Porga of Croatia

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Duke of Croatia
Reign Second half of the 7th century
Father Unnamed Croatian duke

Porga or Porin (Iranian pouru-gâo, translated as "rich in cattle")[1] was one of the first dukes of the Duchy of Croatia.


De Administrando Imperio[edit]

According to Constantine VII (r. 913 to 959) in De Administrando Imperio during the reign of Emperor Heraclius (r. 610–641), the White Croats settled in the province of Dalmatia after being expelled by the Avars.[2] They were led by five brothers: Kloukas (Κλουκας), Lobelos (Λόβελος), Kosentzis (Κοσέντζης), Mouchlo (Μουχλώ), Chrobatos (Χρωβάτος), and two sisters Touga (Τουγά) and Bouga (Βουγά).[3] Chapter 31, 1.4, says, "These same Croats had the father of Ποργα (Porga) for their archon at that time",[1] and, 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."[4] The 30th chapter, 2.10, says, "From that time they remained independent and autonomous, and they requested holy baptism from Rome, so bishops were sent to baptize them in the time of their archon Πορίνου (Porinou)".[5]

Modern scholarship[edit]

Scholars including Henry Hoyle Howorth believed that Porga was the son of one of five brothers who had left White Croatia. They noted that the name was uncommon and not of Slavic origin.[6] Czech historian Pavel Jozef Šafárik compared the name to Purgas, which was the name of a Mordvins chief mentioned in 1229. Howorth considered that the Croats were subject to "alien princes, perhaps of Avar descent".[6] Franjo Rački considered that Porga could have been a foreign transcription of the Slavic name Borko.[7][8]

The change of noble personal names, which shifted from Iranian (or another language of different origin) to Slavic, simply could not have happened in a mere few generations.[9] As such, the time of arrival is estimated to be during the 7th, and not 9th, century.[9] Porga/Porin could not be Borna (r. 810–821) or Branimir (r. 879–892), with whom some scholars have tried to identify him.[10]

Croatian historian Ivo Omrčanin believed that Porga would have ruled in ca. 660–680, while his father would have ruled ca. 635–660.[11] Serbian historian Tibor Živković noted that the earliest possible date of Croat arrival is ca. 630,[12] and that of baptism, 638, when Heraclius was still on good terms with the pope. However, that would mean that the Croats had two archons at the time of Heraclius, and would rule for six or seven years, which is unlikely.[12] Živković, based on De Administrando Imperio, thinks that the Croats' baptism is connected to Constans II (r. 641-668), as the event that distinguishes the father of one Porga (Heraclius I) from the other Porga (Heraclius Constantine).[13]

Recently, Croatian historian and archaeologist Ante Milošević proposed a new thesis, that the differences in names in chapters 31 and 30 of De Administrando Imperio are due to differences in folk tradition. According to Milošević, chapter 30 resembles the tradition of the Longobards, whose first legendary rulers Godin, Peron, and Klafon were not actual historical figures, but deities equivalent to Norse Odin and Balto-Slavic Perun. In chapter 30, Porin – like Longobard Peron, although probably intended as Porga – wasn't an actual ruler name, but the Slavic deity Perun.[14][15]


  1. ^ a b Živković 2012, p. 54.
  2. ^ Živković 2012, p. 49-50.
  3. ^ Živković 2012, p. 113-114.
  4. ^ Živković 2012, p. 56.
  5. ^ Živković 2012, p. 140.
  6. ^ 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 1228 (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. 
  7. ^ Franjo Rački, Documenta historiae Croaticae periodum antiaquam illustrantia, p. 291
  8. ^ Živković 2012, pp. 114-115.
  9. ^ a b Živković 2012, p. 55.
  10. ^ Živković 2012, pp. 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.
  14. ^ Milošević, Ante (2013). "Tko je Porin iz 30. glave De administrando imperio?" [Who is Porin in the 30th chapter of De Administrando imperio?]. Starohrvatska prosvjeta (in Croatian). Split: Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments. III (40). Retrieved 30 March 2016. 
  15. ^ Igor Brešan (8 August 2014). "Dr. Ante Milošević: Porin nije povijesna ličnost! On je bog, a ne knez!" [Dr. Ante Milošević: Porin isn't historical figure! He is a god, not knez!]. Slobodna Dalmacija (in Croatian). Retrieved 24 March 2016. 


Preceded by
Duke of Duchy of Croatia
7th century
Succeeded by