I. The Middle Ages


Information from Procopius Caesarienses1 about a Slav attack on the Balkan Peninsula, in the region of Nis and Thessalonica

6th c.
While in the Illyrian town of Serdica (Sofia) Germanus was gathering and arming a host and was most diligently preparing everything for the war2, the land of the Byzantines was invaded by Slavs in numbers never previously seen.3 They crossed the river Isterus (the Danube) and came to Nis. When several of them strayed from their camp and went wandering each by himself around the lands there, they were captured and bound by some Byzantines, who asked them why and with what intent that Slav force had crossed the river Isterus. They declared that they had come to lay siege to Thessalonica itself and the towns around it. On hearing that, the Emperor was much alarmed and wrote to Germanus to postpone forthwith the march on Italy, and to defend Thessalonica and the other towns, and to repel the Slav attack with all his might. And Germanus set to work. But the Slavs took fright on learning from the prisoners that Germanus was in Serdica, for he had gained a name among those barbarians for the following reason: When Germanus's uncle, Justinian,4 began to rule, the Antae, who lived very close to the Slavs, had crossed the river Isterus with a great army and invaded the Byzantine land. Not long before that, the Emperor had appointed Germanus strategus of the whole of Thrace. It was he that had joined battle with the enemy army, and routed it completely, killing almost all. With this victory, Germanus became famous among all people and especially among those barbarians. That is why the Slavs, as I said, fearing him and also believing that he was in command of a very great army, for he had been sent by the Emperor against Totila and the Goths, immediately gave up their march on Thessalonica and no longer dared to descend onto the plain, but crossed all the Illyrian mountains and reached Dalmatia.
Procopii Caesariensis Opera omnia, rec. J. Haury, I-III, Lipsiae 1905-1913, pp. 475-477; cp. Greek Sources on Bulgarian History, III, pp. 134-135; the original is in Greek
1 A Byzantine chronicler of the 6th c., author of works on the age of Emperor Justinian
2 The war which was being prepared against the Goths, who were led by Totila
3 The Slav invasion of the year 550
4 Justinian I, a Byzantine Emperor (R. 527-565)

Information from John of Ephesus1 on the settlement of Slavs in the Balkan Peninsula

6th c.
In the third year following the death of Justinian and the accession of Tiberius Triumphator2 to the throne, the accursed Slav people appeared and conquered the whole of Hellas, the area around Thessalonica and the whole of Thrace. They captured many towns and fortresses, plundered and laid waste the country with fire and the sword, and lorded it there as freely as in their own country. This lasted for four years, while the Emperor was fighting the Per­sians. That is why they lorded it over the country until God chased them away. Their plundering reached as far as the outer wall.3 All of the Emperor's herds became their spoil. And even now they live carefree and fearless in the Byzan­tine provinces, pillaging, murdering and burning. They have become rich, and they have gold and silver, whole herds of horses and numerous weapons. They have learned to wage war better than the Byzantines.
Johannes von Ephesus, Kirchengeschichte. Aus dem Syrischen von Schonfalder, Munchcn 1862. See K. Irecek, History of the Bulgarians, pp. 58-59.
1 John of Ephesus, a Byzantine chronicler who lived in Constantinople between 558 and 575
2  Tiberius, a Byzantine Emperor (R. 578-582)
3 The wall was built by Emperor Anastasius I early in the 6th c. to protect Constantinople from Slav, Proto-Bulgar and other raids. It reaches from Derkos on the Black Sea to Silimbria on the Sea of Marmara


Information about the miracle of St. Demetrius of Thessalonica and the
settlement of the Proto-Bulgars Maurus and Kouber1 on the Bitola plain
7th c.

On the internecine war secretly plotted against our town by the Bulgarians Maurus and Kouber.

As you know, Christ-loving people, in the preceding chapters we told you in part about the Slavs, i.e. about he who is called Hatson and about the Avars.2 We also related how they devastated almost all Illyricum, namely its provinces: the two Pannonias, also the two Dacias, Dardania, Moesia, Praevalitana, Rhodopa and all other provinces, besides Thrace and the lands by the Long Wall at Constantinople, and the remaining towns and settlements as well. They3 carried off the whole population to the land lying beyond, towards Pannonia by the Danube River.4 The main town of that province was once that which is called Syrmium.5 And so, there, as we have said, the above-mentioned hagan settled all the captive people,6 already as his dependents. It was from that time that they mixed with the Bulgarians, Avars and other tribes and became a huge and numerous people. Every child inherited from his father his inborn qualities and their people's passion for the Byzantine lands ...

And so, Kouber victoriously crossed the aforesaid Danube River with all the above-mentioned people who were with him, came to our lands and took possession of the Keremissian plain.7 Having settled there, they wanted to return to their native towns, chiefly because they had retained their Orthodox faith: some - to our town of Thessalonica, protected by the martyr, others, to the most fortunate town and queen of cities,8 and still others, to the other towns of Thrace.

Miracula Sancti Demetrii, ed. Byeus: AASS, octobris IV, p. 179 C -180 DE; cf. Greek Sources of Bulgarian History, III, pp.158 -159; the original is in Greek
1 Kouber, the Proto-Bulgar chief appointed by the hagan (Khan) of the Avars to head the captured Slw population, who had already mixed with the Proto-Bulgars, the Avars and other tribes.
2 i.e. a reference to the third Avaro-Slav assault on Thessalonica. Hatson was a Slav chieftain
3 i.e. the Avars.
4  Probably at the beginning of the 7th c.
5 The Old Bulgarian Srem, today Sremska Mitrovitsa.
6 Mainly Slavs
7 Most probably the present plain of Bitola
8 i.e. Constantinople

Information from the Byzantine writer Ioannes Cameniata1 about some settlements on the plain of Thessalonica paying taxes to the Bulgarian (Scythian) people

9th-10th c.
In the middle of this plain there are some mixed settlements: some of them pay taxes to the town (Thessalonica) - these are the so-called Dragoviti and Sagoudati;2 other settlements pay taxes to the neighbouring Scythian people,3 situated nearby. Moreover, the settlements are situated in close proximity to each other. They are in contact with the Scythians through trading. This, in ad­dition to the other circumstances, is of great benefit to the people of Thessalonica, particularly when they are in good relations with each other and are not in arms for a cruel war. For a long time in the past this used to be a matter of concern for both sides. They exchange things mutually essential for a joint way of life, preserving a marvelous and profound peace with each other. Big rivers come from the country of the Scythians and, by dividing the above-mentioned plain, bring great abundance to the town through the revenue from fishing and through passage of ships from the sea up the rivers. These ships en­sure a varied flow of goods along these rivers.
loannis Cameniatae De excidio Thessalonicensi, ed. Bonn., pp.495 - 496; V, p.22; the original is in Greek
1 Ioannes Cameniata, a citizen of Thessalonica, who witnessed the Arab conquest of the city in 904. Author of the book The Capture of Thessalonica
2 Slav tribes  
3 i.e. the Bulgarians

Excerpt from the second Life of Nahum concerning the arrival of the disciples of Cyril and Methodius in the Bulgarian lands, and the big monastery and church built by Nahum in Ohrid on the orders of the Bulgarian Tsar Boris

10th c.

The Reverend and Great Father Nahum grew up in Moesia1 and, in ac­cordance with the education /which he received/ from his noble parents, he regarded nobility, wealth and all as the weeds of the field, and he joined Constantine the Philosopher and his brother Methodius, equal to the Apostles, who went about teaching the Moesian and Dalmatian peoples and he followed them everywhere, even as far as ancient Rome ...

After the death of Methodius, the archbishopric was assumed by a Latin named Viglisco.2 Being filled with the heresy of Macedonius and Appolinarius,3 he corrupted the whole teaching of Methodius and he greatly tortured his dis­ciples and put them in dungeons and chains. And when the saints prayed to God, there was a mighty earthquake, and a second time and a third, and everybody ran out of their homes, and the doors of the dungeons were flung open and the chains on arms and legs were torn asunder. And all marveled at this miracle and called the saints great. But the heathens attributed it to Beelzebub, as the Judeans did with my Christ, and with great torture they chased them away from that land.

And they shook the dust from off their feet, as it is said in the Scriptures, and they came to the lands near the Danube. And there, after they had raised by prayer the dead only son of a certain nobleman and had enlightened his household, together with many other /people/ from the village, for which reason they were greatly honoured by all, they at once departed for the great river Danube. There, with prayer and a heavenly miracle they tied three trees with virgin's flower, called on the name of the Holy Trinity and crossed the river and came to Belgrade.4 And there they were greatly honoured by Knyaz Radislav,5 and they gave blessing and joy. Thus, some went towards Moesia, and others to Dalmatia and Dacia, and everywhere they multiplied the word of God a hundred-fold.

Nahum and Clement came to the Illyrian and Lichnidian countries. In Devolski Livan, at the far end of the lake of Ohrid city, between the two rivers, Nahum built a big monastery and church dedicated to the hierarchal Archangel Michael and all heavenly powers, with the means and on the orders of the pious Bulgarian Tsar Mihail Boris and his son. Tsar Simeon, and that was in the year 6413 /= 905/. And, having done everything to please God, the blessed Nahum died there at a great age and rendered up his soul into the hands of God on the 23rd day of December,6 and his venerable body was prepared and anointed by the godly hands of Christ's Bishop Clement of Ohrid and was laid with honours in a grave in the right wing of the church. God glorified him with great miracles and he heals all illnesses and ulcers and casts out devils.

Yordan Ivanov, Bulgarian Antiquities in Macedonia, Naouka i Izkoustvo Publ., 1970, p.313.; Ivan Duichev, Old Bulgarian Literature, Sofia, 1943, pp.62-65; the original is in Old Bulgarian
1 i.e. Bulgaria
2 Bishop Wieching, German by birth, who came to head the Moravian Church following Methodius' death
3 Macedonius and Appolinarius were followers of the Arian faith, according to which the Holy Father and the Holy Son were not a unity
 4Those who arrived in Belgrade were the disciples of Cyril and Methodius - Clement, Nahum, Gorazd and Angelarius
5The Bulgarian ruler in Belgrade
6 Nahum died on December 23, 910

A charter of Romanus II1 shows that the Slav were already being called Bulgarians

To the loannes Kolovou Monastery were donated 40 paroikoi exempt from tax in exchange for the small plots of land which had for a long time belonged to the monastery in the area around Ieriso.2 These paroikoi come from the Slav-Bulgarians settled there.
Известия Императ. Археолог. Общества, V, кол. 17; Yor­dan Ivanov, The Bulgarians in Macedonia, Sofia, 1917 p. 123; the original is in Greek.
1Emperor of Byzantium (959-963)
2 Ieriso is a town in the Chalcidice Peninsula

Tsar Samuil’s Inscription in memoriam of his family

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. I, Samuil, God's servant, write on this cross in memory of /my/ father and /my/ mother and /my/ brother. These are the names of the dead: God's servant Nikola, /Rypsimia and/ David. Written in the year of the Creation 6501 /= 993/ indiction 6.
Yordan Ivanov, Bulgarian Antiquities in Macedonia, Naouka i Izkoustvo Publ., Sofia, 1970, p.25; the original is in Old Bulgarian


The Byzantine historian Leo Grammaticus states that in the Middle Ages the name 'Macedonia' denoted part of Thrace

10th - 11th c.
After Kroum had seized Adrianople, 1 he brought across the Danube and settled by the river many noble Macedonians and extremely large numbers of people ... Setting out for Adrianople, he captured it and transferred from there 12,000 men, not counting the women and children, and settled them along the Danube ... The people, together with the women and children, decided to cross over into Romania2 ... And so the Macedonians despaired, made Tsants and Cordilas their leaders and, engaging in battle, killed many and took some into captivity. The Bulgarians who could not cross over, fled to the Ugri,3 telling them everything about the Macedonians ... On the next day, when they wanted to set out, the Huns4 again appeared to fight against them. Then another Macedonian, by the name of Leo, of the family of the Gimostes, who afterwards became Heteriarch, rose up in arms together with other prominent Macedonians. They put them to flight and chased them away. Returning, they came on board the ships and fled to the Emperor. They were favoured by him and returned to Macedonia, to their country.5
Leonis Grammatici Chronographia, ed. Bonn., 1842, pp.208, 231-233; the original is in Greek
1 Adrianople was seized in 813
2 Under Romania here are designated the European parts of Byzantium, i.e. Thrace
3 i.e. the Hungarians.
4 i.e. the Hungarians.
5 i.e. Thrace with Adrianople as its centre

The Western writer Thietmarus reports on the Bulgarian envoys to Emperor Otto I


After this he /Otto I/1 went to Quedlinburg where he stayed to spend the coming Easter in church celebrations and worldly pleasures. There on the Emperor's orders were assembled the Princes Mieszko and Boleslaw and the envoys of the Greeks, the Beneventians, the Hungarians, the Bulgarians, the Danes and the Slavs2 together with all notables from the entire Kingdom. After settling everything in a peaceful fashion, they returned to their countries pleased and loaded with bountiful gifts.
Thietmari Chronicon, MGH, SS, m, p.753; Latin Sources of Bulgarian History, II, pp.349 -350; the original is in Latin
1 Otto I, German Emperor (R. 936-973). The arrival of Bulgarian envoys at his court shows that in that time Bulgaria was not conquered. The Bulgarian envoys went at the request of the Kometopouli brothers: David, Moisei (Moses), Aaron and Samuil.
2 These are the Western Slavs

The Inscription of die Bulgarian Tsar Ivan Vladislav1 concerning a fortress which he built in Bitola

11th c.

