Ban Kulin, Ban of Bosnia (1163 1204) was a notable Bosnian Ban who ruled from 1180 to 1204, first as a vassal of the Byzantine Empire and then, most importantly, of the Banate of Bosnia. He was one of Bosnia's most prominent and notable historic rulers and had a great effect on the development of early Bosnian history. One of his most noteworthy diplomatic achievements is widely considered to have been the signing of the Charter of Ban Kulin, which encouraged trade and established peaceful relations between Dubrovnik and the Kingdom of Bosnia. His son, Stjepan Kulini succeeded him as Bosnian Ban. Kulin founded the House of Kulini .
Early life and rule
Kulin came to prominence in Bosnia 1163 as he was under the Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Comnenus who was just taking the country from the Hungarians earlier, although it would not be until 1180 that he would place Kulin as his vassal as Ban.
His rule is often remembered as being emblematic of Bosnia's golden age, and he is a common hero of Bosnian national folk tales. Under him, the "Bosnian Age of Peace and Prosperity" would come to exist. Bosnia was completely autonomous and mostly at peace during his rule.
War against Byzantium
In 1183, he led his troops with the forces of the Kingdom of Hungary under King B la, who had just launched an attack on the Byzantine Empire together with the Serbs led by grand upan of Serbia, Stefan Nemanja. The cause of the war was the new imposer to the Imperial throne Andronicus Comnenus that was not recognized as legitimate by the Hungarian crown. The united forces met little resistance in the eastern Serbian lands - the Greek squadrons were fighting among themselves as the local Byzantine commanders: Alexios Brannes supported the new Emperor, while Andronicus Lapardes opposed him - and deserted the Imperial Army, going onto adventures on his own. Without difficulties, the Greeks were pushed out of the Valley of Morava and the allied forces breached all the way to Sofia, raiding Belgrade, Brani evo, Ravno, Ni and Sophia itself. With the Hungarian withdrawal from the conflict, so did Ban Kulin stand down. In Kulin's times, the term Bosnia encompassed roughly the lands of Vrhbosna (near Sarajevo), Usora, Soli, the Donji Kraji and Rama, which is approximately geographical Bosnia.
News of the heresy reached Pope Innocent III in 1199 by the Serbian Duke of Zeta, Vukan, who sent the recently-crowned Pope a letter, telling him of heresy in Bosnia. Vukan claimed that Kulin, was a heretic, as was his wife and sister. He claimed that Kulin had welcomed the heretics whom Bernard had banished, treating them as Catholics and addressing them as Christians par excellence . According to Vukan, the ban had led 10,000 of his subjects astray. The mention of Christians drew the attention of the Pope, who wrote a letter dated 11 November 1200 to Kulin s suzerain, the Hungarian King Emeric, warning him that no small number of Patarenes had gone from Split and Trogir to Ban Kulin where they were warmly welcomed. Innocent s tone was a mixture of anguish and ire. He told Emmerich: Go and ascertain the truth of these reports and if Kulin is unwilling to recant, drive him from your lands and confiscate his property. (13) We should note that-harsh as he sounds-the Pope was concerned with the truth. In the case of Bosnia, Innocent and his successors sought second and even third opinions. He did not trust local informants and set up his own system of legates and investigators who reported directly to him. Kulin s reaction to the threat from Rome was both courageous and astute, setting a pattern for future Bosnian-Papal relations. First, he wrote the Pope that he didn t regard the new immigrants as heretics, but as Catholics, and he was sending a few of them to Rome for examination. He also invited the Pope to send a representative to Bosnia to investigate.
Unconvinced by Kulin s Bosnians, however, Innocent sent his legate John de Casamaris and Archdeacon Marin of Dubrovnik to Bosnia to interrogate Ban Kulin, his wife, and subjects about everything relating to faith and life , and if they found anything that smelled of this heretical depravity--or if they resisted true teaching they should correct the situation. He referred them to a Constitution he had prepared regarding heresy.
Innocent was well aware that he might be dealing with dualist heresy in Bosnia. He wrote to Bernard of Split (November 21, 1202) that a multitude of people in Bosnia are suspected of the damnable heresy of the Cathars."
