Place:Bulgarian Empire

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Short description: Medieval empire in South-Eastern Europe
Bulgarian Empire

ц︢рьство бл︢гарское
Bulgaria during the reign of Simeon the Great, 10th century
Bulgaria during the reign of Simeon the Great, 10th century
Common languagesBulgar, Greek
Old Church Slavonic
Middle Bulgarian
Bulgarian Orthodox
Bulgarian Orthodox
Roman Catholic
Bulgarian Orthodox
• 681–700
Asparukh (first)
• 1397–1422
Constantine II (last)
Historical eraMiddle Ages
• Established
• Disestablished
ISO 3166 codeBG

In the medieval history of Europe, Bulgaria's status as the Bulgarian Empire (Bulgarian: Българско царство, Balgarsko tsarstvo Template:IPA-mk), wherein it acted as a key regional power (particularly rivaling Byzantium in Southeastern Europe[1]) occurred in two distinct periods: between the seventh and eleventh centuries, and again between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries. The two "Bulgarian Empires" are not treated as separate entities, but rather as one state restored after a period of Byzantine rule over its territory.

First Bulgarian Empire

Main page: Place:First Bulgarian Empire
Kanasubigi Omurtag (814–831)

Not long after the Slavic incursion, Moesia was once again invaded, this time by the Bulgars under Khan Asparukh.[2] Their horde was a remnant of Old Great Bulgaria, an extinct tribal confederacy situated north of the Black Sea in what is now Ukraine. Asparukh attacked Byzantine territories in Moesia and conquered the Slavic tribes there in 680.[3]

A peace treaty with the Byzantine Empire was signed in 681, marking the foundation of the First Bulgarian Empire on the territory both north and south of the lower course of the Danube River in 681 as an alliance between the ruling Bulgars and the numerous Slavs in the area, becoming the oldest still existing Slavic state. The minority Bulgars formed a close-knit ruling caste.[4] It is usually described as having lasted between 681[5][6][7] and 1018, when it was subjugated by the Byzantine Empire despite Emperor Samuel's fierce resistance. Tervel of Bulgaria, son of Asparuh, was the Khan at the beginning of the 8th century.

In 705, Emperor Justinian II named him Caesar, the first foreigner to receive this title.[8][9] Tervel played an important role in defeating the Arabs during the Siege of Constantinople in 717–718. During Krum’s reign in the early 9th century Bulgarian territory doubled in size, spreading from the middle Danube to the Dnieper and from Odrin to the Tatra Mountains. His able and energetic rule brought law and order to Bulgaria and developed the rudiments of state organization.[10][11]

Bulgaria gradually reached its cultural and territorial apogee in the 9th century and early 10th century under Prince Boris I and Emperor Simeon the Great, when its early Christianization in 864 allowed it to develop into the cultural and literary center of Slavic Europe, as well as one of the largest states in Europe, thus the period is considered the Golden Age of medieval Bulgarian culture. Major events included the development of the Cyrillic script at the Preslav Literary School, declared official in 893, and the establishment of the liturgy in Old Church Slavonic, also called Old Bulgarian.[12][13][14]

Second Bulgarian Empire

Main page: Place:Second Bulgarian Empire
Tsar Ivan Alexander (1331–1371)
Coat of Arms of Bulgaria

The medieval Bulgarian state was restored as the Second Bulgarian Empire after a successful uprising of two nobles from Tarnovo, Asen and Peter, in 1185, and existed until it was conquered during the Ottoman invasion of the Balkans in the late 14th century, with the date of its subjugation usually given as 1396, although some fringe views place it at 1422.[15] Until 1256, the Second Bulgarian Empire was the dominant power in the Balkans, defeating the Byzantine Empire in several major battles.

In 1205, Emperor Kaloyan defeated the newly established Latin Empire in the Battle of Adrianople. His nephew Ivan Asen II defeated the Despotate of Epiros and made Bulgaria a regional power again. During his reign, Bulgaria spread from the Adriatic to the Black Sea and the economy flourished. Under Ivan Asen II in the first half of the 13th century the country gradually recovered much of its former power, though this did not last long due to internal problems and foreign invasions.