/In the year 6523 (= 1015) from the creation of the world this fortress was erected/ built and made by Ivan Autocrat of the Bulgarians with the help and prayers of Our Sovereign, the Holy Mother of God, and the intercession of the Twelve and of /the two/ supreme apostles. This fortress was made /as/ a sanc/tuary/, for the salvation and the life of the Bulgarians. The Bitola fortress was begun in the month of October on the 20th /day/ and was completed in the month ... at the end ... was Bulgarian by birth ...

A. Bourmov, A Newly-Found Old Bulgarian Inscription in the People's Republic of Macedonia, review Plamuk, No. 10, year III, 1959, p. 84.
Yordan Zaimov, the Bitola Inscription of Ivan Vladislav, Bulgarian Tsar, an Old Bulgarian Monument of the years 1015-1016, Published by the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences), Sofia, 1970, pp.33-34 . cf. V. Moshnin, The Bitola Plaque of 1017, Makedonski Yazik review, year XVII, 1966, pp.51 61;
the original is in Old Bulgarian
1 Ivan Vladislav, Bulgarian Tsar (1015-1018)


Information by the Byzantine writer Cecaumenus1 about the Bulgarians in Macedonia and about the Bulgarian tsars Samuil and Ivan Vladislav

11th c.

... In everything help the needy. And truly, the rich man is god for the poor man, because he favours him. It is for this reason that the Bulgarians call the wealthy bogat (rich), which means bogopodoben (god-like) ...

Demetnas is a coastal town in Hellas, protected by the sea and by the adjacent marshes. Delyan (a Bulgarian toparchos) conquered it. After seizing the town, he sent there the old warrior Litovoy of Devol, experienced in military matters (in the language of the Bulgarians the strategus is called chelnik) and provided him with troops for the protection of the fortress ...

If the enemy remains within the fortress and does not come out, and you do not know what troops he has, take it from me that he is not numerous and that he lacks strength. Nevertheless, you should not underrate him, and if you have troops, do not allow him to relax but send light horsemen to find a way through which troops can sweep over him ... And when you find a road, do not come out into the open but stay facing him, and send troops to penetrate through the way you have discovered. Let them have an able man as a guide. When they get in, let them make a fire, if it is during the night, but, if they get in during the day, let them make smoke. And watch out! When you see that they are perplexed and confused, you should pounce on them. It was in this way that, in the gorge of Zagora, the porphyrogenitus Emperor Lord Basil2 cap­tured fourteen thousand Bulgarians, headed by the excellent warrior Samuil.

If you set out to fight against some people or some fortress, first of all, after you have settled and built a camp, arrange the troops in the camp - each in his unit. Do not set up your camp very near lest you be observed by them. After you have settled your troops and have rested, then if you wish, begin the battle, either against the population or against the fortress. Hear, in fact, how badly those fared who did not observe this rule. Thessalonica is a town ... pop­ulous ... /Alusianus,3 setting out/ with a great multitude of Bulgarians, so as to conquer it, did not put up his tent first, settling his troops in a suitable place but, as he was proceeding with the supply-column, approached the town walls and started the assault. His troops were exhausted from fatigue and the dif­ficulties, because even those who are distinguished by their strength and soundness of body may become slack and inert when wearied from a long journey. And since he did not establish them in a camp, as I have mentioned, they scattered hither and thither, some wanting to drink water, others to give their horses some rest, and still others - to recover from their fatigue. When those inside the fortress saw them wandering about in a disorderly manner, they came out all of a sudden, attacked the Bulgarians and inflicted a great defeat upon them ...

While my late grandfather Cecaumenus was in Larissa as governor of Hellas, the Bulgarian ruler Samuil often tried either by war or by stratagem to capture Larissa but failed, and was repulsed and outwitted by him...

Pliris is a river with a wide valley spreading out on both sides of its banks. It flows across the land of the Wallachians, dividing it into two. Nikolitsa set up his camp there, gathered the Wallachians and the Bulgarians who lived nearby, and thus he collected numerous troops.

Strategicon et Incerti scrtptoris de officiis regiis Libellus, ed. B.Wassiliewsky - V. Jernstedt,Petropoli, 1896; Journal of the Historico-philological faculty, Part XXXVIII, pp. 3, 17-18, 28;
Записки Историко-филолог. Факультета Императ. С.-петербургского университета, часть XXXVIII, стр.. 3,17-18, 22, 28, 64-74;
the original is in Greek
1 Byzantine writer. His grandfather on his mother's side was an eminent nobleman at the court of Samuil. Cecaumenus lived for a long time in the western parts of Bulgaria and knew Bulgarian well.
2 Basil II, called Killer of Bulgarians (Bulgaroctonus), Byzantine Emperor (976-1025), who con­quered the whole of Bulgaria in 1018.
3 Son of Ivan Vladislav

Charters granted by the Byzantine Emperor Basil II (1019, 1020, 1020-1025) to the Bulgarian Church after his conquest of Bulgaria

11th c.

First Charter

Many and great are the favours which man-loving God has at different times conferred upon our Empire and which surpass all number; the greatest of them is that the Byzantine State has expanded and that the State of the Bulgarians has passed under one yoke /with it/.

Therefore on account of this we confirm the most pious monk Ioan1 to be Archbishop of Bulgaria and to direct affairs relating to the archbishopric.

And since he asked for the kleroikoi and paroikoi 2 obliged to work for the churches of his diocese, as well as for the bishops subordinate to him, to be determined in writing, we give him the present sigilium of our Majesty by which we order:

The Archbishop himself shall have, in the towns of his diocese, i.e. in Ohrid, Prespa, Mokro and in Kichevo, 40 kleroikoi and 30 paroikoi.

Second Charter
Since, following the issue of this sigilium referring to the scope of each Bulgarian archbishopric, the holiest Archbishop of Bulgaria asked our Majesty to issue another sigilium concerning his other bishoprics not listed in the first sigilium and the other bishoprics subordinate to him, because the neighbouring metropolitans had seized them from the Bulgarian region and had misap­propriated them, and since our Majesty does not allow any one of them or of their people to make even one step into the boundaries of the Bulgarian region, we therefore decree that the present most holy Archbishop shall possess and govern all the Bulgarian bishoprics, as well as all other towns which were under the power of Tsar Peter and Samuil and were also held by the archbishops of that time. Because it was not without blood, toil and sweat, but by years long persistence and with God's help that this country was granted in subordination to us by God, whose goodness clearly helped us, blending into one the divided parts and putting under one yoke the boundaries, without in any way infringing the rules well established by those reigning before us. Because, although we became the possessor of the land, we still preserved its rights intact, reaffirming them by our royal decrees and sigilia. We also lay down that the present most holy Archbishop of Bulgaria shall have a diocese as large as that under Tsar Peter, and that he shall possess and govern all bishoprics of Bulgaria, i.e. not only those mentioned in the first sigilium but also those omitted and not in­dicated together with the others and which through the present sigilia are an­nounced and listed by name. To them, as to the others, we present kleroikoi and paroikoi.
We, therefore, decree that the Bishop of Dristra3 shall have in the towns of his bishopric and in the other towns around it 40 kleroikoi and 40 paroikoi. Because during the reign of Peter in Bulgaria this /bishopric/ shone with archiepiscopal dignity and then the archbishops /of it/ moved from one place to another, one to Triaditsa,4 the other to Voden and Moglena, and after this we found the present Archbishop in Ohrid. Wherefore /we decree/ that Ohrid itself shall have an archbishop, while another bishop shall be consecrated for Dristra.
We decree that the most holy Archbishop of Bulgaria shall possess not only those bishoprics mentioned by name but, if there be others situated in Bulgarian lands and not mentioned through oversight, we decree that he shall possess and govern them as well. Whatever other towns were omitted in the charters of our Majesty, these shall be possessed by the same Archbishop and he shall collect canonicon from them all as well as from the Wallachians throughout Bulgaria and from the Turks around the Vardar insofar as they are within the Bulgarian boundaries.
And all strategi in Bulgaria and the other officials and archons shall hold him in great respect and listen to his word and precepts, shall not interfere in the affairs of any Bulgarian monastery, church or any ecclesiastical matter whatsoever and shall not obstruct either him or his subordinate God-fearing bishops and shall not hinder them, lest such people draw upon themselves the great and merciless wrath of our Majesty.
For this reason and for the information of the Emperors after us, we drew up this sigilium and gave it to the most holy Archbishop, stamping it with the molybdovoul of our Kingdom in the month of May, indiction 3, year 6528 /1020/.
Yordan Ivanov, Bulgarian antiquities in Macedonia, Sofia, 1931, pp.547-562; cf. ГИБИ, VI, pp.40-41, 44-47; the original is in Greek.
Third Charter
The present sigilium of our Majesty5 is given to the most holy Archbishopric of Bulgaria, so that it may, without let or hindrance, take posses­sion of the following bishoprics, namely those of Servia, Stag6 and Berrhoea, because they, too, lie within the Bulgarian boundaries. With this present sigilium we attached them to the remaining bishoprics and subordinated them to the Archbishopric of Bulgaria, and decided to endow them also with kleroikoi and paroikoi:
to the Bishop of Stag, 12 paroikoi and 12 kleroikoi.
to the Bishop of Berrhoea, 30 paroikoi and 30 kleroikoi.
to the Servian bishopric they were given according to the first sigilium, and this is not to be interfered with.
Yordan Ivanov, Bulgarian Antiquities in Macedonia, Sofia, 1931, pp. 547-562; cf. ГИБИ, VI, pp. 40-41, 44-47; the original is in Greek
1 Bulgarian Patriarch acknowledged by Basil II as “Archbishop of Bulgaria.” He was probably a Bulgarian from Debur
2  Kleroikoi and paroikoi were dependent persons
3  Present-day Silistra
4 Present-day Sofia
5 According to Novakovic. Opus cit, p. 62: this charter also dates from 1020; Yordan Ivanov, Dioceses of the Ohrid Archbishopric, p. 95, places its publication after this date.
6 Stag or Stayn, present-day Kalabaka, north-east of Trikala in Thessaly.

