Byzantine–Bulgarian war of 913–927
The Byzantine–Bulgarian war of 913–927 was fought between the Bulgarian Empire and the Byzantine Empire for more than a decade. Although the war was provoked by the Byzantine emperor Alexander's decision to discontinue paying an annual tribute to Bulgaria, the military and ideological initiative was held by Simeon I of Bulgaria, who demanded to be recognized as Tsar and made it clear that he aimed to conquer not only Constantinople but the rest of the Byzantine Empire, as well. In 917, the Bulgarian army dealt a crushing defeat to the Byzantines at the Battle of Achelous, resulting in Bulgaria's total military supremacy in the Balkans; the Bulgarians again defeated the Byzantines at Katasyrtai in 917, Pegae in 921 and Constantinople in 922. The Bulgarians captured the important city of Adrianople in Thrace and seized the capital of the Theme of Hellas, deep in southern Greece. Following the disaster at Achelous, Byzantine diplomacy incited the Principality of Serbia to attack Bulgaria from the west, but this assault was contained.
In 924, the Serbs ambushed and defeated a small Bulgarian army on its way to Serbia, provoking a major retaliatory campaign that ended with Bulgaria's annexation of Serbia at the end of that year. Simeon was aware that he needed naval support to conquer Constantinople and in 922 sent envoys to the Fatimid caliph Ubayd Allah al-Mahdi Billah in Mahdia to negotiate the assistance of the powerful Arab navy; the caliph agreed to send his own representatives to Bulgaria to arrange an alliance but his envoys were captured en route by the Byzantines near the Calabrian coast. Emperor Romanos I Lekapenos managed to avert a Bulgarian–Arab alliance by showering the Arabs with generous gifts. By the time of his death in May 927, Simeon controlled all Byzantine possessions in the Balkans, but Constantinople remained out of his reach. In 927, both countries were exhausted by the huge military efforts that had taken a heavy toll on the population and economy. Simeon's successor Peter negotiated a favourable peace treaty.
The Byzantines agreed to recognize him as Emperor of Bulgaria and the Bulgarian Orthodox Church as an independent Patriarchate, as well as to pay an annual tribute. The peace was reinforced with Romanos's granddaughter Irene Lekapene; this agreement ushered in a period of 40 years of peaceful relations between the two powers, a time of stability and prosperity for both Bulgaria and the Byzantine Empire. In the first years after his accession to the throne in 893, Simeon I defended Bulgaria's commercial interests, acquired territory between the Black Sea and the Strandzha mountains, imposed an annual tribute on the Byzantine Empire as a result of the Byzantine–Bulgarian war of 894–896; the outcome of the war confirmed Bulgarian domination in the Balkans, but Simeon I knew that he needed to consolidate his political and ideological base in order to fulfil his ultimate goal of claiming an imperial title for himself and assuming the throne in Constantinople. He implemented an ambitious construction programme in Bulgaria's new capital, Preslav, so that the city would rival the splendour of the Byzantine capital.
Simeon I continued the policy of his father Boris I of establishing and disseminating Bulgarian culture, turning the country into the literary and spiritual centre of Slavic Europe. The Preslav and literary schools, founded under Boris I, reached their apogee during the reign of his successor, it was at this time that the Cyrillic alphabet was invented, most by the Bulgarian scholar Clement of Ohrid. The Magyar devastation of the country's north-eastern regions during the War of 894–896 exposed the vulnerability of Bulgaria's borders to foreign intervention under the influence of Byzantine diplomacy; as soon as the peace with Byzantium had been signed, Simeon I sought to secure the Bulgarian positions in the western Balkans. After the death of the Serb prince Mutimir, several members of the ruling dynasty fought over the throne of the Principality of Serbia until Petar Gojniković established himself as a prince in 892. In 897 Simeon I agreed to recognize Petar and put him under his protection, resulting in a twenty-year period of peace and stability to the west.
