Battle of Tara (1150)

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Battle of Tara
Part of Byzantine-Serbian Wars and Byzantine–Hungarian War (1149–1155)
Date 1150
Result Byzantine victory
Grand Principality of Serbia
Kingdom of Hungary
 Byzantine Empire
Commanders and leaders
Grdeša (POW)
Vučina (POW)
Bakchinos (POW)
Manuel I Komnenos
John Kantakouzenos (WIA)
John Doukas Komnenos
Michael Branas
Frank Giphardus

In 1150, Serbian Grand Prince Uroš II, a Hungarian ally, summoned an army led by Grdeša, the župan (count) of Travunia, and Vučina, against the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantines won the battle, capturing both Grdeša and Vučina.[1]


During the Serbian Uprising of 1149, Byzantine emperor Manuel I Komnenos failed to capture Uroš II, Grand Prince of Serbia,[2] who conspired with the Hungarians and Normans.[1] Manuel I in Autumn 1150 encamped with his army at Niš. He learned that Geza II sent some troops to an anonymous Serb brother of Beloš, and married to Uroš II’s sister as well as close ally of Geza II, but the troops were intercepted around Drina and defeated by Manuel I.[1] Remaining forces escaped toward river Strymon (considered to be near modern Paraćin, 70 km north-west of Niš). Manuel I encamped at Sečanica (12 km of Niš) and getting the news that the Hungarians didn’t yet meet the Serbs, decided to attack them until reached river Tara.[1][3]


The battle took at place Tara. In the early morning the Byzantines sent scouts and small groups of light-armed troops forward to attract the Serbs out and shoot them with archers. However, the scouts didn’t go far, returned in fear, seeing an “innumerable army”, including “countless” Hungarian cavalry joined by many Chalisioi (Khazars), while the Serbs joined by the Petchenegs, on the other side of the river.[1][3]

To save a group of scouts, Manuel I took the banner and rushed forward on a horse to the river where already were the archers, showing himself to the Serbs, who decided to attack.[1] It was a hard battle, with the Byzantines constantly pursuing the enemies, capturing Serbian nobles Grdeša and Vučina, but also Byzantine generals Michael Branas and Frank Giphardus rushed into danger, but were saved by Manuel I and his regiment.[1] They were attacked on the left front, but the ambushers fled away again. Manuel I took John Kantakouzenos (sebastos) and John Doukas Komnenos (lost two fingers) to pursue them, reportedly in the process “hurled fifteen of the foe to the floor with a single thrust of his lance”.[4] After killing them 40, Manuel I’s became exhausted, Kantakouzenos went forward and managed to have non-critical hit on Serbian grand župan Bakchinos (Bagin). Kantakouzenos was barely saved by Manuel I, but then the emperor himself became the target. Using the sword, he fought until remained only himself and Bakchinos, with the latter almost giving a lethal hit to the emperor, then the emperor cut Bakchinos’ hand and forced him to submit.[1][4]


Manuel I captured 50 captives, and later Uroš II reached the camp, asking for forgiveness and giving eternal oath as a subject to the Byzantines,[1] helping with 2000 men when the emperor fights in the West and 300 in addition of previous 200 men for Asian campaigns.[1] The natives also decided to choose his brother Desa as a co-ruler.[1] It is assumed that some of the prisoners were taken to Sredets (modern Sofia), but were released by 1151,[5] when a “Grd” is mentioned as a witness of Desa’s charter to the Monastery of St. Mary on Mljet.[6][verification needed]


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  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k .mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit;word-wrap:break-word}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:”””””””‘””‘”}.mw-parser-output .citation:target{background-color:rgba(0,127,255,0.133)}.mw-parser-output a{background:url(“//”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-free a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output a,.mw-parser-output a{background:url(“//”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-limited a,body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-registration a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output a{background:url(“//”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-subscription a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:url(“//”)right 0.1em center/12px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output .cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:none;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;color:#d33}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{color:#d33}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#2C882D;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right{padding-right:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .citation .mw-selflink{font-weight:inherit} .mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{color:#18911F} .mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error, .mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{color:#f8a397}@media(prefers-color-scheme:dark){ .mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error, .mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{color:#f8a397} .mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{color:#18911F}}Kinnamos, John (22 December 1976). Deeds of John and Manuel Comnenus. Translated by Charles M. Brand. New York: Columbia University Press. pp. 82–90. ISBN 978-0-231-52155-0.
  2. ^ Stephenson 2004, p. 224–225.
  3. ^ a b Stephenson 2004, p. 225.
  4. ^ a b Stephenson 2004, p. 226.
  5. ^ Vizantološki institut SANU, „Vizantijski izvori za istoriju naroda Jugoslavije IV“ (fototipsko izdanje originala iz 1971), Beograd, 2007. ISBN 978-86-83883-10-3 (in Serbian)
  6. ^ Milorad Medini (1935). Starine Dubrovačke. Štamparija “Jadran”. p. 71. 1151 i u tom interesantna: potpisani su kao svjedoci prvo ljudi Desini župan Grdeša. Tješimir, satnik Rasteša i župan Gruibeša, zatim neki Charilus i Sranlanitus, pa knez Petar sa sinom Gojislavom, Silvester Avelinus Stepaca i notar Matej.109 Charilus i Sranlanitus valjada su normanski posrednici u ovom ugovoru kojim je …


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