Miroslava of Bulgaria
Miroslava was one of the daughters of tsar Samuil of Bulgaria and Agatha. Princess Miroslava fell in love with the Byzantine noble captive Ashot Taronites, of Armenian origin, threatened to commit suicide if she was not allowed to marry him. Samuel appointed Ashot governor of Dyrrhachium. Ashot made contact with the local Byzantines and the influential John Chryselios, Samuel's father-in-law. Ashot and Miroslava boarded one of the Byzantine ships that were beleaguering the town and fled to Constantinople, where the Emperor Basil II granted Ashot the title of magistros and Miroslava, the title of zoste patrikia
Tsar spelled czar, or tzar, is a title used to designate East and South Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers of Eastern Europe Bulgarian monarchs from 10th century onwards. As a system of government in the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, it is known as Tsarist autocracy, or Tsarism; the term is derived from the Latin word Caesar, intended to mean "Emperor" in the European medieval sense of the term—a ruler with the same rank as a Roman emperor, holding it by the approval of another emperor or a supreme ecclesiastical official —but was considered by western Europeans to be equivalent to king, or to be somewhat in between a royal and imperial rank. "Tsar" and its variants were the official titles of the following states: First Bulgarian Empire, in 919–1018 Second Bulgarian Empire, in 1185–1396 Serbian Empire, in 1346–1371 Tsardom of Russia, in 1547–1721 Tsardom of Bulgaria, in 1908–1946The first ruler to adopt the title tsar was Simeon I of Bulgaria. Simeon II, the last Tsar of Bulgaria, is the last person to have borne the title Tsar.
The title Tsar is derived from the Latin title for Caesar. In comparison to the corresponding Latin word "imperator", the Byzantine Greek term basileus was used differently depending on whether it was in a contemporary political context or in a historical or Biblical context. In the history of the Greek language, basileus had meant something like "potentate", it approached the meaning of "king" in the Hellenistic Period, it came to designate "emperor" after the inception in the Roman Empire. As a consequence, Byzantine sources continued to call the Biblical and ancient kings "basileus" when that word had come to mean "emperor" when referring to contemporary monarchs; as the Greek "basileus" was rendered as "tsar" in Slavonic translations of Greek texts, the dual meaning was transferred into Church Slavonic. Thus, "tsar" was not only used as an equivalent of Latin "imperator" but was used to refer to Biblical rulers and ancient kings. From this ambiguity, the development has moved in different directions in the different Slavic languages.
Thus, the Bulgarian language and Russian language no longer use tsar as an equivalent of the term emperor/imperator as it exists in the West European tradition. The term tsar refers to native sovereigns and Biblical rulers, as well as monarchs in fairy tales and the like; the title of king is sometimes perceived as alien and is by some Russian-speakers reserved for European royalty. Foreign monarchs of imperial status, both inside and outside of Europe, ancient as well as modern, are called imperator, rather than tsar. In contrast, the Serbocroatian language translate "emperor" as tsar and not as imperator, whereas the equivalent of king is used to designate monarchs of non-imperial status, Serbian as well as foreign ancient rulers—like Latin "rex". Biblical rulers in Serbian are called цар and in Croatian kralj. In the modern West Slavic languages and Slovene language, the use of the terms is nearly identical to the one in English and German: a king is designated with one term, an emperor is designated with another, derived from Caesar as in German, while the exotic term "tsar" is reserved for the Bulgarian and Serbian rulers.
In the Polish language however tsar is used as an equivalent to imperator, never as king. The term tsar is always used to refer to the Russian rulers before Peter the Great, often to those succeeding. In 705 Emperor Justinian II named Tervel of Bulgaria "Caesar", the first foreigner to receive this title, but his descendants continued to use Bulgar title "Kanasubigi"; the sainted Boris I is sometimes retrospectively referred to as tsar, because at his time Bulgaria was converted to Christianity. However, the title "tsar" was adopted and used for the first time by his son Simeon I, following a makeshift imperial coronation performed by the Patriarch of Constantinople in 913. After an attempt by the Byzantine Empire to revoke this major diplomatic concession and a decade of intensive warfare, the imperial title of the Bulgarian ruler was recognized by the Byzantine government in 924 and again at the formal conclusion of peace in 927. Since in Byzantine political theory there was place for only two emperors and Western, the Bulgarian ruler was crowned basileus as "a spiritual son" of the Byzantine basileus.
