Glad (Bulgarian: Глад, Hungarian: Glad or Galád, Romanian: Glad, Serbian: Глад or Glad) was a Bulgarian duke who, according to the 13th-century chronicle Gesta Hungarorum ("The Deeds of the Hungarians"), ruled in the territory of modern Banat (today mostly in Romania and Serbia) at the time of the Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin around 896. His story was recorded exclusively by the Gesta Ungarorum, therefore, according to some historians, he was rather a fictitious person and his name was constructed by Anonymous from a place-name in the area.
Glad in the Gesta Ungarorum
The author of the Gesta narrates that Glad arrived from Vidin (Bulgaria) to the Carpathian Basin, and occupied his domain with Cuman assistance. Romanian historians (e.g., Vlad Georgescu, Ioan Aurel Pop, Victor Spinei) suggest that the Cumani is a name which the chronicler probably used in lieu of Pechenegs because the Cumans only reached the Dnieper River in the middle of the 11th century, and approached the Danube Delta at some point between 1065 and 1078. On the other hand, in another episode of the Gesta,[note 1] the Cumans are clearly distinguished from the Pechenegs.
A certain duke called Glad coming from the castle of Vidin [Bundyn] had with the help of the Cumans taken possession of the land from the Mureş [Mors] river up to the castle of [Vrscia] (Orşova or Vršac). From his line was born Ahtum [Ohtum], whom a long time later, at the time of the holy King Stephen, Csanád [Sunad], son of Doboka [Dobuca] and nephew of the king, slew in his castle beside the Mureş because he was rebellious to the king in all his doings.—Chapter 11 of The Deeds of the Hungarians – Of the cities of Lodomer and Galicia
The Gesta narrates that Glad’s army included Cumans, besides Bulgarians and Romanians, when the Hungarians attacked him. According to the Romanian historian, Victor Spinei, the episode suggests that Glad asked the Pechenegs for help, in order to face the Hungarian attacks. Based on the episode, Vlad Georgescu and Ioan Aurel Pop suggest that Glad’s army comprised Romanians, Pechenegs and Bulgarians.
Duke Árpád and his noblemen stayed there /on Csepel Island/ with their servants and serving women peacefully and powerfully [pacifice et potenter] from the month of April to the month of October and, leaving their wives there, they decided by common counsel, to leave the island in order to go beyond the Danube and subjugate the land of Pannonia and make war against the Carinthians and prepare to go to the march of Lombardy and, before doing that, to send an army against Duke Glad, who had rule from the Mureș river to [Horom] (Hram, Haram) castle, of whose line a long time later was descended Ahtum [Ohtum], whom Csanád [Sunad] killed. To this end, Zovárd [Zuardu], Kadocsa [Cadusa] and Vajta [Boyta] were sent who, having taken leave, rode out and crossed the Tisza at Kanjiža [Kenesna] and made a descent along the [Seztureg] (Čestereg, Csesztreg) river. And no enemy appeared before them who dared raise his hand against them, because fear of them took hold of all the men of that land. Setting out from there, they reached the districts of [Beguey] (Bega or Begej) and stayed there two weeks while they conquered all the inhabitants of that land from the Mureș to the Timiş river and they received their sons as hostages. Then, moving the army on, they came to the Timiș river and encamped beside the Ford of Sands [Vadum Arenarum], and when they sought to cross the Timiș’s flow, there came to oppose them Glad, of whose line Ahtum [Othum] descended, the duke of that country, with a great army of horsemen and foot soldiers, supported by Cumans, Bulgarians and Vlachs. The next day, because, with the Timiș River lying between them, neither army was at all able to cross over to the other, Zovárd enjoined his brother, Kadocsa, to go lower down with half his army and try to cross in any way in order to fight the enemy. Forthwith Kadocsa, obeying his brother’s commands, riding with half the army, went very swiftly lower down and, as if God’s grace was before them, he had an easy crossing. And when one part of the army of the Hungarians was with Kadocsa on the far side and the other half with Zovárd on this side, the Hungarians sounded their trumpets of war and, crossing the river, began to fight fiercely. And because God with His grace went before the Hungarians, he gave them a great victory and their enemies fell before them as sheaves after reapers. And in that battle two dukes of the Cumans and three princes [kenezy] of the Bulgarians were slain, and Glad, their duke, escaped in flight but all his army, melting like wax before flame, was destroyed at the point of the sword. Then Zovárd, Kadocsa and Vajta, having won victory, setting forth from there, came to the borders of the Bulgarians and encamped beside the [Ponoucea] (Panyca, Panocsa, Panyóca) River. Duke Glad, having fled, as we said above, for fear of the Hungarians, entered [Keuee] (Kovin, Keve) castle and, on the third day, Zovárd, Kadocsa and Vajta, from whom the Baracska [Brucsa] kindred descends, having arranged their army began to fight against [Keuee] castle. When Glad, their duke, saw this, he sent to seek peace with them and of his own will delivered up the castle with diverse gifts. Going from there, they took Orșova [Ursoua] castle and for a whole month lived there. And they sent Vajta with a third of the army and the sons of the inhabitants placed as hostages back to Duke Árpád and sent, moreover, their envoys to him so that he might give them leave to go to Greece that they might conquer the whole of Macedonia from the Danube to the Black Sea.—Chapter 44 of The Deeds of the Hungarians – Of the island of the Danube
Controversy around his story
One view is that the elaborate studies of the last decades on the text Gesta Ungarorum have revealed that most of the reports are not inventions, but they have a real support, even if here and there some anachronisms occurred.
An other view is that very few of the episodes of the Gesta can be substantiated from other sources. Some argue the anonymous author of the Gesta projected the ethnic situation of his own age (the turn of the 12th–13th centuries) back to the past (to the turn of the 9th–10th centuries) (e.g., one interpretation of the appearance in conjunction of Bulgarians, Romanians and Cumans, three nations only mentioned together during the first years of the Second Bulgarian Empire). The term "Cuman" however is very ambiguous in the chronicle and could easily designate the Pechenegs, reflecting the ethnic realities of the 10th century. When narrating Glad’s story, the author of the Gesta borrowed heavily from the Ahtum episode recorded in the Long Life of St Gerard. Those phrases which refer to Glad seem to belong genuinely to the Ahtum episode; thus all that is wrong with Glad is that he is usurping his descendant’s story.
- Gesta Hungarorum
- Rulers of Vojvodina
- Bulgarian-Hungarian Wars
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