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The second most important post in Bulgaria after the monarch was the kavhan , monopolised by the members of the tentatively known "Kavhan family". According to an inscription dated from the reign of Khan Malamir r. Each boila clan had its own totem and was believed to had been divinely established, hence their staunch opposition to Christianity, which was seen as a threat to their privileges. The boila were divided into inner and outer boilas and it was among their ranks that the holders of the highest military and administrative posts were selected. The peasants lived in rural communities known as zadruga and had collective responsibility.

Due to the limited remaining sources it is very difficult to reconstruct the administrative evolution and division of the country. Initially the Slavic tribes retained their autonomy but since the beginning of the 9th century commenced a process of centralisation. The comita was appointed by the monarch, and was assisted by a tarkhan. The former had many civil and administrative functions, while the latter was responsible for the military affairs.

The first know written Bulgarian law code was issued by Khan Krum at a People's Council in the very beginning of the 9th century but the text has not survived in its integrity and only certain items have been preserved in the 10th-century Byzantine encyclopedia Suda. The Court Law for the People dealt with combating paganism, testimony of witnesses, sexual morality, marital relations, distribution of war booty, etc. After the formation of the Bulgarian state the ruling elite harboured deep distrust towards the Byzantines against whose perfidy and sudden attacks they had to maintain constant vigilance.

Throughout the existence of the First Empire Bulgaria could expect Byzantine onslaughts aimed at its destruction. Guards always stood on the alert and if anyone was to flee during a watch, the responsible guards are killed without hesitation. The Bulgarian army was armed with various types of weapons, the most widely used being sabres , swords , battle axes , spears , pikes , daggers , arkans , bows and arrows. The helms were usually cone-shaped, the shields were round and light.

The most important part of the army was the heavy cavalry. In the early 9th century the Bulgarian Khan could muster 30, riders "all covered in iron" [] who were armoured with iron helms and chain-mails. The army was well versed in the use of stratagems. A strong cavalry unit was often held in reserve and would attack the enemy at an opportune moment. Free horses would be sometimes concentrated behind the battle formation to avoid surprise attacks from the rear. If the enemy pursued disorganized, they would turn back and fiercely attack them. In the Bulgarians took the capital of the Byzantine theme Hellas Thebes without bloodshed after sending into the city five men with axes who eliminated the guards, broke the hinges of the gates, and opened them to the main forces.

The Bulgarian army was well equipped with siege engines. The Bulgarians employed the services of Byzantine and Arab captives and fugitives to produce siege equipment, such as the engineer Eumathius, who sought refuge to Khan Krum after the capture of Serdica in It is known that Khan Krum prepared 5, such wagons for his intended siege of Constantinople in Agriculture was the most important sector of the economy whose development was favoured by the fertile soils of Moesia, Thrace, and partly, Macedonia. The latter was used for fabrics and cloths that were exported to the Byzantine Empire.

In response to this problem the state maintained depositories of cereals as a reserve. The importance of the meat for the Bulgarian table was demonstrated in the Responses of Pope Nicholas I to the Questions of the Bulgarians , where seven out of questions concerned meat consumption. Small-scale mining was developed in the Balkan Mountains, the Rhodope Mountains and some regions of Macedonia.

Preslav had workshops that processed metals especially gold and silver , stone and wood, and produced ceramics, glass and jewellery. Trade had an important weight in the economy, as Bulgaria lay between the Byzantine Empire, Central Europe, the Rus' and the steppes. Goods without documents were to be confiscated for the state treasury. The Bulgarian merchants had a colony in Constantinople and paid favourable taxes.

The country imported gold, silks, wine and fruits from the Byzantine Empire, silver and horses from Hungary and Bohemia, furs, honey, wax and slaves from the Rus'. The First Bulgarian Empire did not mint coins and taxes were paid in kind. In addition to the taxes the peasantry must have had other obligations, such as building and maintaining infrastructure and defences, as well as to provide food and inventory to the army.

The density of the network of towns was high. The economic historian Paul Bairoch estimated that in Pliska had 30, inhabitants and around Preslav had some 60, making it the largest city in non-Muslim Europe, save Constantinople. The inner town would be encircled with stone walls and had administrative and defence functions, while the outer town, usually unprotected, was the centre of economic activities with markets, workshops, vineyards, gardens and dwellings for the populace. In the first almost two centuries after its creation, the Bulgarian state remained pagan.

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The Bulgars and the Slavs continued to practice their indigenous religions. The Bulgar religion was monotheistic, linked to the cult to Tangra , the God of the Sky. The triple bridle symbolised the toughness of the agreement and the lifting of grass reminded that no grass would remain in the enemy country if the peace was broken. The sacrifice of dogs was a common custom among the Turkic peoples which further strengthened the treaty.

