Paul I Šubić of Bribir
Paul I Šubić of Bribir.JPG
Paul from the 14th century Chest of Saint Simeon
Ban of Croatia
PredecessorNicholas Gutkeled
SuccessorMladen II Šubić
Lord of all of Bosnia
SuccessorMladen II Šubić
Bornc. 1245
Died1 May 1312
Bribir, Croatia
Church of St. Mary, Bribir, Croatia
IssueMladen II
George II
Paul II
Grgur IV
Marko IV
FatherStephen II
MotherUnnamed Árpád woman

Paul I Šubić of Bribir (Croatian: Pavao I. Šubić Bribirski, Hungarian: bribiri I. Subics Pál; c. 1245 – 1 May 1312) was a Croatian ruler and important member of the Šubić noble family from Bribir. He was the Ban of Croatia from 1275 and Lord of all of Bosnia from 1305 until his death in 1312. During the Hungarian Interregnum, Paul emerged as arguably the most powerful oligarch in the realm, playing a crucial role in the ascension of the House of Anjou to the throne of Hungary and Croatia. He successfully asserted sovereign rule over all of Croatia and Dalmatia, and from 1299, Bosnia and Hum, whose territories he distributed among his family members. He ruled from his seat in the fortified town of Bribir, where he erected, along with his castle, the three-aisled basilica of St. Mary inside the Franciscan convent.[1]

After the extinction of the Árpád dynasty, Paul had the Angevins brought to the throne, although their power over the land held by the Šubić was merely nominal throughout the entirety of their administration. Paul took extensive campaigns and significantly expanded his dominion eastward, over Bosnia and Hum, and also warred successfully against the Republic of Venice, taking the Dalmatian capital Zadar. He was the most powerful Croatian noble at the end of the 13th century and beginning of the 14th century. He also issued his own coin.[2]

His dominion followed a gradual decline after his successor and son Mladen II took over, and met its demise at the 1322 Battle of Blizna by a coalition of royal forces and the disgruntled nobility opposing Šubić rule. In the aftermath, most of the territories continued to remain outside the monarchy until around 1345, with most of the territories taken by the Nelipić noble family.


The Seal of Paul which reads "Paulus de Breberio banus Croatorum D[omi]n[u]s et Bosnae".


The exact date of his birth is unknown, but the year is estimated around 1245. He was the oldest son of the Bribirian noble Stephen II and his wife, who was probably a descendant of the Árpád royal dynasty. Paul was also a brother of Mladen I Šubić of Bribir and George.

The first mention of his name occurs in 1272, when he held the title of Count of Bribir, from which he took his name. Paul became vice-ban of Primorje (Latin: vices gerens pro bano maritimo) and was already Duke of Split in 1273 and ruled until his death. At the time of his death, he ruled over most of Dalmatia, Slavonia and Bosnia,[3] lands once ruled by the early Croatian kings.

The first action he undertook to establish his goals, was against the city of Trogir in 1273, which is located between Split and Šibenik, the cities in which Paul already consolidated his power. He ignored the kings' warning and had his followers attack the royal residence of Klis during winter. The siege failed, as the soldiers of Trogir successfully repelled the attack. Despite these initial failures, Paul subjugated Trogir in spring the following year. These events caused the temporary deposition of Paul, but was re-established in summer of 1275 as Ban of Croatia, which dignity was expropriated by his family until 1322.[4]

Expansion in south

At the end of 13th century, Paul's goal was to expand his rule on the lands of Kačić noble family, which included city of Omiš, his surroundings and the adjacent isles such as Hvar and Brač. He supported and fought alongside forces of Anjou dynasty in war against Kačićs. It is not clear whether they had some territorial gains, as forces of Anjou have already taken Hvar and Brač in 1275. Soon after that, the Venetian republic started a war against Kačićs and the isles of Hvar and Brač quickly surrendered to them in 1278. Whether were they retaken by Kačićs from Anjous before that or were Anjous let them for Venice, remains unclear. That became a serious threat to Paul's interests in those areas and were the cause of his interference in that conflict. Paul succeeded in getting the isle of Brač and gave it to the administration of commune of Split. Paul appointed a nobleman from Zadar, Vid de Mergia, to govern in Brač. After that, Paul succeeded in getting the city of Omiš and after that became the main rivals of Venice and the only representatives of Omiš in their negotiations with Venetians.[4]

