Ērān ud Anērān
Webfestschrift Marshak 2003


Contribution to the Debates on the Origin of the Medieval Bosnian Royal Dynasty Kotromanids*



Bosnia was seized by Avars and Slavs from Byzantium at the end of the 6th century, and settled by Slavic masses. Avars ruled Bosnia through Avar- or Bulgar-origin governors appointed by the center. The Avar State collapsed at the end of the 8th century and its realm was shared between Bulgars and Franks, and to some degree Byzantium. Bosnia remained ownerless and foreign forces could not establish a lasting rule there. Avar feudal remnants called ‘ban’ and ‘župan’ were unified around the Bosnian banate, which had then a little terrain in today’s Central Bosnia, and founded the Medieval ‘Federal’ Bosnian state. There are no clear accounts in the sources for the pre-mid-12th century. Thus, even statehood of Bosnia before the 12th century is open to discussion. In these circumstances, it is very difficult to determine origin of the royal Kotromanid dynasty. Sources tell us about a Bosnian dynasty, continuous and with deep roots in history, contrary to the neighboring Serbian, Croatian and Montenegrin states. Historians almost totally agree that this dynasty descends from a ban appointed by Avars to rule then Bosnia. But the word Kotroman could not be well etymologized, and thus origin of the dynasty was discussed leading some theories like Germanic origin. The first part of this word is likely to be Kotur, a well-attested anthroponym among Bulgar Turks, as well as name of a Bulgar tribe (singular Kotrag, plural Koturogur / Kutrigur). Those who invaded Bosnia in the name of the Avar qaganate were Kutrigurs, and they were mentioned as a people in Herzegovina even in the second half of the 15th century. Their names have been preserved in many toponyms in the region. The –man suffix in the name does not show any Germanic connection, rather it reinforces, as a suffix widely used in Turkic especially for ethnonyms, the possibility of Bulgaro-Turkic origin of the Bosnian kings.

Keywords: Bosnia, Medieval, Avar, Bulgar, Kutrigur, Kotromanić


The Bosnian state was founded in Medieval Age in the middle of what is today Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in the course of time encompassed almost all of the current country and some regions around it. There is no information confirmed about the beginning of the state, which lasted up to the Turkish conquest in 1463. Relatively detailed accounts on this country and its rulers began to appear from the 12th century on. For earlier days, we have some information, which is sufficient only to make comments and suggestions on whether there was a political formation there. Thus, historians face a very difficult task in finding origin of the ruling Kotromanids (Kotromanići), while existence and features of the state for a long period are not obvious at all.

In this essay, I will mention some debates on the origin of the dynasty, which possibly founded the Medieval Bosnian state, and present my own thesis, which I briefly touched upon in my previous studies.2 The idea I suggest is that the feudal layer, which founded and developed the Medieval Bosnian state, was of mainly Avar and so-called (proto-) Bulgar stock, and the Kotromanid family, which united the scattered feudal formations into a relatively centralized state was ethnically Bulgar. Although our topic is the dynasty, we have to elaborate on the pre-12th-century Bosnia, and especially on its origins, the "unknown period", since it is not widely known, and there are no many texts in this matter in world historiography.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that there is almost no independent and detailed study on the "Dark Age" of the Bosnian State and its founders. This topic was touched upon with only few sentences within other broader texts. The 1925 article of Ćorović still stands as the only and unique study, which is directly related to the topic. Hungarian politician-historian Thallóczy published an article in 1914, which examines origins of the Kotromanids. A paper of E. Imamović presented in 1996 to a conference deals with the Kotromanid dynasty as a whole, and by the way, evaluates other studies in this area.

A Renaissance scholar, Mauro Orbini of Dubrovnik gave the first information on the origin of the Bosnian kings, in 1601 in his overall "Slavic history". After Orbini, one of the latest representatives of the Medieval style, authors like Jakov Lukarić (1605), who wrote a history of Croats/Dalmatia in a similar style, then Ivan Lucić (1666) and Charles du Fresne (1749) continued to touch on Bosnia within their general histories on South Slavs or Byzantium. But there was almost no contribution to what Mauro Orbini had said by the beginning of modern historiography. Moreover, they did not deal with Bosnia particularly, but within a few pages or when it was necessary. Among them, only Daniel Farlato (1769) brought about some new facts in his history of "Iliria", based on archives of the Papacy. After that, modern historiography begins as an embryo, and very serious books were written by using Latin and Greek sources.

The first book dedicated to the history of Bosnia in regard to its name is "Tarih-i Bosna" of Ömer Bosnavî (1741), but it encompasses only the events during the Ottoman-Habsburg clashes between 1736-1739. That is, it is not a history but a diary/chronicle. The first general history book having Bosnia in its name is "Geschichte von Serwien und Bosnien" (1801) of Johann Christian Engel. In the second half of the 19th century, not only political history of Bosnia, but also its problems, mainly Bogomilism started to be topic of books and articles. The first book dedicated only to Bosnia and its medieval history is of this period: "Poviest Bosne do propasti kraljevstva" (1882) by Vjekoslav Klaić. After Yugoslavia was founded, there is a clear rise in the number of books about independent history of regions/countries and nations, as well as general history of Yugoslavia. Vladimir Ćorović (1935 and 1940), Sima Ćirković (1964), Anto Babić (1972), who collected his articles in a book, Marko Vego (1982), Pavao Anđelić (1982), and Nada Klaić (1989), having the most important book, are the most famous names of the once Yugoslav historiography on Medieval Bosnia.

Among Bosniacs, who have been mostly interested in the Ottoman period, the first general Bosnian history was published in 1997 by Mustafa Imamović, who is indeed a historian of laws. But his book cosists of only a summary about medieval history of the country. Proceedings of the 1996 Zenica Conference, published by Halim Mulaibrahimović, can be accepted the first, and, for now, unique Bosnian medieval history. Above-mentioned article of E. Imamović is included in that book. Noel Malcolm’s handbook "A Short History of Bosnia" (1994) is the first and only general history of Bosnia, written in non-Yugoslav languages. But Malcolm, who sometimes elaborates on very interesting problems in the book, does not say even one sentence on who established the Bosnian State; he even does not tell anything how the state appeared, and immediately starts with the known period. Fine’s Early Medieval Balkans (1983) being the main book, there are other studies, too, dealing with Bosnia in concerning chapters or necessary passages.