Some of the earliest attested occurrences of the titlo-contraction "tsar" from "tsesar" are found in the grave inscription of the chărgubilja Mostich, a contemporary of Simeon I and Peter I, from Presl
Ivan Vladislav of Bulgaria
Ivan Vladislav ruled as emperor of Bulgaria from August or September 1015 to February 1018. The year of his birth is unknown. Saved from death by his cousin Gavril Radomir, the Bulgarian Emperor, in 976, Ivan Vladislav murdered him in October 1015 and seized the Bulgarian throne. Due to the desperate situation of the country following the decades-long war with the Byzantine Empire, in an attempt to consolidate his position, he tried to negotiate truce with the Byzantine emperor Basil II. After the failure of the negotiations he continued the resistance, attempting unsuccessfully to push the Byzantines back. During his period of rule, Ivan Vladislav tried to strengthen the Bulgarian army, reconstructed many Bulgarian fortresses and carried out a counter-offensive, but he died at the Battle of Dyrrhachium in 1018. After his death his widow, Empress Maria, the Patriarch and most of the nobility surrendered to Basil II, who soon suppressed the last remnants of resistance and brought about the end of the First Bulgarian Empire.
Ivan Vladislav left a mixed heritage, varying from a reputation of being a ruthless murderer to a hero defending his country as best as he could. The descendants of Ivan Vladislav entered the Byzantine nobility and rose to the highest ranks of the hierarchy. Two women of his family became empresses of the Byzantine Empire and others became military commanders or high-ranking officials, he was an ancestor of the Byzantine emperor John II Komnenos. Ivan Vladislav was the son of the brother of Emperor Samuel of the Cometopuli dynasty. In 976 or 987 Samuel ordered his brother Aron executed for treason together with his entire family near Razmetanitsa. Ivan Vladislav was the only survivor, being spared through the intercession of his cousin, Samuel's son Gavril Radomir, his life during the subsequent decades and until his accession is unknown. By 1015, Bulgaria had been embroiled in thirty years of war with the Byzantine Empire, Gavril Radomir had succeeded Samuel, who died on 6 October 1014 after the disastrous Battle of Kleidion.
However, from the outset Radomir's position was insecure: Ivan Vladislav, as a son of the elder of the Cometopouli brothers, could lay claim on the throne based on seniority. During that time the Byzantine Emperor Basil II campaigned deep into Bulgarian territory, he retook the lost town of Voden and laid siege to the massive fortress of Maglen, situated to the north-west. Gavril Radomir did not have enough forces and was unable to interfere and could only watch the course of the events from the nearby Lake Ostrovo, his inability to cope with the Byzantine threat aroused discontent among the nobility and Ivan Vladislav became their chosen leader. The fall of Maglen sealed Gavril Radomir's fate—in the late summer of 1015, while hunting near Ostrovo, he was murdered by his cousin at the behest of Byzantine agents. Ivan Vladislav seized the Bulgarian throne and took steps to ensure his position against potential rivals. After assuming the throne, Ivan Vladislav sent a delegation to Basil II, which arrived five days after the fall of Maglen.
In his letter, Ivan Vladislav notified Basil that he had murdered Gavril Radomir and had seized all the power in the country and promised Basil deep humility and obedience, an act of submission which some in the nobility supported. After Ivan Vladislav secured his hold on the throne, however, he declared to be against any kind of compromise with the Byzantines and began to follow the determined policy of his predecessors against the ongoing Byzantine conquest. Basil II soon understood that Ivan Vladislav's letter was a ruse and plotted a retaliatory action, bribing the kavkhan Theodore, in Byzantine captivity, to murder the Bulgarian ruler. Theodore in turn paid a trusted man in Ivan Vladislav's employ to commit the murder, but in the event the assassin killed Theodore himself. In the meantime Basil II continued his march, forcing the Bulgarian emperor to retreat to the Albanian mountains, advanced into the heart of the Bulgarian state; the Byzantines burned the imperial palaces. With his supply routes cut, Basil II had to retreat back to Thessalonica leaving a small garrison in Ohrid, swiftly retaken by the Bulgarians.