In the 1287, Paul started to negotiate peace with Venice. After long and hard talks, the peace was concluded in 1290. Paul's side promised that the pirates from Omiš would not attack Venetian ships and that they won't sail north of the Unija-Ancona line. Also, the cities of Trogir, Šibenik and Split would pay 20,000 libars to Venice as warranty. Venetians promised that they wouldn't attack Paul's territories and gave to his brother Juraj I free pass in his visits to the Papal state.[4]

During a civil war between the Árpád and Anjou dynasties for the crown of Hungary and Croatia, he supported Charles Martel, who named him master of the lands between the Gvozd and Neretva rivers in 1292. In Dalmatia, he appointed his brothers as commissars of Dalmatian cities. He gave Split to his brother Mladen I, and Šibenik, Nin, Trogir and Omiš to his brother Juraj I. He united large parts of Dalmatia and Slavonia. The following year, king Andrew III gave him and his family jurisdiction over the whole Banovina. However, the king also asked to recognize his mother, Tomasina Morosini as the Duchess of Slavonia, which Paul rejected and in 1293 proclaimed himself as "ban of the Croats" (Latin: banus Croatorum).[4]

By the time of the death of Andrew III and extinction of the Árpád dynasty (1301), Paul I Šubić became one of the most powerful oligarchs in the Croato-Hungarian kingdom, who ruled de facto independently their dominions. Paul governed whole Croatia and the cities of Dalmatia independently of the central power.[5][6][7]


The dominion of Paul I Šubić, with conquered territories in light
The dominion of Paul I Šubić among the other oligarchs during the Interregnum

In 1299 he conquered Bosnia, and ruled from the Adriatic sea to the Drava river on the north, and to the Drina river to the east. After conquering Bosnia, Paul I Šubić declared himself as "Dominus of Bosnia" in 1299,[8] and gave his brother Mladen I Šubić the title of Bosnian Ban. Although he did not have himself crowned, he was the de facto sovereign ruler of these territories.

The death of his brother Mladen I in June 1304, who had been reportedly murdered by the supporters of Stephen Kotroman (who Paul had expelled from his lands), compelled Paul I Šubić to lead an army in Bosnia again to crush the resistance and reaffirm his authority. After this he took the title of Lord of all of Bosnia (Latin: totius Bosniae dominus) and passed the title of Ban of Bosnia to his eldest son Mladen II Šubić, who ruled over Bosnia as a Ban under his father. However, after Paul I Šubić's death in 1312, Mladen II tried to maintain his hold over Bosnia and the other Croatian noble families, but was not successful like his father, so in 1322 he lost control over Bosnia. During 1304, Paul also invaded Serbia to take advantage of the civil war between brothers Dragutin and Milutin Nemanjić, who was king of Serbia. Paul's armies succeeded conquering the area of Hum and reaching as far as today's Montenegro. He appointed his son, Mladen as a governor of these lands as well. However, during these conflicts, Mladen II was captured and imprisoned by the opposing army. Stefan Milutin, King of Serbia sent envoys to Paul in Skradin in order to negotiate a meeting. The subject and the briefing of these negotiations are dubious, but it is known that they met in Vrulja,[9] which resulted in concluding peace and securing Mladen's freedom. The details of the agreement between Paul and the Serb king remain unknown.[10]

Paul eventually sided with the Anjou dynasty and sent his brother George I to Naples so he could safely transport the late Charles Martel's son Charles I over the Adriatic to Hungary. At the death of king Andrew III, Charles I was taken to Zagreb, and from there he went to Esztergom so he could be crowned as the new king. Despite the coronation, Charles was not fully recognized for another 10 years, he ruled only some parts of Hungary, while his power in Croatia was merely nominal. In 1305 Paul's third son, Paul II, was elected as Prince of Split. During these years Paul I Šubić usually made no reference to the king in his charters, showing that Paul was practically an independent ruler within his realm.[11]

Later years and death

Coins issued by Paul I Šubić of Bribir. It reads: DVX PAVL – BAN –MLADEN.