The Western chronicler Pulcherius, a participant in the First Crusade, describes his passing through Macedonia

After being detained for three days amidst high waves with a wind that was already abating, on the fourth day we reached land near the town of Dyrrachium, as I estimate, about ten miles from it. Moreover, our fleet took shelter in two ports. Then, filled with joy, we took the road on land and passed through the town mentioned above. And so we went on across the Bulgarian regions, across steep mountain slopes and waste lands. Then we all reached the rapid river of Devol, which is rightly called so by the local inhabitants. Because we saw how many men hoping to wade through it step by step were suddenly drowned by the current of the powerful water, none of those looking on from either side being able to help them ... Early in the morning at crack of dawn and at the sounds of the bugles we set out, and began climbing the mountain called Bagulatus.1 Afterwards we crossed the mountains and the towns of Lucretia, Botella,2 Bofinat,3 Stella,4 we reached a river called Vardar ... The next day, after crossing it, we pitched our tents before the town of Thessalonica, which abounded in all goods.
Receuil des historiens des Croisades. Historiens orientaux. III, p. 331;  the original is in Latin
1 i.e. the mountain Baba Gora
2 Present-day Bitola
3 A hitherto unidentified settlement.
4 Possibly Pella

The Byzantine writer Michel Psellos reports on the uprising of the Bulgarians under the leadership of Peter Delyan

11th c

I know well that many who, in historical narratives, relate the life of the Emperor, will perhaps say things different from what we have written. Because at that time a view at variance with the truth tended to prevail. But I, having taken part in the events themselves and knowing from people closest to him more secret things, am a fair judge, only let nobody reproach me for making known what I have seen and heard. Perhaps most of the things I have said will, indeed, open a door to calumny on the part of the malicious but, on the other hand, I do not know whether anyone will doubt what I am going to say. However, what the Emperor did and ordered about the internecine mutinies and the wars with the other peoples would be too long to relate in full. For this reason, from all the events it is the struggle against the barbarians that I will choose and I will touch briefly on its main aspects.

And so the /Bulgarian/ tribe after numerous exploits and battles became part of the Byzantine Empire, since the well-known Basil, who distinguished himself among all emperors, made, as is recounted, their country his prey and crushed their power. Thus weakened in every respect, they relied on Byzantine strength. But, after having endured such a defeat, within a short period of time, they reverted to their previous haughtiness. For some time they did not display overt mutiny. When, however, there appeared a man ready to rouse their daring, they all assumed a hostile attitude.

What provoked them to such folly - according to them, a miracle, originated from their tribe. He was a man, whose kin was not worthy of mention, a double-dealer by nature and most skilled in deceiving his tribesmen. His name was Delyan1 and I do not know whether he had received this nickname from his father or he had invented it himself. When he realized that the entire people wanted to break away from the Byzantines but that for the lack of an initiator and leader they remained only with intentions, he first of all began to put himself forward as the most worthy and experienced in giving counsel and also as extremely versed in military affairs. Having later won their good will, the only thing he lacked was a brilliant origin so that he could be raised to the supreme power (because the Bulgarians are accustomed to appoint as leaders of the people those of royal descent). Knowing that this was so, both by tradition and by law, he linked himself to the celebrated Samuil and his brother Aaron, who had ruled and reigned over the entire people not long ago. He did not claim to be a legitimate scion of royal stock, but lied and said that he was an offshoot of this stock. In this way he easily convinced them and they entrusted him with power lifting him up upon a shield. And then, declaring their intentions, they broke away, threw off the Byzantine yoke and arbitrarily proclaimed their freedom. After that, they began to invade the Byzantine lands and to plunder them.

Had the barbarians dared to commit such a folly at the time of the Autocrat's succession to the imperial throne, they would have immediately understood what kind of an Emperor they were dealing with. Because then his body was in its prime and full of strength to withstand dangers, and it was not difficult for him to take up arms, to enter their lands with his chosen strategi and to teach them not to break away so quickly from the Byzantines. Their rebellion broke out2 when he was already waning and his body was in a pitiful condition, when he suffered from the slightest movement and could hardly endure his garments. It was precisely then that they decided to play with royal power as on the stage and to enjoy the illusion for a brief period of time until the spiritual strength of the Emperor and his striving for good deeds gave him unexpected vigour and, by raising his spirit, carried him against them.

As soon as he heard of this, even before the news was fully uttered, he immediately decided to go to war against them and to lead the entire army in person. But his body hampered him and the disease impeded his intentions. Moreover, the members of the Senate opposed his intentions in every respect and his relatives insistently begged him not to leave the capital at all. He was in despair and was burning with impatience for nothing less than a war against the Bulgarians, because the situation was becoming terrible and, as he himself used to say, in the event of his not adding anything to the Empire of the Byzantines, or some part being severed from it, he feared that he would be held responsible both before the people and before God, if he were to accept what had happened lightly, thus making it appear that the Bulgarians had split from the Byzantines with his consent.

This tormented the Emperor much more than his bodily pains, and the evil came from these two conflicting pains, because, on the one hand, the disease puffed up his body and, on the other, he tormented himself and wasted away because of the events. Thus he was torn by these two conflicting sufferings. And so, before overcoming the barbarians, he overcame his relatives and won a victory over relations, friends and himself, because his spiritual zeal gave strength to his sick body; he gave himself into the hands of God and began to prepare for war. He worked out a plan, determined his objective and did everything to achieve it; he did not rush in a disorderly manner, but - I will not enumerate everything in order - trained the army well in advance. Thus he did not put the entire army in motion, nor did he rely on numbers but after selecting those troops and strategi most experienced in military matters, he set out with them against the Scythians, advancing in battle order and lining up his army in accordance with the rules of strategy.

When he reached the borders of the Bulgarians, he pitched camp in a suitable place and first held a council meeting and then decided to fight against them - something most incredible, over which even those there present hesitated, because at night he would receive treatment and could hardly breathe, but as soon as day broke he would get up suddenly as if someone had given him strength. He would mount his horse, sit firm in the saddle and hold the horse's reins in his powerful hands. He would then proceed, personally commanding the ranks, filling with wonder all those who were watching him.

The war had not yet started when something very strange occurred, similar to the strange things happening to the Emperor. And thus the most charming son of Aaron (he had been tsar of his people), named Alusianus,3 a man of gentle disposition, brilliant mind and remarkable situation, became the most important cause for the Emperor's victory, not by his own choosing but, on the contrary, by striving towards the opposite. But God, who guided him, turned the critical situation into a victory for the Emperor.

Furthermore, this Alusianus was not looked upon very favourably by the Emperor. He did not participate in the Senate, had obtained no high rank but was ordered to stay at home and not to come to Byzantium except when asked by the Emperor himself. He was dispirited and angry with this situation but up till then he had been unable to undertake anything. When he learned what was happening among the /Bulgarian/ people and that due to lack of a person of royal descent they had elected the illegitimate pretender as Tsar, he undertook an act of extreme youthful daring. He abandoned his children, disregarded his love for his spouse, not daring to confide his intention to any of them except a few of his men whom he knew were capable of reckless deeds of daring and made so bold as to set out for the West from almost the farthest end of the East. Lest anything should be discovered and lest he should be recognized by the people in the capital, he fully disguised himself not only by discarding part of his old clothing and leaving the other part on, but by dressing as a mercenary and thus he hid himself from the eyes of all.

Moreover, as he later told me himself, he came two or three times to the Capital to see the author of this narrative. He was intimate with me and gladly called on me, nevertheless I did not recognize him, neither did any one of those he approached. And thus he also escaped from the multi-eyed vigilance of the Orphanotroph: 4 even he too failed to catch him. Nevertheless, his sudden dis­appearance alerted the authorities /and they decided/ to find and catch him if possible. And having hidden himself (so to say) from the eyes of all, he arrived in the land of the Bulgarians. Here he did not reveal himself at once to the mul­titude but approached a few individually and spoke to them of his father as of a stranger. He glorified his kin and tried to find out whether, if some of his sons appeared, the rebels would prefer the legitimate to the illegitimate son, or whether, since the latter had already taken his position at the head of everything, they would pay him no attention.

When he saw that all preferred the true son before the dubious, /Alusianus/ ventured somehow to reveal himself secretly to one whom he knew with certainty to be a very ardent adherent of his family. He immediately fastened his eyes upon him because he knew him well and, recognizing his face, fell at his feet and began to kiss them. He then wanted to see some secret mark so as to banish all doubt; it was a black spot on his right elbow covered with thick hair. As soon as he saw it, he embraced him still more strongly and began to kiss his neck and chest. Then both skillfully got down to work, separately ap­proaching everyone and so gradually gave strength to the rumour. And thus most Bulgarians switched their favour to the legitimate son. And so one-man rule became something like multiple rule, because some preferred the one and others - the other. Then they brought the two leaders together, reconciled them to each other and then the two began to work together and to confer with each other, although each was suspicious of the other.

Alusianus, however, anticipating Delyan's perfidious plan and, having caught him suddenly, cut his nose and gouged out his eyes with a kitchen knife. In this way, the Scythian people once again rallied under one rule. Alusianus, however, did not immediately go over to the side of the Emperor but set out against him with the troops. Engaging in battle with him, he was beaten and saved himself by flight. Then, having understood that he could not easily stand against the Byzantine Emperor and remembering his relatives, he secretly in­formed the Emperor that, if he would confer on him his benevolence and other honours, Alusianus would give himself up, together with everything he had. The Emperor accepted the proposal and again still more secretly, as he wished, began to negotiate with him. So Alusianus set out for the second time as if ready for battle but all of a sudden abandoned his army and went over to the Emperor. The autocrat, having conferred the greatest honours on him, sent him to Byzantium. He put to flight and defeated the /Bulgarian/ people who had already been exhausted by various battles, and since they were without a leader, he subordinated them to the same Empire against which they had risen in revolt, and he triumphantly returned to the Capital city, bringing many prisoners and, of course, the most prominent among them and their leader himself - the illegitimate pretender, with his nose cut off and his eyes plucked out.

And thus /the Emperor/ solemnly entered the capital with the whole town gathering to meet him. I saw him then how he was swaying on his horse as at a funeral. His fingers holding the reins looked like the fingers of a giant, because each of them had the thickness and size of a hand (so bad were his internal organs), and his face had not retained a single trace of its previous appearance. Led in this manner, he entered the palace in solemn triumph, after making the prisoners pass through the theatre and showing the Byzantines that a strong spirit resurrects the dead and that the urge to do exploits conquers the weakness of the body.


Michel Psellos, Chronographie ou histoire d'un siecle de Byzance (976 - 1077), texte etablie et traduit par E. Renauld, I, II; Paris, 1926 1928; I, pp.75 83; cf. ГИБИ, VI, pp.94-99; the original is in Greek
1 Delyan claimed to be the son of Gavril-Radomir
2 Delyan's uprising broke out in 1040.
3 Alusianus was not the son but the grandson of Aaron.
4 The Orphanotroph was the main warden of the orphanage in Constantinople. In this case Orphanotroph was Ioannes, brother of Michael IV, Emperor of Byzantium (1034-1041)

  Information from the Byzantine historian Scylitzes1 on rebellions in Bulgaria under Tsar Peter, and on Tsar Samuil's Bulgarian origin
  late 11th - early 12th c.

The Tsar of the Bulgarians, Peter,2 was opposed by his brother Ivan together with other Bulgarian noblemen. But Ivan was caught, whipped and thrown into jail and all the others were subjected to the heaviest punish­ments...

Mihail, the other brother of Peter, also dreamed of seizing power in Bulgaria. He captured a strong fortress and spread unrest throughout the Bulgarian state and many Bulgarians joined him. He soon died, however, and his adherents, because they were afraid of Peter's wrath, entered the Byzantine lands by way of Macedonia, Strymon and Hellas ...

