Porga of Croatia

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Duke of Croatia
Reign c. 660–c. 680
Father Unnamed Croatian duke

Porga or Porin was one of the first dukes of the Duchy of Croatia.


De Administrando Imperio[edit]

In the work De Administrando Imperio by Constantine VII (r. 913 to 959), is mentioned that during the reign of Emperor Heraclius (r. 610–641), on his orders or by their own will (depending on reading of the two chapters), the White Croats settled in the province of Dalmatia after they had expelled the Avars.[1]

In the 31th chapter:

1.4. These same Croats had the father of Ποργα (Porga) for their archon at that time.[2]

1.5. The Emperor Heraclius ordered and brought priests from Rome, and made of them an archbishop and a bishop and presbyters and deacons, and baptized the Croats; at that time these Croats had Porga for their archon.[3]

In the 30th chapter:

2.10. From that time they remained independent and autonomous, and they requested holy baptism from Rome, and bishops were sent and baptized them in the time of their archon Πορίνου (Porinou).[4]

Research history[edit]

The early scholars, like amateur historian Henry Hoyle Howorth in The Spread of the Slaves (1878), believed that Porga was the son of one of the five brothers who had left White Croatia,[5] and noted that the name is uncommon and not of Slavic origin, and mentioned Pavel Jozef Šafárik who compared the name to Purgas, which was the name of a Mordvins chief mentioned in 1229, by which Howorth considered that the Croats were subjects to foreign princes perhaps of Avars descent.[5] Franjo Rački considered that Porga could have been a foreign transcription of a Slavic name Borko.[6]

According the tradition preserved in the 30th chapter, the White Croats were led by five brothers Κλουκας (Kloukas), Λόβελος (Lobelos), Κοσέντζης (Kosentzis), Μουχλώ (Mouchlo), Χρωβάτος (Chrobatos), and two sisters Τουγά (Touga) and Βουγά (Bouga).[7] The exact origin and derivation of their names is not completely solved, but is certain that these names are not of Slavic origin.[8] Tibor Živković considered that the name Porga is of Iranian origin, and it derives from pouru-gâo (rich in cattle).[2]

The change of personal names of the nobility, which shifted from Iranian or other language origin to Slavic, it had to happen in a longer period of time and could not happen in just one or two generations.[9] As such, besides also the chronology of arrival in the 7th and not 9th century,[9] Porga/Porin could not be Borna (r. 810 to 821) or Branimir (r. 879-892), with whom some scholars tried to identify with.[10]

Croatian historian Ivo Omrčanin believed that Porga would have ruled in ca. 660–ca. 680, while his father would have ruled ca. 635–ca. 660.[11] However, Živković noted that as the earliest possible date of Croats arrival is c. 630,[12] and baptism best fits 638, when Heraclius was still on good terms with the pope, it would mean that the Croats had two archontes at the time of Heraclius, and their rule would last six of seven years, which is unlikely.[12] According to him, and the reading of Constantine VII's writing, it appears that the Croats baptism should be connected with Constans II (r. 641-668), as the source clearly distinguish the father of Porga (Heraclius I) and Porga (Heraclius Constantine).[13]


  1. ^ Živković 2012, p. 49-50.
  2. ^ a b Živković 2012, p. 54.
  3. ^ Živković 2012, p. 56.
  4. ^ Živković 2012, p. 140.
  5. ^ a b Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, JSTOR (Organization) (1878). Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, Volume 7. p. 331. Their prince at this time was named Porga, the son of one of the five brothers already named. Porga is a curious and uncommon name, apparently not Slavic ; and Schafarik compares it with Purgas, the name of a Mordwin chief mentioned in the year 1229 (op. cit., ii, 280, note), a fact which makes it probable that the Croats were at this time subject to alien princes, perhaps of Avar descent. 
  6. ^ Franjo Rački, Documenta historiae Croaticae periodum antiaquam illustrantia, p. 291
  7. ^ Živković 2012, p. 113-114.
  8. ^ Živković 2012, p. 114-115.
  9. ^ a b Živković 2012, p. 55.
  10. ^ Živković 2012, p. 54, 142-143.
  11. ^ Ivo Omrčanin (1972). Diplomatic and political history of Croatia. Dorrance. pp. 247–. 
  12. ^ a b Živković 2012, p. 59.
  13. ^ Živković 2012, p. 60-61.


Preceded by
Duke of Duchy of Croatia
ca. 660–680
Succeeded by