Unknown Archon

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Unknown Archon
Archon of Serbs
Reign fl. 610–641
House Ancestor of Vlastimirović dynasty)
Born White Serbia
Died before 680
Religion Slavic paganism

The Unknown Archon is a conventional name given by historians to the Serbian leader who led the White Serbs from their homeland to settle in the Balkans after 610, during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Heraclius (610–641).

The main record of this person is in the De Administrando Imperio, a book written in the 950s by Constantine VII Porphyrogenitos. He is described as being a successor alongside an unnamed brother (Dervan according to historical timeline) to a Serb king and having led part of the Serbs from White Serbia during the reign of Emperor Heraclius. On their way south they vanquished the Avars, before eventually settling in Servia (The place still bears its name), the hinterlands of Thessaloniki, a province which Heraclius granted them with the task to protect Byzantium from future threats, such as Avars.

The Serbs left the province and moved northwards, until they came to Belgrade where the strategos of the theme gave them the areas of Rascia, Trebounia, Zachlumi, Pagania and Konavli [1] (Byzantine Sclaviniae) after they swore allegiance to the Emperor. The date of his death is unknown, however it is attested before the arrival of the Bulgars in the Balkans (681).

The first Serbian royal family was the Vlastimirović dynasty, named after Vlastimir, a descendant of the Unknown Archon.

Unknown Archon
Regnal titles
First "Archon of Serbs"
fl. 610–641
Next known title holder:
Višeslav I


  1. ^ De Administrando Imperio, ch. 31:
    But when two brothers succeeded their father in the rule of Serbia, one of them, taking a moiety of the folk, claimed the protection of Heraclius, the emperor of the Romans, and the same emperor Heraclius received him and gave him a place in the province of Thessalonica to settle in, namely Serbia, which from that time has acquired this denomination.
    Now, after some time these same Serbs decided to depart to their own homes, and the emperor sent them off. But when they had crossed the river Danube, they changed their minds and sent a request to the emperor Heraclius, through the military governor then governing Belgrade, that he would grant them other land to settle in.
    And since what is now Rascia (Serbia) and Pagania and the so-called country of the Zachlumi and Trebounia and the country of the Kanalites were under the dominion of the emperor of the Romans, and since these countries had been made desolate by the Avars (for they had expelled from those parts the Romans who now live in Dalmatia and Dyrrachium), therefore the emperor settled these same Serbs in these countries, and they were subject to the emperor of the Romans; and the emperor brought elders from Rome and baptized them and taught them fairly to perform the works of piety and expounded to them the faith of the Christians.
    And since Bulgaria was beneath the dominion of the Romans * * * when, therefore, that same Serbian prince died who had claimed the emperor's protection, his son ruled in succession, and thereafter his grandson, and in like manner the succeeding princes from his family."