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


The text commonly known as the  Ljetopis' Popa Dukljanina has often been dismissed out of hand by historians. It is preserved only in late and wildly divergent versions. However, it preserves unique information on the early history of the Southern Slavs, much of which is corroborated or complemented by independent Byzantine sources (for example the De Administrando Imperio or the Synopsis Historion of John Skylitzes).

The transmission of the text is rather complicated, and opinions vary. The following is one possible interpretation. The core of the text is the so-called Libellus Gothorum, also known as the Regnum Sclavorum,which was a compilation of oral and written sources put together in Slavonic in the twelfth century. In the last years of the twelfth century this work was expanded by the addition of several chapters and translated into Latin.  The Latin text was probably the work of Grgur (Gregory), bishop of Bar from 1172 to c. 1196, who championed the rights of the bishopric of Bar to preside over all the lands south of the river Cetina. At this time Bar had lost its metropolitan status and was obliged to recognize the higher authority of the archbishop of Split. The final chapters, and also often the whole work, have therefore often been called the Bar Genealogy. This 'full' Latin version has only been preserved only in the De Regno Dalmatiae et Croatiae (Amsterdam, 1666) by the great Croatian historian Ivan Lucic (Johannes Lucius), and two seventeenth-century manuscripts, one signed by Levakovic. The complete Latin text has also been preserved in an Italian translation by Orbini, dated to 1601. However, there does exist also an earlier and shorter Slavic text (the so-called Hrvatska Kronika,or Croatian Chronicle) which drew on both the Latin and earlier Slavic texts, preserved in a version written by Kaletic in 1546, and also an independent Latin translation of the Slavic text by the prominent Croatian Latinist Marulic. The Latin text has 47 chapters, the Slavic only 27; the first 23 chapters of each are largely equivalent, but with many variations. Whether the longer Latin, or the shorter Slavic text is more reliable has been the subject of much discussion. Furthermore, the text is the subject of great interest within national scholarly traditions, and is the subject of book-length studies published very recently in Montenegro (D. Radojevic, 'Kraljestvo Slovena') and Croatia (I. Muzic. 'Hrvatska Kronika').

This English translation is of Lucic's Latin text, as reproduced in the 1928 edition by F. Sisic, to which the pagination in [square parantheses] refers. Other interpolations in square parantheses are my own if in italics, or otherwise represent points made or corrections suggested by the editor. Sisic's text juxtaposes the four versions of the text: Lucic's latin, Orbini's Italian, Kaletic's Slavic, and Marulic's Latin translation of Kaletic. A more recent edition by V. Mosin exists (1950), but this largely reproduces Sisic's version of Lucic and Kaletic, adding a modern (Serbo-)Croatian translation.

The following translated excerpts date from September 1994, and are part of a full working translation that I intend to publish with historical commentary.


(1) Chapters 30-35

(2) Chapter 36

Copyright: Paul Stephenson, 9 September 1998

Revised May 2000, July 2010; last revised January 2012