Constantine Bodin

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Constantine Bodin
Бодин, краљ српски (1081 - после 1101).jpg
Ruler of Duklja (see Titles-section)
Reign 1081–1101
Predecessor Mihailo I
Successor Mihailo II
Spouse Jakvinta of Bari
Issue Mihailo II, Đorđe
Dynasty Vojislavljević
Father Mihailo I
Mother Neda
Died 1108 (1109)
Religion Eastern Christianity

Constantine Bodin (Serbian Cyrillic: Константин Бодин[a]; 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.

Early life[edit]

Bodin was the seventh son of ruler Mihailo I of Duklja, who was the first (although titular) "King of Doclea" (Duklja), and his wife Neda Monomachou, the niece of Byzantine Emperor Constantine IX Monomachos (r. 1042–1055). The date of his birth is undetermined.

Uprising in Macedonia[edit]

In 1072, the Bulgarian nobility in Skopje planned a revolt against Byzantine rule under the leadership of Georgi Voiteh, the exarchos of the city. The rebel chieftains (proechontes) asked Mihailo I for help in the uprising, and offered in exchange that one of his sons (descending partially of the Cometopuli) be given the Bulgarian throne, seeking to end Byzantine oppression in the region.[1] In fall 1072, Mihailo I obliged and sent Constantine Bodin with 300 troops, including a detachment of Italian mercenaries,[2] which arrived at Prizren and met with Voiteh and other magnates. There they crowned Bodin "Emperor of the Bulgarians"[3] and gave him the name 'Peter III', recalling the names of the Emperor-Saint Peter I (d. 970) and of Peter II Delyan (who had led the first major revolt against Byzantine rule in 1040–1041).[1] The aid to Georgi Voiteh moved Mihailo away from the Byzantines.[4]

In the meantime, the Byzantine doux of Skopje, Nikephoros Karantenos, marched towards Prizren with an army, but was replaced prior to the battle with Damian Dalassenos, who destroyed the morale of the army that would fight the Serbian contingent. 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.[1] 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".[1] 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. Despite some initial success, Bodin was subsequently captured at Pauni (in southern Kosovo),[2] and then sent to Constantinople, then Antioch, where he spent several years. Vojteh died en route.[1] When Mihailo I heard of the capture of his son, he sent a captive of his, the Byzantine general Longibardopoulos, whom he had married with one of his daughters, to rescue him, but instead, Langobardopoulos defected to the Byzantines.[1]


State of Constantine Bodin.

In c. 1078, Venetian sailors rescued Constantine Bodin from Byzantine captivity and returned him to his father. Shortly afterwards, in 1081, his father Mihailo died, and Constantine Bodin succeeded as king.

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 Montenegrin 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.

In the winter of 1096-1097 the Crusaders under Raymond of Toulouse met Bodin at Scutari, the Crusaders were hospitably received and entertained.[5][6]

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.


Seal of Constantine Bodin.

His seal, during his vassalage under Alexios I Komnenos (r. 1081–1118), dating to the early years of his rule, has the face of St. Theodore, and the Greek writing saying: [Κ(ύρι) ε βοήθ]ει Kωνσ[ταντ]ίνφ [(πρωτο)]σεβαστφ καὶ ἐζουσιαστ(η) Διοκλίας (καὶ) Σερβ(ίας) — "Konstantin, protosebastos and executor of Dioklea and Serbia".[7][8]

He was the titular "King of Doclea", after his father, Mihailo I.[citation needed]

The seal of Constantine's son, Đorđe, reads "Georgius regis Bodini filius"[9] (George, son of King Bodin).

In historiography, he is commonly called a ruler of "Dioklea" (also known as Latin: Doclea or sr. Duklja), and less commonly "Zeta" (a later name for the Dioklea region).


Constantine Bodin married Jaquinta (sr. Jakvinta), the daughter of the Norman governor of Bari. They had several children, among whom were sons:

  • Mihailo II, titular king of Duklja ca. 1101-1102
  • Đorđe, titular king of Duklja ca. 1118 and 1125–1127


  1. ^ In contemporary historiography, he is simply known as both "Konstantinos" (Constantine) and "Bodinos" (Bodin), while modern historiography uses both names, "Constantine Bodin".[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Byzantium's Balkan frontier, p. 142; Scylitzes Continuatus: 163
  2. ^ a b Sima M. Cirkovic (15 April 2008). The Serbs. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 26–. ISBN 978-1-4051-4291-5. 
  3. ^ Georgius Cedrenus Ioannis Scylitzae ope ab I. Bekkero suppletus et emendatus II, Bonnae, 1839, pp 714-719
  4. ^ Fine 1991, p. 215
  5. ^ Journal of theological studies, Vol 19-20 Macmillan, 1918[page needed]
  6. ^ The Serbs in the Balkans in the light of Archaeological Findings
  7. ^ "Jean-Claude Cheynet, „La place de la Serbie dans la diplomatie Byzantine à la fin du XI e siècle“, Zbornik radova Vizantološkog instituta , XLV, Beograd, 2008, 89–9" (PDF). 
  8. ^ Predrag Komatina. "Vizantijska titula Konstantina Bodina (Byzantine title of Constantine Bodin)". 
  9. ^ Nat︠s︡ionalen arkheologicheski institut i muzeĭ (Bŭlgarska akademii︠a︡ na naukite) (2003). Corpus of Byzantine seals from Bulgaria. Agato Publishers. p. 98. ISBN 978-954-91587-3-1. 


  • Fine, John Van Antwerp (1991). The Early Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Sixth to the Late Twelfth Century. Michigan: The University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0-472-08149-7. 
  • Sima Ćirković (1991). "Konstantin Bodin". 
Constantine Bodin
Died: 1108
Regnal titles
Byzantine rule
Title last held by
Peter II
Tsar of the Bulgarians
Byzantine rule
Title next held by
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