Origins of Bosnia as a Country

Becoming a country3 of a certain land is connected with not only geography, but also geo-culture with thousands of years of experiences. Many of modern countries have their projections even in ancient times. France, Bulgaria and Iran are appropriate examples. In the west of the Balkans, the ex-Yugoslavia region was a "country" together with modern Albania, in ancient times, and the province of "Iliricum", continuation of the old Iliria, continued to exist not only in Rome and Byzantium, but also during the Ottoman days. Today’s ex-Yugoslav countries, except Macedonia, are almost totally products of medieval formations. Ancient Dalmats lived in the coastal region, exactly where is now modern Dalmatia, but Bosnia was, like Herzegovina and Montenegro, part of the "political" Dalmatia of Rome and Byzantium ("In olden times, therefore, Dalmatia used to start at the confines of Dyrrachium, or Antibari, and used to extend as far as the mountains of Istria, and spread out as far as the river Danube").4 Bosnia located in a place where two lines in north-south and east-west directions cross each other, developed its own peculiar identity and form of behavior, in spite of the constant influences from all directions;5 that is, it had its own geo-culture. Moreover, this land is separated from neighboring lands with certain lines, by posing a geopolitical unity. That it could not become a country in an earlier date can be attributed to the political developments and ethnic processes, which started with Sarmatic raids, coinciding with the Germanic assaults to the northwestern borders of the Roman Empire, and which lasted by the decline of Avar state (end of the 8th century).

The most obvious proof for the fact that Bosnia was not a country for a long time is absence of a name for it. The name Bosnia is firstly mentioned in the mid-10th century by the Byzantine emperor-author Konstantinos Porphyrogenitus: έίς τό χωρίον Βόσονα...6 We will not deal with debates on the origin of the word, since it is out of matter. In DAI, Bosnia is mentioned as a region. Taking the two cities Katera and Desnik, told to be here, into consideration, one can say that the mid-10th century Bosnia was of almost exactly the same size as the Bosnia, which declared its independence two centuries later, and in the same location. This is what is now Central Bosnia, where are upper courses of the river with the same name. As the state founded here extended its lands, the country called Bosnia extended also to get eventually today’s size. Such a question may be posed at this point: Considering that spread of the name Bosnia was connected to the political expansion, might the appearance and continuation of Bosnia as a country be related to the premises of the same political structure? That is, was there a "political" Bosnia in the days when Konstantinos was writing his De Administrando Imperio?

The complete sentence, where Konstantinos tells about Bosnia, is as follows: "In baptized Serbia are the inhabited cities of Destinikon, Tzernabouskeї, Megyretous, Dresneїk, Lesnik, Salines; and in the territory of Bosona, Katera and Desnik." This sentence is open to speculation and says nothing obvious about political relationship of Bosnia with Serbia. The former might be both a part of the latter, or an independent country created by Slavic nations like the Pagani. Konstantinos once mentions Bosnia as "Pagania, which was at that time (beginning of the 10th century, O.K.) under the control of prince of Serbia"7 and in another place tells that Croatia "... at Tzentina (now Cetina, O.K.) and Chlebena (now Livno, O.K.) becomes neighbor to the country of Serbia".8 That is, Serbian-Croatian border used to cross along Central Bosnia at that time. Salinas, which was included among the cities in Serbia, is modern Tuzla of Bosnia. This means, Serbian and Croatian states were neighbors in Northern Bosnia, too. Therefore, at least half of the current Bosnia once became part of the Serbian princedom. We know that the western half was for a long time under Croatian rule, and the Bihać region was heartland of the Croatian State. In addition, Konstantinos tells about Bosnia in the Chapter 32, which is dedicated to Serbs and their countries.

But this does not clearly explain political situation in the "nucleus" of Bosnia between Serbian and Croatian states. What is more, Serbian or Croatian hegemony in Bosnia does not show that its people was of Serbian and Croatian stock. As expressed by Serbian historian Ćirković, such a question contains mistakes within itself.9

Thus, our attempts to fix existence of the Bosnian "country" in order to reach the Bosnian "state" in an age ignored by sources become fruitless. However, Konstantinos gives interesting data on the ethnic groups of the region, and well analyzing them we can deduce whether early Bosnia was a country and its inhabitants were an ethnie or ethnos. One of the Dalmatian nations mentioned by the Emperor is the one called Arentani (Αρεντανοί) by the Romans and Pagani (Παγανοί) in their own language.10 Historians, who rely on the fact that the Pagani deals with piracy on the Dalmatian islands,11 unanimously think that they were the Slavic group, which is known as Neretljani (Neretvans), and which lived in Western Herzegovina.12 Konstantinos also includes some Dalmatian cities and islands in the country of the Pagans.13

But a detail given in another place contradicts the Emperor himself in describing the country of the Pagans. According to this account, Slavs converted to Christianity, but Pagans living in a mountainous and remote place resisted to it.14 Western Herzegovina, where Neretvans used to live, is by no means mountainous, and to the contrary, is the most level land in the region. There is a plain from the coast to the city Mostar. This area is not only accessible, but also the most accessible part of the Dalmatian coastal region. Just as, Ottomans coming from the inside got an exit to the Adriatic Sea at this point, and the Venecians, in turn, easily advanced there and seized Mostar during the long-lasting wars after the Vienna siege of Turks (1683). South and east of Mostar is mountainous, but this cannot be Pagania, as it was called Hum and as there lived the people called Zachlumi (Ζαχλούμυ).15 Pagans could not be in its south or in north of Mostar, because Terbouniotes (Τερβουνιωτών) and Kanalites (Καναλιτών) used to live in the south,16 and the northern area was Croatian soil. Therefore, Pagania can only be in interior regions, which are today’s Northern Herzegovina and Central Bosnia. In succeeding years, in these regions Christianity was the weakest, and Bogomilism the most powerful.

Therefore, the pagans resisting to Christianization were probably the people, who used to live where later Bogomilism-based Bosniac nation emerged. Any connection of the pirate Pagans, Neretvans, to them does not seem very likely. Otherwise, we have to suppose a political formation in a long stripe from Central Bosnia to the coast along the Neretva valley. We do not have any data to confirm it. So, here are two possibilities: Konstantinos makes a mistake, as he does often, and either is confused of the two groups, or unifies the two. Any alliance of temporary nature between Bosnians and Neretvans, as well as the fact that the both coincidentally might have resisted to Christianization, would lead to such a perception, unifying their stories. In all cases, the fact that the Emperor does not give clear information about Bosnia shows his lack of information. Otherwise, it would be very meaningless to tell a lot about small places like Trebinje, and to say almost nothing about who used to live in Bosnia, which is a region in his literature. Just as, he would tell about Bosnian parts of the Serbo-Croatian border, besides the Dalmatian ones. That he takes borders of the province of Dalmatia before the Avaro-Slavic invasion to Danube is another mistake of Konstantinos. Dalmatia used to finish where Bosnia used to finish in east and north, that is, on the rivers Sava and Drina. If he is to reach Danube in the north, now Hungaro-Croatian border, then, there was the famous province of Pannonnia; if he means an eastern direction, that is today’s Voivodina and Belgrade, that region had been organized as the province of Sirmium, and never been within Dalmatia. Thus, we can understand why Konstantinos cannot put the region of Bosnia and the mountainous Pagania together.