Back in his base at Mosynopolis, Basil divided the Byzantine army to harass the areas of Strumitsa and Sofia. In January 1016 the Byzantine emperor returned to Constantinople. Meanwhile, Ivan Vladislav consolidated his positions in the mountains of Macedonia; as early as October 1015 he began the reconstruction of many strongholds destroyed during the war, including the fortress at Bitola. In 1016 he invited his vassal Prince Jovan Vladimir of Doclea, married to Gabriel Radomir's sister Theodora Kosara, to come to his court; the emperor desired to seize the prince and so secure his western flank. The Prince was determined to attend the invitation of Tsar, but his wife Theodora Kosara did not trust the murderer of her brother, fearing for her husband's life persuaded him not to go. Ivan Vladislav however vowed not to threaten his vassal's life, sent him a golden cross as a proof of good will. Jovan Vladimir still hesitated, saying that God was nailed to a wooden not golden cross, but Ivan Vladislav repeated his vow and gave him a guarantee of safe-conduct guaranteed by the Bulgarian patriarch David.
Jovan Vladimir travelled to
Strumica is the largest city in eastern Republic of North Macedonia, near the Novo Selo-Petrich border crossing with Bulgaria. About 100,000 people live in the region surrounding the city, it is named after the Strumica River. The city of Strumica is the seat of Strumica Municipality; the town is first mentioned in the 2nd century BC with the Greek name Αστραίον by Pliny. It was known as Tiberiopolis in Roman times, received its present name from the Slavic settlers of the Middle Ages. In modern Greek the town is known as Στρώμνιτσα, in Turkish Ustrumca. Strumica is located in the southeastern part of the country, close to the borders with Greece and Bulgaria, it is situated in the geographical region of the Strumica Field, where the field meets the highland elevating into the Plavuš and Belasica mountains. The Struma river flows north of the city. Strumica has a humid subtropical climate. According to archeological findings, settlement of the area dates back to 6000–5000 BC: a Neolithic settlement located near the village of Angelci, as well as findings from the Emperor's Towers site near Strumica, where traces of a prehistoric culture existed from the early 4th to mid 3rd millennium BC were discovered.
The area was populated by the Paionians. The first mention of the city under the name Astraion is in the writings of the Roman historian Titus Livius in 181 BC regarding the execution of Demetrius, brother of the Ancient Macedonian king Perseus, son of Philip V of Macedon; the name Astraion came from the Paionian tribe called Astrai. In 148 BC the region became a Roman province. In the Roman period the city changed its name to Tiberiopolis, evidenced by a marble statue base dedicated to the patron Tiberius Claudius Menon, who lived between the late 2nd and early 3rd century AD. During the reign of the Roman emperor Julian the Apostate, the fifteen holy hieromartyrs of Tiberiopolis were killed. In 395, the Roman Empire split, Macedonia fell under the Eastern Roman Empire. After that, Tiberiopolis became part of the province Macedonia Salutaris or Macedonia Secunda in the late 4th century; the urban mansion Machuk dating from the late ancient period today stands witness for the existence of a city settlement from that time.
In the 6th and 7th centuries, the Roman town became subject of Slavic migration. The Strymonites, a Sclaveni tribe, adopted their name after the Strymon river; the Strymonites were independent followed by a Byzantine reconquest. On, the Strumica region was conquered by Bulgarian Khan Presian; the Strumica region remained part of the Bulgarian state throughout a period of more than 150 years right up until 1014, when it was retaken by the Byzantines. In the 11th century, written sources begin to refer to the town with its Slavic name as Strumica. By the end of the 12th century, the Byzantine central power had weakened and, as a result, many local lords broke away and became independent; the leader of the Vlachs and Bulgarians in eastern Macedonia Dobromir Chrysos and the Bulgarian sebastokrator and a member of the Asen dynasty in Veliko Tarnovo Strez held the region, which became part of the Bulgarian kingdom in 1202. In the second half of the 13th century the city was recovered by the Byzantine Empire until the Serbian Kingdom conquered the region in the 14th century.
