъ which comes from Old Persian *xaraxwat-; the word is attested by the Old Iranian toponym Harahvait-, the native name of Arachosia. The origin of the name is uncertain, but is thought to be a Gothic or Indo-Aryan term assigned to a Slavic tribe; the oldest preserved record of the Croatian ethnonym *xъrvatъ is of variable stem, attested in the Baška tablet in style zvъnъmirъ kralъ xrъvatъskъ. The first attestation of the Latin term is attributed to a charter of Duke Trpimir from the year 852; the original is lost, just a 1568 copy is preserved, leading to doubts over the authenticity of the claim. The oldest preserved stone inscription is the 9th-century Branimir Inscription found near Benkovac, where Duke Branimir is styled Dux Cruatorvm; the inscription is not believed to be dated but is to be from during the period of 879–892, during Branimir's rule.
The area known as Croatia today was inhabited throughout the prehistoric period. Fossils of Neanderthals dating to the middle Palaeolithic period have been unearthed in northern Croatia, with the most famous and the best presented site in Krapina. Remnants of several Neolithic and Chalcolithic cultures were found in all regions of the country; the largest proportion of the sites is in the river valleys of northern Croatia, the most significant cultures whose presence was discovered include Baden, Starčevo, Vučedol cultures. The Iron Age left traces of the Celtic La Tène culture. Much the region was settled by Illyrians and Liburnians, while the first Greek colonies were established on the islands of Hvar, Korčula, Vis. In 9 AD the territory of today's Croatia became part of the Roman Empire. Emperor Diocletian had a large palace built in Split to which he retired after his abdication in AD 305. During the 5th century, the last de jure Western emperor last Western Roman Emperor Julius Nepos ruled his small realm from the palace after fleeing Italy to go into exile in 475.
The period ends with Avar and Croat invasions in the first half of the 7th century and destruction of all Roman towns. Roman survivors retreated to more favourable sites on the coast and mountains; the city of Dubrovnik was founded by such survivors from Epidaurum. The ethnogenesis of Croats is uncertain an
The Byzantine Greeks were the Greek-speaking Christian Romans of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. They were the main inhabitants of the lands of the Byzantine Empire, of Constantinople and Asia Minor, the Greek islands and portions of the southern Balkans, formed large minorities, or pluralities, in the coastal urban centres of the Levant and northern Egypt. Throughout their history, the Byzantine Greeks self-identified as Romans, but are referred to as "Byzantine Greeks" in modern historiography; the social structure of the Byzantine Greeks was supported by a rural, agrarian base that consisted of the peasantry, a small fraction of the poor. These peasants lived within three kinds of settlements: the chorion or village, the agridion or hamlet, the proasteion or estate. Many civil disturbances that occurred during the time of the Byzantine Empire were attributed to political factions within the Empire rather than to this large popular base. Soldiers among the Byzantine Greeks were at first conscripted amongst the rural peasants and trained on an annual basis.
As the Byzantine Empire entered the 11th century, more of the soldiers within the army were either professional men-at-arms or mercenaries. Until the twelfth century, education within the Byzantine Greek population was more advanced than in the West at primary school level, resulting in comparatively high literacy rates. Success came to Byzantine Greek merchants, who enjoyed a strong position in international trade. Despite the challenges posed by rival Italian merchants, they held their own throughout the latter half of the Byzantine Empire's existence; the clergy held a special place, not only having more freedom than their Western counterparts, but maintaining a patriarch in Constantinople, considered the equal of the pope. This position of strength had built up over time, for at the beginning of the Byzantine Empire, under Emperor Constantine the Great, only a small part, about 10%, of the population was Christian. Use of the Greek language was widespread in the eastern parts of the Roman empire when Constantine moved its capital to Constantinople, although Latin was the language of the imperial administration.
From the reign of Emperor Heraclius, Greek was the predominant language amongst the populace and replaced Latin in administration. At first, the Byzantine Empire had a multi-ethnic character, but following the loss of the non-Greek speaking provinces with the 7th century Muslim conquests it came to be dominated by the Byzantine Greeks, who inhabited the heartland of the empire: modern Cyprus, Greece and Sicily, portions of southern Bulgaria and Albania. Over time, the relationship between them and the West with Latin Europe, deteriorated. Relations were further damaged by a schism between the Catholic West and Orthodox East that led to the Byzantine Greeks being labeled as heretics in the West. Throughout the centuries of the Byzantine Empire and following the imperial coronation of the King of the Franks, Charlemagne, in Rome in 800, the Byzantines were not considered by Western Europeans as heirs of the Roman Empire, but rather as part of an Eastern Greek kingdom; as the Byzantine Empire declined, the Byzantines and their lands came under foreign domination Ottoman rule.
The designation "Rûm" for the Greek-speaking Orthodox subjects of the Ottomans and "Rum millet" for all the Eastern Orthodox populations was kept both by Ottoman Greeks and their Ottoman overlords and lived on until the 20th century. During most of the Middle Ages, the Byzantine Greeks self-identified as Rhōmaîoi, a term which in the Greek language had become synonymous with Christian Greeks; the Latinizing term Graikoí was used, though its use was less common, nonexistent in official Byzantine political correspondence, prior to the Fourth Crusade of 1204. While this Latin term for the ancient Hellenes could be used neutrally, its use by Westerners from the 9th century onwards in order to challenge Byzantine claims to ancient Roman heritage rendered it a derogatory exonym for the Byzantines who used it in contexts relating to the West, such as texts relating to the Council of Florence, to present the Western viewpoint; the ancient name Hellenes was synonymous to "pagan" in popular use, but was revived as an ethnonym in the Middle Byzantine period.
While in the West the term "Roman" acquired a new meaning in connection with the Catholic Church and the Bishop of Rome, the Greek form "Romaioi" remained attached to the Greeks of the Eastern Roman Empire. The term "Byzantine Greeks" is an exonym applied by historians like Hieronymus Wolf. Despite the shift in terminology in the West, the Byzantines Empire's eastern neighbors, such as the Arabs, continued to refer to the Byzantines as "Romans", as for instance in the 30th Surah of the Quran; the signifier "Roman" was used by the Byzantines' Ottoman rivals, its Turkish equivalent Rûm, "Roman", continues to be used by the government of Turkey to denote the Greek Orthodox natives of Istanbul, as well as the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. Among Slavic populations of southeast Europe, such as Bulgarians and Serbs the name "Rhomaioi" in their languages was most translated as "Greki"; some Slavonic texts during the early medieval era also