So, we have two points to be considered together: (1) The region Bosnia, (2) The Pagans (Arentani), who used to live in a mountainous region, who resisted to Christianization, and who were not Serbs though once they had been under the rule of the former. Konstantinos etymologizes the word pagan in the language of Slavs as "unbaptized", that is unbeliever.17 Arentani, the "Roman" counterpart of that name, must have given in attribution to an ancient Iliric tribe, which had lived here. This is a Byzantine custom. For example, Serbs were called even in the 13th century Tribali,18 a small tribe that had lived in the same region almost 1500 years ago. Since we know which parts of Bosnia were under Serbian and Croatian control in those days, we have no other choice except locating Pagans in Central Bosnia, remaining between the two invading neighbors. This would lead us to accept Bosnia as a "nucleus country" at the beginning of the 10th century, with its people being in ethnos quality. As it was unconceivable for its people to adopt the Byzantine word Arentani or their own word Pagan meaning "unbeliever" as their public name, and as Slavic communities everywhere used to adopt toponyms as their ethnonyms, unless outsiders imposed their own names,19 people of Bosnia took the names Bošnjan, Bošnjak and later, in modern times, Bosanac.

Political Processes by the Independent State

The withdrawal of the Rome from the borders about the mid-Danube ranges and loss of parts of Pannonnia begins with the Sarmatic age.20 Then the Goths running away from the Huns and the Huns themselves, who then based in Pannonnia, became lords of the region. Bosnia was under Byzantine administration when Avar raids started in the second half of the 6th century. Avars had the most important role in Slavicization of the Balkans.21 The Avar Qaganate appointed governors, who were of Avar origin and called "ban" and "župan", to the Slavic masses, which had come from Central Europe and settled down in the Balkans under the Avar supervision. Thus, a permanent and powerful central administration was founded by Avars.

It would be wrong to think that the only Asiatic/Turko-Mongol element, upon which the Avar state relied, were the Avars. On their road to Central Europe, the Avars took a number of Kutrigur/Koturoğur Turks, a Bulgaric tribe living roughly in what is today Ukraine, with them. These Kutrigurs invaded Bosnia and Dalmatia in 578 in the name of the Avar Qaganate. It seems they held very high ranks within the state, which may be a factor in their endeavor of seizing the throne in 630-631.22 Given the fact that the Avars had no much human resource, Kutrigurs must have held a great part of provincial administration. They were brought from the Western Eurasian steppes with their obas ("encampment"), and not only as recruited soldiers. In addition to the 10 thousand soldiers, who invaded Bosnia and Dalmatia, their families must have also come, at least partially, and therefore, not only an administrative and military class, but also an important number of civil Kutrigur population settled in Bosnia. In this regard, two Greeks sources from the 15th century mention Kudugers living in Herzegovina. Chalkokondilios says that "In the country of Sandalj (Prince of Herzegovina at that time, O.K.) live people called Kuduger", and Gennadios, the first archbishop appointed by Mehmed the Second after the conquest of Istanbul, tells about the same people with exactly the same name and the same living place. It was Serbian historian Vaso Glušac, who firstly wrote that they might be Kutrigurs.23 The country of Sandalj was the stronghold of resistance to Christianity in the last years of the Bosnian kingdom, which then accepted Catholicism as official religion and started to suppress its Bogomil citizens. This can be compared to the case under the Khan Omurtag in the Danubian Bulgar kingdom, where Slavic masses were easily and rapidly Christianized, which caused reaction of Bulgars, still keeping their Turkic identity, and which ultimately led to a Bulgaro-Slavic internal strife.

The Avar power, having been at war with all surrounding states and nations for 250 years, seems to have lost its authority over bans and župans of Bosnia, coincidedly with its weakening in the last decades. Suddenly collapse of this state at the end of the 8th century left Bosnian begs with Avaric and Bulgaric origin stateless. According to N. Klaić, well before the Franks’ arrival and declining the Avar State, Bosnian begs were de facto independent.24 It is not well known to what degree the powers that destroyed the Avar State, Bulgars and Franks, controlled Bosnia. They shared the Avar realm in Central Europe, today’s Hungary and Transilvania. There is no record on their entry in Bosnia. A temporary reconstruction of Byzantine administration can be estimated. In the days of Mikhael II (820-829), Dalmatian cities and inner regions became independent by making use of the internal and external difficulties that Byzantium faced.25 Pagans are mentioned among those declaring independence. This makes Byzantium the third force, except local formations, squandering the Avar inheritance.

There are two more accounts, of reliable nature, from the time of Mikhael II, informing that Bosnia was a political formation at that time. Franks seeking to dominate also on the Croats, after destroying the Avar state, forced Ljudevit, then Croatian prince, to flee in 822. The latter killed ruler of the place, where he took refuge, and replaced him. He tried to establish diplomatic relationship with Franks from that country. Almost all historians agree that the place he fled was Central Bosnia.26 Both Frank annals and the chronicle of Ljudevit gave this account. The sources, both of which are in Latin, give title of the killed ruler as, respectively, "dux" and "princeps". According to N. Klaić, these titles were counterparts of "župan" at that time.27 On the other hand, the both Latin titles are translated into Slavic languages as "knjaz/knez" in general usage. Just as, there was not any important difference between župan and knez, the former perhaps being only a Turkic loanword. The word knez intimates a state, independent or autonomous. That is, Bosnia was a state at the beginning of the 9th century. Among the Slavic states winning independence in the time of Mikhael II, as mentioned by Konstantinos, only that of Pagans suits to Bosnia. Thus, Pagans seem more to be Bosniacs, rather than Neretvans.