Peter, Tsar of the Bulgarians, renewed the peace immediately after his wife's death and concluded a treaty with the Emperors and gave as hostages his own sons Boris and Roman. Not long afterwards, he died. After this his sons were sent to Bulgaria to occupy their father's Kingdom and to stop the advance of the Kometopouli. Because David, Moses, Aaron and Samuil, sons of one of the powerful comites of Bulgaria, were / planning an uprising and were/ spreading unrest throughout the Bulgarian State ...

Georgii Cedreni Compendium historiarum, ed. Bonn., II, pp.312, 313, 346, cf; ГИБИ, VI, p.257; the original is in Greek
1 A Byzantine annalist, the most exhaustive source for the reign of Samuil
2 Peter (927-969), son of the Bulgarian Tsar Simeon

  The Byzantine historian Scylitzes describes how Samuil, son of a Bulgarian noble, became ruler of all Bulgaria
11th-12th c.
Immediately after the death of Emperor Ioannes1 the Bulgarians rose in revolt and four brothers were chosen to govern them: David, Moses, Aaron and Samuil, sons of one of the all-powerful comites of the Bulgarians and for this reason named Kometopouli...Of the four brothers, David was immediately killed by some Wallachian vagabonds between Castoria, Prespa and the so-called “Fair Oak Wood.” While besieging Seres, Moses was hit by a stone cast from the wall and died. Aaron was killed by his brother Samuil on July 142 in the place called Razmetanitsa, together with all his kin, because he was a sup­porter, so they say, of the Byzantines, or because he was trying to seize power for himself. Only his son Vladislav Ivan was saved by Samuil's son Radomir Roman. Thus Samuil became the absolute ruler of all Bulgaria ...
Georgii Cedreni compendium, op. cit., pp. 434-435; cf. ГИБИ, VI. p. 275; the original is in Greek

1 Ioannes Tzimisces, Emperor of Byzantium, died in 976
2 986

  The Byzantine historian Scylitzes describes the wars between Bulgaria under Tsar Samuil and Byzantium
11th-12th c.

Samuil set out against Thessalonica and deployed the main part of his army in ambushes and traps, and he sent only a small part on an incursion to Thessalonica itself ... Samuil camped on the opposite bank. Because of the torrential rains, the river rose and caused floods, so that no battle was expected at that moment. The magister, however, by inspecting the upper and lower reaches of the river, found a place through which he thought he could cross. In the night, having roused his troops, he crossed the river and attacked Samuil's soldiers in their carefree sleep. A very large number of them were massacred, without anybody thinking of defense. Samuil himself and his son Roman were wounded, receiving grave wounds, and would have been taken prisoners, had they not mixed with the dead, lying as though dead. When night fell, they secretly fled towards the Aetolian Mountains and from there, across the peaks of these mountains, crossed the Pindus and took refuge in Bulgaria. And the magister, after freeing the Byzantines who had been taken prisoners, and strip­ping the Bulgarians who had fallen, looted the enemy camp and with very rich booty returned to Thessalonica with his troops...

In 6508, indiction 13, /= 999/ the Emperor sent a strong army against the Bulgarian fortresses beyond the Haemus Mountains ... The Byzantine troops captured Great and Little Preslav, as well as Pliska, and returned unscathed and victorious.

The following year, the Emperor again set out against the Bulgarians via Thessalonica. He was joined by the governor of Berrhoea,1 Dobromir, who sur­rendered the town to the Emperor and was honoured with the dignity of anthypatus. The defender of Servia2 Nikola, who, because of his small stature was called by the diminutive name of Nikolitsa, put up valiant resistance and cheerfully endured the siege imposed on him. The Emperor, however, set himself the task of capturing the fortress and succeeded, taking Nikolitsa himself prisoner. He deported the Bulgarians from there and left a garrison of Byzantines. After all this he returned to the capital, taking Nikolitsa with him, whom he honoured with the title of patrician. But the inconstant Nikolitsa es­caped from there and returning secretly to Samuil, together with him began to besiege Servia. The Emperor, however, moved swiftly and lifted the siege from the town and Nikolitsa fled with Samuil... The Emperor went to Thessaly and rebuilt the fortresses destroyed by Samuil, while those which were in the hands of Bulgarians he captured by siege and resettled the Bulgarians in the so-called Voleron.3 After posting strong garrisons in all fortresses, he returned to the place known as Voden. Voden is a small fortress situated on steep cliffs where the waters of the Ostrovo Lake fall after running unseen below the ground and coming to the surface again at this place. As the inhabitants of this town did not surrender of their own free will, the Emperor took it by siege. He deported them also to Voleron, then installed a strong guard in the town and returned to Thessalonica.


In the following year, indiction 15 /= 1003/, the Emperor set out on a campaign against Vidin and captured it by force after full eight months of siege. While he was busy with the siege, Samuil with a swift movement suddenly fell on Adrianople on the very feast of the Assumption of the Virgin. With a sudden assault he also seized the fair annually held there and attended by a great crowd and, after collecting much booty, he returned to his country. And the Emperor, after fortifying Vidin very well returned to the capital without losses, having devastated and destroyed all the Bulgarian fortresses on his way. When he ap­proached the town of Skopje, he found Samuil calmly camping across the Axios river, which is now called Vardar. Relying on the river being in flood and thus impossible to ford, he had set up his camp in a negligent manner. But a soldier found a ford and led the Emperor through it. Shocked by his sudden appearance, Samuil hastily fled in confusion, and his tent and the entire camp were captured. And the town of Skopje was surrendered to the Emperor by Roman, the son of Peter, Tsar of the Bulgarians, and brother of Boris, called also Simeon after his grandfather and placed there as governor by Samuil. The Emperor received him and after honouring him for his decision with the title of patrician and prepositor, sent him as a strategus to Abydos.

Continuing from there, the Emperor set out for Pernik, whose defender was Krakra, a man excellent in military matters. He spent a considerable time there and lost no small number of soldiers in the siege. Finding the fortress im­pregnable and Krakra impervious to flattery or other promises and proposals, he returned to Philippopolis, whence he returned to Constantinople.

Georgii Cedreni compendium, op. cit, pp. 449-456; cf. ГИБИ, VI, pp. 278, 280, 283 285; the original is in Greek
1 Present-day Ber
2 Present-day Selfidje
3 A region to the east of the lower part of the river Mesta
The Byzantine historian Scylitzes describes the blinding of 15,000 captured Bulgarian soldiers by Basil II, the death of Samuil and the conquest of all Bulgaria
11th-12th c.

Every year the Emperor continued to invade Bulgaria and devastated and laid waste everything on his way. Samuil could not put up opposition in the open field, nor could he come out in an open battle against the Emperor, and he suffered defeats on all sides and began to lose his strength. For this reason he decided to dig trenches and block the Emperor's road to Bulgaria ... The Emperor was already losing hope of getting through when Nicephorus Xiphias, appointed it that time by him as strategus of Philippopolis, persuaded him to remain there and to keep up his constant assaults on the barrier, saying that he would go to see whether he could not do something advantageous and salutary. And so, having taken his soldiers ..., all of a sudden, with cries and noise, he appeared on high ground in the rear of the Bulgarians. Terrified by his sudden appearance, they fled. The Emperor destroyed the abandoned palisade and began to pursue them. Many were slain and many more were captured. Samuil was barely saved from death by his son, who valiantly warded off the attackers. He put him on a horse and led him to the fortress called Prilep. And the Emperor blinded the captive Bulgarians, about 15,000 so they say, ordering each group of one hundred to be led by a soldier with one eye, and thus sent them to Samuil. When the latter saw them coming in rows of equal numbers he could not stand this suffering courageously and in silence, but became unwell, fainted and fell to the ground. Those present tried to restore his breathing with water and perfumes and succeeded in bringing him round a little. When he had recovered consciousness, he asked for cold water, but after taking a drink, he suffered a heart attack, and two days later he died. His son Gavril, called also Roman, who surpassed his father in might and force but was far inferior to him in wisdom and reason, took power over the Bulgarians. He was Samuil's son by a slave girl from Larissa. He began to rule on September 15, indiction 13 /1014/. A year had not passed before he was murdered while out hunting by Aaron's son, Ivan Vladislav, whom he had rescued from death when he was about to perish.

Before these occurrences, at the time when Theophylactus Botaniates was sent as governor of Thessalonica, following Arianites, David Nestoritsa, a Bulgarian noble, was sent by Samuil with a large army against Thessalonica. Theophylactus met them with his son Michael, engaged in battle against them and utterly defeated them. He took much booty and many prisoners and brought them to the Emperor, who was besieging the barrier at the Gorge of Kleidion.1 Passing through the barrier, as we have already said, the Emperor advanced to Stroumitsa and captured the fortress, called Matzukion, situated near Stroumitsa. He also sent the Thessalonica duke Theophylactus Botaniates with his troops, ordering him to cross the hills at Stroumitsa, so as to burn the palisades on the roads to them and open a convenient road for him to Thessalonica. He set out, and the Bulgarians guarding these places let him pass everywhere unimpeded along the road. But when he was preparing to return to the Emperor after having fulfilled his orders, he fell into ambushes set up for this purpose and waiting in a long and narrow pass. When he entered it, sur­rounded from all sides and showered from above with stones and arrows, he fell dead without anyone being able to help him and without being able to make use of his hands, owing to the narrow and impassable place. A large part of the army perished with him. When this was reported to the Emperor, he was filled with great sorrow. It was because of this that he did not dare advance but turned back and arrived in Zagoria where the extremely strong fortress of Melnik stood, built on a rock and encircled on all sides by steep and very deep precipices. The Bulgarians from the area had gathered there and were not at all interested in the Byzantines. The Emperor sent to them one of his menservants, a   eunuch named Sergius, an intelligent and eloquent man, to find out what their mood was. Once there, he succeeded by dint of much persuasion in con­vincing these people to lay down their arms and to surrender, together with the fortress, to the Emperor. The Emperor received them and conferred honours upon them, and leaving a sufficient garrison in the fortress, he returned to Mosynopolis.2 While he was there, they informed him also of Samuil's death on October 24. The Emperor immediately left Mosynopolis and went down towards   Thessalonica,   and  from  there  he  went  to   Pelagonia,  without devastating the lands on his way, and merely burning Gavril’s palaces in Buteli.3 Having sent troops, he captured the fortresses of Prilep and Stip. From there he reached the river called Cherna, which he crossed on rafts and inflated skins and returned to Voden , whence on January 9 /1015/ he went to Thessalonica.

In the early spring the Emperor again returned to Bulgaria and set out for the fortress of Voden, because its inhabitants, betraying their loyalty to the Emperor, had taken up arms against the Byzantines. Moreover, he strongly besieged the town and compelled them to surrender, after receiving guarantees. He again deported them to Voleron, and in the middle of the pass he erected two other fortresses, one of which he named Kardia, and the other Saint Elijah, and returned to Thessalonica. There, through a Byzantine who had lost one hand, Roman Gavril sent a promise of submission and obedience. The Emperor treated the letter with suspicion and he sent an army under Nicephorus Xiphias and Constantine Diogenes, who had become strategus of Thessalonica after Botaniates, to the region of Moglena. After they devastated all this land and besieged the town, the Emperor himself arrived. He diverted the river that flowed by the city and, having undermined the foundations of the walls, he threw wood and other easily inflammable substances into the excavations and set them on fire. When the combustible substances burned out, the wall crumbled. On seeing this, the besieged began to weep and plead, and sur­rendered, together with the fortress. And so Dometian Kaukhanus,4 a noble and counselor to Gavril, the governor of Moglena Ilitsa and many other noblemen and a considerable number of soldiers were captured. And so the Emperor sent those fit to bear arms to Asprakania, while the other non-combatants he ordered to be plundered and the fortress to be burned. Another fortress, called Enotia, adjacent to Moglena, also fell.

