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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 is called by modern historians as the Bulgarian Khanate, or the Bulgar Khaganate, from the Turkic title of khan/khagan borne by its rulers, it is further specified as the Danube Bulgarian Khanate, or Danube Bulgar Khanate in order to differentiate it from Volga Bulgaria, which emerged from another Bulgar group. From the country's Christianization in 864 and the assumption of the imperial title by its rulers in 917/927, the country is referred to as the Principality of 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 Da

Electra, My Love

Electra, My Love is a 1974 Hungarian drama film directed by Miklós Jancsó. It was included in the official selection for the 1975 Cannes Film Festival. Like most of Jancsó's films, this one uses long takes as long as the camera would allow without stopping because of the film stock finishing; the entire 70 minute duration is covered by just twelve takes. The story is set in an archaic and mythical world in which a tyrant faces rebellion by the down-trodden, it is based on a play by László Gyurkó which premiered in Budapest in 1968, which itself reinterpreted the Greek myth of Electra. Electra is oppressed by Aegisthus, the tyrant who fifteen years earlier murdered her father, Agamemnon, in a power grab. Electra is therefore filled with the urge to kill Aegisthus, along with all the other people who support his tyrannical regime. In order to humiliate Electra the tyrant forces her to marry a dwarf. Now Electra's brother, arrives back from abroad, disguised as a messenger reporting the death of Orestes.

Electra kills him but he comes back to life. Electra and Orestes join together with the people to get rid of the tyrant, they capture Aegisthus in a net, torture him, have him shot. A red helicopter lands: the siblings climb into it and fly off; the unexpected intrusion of twentieth century technology highlights the extent to which timeless political themes from a two thousand year old Greek myth continue to resonate inescapably for an audience in twentieth century Hungary. In the words of its Marxist director, the film is both a fairy tale and a "parable for the idea that revolutionaries must continually renew themselves". In "Electra, My Love" Jancsó said that he found himself dealing with issues that had arisen much closer to home, in Hungary "all too recently", he explained why he had changed the ending of the story: in his version Electra is not killed on account of her involvement in the murder of Agamemnon, because Jancsó did not think that the common people could be held responsible for the actions of their tyrannical ruler.

Restricting the film to just twelve long "takes" affects its sequencing. The presentation is not rigidly chronological, indeed, fixed by place: it could just as well be set in medieval Hungary or in ancient Greece. Co-author Gyula Hernádi described the setting as "approximately nomadic-agricultural mystical". Filming took place in the Puszta grasslands, not far from Kunszentmiklós. A striking visual theme of the film is the shots of naked women, standing in rows in the background of the main action, or dancing; each day during the filming, 500 film extras were collected from Budapest and taken by a special train and in buses to the rural filming location. Despite not being paid for the overtime involved, they earned more as film extras than from working in a factory or shop. Jancsó would use the entire day for testing out different possibilities, but the filming itself took little time. Most of the planned sequences were shot five times; the dialogues were retrospectively added and synchronised by the actors: final editing took just one day.

Peter Day, writing in Sight & Sound in 1974, establishes that with "Electra, My Love" Jancsó reiterates his by now familiar plea for violent revolution as a way to liberate an oppressed society. But if Jancsó cannot avoid the charge of repeating themes from his earlier films, his "Electra" is a beautiful visual experience in its own terms, "familiar, but dazzling and powerfully refined"; the "virtuoso" camera work, making full use of a crane and rail-tracks for the moving shots, coupled with the careful inspired fluidity of camera movement integrated with the use of zooming and panning, deserve special mention. Jean de Baroncelli reviewed the film in Le Monde the same year and was less forgiving: "With the development of the political-mythical fable Jancsó lets go of cloying stage craft, preferring to concentrate on cinematic fluidity. Under the weight of theatrical references and a prolific blossoming of stiflingly overblown symbolism, the story-line risks disappearing in ridiculous mannerisms."Dennis Schwartz, in a more contemporary review, gave the film a B+ grade, writing: "Jancsó through the Greek myth was able to transfer the tragedy to modern times and dispel any doubt about how the truth and lies were wound up in contradictions by the Soviets.

The suppressed masses were so beaten down they no longer could decipher the truth, therefore the world they saw was myopic and distorted. It made for a spellbinding film; the striking red-head Mari Töröcsik as Electra, gave a masterful performance that had conviction and a sense of urgency."In addition to the critical reactions when it was released, a considered analysis is provided by Bryan Burns in his 1996 book on Hungarian Cinema. For Burns, "Electra, My Love" is one of the best things Jancsós has produced, one of the most successful reworkings of a classical legend. Burns is struck by the balletic fluidity of the actors and of the camera work. Flair and ingenuity are everywhere; the arrival at the end of the red helicopter as a symbol of a Marxist Utopia is a "masterly coup de théâtre, which can endow the audience with the same ecstatic optimism as the peasant farmers " Elsewhere, in 2004 John Cunningham wrote that "Electra" represented the quintessence of Jancsó's work in the 1970s. Electra, My Love on IMDb Electra, My Love at Rottentomatoes.com

Abu Fukayha

Abu Fukayha was the kunya of Yasar, a companion of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Three verses of the Quran were written about a situation that concerned him. Abu Fukayha was ancestrally from the Azd tribe in Yemen, he was a slave in Mecca in the possession of Safwan ibn Umayya ibn Muharrith of the Kinana tribe. His master manumitted him at an unknown date, he had one son, Abu Tajra, two daughters and Baraka. Abu Tajra became the mawla of the Abdaldar clan and in his turn had two daughters and Habiba. Baraka was a mawla of Abu Sufyan, she married Qays in Abdallah, a member of the Asad tribe and an ally of Sa'id ibn al-'As ibn Umayya. They had one daughter, Umayya. Fukayha married Hattab ibn al-Harith from the Juma clan. Baraka and Fukayha were among the Muslims who migrated to Abyssinia, together with Safwan ibn Umayya's daughter Fatima; the aged Abu Fukayha became a Muslim. He suffered under the persecution of 614-616, when he was tortured until he did not know what he was saying. Muhammad said that a Muslim who denied his faith under such circumstances, yet "whose heart remains at rest in its faith," was not to blame.

Abu Fukayha and other poor men used to sit in the Kaaba with Muhammad. The Quraysh used to jeer at Muhammad for consorting with humble people, saying: "These are his companions, as you see. Is it such creatures that God has chosen from among us to give guidance and truth? If what Muhammad has brought were a good thing these fellows would not have been the first to get it, God would not have put them before us." Muhammad produced this prophecy in response. And do not drive away those who call upon their Lord in the morning and the evening, they desire only His favour, and thus do We try some of them by others so that they say: Are these they upon whom Allah has conferred benefit from among us? Does not Allah best know the grateful? And when those who believe in Our communications come to you, say: Peace be on you, your Lord has ordained mercy on Himself, that if any one of you does evil in ignorance turns after that and acts aright He is Forgiving, Merciful. Abu Fukayha is not mentioned among those who emigrated to Medina in 622.

It is that he had died of natural causes by this date. It is popularly believed that Abu Fukayha was bought and manumitted by Abu Bakr; this is not correct. His name does not appear on Ibn Ishaq's list of slaves bought by Abu Bakr, which professes to be complete. Rather, Ibn Ishaq expressly states that it was Abu Fukayha's original master, who freed him