The difficulty here is that the vast region from Drina to the river Vrbas had yet no a general name in the 9th century. Bosnia was the name of a small land, central part of the region from Drina to Vrbas, and from Sava to Neretva. Konstantinos seems to be in difficulty in describing this region. Frank annals, however, solve this problem with a term, which they loaned from Byzantium. A Frank source mentions Knez Ratimir, who was ruling Sklavinia in 838.28 Sklavinia is clearly Bosnia, because Frank sources mention lands of Croats and Serbs with their names. It cannot be the Slavonija region, Croatian soil north of Sava, because it was under Frank rule at that time. There is no other possibility in the region, other than Bosnia. We deduce from this account that political structure in Bosnia was well consolidated, as Ljudevit’s killing of the native knez before 16 years did not cause any interruption in, at least, the existence of the state. Ljudevit was also killed, and the Bosnian State continued likely with its own rulers.

In Byzantine sources, the term sklavinia (Σκλαβηνία) is used for the Balkan lands invaded by the Slavs, where Byzantine administration had de facto ended, and, however, over which Konstantinopolis still kept its claims.29 After slavicization was completed and the peninsula got an ethnic stability with new faces, Slavs were called according to their states or regions in which they lived. Thus, sklavinia got out of usage. For instance, Konstantinos himself does not use it. As an exception, lands of the Slavic colonies in Peloponnes were for a long time called so, because those Slavs kept their independence more than the others, but could not set up a state, and thus, receive a convenient political name for themselves. Usage of this term in Frank annals for Bosnia can also be explained with the absence of a territorial name. The political formation / polity in Bosnia was at that time clearly of international importance to some degree, but the land called Bosnia was yet composed of a few valleys, as other neighboring polities or simply pre-feudal structures. That is, early medieval Bosnia was only one of the equals in what is today Bosnia. Spectrum of Konstantinos in telling about the region can also be interpreted as that Bosnia was yet too small in the 10th century; thus Byzantium did not pay much attention to it. But it was no more, at least, a sklavinia. In the following century, Bosnia would be one of the determining forces in the Balkans, according to Byzantine diplomacy. The Montenegrin Chronicle (Dukljanski Letopis), the first Yugoslav chronicle written by a Montenegrin bishop (c.a. 1149), mentions Bosnia in equal gravity with Croatian and Serbian states.30

Thus, it becomes clear that Bosnia had an independent political formation, at least in its nucleus land, after the withdrawal of the Avar power. There are clues to make sure that this formation continued more than three centuries, by the mid-12th century, when the first known Bosnian ban lived, of course with some interruptions. These kind of interruptions affected the neighboring Croatian and Serbian states more. Hard debates begin from the point of evolution of the Bosnian state tradition. One side tries to delay formation of the state here to very late times, and shows it as a newcomer in regard to the neighbors. According to Croatian historian Knezović, state formation was rapidly realized in the South Slavic countries open to external impacts, namely in Serbia, Croatia and Montenegro; but Bosnia, feeling itself safe and naturally protected, did not need a state for a long time. Knezović, who does not accept a Bosnian state before the 12th century, suggests that Bosnia was forced to establish its state, by getting helpless after the invasion of Montenegro by Byzantium and unification of Croatia with Hungary.31 Serbian historian Ćirković, being more equitable in this issue, comments the information given by Konstantinos that Bosnia was part of Serbia in the first half of the 10th century. In his opinion, based on accounts of the Montenegrin Chronicle, Serbian knez Časlav, who revived the Serbian state after the demise of Bulgarian tsar Simeon, extended his rule also on Bosnia and Konstantinos tells about it. Bosnia appeared as a state after the killing of Časlav by Hungarians. But there had been Bosnian bans from the Avar time on, and they were of Avaric origin.32 N. Klaić, being very angry of the historians delaying Bosnia’s getting state degree, criticizes also Ćirković, as well as others, by showing their inconsistency and contradictions: If Bosnia was a banate from the Avar time on, then why did it wait for demise of Časlav to become a state?33 Klaić goes further: Political development of Bosnia started simultaneously with that of Serbs and Croats. Interferences of foreign powers to the latter two caused interruptions even in the existence of their states. Bosnia, contrary to them, did not face those kind of interferences and threats, thanks to its defensive advantages.34

Here are two certain cases: Administration of Bosnia by another state did not interrupt the institution of banate. There was a ban in the time of Časlav, likely called Ratimir, as there were bans before and after the Croatian refugee Ljudevit. Briefly, from the days when Bosnia lost its ties with the Avar state, there had been a Bosnian state, as a political structure, of sometimes independent, and sometimes autonomous character.

Bosnia seems to cover a relatively greater land after the days with Časlav. That the battle between the Croatian king Krešimir and the Bosnian ban in 968 happened about the river Vrbas, a highly western point, proves this. This river, on which is now the famous city Banja Luka, used to draw eastern border of the historical Croatia (what is now "broader" Krajina). Given the fact that Krešimir was the attacking side, one may imagine even a more western Bosnian border. After his victory, the Croatian king became owner of Bosnia, even though for a very brief period.35 Another temporary lord of Bosnia was Samuil the Macedonian, who tried to revive the Bulgarian Empire swallowed by Byzantium in 969. Samuil, who enjoyed a surprising popular support after his rebellion in 976, and who unexpectedly became ruler of a great state, established the greatest Yugoslav state throughout history. This polity lasted only by the year 1014, and included all South Slavic groups except Croats and Slovenes. After the Byzantine Emperor Basileus II the Bulgar-slayer (Βουλγάροκτονοσ) gave an end to that polity, Bosnia also fell under his rule. But Bosnia, Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia saved their state status as vassals, while Bulgaria and Macedonia were directly taken into the thema organization.36

It seems Byzantium lost its governance in the west of the Balkans after Basileus II. When Stefan Vojislav, prince of Montenegro (Doclea, Duklja) declared his independence, Byzantine forces tried to crush him with the help of Bosnian, Herzegovinian and Serbian forces, but Vojislav defeated the alliance and swept the Byzantine forces. Mihajlo, his son and successor, punished the three neighbors collaborating with Konstantinopolis by seizing and annexing them.37 So, a period of Montenegrin hegemony began in Bosnia, but again of temporary nature. A fact here forces one to grill the so-called vassal status of Bosnia before Byzantium. The emperor had to pay a heavy sum of money to the ban of Bosnia to provide his support against Montenegro. It is very difficult to think such an act for a "vassal" state. Thus, as Knezović states, it would be more convenient to imagine an independent Bosnia after Basileus II.38

Bosnia was probably more powerful after repulsing Montenegrins. Croatia unified with Hungary with an agreement (Pacta Conventa) signed in 1102, which caused very strong protests of Byzantium claiming that Hungary had annexed the lands essentially belonging to Konstantinopolis. Severe wars and campaigns directed to both Hungary and the tiny South Slavic states followed these protests. Bosnians were allies of Hungarians in these long-lasting struggles. Byzantine forces captivated a certain chief-župan called Bankin in 1153. Byzantine authors Niketas Khoniates and Ioannes Kinnamos mention him.39 Some historians claim that this man was indeed Ban Kulin, and that Byzantine authors dropped the consonant l while writing Bankilin(os).40 However, it is hard to think so because of two reasons: Firstly, both of the authors, contemporaries of the events, could not make the same mistake. And, secondly, Ban Kulin was on Bosnian throne between 1180 and 1203. If he was chief-župan in 1153, and also very powerful and "mature" warrior, then he would be very old in the known period. Sources, however, do not mention such an old Ban Kulin. Another difficulty is in explaining the name Bankin in any of the regional languages.

