Medieval Greek known as Byzantine Greek, is the stage of the Greek language between the end of Classical antiquity in the 5th–6th centuries and the end of the Middle Ages, conventionally dated to the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453. From the 7th century onwards, Greek was the only language of administration and government in the Byzantine Empire; this stage of language is thus described as Byzantine Greek. The study of the Medieval Greek language and literature is a branch of Byzantine studies, the study of the history and culture of the Byzantine Empire; the beginning of Medieval Greek is dated back to as early as the 4th century, either to 330 AD, when the political centre of the Roman Empire was moved to Constantinople, or to 395 AD, the division of the Empire. However, this approach is rather arbitrary as it is more an assumption of political, as opposed to cultural and linguistic, developments. Indeed, by this time the spoken language pronunciation, had shifted towards modern forms.
The conquests of Alexander the Great, the ensuing Hellenistic period, had caused Greek to spread to peoples throughout Anatolia and the Eastern Mediterranean, altering the spoken language's pronunciation and structure. Medieval Greek is the link between this vernacular, known as Koine Greek, Modern Greek. Though Byzantine Greek literature was still influenced by Attic Greek, it was influenced by vernacular Koine Greek, the language of the New Testament and the liturgical language of the Greek Orthodox Church. Constantine moved to Byzantium in 330; the city, though a major imperial residence like other cities such as Trier and Sirmium, was not a capital until 359. Nonetheless the imperial court resided there and the city was the political centre of the eastern parts of the Roman Empire where Greek was the dominant language. At first, Latin remained the language of the army, it was used for official documents. From the beginning of the 6th century, amendments to the law were written in Greek. Furthermore, parts of the Roman Corpus Iuris Civilis were translated into Greek.
Under the rule of Emperor Heraclius, who assumed the Greek title Basileus in 629, Greek became the official language of the Eastern Roman Empire. This was in spite of the fact that the inhabitants of the empire still considered themselves Rhomaioi until its end in 1453, as they saw their State as the perpetuation of Roman rule. Despite the absence of reliable demographic figures, it has been estimated that less than one third of the inhabitants of the Eastern Roman Empire, around eight million people, were native speakers of Greek; the number of those who were able to communicate in Greek may have been far higher. The native Greek speakers consisted of many of the inhabitants of the southern Balkan Peninsula, south of the Jireček Line, all of the inhabitants of Asia Minor, where the native tongues, except Armenian in the east, had become extinct, replaced by Greek, by the 5th century. In any case, all cities of the Eastern Roman Empire were influenced by the Greek language. In the period between 603 and 619, the southern and eastern parts of the empire were occupied by Persian Sassanids and, after being recaptured by Heraclius in the years 622 to 628, they were conquered by the Arabs in the course of the Muslim conquests a few years later.
Alexandria, a center of Greek culture and language, fell to the Arabs in 642. During the seventh and eighth centuries, Greek was replaced by Arabic as an official language in conquered territories such as Egypt; as more people gained a knowledge of Arabic. Thus, the use of Greek declined early on in Egypt; the invasion of the Slavs into the Balkan peninsula reduced the area where Greek was spoken and Latin. Sicily and parts of Magna Graecia, Asia Minor and more Anatolia, parts of the Crimean Peninsula remained Greek-speaking; the southern Balkans which would henceforth be contested between Byzantium and various Slavic kingdoms or empires. The Greek language spoken by one-third of the population of Sicily at the time of the Norman conquest 1060-90 remained vibrant for more than a century, but died out to a deliberate policy of Latinization in language and religion from the mid-1160s. From the late 11th century onwards, the interior of Anatolia was invaded by Seljuq Turks, who advanced westwards.
With the Ottoman conquests of Constantinople in 1453, the Peloponnese in 1459/1460, the Empire of Trebizond in 1461, Athens in 1465, two centuries the Duchy of Candia in 1669, the Greek language lost its status as a national language until the emergence of modern Greece in the year 1821. Language varieties after 1453 are referred to as Modern Greek; as early as in the Hellenistic period, there was a tendency towards a state of diglossia between the Attic literary language and the developing vernacular Koiné. By late antiquity, the gap had become impossible to ignore. In the Byzantine era, written Greek manifested itself in a whole spectrum of divergent registers, all of which were consciously archaic in comparison with the contemporary spoken vernacular, but in different degrees, they ranged from a moderately archaic style employed for most every-day writing and based on the written Koiné of the Bible and early Christian literature, to a artificial learned style, employed by authors with higher literary ambitions and imitating the model of classical Attic, in continuation of the movement of Atticism
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
In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery; the Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: classical antiquity, the medieval period, the modern period. The medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early and Late Middle Ages. Population decline, counterurbanisation, collapse of centralized authority and mass migrations of tribes, which had begun in Late Antiquity, continued in the Early Middle Ages; the large-scale movements of the Migration Period, including various Germanic peoples, formed new kingdoms in what remained of the Western Roman Empire. In the 7th century, North Africa and the Middle East—once part of the Byzantine Empire—came under the rule of the Umayyad Caliphate, an Islamic empire, after conquest by Muhammad's successors. Although there were substantial changes in society and political structures, the break with classical antiquity was not complete.