John de Casamaris and Marin may have stayed one full winter in Bosnia, from the end of November until early April. Since their job was to ascertain the truth about the heresy, the legate went about the country with Marin, stopping at the various krstjani hi e, or lodges the conventicula mentioned in the Split edict of 1185 interrogating the abbots, monks and nuns regarding their beliefs and practices.
John probably had a list of Patarene or Cathar errors to guide him. Marin was his interpreter, since the Bosnians were not familiar with Latin. If there were Slavonic documents available, it is believed that Marin translated them.
Not only did Casamaris listen to his informants answers, but where they were in error, he would have taught them correct doctrine, in line with Innocent s directive. John must have convinced himself that he had fulfilled Innocent s command to correct the krstjani, because the Confessio (Abjuration) signed at Bilino Polje by seven priors of the Krstjani church on April 8, 1203, makes no mention of errors. The same document was brought to Budapest, April 30 by Casamaris and Kulin and two abbots, where it was examined by the Hungarian King and the high clergy. Kulin s son Stefan, during a later meeting, agreed that if the Bosnians violated the agreement, they would pay a heavy fine of 1,000 marks.
On the surface, the Confessio concerned church organization and practices. The monks renounced their schism with Rome and agreed to accept Rome as the mother church. They promised to erect chapels with altars and crucifixes, where they would have priests who would say Mass and dispense Holy Communion at least seven times a year on the main feast days.
The priests would also hear confession and give penances. The monks promised to chant the hours, night and day, and to read the Old Testament as well as the New. They would follow the Church s schedule of fasts, as well as their own regimen. They also agreed to stop calling themselves krstjani which had been their exclusive privilege lest they cause pain to other Christians. They would wear special, uncolored robes, closed and reaching the ankles. In addition they were to have graveyards next to the church, where they would bury their brethren and any visitors who happened to die there.
Women members of the order were to have special quarters away from the men and to eat separately; nor could they be seen talking alone with a monk, lest they cause scandal. The abbots also agreed not to offer lodging to manicheans or other heretics. Finally, upon the death of the head of their order (magister), the abbots, after consultation with their fellow monks, would submit their choice to the Pope for his approval. As for the Bosnian Catholic diocese itself, John advised Innocent that they needed to break the hold of the Slavonic bishop who had ruled the Bosnian church up to then, and to appoint three or four Latin bishops, since Bosnia was a large country ( ten days walk ).
After the Confessio was approved by King Emmerich, John de Casamaris, in a letter to Innocent, refers to the former Patarenes. (23) Obviously, he thought that he had converted the krstjani, but he was wrong. In my opinion, they were merely waiting for him to go. Partly due to Rome s complacency (caused by Casamaris s feelings of success) and the Pope s failure to appoint Latin bishops, as John had suggested, the heretical movement grew stronger over the next few decades, uniting with remnants of the old native Catholic church. Together they formed a national, heretical church which survived crusades and threats of crusades until the mid-fifteenth century, when it gradually vanished in the face of the Ottoman takeover.
Charter of Ban Kulin
The Charter of Ban Kulin was a trade agreement between Bosnia and the Republic of Ragusa that effectively regulated Ragusan trade rights in Bosnia written on August 29, 1189. It is one of the oldest written state documents in the Balkans and is among the oldest historical documents written in Bosan ica. The charter is of great significance in Bosnian national pride and historical heritage.
After the death of Ban Kulin in 1204, the Bosnian throne was succeeded by his son Stjepan Kulini (often referred to in English as Stephen Kulini ).
Kulin Ban's plate found in Biskupi i, near Visoko
Marriage and children
Kulin's sister married the brother of Grand Prince Stefan Nemanja, the Serbian Prince Miroslav of Hum in Rascia and Kulin himself had two sons:
- Stephen Kulini , the following Ban of Bosnia
- A son that went with the Pope's emissaries in 1203 to explain heresy accusations against Kulin
- History of Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Byzantine Empire
- History of Hungary
- List of rulers of Bosnia
- List of Bosnians
- History of Croatia
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