Battle of Boulgarophygon
The Battle of Boulgarophygon or Battle of Bulgarophygon was fought in the summer of 896 near the town of Bulgarophygon, modern Babaeski in Turkey, between the Byzantine Empire and the First Bulgarian Empire. The result was an annihilation of the Byzantine army which determined the Bulgarian victory in the trade war of 894–896. Despite the initial difficulties in the war against the Magyars, who acted as Byzantine allies, the battle of Boulgarophygon proved to be the first decisive victory of the young and ambitious Bulgarian ruler Simeon I against the Byzantine Empire. Simeon would go on to inflict a number of defeats on the Byzantines in pursuit of his ultimate goal, the throne in Constantinople; the peace treaty, signed as a result of the battle confirmed the Bulgarian domination in the Balkans. During the rule of Boris I, Bulgaria underwent major changes – the Christianization of the country and the admission of the disciples of Saints Cyril and Methodius, which marked the beginning of the creation and consolidation of the medieval Bulgarian literature and alphabet.
Despite a number of military setbacks against most neighbouring countries, Boris I managed to preserve Bulgarian territorial integrity. During the Council of Preslav in 893, assembled after the unsuccessful attempt of Boris I's eldest son Vladimir-Rasate to restore Paganism, it was decided that Old Bulgarian was to replace Greek as a language of the church and the Byzantine clergy was to be banished and replaced with Bulgarians; the Council sealed Boris I's ambitions for cultural and religious independence and calmed down the concerns among the nobility, who feared any strong Byzantine influence in the internal affairs of Bulgaria. It was decided that his third son Simeon, born after the Christianization and called child of peace, was to become the next Prince of Bulgaria; these events ruined the Byzantine hopes to exert influence over the newly Christianized country, emperor Leo VI soon had a chance to retaliate. Some members of the Byzantine court had an interest in moving the market of the Bulgarian goods from Constantinople to Thessaloniki, which meant that the Bulgarian merchants would have to pay higher taxes.
That move affected not only private interests but the international commercial importance of Bulgaria, regulated with the Byzantine–Bulgarian Treaty of 716. The ousting of the merchants from Constantinople, a major destination of trade routes from all over Europe and Asia, was a heavy blow for Bulgarian economic interests; the merchants complained to Simeon I, who in turn raised the issue with Leo VI, but the appeal was left unanswered. Simeon, seeking a pretext to declare war and begin implementing his plans, launched an invasion of Byzantine Thrace, resulting in what has sometimes been called the first commercial war in Europe; the Byzantines hastily assembled a large army under the generals Prokopios Krenites and Kourtikios, which included the Imperial Guard that consisted of Khazar mercenaries. In the ensuing battle in the Theme of Macedonia around Adrianople, the Byzantines were defeated and their commanders perished. Most of the Khazars were captured and Simeon had their noses cut and "sent them in the capital for shame of the Romans ".
Since the main Byzantine forces were engaged in the east against the Arabs, Leo VI turned to the well-tried methods of Byzantine diplomacy and sent envoys with rich gifts to the Magyars, who in that time inhabited the steppes to the north-east of Bulgaria. When Simeon I refused to conclude peace and imprisoned the Byzantine envoy Konstantinakios, at the end of 894 the Byzantine navy was used to ferry the Magyars across the Danube, despite the fact that the Bulgarians had barred the river with chains and ropes. Simeon I, at the Byzantine-Bulgarian border facing the general Nikephoros Phokas, had to march northwards to confront them, his army was defeated by the Magyars somewhere in Dobruja and Simeon himself had to flee to the strong fortress Drastar. The Magyars looted and pillaged unopposed, reaching the outskirts of the capital Preslav, after they sold the captives to the Byzantines they retreated to the north of the Danube. Simeon pretended that he wanted to negotiate and put forward the issue of prisoner exchange.