The still-sizeable Byzantine Empire, Rome's direct continuation, survived in the Eastern Mediterranean and remained a major power. The empire's law code, the Corpus Juris Civilis or "Code of Justinian", was rediscovered in Northern Italy in 1070 and became admired in the Middle Ages. In the West, most kingdoms incorporated the few extant Roman institutions. Monasteries were founded; the Franks, under the Carolingian dynasty established the Carolingian Empire during the 8th and early 9th century. It covered much of Western Europe but succumbed to the pressures of internal civil wars combined with external invasions: Vikings from the north, Magyars from the east, Saracens from the south. During the High Middle Ages, which began after 1000, the population of Europe increased as technological and agricultural innovations allowed trade to flourish and the Medieval Warm Period climate change allowed crop yields to increase. Manorialism, the organisation of peasants into villages that owed rent and labour services to the nobles, feudalism, the political structure whereby knights and lower-status nobles owed military service to their overlords in return for the right to rent from lands and manors, were two of the ways society was organised in the High Middle Ages.
The Crusades, first preached in 1095, were military attempts by Western European Christians to regain control of the Holy Land from Muslims. Kings became the heads of centralised nation-states, reducing crime and violence but making the ideal of a unified Christendom more distant. Intellectual life was marked by scholasticism, a philosophy that emphasised joining faith to reason, by the founding of universities; the theology of Thomas Aquinas, the paintings of Giotto, the poetry of Dante and Chaucer, the travels of Marco Polo, the Gothic architecture of cathedrals such as Chartres are among the outstanding achievements toward the end of this period and into the Late Middle Ages. The Late Middle Ages was marked by difficulties and calamities including famine and war, which diminished the population of Europe. Controversy and the Western Schism within the Catholic Church paralleled the interstate conflict, civil strife, peasant revolts that occurred in the kingdoms. Cultural and technological developments transformed European society, concluding the Late Middle Ages and beginning the early modern period.
The Middle Ages is one of the three major periods in the most enduring scheme for analysing European history: classical civilisation, or Antiquity. The "Middle Ages" first appears in Latin in 1469 as media tempestas or "middle season". In early usage, there were many variants, including medium aevum, or "middle age", first recorded in 1604, media saecula, or "middle ages", first recorded in 1625; the alternative term "medieval" derives from medium aevum. Medieval writers divided history into periods such as the "Six Ages" or the "Four Empires", considered their time to be the last before the end of the world; when referring to their own times, they spoke of them as being "modern". In the 1330s, the humanist and poet Petrarch referred to pre-Christian times as antiqua and to the Christian period as nova. Leonardo Bruni was the first historian to use tripartite periodisation in his History of the Florentine People, with a middle period "between the fall of the Roman Empire and the revival of city life sometime in late eleventh and twelfth centuries".
Tripartite periodisation became standard after the 17th-century German historian Christoph Cellarius divided history into three periods: ancient and modern. The most given starting point for the Middle Ages is around 500, with the date of 476 first used by Bruni. Starting dates are sometimes used in the outer parts of Europe. For Europe as a whole, 1500 is considered to be the end of the Middle Ages, but there is no universally agreed upon end date. Depending on the context, events such as the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453, Christopher Columbus's first voyage to the Americas in 1492, or the Protestant Reformation in 1517 are sometimes used. English historians use the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 to mark the end of the period. For Spain, dates used are the death of King Ferdinand II in 1516, the death of Queen Isabella I of Castile in 1504, or the conquest of Granada in 1492. Historians from Romance-speaking countries tend to divide the Middle Ages into two parts: an earlier "High" and late
Syria the Syrian Arab Republic, is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon to the southwest, the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, Israel to the southwest. A country of fertile plains, high mountains, deserts, Syria is home to diverse ethnic and religious groups, including Syrian Arabs, Armenians, Kurds, Circassians and Turks. Religious groups include Sunnis, Alawites, Isma'ilis, Shiites, Salafis and Jews. Sunni make up the largest religious group in Syria. Syria is a unitary republic consisting of 14 governorates and is the only country that politically espouses Ba'athism, it is a member of one international organization other than the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement. In English, the name "Syria" was synonymous with the Levant, while the modern state encompasses the sites of several ancient kingdoms and empires, including the Eblan civilization of the 3rd millennium BC. Aleppo and the capital city Damascus are among the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.