However, Petar was not content with his subordinate position and sought ways to achieve independence. The internal situation of the Byzantine Empire at the beginning of the 10th century was seen by Simeon I as a sign of weakness. There was an attempt to murder emperor Leo VI the Wise in 903 and a rebellion of the commander of the Eastern army Andronikos Doukas in 905; the situation further deteriorated as the emperor entered into a feud with the Ecumenical Patriarch Nicholas Mystikos over his fourth marriage, to his mistress Zoe Karbonopsina. In 907, Leo VI had the patriarch deposed. At the beginning of the 10th century, the Arabs completed the conquest of Sicily and from 902 began attacking Byzantine shipping and towns in the Aegean Sea. In 904, they sacked the empire's second-largest city, taking 22,000 captives and leaving the city empty. Simeon I decided to exploit that opportunity, the Bulgarian army appeared in the vicinity of the deserted city. By securing and settling Thessalonica, the Bulgarians would have gained an important port on the Aegean Sea and would have cemented their hold on the western Balkans, creating a permanent threat to Constantinople.
Aware of the danger, the Byzantines sent the experienced diplomat Leo Choirosphaktes to negotiate a solution. The course of the negotiations is unknown – in a surviving letter to emperor Leo VI the Wise, Choirosphaktes boasted that he had "convinced" the Bulgarians not to take the city but did not mention more details. However, a
Simeon I of Bulgaria
Simeon I the Great ruled over Bulgaria from 893 to 927, during the First Bulgarian Empire. Simeon's successful campaigns against the Byzantines and Serbs led Bulgaria to its greatest territorial expansion making it the most powerful state in contemporary Eastern Europe, his reign was a period of unmatched cultural prosperity and enlightenment deemed the Golden Age of Bulgarian culture. During Simeon's rule, Bulgaria spread over a territory between the Aegean, the Adriatic and the Black Sea; the newly independent Bulgarian Orthodox Church became the first new patriarchate besides the Pentarchy, Bulgarian Glagolitic and Cyrillic translations of Christian texts spread all over the Slavic world of the time. It was at the Preslav Literary School in the 890s. Halfway through his reign, Simeon assumed the title of Emperor, having prior to that been styled Prince. Simeon was born as the third son of Knyaz Boris I of Krum's dynasty; as Boris was the ruler who Christianized Bulgaria in 865, Simeon was a Christian all his life.
Because his eldest brother Vladimir was designated heir to the Bulgarian throne, Boris intended Simeon to become a high-ranking cleric Bulgarian archbishop, sent him to the leading University of Constantinople to receive theological education when he was thirteen or fourteen. He took the name Simeon as a novice in a monastery in Constantinople. During the decade he spent in the Byzantine capital, he received excellent education and studied the rhetoric of Demosthenes and Aristotle, he learned fluent Greek, to the extent that he was referred to as "the half-Greek" in Byzantine chronicles. He is speculated to have been tutored by Patriarch Photios I of Constantinople, but this is not supported by any source. Around 888, Simeon returned to Bulgaria and settled at the newly established royal monastery of Preslav "at the mouth of the Tiča", under the guidance of Naum of Preslav, he engaged in active translation of important religious works from Greek to Medieval Bulgarian, aided by other students from Constantinople.
Meanwhile, Vladimir had succeeded Boris, who had retreated as ruler of Bulgaria. Vladimir attempted to reintroduce paganism in the empire and signed an anti-Byzantine pact with Arnulf of Carinthia, forcing Boris to re-enter political life. Boris had Vladimir imprisoned and blinded, appointed Simeon as the new ruler; this was done at an assembly in Preslav which proclaimed Bulgarian as the only language of state and church and moved the Bulgarian capital from Pliska to Preslav, to better cement the recent conversion. It is not known why Boris did not place his second son, Gavril, on the throne, but instead preferred Simeon. With Simeon on the throne, the long-lasting peace with the Byzantine Empire established by his father was about to end. A conflict arose when Byzantine Emperor Leo VI the Wise acting under pressure from his mistress Zoe Zaoutzaina and her father Stylianos Zaoutzes, moved the marketplace for Bulgarian goods from Constantinople to Thessaloniki, where the Bulgarian merchants were taxed.
