Under the Yoke

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For the 1918 film starring Theda Bara, see Under the Yoke (film). For the novel by S. M. Stirling, see Under the Yoke (Stirling novel).
Ivan Vazov

Under the Yoke [Bulgarian: 'Под игото'- Pod Igoto] is a novel by Ivan Vazov written in 1888. It depicts the Ottoman rule of Bulgaria and is the most famous piece of classic Bulgarian literature. Under the Yoke has been translated into more than 30 languages.


The tranquility in a Bulgarian village under Ottoman rule is only superficial: the people are quietly preparing for an uprising. The plot follows the story of Boycho Ognyanov, who, having escaped from a prison in Diarbekir, returns to the Bulgarian town of Byala Cherkva (White Church, today Sopot) to take part in the rebellion. There he meets old friends, enemies, and the love of his life. The plot portrays the personal drama of the characters, their emotions, motives for taking part in or standing against the rebellion, betrayal and conflict.

Historically, the April Uprising of 1876 failed due to bad organization, limited resources, and betrayal. The brutal way in which the Ottomans broke down the uprising became the pretext for the Russian-Turkish war,[1] that brought about Bulgarian independence.

The book has many autobiographical elements: Sopot is the writer's hometown, and he did take a personal part in the uprising described.


  1. ^ [1] Illustrated history of the Russo-Turkish war in 1877-1878

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