After Bankin, whose identity is not yet certain, Borić is recorded as the first Bosnian ban, whose name is known. He was "certainly" ban between 1154-1164 according to sources. Like Bankin, he was also together with Hungarians to fight Byzantium. And similar to Bankin, he is also mentioned as an ally, not vassal, of the Hungarian king.41 After this period, not only Bosnia, but all the Western Balkans, including Serbia and Croatia (then Hungarian soil according to the Pacta Conventa), were invaded and seized by forces of the Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Komnenos (1143-1180), who was energetically trying to reconstruct the Byzantine rule in the Balkans.42 The Empire, however, could not again set up centralized administration, and local rulers remained. Thus, the Manuel rule also did not interrupt the Bosnian statehood. Moreover, Bosnia had a land as vast as Croatia and Serbia, the two powerful neighbors had. Eastern confines were for a long time on Drina. The state extended to the west as far as Livno, which was included in the "historical" Croatia. The city Rama and surroundings, mentioned within the Hungarian realm in decrees of the latters, were also taken into composition of Bosnia.43 For the period from those days on, nobody reject statehood of Bosnia. Aften Ban Kulin, bans and kings with the family name Kotromanić constantly ruled Bosnia by the Turkish conquest in 1463.

Qualification of the State and the Ruling Dynasty

The socio-political structure that Bosnia had was reflected on the basis of the state, and a medieval feudal state with all relevant institutions, but anyway different from its neighbors, was shaped. As a powerful centralized authority was out of question, administrative division of the country and division of the administrative ranks and tasks took place within the status quo. That is, the land regime based on tribal inheritance (plemenita baština), but organized around županhoods by the Avar capital, got fièf-like character within the process of feudalization, which became visible in the Byzantine realm in the 12th century, and which rapidly spread to the Balkans. Županhoods were parts of banates, also a political institution remaining from the Avar age. The banate of Bosnia, the most important and powerful one, unified the other banates to establish the Bosnian state.44 This chain of župan-ban-king (kralj) can be compared to the western feudal relationship between lord, baron and king.

In regard to the state mechanism, The medieval Bosnian state can be viewed as a union of volunteers and a federation in proper sense. After the consolidation of the state tradition and consciousness around the Kotromanić dynasty, "federal" units became, at least mentally, more adherent to the center, and represented a more centralized state against the outside world. This was totally product of a popular mentality and tradition, as stated; otherwise the royal power was never able to realize a military or political centralization by its own efforts and sources. Since the state was a union, its administrative mechanism was shapen in accordance with it. The assembly (Stanak), composed of grand and petty magnates (vlastelji and velmoži) and religious representatives, had a power well above that of the bans or kings. Kingship was not hereditary in Bosnia. Neither king, nor his son knew who would be the next king. Stanak elected Bosnian kings, but among only and conditionally members of the dynasty. Dethronement or even execution of the kings, not doing well their duties, was not so rare.45 From this aspect, political structure of the Bosnian state is associated with Turkic states, especially with the Khazar qaganate, which applied the steppe tradition to a settled and semi-nomad society. The only difference in making of the administrative cadres is likely that Turkic hordes tried to rule subject tribes, states or regions with governors of A-shih-na origin, while Bosnian ban and župan families descended from those appointed there by the Avar state. King or Stanak could not change them, or even confiscate their lands.46

So, the Bosnian state was based on two essences: a) Gathering of local rulers around a center to defend themselves; b) Presence of the Kotromanids, as ruling dynasty of the banate and then the kingdom. The need for defence is something very relative and subjective. A local ruler might change his side in a case he believed he could get more benefits from another side, mostly neighboring country. Just as, history of Croato-Bosnian relationships in the Middle Ages is, in a sense, history of exchange of feudal forces and rulers. Thus, it would not be exaggeration to say that the Kotromanić family saved the state, which had been product of many geo-political and geo-cultural factors, as well as Avar legacy. M. Imamović, pointing to the very high prestige and popularity of this family, concludes that "The Medieval Bosnian state existed and disappeared with them".47

According to E. Imamović, another Bosniac historian, the Kotromanić dynasty governed Bosnia for about 600 years, from the VIII or IX century, when the state was founded, up to its fall in 1463.48 It is possible to start the state in those centuries, but he does not explain on which sources and thoughts he bases the claim that the Kotromanids were ever rulers of the state. We can refer to the view of N. Klaić in this matter. According to her, no foreign power changed any of Bosnian bans and župans.49 That is, the administrators (of Avar and Bulgar -Kutrigur- stock) were appointed by the Avar state, and their descendants ruled Bosnia by the end of the state. In fact, this idea is not well challenged, except a case to be discussed below. Not the continuity of the ban dynasties, but whether these local administrative units can be regarded as states is on the center of objections and discussions.

Beginning with Borić, there are 15 Kotromanids ruling Bosnia. Seven of them were bans, and seven kings. There was a queen, also. The bans were Borić, Kulin, Stjepan, Matej Ninoslav, Prijezda, Stjepan I Kotroman and Stjepan II Kotromanić; and kings were Stjepan I Tvrtko, Stjepan Dabiša, Queen Jelena Gruba, Stjepan Ostoja, Stjepan II Tvrtko, Stjepan Ostojić, Stjepan Tomaš and Stjepan Tomašević.