The Bulgarians sought protection by Simeon. However, the Byzantine emperor ignored his embassy. Forced to take action, in the autumn of 894 Simeon invaded the Byzantine Empire from the north, meeting with little opposition due to the concentration of most Byzantine forces in eastern Anatolia to counter Arab invasions. Informed of the Bulgarian offensive, the surprised Leo sent an army consisting of guardsmen and other military units from the capital to halt Simeon, but his troops were routed somewhere in the theme of Macedonia; the Bulgarians took most of the Khazar mercenary guardsmen prisoners and killed many archons, including the army's commander. However, instead of continuing his advance to the Byzantine capital, Simeon withdrew his troops to face a Magyar invasion from the north; these events were called "the first trade war in medieval Europe" by Bulgarian historians. Unable to respond to the Bulgarian campaign due to the engagement of their forces against the Arabs, the Byzantines convinced the Magyars to attack Bulgaria, promising to transport them across the Danube using the Byzantine navy.
Leo VI may have concluded an agreement with Arnulf to make sure that the Franks did not support Simeon against the Magyars. In addition, the talented commander Nikephoros Phokas was called back from southern Italy to lead a separate army against Bulgaria in 895 with the mere intention to overawe the Bulgarians. Simeon, unaware of the threat from the north, rushed to meet Phokas' forces, but the two armies did not engage in a fight. Instead, the Byzantines offered peace, informing him of both the Byzantine foot and maritime campaign, but intentionally did not notify him of the planned Magyar attack. Simeon did not trust the envoy and, after sending him to prison, ordered the Byzantine navy's route into the Danube closed off with ropes and chains, intending to hold it until he had dealt with Phokas. Despite the problems they encountered because of the fencing, the Byzantines managed to ferry the Magyar forces led by Árpád's son Liüntika across the Danube near modern Galaţi, assisted them in pillaging the nearby Bulgarian lands.
Once notified of the surprise invasion, Simeon headed north to stop the Magyars, leaving some of his troops at the southern border to prevent a possible attack by Phokas. Simeon's two encounters with the enemy in Northern Dobruja resulted in Magyar victories, forcing him to retreat to Drǎstǎr. After pillaging much of Bulgaria and
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
Battle of Klokotnitsa
The Battle of Klokotnitsa occurred on 9 March 1230 near the village of Klokotnitsa. As a result, the Second Bulgarian Empire emerged once again as the most powerful state in South-Eastern Europe and the power of the Empire of Thessalonica faded. Around 1221–1222 Emperor Ivan Asen II of Bulgaria made an alliance with Theodore Komnenos Doukas, the ruler of Epirus. Secured by the treaty, Theodore managed to conquer Thessalonica from the Latin Empire, as well as Bulgarian lands in Macedonia including Ohrid, establish the Empire of Thessalonica. After the death of the Latin emperor Robert of Courtenay in 1228, Ivan Asen II was considered the most probable choice for regent of Baldwin II. Theodore thought that Bulgaria was the only obstacle left on his way to Constantinople and in the beginning of March 1230 he invaded the country, breaking the peace treaty and without a declaration of war. Theodore Komnenos summoned a large army, including western mercenaries, he was so confident of victory that he took the whole royal court with him, including his wife and children.
His army moved and plundered the villages on its way. When the Bulgarian tsar learned that the state was invaded, he gathered a small army of a few thousand men and marched southwards. In four days the Bulgarians covered a distance three times longer than Theodore's army had travelled in a week. On 9 March, the two armies met near the village of Klokotnitsa, it is said that Ivan Asen II ordered the broken mutual protection treaty to be stuck on his spear and used as a flag. He was a good tactician and managed to surround the enemy, who were surprised to meet the Bulgarians so soon; the battle continued until sunset. Theodore's men were defeated, only a small force under his brother Manuel managing to escape from the battlefield; the rest were killed in the battle or captured, including the royal court of Thessalonica and Theodore himself. In order to commemorate the battle, the Bulgarian emperor had an inscription carved in one of the marble columns of the Church "Holy Forty Martyrs" in the capital of the Bulgarian empire Veliko Tarnovo.
Among all existing documents the text of this inscription is the most accurate evidence of the outcome and the aftermath of the battle: "In the Year of the World 6738, third indiction. John Asen in God Christ true Tsar and sovereign of the Bulgarians, son of the old Tsar Asen, raised from the foundations and decorated with art this holy church in the name of the Holy 40 Martyrs, with the help of whom in the twelfth year of my reign when this temple was being decorated. I went to war in Romania and defeated the Greek army and captured their Tsar, Kyr Teodore Komnenos, together with all his bolyars, and I occupied all of his land from Odrin to Drach and Albanian and Serbian. Glory to Him forever, amen." Ivan Asen II released the captured soldiers without any conditions and the nobles were taken to Tarnovo. His fame for being a merciful and just ruler went ahead of his march to the lands of Theodore Komnenos and Theodore's conquered territories in Thrace and Macedonia were regained by Bulgaria without resistance.