The Byzantines sent Leo Choirosphaktes in Preslav to negotiate the terms. As Simeon needed time to address the Magyar threat, he deliberately prolonged the negotiations and Choirosphaktes was refused an audience. In the meantime Simeon allied with the Pechenegs, while the people appealed to his father Boris I, who had become a monk, to assume the command of the army. In the decisive battle the Magyars suffered a devastating defeat, but the victorious Bulgarians were themselves said to have lost 20,000 riders; that was the only victory in the battlefield Boris I achieved. As a result of this defeat, the Magyars had to move westwards and settle in Pannonia, where they established the Kingdom of Hungary; when Simeon I returned to Preslav "proud of the victory" he broke the negotiations with Choirosphaktes and once again invaded Byzantine Thrace, further encouraged by the death of the capable general Nikephoros Phokas. The Byzantines transferred "all themes and tagmata", i. e. all forces that were fighting the Arabs, to Europe.
The army was commanded by the Domestic of the Schools Leo Katakalon, who lacked the ability of Phokas. The two armies clashed at Boulgarophygon in the summer of 896 and the Byzantines were routed. A Byzantine historian wrote: Among the casualties was the protovestiarios Theodosius, the second-in-command of the army, while Leo Katakalon managed to escape with a few other survivors; the Byzantine defeat was so
Sviatoslav's invasion of Bulgaria
Sviatoslav's invasion of Bulgaria refers to a conflict beginning in 967/968 and ending in 971, carried out in the eastern Balkans, involving the Kievan Rus', the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantines encouraged the Rus' ruler Sviatoslav to attack Bulgaria, leading to the defeat of the Bulgarian forces and the occupation of the northern and north-eastern part of the country by the Rus' for the following two years; the allies turned against each other, the ensuing military confrontation ended with a Byzantine victory. The Rus' withdrew and eastern Bulgaria was incorporated into the Byzantine Empire. In 927, a peace treaty had been signed between Bulgaria and Byzantium, ending many years of warfare and establishing forty years of peace. Both states prospered during this interlude, but the balance of power shifted in favour of the Byzantines, who made great territorial gains against the Abbasid Caliphate in the East and formed a web of alliances surrounding Bulgaria. By 965/966, the warlike new Byzantine emperor Nikephoros II Phokas refused to renew the annual tribute, part of the peace agreement and declared war on Bulgaria.
Preoccupied with his campaigns in the East, Nikephoros resolved to fight the war by proxy and invited the Rus' ruler Sviatoslav to invade Bulgaria. Sviatoslav's subsequent campaign exceeded the expectations of the Byzantines, who had regarded him only as a means to exert diplomatic pressure on the Bulgarians; the Rus' prince conquered the core regions of the Bulgarian state in the northeastern Balkans in 967–969, seized the Bulgarian tsar Boris II, ruled the country through him. Sviatoslav intended to continue his drive south against Byzantium itself, which in turn regarded the establishment of a new and powerful Russo-Bulgarian state in the Balkans with great concern. After stopping a Rus' advance through Thrace at the Battle of Arcadiopolis in 970, the Byzantine emperor John I Tzimiskes led an army north into Bulgaria in 971 and captured Preslav, the capital. After a three-month siege of the fortress of Dorostolon, Sviatoslav agreed to terms with the Byzantines and withdrew from Bulgaria.
Tzimiskes formally annexed Eastern Bulgaria to the Byzantine Empire. However, most of the country in the central and western Balkans remained in effect outside imperial control. By the beginning of the 10th century, two powers had come to dominate the Balkans: the Byzantine Empire controlled the south of the peninsula and the coasts, the Bulgarian Empire held the central and northern Balkans; the early decades of the century were dominated by Tsar Simeon, who expanded his empire at Byzantium's expense in a series of wars and secured for himself recognition of his imperial title. Simeon's death in May 927 was soon followed by a rapprochement between the two powers, formalized with a treaty and a marriage alliance that same year. Simeon's second son and successor, Peter I, married Maria, the granddaughter of the Byzantine emperor Romanos I Lekapenos, his imperial title was recognized. An annual tribute was agreed to be paid to the Bulgarian ruler in exchange for peace; the agreement was kept for forty years as peaceful relations suited both sides.