Serbian magnate Hrelja ruled Strumica and the nearby region until 1334, when it was put under the direct rule of Serbian King Stefan Dušan who continued his conquest to the south. During the Fall of the Serbian Empire, the Strumica region was first ruled by Uglješa, the brother of magnate Vukašin. Strumica itself was governed by Dabiživ Spandulj, who served the Dejanović brothers; the Ottoman Empire conquered Strumica in 1383. Under Ottoman administration, the town was named Üstrümce, it belonged to the Sanjak of Kyustendil, the timarli-sipahi system was established. Nomads and livestock breeders of Turkic origin were settled, which altered the general look of the city making it more oriental. According to the census of 1519, Strumica had a population of 2,780, of which 1,450 were Christians and 1,330 were Muslims; these were times when conversion to Islam was at its peak in the region, which accounts for the increased number of Muslims compared to Christians according to the census of 1570. In the 17th century, it became seat of a kadiluk.
At about this time, Strumica was visited by the Turkish travel writers Haji Kalfa and Evliya Çelebi, who gave a description of the city and all its Islamic buildings. In the late 18th and early 19th century, Strumica was part of the Sanjak of Salonica. During the 19th century the influence of the Patriarchate of Constantinople increased, so did the number of pro-Greek citizens. Countering this, the Bulgarian Exarchate found support in the Slavic populace; this period coincided with the work of the great fresco masters from Strumica – Vasil Gjorgiev and Grigorij Petsanov. They did work in many churches built in the Strumica region at the time. In the late 19th and early 20th century, Strumica was part of the Salonica Vilayet. Following the Berlin Congress of 1878, when Turkey lost a sizable portion of its territory on the Balkans, a stream of refugees flowed into the area; these people were called "muhajirs". The Internal Macedonian Revolution
Battle of the Gates of Trajan
The Battle of the Gates of Trajan was a battle between Byzantine and Bulgarian forces in the year 986. It took place in the pass of the same name, modern Trayanovi Vrata, in Bulgaria, it was the largest defeat of the Byzantines under Emperor Basil II. After the unsuccessful siege of Sofia he retreated to Thrace, but was surrounded by the Bulgarian army under the command of Samuil in the Sredna Gora mountains; the Byzantine army was annihilated and Basil himself escaped. Fifteen years after the fall of the Bulgarian capital Preslav, the victory at the Gates of Trajan extended the Bulgarian successes achieved since 976. On Tsar Samuil moved the capital from Preslav in the northeast to Ohrid in the southwest; the memory of the great victory over Basil II was preserved thirty years in the Bitola inscription of Ivan Vladislav, the son of Aron. In addition to the Bitola inscription where the victory of Samuil, commander of the Bulgarian army, is mentioned in summary form, several medieval historians have written accounts for the battle.
Among them were Leo the Deacon, an eyewitness and a direct participant in the campaign. Not only Byzantine historians wrote accounts for the battle, it was recorded by the Melkite chronicler Yahaya of Antioch and the Armenians, Stephen of Taron and Matthew of Edessa. More details can be found in the commended sermon of Saint Photius of Thessaly. In 971, the Byzantine emperor John Tzimiskes forced the captured Bulgarian emperor Boris II to abdicate and move to Constantinople following the fall of the Bulgarian capital Preslav; the Byzantines had occupied only the eastern parts of Bulgaria. They ruled the free territories in a tetrarchy residing in four separate cities in order to fight the Byzantines with higher efficiency; the war against Bulgaria was the first major undertaking carried out by Basil II after his ascension to the throne in 976, although the Bulgarian attacks had begun in that year. One of the reasons for the ten years of inaction was the policy of one of the strongest nobles in Byzantium, who de facto ruled the Byzantine Empire in the first years of his namesake.
