III. The Postclassical Period, 500–1500 > F. Europe, 461–1500 > 4. Eastern Europe, 1000–1300 > f. Serbia
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
f. Serbia
Approximate date of the completion of the Slav occupation of the Balkan area. Part of the Slav people extended as far west as Carniola and Carinthia, but these (the Slovenes) were conquered by the Franks in the early 9th century and were thenceforth part of the German Empire.  1
The Croats, who had also been conquered by the Franks, revolted but were again subdued.  2
Tomislav became king of Croatia, accepting his crown from the pope. He ruled over latter-day Croatia and over the territory as far south as Montenegro, though the coastal towns were mostly under Byzantine control.  3
Death of Cheslav, who had made the first effort to unite the Serbs. The Serbs, inhabiting a mountainous area, were divided into tribes and clans, under headmen or zupans. The grand zupan held an honorary preeminence. Technically the territory was under Byzantine suzerainty, which, when the Eastern Empire was strong, was effectively exercised. By the end of the 10th century the inhabitants of present Serbia and eastern Bosnia had for the most part accepted Eastern Christianity, while western Bosnia and Croatia leaned toward Roman Catholicism. However, both socially and culturally, the Serbs seemed to be one of the most westernized Eastern Orthodox peoples.  4
Mikhail of Serbia was crowned by a papal legate.  5
Bodin established a Serbian state in Zeta (i.e., Montenegro).  6
Croatia was joined with Hungary in a dynastic union, after the defeat of the last ruler, Petar, by King Ladislas. This involved the definitive victory of the western orientation in Croatia and separation from the other southern Slavs.  7
STEPHEN NEMANYA, founder of the Nemanyid dynasty in the Raska (i.e., Rascia, or Serbia proper). Though only grand zupan, Stephen appears to have made considerable progress in uniting the various clans. He definitely adopted the Eastern Orthodox faith and persecuted the Bogomils, who were forced across the frontier into Bosnia, which at that time was ruled by a strong prince, Kulin (d. 1204). The death of Manuel I Comnenus (1180) and the subsequent decline of the Eastern Empire gave Stephen an opportunity to establish his independence from Constantinople and to conquer extensive territories to the south. In 1196 he retired to a monastery on Mt. Athos that had been founded by his son, St. Sava. Stephen died in 1200.  8
STEPHEN NEMANYA II, the son of the preceding. The beginning of his reign was marked by a struggle with his elder brother, Vukan, to whom Montenegro had been assigned. The Hungarians, who became an ever greater menace to Serbia, supported Vukan, and Stephen was forced to flee to the Bulgarian court. He returned with an army of Cumans supplied by Kaloyan (see below), who appropriated for himself most of eastern Serbia, including Belgrade and Nish. Stephen's brother St. Sava finally mediated between the two contestants, and Stephen became ruler of Serbia proper.  9
Stephen was crowned king by a papal legate (hence Stephen the First-Crowned).  10
St. Sava, fearful of the Roman influence, visited Nicaea and induced the Greek patriarch to recognize him as archbishop of all Serbia and as head of an autocephalous (independent) church.  11
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.