On the fifth day the handless Byzantine arrived together with officials of Ivan Vladislav, Aaron's son. He carried a letter in which Ivan Vladislav reported that he had killed Gavril in Petrisk5 and that he had assumed full power. /In the letter/ he also promised to offer the Emperor the submission and obedience due to him. Having read the letter and reaffirmed his decision with a royal decree, the Emperor sent envoys to Ivan. In a few days’ time the Greek with the severed hand again returned with a letter from Ivan and the Bulgarian notables, who declared that they were ready to become subjects and slaves of the Emperor. Kaukhanus, the brother of Dometian, who had been captured in Moglena, also joined the Emperor. The Emperor received him and held him in esteem. When he realized that Ivan had written the letter with cunning and duplicity and that he was thinking the opposite of what he promised, he again returned to Bulgaria and devastating the areas around Ostrovo, Sosk, as well as the plain of Pelagonia, he blinded all the Bulgarians whom he captured. And thus he reached the town of Ohrid, where the palaces of the Tsars of Bulgaria stood. After he had occupied the town and made all the necessary arrangements, he decided to proceed further and to go to Dyrrachium because affairs there required his presence. And indeed, as long as Vladimir,6 who was married to Samuil's daughter, a just, peace-loving and virtuous man, was in possession of Trimalia and the lands in the vicinity of Servia, peace reigned in Dyrrachium. But after Gavril had been murdered by Ivan, Vladimir trusted the oaths which Ivan passed on to him through David, the Archbishop of Bulgaria, gave himself up and was soon killed. Then great confusion and disorder set in there, because Ivan frequently tried in every way through military commanders and personally to recapture the town. The Emperor, therefore, wanted to go to help him but was stopped by a serious consideration. Because on his march to Ohrid he had left in the rear the strategus Georgius Gonitziates and the cap­tured protospatharius Orestes with a large army, ordering them to devastate the plains of Pelagonia.7 The Bulgarians, however, led by the military commander Ivats, a most outstanding and well-tried man, caught them in an ambush and killed them all. Seized with sorrow for them, the Emperor returned to Pelagonia and pursuing Ivats closely, reached Thessalonica and then went to Mosynopolis. He sent against Stroumitsa a force under the patrician David Arianites, who appeared suddenly and captured the fort called Thermitsa.8 He sent another force under Xiphias against the fortresses near Triaditsa. Having taken all fortresses situated in the open, he besieged and captured the fortress called Boion /Boyana/.


That same year 6524, indiction 14 /1016/, the Emperor left the Capital and set out for Triaditsa. He encircled the fortress of Pernik and besieged it but its defenders fought valiantly and courageously and many Byzantines were killed. The Emperor maintained the siege for a full 88 days but, understanding that he had undertaken something impossible, he withdrew, without doing anything, and returned to Mosynopolis. He left his army to rest there an$, with the coming of spring, he left Mosynopolis, invaded Bulgaria, besieged the for­tress named-Longon and took it by siege. Sending David Arianites and Constantine Diogenes to the plains of Pelagonia, he captured a lot of cattle and men. The Emperor, having burned the fortress, divided the prisoners into three parts: one part he gave to his Russian allies, the other to the Byzantines and the third he kept for himself. Then he moved on and, on reaching Castoria, he tried to take the fortress but realized that it was impregnable and turned back. Moreover, he had received a letter from the strategus of Dorostol, Cicikius, the son of the patrician Teudatus the Iverian, /who informed him/ that Krakra had collected a very numerous army and had joined Ivan; they had also won over the Pechenegs and intended to attack the Byzantines. Troubled by this letter, the Emperor immediately returned. On the way he captured the fortress of Bosograd and burned it, rebuilt Berrhoea, and devastated and destroyed everything around Ostrovo and Moliscus. He gave up any further advance because he had been informed that the campaign against the Byzantines planned by Krakra and Ivan had been called off, because the Pechenegs had failed to give them military assistance. That is why he returned and besieged another fortress, Setaena, where Samuil had had palaces and where a large amount of wheat was stored. The Emperor ordered the troops to seize it, and burned everything. Against Ivan, who was not very far away, he sent the detachment of the Western scholae9 and the Thessalonica detachment com­manded by Constantine Diogenes. When they went, Ivan laid a trap for them. On learning this, the Emperor feared lest something bad should happen to them and, riding before the army said only: 'Let him who is a soldier follow me!' and swiftly rushed forward. On seeing this, Ivan's scouts ran terrified towards Ivan's camp and filled it with confusion and disturbance, crying only: 'Run for your lives, the Tsar!' Since everyone, including Ivan, were fleeing in disorder, the men of Diogenes took courage and began to pursue them. They killed many and captured 200 heavily armed soldiers, their horses and Ivan's baggage, as well as his nephew. Having done this, the Emperor returned to Voden, arranged everything there and set out for Constantinople on January 9, indiction 15, 6526 /1018/.

Ivan availed himself of the respite given him and went to besiege Dyrrachium with barbarian haughtiness and superciliousness. When a battle started in the course of the siege, he fell dead without any one being able to un­derstand who had struck him. He had ruled over the Bulgarians for 2 years and 5 months. As soon as the Emperor was informed of his death by the patrician Nikita Pigonites, strategus of Dyrrachium, he departed immediately. On reaching Adrianople, he was met by the brother and son of the famous Krakra, who brought him the good news that they were surrendering to him the well-known fortress of Pernik and 3 5 other fortresses. The Emperor gave them high dignities and, after making Krakra a patrician, he went to Mosynopolis. En­voys from Pelagonia, Morovizd10 and Lipenium11 came there and surrendered the towns to the Emperor. Setting out from there, the Emperor went to Seres, where Krakra arrived together with the commanders of the 35 fortresses that had surrendered; he was well received. Dragomuzh, who surrendered Stroumitsa and was created a patrician, also went over to the Emperor. He brought with him the patrician Ioannes the Chaldias, who was then released from long years of imprisonment (because he had been captured by Samuil and had spent 2 years in gaol). Immediately after this the Emperor approached Stroumitsa and there came to him David the Archbishop of Bulgaria, with a letter from Maria, Ivan's wife, promising to renounce Bulgaria if her wishes were fulfilled. To him there came also Bogdan, the toparchos of the fortresses in the interior and he was also made a patrician because for a long time he had favoured the Emperor and had murdered his father-in-law. From there /the Emperor/ set out for Skopje. Stationing the patrician David Arianites in the town as a strategus with full powers he moved back through the fortresses of Shtip and Prosek, greeted and honoured with prayers and hymns. But he immediately turned right and went to Ohrid where he set up camp. The entire population welcomed him with battle songs, greetings and praises. The town of Ohrid is situated on a high hill, near a very large lake, from which the Drin river rises and flows to the north, subsequently turning west and flowing into the Ionian Sea near the fortress of Eilisos. Ohrid was the principal town of all Bulgaria; there the palaces of the tsars of Bulgaria were erected and there their riches were kept. Having opened /the treasury/, the Emperor found a lot of money, crowns with pearls, garments embroidered with gold and 100 centenaria of gold pieces; all this he spent on pay for his troops. And so, leaving the patrician Eustathius Daphnomelus as governor of the town and providing him with a reliable guard, he returned to his camp. /There/ he received the wife of Ivan Vladislav whom they brought to him with her three sons and six daughters. She also brought with her an illegitimate son of Samuil, and two daughters and five sons of Samuil's son Radomir, one of whom Ivan had maimed by gouging out his eyes, when he had murdered Samuil's son Radomir together with his wife and his son-in-law Vladimir. Maria had three other sons by Ivan, but they had succeeded in escaping to Mount Tmor, the highest of the Keraunian Mountains. The Emperor received her kindly and gave instructions for her to be guarded benevolently together with the others. Other Bulgarian nobles, each one with his detachment, also came to the Emperor:  Nestoritsa, Zaritsa and the young Dragomir. They were favourably received and were accorded royal honours. Then even Vladislav's sons - Prusian and his two brothers - who had fled to Tmor, as we have related earlier, tormented by the prolonged siege (because the soldiers stationed by the Emperor were guarding the ways out of the mountain), informed the Emperor that they wanted guarantees, and promised to surrender. The Emperor gave them a kind reply, and setting out from Ohrid went to the lake called Prespa and crossing the mountain between, erected a castle on its peak which he named Basilida, and another by the said lake. From Prespa he moved to the so-called Devol where, on a raised platform, he received the brothers of Prusian. He reassured them with benevolent and humane words and he created Prusian magister and the others patricians. Ivats, who was deprived of sight, was also brought there. I should, however, relate the manner in which he was blinded because this narrative contains something pleasant and marvelous.

After Ivan Vladislav's death, when his wife Maria and her sons sur­rendered and the other nobles from Bulgaria submitted, this Ivats fled to an impassable mountain called Vrohot where he had fine palaces called Pronishta gardens and suitable places for pleasure. He did not want to submit to God's will but gradually gathering an army, began to rouse the surrounding area to revolt, contemplating an uprising and dreaming of seizing power in Bulgaria This fact greatly troubled the Emperor. He therefore abandoned the direct road, turned south and reached the said Devol in order either to compel the rebel to surrender unconditionally or to annihilate him by war. The Emperor settled down with pleasure in the said place and sent a letter to Ivats in order to bring him to his senses so that he would not oppose him on his own when all Bulgaria had been conquered, nor imagine impossible things, but would under­stand that what he had begun would bring no benefit. Ivats received the letter and replied with another, playing for time and quibbling, giving all kinds of arguments, so that the Emperor was compelled to stay in this place for fifty-five days, fooled by these promises. The governor of Ohrid, Eustathius Daphnomelus, learned that the Emperor intended to destroy Ivats. And so he chose a suitable moment and, by coming to an arrangement with two of his most loyal servants, to whom he confided his intentions, he got down to business. Ivats used to celebrate the holiday of the Assumption of the Virgin with the whole people and on this day he used to invite to a banquet not only his nearest neighbours but also many others from far away. And so Eustathius went self-invited to the feast and, meeting the guards at the entrance, ordered them to announce who he was and that he had come to make merry with the nobleman. When he was told, Ivats wondered that a person hostile to him should come of his own accord and give himself up into the enemy's hands. Nevertheless, he gave instructions for him to be ushered in, and when he came, he received him most cordially and embraced him. As soon as the morning prayer was over and all those assembled had gone to their places, Eustathius approached Ivats and asked him to step aside for a while because he wanted to speak to him alone about something very important and to his advantage. Ivats, not suspecting the cunning and deceit, but supposing that Eustathius really wanted to join his faction in the uprising, ordered his servants to leave them alone for a while. He took his arm and led him to a garden full of trees in which there was a spot where no voice could be heard because of the thick wood. Entering it, Eustathius caught Ivats, pushed him quickly to the ground and pressing his knee on his chest - because he was strong in the arms - began to strangle him, shouting to his two servants to come to his help. They, accor­ding to the arrangement, were standing and watching what was going on. On hearing their master's voice, they immediately dashed up, caught Ivats tightly and gagged his mouth with his shirt lest by his cries he should incite the mul­titude against them and their work be left unfinished. Then they blinded him and threw him out of the garden into the courtyard. They rushed to the upper floor of a high building and, taking out their swords, waited for those wishing to attack them. When the news of what had happened became known, a vast crowd gathered. Some held swords in their hands, others had spears, a third group had arrows, a fourth held stones, others - clubs, some fire-brands, others inflammable substances and all were running and shouting: 'Slaughter the assassins and impostors, burn them, cut them into pieces, and bury them under stones! Let none of the wicked be spared!' Seeing the assembled crowd and losing hope of rescue, Eustathius nevertheless called to his men to be courageous and not to lose heart, not to let themselves fall into the power of those who wanted their destruction, /because from them they could not expect salvation but only a miserable and painful death/. He then appeared before the throng from a window, made a sign with his hand to the crowd to be silent and began thus: 'Assembled men, there is no hostility whatever in me against your nobleman and you will admit it, because you know well that he is a Bulgarian, and I a Byzantine, and not one of those living in Thrace and Macedonia12 but from Asia Minor, which is very far away from us, as the well informed know. The more perspicacious of you will understand that I myself did not undertake such a venture thoughtlessly and recklessly, but that some necessity compelled me. I would not have rushed so insanely into obvious danger and risked my life, had not some other cause compelled me to act so. And so, know that this thing was done at the order of the Emperor, whom I obediently served as a tool. And now, if you want to kill me, here I am in your hands. I will not die, however, submissively and easily, nor will I lay down my arms and surrender to you, as you wish it to happen, but I shall fight for my life and together with my men shall repulse the attackers to the end. If we should die — because those who are surrounded by a more numerous enemy must come to grief - we shall consider death happy and blessed since there is one who will call to account and seek revenge for our blood and it is precisely he whom you wanted to resist as long as possible.' Hearing these words and seized with fear of the Emperor, those assembled there began little by little to sneak away and to disperse in different directions. The older and more reasonable obeyed, praising the Emperor. Eustathius in complete security took Ivats and brought him to the Emperor. He received /Eustathius/ and for his bravery immediately appointed him strategus of Dyrrachium and presented him with all movable property of Ivats. The letter was thrown into prison.