Origins of the Kotromanids

As stated before, we have no clear information about the origins of the Kotromanids. Sources point to existence of a small polity between Sarajevo and Zenica. It seems this polity continued from the very beginning upto the known periods, under various circumstances and status; and there is no account about change of line of its rulers. According to above-mentioned Mauro Orbini, who firstly claimed an origin for the Kotromanids, the king of Hungary sent one of his commandants called Kotroman the German to govern Bosnia, after demise of Ban Kulin. Finding Bosnia without any ruler and defence, Kotroman easily seized it, and the king appointed him new ban of Bosnia.50 A document intimating such a case was found in the archives of Dubrovnik. This is a diplomatic note of the city government of Dubrovnik sent to Bosnian king in 1432. It reminds that the friendship between Bosnia and Dubrovnik had a very rich past, that previous Bosnian rulers appreciated importance of Dubrovnik, that this view took its roots from Kotroman the Goth, ancestor of the Bosnian kings, who provided help of Hungarian king, then his relative, to Bosnia, and who established very good relationships with Dubrovnik, by regarding the latter city as his dome.51

Mauro Orbini likely used this document or any narration or belief in his thesis. Relying on his claims, many historians, mainly Germans, accepted in advance that Kotromanids were of German origin. Additional proof is found in the "German" suffix –man. However, this suffix is not peculiar to the German language, and some other information that we have contradicts with the Dubrovnik letter. In accordance with the ban and king lists, the first Kotroman must be Stjepan I Kotroman suceeding Prijezda, if they had come from abroad. Thus, son of Stjepan has surname of Kotromanić. Kulin Ban died in 1203. Stjepan I Kotroman was throned c.a. 1270 at the earliest.52 Between the two is a great interval of time. Tvrtko, the legendary Bosnian king of the late 14th century, states in a decree that his uncle (so his father also, following his uncle) renowned the decision about an ecclesiastical land, given by Prijezda, his grandfather. Therefore, the first Kotroman known to us was of the same family as the previous kings and bans. A document from the archives of the Papacy takes this to earlier dates. In a letter of the Pope Gregorius II, dated in 1233, Ban Ninoslav and the later Prijezda are shown to be from the same family. The letter tells that "ancestors of Ninoslav ruled in Bosnia from the ancient times on".53 The days of Kulin Ban, or even those of Borić cannot be "ancient times" in the year 1233. Thus, it becomes clear that all the known rulers of Bosnia belong to the same family, and their root goes to the "unknown" period. By confirming this, Tvrtko I tells in another letter that his family had ruled Bosnia from its appearance (as a country) on.54

In addition, Kulin Ban, who followed Borić, and his successors exhibited national policies, and never acted as governors appointed by the Hungrain crone, though sometimes they yielded being helpless against the Hungarian forces. Continuation of Hungaro-Bosnian wars for centuries prove this fact. E. Imamović, who believes that the Bosnian ruling dynasty was native, suggests that the ancient settlement Kotorac, which is now just near the Sarajevo airport, and which is mentioned by Konstantinos Porphyrogenitus, might have given its name to the Kotromanids. In this context, he points also to the fact that the medieval Bosnian polity emerged in this region. In his opinion, the name had a development of Kotorac > Kotoranić > Kotromanić.55 However, such a phonetic development has no any parallel in linguistic history of this region, and is very hard to explain linguistically. If the place name kept its form for such a long time, a family name generated from that word, especially name of the royal dynasty, would naturally have kept the original form. Even the suggested form Kotoranić is unusual in usage with the unreasonable addition -an. Expected forms would be Kotoročević, Kotorević, Kotorić etc.

According to Perojević, that Stjepan Kotroman, ban of Bosnia in the second half of the XIII century, established kinships with famous families of Central Europe like the Arpad (Hungarian), Angou (Napolitan/Norman, Hungarian), Nemanja (Serbian) and Šubić (Croatian) dynasties caused later some confusions about origins of the Bosnian dynasty, and this led to fabrication of relevant stories. In his opinion, the narration about Kotroman, the German coming from Hungary, does not get along well with historical facts, because we know well that the Kotromanids lived in Bosnia before that date. Perojević, a Croatian historian of nationalist école, states further that this family cannot be related only to Hungary and that it is also related to Croatia.56 Hungarian scholar Thallóczy, making the first special study in this matter, believes also that the Kotromanid family was originally Bosnian, and claims that Mauro Orbini fabricated the story about the German origin or narrated it from a source unknown to us.57 When Thallóczy was writing his article, the Dubrovnik letter was not known to the scholarship.

Indeed, Orbini points to a historical fact with the narration of imported German, but makes a mistake in dating. A Kotroman is mentioned in the time of Borić, XII century. While Hungarians and Bosniacs were fighting Byzantium in the time of Géza II, the latter died and an internal strife began in Hungary. Borić supported István IV in this struggle, but eventual victory was of István III, son of Géza II. After consolidating his position, István III started to punish his opponents, including Borić. He sent one of his commandants, a German called Gotfrid, to Bosnia. Borić was defeated by the punitive forces and a man called Kotroman was enthroned with the Hungarian support (1163). This man was likely from the ruling family, and not certainly from the eta generaoux. That is, Bosnian crown was interferred and changed by a German, and not with a German.58 With the full enlightenment of this event, a very obscure period in Bosnian history would be explained. Borić left the throne probably in 1163, and Kulin Ban was enthroned probably in 1180 thanks to support of the Byzantine Emperor Manuel Komnenos. What about the 17 years between them? Thus, we can conclude, not with certainity for now, that the ban or one of the bans in those years was somebody called Kotroman. Succeeding Bosnian rulers, it seems, used his name in their surnames. Therefore, the German theory loses its base.

The claims about Serbian or Croatian origin of the Kotromanids stem from the assumption that Bosnian people was just Serbs or Croats. Kotromanids were natives of Bosnia in these views, too. But such a thesis that Bosnians were indeed Serbs and Croats, is wrong and meaningless from the very beginning, as above-stated. Thus, we will not deal with these ideas.

After fixing that this dynasty was native of Bosnia, it is very easy to tie their far ancestors to Avars and Bulgars. As mentioned, in Bosnia, which was governed via administrative institutions called banate and županhood, it was very natural for bans and župans to be of Avar or Bulgar origin. No historian rejects this fact. After the collapse of the Avar state at the end of the VIII century, except those invaded by Frank, Bulgar and Byzantine forces, many banates remained independent and almost all of them were in Bosnia. There is no record on changing of these local rulers by foreign powers. That the two institutions survived even so long, by the mid-15th century in Bosnia, and (for banate) by the fall of the Habsburg Empire in Croatia, and their direct reflections in the 20th century,59 indicates in a sense that not only order and institutions, but also power of local dynasties were continuous. The little banate of Bosnia, composed of the lands on the Sarajevo-Visoko-Zenica line, was one of them.