In the Islamic era, Damascus was the seat of the Umayyad Caliphate and a provincial capital of the Mamluk Sultanate in Egypt. The modern Syrian state was established in mid-20th century after centuries of Ottoman and a brief period French mandate, represented the largest Arab state to emerge from the Ottoman-ruled Syrian provinces, it gained de-jure independence as a parliamentary republic on 24 October 1945, when Republic of Syria became a founding member of the United Nations, an act which ended the former French Mandate – although French troops did not leave the country until April 1946. The post-independence period was tumultuous, a large number of military coups and coup attempts shook the country in the period 1949–71. In 1958, Syria entered a brief union with Egypt called the United Arab Republic, terminated by the 1961 Syrian coup d'état; the republic was renamed into the Arab Republic of Syria in late 1961 after December 1 constitutional referendum, was unstable until the 1963 Ba'athist coup d'état, since which the Ba'ath Party has maintained its power.
Syria was under Emergency Law from 1963 to 2011 suspending most constitutional protections for citizens. Bashar al-Assad has been president since 2000 and was preceded by his father Hafez al-Assad, in office from 1971 to 2000. Since March 2011, Syria has been embroiled in an armed conflict, with a number of countries in the region and beyond involved militarily or otherwise; as a result, a number of self-proclaimed political entities have emerged on Syrian territory, including the Syrian opposition, Tahrir al-Sham and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Syria is ranked last on the Global Peace Index, making it the most violent country in the world due to the war, although life continues for most of its citizens as of December 2017; the war caused more than 470,000 deaths, 7.6 million internally displaced people and over 5 million refugees, making population assessment difficult in recent years. Several sources indicate that the name Syria is derived from the 8th century BC Luwian term "Sura/i", the derivative ancient Greek name: Σύριοι, Sýrioi, or Σύροι, Sýroi, both of which derived from Aššūrāyu in northern Mesopotamia.
However, from the Seleucid Empire, this term was applied to The Levant, from this point the Greeks applied the term without distinction between the Assyrians of Mesopotamia and Arameans of the Levant. Mainstream modern academic opinion favours the argument that the Greek word is related to the cognate Ἀσσυρία, Assyria derived from the Akkadian Aššur; the Greek name appears to correspond to Phoenician ʾšr "Assur", ʾšrym "Assyrians", recorded in the 8th century BC Çineköy inscription. The area designated by the word has changed over time. Classically, Syria lies at the eastern end of the Mediterranean, between Arabia to the south and Asia Minor to the north, stretching inland to include parts of Iraq, having an uncertain border to the northeast that Pliny the Elder describes as including, from west to east, Commagene and Adiabene. By Pliny's time, this larger Syria had been divided into a number of provinces under the Roman Empire: Judaea renamed Palaestina in AD 135 in the extreme southwest.
Since 10,000 BC, Syria was one of the centers of Neolithic culture where agriculture and cattle breeding appeared for the first time in the world. The following Neolithic period is represented by rectangular houses of Mureybet culture. At the time of the pre-pottery Neolithic, people used vessels made of stone and burnt lime. Finds of obsidian tools from Anatolia are evidences of early trade relations. Cities of Hamoukar and Emar played an important role during Bronze Age. Archaeologists have demonstrated that civilization in Syria was one of the most ancient on earth preceded by only those of Mesopotamia; the earliest recorded in
First Bulgarian Empire
The First Bulgarian Empire was a medieval Bulgarian state that existed in Southeastern Europe between the 7th and 11th centuries AD. It was founded in 681. There they secured Byzantine recognition of their right to settle south of the Danube by defeating – with the help of local South Slavic tribes – the Byzantine army led by Constantine IV. At the height of its power, Bulgaria spread from the Danube Bend to the Black Sea and from the Dnieper River to the Adriatic Sea; as the state solidified its position in the Balkans, it entered into a centuries-long interaction, sometimes friendly and sometimes hostile, with the Byzantine Empire. Bulgaria emerged as Byzantium's chief antagonist to its north; the two powers enjoyed periods of peace and alliance, most notably during the Second Arab siege of Constantinople, where the Bulgarian army broke the siege and destroyed the Arab army, thus preventing an Arab invasion of Southeastern Europe. Byzantium had a strong cultural influence on Bulgaria, which led to the eventual adoption of Christianity in 864.
