The arrival of the Slavs into the Balkans

Procopius of Caesarea 5th and 6th Centuries      

Procopius of Caesarea was a Byzantine chronicler of the 5th and 6th centuries. He was a legal adviser to Byzantine military leader Velizar. In his works titled, Bellum Gothicum and De aedificiis, he describes the life and customs of Danubian Slavs. He spent a long time with Velizar in the territory inhabited by Slavs.

Bellum Gothicum IV

551 AD

“The great multitude of the Slavs, breaking into Illyrians, have committed a great deal of indescribable evils there. The Emperor Justinian sent an army to them. As many of them are significantly weaker, the Romans could not openly attack them, but they were holding back, only grabbing the barbarians. “

De aedificiis

” Behind this castle named St. Kirila Castle there was an ancient fortification named Ulmetuum. As the barbarians (Slavs) carried out their ambushes from there, they stayed in the same place for a very long time, the fortress was completely abandoned, and nothing remained except for name. It was built from the ground again, freeing the towns from the attack and the cunning of the barbarians (Slavs)

Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus, De administrando imeprio


Constantine Porphyrogenitus was the Byzantine Emperor who ruled between 905 and 959. In his work, De administrando imperio, he describes the life of Serbs and other peoples, as well as region where they lived. This work was primarily written as information for his son who should have succeeded, in order for him to properly understand what people live where and how they lived, and to learn about customs of peoples living within the Empire. This work is significant in Serbian history because it describes in detail regions where Serbs lived, together with their customs and beliefs.

Of the Serbs and of the country they now dwell in

“The Serbs are descended from the unbaptized Serbs, also called ‘white’, who live beyond Turkey in a place called by them Bo’iki, where their neighbour is Francia, as is also Great Croatia, the unbaptized, also called ‘white’; in this place, then, these Serbs also originally dwelt. But when two brothers succeeded their father in the rule of Serbia, one of them, taking one half of the folk, claimed the protection of Heraclius, the emperor of the Romans, and the same emperor Heraclius received him and gave him a place in the province of Thessalonica to settle in, namely Serbia, which from that time has acquired this denomination.  ‘Serbs’ in the tongue of the Romans is the word for ‘slaves’, whence the colloquial ‘serbula’ for menial shoes, and ‘tzerboulianoi’ for those who wear cheap, shoddy footgear.  This name the Serbs acquired from their being slaves of the emperor of the Romans.

Now, after some time these same Serbs decided to depart to their own homes, and the emperor sent them off. But when they had crossed the river Danube, they changed their minds and sent a request to the emperor Heraclius, through the military governor then holding Belgrade, that he would grant them other land to settle in. And since what is now Serbia and Pagania and the so-called country of the Zachlumi and Terbounia and the country of the Kanalites were under the dominion of the emperor of the Romans, and since these countries had been made desolate by the Avars (for they had expelled from those parts the Romani who now live in Dalmatia and Dyrrachium), therefore the emperor settled these same Serbs in these countries, and they were subject to the emperor of the Romans; and the emperor brought elders from Rome and baptized them and taught them fairly to perform the works of piety and expounded to them the faith of the Christians.

(From:  In Nomine Jassa Blogosuavs ttps://

Documentary Films

History of the Serbs, Part 1

History of the Serbs, Part 2
The Eastern Roman Empire
The Byzantine Empire
The Danube border.