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Alcek (Bulgar: Altsikurs) was the leader of Bulgar horde that settled in the villages of Gallo Matese, Sepino, Boiano and Isernia in the Matese mountains of central Italy. His name is variously spelled Altsek, Altzek, or Alzec. Alcek was the youngest of khan Kubrat's sons, and the one to drift away the most from Old Great Bulgaria after its fall to the Avar Khaganate.

Bulgarians of Alcek moving along Italy.

In 631 a war for the throne broke out between an Avar leader and Alcek. Eventually defeated, Alcek fled to Bavaria where they asked the Frankish king Dagobert I for a piece of land to settle in. The king at first allowed them some land, but one night he ordered his army to slaughter the Bulgars. Only 700 out of 9,000 survived the slaughter and fled to Italy, where they gained permission from the King of the Lombards, Grimoald, to settle in the area of Ravenna. Eventually they were sent south into the Duchy of Benevento, where Alcek was granted the rule of their settlements with the Italian title of gastald.

Human graves of a steppe-nomadic character as well as horse burials datable to the second half of the eighth century attest to the presence of the Bulgars in the Molise and Campania.[1][2] In the lifetime of Paul the Deacon, he recorded that the descendants of these Bulgars still spoke their language, as well as Latin.


  • Dillon, John B. "Bulgars". Medieval Italy: An Encyclopedia, ed. Christopher Kleinhenz. London: Routledge, 2004.
  • D'Amico, Vincenzo. I Bulgari trasmigrati in Italia nei secoli VI e VII dell’era volgare e loro speciale diffusione nel Sannio. Campobasso, 1933..


  1. ^ Miltenova, N. (1993). I Bulgari di Gallo Matese. Rome: Passaporto Editore. 
  2. ^ (Italian) Tombe con cavallo a Vicenne,, March 9, 2007

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