After the disintegration of the Avar Khaganate, the country expanded its territory northwest to the Pannonian Plain. The Bulgarians confronted the advance of the Pechenegs and Cumans, achieved a decisive victory over the Magyars, forcing them to establish themselves permanently in Pannonia. During the late 9th and early 10th centuries, Simeon I achieved a string of victories over the Byzantines. Thereafter, he was recognized with the title of Emperor, proceeded to expand the state to its greatest extent. After the annihilation of the Byzantine army in the battle of Anchialus in 917, the Bulgarians laid siege to Constantinople in 923 and 924; the Byzantines, however recovered, in 1014, under Basil II, inflicted a crushing defeat on the Bulgarians at the Battle of Kleidion. By 1018, the last Bulgarian strongholds had surrendered to the Byzantine Empire, the First Bulgarian Empire had ceased to exist, it was succeeded by the Second Bulgarian Empire in 1185. After the adoption of Christianity, Bulgaria became the cultural center of Slavic Europe.
Its leading cultural position was further consolidated with the invention of the Glagolitic and Early Cyrillic alphabets shortly after in the capital Preslav, literature produced in Old Bulgarian soon began spreading north. Old Bulgarian became the lingua franca of much of Eastern Europe and it came to be known as Old Church Slavonic. In 927, the independent Bulgarian Patriarchate was recognized; the ruling Bulgars and other non-Slavic tribes in the empire mixed and adopted the prevailing Slavic language, thus forming the Bulgarian nation from the 7th century to the 9th century. Since the late 9th century, the names Bulgarians and Bulgarian gained prevalence and became permanent designations for the local population, both in literature and in common parlance; the development of Old Church Slavonic literacy had the effect of preventing the assimilation of the South Slavs into neighbouring cultures, while stimulating the formation of a distinct Bulgarian identity. The First Bulgarian Empire became known as Bulgaria since its recognition by the Byzantine Empire in 681.
Some historians use the terms First Bulgarian State, or First Bulgarian Tsardom. Between 681 and 864 the country was known as the Bulgarian Khanate, Danube Bulgarian Khanate, or Danube Bulgar Khanate in order to differentiate it from Volga Bulgaria, which emerged from another Bulgar group. During its early existence, the country was called the Bulgar state or Bulgar Khaghanate. Between 864 and 917/927, the country was known as the Principality of Bulgaria or Knyazhestvo Bulgaria. In English language sources, the country is known as the Bulgarian Empire. Parts of the eastern Balkan Peninsula were in antiquity inhabited by the Thracians who were a group of Indo-European tribes; the whole region as far north as the Danube River was incorporated into the Roman Empire by the 1st century AD. The decline of the Roman Empire after the 3rd century AD and the continuous invasions of Goths and Huns left much of the region devastated, depopulated and in economic decline by the 5th century; the surviving eastern half of the Roman Empire, called by historians the Byzantine Empire, could not exercise effective control in these territories other than in the coastal areas and certain cities in the interior.
Nonetheless, it never relinquished the claim to the whole region up to the Danube. A series of administrative, legislative and economic reforms somewhat improved the situation but despite these reforms disorder continued in much of the Balkans; the reign of Emperor Justinian I saw temporary recovery of control and reconstruction of a number of fortresses but after his death the empire was unable to face the threat of the Slavs due to the significant reduction of revenue and manpower. The Slavs, of Indo-European origin, were first mentioned in written sources to inhabit the territories to the north of the Danube in the 5th century AD but most historians agree that they had arrived earlier; the group of Slavs that came to be known as the South Slavs was divided into Antes and Sclaveni who spoke the same language. The Slavic incursions in the Balkans increased during the second half of Justinian I's reign and while these were pillaging raids, large-scale settlement began in the 570s and 580s; this migration is associated with the arrival of the Avars who settled in the plains of Pannonia between the rivers Danube and Tisza in the 560s subjugating various Bulgar and Slavic tribes in the process.