At that time Nikolitsa, who had been often captured and as many times freed, was also hiding in some mountains. When troops were sent against him and some of his men surrendered of their own accord and others were captured, he came down one night as a fugitive to the camp /of the Emperor/ and, knocking on the door, announced who he was and that he was voluntarily sur­rendering to the Emperor. The Emperor did not want even to see him and sent him to Thessalonica and ordered him to be imprisoned. He himself, after arranging things in Dyrrachium, Colonia and Drinopolis, in the way he con­sidered best, and leaving garrisons and strategi in the themes, allowed the Byzantines who were taken prisoner to remain in the country if they wished to do so. Others he ordered to follow him. So he proceeded to Castoria. There to him were brought Samuil's two daughters, who as soon as they saw Maria, Ivan's wife, standing next to the Emperor, flew at her as if to kill her. The Emperor pacified their rage by promising to confer dignities and great riches on them, while he conferred the title of zoste on Maria and sent her to Constan­tinople together with her sons. Through Xiphias the Emperor leveled to the ground all fortresses in Servia and Sosk. And he went to the fortress of Stag, where he received the governor of Belgrade Elemag and his cogovernors in slaves' clothes. Departing from there he set out for Athens. Passing by Zeitunion, it was with amazement that he saw the bones of the Bulgarians who had fallen when magister Nicephorus Uranus had vanquished Samuil. He marveled also at the wall built by Rupen at Thermopylae to ward off the Bulgarians, called even now Skelos. When he arrived in Athens, he held a service of thanksgiving to the Virgin Mary for the victory and adorned the shrine with many rich gifts. He then returned to Constantinople. He entered in triumph through the great door of the Golden Gates wearing a gold crown with a crest on top. He was preceded by Maria, the wife of Vladislav, Samuil's daughters and the other Bulgarians. This occurred in indiction 2, 6527 /1018/. So with the trophies of victory he entered the Great Church, where he offered hymns of thanksgiving to God, and then returned to the palace. Patriarch Sergius besought him much to abolish the allelengyon13 as he was returning as victor, but could not persuade him. Sergius, who for twenty years had headed God's papacy, presented himself to God in the month of July, indiction 2, 6527. Eustathius, first of the presbyters in the palace shrine, was elected Patriarch.

Georgii Cedreni compendium, op. cit, pp. 457 464, 464-476; cf. ГИБИ, VI, pp. 283-296; the original is in Greek
1 Between the mountains Belasitsa and Ograzhden
2 Present-day Gyumourdjina
3 Present-day Bitola
4 Kaukhanus is not a name but the Proto-Bulgar title of Kavkhan
5 The present-day village of Petersko (district of Lerin).
6 The head of the Serbian principality of Zeta, killed in 1016
7 Present-day Bitola
8 A fortress probably in the locality of Kaleeri near Bansko
9 Scholae were imperial guard
10 The present village of Moredvis (Kochani district)
11 Today's town of Liplyan (district of Kosovo)
12 Here Thrace and Macedonia are administrative regions (themes) equivalent to present-day Thrace
13 Allelengyon is the tax which the neighbours of a poor man had to pay instead of him

The Byzantine historian Scylitzes describes the uprising of the Bulgarians under the leadership of Peter Delyan
11th-12th c.

The uprising in Bulgaria also broke out the same year (1040) in the following way. A Bulgarian, Peter, surnamed Delyan, and servant of an inhabitant of Constantinople, fled from the capital and began to roam all over Bulgaria. He reached Morava and Belgrade fortresses in Pannonia, situated on the banks of the Isterus, close to the lands of the King of Turkia.1 He declared that he was the son of Roman, Samuil's son and incited the Bulgarians, who had recently put their necks under the yoke and were strongly striving towards freedom. And so the people believed his words and declared him Tsar of Bulgaria. Setting out from there via Nis and Skopje, the main town of Bulgaria, they spread word about him on their way and sang his praises. When they encountered a Byzantine on the way, they murdered him mercilessly and in­humanly. On learning this, Basil Sinadin, who was at that time strategus of Dyrrachium, called up the local troops and hastened to intercept Delyan before the evil could spread and start a conflagration. When he reached the place known as Debur, he quarreled with Michael Dermokaites about something and it was slanderously reported to the Emperor that he contemplated usurpation. He was immediately dismissed from his post, brought to Thessalonica and thrown into prison. Dermokaites was appointed strategus in his place and governed badly and in an inexperienced way and within a short period of time he had turned everything upside down. And indeed, his subordinates, unfairly treated and deprived of their horses and carts and of everything else of value, mutinied against the strategus. When he saw that they were plotting against him, he secretly fled one night. Then, fearing the Emperor, they rose up in revolt and proclaimed as Tsar of Bulgaria a soldier from among themselves, named Tihomir, whose bravery and common sense had already been tested. In this manner, two camps of Bulgarian rebels were formed, one of which recognized Delyan and the other - Tihomir. Delyan, however, wrote a friendly letter to Tihomir in which he invited him to join in concerted actions and per­suaded him to come. When the two Bulgarian armies united, Delyan assembled them all and called upon them to remove Tihomir if they were convinced that he himself was descended from Samuil, and wanted him to reign over them. If, however, this was undesirable to them, let them drive him away and be governed by Tihomir. 'Because', he said, 'one bush does not feed two robins, neither does one country flourish if it is governed by two leaders.' A great commotion followed these words and all were saying that it was him alone that they wanted to be their autocratic commander. As soon as they had taken this deci­sion, they grabbed stones and killed the unfortunate Tihomir, who, only as if in a dream, had seized power and lost it, together with his life, while all power passed into Delyan's hands. He brought up all his troops and set out for Thessalonica against the Emperor. On learning this, the Emperor left in disarray for Constantinople, abandoning all his baggage, his tent and all the gold, silver and fabrics which he had. Manuil Ivats, who belonged to the Emperor's retinue, was ordered to collect these things and follow him. Having collected them, he joined Delyan, together with a certain Kitonitus, one of the eunuchs -bedchamber attendants.

At the same time there set in such a drought, that almost all the in­exhaustible springs and the deep rivers dried up, and a fire broke out in Exartize on August 6, and all the triremes that were there were burned together with their cargo.

Delyan, having removed Tihomir, as we have related, and having become lord of all, began courageously to conduct operations. First of all he sent troops under the leadership of the so-called Kaukhanus to seize Dyrrachium. Another army, headed by Anthym, was dispatched to Hellas. Alakaseus marched against it and he, having engaged in battle at Thebes, was defeated, and a large number of Thebans were slain. Then the theme of Nicopolis, with the exception of Naupactos, went over to the Bulgarians for a reason which we shall set forth. A man from Constantinople, called Ioannes, surnamed Kutzomites, was sent there as collector of state taxes. Because he op­pressed the local population he brought disaster upon himself and caused the people of Nicopolis to rebel. Since they could no longer endure his greed, they revolted and cut him into pieces and, abusing the Emperor of the Byzantines, they joined the Bulgarians. They rose in revolt and threw off the Byzantine yoke, not so much because of their sympathy for Delyan, as because of the in­satiability of the Orphanotroph and the excessive taxation. Because Emperor Basil, on subduing the Bulgarians, had not wanted to change anything, or in­troduce innovations, but had left matters in their former state, as Samuil had arranged them, namely: every Bulgarian who had a pair of oxen had to give the state half a bushel of wheat and a similar amount of millet and one jar of wine. The Orphanotroph ordered that nomisma should be given in lieu of these foodstuffs. And so the local population who could not easily bear this, found a favourable occasion with the appearance of Delyan, to throw off Byzantine domination and return to the old way of government.


In the month of September, indiction 9, 6549 /1041/, Aaron's second son, Alusianus,2 who was a patrician and strategus of Theodosiopolis,3 fled un­expectedly from the capital and joined Delyan for the following reason. As strategus of Theodosiopolis he was accused of injustice and before the charges made against him were examined, loannes4 ordered him to pay 50 pounds of gold, and expropriated the estate of his wife in Harsian. /Alusianus/ com­plained of this to the Emperor but received no support; despairing of everything and clad in Armenian clothes, allegedly as a servant of Basil Theodorocan, who was on his way to the Emperor in Thessalonica, he slipped secretly away and fled to Ostrovo, where Delyan was then encamped with his entire army. Delyan received him most joyfully, because he was afraid lest the Bulgarians might prefer to join him, since he was of royal blood. It seems that he shared his royal power with him and, giving him a 40,000 strong army, sent him to besiege Thessalonica. The patrician Constantine, the Emperor's nephew, was then governor of that town. On arrival, /Alusianus/ encircled the town with trenches and began the siege. For six days he tried to take the town using battering rams and other machines. Everywhere he was repulsed and, abandoning everything, he decided to achieve his objective by a prolonged siege. One day the in­habitants of the town went to the grave of the great martyr Demetrius, held a night-long vigil and used the chrism gushing out of the divine grave. Then all of a sudden they opened the gates and came out against the Bulgarians. The detachment of the courageous was also with the Thessalonians. Suddenly emerging they frightened and put to flight the Bulgarians, who did not want to put up any defense or resistance, because the martyr led the Byzantine army and cleared its way, as the captured Bulgarians declared under oath. They said that they saw how the Byzantine army was led by a young horseman, out of whom came fire which burned their opponents. And so more than 15,000 Bulgarians fell and the number of prisoners was no less. The others, together with Alusianus, ignominiously fled to Delyan.

 The same year, indiction 9, on June 10, at about the twelfth hour of the day, there was an earthquake.

When, after the defeat, Delyan and Alusianus got together, they began to suspect each other: the latter, because he was ashamed of the defeat, and the former - because he suspected treason. They began to have evil intentions towards each other and to watch for an opportunity. And thus Alusianus prepared lunch with some of his men and invited Delyan to the feast. When Delyan's head was muddled by drink, he seized him and blinded him, without the Bulgarians even realizing what had happened. He then fled to the Emperor in Mosynopolis. The Emperor sent him to Constantinople to the Orphanotroph, after having promoted him to the rank of magister, and he, leaving Mosynopolis, went to Thessalonica. From there he crossed over and entered Bulgaria, captured Delyan and sent him to Thessalonica, while he himself went into the interior of the country, because Manuil Ivats had erected a wooden palisade at Prilep, intending to stop the imperial army from advan­cing and reaching the interior. The Emperor, however, arrived there at the speed of lightning, destroyed the palisade, put the detachment of Bulgarians to flight and captured Ivats. Having arranged everything in Bulgaria and having put strategi in the themes, he returned to the capital bringing Delyan and Ivats with him. Tormented by his disease, he completely lost hope of recovery and was ordained monk by the monk Kosma Tsintsuluk, who was with him all the time, giving him the necessary counsel. On December 10, 6550 /1041/, indic­tion 1, he died, after having repented, confessed and deplored his sin against the Emperor Romanus. He reigned about seven years and eight months and was otherwise sensible, good and lived piously, with the exception of his sin against the Emperor Romanus. But many are those who ascribe this too to the Orphanotroph.

