Old Great Bulgaria

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Not to be confused with First Bulgarian Empire.
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Old Great Bulgaria




  Old Great Bulgaria
Capital Phanagoria
Languages Bolgar
Religion Paganism (Tengrism)[2]
Government Absolute Monarchy
 •  632–665 Kubrat
 •  665–668 Batbayan
Historical era Middle Ages
 •  Kubrat inherits the throne 632[1]
 •  Batbayan inherits the throne 665
 •  Old Great Bulgaria is conquered by the Khazars 668
Today part of

Template:History of the Scythians

Old Great Bulgaria or Great Bulgaria (Byzantine Greek: Παλαιά Μεγάλη Βουλγαρία, Palaiá Megálē Voulgaría), also often known by the Latin names Magna Bulgaria[3]) and Patria Onoguria ("Onogur land"),[4] was a 7th Century state formed by the Bulgars – at the time a Scythian people – and/or Onoghurs on the western Pontic Steppe (modern southern Ukraine and south-west Russia).[5]

Great Bulgaria was originally centred on Phanagoria, between the Dniester and lower Volga,[6] (in modern Krasnodar Krai, Russia).

In the mid-7th Century, Great Bulgaria expanded west to include Avar territory and was centered in Poltava. During the late 7th Century, however, a Avar-Slavic alliance defeated the Bulgars and Old Great Bulgaria divided to Great Bulgaria with Avitohol Batbayan, Volga Bulgaria with Avitohol Kotrag, Bulgaria with Avitohol Asparuch, Avitohol Alcek join the Longobards with his men. Successor states included the First Bulgarian Empire and Volga Bulgaria.

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[[File:Old Great Bulgaria and migration of Bulgarians.png|thumb|left|2lBolgars' settlements 6th-7th century


Main article: Origin of the Bolgars

The etymology of the ethnonym Bolgar trace back to 6th century BC. And derives from the word for Wolfbolg from Scythian-Iranian language group orCite error: A <ref> tag is missing the closing </ref> (see the help page). or Patria Onoguria. According to some scholars, it is more correctly called the Onogundur-Bulgar Empire.[7]

Some scholars[who?] assume that it stretched as far west as the Pannonian plain and included among its subjects some of the Pannonian Avars. It is presumed that his capital was the ancient city of Phanagoria on the Taman peninsula. Kubrat's grave was discovered in 1912 at Pereshchepina, Ukraine.[8]

Avitohol Kubrat=[edit]

Template:VladetelKing According to the Nominalia of the Bulgarian Avitohols, Kubrat was from the royal clan Dulo and a rightful heir to the Bolgar throne.Cite error: A <ref> tag is missing the closing </ref> (see the help page).


The events that unfolded following Kubrat's death are described by the Byzantine Patriarch Nicephorus I.[9] In the times of Emperor Constantine IV, he narrates, Kubrat died and Batbayan, the eldest of his five sons, was left in charge of the state. Under strong Khazar pressure, Kubrat's other sons disregarded their father's advice to stay together in order to resist the enemies and soon departed, taking their own tribes.

Old Great Bulgaria disintegrated under Khazars pressure in 668.[10]


Some Bolgars remained in the former Onoguria, under the domination of the Khazars.


Some[who?] also believe that the present-day Balkars of the Caucasus are the descendants of the Batbayan horde even though they . and speak a Iranian(Scythian languages)

Volga Bolgars
Main article: Volga Bulgaria

After Kotrag, the leader of the Kutrigurs, took control on the western Steppe, Batbayan led the ... into the upper Volga-Ural region. There they established Volga Bulgaria, at the confluence of the Volga and Kama. As the Volga or Silver Bolgars (Bessermens), they converted voluntarily to Islam in the 9th century. They managed to preserve their national identity well into the 13th century, by repelling the first Mongol attacks in 1223. However, they were eventually subdued, their capital Bolgar city became one of major cities of the Golden Horde of the Mongols and the Bulgars mixed with the Tatars. The citizens of the modern Russian republics of Tatarstan and Chuvashia are considered to be descendants of those Bulgars.