Consumed in bitter wars with th
Bulgaria the Republic of Bulgaria, is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north and North Macedonia to the west and Turkey to the south, the Black Sea to the east; the capital and largest city is Sofia. With a territory of 110,994 square kilometres, Bulgaria is Europe's 16th-largest country. One of the earliest societies in the lands of modern-day Bulgaria was the Neolithic Karanovo culture, which dates back to 6,500 BC. In the 6th to 3rd century BC the region was a battleground for Thracians, Persians and ancient Macedonians; the Eastern Roman, or Byzantine, Empire lost some of these territories to an invading Bulgar horde in the late 7th century. The Bulgars founded the First Bulgarian Empire in AD 681, which dominated most of the Balkans and influenced Slavic cultures by developing the Cyrillic script; this state lasted until the early 11th century, when Byzantine emperor Basil II conquered and dismantled it. A successful Bulgarian revolt in 1185 established a Second Bulgarian Empire, which reached its apex under Ivan Asen II.
After numerous exhausting wars and feudal strife, the Second Bulgarian Empire disintegrated in 1396 and its territories fell under Ottoman rule for nearly five centuries. The Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78 resulted in the formation of the current Third Bulgarian State. Many ethnic Bulgarian populations were left outside its borders, which led to several conflicts with its neighbours and an alliance with Germany in both world wars. In 1946 Bulgaria became part of the Soviet-led Eastern Bloc; the ruling Communist Party gave up its monopoly on power after the revolutions of 1989 and allowed multi-party elections. Bulgaria transitioned into a democracy and a market-based economy. Since adopting a democratic constitution in 1991, the sovereign state has been a unitary parliamentary republic with a high degree of political and economic centralisation; the population of seven million lives in Sofia and the capital cities of the 27 provinces, the country has suffered significant demographic decline since the late 1980s.
Bulgaria is a member of the European Union, NATO, the Council of Europe. Its market economy is part of the European Single Market and relies on services, followed by industry—especially machine building and mining—and agriculture. Widespread corruption is a major socioeconomic issue; the name Bulgaria is derived from a tribe of Turkic origin that founded the country. Their name is not understood and difficult to trace back earlier than the 4th century AD, but it is derived from the Proto-Turkic word bulģha and its derivative bulgak; the meaning may be further extended to "rebel", "incite" or "produce a state of disorder", i.e. the "disturbers". Ethnic groups in Inner Asia with phonologically similar names were described in similar terms: during the 4th century, the Buluoji, a component of the "Five Barbarian" groups in Ancient China, were portrayed as both a "mixed race" and "troublemakers". Neanderthal remains dating to around 150,000 years ago, or the Middle Paleolithic, are some of the earliest traces of human activity in the lands of modern Bulgaria.
The Karanovo culture arose circa 6,500 BC and was one of several Neolithic societies in the region that thrived on agriculture. The Copper Age Varna culture is credited with inventing gold metallurgy; the associated Varna Necropolis treasure contains the oldest golden jewellery in the world with an approximate age of over 6,000 years. The treasure has been valuable for understanding social hierarchy and stratification in the earliest European societies; the Thracians, one of the three primary ancestral groups of modern Bulgarians, appeared on the Balkan Peninsula some time before the 12th century BC. The Thracians excelled in metallurgy and gave the Greeks the Orphean and Dionysian cults, but remained tribal and stateless; the Persian Achaemenid Empire conquered most of present-day Bulgaria in the 6th century BC and retained control over the region until 479 BC. The invasion became a catalyst for Thracian unity, the bulk of their tribes united under king Teres to form the Odrysian kingdom in the 470s BC.
It was weakened and vassalized by Philip II of Macedon in 341 BC, attacked by Celts in the 3rd century, became a province of the Roman Empire in AD 45. By the end of the 1st century AD, Roman governance was established over the entire Balkan Peninsula and Christianity began spreading in the region around the 4th century; the Gothic Bible—the first Germanic language book—was created by Gothic bishop Ulfilas in what is today northern Bulgaria around 381. The region came under Byzantine control after the fall of Rome in 476; the Byzantines were engaged in prolonged warfare against Persia and could not defend their Balkan territories from barbarian incursions. This enabled the Slavs to enter the Balkan Peninsula as marauders through an area between the Danube River and the Balkan Mountains known as Moesia; the interior of the peninsula became a country of the South Slavs, who lived under a democracy. The Slavs assimilated the Hellenized and Gothicized Thracians in the rural areas. Not l
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