Georgii Cedreni compendium, op. cit, pp.527-530, 531, 534; cf. ГИБИ, VI, pp. 302-306; the original is in Greek
1 Turkia here means Hungary
2 Alusianus was the second son of Ivan Vladislav and not of Aaron
3 Present-day Erzerum
4 This is the Orphanotroph
The Byzantine historian Scylitzes describes the uprising of the Bulgarians under the leadership of Georgi Voyteh in 1072
11th-12th c.
In the first years of the reign of /Mihael/1, indiction 11, the Serbian people who are also called Croatian, set out to enslave Bulgaria. I am going to relate how /this happened/, starting from an earlier point. When he had conquered Bulgaria, the Emperor Basil did not want to make any changes in the customs there, but ordered that it should be governed in its affairs by its own leaders and customs as it had been under Samuil, who had been their ruler. Since they could not endure the greed of the Orphanotroph, the people had already rebelled earlier, when they proclaimed Delyan as their Tsar (the details have been related above), and now they again began to consider an uprising. They could not endure the greed of Nicephorus,2 who had antagonized everybody, because the Emperor did not show concern for anything and was engaged only in frivolous and childish matters. The notables of Bulgaria hoped that Mihael,3 the then ruler, would help and assist them by giving them his son whom they might proclaim Tsar of Bulgaria and that they would thus be freed from the rule and oppression of the Byzantines. He listened to them with pleasure and, having selected 300 persons from his own people, entrusted them to his son Constantine, also called Bodin, and sent him to Bulgaria. And so he went to Prizdiana, where the Skopje notables, whose leader was Georgi Voyteh, of the family of the Comhanes,4 had assembled. They proclaimed Bodin Tsar of Bulgaria, changing his name from Constantino to Peter. On hearing of this, Nicephorus Carantinus who then occupied the post of Duke of Skopje, went to Prizdiana, together with his subordinate strategi and the Bulgarian troops. Whilst he was getting ready for battle, his deputy, Damyan Dalasin, arrived. On joining Carantinus, he insulted him a great deal and ridiculed each of his strategi in no small measure, calling them cowards. Having drawn up his troops, he engaged in battle with the Serbians. A terrible battle began and the Byzantines suffered a still more terrible defeat. Indeed, many Byzantines and Bulgarians fell and a much larger number of prisoners were taken, including the Duke Damyan Dalasin, the so-called Provat, as well as Longibardopul, and many others with them. The whole camp was also captured and plundered. After this the Bulgarians openly declared Bodin as Tsar, renaming him Peter as we have said. They split into two, and Bodin's men set out for Nis, while the others with Petrila, the first man after Bodin, set out against the Byzantines in Castoria. There the adherents of the Byzantines, the Ohrid strategus Marian, the Devol strategus, patrician and anthypatus Theognostus Vartsa, and with him the strategus of Castoria, fortified the town, as we have related. With them were also Boris, David and many others, who, fearing the threat of the local Bulgarians, sought refuge in Castoria. And Petrila, having taken Castoria with a vast army of Bulgarians, began to prepare for another battle. When the Byzantines also lined up and came out against the Bulgarians, they attacked them with great force and put Petrila to flight, compelling him to flee across im­passable mountains so as to reach his lord, Mihael. They also killed many Bulgarians and captured the man who took first place after Petrila among the Croatians, and led him in chains to the Emperor. As soon as Bodin reached Nis he began to deal with Bulgarian affairs as Tsar. He looted everything on his way and exterminated and tortured all those who did not recognize and obey him. When the Emperor heard of these things, namely of the duke's defeat and the proclamation of Bodin, he sent Saronytes against him to stifle the evil quickly before it could flare up and expand into a conflagration. With him he sent also a strong army consisting of Macedonians,5 Byzantines and Franks. But /Saronytes/ set out for the town of Skopje and paid no attention what­soever to Nis. And thus, when he arrived /there/ and promised Georgi Voyteh, who was entrusted with the town, not to do him any harm, he took the town of Skopje, set up camp in it and began to consider and assess what to do with those in Nis. But Voyteh, who regretted having been so well disposed towards the Byzantines and having taken their side, secretly ordered his men in Nis to come to him quickly and ruthlessly and cruelly to exterminate all Saronytes, men who were carefree and negligent. Having received the message, they left Nis and set out for Skopje. The earth was covered with snow since it was winter, in the month of December. When Saronytes' men got wind of this, he came out with his entire army against /the rebels/ and intercepting them on the road in a place called Taonii, slew almost all of them. Bodin was also taken prisoner. Longibardopul, who, as we have said, had gone over to the side of Mihael, exchanged promises of loyalty with him and married his daughter. He received a very big army, consisting of Langobards and Serbians, and was sent to help Bodin, and once more he joined the Byzantines. Saronytes sent Bodin in chains to the Emperor. He was imprisoned in the monastery of St. Sergius, and a little later he was handed over to Isaak Comnenus, who had already been appointed Duke of Antioch and who took him there. Having learned of this, his father Mihael, in exchange for a full purse, hired Veneti,6 whose calling was to sail the seas, abducted him from there and brought him to his own possessions. The latter, after his father's death, is reigning even in our day. Voyteh, however, who was mercilessly tortured, died on his way to the Emperor, because he could not suffer the pain of the blows. The Allemani and also the Franks (they are Western peoples), invaded the country, destroyed the remaining Bulgarian palaces in Prespa and looted the local shrine, erected in the name of St Achilleus, sparing none of its sacred objects. Some of them were rescued, but the troops divided the remainder among themselves and adapted them for their own use. And thus a soldier of the Macedonian army,7 who had been ordered to return every sacred object which he had taken, died of anthrax on his shoulders because he had not obeyed. As usually happens, indeed, retribution was not long in coming and it struck him down as an example for future generations. In the towns on the banks of the Isterus, the soldiers were negligent, because they did not receive any remuneration, and for this reason the vestarch Nestor, an official of the Emperor's father, was sent and was ap­pointed Duke of the towns along the Isterus. He entered into an alliance with Tatush who shared his ideas, and together they set out for the capital with numerous Pechenegs. When they ordered him to lay down arms, he said that he would do this only if they do away with Logothete Nicephorus as their com­mon enemy and foe of the world, since he had insulted him greatly and expropriated his estates. The Emperor did not consent, however, because once before he had given in to his lies and deceits. Since his own men plotted against him, Nestor left these places, sacked Macedonia and Thrace and the lands bordering on Bulgaria, and crossed over into the land of the Pechenegs. And therefore some of the robbed Macedonian soldiers went to the Emperor and complained of the plunder. On the Emperor's orders, no attention whatsoever was paid to them, and they were turned out after having been whipped and ill-treated. Having returned to their country, full of great anguish, they did not maintain the same favourable attitude, but began to look for any means of retaliation against their enemies.
Georgii Cedreni compendium, op. cit., pp. 714-720; cf. THEM, VI; pp. 334-338; the original is in Greek
1 Mihael VII, Emperor of Byzantium. The first year of his reign corresponds to 1071/1072
2 Byzantine governor of Bulgaria
3 Knyaz of Zeta
4 Probably a mistake instead of the “Kaukhans”
5 i.e. soldiers from the administrative region (theme) Macedonia with Adrianople as the principal city.
6 i.e. Venetians
7 i.e.  soldiers from the theme of Macedonia
An excerpt from the Life of Lazarus1 by Gregorius, a monk, mentions a Bulgarian uprising led by Peter Delyan
11th c.
And so traveling in this manner, he reached the borders of Bulgaria. At that time Delyan's uprising2 was raging there. And thus, when he arrived there and entered a town, the strategus of that town, on learning about the monk, sent for him. When he arrived, he asked him - because he intended to wage war on the Bulgarians - which was the best time for this. And /the monk/ replied: 'Let me go this night, and I shall give you an answer about it tomorrow.' In the morning, he went and told the strategus: 'If you want victory, attack them on Sunday.' It was then Wednesday. The strategus, trusting the words of the false prophet, announced this to the whole town. And one could see how all gathered around the stranger, greeted him like a saint and a prophet, and bowed before him. And when Sunday came, the strategus went to the monk with his whole army. When they had bowed down to him and he had blessed, they /all/ went out of the town, led by the strategus. There was a battle, and the strategus was the first to fall. When they saw him, the rest immediately ran away. The Bulgarians gave chase and killed almost all.
Acta Sanctorum, Novembris III, Bruxellis, col. 508-588. ГИБИ, VI, pp. 90-91. The original is in Greek
1  He was a monk who liked to cheat
2 Peter Delyan's uprising lasted from 1040 to 1041. For this uprising, see Zlatarski, History, II, pp.41-81; P. Moutafchiev, History of the Bulgarian People, I, Sofia, 1944, pp.11-16; W. Zlatarski, Wer war Peter Deljan, Annales Acad. Scient. Fennicae, XXVII (1932), p. 354 sq.


The Byzantine historian Nicephorus Bryennius1 reveals the Bulgarian origin of Empress Catherine
11th-12th c.
When the two attained to man's estate2 they were immediately included in the Emperor's suite, as it was the custom with Byzantine Emperors to attach the children of noblemen and notables to their court. Before long, they attained the highest honours and posts, such as regional governors, commanders and strategi. And, because these young men, so illustrious by origin, also had to have brilliant marriages, they achieved that, too. Isaac married Catherina, the elder daughter of the Bulgarian Tsar Samuil, and Ioannes married the daughter of Alexius Charon, to whom the Emperor entrusted the rule of Italy, a man judicious, intelligent, valiant and courageous, nicknamed /Charon/ on account of his bravery.
Nicephori Bryennii commentarii,rec. A.Meineke,1836, p. 19; cf. ГИБИ, VI, p.113; the original is in Greek

1 Nicephorus Bryennius, husband to Anna Comnena, daughter of the Byzantine Emperor Comnenus (1081-1118), author of a history describing the deeds of Alexius Comnenus before he became emperor.
2 The Byzantine Emperor Isaac I Comnenus (1057-1059) and his brother Ioannes Comnenus
Theophylactus of Ohrid, Archbishop of Bulgaria, bears witness that in the Bregalnitsa diocese the services were held in Bulgarian
11th-12th c.
. . .1 And thus, glorifying and giving praise to God, they arrived at Bregalnitsa. . . and a priest, trained in the Bulgarian language, was appointed to the shrine of God there, to stay there and to sing the sacred services permanent­ly.