Bulgaria, despite the barrier formed by the Danube, was still menaced in its northern reaches by steppe peoples, the Magyars and the Pechenegs. They launched raids throughout Bulgaria reaching Byzantine territory as well; the Byzantine–Bulgarian peace meant less trouble from the north, as many Pecheneg raids had been sponsored by the Byzantines. Peter's reign, although lacking the military splendour of Simeon's, was still a "golden age" for Bulgaria, with a flourishing economy and a thriving urban society. Byzantium used the peace to focus its energy on wars against the Abbasid Caliphate in the East, where a series of campaigns under generals John Kourkouas and Nikephoros Phokas expanded imperial territory. At the same time, military reforms created a offensively-oriented army; the Byzantines did not neglect the Balkans, working to improve their contacts with the peoples of central and eastern Europe, subtly altering the balance of power in the peninsula. Their Crimean outpost of Cherson maintained trade with the Pechenegs and the emerging power of the Kievan Rus'.
These relationships on the periphery of the Bulgarian Empire were an important asset for Byzantine diplomacy: instigating attacks against Bulgaria by the Pechenegs and the Khazars was a time-honoured method of applying pressure on the Bulgarians. Upon the sudden death of Emperor Romanos II in 963, Nikephoros Phokas usurped the throne from Romanos' infant sons and became senior emperor as Nikephoros II. Nikephoros, a prominent member of the Anatolian military aristocracy focused on the East, leading his army in campaigns that recovered Cyprus and Cilicia, thus things stood when a Bulgarian embassy visited Nikephoros in late 965 or early 966 to collect the tribute owed. Nikephoros, his confidence boosted by his recent successes, deeming the Bulgarian ruler's demand presumptuous, refused to pay, claiming that with Empress Maria's recent death any such obligations had ceased, he sent them home with threats and insults. He proceeded with his troops to Thrace, where he staged an elaborate parade as a display of mi
Uprising of Peter Delyan
The Uprising of Peter Delyan, which took place in 1040–1041, was a major Bulgarian rebellion against the Byzantine Empire. It was the largest and best-organised attempt to restore the former Bulgarian Empire until the rebellion of Ivan Asen I and Petar IV in 1185. After Byzantine troops conquered Bulgaria in 1018, Basil II wisely decided not to change the Bulgarian taxation system in order to placate the population. Although the Bulgarian Patriarchate was downgraded to Archbishopric, its head remained an ethnic Bulgarian till Basil II's death in 1025. Under the rule of Emperor Romanos III the population was forced to pay its taxes in coin rather than in goods-in-kind, which caused poverty and widespread unrest. In 1040, Peter Delyan, who claimed to be a descendant of Samuil of Bulgaria escaped from Constantinople and began roaming throughout the Bulgarian lands reaching Morava and Belgrade; the rebellion broke out in Belgrade, where Delyan was proclaimed Emperor of Bulgaria assuming the name of the sainted Emperor Peter I.
The Bulgarians moved southwards towards the last political centres of their Empire and Skopje. On their way the local population joined them, accepted Peter Delyan for its Emperor and killed every Byzantine they met. In the same time local Bulgarians from the Dyrrhachium area gathered around the soldier Tihomir and headed westwards to reach the old capitals; the existence of two separate rebel camps became an actual threat for the success of the rebellion. Petar Delyan wrote a letter to Tihomir to negotiate for joint actions and made a speech in which, in figurative language, he told the assembled people that as it was not possible for two parrots to the share a bush without discord, so two emperors could not share one country and that they should chose only one leader, either him or Tihomir, he deliberately used the parrots because the two parrots used to be the coat-of-arms of the Comitopuli House. As he had greater influence than his rival, Delyan was unanimously chosen as leader and Tihomir was killed.
