Svetoslav of Croatia

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Svetoslav Suronja
King of Croatia
Reign 997–1000
Predecessor Stephen Držislav
Successor Krešimir III of Croatia and Gojslav of Croatia
House House of Trpimirović, founder of House of Svetoslavić
Father Stephen Držislav
Religion Christian
Croatian Kingdom c. 998, during the reign of king Svetoslav Suronja of Croatia

Svetoslav Suronja (Croatian pronunciation: [sʋětoslaʋ sǔːroɲa]) was King of Croatia from 997 to 1000. He was a member of House of Trpimirović. He reigned with the help of his Ban, Varda. His name was Svetoslav, but because of his physiology and, probably, his temper, he was nicknamed Suronja which could be translated as dark man or cold man. He was the oldest son of king Stjepan Držislav. His father had given him the title of Duke and designated Svetoslav as his successor. He reigned with his ban Gvarda (also Varda).



After the death of their father, his brothers Krešimir and Gojslav started organizing a rebellion against him since Svetoslav rejected sharing power over the kingdom. The brothers had asked Bulgarian emperor Samuil for aid, even though the emperor was at war with the Byzantine Empire. In the war, the Byzantines were supported by Venice and Svetoslav Suronja, who had continued his father's policy. Samuil had accepted the revolters' invitation and attacked Croatia in 998, which started the last of three Croatian-Bulgarian wars. In his rampage, he took all of Croatian Dalmatia up to Zadar after which he ended his rampage, returning home to Bulgaria through Bosnia.[1] Samuil gave all the territory he took to the revolters Krešimir and Gojslav. Using this newly gained territory and further Bulgarian aid, the brothers overthrew their elder brother, Svetoslav Suronja, and became rulers of Croatia.

War with Venice[edit]

Svetoslav's reign was particularly unpleasant for the Dalmatian cities, as they were occasionally raided and pillaged by his supporters. The cities asked the Venetian Republic for help in autumn of 999, which encouraged Venice to make a pact with the Byzantine Empire in order to secure the cities for themselves.[2] Using events like the casus belli, the Venetian Doge Pietro II Orseolo launched a campaign in Dalmatia against Croatia in 1000. During May, Croatia lost the islands Cres, Lošinj, Krk and Rab to the Doge, who was eventually received in Zadar and recognised as its master. Svetoslav sent envoys to the city offering peace, but the Doge declined and decided to further his campaign. From here the island Pašman was taken and, with negotiations, the city of Biograd.

Svetoslav's descendant, Dmitar Zvonimir, will later become the Croatian king in 1074.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Chronicle of the Priest of Duklja
  2. ^ Ferdo Šišić, Povijest Hrvata u vrijeme narodnih vladara, 1925, Zagreb ISBN 86-401-0080-2


  • Intervju - ДИНАСТИЈЕ и владари јужнословенских народа. Special Edition 12, 16 June 1989.
Svetoslav of Croatia
Died: c. 1000
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Stjepan Držislav
King of Croatia
Succeeded by
Krešimir III and Gojslav