Balaton Principality

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Image:Balaton principality.png
Map of the main part of the Balaton principality (parts of the Dudleb County, of the Ptuj County and the whole former Principality of Etgar are not shown on this map)

The Balaton Principality (also called Pannonian or Transdanubian Principality, in Slovak: Blatenské kniežatstvo, in Bulgarian: Blatensko Knezevstvo, in Hungarian: Balatoni Fejedelemség) (839/840-876) was a Slavic principality (duchy) located in the western part of the Pannonian plain, between the rivers Danube to its east, Drava to the south, Graz to the west, and Kőszeg or Klosterneuburg to the north (except for the territory between the Rába river, the Balaton and modern Budapest).


[edit] Name

All the above names are modern names, because no name has been preserved from that time. The name "Balaton" is the Hungarian form of the original Slavic name - Blatno ("muddy") or a similar form - for that lake. Frankish sources usually called the territory either simply "Pannonia" or identified it by the name of the then ruler of the principality.

[edit] Parts of the principality

The principality consisted of:

  • the Balaton County - between present-day Veszprém and Drava River
  • the Ptuj County - surroundings of Ptuj
  • the Dudlebian County - approximately between Graz and Blatnohrad (Zalavár)
  • probably also: (the former) Principality of Etgar - approximately between Kőszeg and Klosterneuburg

[edit] History

The principality was one of the several Slavic states and groups connecting the areas inhabited by Slavs before they were divided into the northern and the southern Slavs by the conquests of the Franks, the arrival of the Magyars in Pannonia, and later by the expansion of the Romanians.

The Slavic people of that time were weakly differentiated, speaking closely related dialects of the same common language. The inhabitants of the Balaton Principality were most probably closely related to each of neighboring Slavic people: Great Moravians (Slovaks) to the north, Karantanians (Slovenes) to the west, Pannonian Croats to the south, and Serbs to the south-east, providing the bridge between those Slavic states and tribal unions.

The Slavic inhabitation of Pannonia started in the late 5th century after the fall of the Hunnic tribal union. In the late 6th century the Slavs in the territory became subjects of the Avar tribal union (Avar Khaganate). Attacks of Franks (led by Charles the Great), Slavs from present-day Moravia and Slovakia, and Bulgars (led by khan Krum) and internal feuds defeated the Avars in the late 8th century and the liberated Slavs of Pannonia started organizing semi-independent political units.

In the course of the creation of (see) Great Moravia in 833 to the north of the Danube, Pribina (Priwina), until then the Prince of the Principality of Nitra (Slovakia), was expelled from his country by Mojmír I of the Moravian principality. In 839 or 840, he founded the Balaton Principality (whose Slavic name means "Principality (Duchy) of the Muddy lake (or river)"). Its capital was the Blatnograd (Blatnohrad, later called Mosapurc), a fortified city built at the Zala river (Zala in Hungarian, in Slavic languages "Blatna" or similar forms meaning Muddy river) between the small and large Balaton lakes (Balaton in Hungarian, in Slavic languages Blatno / Blatenské jazero or similar forms meaning Muddy lake).

During the reign of Pribina's son, prince Kocel (Gozil, Koceľ, Kocelj) (861-876), in the summer of 867, it provided short-term hospitality to brothers Cyril and Methodius on their way from Great Moravia to the pope in Rome to justify the use of the Slavonic language as a liturgical language. They and their disciples turned Blatnograd into one of the centers that spread the knowledge of the new Slavonic script (Glagolitic alphabet) and literature, educating numerous future missionaries in their native language.

The principality was founded as a vassal of the east-Frankish (i.e. German) kings, but later it started resisting the influence of German feudal lords and clergy, trying to organize an independent Slavic archdiocese. Eventually, after Kocel's death in 876, it was again made part of the Carinthia March of the East Frankish Empire. In 884 it was conquered by Great Moravia, 894 it became part of the East Frankish Empire again. In 896 the Franks gave the territory to the Slavic prince Braslav in fief. Soon afterwards, in 901 it was conquered by the Magyars, who terminated the remaining elements of Slavic self-organization. The territory became part of the arising Hungarian state.

[edit] Sources

  • Kirilo-Metodievska enciklopedija (Cyrillo-Methodian Encyclopedia), in 3 volumes, Bulgarian language, [DR5.K575 1985 RR2S], Sofia 1985
  • Welkya - Creation of Slavic Script, [1].
  • Dejiny Slovenska (History of Slovakia) in 6 volumes, Bratislava (volume 1 1986)
  • Steinhübel, Ján: Nitrianske kniežatstvo (Principality of Nitra), Bratislava 2004de:Plattensee-Fürstentum

pl:Księstwo Błatneńskie pt:Principado de Balaton ro:Principatul de Balaton ru:Блатенское княжество sk:Blatenské kniežatstvo sl:Spodnja Panonija

Balaton Principality

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