Thessalonica itself became a Bulgarian vassal under Theodore's brother Manuel. Дуйчев, Иван. Из старата българска книжнина, т. II, С. 1944, с.38–39 Златарски, Васил Н. История на българската държава през средните векове, Т. III, Второ българско царство, с. 587–596 Uspensky, Fyodor, О древностях города Тырнова, Известія Руского Археалогического Института в Константинополе, 1901, VII, вып 1, с.6–7 и табл. 5
Henryk Hektor Siemiradzki was a Polish Rome-based painter, best remembered for his monumental Academic art. He was known for his depictions of scenes from the ancient Greek-Roman world and the New Testament, owned by many national galleries of Europe. Many of his paintings depict scenes from antiquity the sunlit pastoral scenes or compositions presenting the lives of early Christians, he painted biblical and historical scenes and portraits. His best-known works include monumental curtains for the Lviv Theatre of Opera and for the Juliusz Słowacki Theatre in Kraków. Siemiradzki was born to a Polish noble family of an officer of the Imperial Russian Army, Hipolit Siemiradzki, Michalina in Belgorod, near the city of Kharkiv, where his father's regiment was stationed; the family derived its name from the village of Siemiradz. One of the branches settled in the late 17th century near Navahrudak. Henryk's grandfather held the post of podkomorzy in Nowogródek powiat, his parents were close friends with Adam Mickiewicz's family.
He studied at Kharkiv Gymnasium where he first learned painting under the local school teacher, D. I. Besperchy, former student of Karl Briullov, he entered the Physics-Mathematics School of Kharkiv University and studied natural sciences there with great interest, but continued to paint. After graduating from the University with the degree of Kandidat he abandoned his scientific career and moved to Saint Petersburg to study painting at the Imperial Academy of Arts in the years 1864–1870. Upon his graduation he was awarded a gold medal. In 1870–1871 he studied under Karl von Piloty in Munich on a grant from the Academy. In 1872 he moved to Rome and with time, built a studio there on Via Gaeta, while spending summers at his estate in Strzałków near Częstochowa. In 1873 he received the title of Academician of the Imperial Academy of Arts for his painting Christ and a Sinner, based on a verse from Tolstoy. In 1878 he received the French National Order of the Legion of Honour and a Gold Medal of the Paris World's fair for the painting Flower vase.
In 1876–1879 Siemiradzki worked on frescoes for the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour among his other large-scale projects. In 1879 he offered one of his best-known works, the enormous Pochodnie Nerona, painted around 1876, to the newly formed Polish National Museum; the artwork is on display at the Siemiradzki Room of the Sukiennice Museum in the Kraków Old Town, the most popular branch of the museum today. Around 1893 Siemiradzki worked on two large paintings for the State Historical Museum and in 1894 produced his monumental curtain for the Juliusz Słowacki Theatre in Kraków, he died in Strzałków in 1902 and was buried in Warsaw, but his remains were moved to the national Pantheon on Skałka in Kraków. There is the Modern Arts Gallery named after Henryk Siemiradzki at V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University in Kharkiv, Ukraine. There is a memorial plate about Henryk Siemiradzki in Kharkiv, Ukraine. Henryk Siemiradzki's large-scale canvasses, including The Sword Dance influenced by the French Académie des Beaux-Arts, are on display at the national museums of Poland and Ukraine.
