) was the Slavic Duke
from 810 to 823.
capital of his realm was in Sisak.
the ruler of the Pannonian Croats
he led an unsuccessful resistance to Frankish
domination. He held close ties with the Carantanian
and Carniolan Slovenes
tribe of Timočani
, named after the Timok
river. He is often regarded as a national hero in
Croatian and Slovenian history.
Rebellions against the Franks
Ljudevit sent his emissaries to Emperor
Louis in Heristal.
described the horrors conducted by Cadolah and his men in Pannonia
, but the King of Franks
refused to make peace.
Ljudevit raised a rebellion against his Frankish rulers in 819
after he was seriously accused by the Frankish court. The Emperor Louis the Pious
(814-840) sent Margrave Cadolah of
(800-819) to quell the rebellion. The Frankish Frontier
forces led by Cadolah have raided the land and tortured the
population, most notably the children.
As the Pannonian Croats
amassing forces, so did the Franks
Cadolah return in 819. But the Frankish forces were soon defeated;
and Cadolah himself had to retreat back to his home Furlania, where
soon he died of disease.
819 on the Council in Ingelheim Ljudevit's emissaries offered truce conditions, but
Emperor Louis refused; demanding more concessions to him.
Ljudevit started to gather allies for his plight. His original ally
was Duke Borna of Dalmatia
Dalmatiae et Liburniae) - the leader of the Guduscani
(Gačani), but the Frankish ruler had
promised Borna that he would make him Prince of Pannonia
if he helped the Franks to crush Ljudevit's rebellion; so Borna
accepted. Ljudevit found assistance among the Karantanian and Carniolan Slavs who, as neighbours of the
margravate of Friuli, were
jeopardized the same as the Pannonians.
around the valley of Timok
also joined him, because
they were jeoperdized by the neighbouring Bulgars
The Franks sent a large army led by the new Margrave of Friuli
, duke Baldric of Friuli
to meet Ljudevit in
autumn, the same year while he was conscripting more Carantanian
troops along the river of Drava
. The Frankish forces had numerical advantage, so
they pushed Ljudevit and his men from Carniola
across the Drava
Ljudevit had to fall back to central parts of his realm. Balderic
didn't push to chase Ljudevit, since he had to pacify the Karantanians
. Duke Borna moved with Ljudevit's
father-in-law Dragomuž and their forces from the south-west. At the
heat of the Battle of Kupa, near the river Kupa
, his own Guduscani abandoned Borna
and crossed to Ljudevit's side; while Dragomuž was killed. Borna
escaped from the battlefield with the help of his bodyguards.
Ljudevit seized the opportunity and breached into Dalmatia
in December. His forces raided Dalmatia.
Borna was too weak, so the Dalmatian Croats defended themselves
through sneaky tactics and used attrition
as their best ally to exhaust the Pannonian forces. Harsh winter
came to the hill areas, so Ljudevit was forced to return. According
to Borna's reports to the Frankish Emperor, Ljudevit suffered heavy
casualties: 3,000 soldiers, over 300 horses and lots of food.
The War continues
of 820, Borna made an alliance with the Frankish Emperor in
The plan was to crush Ljudevit's realm with
a joint-attack from three sides. As soon as the winter retreated, massive
Frankish armies were being amassed in Italia, East Francia, Bavaria, Saxony and Alemannia that were going to simultaneously invade
Ljudevit's lands in the spring.
The northern Frankish
group moved from Bavaria across Pannonia to make an invasion across
the river of Drava. Ljudevit's forces successfully stopped this
at the river. The southern group
moved across the Noric Alps, using the
road from Aquileia to Ljubljana.
Ljudevit was successful again, as he
stopped them before crossing the Alps. The central group moved from
. Ljudevit attempted to halt its advance
three times, but every single time would the Franks win, using
numerical advantage. When this Army reached the Drava
, Ljudevit had to fall back to the heart of his
The Franks have opened ways for the southern and northern Armies,
so they launched a total invasion. Ljudevit concluded that all
resistance would be futile, so he retreated to a stronghold that he
built on top of hill that was heavily fortified; while his people
took shelter in local forest
. Ljudevit did not negotiate with the Franks.
The Franks eventually retreated from his lands, with their ranks
thinned by disease which the northern forces caught in the marshes
. The Slovenes
Friulian margrave Balderic as their ruler, while some remained
loyal to Ljudevit. Prince Borna died in 821, and was succeeded by
Ljudevit's nephew, Vladislav
Emperor Louis recognized as Prince of Dalmatia and
in February 821 at the Council of Aachen
The Emperor discussed again about war plans against Ljudevit on
that Council. The Franks decided to repeat the progress, and push
towards Ljudevit from three sides again. Ljudevit saw that it was
obvious that he couldn't fight the Franks on open field, so he
began to consctruct massive fortifications
. He was helped by the
Venetia Patriarch Fortunat who sent him architects and masons
the last and final Frankish invasion of 822, the Patriarch from
Grad, Fortunat, who was a supporter of Ljudevit fled to Zadar into exile
with the Byzantines.
Flight to the Serbs
to the Royal Frankish Annals,
in 822, Ljudevit went from his seat in Sisak to the
Serbs somewhere in western Bosnia
who controlled a great part of Dalmatia .
historians (f.e. Nada Klaić)
claim that the place Ljudevit fled to was Srb on the mouth
of Una (in Lika, Croatia) but other
historians dispute this as unfounded.
Another array of
historians reject the possibility that Ljudevit went to the Serbs
at all - but to the actual city of Srb and the Lord whom he killed
was a local nobleman - although this is an ongoing controversy.
Ljudevit was welcomed at the local Serbian ruler
's court, but he tricked
him, killing him and then taking the power for himself. Some
believe the Serbian ruler was an ally of the Franks
and Ljudevit thought that he was about to
betray him. Ljudevit soon sent an envoy to the Frankish court,
claiming that he is ready to recognize the Frankish Emperor Louis
the Pious as his supreme ruler.
Ljudevit's reign was not very well accepted amongst the Serbs, so
he fled to Borna's uncle, Ljudemisl of Dalmatia. Ljudemisl had
Ljudevit killed in 823.
- Royal Frankish Annales Annales Regni Francorum ed. G. H.
Pertz. Monumenta Germanicae Historica, Scriptores rerum
Germanicarum 6, (Hannover 1895) for the years 819-822.
- Life of the Emperor Louis (Vita
Hludowici), ed. E. Tremp. Monumenta Germaniae Historica:
Scriptores rerum Germanicarum 64 (Hannover 1995) chapters
- Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus, De Administrando Imperio