The Slavs worshiped numerous deities. The supreme god was Perun , the god of thunder and lightning. Procopius noted that they also worshipped rivers and believed in nymphs. During sacrifices the Slavs would perform divinations. After the adoption of Christianity the worship of Perun merged with the cult of Saint Elijah. Christianity was practised in Bulgaria throughout the whole pagan period. Its dissemination among the populace increased as a result of the successful wars of Khan Krum in the beginning of the 9th century.

Omurtag and the nobility saw the Christians as Byzantine agents and felt that this religion, with its hierarchy based in Byzantium, was a threat to Bulgarian independence. In a conversation with a Byzantine Christian Omurtag told him: "Do not humiliate our gods, for their power is great.

As a proof, we who worship them, have conquered the whole Roman state". Omurtag's eldest son Enravota , seen as pro-Christian, was disinherited and eventually converted to Christianity. After refusing to renounce his faith, he was executed by orders of his brother Malamir c. If someone seeks the truth, God watches.

And if one lies, God watches. The Bulgarians did many good things to the Christians [the Byzantines] and the Christians forgot, but God watches. As Christianity was spreading further into Europe in the 9th century the pagan countries found themselves encircled by Christian powers which could use religion as an acceptable excuse for aggression. He had an alliance with the Eastern Franks since and was aware that the larger distance between the two countries was an obstacle for them to yield direct influence on the future Bulgarian Church.

The highest posts in the newly established Bulgarian Church were held by Byzantines who preached in Greek language. In , at the Fourth Council of Constantinople , the Bulgarian Church was recognized as an autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Church under the supreme direction of the Patriarch of Constantinople. The adoption of Christianity was met with opposition by large layers of the nobility. The insurgency was crushed and 52 leading boilas were executed along with their whole kin.

Since the Bulgarian Church was autonomous under an archbishop. Thus, the church was entirely staffed by Bulgarians. He was well acquainted with the Byzantine imperial tradition that the autocrat must have a patriarch and there could be no empire without a patriarchate. It is likely that the seat of the Patriarchate was in the city of Drastar on the Danube River rather than in the capital Preslav.

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After the fall of the eastern parts of the empire under Byzantine occupation in the seat of the Patriarchate was relocated to Ohrid in the west. It kept control of all existing episcopal sees, the seat remained in Ohrid and its titular, the Bulgarian John of Debar , kept his office. Monasticism grew steadily and the monasteries quickly became major landowners with large population of peasants living their estates.

One of them, John of Rila , became a hermit in the Rila Mountains and his virtues soon attracted a number of followers, [] who founded the renowned Rila Monastery after his death. He preached about living in harmony and stressed the value of manual labour and the need the monks never to aspire to riches and power. In the 10th century Bulgarian clerics established connections with the emerging Christian communities in the Rus'.

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The connections between Bulgarians and Ruthenians must be considered an important background to the official conversion to Christianity of Kievan Rus' in The heresy was named after its founder the priest Bogomil whose name can be translated as dear mil to God Bog. Women too could become perfecti. The Bulgarian state existed before the formation of the Bulgarian people. The cultural heritage of the First Bulgarian Empire is usually defined in Bulgarian historiography as the Pliska-Preslav culture, named after the first two capitals, Pliska and Preslav , where most of the surviving monuments are concentrated.

Many monuments of that period have been found around Madara , Shumen , Novi Pazar , the village of Han Krum in north-eastern Bulgaria, as well in the territory of modern Romania, where Romanian archaeologists called it the " Dridu culture ". The whole area was encircled by a trench 3. The corners were protected by cylindrical towers and there were pentagonal towers between each corner and gate tower. The palace complex included baths, a pool and a heating system. The Bulgarians also constructed forts with residences, called by the contemporary Byzantine authors auls , or fortified palaces.

The inner town contained two palaces, called by the archaeologists the Western Palace and the Throne Hall that were linked. Some of the buildings had marble or ceramic tile floors, and others had verandas on the second floor. After the adoption of Christianity in , intensive construction of churches and monasteries began throughout the Empire. Many of them were erected over the old pagan temples. The churches were decorated with ceramics, plastic elements and a variety of decorative forms.

It was a domed rotunda with a two-tiered colonnade in the interior and a walled atrium with niches and columns.

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In the region of Kutmichevitsa to the south-west, Clement of Ohrid oversaw the construction of the Monastery of Saint Panteleimon and two churches with "round and spherical form" in the late 9th century. The most representative surviving art monument is the Madara Rider , a large relief carving commissioned by Khan Tervel following his triumph in It is the only relief of its kind, having no parallel in Europe. The rider, facing right, is thrusting a spear into the lion lying at his horse's feet, and on the left the dog is running after the horseman.

