Pavle of Serbia

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Not to be confused with Patriarch Pavle of Serbia.
Pavle Branović
Prince / Archont / Knez
of Serbs / Serbia
Prince of Serbia
Reign 917–921
Predecessor Petar
Successor Zaharija
Born ca. 870
Died 921
House Vlastimirović
Father Bran
Religion Eastern Christianity

Pavle Branović or Pavle of Serbia (Serbian: Павле Брановић, Greek: Παῦλος[A] ; ca. 870 – 921) was Prince of the Serbs from 917 to 921. He was put on the throne by the Bulgarian Tsar Symeon I of Bulgaria, who had murdered the previous Prince Petar, who had become a Byzantine ally. Pavle ruled for 4 years, before being defeated by Prince Zaharija, his cousin.

Pavle was the son of Bran, the middle son of Mutimir (r. 851–891) of the first Serbian dynasty.



Vlastimirović dynasty

He was born in the 870s;[1] between 870 and 874[2] to Bran Mutimirović, the middle son of Mutimir. His [Byzantine] Christian name, in relation to the previous generation of pagan names, shows the spread Christianization of Serbs.[3]

After Mutimir, his grandfather, had died in 891, Pribislav succeeded as Prince. Pribislav ruled briefly, for a year, when Petar returned and defeated him. Pribislav fled to Croatia with his brothers Bran (Pavle's father) and Stefan.[4] Bran later returned and led an unsuccessful rebellion against Petar in 894[5] Bran was defeated, captured and blinded (blinding was a Byzantine tradition that meant to disqualify a person to take the throne[6]).[7][8]

In 917, a Byzantine army led by Leo Phokas invaded Bulgaria, but was decisively defeated at the Battle of Achelous in 20 August 917.[9] After Achelous,[5] Symeon sent an army to Serbia led by Pavle (after he had heard of an Byzantine-Serbian alliance), to take the Serbian throne, however, unsuccessfully as Petar proved a good opponent.[10] Symeon then sent generals Marmais and Theodore Sigritsa,[11][12] persuading Petar (through an oath[10]) to come out and meet them,[12] then captured and took him to Bulgaria where he was put in prison, dying within a year.[5] Symeon put Pavle on the Serbian throne.[5]

In 920, Zaharija, the exiled son of Pribislav (the eldest of Mutimir's sons), is sent by Romanos I Lekapenos (r. 920–944) to seize the throne. Zaharija was the rightful pretender. Pavle defeats and captures him, handing him over to Symeon, where he is held for future tactics. In the meantime, Pavle switches to Byzantine support and Symeon now dispatches Zaharije with Bulgarian troops in 921. Zaharija wins the battle, and quickly revows his Byzantine alliance. There are no more mentions of Pavle.

Pavle, Knez of Serbia
Born: 870-874 Died: Unknown
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Prince of Serbia
Succeeded by


  1. ^ Name: The first attestation of his name is the Greek Paulos (Παῦλος), in Latin Paulus, in Serbian Pavle. He was a descendant of Vlastimirović, his father was Bran, hence, according to the contemporary naming culture, his name was Pavle Branović Vlastimirović.
  1. ^ Тибор Живковић, „Портрети српских владара (-{IX-XII}-)“, Београд 2006 ISBN 86-17-13754-1
  2. ^ Андрија Веселиновић Радош Љушић, „Српске династије“, Нови Сад 2001. ISBN 86-83639-01-0
  3. ^ The entry of the Slavs into Christendom, p. 209
  4. ^ The early medieval Balkans, p. 141
  5. ^ a b c d The early medieval Balkans, p. 150
  6. ^ Longworth, Philip (1997), The making of Eastern Europe: from prehistory to postcommunism (1997 ed.), Palgrave Macmillan, p. 321, ISBN 0-312-17445-4 
  7. ^ Група аутора, Историја српског народа I, Београд 1981.
  8. ^ (Божидар Ферјанчић), „Византијски извори за историју народа Југославије -{II}-“, (фототипско издање оригинала из 1959) Београд, 2007. ISBN 978-86-83883-08-0
  9. ^ The early medieval Balkans, p. 149
  10. ^ a b Srbi između Vizantije, Hrvatske i Bugarske
  11. ^ Obolensky, D. The Byzantine Commonwealth, London, 1971, p.111
  12. ^ a b BBNB, p. 27