He made several diplomatic interventions and maintained close connection with the nobility of Zadar and Venice as a preliminary move to his expansion over the city. Paul started to assemble an army in the vicinity of Zadar during 1310, and remained stationary until an uprising against Venice broke out in the city in March 1311. The rebels took control of Zadar and arrested the Venetian authorities. The Doge responded by sending a large fleet to recover the city. The siege lasted through two battles that ended favorably for the defender. Troops of Paul Šubić also participated in the defense of the city. Diplomatic actions began in March 1312. The negotiations were handled by the second son of Paul, Juraj II, and it dragged on after Paul's death. Citizens of Zadar, after King Charles I approved their requests, elected Paul's son Mladen II as their prince.[4][11]

Paul died on 1 May 1312 and was buried in the franciscan church of St. Mary in Bribir. He was succeeded by his son Mladen II during which the power of the Šubić family starts to fade.


The sword of Paul I Šubić

Paul Šubić was married to Ursa and had five sons:

  • Mladen II (c. 1275–c. 1341), Ban of Croatia and Bosnia (1312–1322), Lord of Hum, Duke of Dalmatia and Zadar (1311–1313), Duke of Split (1294)
  • Juraj II (III) (c. 1290–1328), Duke of Split (1300), Duke of Tropolje (1301), Duke of the Dalmatian cities (1303)
  • Pavao II (c. 1295–1346), Duke of Trogir (1305–1315), Duke of Ostrovica (1333–1346)
  • Grgur IV, Duke of Šibenik (1320.), Duke of Ostrovica (1346–1347)
  • Marko IV, Duke of Bribir (1322–1345)



Endowment and building efforts

Paul based his power around the cities of Bribir and Skradin, and as such, contributed to their development. The most notable such example is the Monastery of Saint Mary in Bribir, the place of his later burial. He aided the founding of the Diocese of Šibenik in 1298.

Paul elevated the Skradin commune to a free city, matching the status to the neighboring Dalmatian cities in 1302 and granting it its own statute and administration.[12][13] He enriched the city by building the monastery of Saint Elizabeth, where his sister Stanislava served as part of the Poor Clares order. He constructed another monastery and church of Saint John outside the walls of the city, which he richly endowed with land.[14] The 14th century fortress of Turina overlooking the Skradin harbor is also attributed to his construction activities.[15]


An important avenue in Zagreb, the Pavao Šubić Avenue is named after him. One of the central squares in Šibenik, next to the Šibenik-Knin County palace, is also named after him.

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c d e
  5. ^ Engel, Pál (2001): The Realm of St Stephen: A History of Medieval Hungary, 895-1526. I.B. Tauris Publishers. p. 125.
  6. ^ * Kristó, Gyula (1979). A feudális széttagolódás Magyarországon [Feudal Anarchy in Hungary] (in Hungarian). Akadémiai Kiadó. pp. 144, 160–162. ISBN 963-05-1595-4.
  7. ^ Csukovits Enikő (2012). Az Anjouk Magyarországon I. rész ; I. Károly és uralkodása (1301 – 1342). MTA Történetudományi Intézet - Budapest. p. 42.
  8. ^ Fine, John Van Antwerp (1994). The Late Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Late Twelfth Century to the Ottoman Conquest. Michigan: The University of Michigan Press. p. 276. ISBN 0-472-08260-4.
  9. ^ Vladimir Ćorović, „Istorija srpskog naroda“ (rukopis iz 1941) Beograd 1989. ISBN 978-86-7119-101-2 (1997)
  10. ^ Željko Fajfrić, „Sveta loza Stefana Nemanje“, Šid 1998.
  11. ^ a b John V. A. Fine: The Late Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Late Twelfth Century to the Ottoman Conquest, 1994, p. 210
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^

External links

  • Damir Karbić, Zlatni vijek Bribira, Matica Hrvatska
  • Zvonko Madunić, Šubići u središtu, Hrvatska revija, Matica Hrvatska
  • Remains of the palace of Ban Pavao Šubić Of Bribir
  • MVEP-Andrija III. daje banu Pavlu Šubiću čitavu južnu Hrvatsku
Paul I Šubić of Bribir
Born: c. 1245 Died: 1 May 1312
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Nicholas II Gutkeled
Ban of Croatia
Succeeded by
Mladen II Šubić
New title Lord of all of Bosnia
Preceded by
Stjepan I Kotroman
Ban of Bosnia
Succeeded by
Mladen I Šubić