Constantine Bodin

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Constantine Bodin
Petar III
King of Doclea and Dalmatia
Emperor of Bulgaria
Konstantin Bodin.jpg
Reign 1081–1101
Coronation 1081
Full name Bodin Vojislavljević
Бодин Војислављевић
Died 1108 (1109)
Predecessor Michael
Successor Michael II and Dobroslav II
Consort Jakvinta of Bari
Issue Michael II, George
Royal House Vojislavljević dynasty
Father Michael
Mother Neda

Constantine Bodin (Serbian and Bulgarian: Константин Бодин; fl. 1072–1108) was a ruler of Duklja, the second, although titular, King of Duklja and Dalmatia from 1081 to 1101, succeeding his father, King Michael. Prior to becoming a ruler of Duklja he was crowned Bulgarian Emperor by name Petar III (Петър III) in 1072 after the Bulgarian nobility in Skopje revolted against the Byzantine Empire and proclaimed him their leader as a descendant of the Cometopuli, though his reign ended in 1073 when he was captured by the Byzantines. In 1078 he returned to Duklja, and upon the death of his father in 1081 he succeeded the throne. He strengthened ties with the Pope, acquiring an Archbishopric.


Bodin was the seventh son of Mihailo Vojislavljević, the first "King of Duklja", and his wife Neda Monomachou. His great-grandfather was Emperor Samuel of Bulgaria. Other his grandparents include Stefan Vojislav, Prince of Duklja and Theodora Kosara, the granddaughter of Emperor Samuel. His mother was a niece of the Byzantine Emperor Constantine IX Monomachos (1042–1055).

Emperor of Bulgaria[edit]

In 1072, the Bulgarian noblemen in Skopje planned a revolt against Byzantine rule under the leadership of Georgi Voiteh, the exarchos of Skopje. The rebel chieftains (proechontes) asked King Michael I of Zeta for help in exchange to provide one of his sons, as descendant of the House of the Cometopuli, to assume the Bulgarian throne and end the oppression[1] made by the Byzantines.[2]

In the fall of 1072, Michael I gladly sent Bodin with 300 troops, he arrived at Prizren and met with Voiteh and other magnates. At Prizren[3] they crowned him "Emperor of the Bulgarians" and gave him the name 'Petar III', recalling the names of the Emperor-Saint Petar I (died in 970) and of Petar II Delyan (who had led the first major revolt against Byzantine rule in 1040–1041).[2]

In the meantime, the Byzantine doux of Skopje, Nicephorus Carantenus, marched towards Prizren with an army, but was replaced prior to the battle with Damian Dalassenus, who destroyed the morale of the army that would fight the Serbs. The rebel army was grouped in two, the first was led by Bodin and headed for Niš, while his second-in-command Vojvoda Petrilo headed for Kastoria via Ochrid.[2]

Petrilo, headed south and took Ohrid (without a battle) and Devol, but suffered a defeat at Kastoria, where Byzantine Slavic Boris David commanded a Bulgarian contingent and defeated Petrilo, sending him fleeing "through inaccessible mountains".[2]

The troops of Bodin took Niš and started plundering the region, abusing his 'subjects', this was seen by Vojteh as Bodin being greedier than Michael VII, and when the Byzantines under Saronites marched onto Skopje, Bodin showed no concern, making Vojteh surrender without resistance. A Byzantine garrison was installed at Skopje, and Saronites headed for Niš. Subsequently, Bodin was captured and sent to Constantinople, then Antioch, where he spent several years. Vojteh died en route.[2]

When Michael I had heard of his sons capture, he sent captured Byzantine general Langobardopoulos, whom he had married with one of his daughter, to rescue him. Langobardopoulos, however, defected to the Byzantines.[2]

King of Duklja[edit]

In about 1078 Venetian sailors rescued Constantine Bodin from captivity and returned him to his father Michael I of Duklja. Shortly afterwards, in 1081, Michael died, and Constantine Bodin succeeded his father as king.

1080 AD. The zenith of Dukljan power during King Bodin

By 1085, he and his brothers had suppressed a revolt by their cousins, the sons of Michael's brother Radoslav in the župa of Zeta, and Constantine Bodin ruled unchallenged. In spite of his earlier opposition to the Byzantine Empire, Constantine Bodin at first supported the Byzantines against the attack of Robert Guiscard and his Norman on Durazzo in 1081, but then stood idle, allowing the Normans to take the city.

At about this time, Constantine Bodin married the daughter of a pro-Norman nobleman from Bari. Constantine Bodin's relations with the west included his support for Pope Urban II in 1089, which secured him a major concession, the upgrading of his Bishop of Bar to the rank of an Archbishop. That was first Serbian Archbishop title in history.

Constantine Bodin attempted to maintain the enlarged realm left him by his father. To do so, he campaigned in Bosnia and Raška, installing his relative Stefan as ban in Bosna and his nephews Vukan and Marko as župans in Raška. The two brothers were sons of Constantine Bodin's half-brother Petrislav, who had governed Raška in about 1060–1074. However, after the death of Robert Guiscard in 1085, Constantine Bodin was faced by the hostility of the Byzantine Empire, which recovered Durazzo and prepared to punish the king of Duklja for siding with the Normans.

The Byzantine campaign against Duklja is dated between 1089 and 1091 and may have succeeded in taking Constantine Bodin captive for the second time. Although the kingdom survived, outlying territories including Bosna, Raška, and Hum seceded under their own governors. Exactly what happened in Duklja is unknown, and there may have been a civil war during Constantine Bodin's possible captivity. Queen Jakvinta ruthlessly persecuted possible claimants to the throne, including Constantine Bodin's cousin Branislav and his family. After a number of these persons were killed or exiled by Constantine Bodin and his wife, the church managed to keep the impending blood feud from sparking off a full-blown civil war.

First Crusade Map

In the winter of 1096-1097 the Crusaders under Raymond of Toulouse met Bodin at Scutari, the Crusaders were hospitably received and entertained.[4][5]

On Constantine Bodin's death in 1101 or possibly 1108, Duklja was engulfed in the conflict caused by the dynastic strife that had begun to develop during his reign.


By his wife Jakvinta of Bari, Constantine Bodin had several children, including:

  1. Michael II (Mihajlo II), titular king of Duklja c. 1101-1102
  2. George (Đorđe), titular king of Duklja c. 1118 and 1125–1127

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Scylitzes Continuatus: 163
  2. ^ a b c d e f Byzantium's Balkan frontier, p. 142
  3. ^ Georgius Cedrenus Ioannis Scylitzae ope ab I. Bekkero suppletus et emendatus II, Bonnae, 1839, pp 714-719
  4. ^ Journal of theological studies, Vol 19-20 Macmillan, 1918[page needed]
  5. ^ The Serbs in the Balkans in the light of Archaeological Findings

Further reading[edit]

Constantine Bodin
Died: 1108
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Peter II and Byzantine Rule
Tsar of the Bulgarians
Succeeded by
Byzantine Rule and Peter IV
Preceded by
Michael I Voislav
as King of Duklja
King of Duklja and Dalmatia
Succeeded by
Michael II and Dobroslav II
as King of Duklja