Bulgarian artists and architects created their own distinctive style. Until the 14th century, during the period known as the Second Golden Age of Bulgarian culture, literature, art and architecture flourished.[16] The capital city Tarnovo, which was considered a "New Constantinople", became the country's main cultural hub and the centre of the Eastern Orthodox world.[17]

The Empire became tributary to the Golden Horde, a successor state of the Mongol Empire in the 13th to 14th centuries.[18][19] After the death of Emperor Ivan Alexander in 1371 Bulgaria was split into three countries and in the following decades fell under the domination of the Ottomans. After the Ottoman conquest, many Bulgarian clerics and scholars emigrated to Serbia, Wallachia, Moldavia, and Russian principalities, where they introduced Bulgarian culture, books, and hesychastic ideas.[20]


See also


  1. R. Craig Nation. War in the Balkans, 1991–2002. Retrieved 2012-06-28. 
  2. Zlatarski, Vasil (1938) (in Bulgarian). История на Първото българско Царство. I. Епоха на хуно–българското надмощие (679–852). Marin Drinov Publishing House. p. 188. ISBN 978-9544302986. Retrieved 23 May 2012. 
  3. "Bulgar". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 28 July 2018. 
  4. Fine, John V.A.; Fine, John Van Antwerp (1991). The Early Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Sixth to the Late Twelfth Century. University of Michigan Press. pp. 68–70. ISBN 978-0472081493. 
  5. A Concise History of Bulgaria, R. J. Crampton, Cambridge University Press, 2005, ISBN:0521616379, pp. 8-9.
  6. The New Cambridge Medieval History: Volume 1, c.500–c.700, Paul Fouracre, Cambridge University Press, 2005, ISBN:0521362911, p. 301.
  7. Мутафчиев, П. Гюзелев. В, История на българския народ 681–1323. Българска Академия на науките, 1986. стр. 106–108.
  8. Андреев, Й. Българските ханове и царе (VII-XIV в.). София, 1987
  9. Хан Тервел - тема за кандидат студенти
  10. Krum, Encyclopædia Britannica Online
  11. Токушев, Д. "История на българската средновековна държава и право", Сиби, С. 2009
  12. Dvornik, Francis (1956). The Slavs: Their Early History and Civilization. Boston: American Academy of Arts and Sciences. p. 179. "The Psalter and the Book of Prophets were adapted or "modernized" with special regard to their use in Bulgarian churches, and it was in this school that glagolitic writing was replaced by the so-called Cyrillic writing, which was more akin to the Greek uncial, which simplified matters considerably and is still used by the Orthodox Slavs." 
  13. Florin Curta (2006). Southeastern Europe in the Middle Ages, 500–1250. Cambridge Medieval Textbooks. Cambridge University Press. pp. 221–222. ISBN 978-0-521-81539-0.,+Florin,+Southeastern+Europe+in+the+Middle+Ages,+500-1250+(Cambridge+Medieval+Textbooks),+Cambridge+University+Press#v=onepage&q=Cyrillic%20preslav&f=false. 
  14. J. M. Hussey, Andrew Louth (2010). "The Orthodox Church in the Byzantine Empire". Oxford History of the Christian Church. Oxford University Press. pp. 100. ISBN 978-0-19-161488-0. 
  16. Kǎnev, Petǎr (2002). "Religion in Bulgaria after 1989". South-East Europe Review (1): 81. 
  17. Obolensky, p. 246
  18. Peter Jackson, The Mongols and the West, p. 204
  19. Denis Sinor, "The Mongols in the West", Journal of Asian History v. 33 n. 1 (1999).
  20. Kazhdan 1991, pp. 334, 337

Further reading

  • Zlatarski, Vasil N. (2006) [1918] (in Bulgarian). Medieval History of the Bulgarian State. Sofia: Science and Arts Publishers, 2nd Edition (Petar Petrov, Ed.), Zahari Stoyanov Publishers, 4th Edition, 2006. ISBN 978-954-739-928-0. 
  • Бакалов, Георги; Милен Куманов (2003) (in Bulgarian). Електронна издание – История на България. София: Труд, Сирма. ISBN 978-954-528-613-1. 
  • Делев, Петър; Валери Кацунов; Пламен Митев; Евгения Калинова; Искра Баева; Боян Добрев (2006) (in Bulgarian). История и цивилизация за 11. клас. Труд, Сирма. 
  • (in Bulgarian) Българите и България. Министерство на външните работи на България, Труд, Сирма. 2005. 
  • Fine, John V. A., Jr. (1991). The Early Medieval Balkans. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. ISBN 978-0-472-08149-3. 
  • Runciman, Steven (1930). A History of the First Bulgarian Empire. London: G. Bell & Sons. 

pt:História da Bulgária#Império Búlgaro