Ban Borić

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First Viceroy of Bosnia
Reign Before 1154 – After 1167
Predecessor Ladislaus II of Hungary 1137–1159 as Duke of Bosnia
Successor Stephen IV of Hungary 1165-1180 as King of Hungary
Successor Ban Kulin
House Boričević
Born c. 1100
Slavonia, Kingdom of Hungary (modern Croatia)
Died after 1167

Borić was the first Viceroy and Ban of Bosnia. He was appointed by 1154, and was last mentioned in 1167.


Ban Borić was a local landlord from Slavonia.[1] He had possessions on both sides of the river Sava.


As the Hungarian crown's domination over Bosnia grew, Borić became its supporter and was by 1154 made a Hungarian Viceroy of Bosnia and instated the title of Ban of the newly created Banate of Bosnia.[2][3]

At the end of the fall of 1154, Ban Borić led his troops and assisted his liege together with some mercenaries, palatine of Hungary and Ban Beloš Vukanović of the Serb Vojislavljević dynasty, to conquer Braničevo from the Byzantines. Byzantine Emperor Manuel I dispatched a squadron of troops towards Belgrade, to cross the river Sava and chase the Bosnian Army. With Hungarian assistance the Bosnian Army defeated the Byzantines, ending their attempt to cut off the Kingdom of Hungary's military power.

In 1163 he endowed the Templars and Hospitallers with property in Slavonia.[2] His own biological brother Dominic was a knight Templar in the Second Crusade.[4][full citation needed]

Geopolitical settings[edit]

Borić's attempts to organize the first Bosnian state as Viceroy were largely affected by broader instability in Western Christendom. As pope Adrian IV entered into alliance with the Byzantine following their 1155 invasion of Sicily, Rome has seen this as a chance to win the ongoing struggle against the mercenary Normans for power over Southern Italy too. The new pact resulted in Rome losing interest in Hungary and, by extension, Bosnia and Croatia as well.

Preoccupied with their own survival, the Holy See left Bosnia and Croatia to their destinies. Papal interest in supporting Borić has not become a priority even after the Byzantine withdrew from Sicily in 1158, as struggles over the right to papacy emerged right after that. These resulted in two subsequent Antipopes, unrecognized by the Church but supported by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. Such prolonged internal instability in the Western Christendom then resulted in Rome losing interest in East European affairs.

The Byzantine saw this as an opportunity to gain control over Hungary. They bribed the uncles of the new child-King of Hungary, who was crowned in 1162, at age 14. While the King's uncles were usurping Hungary to the Byzantine's benefit, the Byzantines were in hurry while the King was still a minor and so they hired German mercenaries from the Gutkeleds tribe, led by a knight Gottfried of Meinz, to depose Borić in 1163.

When the Hungarian king turned 18, his uncles did return the powers to him, but only after he promised to give away Bosnia and Croatia to the Byzantine. He promised to do so, but as a devote Catholic the inexperienced king immediately engaged the Byzantine. When he died under unexplained circumstances soon after, in 1172 aged only 24, his brother who was raised at the Byzantine Court succeeded the throne of Hungary.

The Church's new pope Alexander III then assisted his new allies the Byzantine to install the new King of Hungary, hoping this would help Roman papacy gain a strong footing as well. To make it all work, the Byzantine provided enormous quantities of gold and silver to the new Hungarian king, thus making him one of the richest monarchs of Europe. This had made the Emperor reconcile with the now widely feared pope who was thereby allowed to return to Rome, in 1178. To honor his deal with the Byzantine, the pope immediately took interest in foreign affairs reaching as far as the Baltics, honoring the Byzantines' territorial pretension over Eastern Europe.

So as the election of the last Barbarossa's Antipope in Rome in 1179 was destined to fail, making the Emperor bound to finally reconcile with now fully stabilized Holy See, the Byzantine through its patsy King of Hungary installs an 18 year old soldier Kulin as the ruler of Bosnia, without further ado in 1180.

Bosnian repercussions[edit]

The 1162-1163 internal struggles for the succession of the Hungarian crown between an anti-Byzantine candidate and the pro-Byzantine Stephen IV, son of King Geza, made Borić support the anti-Byzantine bloc, owing loyalty to his former superior Beloš who now served as the Ban of Croatia and was feeling a threat to his throne in the return of Imperial dominance to Bosnia.

After King Stephen IV won, his mercenary Gottfried indeed had challenged Borić in battlefield, in 1163. However, it remains uncertain if Borić was indeed defeated and deposed on that occasion, because subsequent records of both Borić and his able troops do survive. So for instance in 1167, Borić is on record for having provided his combat units to the Hungarian Army in a battle against the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantines defeated Hungary in that Battle (at Zemun near Belgrade), and so Bosnia became a Byzantine territory.[5]


The time and circumstances of Borić's death remain unclear, as there is no evidence that he had died in battle.


Borić's progeny is sometimes referred to as the House of Boričević. He had sons named Borić and Pavao, and his grandsons were called Odola, Čelk and Borić. The extended family also included Detmar and Benedikt (also called Borić).[6]

Numerous later sources refer to him as the common ancestor to most Bosnian rulers including reigning kings from the Kotromanić dynasty.[7][verification needed]

Borić is believed to have been a predecessor to the noble house of Berislavići Grabarski.[8]

Regnal titles
Title last held by
Ladislaus II of Hungary
as duke
Viceroy and Ban of Bosnia
before 1154–1167
Occupation by Stephen IV of Hungary
Title next held by

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rusmir Mahmutćehajić. "4. The cycle of slaughter". Bosnia the Good: Tolerance and Tradition. p. 119. Retrieved 2012-09-02. 
  2. ^ a b Judith Mary Upton-Ward, H.J.A. Sire. "24. The Priory of Vrana". The Military Orders: On Land and by Sea. p. 221. Retrieved 2012-09-02. 
  3. ^ Joannes Cinnamus: Deeds of John and Manuel Comnenus, p. 104
  4. ^ Magyar Országos Levéltár
  5. ^ John Van Antwerp Fine (1994). The Late Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Late Twelfth Century. University of Michigan Press. p. 17. ISBN 9780472082605. 
  6. ^ Karbić, Marija (2005). "Posjedi plemićkog roda Borića bana do sredine XIV. stoljeća" [Landed estates of the noble lineage of Borić Ban until the middle of the 14th century]. Scrinia Slavonica (in Croatian) (Croatian Historical Institute - Department of History of Slavonia, Srijem and Baranja) (5): 48–61. 
  7. ^ Karbić, Marija. Rod Borića bana: primjer plemićkog roda u srednjovjekovnoj Požeškoj županiji. PhD thesis, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Zagreb, 2005
  8. ^ Karbić, Marija (2006). "Hrvatsko plemstvo u borbi protiv Osmanlija, primjer obitelji Berislavića Grabarskih iz Slavonije" [Croatia's nobility in fight against the Ottomans, an example of the Berislavić Grabarski family from Slavonia]. Historical Contributions (in Croatian) (Croatian Institute of History) 31: 72.