Episode 253 – The Second Bulgarian Empire

Isaac Angelos begins his reign by defeating the Normans and making as many alliances as he can to secure his position. Unfortunately he rejects an offer from two Vlach Chieftains Peter and Asen. They turn on the Romans and found the Second Bulgarian Empire north of the Haemus Mountains.

Period: 1185-87

Pic: Isaac II Angelos (Miniature portrait from a 15th-century codex containing a copy of the Extracts of the History by Joannes Zonaras)

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Categories: Podcast | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Episode 253 – The Second Bulgarian Empire

  1. Jos

    It is important to note that the term Vlach simply meant shepherd. In the Greek-language sources the term was likely deployed as a term of derision. Such sources should be treated with caution, as they continued the tradition of using derogatory, classicizing monikers for enemies, such as Scythian, Vlach, etc., particularly the more troublesome ones. The “ethnic” origin the Peter and Asen is unknown, so we cannot definitively say that the brothers were Wallachian, Cuman, Greek, etc. Peter and Asen refer to themselves as Bulgarian Tsars, so we should likewise refer to them as Bulgarian.

    When documents from the Second Bulgarian Empire appear, the language is Bulgarian (Slavic) and they define themselves as Bulgarian (See John Fine’s The Late Medieval Balkans, 1987). Importantly, the Bulgarian Church was quickly reconstituted after the restoration, which suggests explicit institutional, cultural, and linguistic continuity between the First and Second Empires.

    As a tip, I think it would be helpful to your listeners to post an exhaustive list of the sources you consulted in creating each episode. That way listeners can see the sources and come to their own conclusions.

    Cheers!

  2. This episode really felt like the beginning of the end…

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