During that time, the main objective of the government in Constantinople was to crush the rebellion of the military commander Bardas Skleros in Asia Minor between 976 and 979. The local Byzantine governors were left alone to cope with the Bulgarian threat but they were unable to stop the Bulgarians; the positions of the brothers Samuil and Aron were strengthened not only by the rebellion of Skleros but the neglect of the former Byzantine Emperor John Tzimisces towards the southwestern Bulgarian lands. After the fall of Preslav and the north-eastern areas of the Bulgarian Empire his main priority became the war against the Arabs in Syria, which gave the Bulgarians time to prepare for a long struggle from the center of the remaining parts of the Empire around the Ohrid and Prespa Lakes. For one decade in offensive after 976 the Bulgarians achieved major successes. Samuil managed to liberate north-eastern Bulgaria. Between 982 and 986 the Bulgarians occupied the main city of Larissa; the constant Bulgarian attacks forced Basil II to take serious actions.
In 986, Basil II led a campaign with 30,000 soldiers. The commanders of the eastern armies did not take part in the campaign because they were fighting with the Arabs; the Byzantines marched from Odrin via Plovdiv to reach Sredets. According to Leo Diaconus the objective of their Emperor was to subdue the Bulgarians with one strike. After the capture of Serdica, a strategic fortress between the northeastern and southwestern Bulgarian lands Basil II intended to continue his campaign towards Samuil's main strongholds in Macedonia. On his way to Serdica, Basil II left a strong company under Leon Melissenos to guard the rear of the Byzantine army; when he reached the walls of the city, Basil II built a fortified camp and besieged the fortress. The siege lasted for 20 days of fruitless assaults, until shortage of food occurred in the Byzantine army, their attempts to find provisions in the surrounding country were stopped by the Bulgarians who burned crops and took the cattle of the Byzantines. In the end, the city garrison broke out of the walls, killing many enemy soldiers and burning all of the siege equipment, which the inexperienced Byzantine generals had placed too close to the city walls.
As a result of the successful Bulgarian actions the Byzantines were no longer capable of taking the city with a direct assault. They could not exhaust the defenders with hunger because, after their supplies were cut, the Byzantines themselves had to deal with that problem. In addition, an army led by Samuil marched into the mountains at the Byzantines' rear. In the meantime, instead of securing the way for retreat, Leon Melissenos pulled back to Plovdiv; that action was an additional reason for Basil II to lift the siege. The commander of the Western armies, persuaded him that Melissenos had set off to Constantinople to take his throne; the Byzantine army retreated from the Sofia Valley towards Ihtiman. The rumours that the Bulgarians had barred the nearby mountain routes stirred commotion among the soldiers and on the following day the retreat continued in growin
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 komes Nicholas Bulgarian: Никола was a local ruler in Bulgaria of Armenian origin, progenitor of the Cometopuli dynasty. According to the Armenian chronicler Stephen of Taron, the family originated in the Armenian region of Derdjan, he was married to Ripsime or Hripsime a daughter of King Ashot II of Armenia. The couple had four sons, David and Aron, Samuel, who are collectively known as the Cometopuli. Sometime in the 970s—the exact date is unclear and disputed—the brothers launched a successful rebellion against the Byzantine Empire, that had subdued Bulgaria. Other than that, nothing is known of Nicholas, he may have ruled Serdica or, according to other sources, was a local count in the region of the modern Republic of Macedonia. In 992/3, Samuel erected at German, near Lake Prespa, an inscription commemorating his parents and his brother David. Kazhdan, Alexander, ed.. The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-504652-6. Lilie, Ralph-Johannes. Prosopographie der mittelbyzantinischen Zeit Online.
Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften. Nach Vorarbeiten F. Winkelmanns erstellt. De Gruyter. Samuil of Bulgaria History of Bulgaria Armenians in Bulgaria