So, we have assumptions that mostly the descendants of the Avar and Bulgar officials and commandants ruled Bosnia by the fall of the state. Owners of high ranks from other ethnic origins, mainly Slavs, are never excluded in this theory. Etymologizing the word Kotroman would help us go further in fixing identiy of the dynasty. It is very hard to explain this word or its components in Slavic. Thus, due to lack of a substantial Slavic explanation, the Germanic theory has got some base. A few ethimologies are based on the toponyms Kotor-, but these have linguistic difficulties, and do not well illuminate the problem, as there are a lot of Kotors in the region from Montenegro to Austria. Almost all of them may be canditates to be homeland of the Kotromanids. Just as, some German scholars related the Bosnian dynasty to the settlement Kotrou to the southeast of Austria, and claimed that they had found a new proof for the German theory.60

We guess and know that there were Avars and Bulgars in Bosnia, not only members of the administrative and military cadres, but also among the population. Thus, their remnants in toponyms should also be traced. Scholarship, which worked on Iliric, Latin and Slavic names, still remains passive in dealing with, at least, Avaric linguistic remnants. The later Turkic groups like Pečenegs, Oğuz and Kumans, who settled in this region not as rulers, but subjects and refugees, left too much traces. Moreover, there is no record about any Khazar migration to Bosnia, but a town in the Northwest Bosnia and its surroundings are called Kozarac ("Khazarian", "from the country Khazar"), as a parallel to other similar cases mostly in Poland and Ukraine. Thus we should give more importance to searching relics of Avars and Bulgars, who lived in Bosnia, and who were assimilated among Slavic masses in the course of time.

The word Kotroman is associated, at the first glance, with the Kotur Ogurs / Kutrigurs sent to Bosnia by the Avan qagan at the beginning of the invasion. We told about the Herzegovinian Kudugers, who were likely remnants of the Avar time Kutrigurs. Mahmûd of Kašġar, writing a rich and comprehensice all-Turkic glossary in the 11th century, gives meaning of the verb kotur as "boşaltmak, aktarmak" (to empty, to transfer).61 In modern Turkish, the same verb is used as kotarmak. As another possible word, kutur means "haddini aşmak, azmak, şımarmak" (to go too far, to get out of control, getting pert).62 This meaning is still kept in many Turkic dialects, especially in Kyrgyz. In Turkish, losing some other meanings, it became kudurmak (to become rabid, to be beside oneself with anger). In Bulgaric, which is a dead language (except Čuvaš, its to be derivation), it might have meant "being out of control, not to be able to stop, to be hyperactive". There are also examples as anthroponym. For instance, in the Migration Legend of Uyghurs, one of the five children having born out of the holy light is called Kutur Tigin. In modern Uyghur, ûotur means "uyuz, çepel"63 (itchy, scabious, foul). This meaning is kept in Common Turkic, too.64 But, our Kotor should not have such a meaning, in contrary to the suggession of Tekin. One of the sons of Kubrat, khan of the Great Bulgaria in the 7th century, was called Kotrag (Κότραγοσ).65 The latest consonant -g may be the diminutive suffix, as in Omurtag,66 or the word can be divided as Kotur + ok. This ok means most probably "tribe", if not "arrow". That a Bulgaric tribe was called Kotrags (Κότραγοι),67 shows that this name was used both as anthroponym and ethnonym. Counterpart of this name in "šaz" or Eastern Turkic languages would be kutuz. An Egyptian Mamlûk sultan is called so. But we do not necessarily tie this word to the verb kutur-. Mahmûd of Kašġar, who did not know Bulgaric, gives a word kutuz, meaning "yaban sığırı, yak" (Tibetian wild cattle, bos grunniens).68 Almost all Turkic languages have this word in different forms such as kotaz, kodas, kotos, kutaz, kotaz, kotuz.69 This is more likely and appropriate to be personal name in Turkic custom and usage, and its Bulgaric form would be nothing else than "kotur, kutur". Therefore, we can explain Kutrigurs / Kotur Oğurs and many other kotor / kotur / kuturs in Eastern Europe with this meaning.

The word "Kotorac", above-mentioned place name near Sarajevo, means "Kotorian, man of Kotor". That is, the simple word is Kotor. The form Kotorac implies belonging to a place or group called Kotor, namely to an ethnic or regional identity. In this sense, Kotur may be the tribal name occuring in the Great Bulgaria: Kotur-ok "the Kotur tribe", pl. Kotur-oğur "the Kotur tribes". As for the syllable or suffix –man in Kotroman, this is a productive suffix used mostly in stressing adverbs in Turkic as in the examples kocaman, koloman, toraman, kopraman, ataman, etc. In addition, this suffix is widely used in making ethnonyms: Türkmen, Karaman, Yulaman (A Bašgir tribe). Thus, the word Kotroman in Turkic is proper equivalent of the Bosnian word Kotorac.

Even if we ignore the possibility of a local Bosnian dynasty taking its roots from the Avar time, now there is the Hungarian factor in this region. Hungarians, who came to the current land at the end of the 9th century from north of the Caucaus together with Onoğurs, a Bulgaric tribe, with which name this nation is called in almost all European languages (Hungary, Ungarn etc.), were bilingual for a few centuries. Both the Finnic Magyar and Turkic Bulgar languages were spoken until the full assimilation of the Onoğurs into the Magyar mass. Onoğurs were the governing and fighting class within the labor of division in the state of the Arpadians. As a never confirmed possibility, this Turanic state might have sent or appointed an Onoğur governor called Kotor to Bosnia, in the first years of the "home-occupying", which resulted in invading and plundering most of early medieval Europe, including Bosnia.


Bosnia is situated in a region, where the Eurasian and Mediterranean worlds, the Balkans and Central Europe, East and West meet, cross and confront. This position have led the country to be continuously troubled. This annoyance was reflected on its political culture, and the concepts of state and country did not develop for a long time. After the fall of the Avar Empire, Bosnia found itself between superpowers of that time, and this started or accelerated the process of making of Bosnian political culture, which can be briefed as a reaction to outside world. Bosnia decided to belong to itself, no more to anybody else, and developed its own state. This preferance necessitated continuous struggle with and a talentful diplomacy between Byzantium and Hungary. This struggle for keeping autonomy/independence gave rise to the prestige of the ruling Kotromanid family, and this ultimately led to consolidation of the state tradition.