The meaning and symbolism of the depiction is uncertain, as well its actual masonry tradition and cultural source. Sculpture and stone carving were well-developed to supply the demand for public and sacral buildings. Many details of marble carving have been excavated in Preslav. The decoration included animals such as griffins , rabbits and birds, as well as vegetative elements most often palmettes and grape leaves and geometric motifs.

The main sources for Bulgarian domestic use-oriented pottery are the necropoleis at Novi Pazar, Devnya , and Varna. Since the 9th century two-story ovens were used for the annealing of the pottery. The growing exchange with the Byzantine Empire following the adoption of Christianity led to an increase in the shapes and decorations of the Bulgarian pottery that was unprecedented in the Slavic world.

One of the most famous features of the Pliska-Preslav culture was the decoration of palaces and churches with lacquered ceramic plates, which may indicate a Near Eastern Arabic influence. Some had depictions of the Virgin , saints and apostles, both in full figures, portraits and medallions. Among the most notable of those is the well-preserved, tile Icon of St Theodore , found in the ruins of the Patleina Monastery of Saint Panteleimon in the outskirts of Preslav which was the site of one of the workshops. Between and the Byzantine monks Saints Cyril and Methodius created the Glagolitic alphabet , the first Slavic alphabet by order of the Byzantine Emperor, who aimed to convert Great Moravia to Orthodox Christianity.

Ultimately, the brothers' mission to establish Slavic liturgy in Great Moravia failed. The Bulgarian monarch commissioned the creation of two theological academies to be headed by the disciples where the future Bulgarian clergy was to be instructed in Bulgarian vernacular.

Clement was sent to the southwestern province Kutmichevitsa in Macedonia, where he founded the Ohrid Literary School. There, he educated 3, pupils between and Eventually, Naum too was sent to Ohrid. 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 the distinct Bulgarian identity. They wrote hagiographies , panegyrics , acolouthia , poetry, liturgical hymns, treatises on church music, etc. Later, Cosmas the Priest wrote the anti-Bogomil treatise Sermon Against the Heretics which apart from the theological arguments contained criticism on the contemporary Bulgarian society, with particular attention to religious and social issues.

Apart from the official literature, apocryphical texts were also written and received impetus after the second half of the 10th century, as imperial patronage ceased during the Byzantine conquest and subsequent Byzantine rule in Bulgaria. The flourishing literary activity and the experimentation with various genres developed the style, flexibility and expressiveness of the language. In the following years the Byzantines systematically destroyed all texts in Old Bulgarian language. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Not to be confused with Old Great Bulgaria.

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First Bulgarian Empire

See also: Thracians and Migration Period. Main article: South Slavs. Main articles: Bulgars and Old Great Bulgaria. See also: Krum and battle of Pliska. Main article: Golden Age of medieval Bulgarian culture. Main article: Medieval Bulgarian army. Main article: Christianization of Bulgaria.

Main article: Bogomilism. Above: Church of St.

Left: Ceramic icon of Saint Theodore , Preslav ceramics, c. Right: A 10th-century fresco in the Church of St. George, Sofia. Main article: Medieval Bulgarian literature. After deposing Vladimir he returned to his monastery, where he died in Thus, there was no threat for Samuel to establish his own dynasty. East Central Europe in the Middle Ages, — University of Washington Press.

The Barbarian Conversion: from Paganism to Christianity. University of California Press. Danube Bulgaria and Volga Bulgaria. University of Michigan Press. A Concise History of Bulgaria. Cambridge University Press. Oxford University Press. Princeton University Press. Osprey Publishing. It is in any case most probable that they had enveloped groupings of diverse origins during their migration westwards across the Eurasian steppes, and they undoubtedly spoke a form of Turkic as their main language. The Bulgars long retained many of the customs, military tactics, titles and emblems of a nomadic people of the steppes.

Retrieved 26 January The name Bulgaria comes from the Bulgars, a people who are still a matter of academic dispute with respect to their origin Turkic or Indo-European as well as to their influence on the ethnic mixture and the language of present-day Bulgaria. Byzantium and Bulgaria, — V, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia, pp. V, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia, p. Cities and Economic Development. Your email address will not be published.

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. New here? Start here! Instructions Place the bulgur, almond milk, and salt in a medium saucepan.


Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for minutes or until bulgur is tender. Stir in the brown sugar and cinnamon. Divide mixture between bowls. Top with sliced bananas, an additional sprinkling of cinnamon, and more almond milk, if desired. Comments Warm and cozy is the perfect feeling to have when it is cold outside.

Love this recipe! I have a big bag of bulgar and have been looking for new uses for it. This would be lovely with coconut milk! Hope you like it as much as we did! Oh it was amazing! The coconut milk and banana went very well together!