Theophilacti Bulgariae archiepiscopi Historia martyrii XV martyrum, PGr. CXXVI, col. 208; Yordan Ivanov The Bulgarians in Macedonia, Sofia, 1917, p.l20; the original is in Greek
1  In the text here omitted from the work of Theophylactus of Ohrid “The sufferings of the Martyrs from Tiberiopolis” there is a story of how in the 9th c. the Bulgarian Knyaz Boris ordered a new church to be built in Bregalnitsa where the relics of the saints from Stroumitsa were transferred in the passages included here. Theophylactus mentions the transfer of these relics.
Theophylactus of Ohrid describes how the Bulgarians settled as inhabitants in Old Macedonia up to Thessalonica
11th-12th c.
When this people /the Avars/ withdrew, another people, still fiercer and more lawless, and known as the Bulgarians, came from the Scythian lands; crossing the river called Isterus /Danube/, they came as a heavy scourge, sent by God to the western territories. They did not know Christ's name and, in their Scythian ignorance, they worshipped the Sun, the Moon and the stars. There were some who offered dogs as sacrifices. Their minds were so confused that they respected creatures instead of their creator. And since they had con­quered the entire Illyric country, Old Macedonia up to the town of Thessalonica and part of Old Thrace, namely around Boruy1, I can say Philippopolis, too, as well as the mountainous areas near them, they settled as veritable inhabitants of this country. They displaced the inhabitants of each area: the inhabitants of the lower towns they resettled in the upper, and those of the latter in the lower towns.
Theophilacti Bulgariae archiepiscopi Historia, op. cit., col. 189; Yordan Ivanov, op. cit., p, 121; the original is in Greek

1 Present-day Stara Zagora

Theophylactus of Ohrid writes that the inhabitants of Ohrid are Bulgarians and speak Bulgarian
11th-12th c.
(a) from a letter to Anem: 1
When you say that you have become a complete barbarian among the Bulgarians, you, my dearest, are saying what I dream /in my sleep/. Because just think how much I have drunk from the cup of vulgarity, being so far away from the countries of wisdom, and how much I have drunk from the lack of culture ... Since we have been living for a long time in the land of the Bulgarians, vulgarity has become our close companion and fellow-inhabitant.

1 A friend of Theophylactus of Ohrid
Gr. CXXVI, Theophylacti epistola XXI, ed. Meursio; cf. Letters of Theophylactus of Ohrid, translated by metropolitan Symeon from Greek, Сб. БАН, кн. XXVII, Hist.-Philol. and Philos.-Polit. Branch, 15, Sofia, 1931, pp.71-72; the original is in Greek
(b)  from a letter to the Empress Maria:1
Since I went from Ohrid to the Queen of Towns,2 my holy Lady, I have encountered many sorrows, because of my numerous sins ... And so I come among the Bulgarians, I, a true citizen of Constantinople, a Bulgarian by some miracle.
1 This is the former queen Maria, wife of Nicephorus III Botaniates (1078—1081).
2 i.e. Constantinople
Ibidem, ep. I, ed. Laraio; cf. Letters, op. cit., pp.180 181; the original is in Greek
(c)  from a letter to the Bishop of Vidin:
And so, do not despair, do not lose heart, as though you were the only one to suffer ... So you have Kumans invading your land? What are they, however, in comparison with the people of Ohrid, who come from the city to at­tack us? So you have cunning citizens? They are children in comparison with our Bulgarian citizens ...
Ibidem, ep. XV, ed. Finetti, cf. Letters, op. cit., p. 18; the original is in Greek
(d) from a letter to the royal son-in-law, Bruiennius:1
Because the clerics have paid twice as much as the laymen, both for the mills and for the strugi, as they are called in Bulgarian, which a Hellene would call brooklets, and which facilitate fishing, and for them too the clerics have been subjected to much greater payments than the others ...
Allegedly so as not to put my high rank to shame, he2 collected from me personally so much, that, for mills which have long since been destroyed, he asked the full price, while for those in good condition - twice as much as from the Bulgarians.
1 Bryennius was the husband of Anna Comnena
2 The state tax collector who was pestering Theophylactus
Ibidem, ep. XLI, ed. Finetti; cf. Letters, op. cit., p. 128; the original is in Greek

Theophylactus of Ohrid, in the Long Life of Clement of Ohrid writes about the language and ethnic origin of the Slav population in Macedonia
11th-12th c.
4. You probably want to know who these saints are? - Methodius, who adorned the Pannonian diocese by becoming Archbishop of Moravia, and Cyril,1 who was great in pagan philosophy and still greater  in   the   Christian one...
5. Because the Slav or Bulgarian people did not understand the scriptures in the Greek language, the saints considered this as the greatest loss and found grounds for their inconsolable sorrow in the fact that the lamp of the Scriptures had not been lit in the dark country of the Bulgarians. They grieved, suffered and renounced life.
6.  And so what did they do? They turned to the Comforter, whose first gifts were tongues and words, and they prayed to him for grace to invent an alphabet that corresponded to the coarseness of the Bulgarian language and enabled them to translate the Holy Scriptures into the language of the people. And indeed, by devoting themselves to strict fasting and continuous prayer in order to weaken their bodies and humiliate their souls, they achieved what they desired ...
7.... Having obtained the gift which they desired, they invented the Slav alphabet, translated the God-inspired Scriptures from the Greek into the Bulgarian language and were careful to pass on the divine knowledge to the more talented among their disciples ...
62. After this, having conferred with the more judicious men of his atten­dance, who were all as favourably disposed towards Clement as though he were their own father, ... he /Tsar Simeon/ appointed him Bishop of Drembitsa, or Velika, and thus Clement became the First Bishop in the Bulgarian language.
66. ... He /Clement/ composed for all holidays simple and clear sermons which contain nothing profound or wise, but which are understandable even to the simplest Bulgarian. It was with them that he nourished the souls of the simpler Bulgarians.
67.... He tried in every way to overcome the indifference of the Bulgarians towards divine matters, to assemble them, attracted by the beauty of the buildings /of the temples/ and, in particular, to soften the cruelty, harshness and coarseness of their hearts by a knowledge of God ...'
A. Milev, Greek Lives of Clement of Ohrid, Sofia, 1966, pp. 79, 81, 129, 133, 135; the original is in Greek.

1 Theophylactus refers to the brothers from Salonica, Cyril and Methodius


The Western writer Sigebertus writes in his chronicle about the Bulgarian Archbishop Leo of Ohrid1
11th-12th c.
Since, under the influence of the Patriarch of Constantinople, Michael and the Bulgarian Archbishop Leo of Ohrid the Greeks were inclined towards a many-sided heresy,2 Pope Leo, exposing their deviations, wrote a book against them, supported by strong evidence from the Scriptures.
Sigeberti Gemblacensis Chronographia, MGH, SS VI, p. 369; cf. ЛИБИ, III, p. 46; the original is in Latin

1 Leo of Ohrid, of Greek origin, was the first Archbishop directly appointed by the Emperor of Byzantium in 1036-1037
2 Pope Leo IX denounced the Eastern Church of Constantinople for its heretical errors
From the Dioclea Annales,1 about the Bulgarian Tsars Samuil, Radomir, Vladislav and the conquest of Bulgaria by Basil II
12th c.

At that time, in the Bulgarian tribe, there emerged a man called Samuil, who proclaimed himself Tsar. He fought long wars with the Greeks and drove them away from the whole of Bulgaria, so that in his time the Greeks did not dare to approach it.

... The youth Vladimir2 occupied the throne and grew up full of wisdom and saintliness. At the same time, however, while Vladimir was still a youth and ruled in place of his father, the above-mentioned Bulgarian Tsar, Samuil, assembled a big army and arrived at the boundaries of Dalmatia, attacking the land of Knyaz Vladimir. The Knyaz, who was a holy man unwilling to let any of his men die in war, modestly withdrew, and, together with his entire tribe, ascended the mountain called Oblik ... Meanwhile the Tsar, through envoys, proposed to Knyaz Vladimir that he descend from the mountain, together with all who were with him. But the Knyaz would not consent. The local zhupan, however, like the traitor Judas, sent the Bulgarian Tsar a letter in which he said: 'Master, if it suits Your Majesty, I will turn the Knyaz over to you. The Tsar replied: 'If you succeed in doing this, you will be richly rewarded by me and great honours will be conferred on you?


Meanwhile Vladimir, in chains, devoted day and night to fasting and prayers. God's angel appeared to him as a vision; he comforted him and told him what would happen to him: how God would free him from prison, and how he, through martyrdom, would go to the kingdom of heaven where he would receive an everlasting crown and the reward of eternal life. Then the blessed Vladimir, cheered by the angelic vision, increasingly devoted himself to fasting and prayers. And thus one day the daughter of Tsar Samuil, named Kosara, prompted and inspired by the Holy Ghost, went to her father and expressed the desire to go with her maids and wash the heads and feet of the prisoners in chains. When her father gave her permission, she went down into the gaol and performed her virtuous deed. Meanwhile, she had noticed Vladimir and, seeing that he was handsome, modest, kind, moderate and full of wisdom and godly prudence, she stopped and talked to him. His words seemed to her sweeter than honey and the honeycomb. And so, not out of passion, but out of pity for the youth and for his good looks and because she had heard that he was a knyaz and of a princely family, she fell in love with him, and, taking her leave, she went away. Then, wishing to free him from gaol, she went to the Tsar, and prostrating herself at his feet, said as follows: 'My father, my lord, I know that you intend to have me married according to custom. And now, if it suits Your Majesty, either give me for husband Knyaz Vladimir whom you hold in chains, or know that I would rather die than accept another man.' On hearing this, the Tsar was pleased because he loved his daughter dearly, and, because he knew that Vladimir was of a princely family, he consented to fulfill his daughter's wish. He immediately sent orders to Vladimir to wash and dress himself in princely clothes and after that, to appear before him. The Tsar received him courteously, kissed him in the presence of the nobles of his Kingdom and gave him his daughter to wife. Not long afterwards, however, Tsar Samuil died, and the throne was occupied by his son Radomir. He showed valour and strength, fought numerous battles against the Greeks in the time of the Greek Emperor Basil and seized all lands as far as Constantinople. Emperor Basil, fearing lest he should lose his power, sent envoys secretly to Vladislav, Radomir's cousin, through whom he told him: 'Why do you not take vengeance for the blood of your father? Take from me as much gold and silver as you wish, make peace with us and take the Kingdom of Samuil, who destroyed your father and your brother. If you are stronger, kill his son Radomir now sitting on the throne.' Hearing this, Vladislav agreed and one day, when Radomir was out hunting, he himself, while riding next to him, struck and killed him. This was how Radomir perished and how Vladislav, who killed him, ascended to the throne.


And so after the death of the Bulgarian Tsar Vladislav, Emperor Basil having assembled a large army and a multitude of ships, began to conquer the country and seized the whole of Bulgaria, Rascia and Bosnia, the whole of Dalmatia and all coastal regions up to the boundaries of Lower Dalmatia.

Ferdo Sisic, Letopis Popa Dukljanina (Ferdo Sisic, Chronicle of the Dioclean Priest), Belgrad Zagreb 1928, pp. 330, 331, 334, 342, 344; cf. ЛИБИ, m,' pp. 173-175, 179; the original is in Latin
1 The so-called Dioclea Annales, originally compiled in the 12th c. in Slavonic and translated into Latin in 1510. Among other data this chronicle contains information about the history of the Bulgarian state of Samuil. It was written by a priest from the Serbian province of Dioclea
2 Serbian prince.

The Western writer Wilhelm of Tyr in his History of the Crusades describes how the Bulgarians captured the Bishop of Puy on the plain of Bitola
12th c.
Having taken the road again, he /Raymund/1 with efforts lasting many days crossed forests and mountains and the entire region of the Epireots and at last set up camp, having descended to the region called Pelagonia, which abounded in all kinds of supplies. When the Bishop of Puy, a man whose life is worthy of respect, pitched his tent at some little distance from the camp, with a view to camping more comfortably, he was captured by the attacking Bulgarians.
Recueil des historians des croisades. Historiens Oc cidentaux, I. Paris, 1844, p. 99; cf. ЛИБИ, III, p. 194; the original is in Latin.

1Count Raymund de Toulouse with an army of crusaders were directed towards Constantinople in 1096
In a Brief Life of Cyril, known as The Assumption of Cyril it is said that he was Bulgarian
12th c.
The birth-place of our Reverend father Cyril was the glorious and great town of Thessalonica. He was born in it. He was Bulgarian by birth... went to Bregalnitsa and found some converted Slavs /there/, and those who were not, he baptized and made Orthodox. And he wrote books in the Slav language for them. Those baptized by him numbered 54,000.
Yordan Ivanov, Bulgarian Antiquities in Macedonia, phototype edition, Sofia, 1970, pp. 284-285; the original is in Old Bulgarian

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