With his enlarged army Petar II advanced to the south and defeated the Byzantine Emperor Michael IV the Paphlagonian at Thessaloniki taking his treasury. One of Michael's commanders the Bulgarian Manuel Ivats a son of Samuil's boyar Ivats joined Peter II. After the victory the Bulgarian troops under the voivoda Kavkan captured Dyrrachium on the Adriatic Sea and some forces penetrated deep into Thessaly reaching Corinth. Albania and most of Macedonia were conquered. Another Bulgarian army led by Antim marched deep to the south and defeated the Byzantine commander Alakaseus in the battle of Thebes in Boeotia. Upon the news of the Bulgarian success the Byzantine population of Athens and Piraeus who were uneasy due to the heavy taxes revolted but were crushed by Norman mercenaries; the decisive actions of the rebels caused serious anxiety in Constantinople where plans for crushing the rebellion were hastily discussed. Soon the news for the Bulgarian uprising reached Armenia, where the descendents of the last Bulgarian Emperors were deported.
The most respected of them was the son of Alusian. Disguised as a mercenary he reached Constantinople and despite the strict security measures managed to go to Bulgaria in September 1040; the appearance of a new pretendent for the throne meant new tensions among the rebels. In the beginning Alusian did not dare to reveal his origin but tried to find devoted supporters of his kin, he soon gathered many adherents. Petar II Delyan warmly welcomed his cousin although he knew that Alusian might be a potential candidate for the crown, he gave him a 40,000 strong army to seize Thessaloniki but he failed, having attacked the enemy with a tired army. The defeat cost Alusian fled from the battle field leaving his arms and armour; the heavy defeat worsened the relations between the two leaders: Alusian was ashamed by the defeat and Petar Delyan suspected treason. Alusian plotted against his cousin, he invited Delyan to a feast. When Petar got drunk on the wine, the conspirators came down on him and pulled out his eyes with a knife.
Thus Alusian became the single leader. In the beginning he undertook active operations but had to flee for his life, he secretly negotiated with the Byzantines. After they reached an agreement in the summer of 1041, Alusian pretended to give a decisive battle, but when the two armies met he abandoned his troops and changed sides; the Byzantine Emperor Michael IV prepared a major campaign to defeat the Bulgarians. He gathered an elite army of 40,000 men with capable generals and moved in a battle formation. There were a lot of mercenaries in the Byzantine army including the Norwegian Prince and King Harald Hardråde with 500 Varangians. From Thessaloniki the Byzantines penetrated in Bulgaria and defeated the Bulgarians at Ostrovo in the late summer of 1041, it seems that the Varangians had a decisive role in the victory as their chief is hailed in the Norse sagas as the "devastator of Bulgaria". Though blind, Petar Delyan was in command of the army, his fate is unknown. Soon the Byzantines eliminated the resistance of Delyan's remaining voivodes, Botko around Sofia and Manuil Ivats in Prilep, thus ending the Bulgarian revolt.
Йордан Андреев, Милчо Лалков, Българските ханове и царе, Veliko Turnovo, 1996. The uprising of Peter Delyan
Siege of Dorostolon
The Battle of Dorostopol was fought in 971 between the Byzantine Empire and forces of Kievan Rus'. The Byzantines, led by John I Tzimisces, were victorious. During the course of the Rus'-Bulgarian war, Svyatoslav I of Kiev overran the eastern part of the First Bulgarian Empire and established his capital at Pereyaslavets on the Danube. Once John I usurped the throne, the Byzantines launched a counteroffensive. After they defeated the united Rus'-Bulgarian forces in the Battle of Arcadiopolis and recaptured Pereyaslavets, Svyatoslav was forced to flee to the northern fortress of Dorostolon. Emperor John proceeded to lay siege to Dorostolon, his army was reinforced by a fleet of 300 ships equipped with Greek fire. There were several engagements before the walls of the city, which demonstrated to the Byzantines that the Rus' lacked skill in cavalry warfare. Among the casualties were the Emperor's relative, Ioannes Kourkouas and the second-in-command in Svyatoslav's army, a certain Ikmor; the Rus' and their Bulgarian allies were reduced to extremities by famine.
