Siege of Trsat - Siege


Upon arriving at the foot of the settlement, Eric besieged and attacked the city, but was repelled. Led by duke Višeslav, the inhabitants of Trsat threw spears, shot arrows, and hurled huge stones on the enemy, and managed to kill many of them. Eric's forces fled their positions, and were subsequently routed by the forces of Višeslav in an ambush. Eric was among those killed, and his death and defeat proved to be a great blow for the Carolingian Empire. Aquileian Patriarch Saint Paulinus II cursed the land in which the hero was killed, and wrote Carmen de regula fidei, the rhythmus or elegy for his death.

According to contemporary Frankish scholar and courtier Einhard, Eric was killed at Trsat (Tarsatch), a town on the coast of Liburnia by the treachery of the inhabitants. Due to a lack of primary materials, it is uncertain who killed Duke Eric. Most of historians point at Croats, while some point at Byzantines. Einhard also notes the death of Gerold, Prefect of Bavaria, another Frankish commander who was slain in Pannonia in the same year. Croatian historian Nenad Labus refers to this event as a successful assassination attempt by Avars and Slavs. Historian Pierre Riché believes that Dalmatian Croats (Guduscani) killed Eric in collusion with Avars.

Besides the Royal Frankish Annals (Annales Regni Francorum), there is another primary source compiled in c. 950, the historical work De administrando imperio, ascribed to Constantine Porphyrogenitus, which refers to Croatian-Frankish relations. Constantine notes that for a number of years the Croats of Dalmatia were subjects of the Franks, who treated them brutally. The Croats revolted and slew their princes. In an act of revenge, a large army from Francia invaded Croatia. After seven years of war, the Croats managed to defeat the Franks, killing a large portion of the invading army along with its commander. Although Constantine describes a chain of events that are analogous to the 'Siege of Trsat', he does not mention Tarsatica or the exact year of these events.

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