National theatres Online gallery of Semiradsky paintings Works and Bio Bio Gilman, D. C.. "Siemiradzki, Henryk". New International Encyclopedia. New York: Dodd, Mead. "Siemiradzki, Henryk". Encyclopedia Americana. 1920
Battle of Pliska
The Battle of Pliska or Battle of Vărbitsa Pass was a series of battles between troops, gathered from all parts of the Byzantine Empire, led by the Emperor Nicephorus I Genik, Bulgaria, governed by Khan Krum. The Byzantines plundered and burned the Bulgar capital Pliska which gave time for the Bulgarians to block passes in the Balkan Mountains that served as exits out of Bulgaria; the final battle took place on 26 July 811, in some of the passes in the eastern part of the Balkans, most the Vărbitsa Pass. There, the Bulgarians used the tactics of ambush and surprise night attacks to trap and immobilize the Byzantine forces, thus annihilating the whole army, including the Emperor. After the battle, Krum encased Nicephorus's skull in silver, used it as a cup for wine-drinking; this is one of the best documented instances of the custom of the skull cup. The Battle of Pliska was one of the worst defeats in Byzantine history, it deterred Byzantine rulers from sending their troops north of the Balkans for more than 150 years afterwards, which increased the influence and spread of the Bulgarians to the west and south of the Balkan Peninsula, resulting in a great territorial enlargement of the First Bulgarian Empire.
When Nicephorus I became emperor in 802, he planned to reincorporate Bulgar-held territory back into the empire. In 807 he launched a campaign but only reached Odrin and achieved nothing because of a conspiracy in his capital; that attempted attack, gave reason for the Bulgar Khan Krum to undertake military operations against the Byzantine Empire. The main objective was an extension to the south-west. In the next year a Bulgar army defeated the Byzantines; the Bulgar troops captured 1,100 litres of gold and killed many enemy soldiers including all strategoi and most of the commanders. In 809 the Khan besieged the strong fortress of Serdica and seized the city, killing the whole garrison of 6,000. In 811, the Byzantine Emperor organised a large campaign to conquer Bulgaria once and for all, he gathered an enormous army from the Anatolian and European themata, the imperial bodyguard. The conquest was supposed to be easy, most of the high-ranking officials and aristocrats accompanied him, including his son Stauracius and his brother-in-law Michael I Rangabe.
The whole army consisted of around 80,000 soldiers. The army gathered in May, by 10 July had set up camp at the fortress of Marcelae near the Bulgarian frontier. Nicephorus intended to confuse them and over the next ten days launched several supposed attacks, which were called back. Krum assessed the situation and estimated that he could not repulse the enemy and offered peace, which Nicephorus haughtily rejected. Theophanes wrote that the Emperor, "was deterred from his own ill thoughts and the suggestions of his advisors who were thinking like him"; some of his military chiefs considered the invasion of Bulgaria to be imprudent and too risky, but Nicephorus was convinced of his ultimate success. In June he invaded the Bulgarian lands and marched through the Balkan passes towards the capital of Pliska. On 20 July Nicephorus divided the army into three columns, each marching by a different route towards Pliska, he met little resistance and after three days he reached the capital where the Byzantines met an army of 12,000 elite soldiers who guarded the stronghold.
The Bulgarians were defeated and most of them perished. Another hastily assembled army of 50,000 soldiers had a similar fate. On 23 July the Byzantines captured the defenseless capital; the city was sacked and the countryside destroyed. Khan Krum attempted once more to negotiate for peace. According to the historian Theophanes, Krum's proclamation stated, "you have won. So take what you please and go with peace." Nicephorus, overconfident from his success, ignored him. He believed that Bulgaria was conquered. Michael the Syrian, patriarch of the Syrian Jacobites in the twelfth century, described in his Chronicle the brutalities and atrocities of Nicephorus's troops: "Nicephorus, emperor of the Romans, walked in Bulgarians land: he was victorious and killed a great number of them, he took it over and devastated it. His savagery went to such a point that he ordered to bring their small children, got them tied down on earth and made thresh grain stones to smash them." The Byzantine soldiers plundered.
The Emperor locked it and did not allow his troops to reach it. While Nicephorus and his army were busy plundering the Bulgarian capital, Krum mobilized his people to set traps and ambushes in the mountain passes. Nicephorus intended to march through Moesia and reach Serdica before returning to Constantinople but the news of these preparations for a battle changed his decision and he chose the shortest way to his capital; the overconfident Emperor neglected to scout ahead. On 25 July his army entered the Varbica Pass but his cavalry told him the road was barred with thick wooden walls and Krum's detachments watched from the heights around; the Emperor became panicked by the situation and stated to his companions "Even if we have had wings we could not have escaped from peril." Before they could retreat, the Bulgars blocked the valley entrance too. Nicephorus, unable to face attacking one of the palisades set up camp, despite his generals' misgivings. By the third night Byzantine morale was shattered, while Bulgar troops banged their shields and taunted
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