In order to appease their gods, they drowned chickens in the Danube, but the sacrifices failed to improve their position. During the siege of the city of Dorostolon the Rus forces were reduced to near starvation, a force of some 2000 warriors, including women, made a surprise sally out during the night to search for supplies and managing to defeat a Byzantine force on the way, returning to the city; the Rus' felt they could not break the siege and agreed to sign a peace treaty with the Byzantine Empire, whereby they renounced their interests towards the Bulgarian lands and the city of Chersonesos in Crimea. Svyatoslav bitterly remarked, he was allowed to evacuate his army to Berezan Island, while the Byzantines entered Dorostolon and renamed it Theodoropolis, after the reigning empress Theodora. After the eventual defeat of the Rus, the Byzantines were astonished at finding the bodies of armed women among the fallen warriors; the siege is described in detail by John Skylitzes and Leo the Deacon, although some of their assertions appear to be apocryphal.
Characteristically, Leo the Deacon attributes the victory to Saint Theodore Stratelates, who purportedly led the Byzantine army under the walls of Dorostolon. Andrey Nikolayevich Sakharov. Svyatoslav's Diplomacy. Moscow: Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya, 1982. Fyodor Uspensky; the History of the Byzantine Empire, vol. 2. Moscow: Mysl, 1997. Haldon, John; the Byzantine Wars. The History Press. ISBN 978-0-7524-4565-6. Romane, Julian. Byzantium Triumphant: The Military History of the Byzantines 959-1025. Pen & Sword Military. ISBN 978-1473845701. Treadgold, Warren. A History of the Byzantine State and Society. Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-2630-2
Samuel of Bulgaria
Samuel was the Tsar of the First Bulgarian Empire from 997 to 6 October 1014. From 977 to 997, he was a general under Roman I of Bulgaria, the second surviving son of Emperor Peter I of Bulgaria, co-ruled with him, as Roman bestowed upon him the command of the army and the effective royal authority; as Samuel struggled to preserve his country's independence from the Byzantine Empire, his rule was characterized by constant warfare against the Byzantines and their ambitious ruler Basil II. In his early years Samuel managed to inflict several major defeats on the Byzantines and to launch offensive campaigns into their territory. In the late 10th century, the Bulgarian armies conquered the Serb principality of Duklja and led campaigns against the Kingdoms of Croatia and Hungary, but from 1001, he was forced to defend the Empire against the superior Byzantine armies. Samuel died of a heart attack on 6 October 1014, two months after the catastrophic battle of Kleidion, his successors failed to organize a resistance, in 1018, four years after Samuel's death, the country capitulated, ending the five decades-long Byzantine–Bulgarian conflict.
Samuel was considered "invincible in power and unsurpassable in strength". Similar comments were made in Constantinople, where John Kyriotes penned a poem offering a punning comparison between the Bulgarian Emperor and Halley's comet, which appeared in 989. During Samuel's reign, Bulgaria gained control of most of the Balkans as far as southern Greece, he moved the capital from Skopje to Ohrid, the cultural and military centre of southwestern Bulgaria since Boris I's rule, made the city the seat of the Bulgarian Patriarchate. Because of this, his realm is sometimes called the Western Bulgarian Empire. Samuel's energetic reign restored Bulgarian might on the Balkans, although the Empire was disestablished after his death, he is regarded as a heroic ruler in Bulgaria,Samuel is considered a heroic ruler in North Macedonia. Samuel was the fourth and youngest son of count Nicholas, a Bulgarian noble, who might have been the count of Sredets district, although other sources suggest that he was a regional count of Prespa district in the region of Macedonia.
