The Middle Ages
If we do not consider the still unreliable assumption that Procopius' Antipargal from the 6th century is in fact the town of Bar, in the historical sources, Bar is mentioned for the first time in the registry made by a priest from the Bar Archbishopric, during the rule of the Byzantine Emperor Leo III the Isaurian (717-741) as Antibari.
The town's rise, its cultural and strategic development started during the state of Duklja rule. On these foundations, based on the strong Byzantine influence, all of its centuries of prosperity and wealth were built.
After the death of Emperor Basil II Bulgar Slayer in 1025, the Byzantine Empire started to decline suddenly. The Lord of Duklja, Stefan Vojislav (1034-1055) tried to take advantage of this situation. Stefan first started an uprising in 1034-1036, but it was soon put down, and he was imprisoned and taken to Constantinople. He was soon set free and returned to Duklja, where he raised another upraising in 1037/38.
Vojislav's dynasty lasted until 1183. His heir was his son Mihajlo, who came to the throne in 1055, and ruled until 1081. He had a more favourable relationship with Byzantium, and he received the title of protostapar from the emperor. In 1077 Mihajlo was mentioned as "The king of the Slavs".
On behalf of Mihajl's son Constantine Bodin (1081-1101) and on his own behalf, Bishop Peter asked Pope Clement III for the archbishop's mantle. Clement III and his office decided to promote the Archbishop of Bar Peter to the position of the archbishop of Duklja and Bar. On this date, possibly the most important for the history of the town, Bar became the eccliastical seat of the region, which had several episcopal towns and areas under its jurisdiction: Ulcinj, Svac, Pilot, Drivast, Shkoder, Kotor, Serbia, Bosnia and Travunia, as well as some monasteries belonging to Dalmatians, Greeks and Slavs.
In the winter of 1096/97, the Crusaders, led by Raymond of Toulouse passed through the eastern Adriatic coast, and it is probable that they had closer contacts with Bar itself, that some of the knights and cavalry were received by the archbishop, even though it is known that King Bodin, who was the protector of Bar, gave them a friendly reception in the town of Shkoder. Still, not even King Bodin could prevent his subjects from attacking the Crusaders.
After Bodin's death, things did not develop favourably for the town, because it lost its main protector. There came a period of great dynastic struggles, after which the town returned to Byzantine rule.
The period of the kings of Duklja is described in the "Chronicles of a priest from Duklja", one of the most important works of medieval literature and historiography of South Slavs. The work was written in Bar at the end of the 12th century by an anonymous priest who wrote it first in the Slavic language, and later translated it into Latin. It consists of three parts, of which the third is the most reliable one, and it can help us reconstruct the situation in the state of Duklja and the struggle of the pretenders to the Dukljan throne.
Even though it was written in Bar, the author does not pay much attention to "his own town". Amongst everything Bar is mentioned when he talks about the conflict between King Djordje (1125 - 1131) and King Grubesa (118-1125), when he talks about how Grubesa was defeated "underneath Bar's town walls", and then burried inside St. John's Church in the town.
Not far away from Saint Catherine's CHurch a graveyard from the Dukljan period was discivered, which is the oldest graveyard discovered so far in the town. Its age was determined using the coins of Manuel Comenus (1143-1181). The deceased were also buried with a knife as present.
Gradinha (1131-1141) was the last king from the Vojislavljevic dynasty. This "mild, gentle and merciful ruler" was replaced by Radoslav, who spent almost 42 years ruling as Byzantine vassal.
In the period of Prince Radoslav's rule, from 1143 to 1183/85, the town was under Byzantine rule once again. Thanks to a grat effort of will of Emperor Manuel I Comenus (1143-1181), the "Ducat of Dalmatia and Duklja" was established, which was an administrative unit under the jurisdiction of Constantinople, of which Bar was part.