Bolgars in Vojvodina and Macedonia

Kuber ruled in Sirmium over a mixed group of peoples – Bolgars, Byzantine subjects, Slavs, Germanic tribes – as a vassal of the Avar khagan. After a revolt he led his people to Macedonia. There he had settled in the region of Keremisia and made an unsuccessful attempt to capture the city of Thessaloniki. After this, he disappears from history and his people were later consolidated into the Bulgarian Empire by Khan Krum.

Bolgars in Italy
Main article: Bulgarians in Italy

Other Bolgars, circa 662, led by their "Duke Alzeco" (Altsek) sought refuge from the Avars with the Lombards and requested land from the Lombard King Grimoald I of Benevento in exchange for military service "for an uncertain reason", initially staying near Ravenna and later moving further south. Grimoald sent Altzek and his followers to his son Romuald in Benevento and they were then granted by Romuald land northeast of Naples in the "spacious but up till that time deserted" towns of Sepino, Bovianum (Boiano), and Isernia, in the present-day region of Molise in the Apennines. Instead of the title "Duke" Altzek was granted the Lombard title of "Gastald". Paul the Deacon in his Historia Langobardorum writing after the year 787 says that in his time Bulgars still inhabited the area, and that even though they speak "Latin", "they have not forsaken the use of their own tongue".[11]

Excavations in the necropolis of Vicenne-Campochiaro near Boiano which dates from the 7th century, found among 130 burials that there were 13 human burials alongside horses along with artifacts of Germanic and Avar origin.[12][13][14] Horse burials are characteristic of Central Asian horse-nomads, and therefore these burials are clearly those of the Bulgar settlers of Molise and Campania.[15]

First Bulgarian Empire

After the state disintegrated under Khazar attack in 668, Asparukh parted ways with his brothers and led some of the Bulgars to seek a secure home. He was followed by 30,000 to 50,000 Bulgars.[16]

After the Battle of Ongal Asparukh founded the First Bulgarian Empire, which was officially recognized as an independent state by the Byzantine Empire in 681.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Southeastern Europe in the Middle Ages, 500-1250, Florin Curta, Cambridge University Press, 2006, ISBN 0521815398, p. 78.
  2. ^ John of Nikiû, Chronicle
  3. ^ Fiedler 2008, p. 152.
  4. ^ (Agathius, Priscus Rhetor, Zacharias Rhetor, and Pseudo-Zecharias Rhetor[clarification needed])
  5. ^ Leif Inge Ree Petersen (2013). Siege Warfare and Military Organization in the Successor States (400-800 AD. p. 112. 
  6. ^ Theophanes,Op. cit., p. 356-357
  7. ^ Zimonyi Istvan: "History of the Turkic speaking peoples in Europe before the Ottomans". (Uppsala University: Institute of Linguistics and Philology) (archived from the original on 2013-10-21)
  8. ^ Rasho Rashev, Die Protobulgaren im 5.-7. Jahrhundert, Orbel, Sofia, 2005 (in Bulgarian, German summary)
  9. ^ Cite error: The named reference ReferenceA was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  10. ^ The Other Europe in the Middle ages: Avars, Bolgars, Khazars, and Cumans, Florin Curta, BRILL, 2008, ISBN 9004163891, p. 351.
  11. ^ Diaconis, Paulus (787). Historia Langobardorum. Monte Cassino, Italy. Book V chapter 29. 
  12. ^ Genito, Bruno (2001). "Sepolture Con Cavallo Da Vicenne (Cb):" (PDF). I° Congresso Nazionale di Archeologia Medievale. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 2, 2006. Retrieved 2007-09-27. 
  13. ^ Belcastro, M. G.; Faccini F. (2001). "Anthropological and cultural features of a skeletal sample of horsemen from the medieval necropolis of Vicenne-Campochiaro (Molise, Italy)" (PDF). Collegium antropologicum. 25 (2): 387–401. Retrieved 2007-09-27. 
  14. ^ "Longobard necropolis of Campochiaro". Archived from the original on November 6, 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-27. 
  15. ^ Conte Miltenova, N. - I Bulgari di Gallo Matese - Prefazione e postfazione di Giuseppe Mario Tufarulo Passaporto Editore, Roma, 1993. - C.N.R.
  16. ^ Васил Н. Златарски. История на Първото българско Царство. Епоха на хуно-българското надмощие с. 188.

External links[edit]

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