His mother was Ripsimia of the daughter of King Ashot II of Armenia. The actual name of the dynasty is not known. Cometopuli is the nickname used by Byzantine historians, translated as "sons of the count"; the Cometopuli rose to power out of the disorder that occurred in the Bulgarian Empire from 966 to 971. During the reign of Emperor Peter I, Bulgaria prospered in a long-lasting peace with Byzantium; this was secured by the marriage of Peter with the Byzantine princess Maria Lakapina, granddaughter of Byzantine Emperor Romanos I Lekapenos. However, after Maria's death in 963, the truce had been shaken and it was at this time or that Peter I sent his sons Boris and Roman to Constantinople as honorary hostages, to honor the new terms of the peace treaty. During these years the Byzantines and Bulgarians had entangled themselves in a war with Kievan Rus' Prince Sviatoslav, who invaded Bulgaria several times. After a defeat from Sviatoslav, Peter I suffered a stroke and abdicated his throne in 969.
Boris was allowed back to Bulgaria to take his father's throne, restore order and oppose Sviatoslav, but had little success. This was used by Nicholas and his sons, who were contemplating a revolt in 969; the Rus' suffered a defeat in the Battle of Arcadiopolis. The new Byzantine Emperor John Tzimiskes used this to his advantage, he invaded Bulgaria the following year, defeated the Rus, conquered the Bulgarian capital Preslav. Boris II of Bulgaria was ritually divested of his imperial insignia in a public ceremony in Constantinople and he and his brother Roman of Bulgaria remained in captivity. Although the ceremony in 971 had been intended as a symbolic termination of the Bulgarian Empire, the Byzantines were unable to assert their control over the western provinces of Bulgaria. Count Nicholas, Samuel's father, who had close ties to the royal court in Preslav, died in 970. In the same year "the sons of the count" David, Moses and Samuel rebelled; the series of events are not clear due to contradicting sources, but it is sure that after 971 Samuel and his brothers were the de facto rulers of the western Bulgarian lands.
In 973, the Cometopuli sent envoys to the Holy Roman Emperor Otto I in Quedlinburg in an attempt to secure the protection of their lands. The brothers ruled together in a tetrarchy. David ruled the southernmost regions and led the defense of one of the most dangerous border areas, around Thessaloniki and Thessaly; the centres of his possessions were Kastoria. Moses ruled from Strumitsa, which would be an outpost for attacks on Serres. Aaron ruled from Sredets, was to defend the main road from Adrianople to Belgrade, to attack Thrace. Samuel ruled northwestern Bulgaria from the strong fortress of Vidin, he was to organize the liberation of the conquered areas to the east, including the old capital Preslav. Some records suggest. After John I Tzimiskes died on 11 January 976, the Cometopuli launched an assault along the whole border. Within a few weeks, David was killed by Vlach vagrants and Moses was fatally injured by a stone during the siege of Serres; the brothers' actions to the south detained many Byzantine troops
The Byzantine Empire referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survived the fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic and military force in Europe. Both the terms "Byzantine Empire" and "Eastern Roman Empire" are historiographical terms created after the end of the realm. Several signal events from the 4th to 6th centuries mark the period of transition during which the Roman Empire's Greek East and Latin West diverged. Constantine I reorganised the empire, made Constantinople the new capital, legalised Christianity. Under Theodosius I, Christianity became the Empire's official state religion and other religious practices were proscribed.
Under the reign of Heraclius, the Empire's military and administration were restructured and adopted Greek for official use in place of Latin. Thus, although the Roman state continued and its traditions were maintained, modern historians distinguish Byzantium from ancient Rome insofar as it was centred on Constantinople, oriented towards Greek rather than Latin culture, characterised by Eastern Orthodox Christianity; the borders of the empire evolved over its existence, as it went through several cycles of decline and recovery. During the reign of Justinian I, the empire reached its greatest extent after reconquering much of the Roman western Mediterranean coast, including North Africa and Rome itself, which it held for two more centuries; the Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628 exhausted the empire's resources and contributed to major territorial losses during the Early Muslim conquests of the 7th century, when it lost its richest provinces and Syria, to the Arab caliphate. During the Macedonian dynasty, the empire expanded again and experienced the two-century long Macedonian Renaissance, which came to an end with the loss of much of Asia Minor to the Seljuk Turks after the Battle of Manzikert in 1071.