State tradition is an advanced level in social development, but acquaintance with this tradition and concept was not always sufficient to establish or have a state, even up to the modern times. There needed people having legitimacy to rule. Thus, for instance, the Balkan states, modern nation-states, which were set up within very tense nationalist environments, had to import rulers from West European courts after getting independence from the Ottoman Empire. This was a more strictly applied rule in the Medieval. In Bosnia, only Kotromanids were legitimate rulers. Feudal structure was very powerful in Bosnia in its decentralist sense. Kings often had no power to struggle with local rulers. Especially in the late years of the state, kings were many times defeated and captivated by different cliques, some of which controlled all the country, but nobody except Kotromanids could dare to sit on the throne. In neighboring Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro, there was no such continuous dynasty. There dynasties were started by a capable man, and ended also by another powerful man or family. The most important reason was that these states were interferred by neighboring empires (Byzantium, Bulgaria, Hungary and Franks) very often and for long durations. In Bosnia this was not the case. It had only one dynasty in the Mediveal. Legitimacy of this dynasty can be compared to that of the Hungarian Arpad family. As that family of Bulgaric origin appointed by the Khazar qagan to govern Hungarians, the Kotromanids, another Bulgaric family appointed by the Avar qagan to rule Bosnia, were also exalted by their people, identified with the state and became legendary. Thus, Bosniacs still say "as in the time of Kulin Ban" to recall their happy days.


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* This article is an adapted version of the essay published in Turkish in the journal Bilig (XXIII, Ankara, Fall 2002, pp.103-127), under the title “Bosna Krallık Soyu Kotromanićlerin Aslı Hakkındaki Tartışmalar”, and also included, in a brief English version, in my recent book In Search of the Lost Tribe: The Origins and Making of the Croatian Nation, Çorum, 2003.

1 Osman Karatay, KaraM (Center for the Black Sea Studies), Çorum, Turkey.

2 Karatay, Hırvat Ulusunun Oluşumu, pp.162-167; "Hırvat ve Sırp Göçlerinde Oğur İlgisi", pp.596-597; “Ogur Connection in the Migration of Croats and Serbs”, p.559-560.

3 I have to mention here my reference to the usage of the Turkish word ülke, translated always as "country", but indeed meaning "a political land". Thus, the verb ülkeleşmek means exactly "to become a political land". In this usage land is associated with a political tradition, but ethnical continuation is not necessarily needed.

4 Constantine Porphyrogenitus, hereinafter DAI, p.140.

5 Lukas, "Bosna i Hercegovina u geopolitičkom pogledu", p.52.

6 DAI, p.160.

7 DAI, p.157.

8 DAI, p.147.

9 Ђирковиђ, Историја среднјовековне Босанске државе, p.350.

10 DAI, p.125.

11 DAI, p.147.

12 Budak, Prva stoljeća Hrvatske, p.59; Goldstein, Hrvatski rani srednji vijek, p.153, 183, etc.; Raukar, Hrvatsko srednjovjekovlje, pp.54-55, etc.

13 DAI, p.165.

14 DAI, p.127.

15 DAI, p.161.

16 DAI, p.163.

17 DAI, p.165.

18 Niketas Khoniates, p.11.

19 Cf. The names Rus’, Bulgar and Croat.

20 Durmuş, Sarmatlar, pp.54-58, 83-88.

21 For a very recent study on this topic, see Živković, "Avarlar ile Slavlar Arasındaki İlişkiler".

22 For the state cup of Kutrigurs, see Szádeczky-Kardoss, "Avarlar", p.285, 293.

23 Babić, Iz istorije srednjovjekovne Bosne, p.38.

24 N. Klaić, Srednjovjekovna Bosna, p.33.

25 DAI, p.125.

26 N. Klaić, Srednjovjekovna Bosna, p.57.

27 N. Klaić, Srednjovjekovna Bosna, p.58.

28 Imamović, Historija Bošnjaka, p.26.

29 Ostrogorsky, Bizans Devleti Tarihi, p.88.

30 Imamović, Historija Bošnjaka, p.25.

31 Knezović, “Bosna i Hercegovina od seobe naroda do XII. st.", p.182.

32 Ђирковиђ, Историја среднјовековне Босанске државе, pp.40-41.

33 N. Klaić, Srednjovjekovna Bosna, p.14.

34 N. Klaić, Srednjovjekovna Bosna, p.34.

35 Knezović, “Bosna i Hercegovina od seobe naroda do XII. st.", p.186.

36 Ostrogorsky, Bizans Devleti Tarihi, p.290.

37 Ђирковиђ, "Црна Гора од досељаванја Словена до пада под Турке", p.130.

38 Knezović, “Bosna i Hercegovina od seobe naroda do XII. st.", p.187.

39 Khoniates, p.63; Kinnamos, p.86, 87.

40 Perojević, "Ban Borić i Ban Kulin", p.201.

41 Imamović, Historija Bošnjaka, p.30-31.

42 Ostrogorsky, Bizans Devleti Tarihi, p.358.

43 Perojević, "Ban Borić i Ban Kulin", p.203.

44 Imamović, Historija Bošnjaka, pp.27-29.

45 Babić, Iz istorije srednjovjekovne Bosne, p.17; Kulenović, "Bosanski Stanak", p.51.

46 Babić, Iz istorije srednjovjekovne Bosne, p.10.

47 Imamović, Historija Bošnjaka, p.21.

48 E. Imamović, "Bosanska dinastija Kotromanića", p.21.

49 N. Klaić, Srednjovjekovna Bosna, p.25.

50 Orbini, Kraljevstvo Slovena, 1968, p.141.

51 E. Imamović, "Bosanska dinastija Kotromanića", p.22.

52 Perojević, "Prijezda I. Stjepan I. Kotroman", p.234.

53 E. Imamović, "Bosanska dinastija Kotromanića", p.23.

54 E. Imamović, "Bosanska dinastija Kotromanića", p.23.

55 E. Imamović, "Bosanska dinastija Kotromanića", pp.24-25.

56 Perojević, "Prijezda I. Stjepan I. Kotroman", p.236.

57 Thallóczy, Die kotromanslegende, pp.66-70.

58 Ђоровиђ, "Питанје о пореклу Котроманиђа", pp.16-17.

59 The Kingdom of Yugoslavia before the W.W.II was divided into banates (banovina); today Croatia is administered via županijas, and cantons of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina are called županija by the Bosnian Croats.

60 E. Imamović, "Bosanska dinastija Kotromanića", p.25.

61 Kaşgarlı, II, pp.72-73, 164, 170.

62 Kaşgarlı, II, pp.73.

63 Necip, Yeni Uygur Türkçesi Sözlüğü p.245.

64 Tekin, Tuna Bulgarları ve Dilleri, p.66; Clauson, ED, p.604.

65 Nikephoros, p.88-89.

66 Tekin, Tuna Bulgarları ve Dilleri, p.53.

67 Nikephoros, pp.88-89.

68 Kaşgarlı, I, p.365.

69 Clauson, ED, p.608.

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