Portal:Bulgarian Empire

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THE BULGARIAN EMPIRE PORTAL

Coat of Arms of the Bulgarian Empire in the 14th century
The Bulgarian Empire in its expansion in the 13th century

The First Bulgarian Empire (Bulgarian: Първо Българско царство, Parvo Balgarsko Tsarstvo), was the first country of the contemporary Bulgarian people located in Southeastern Europe. Since its foundation it occupied a large part of the Balkan peninsula and struggled with the Byzantine Empire for control of the region.

Founded as a crude form of a confederacy between Bulgars, Slavs and Thracians in 681 on the two banks of the Danube river, it became the first Slavic country and is the oldest state still in existence in Europe. In 802-805 it destroyed the Avar Khanate and expanded its territory twice covering the whole area of contemporary Romania. During the 9th and the beginning of the 10th century in the course of the Byzantine-Bulgarian Wars the Bulgarians took control of most of the Balkans. However in the mid 10th century the Empire suffered disastrous invasions of Magyars, Pechenegs and wars with Kievan Rus' and after a 50-year struggle it was destroyed by the Byzantines in 1018.

After the Christianization of Bulgaria the country became a major center of culture and learning. Literature flourished in the Preslav and Ohrid Literary Schools. The Bulgarian scholar Climent of Ohrid (840 - 916), who was a student of Saints Cyril and Methodius, invented the Cyrillic alphabet which carries the name of one of his teachers. The beauty and wealth of the new capital Preslav was compared by some contemporaries with Constantinople. In the 10th century in Bulgaria emerged one of the major heretic movements in Medieval Europe, the Bogomils.

The Second Bulgarian Empire (Bulgarian: Второ българско царство, Vtorо Bălgarskо Tsartsvo) was established in 1185 as a result of the Uprising of Asen and Peter and reached the peak of its power under Kaloyan and Ivan Asen II before gradually being conquered by the Ottomans in the late 14th and early 15th centuries.

Up until 1256, the Second Bulgarian Empire was the dominant power in the Balkans. The Byzantines were defeated in several major battles, and in 1205 the newly-established Latin Empire was crushed in the battle of Adrianople by Emperor Kaloyan. His nephew, Ivan Asen II (r. 1218–1241), defeated the Despotate of Epiros and made Bulgaria a regional power once again. However, in the late 13th century the Empire declined under the constant invasions of Tatars, Byzantines, Hungarians, Serbs, and internal instability and revolts.

The capital Tarnovo became a major cultural, religious and literary center during 13th and 14th centuries and was considered by some as the Third Rome for a time. During the rule of Ivan Alexander (1331-1371) Bulgaria experienced its Second Golden Age.


Selected Article

Bogomil shrine in Travnik, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Bogomilism (Bulgarian: Богомилство) is the Gnostic dualistic sect, the synthesis of Armenian Paulicianism and the Bulgarian Slavonic Church reform movement, which emerged in Bulgaria between 927 and 970 and spread into Byzantine Empire, Serbia, Bosnia, Italy and France.

The now defunct Gnostic social-religious movement and doctrine originated in the time of Peter I of Bulgaria (927–969) as a reaction against state and clerical oppression. In spite of all measures of repression, it remained strong and popular until the fall of Bulgaria in the end of the 14th century.

Bogomilism is the first significant Bulgarian "heresy" that came about in the first quarter of the 10th century in the area of today’s Plovdiv (Philippopolis). It was a natural outcome of many factors that had arisen till the beginning of 10th century. The forced Christianization of the Slavs and proto-Bulgarians by khan Boris I in 863 and the fact that the religion was practiced in Greek, which only the ‘elite’ knew, resulted in a very superficial level of understanding of the religion, if any understanding at all. Another very important factor was the social discontent of the peasantry.

Selected Biography

A page of the Cividale gospel in which the name of Peter is mentioned.
Peter (Bulgarian: Петър) was a relative of knyaz (khan) Boris I (r. 852–889) who was in charge of diplomatic missions during the Christianization of Bulgaria. His position in the Bulgarian administrative hierarchy is unknown but it has been suggested that he had the title kavhan, i. e. the second person in the state after the ruler.

Between 866 and 869 Peter headed three missions to Rome and was in charge of the Bulgarian delegations. The interest of Boris I in the Roman Church was caused by the reluctance of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople to accept his request to appoint an independent patriarch (or at least archbishop) for the Bulgarian diocese, but retain it subordinated to Constantinople. The negotiations with the Pope were also insatisfactory and in 870 Peter was sent to the Eighth Ecumenical Council in Constantinople to conclude a final agreement with the Byzantines. Despite the protests of the Roman delegates, the representatives of the Orthodox patriarchates gave the upper hand and it was agreed that the Bulgarian Church would become an autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Church headed by an archbishop.

Selected Picture

Saint Panteleimon Church.
Credit: Apcbg

The Saint Pantaleimon Church in Ohrid was built by request of Boris I. It was a major Bulgarian and European centre of learning in late 9th and 10th centuries.

Did You Know?

Bulgarians nominate Peter Deljan as king of Bulgary from the Chronicle of John Skylitzes.jpg
  • ... that after the siege of Serdica (809) Khan Krum massacred the whole garrison of 6,000 despite his promise to give them a safe conduct?

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Nuvola kdict glass.png Expansion needed : KrumShishman dynastyDulo clanPliskaTarnovoTheodore SvetoslavBattle of Adrianople (1205)Siege of TarnovoKaloyanPeter IPereyaslavetsIrene Doukaina LaskarinaConstantine IIIvan Asen IIByzantine conquest of BulgariaGreat Basilica, Pliska

Cleanup and/or improvement needed : OhridBulgarsFirst Bulgarian EmpireSecond Bulgarian EmpireUprising of Peter DelyanUprising of IvayloByzantine–Bulgarian Wars

Nuvola apps kappfinder.png Requested images : Battle of KlokotnitsaCroatian-Bulgarian WarsOhrid Literary SchoolConstantine of Preslav


Topics

Battles Rulers
Byzantine-Bulgarian Wars
Bulgarian-Hungarian Wars
Croatian-Bulgarian Wars
Bulgarian-Rus' Wars
Bulgarian-Latin Wars
Bulgarian-Serbian Wars
Bulgarian-Ottoman Wars
Khans
Knyaze
Tsars (Emperors)
 
Capitals

Pliska

Preslav

Skopie

Ohrid

Tarnovo

Vidin

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