This battle opened the way for the Turks to settle in Anatolia. The empire recovered during the Komnenian restoration, by the 12th century Constantinople was the largest and wealthiest European city. However, it was delivered a mortal blow during the Fourth Crusade, when Constantinople was sacked in 1204 and the territories that the empire governed were divided into competing Byzantine Greek and Latin realms. Despite the eventual recovery of Constantinople in 1261, the Byzantine Empire remained only one of several small rival states in the area for the final two centuries of its existence, its remaining territories were progressively annexed by the Ottomans over the 15th century. The Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire in 1453 ended the Byzantine Empire; the last of the imperial Byzantine successor states, the Empire of Trebizond, would be conquered by the Ottomans eight years in the 1461 Siege of Trebizond. The first use of the term "Byzantine" to label the years of the Roman Empire was in 1557, when the German historian Hieronymus Wolf published his work Corpus Historiæ Byzantinæ, a collection of historical sources.
The term comes from "Byzantium", the name of the city of Constantinople before it became Constantine's capital. This older name of the city would be used from this point onward except in historical or poetic contexts; the publication in 1648 of the Byzantine du Louvre, in 1680 of Du Cange's Historia Byzantina further popularised the use of "Byzantine" among French authors, such as Montesquieu. However, it was not until the mid-19th century that the term came into general use in the Western world; the Byzantine Empire was known to its inhabitants as the "Roman Empire", the "Empire of the Romans", "Romania", the "Roman Republic", as "Rhōmais". The inhabitants called themselves Romaioi and as late as the 19th century Greeks referred to Modern Greek as Romaiika "Romaic." After 1204 when the Byzantine Empire was confined to its purely Greek provinces the term'Hellenes' was used instead. While the Byzantine Empire had a multi-ethnic character during most of its history and preserved Romano-Hellenistic traditions, it became identified by its western and northern contemporaries with its predominant Greek element.
The occasional use of the term "Empire of the Greeks" in the West to refer to the Eastern Roman Empire and of the Byzantine Emperor as Imperator Graecorum were used to separate it from the prestige of the Roman Empire within the new kingdoms of the West. No such distinction existed in the Islamic and Slavic worlds, where the Empire was more straightforwardly seen as the continuation of the Roman Empire. In the Islamic world, the Roman Empire was known as Rûm; the name millet-i Rûm, or "Roman nation," was used by the Ottomans through the 20th century to refer to the former subjects of the Byzantine Empire
Uprising of Ivaylo
The Uprising of Ivaylo was a rebellion of the Bulgarian peasantry against the incompetent rule of Emperor Constantine Tikh and the Bulgarian nobility. The revolt was fuelled by the failure of the central authorities to confront the Mongol menace in north-eastern Bulgaria; the Mongols had looted and ravaged the Bulgarian population for decades in the region of Dobrudzha. The weakness of the state institutions was a result of the accelerating process of feudalisation of the Bulgarian Empire; the peasants' leader Ivaylo, said to had been a swineherd by the contemporary Byzantine chroniclers, proved to be a successful general and charismatic leader. In the first months of the rebellion, he defeated the Mongols and the Tsar's armies slaying Constantine Tikh in battle, he made a triumphant entry in the capital Tarnovo, married Maria, the emperor's widow, forced the nobility to recognize him as Emperor of Bulgaria. The Byzantine Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos tried to exploit this situation to his favour and intervened in Bulgaria.
