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Siege of Lastovo

Siege of Lastovo
Part of the Croatian-Venetian wars
Guardi,Francesco - The Departure of Bucentaur for the Lido on Ascension Day.jpg
The departure of the doge's ship on Ascension Day for the military campaign in southern Croatia
Date1000
Location
Result Venetian victory
Belligerents
 Republic of Venice Zvonimir.jpgKingdom of Croatia
Narentines
Commanders and leaders
Doge Pietro II Orseolo unknown
Strength
unknown unknown
Casualties and losses
unknown unknown

The Siege of Lastovo in 1000 was part of the campaign of Doge Pietro II Orseolo in southern Croatia and its bloodiest armed conflict between the citizens of Lastovo island and the army of the Venice. The siege resulted in a Venetian victory and Lastovo became part of the Venetian Republic for a while.

Background

After the death of Croatian King Stjepan Držislav in 997, an ally of the Byzantine Empire, who ruled in the last three decades of the 10th century and was recognized by Byzantine emperor as the king of Croatia and Dalmatia, his eldest son and successor Svetoslav Suronja continued the pro-Byzantine policy, but his younger sons Krešimir and Gojslav started to organize a rebellion. With the aid of Bulgarian emperor Samuil, Krešimir and Gojslav managed to remove Svetoslav Suronja from the Croatian throne in 1000 and forced him to seek refuge in Venice.

At the same time, Doge Pietro II Orseolo prepared Venetian forces to take control over Dalmatian cities that were part of the Byzantine Empire, Croatia, and Narentines. Since the maritime city populations were mostly Latin, the majority of cities welcomed the Venetian ruler, but some of them did not. In particular, the island of Lastovo fiercely resisted the Venetian incursion.

Siege

Before the siege, the island of Lastovo was part of the Theme of Dalmatia, ceded from the Byzantine Empire to the Kingdom of Croatia.

The exact date of the siege of Lastovo is not known. According to John the Deacon, Orseolo's chronicler, the doge attended the Holy Mass on Ascension Day (9 May 1000) in Venice. Then he led his fleet towards Grado to visit the patriarch and on 11 May he sailed southwards.

As the fleet reached Lastovo, the residents of the town did not welcome it, but waited behind the city walls, ready to resist. Orseolo ordered them to surrender but they refused, so he started to attack the town. His troops besieged it, trying to break the town gate as well as to seize the towers of the wall. They succeeded in capturing the tower with the water cistern, which was a big setback for the remaining defenders. Finally they were forced to surrender and to lay down their weapons. The doge spared their lives, but gave the order to his soldiers to destroy the defensive walls and to burn down the town. The citizens were moved away to the other side of the island, where they built a new settlement.

Aftermath

Pietro II Orseolo subjected Lastovo to Venetian authority. Then he moved further with his fleet towards Dubrovnik, whose dignitaries showed loyalty to him, and returned subsequently to Venice. He started to carry the title of Dux Dalmatianorum (Duke of the Dalmatians).

For the next few decades, the island of Lastovo remained a Venetian possession. It came back and stayed under Croatian rule during the reign of King Stjepan I (ruled 1030-1058) and his successors. In 1252 the residents of Lastovo decided to join the Community of Dubrovnik (ital. Ragusa), (later Republic of Dubrovnik).

See also

References

External links