He sent Ivan Asen III, son of the former Emperor Mitso Asen, to claim the Bulgarian throne at the head of a large Byzantine army. Michael VIII incited the Mongols to attack from the north, forcing Ivaylo to fight on two fronts. Ivaylo was besieged in important fortress of Drastar. In his absence the nobility in Tarnovo opened the gates to Ivan Asen III. However, Ivaylo managed to break the siege and Ivan Asen III fled back to the Byzantine Empire. Michael VIII sent two large armies in an attempt to turn the fortunes of the war, but they were both defeated by the Bulgarian rebels in the Balkan mountains. In the meantime, the nobility in the capital had proclaimed as emperor one of their own, the magnate George Terter I. Surrounded by enemies and with diminishing support due to the constant warfare, Ivaylo fled to the court of the Mongol warlord Nogai Khan to seek aid, but was murdered; the legacy of the rebellion endured both in Byzantium. Years after the demise of the peasant emperor, two "Pseudo-Ivaylos" appeared in the Byzantine Empire and enjoyed wide support by the populace.
Following the demise of Ivan Asen II, the large Bulgarian Empire began to decline as a result of a succession of infant emperors and internal struggles among the nobility. To the north the country faced a Mongol invasion in constant raiding thereafter. Although Ivan Asen II defeated the Mongols shortly before his death, the regency of Kaliman I Asen agreed to pay an annual tribute to the Mongols to avoid devastation; the Mongol invasion led to the collapse of the loosely held Cuman confederation in the western part of the Eurasian Steppe and the foundation of the Mongol Golden Horde. This had long–term political and strategic consequences for Bulgaria — the Cumans were Bulgarian allies and supplied the Bulgarian army with auxiliary cavalry while the Golden Horde proved to be a hostile entity. To the south, Bulgaria lost large portions of Thrace and Macedonia to the Nicaean Empire, which had escaped the initial Mongol attacks; the lands to the north-west, including Belgrade, Braničevo and Severin Banat, were conquered by the Kingdom of Hungary.
In 1256 Bulgaria descended into a civil war between Mitso Asen, a relative of Ivan Asen II, who established himself in south-eastern Bulgaria, the bolyar of Skopje Constantine Tikh, proclaimed emperor by the nobility in Tarnovo. The Hungarian noble of Rus' princely origin Rostislav Mikhailovich established himself in Vidin as another claimant of the title Emperor of Bulgaria and was recognized as such by the Kingdom of Hungary. By 1261 Constantine Tikh had emerged as victor, but his 20–year-long reign did not bring stability to Bulgaria: Vidin remained separated from the central authorities in Tarnovo, the Mongols campaigned in north-eastern Bulgaria, looting the countryside and paralysing the economy; that same year Michael VIII Palaiologos seized Constantinople and restored the Byzantine Empire as a major adversary of Bulgaria to the south. In the 1260s Constantine Tikh broke his leg in a hunting incident and was paralysed from the waist down; this disability weakened his control over the government and he fell under the influence of his second wife Irene Doukaina Laskarina, involved in intrigues with her relatives in the Byzantine court.
He left the state affairs to his third wife, Maria Palaiologina Kantakouzene — a scandalous intriguer whose actions to secure the succession of her son alienated the nobility. The internal political development and feudalisation of Bulgaria in the 13th century resulted in a rising number of serfs, as well as an increase in the power of the landed nobility. This, in turn, led to aspirations for more self-rule among the most influential nobles. Many of them established semi-independent fiefdoms that nominally recognized the emperor in Tarnovo and reduced the capacity of the central authorities to deal with external threats. In the second half of the 13th century, the peasantry was losing personal privileges to the benefit of the secular and religious feudal lords, which in turn reduced the peasants' income and opportunities, worsening their lives. In parallel, the inability of Constantine Tikh to terminate the constant Mongol incursions in the north-east of the country shattered the pillars of the state institutions in Dobrudzha and contributed to the outbreak of the uprising and its swift success.
The Mongol raids were carried out by the semi-independent chief Nogai Khan, more powerful than the legitimate ruler of the Golden Horde, Mengu-Timur, ruled over the steppes of modern Moldova an