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The Bulgarian State in 927-969. The Epoch of Tsar Peter I

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Tsar Peter (927-969), the book’s protagonist, is all too frequently presented in modern scholarship as a weak ruler, devoid of any grander political aspirations, focused on religious matters, indeed – pious, but neglecting the vital interests of his subjects. It was said that during his reign both his court and state became Byzantinised, that the central authority was completely helpless in the face of Hungarian raids, and saw the spread of the Bogomilist heresy. According to the Tsar’s critics, it was as a result of his ineffectual rule that Boris II, his son and successor, was unable to defend Bulgaria’s sovereignty in 971.

This book – the first monograph in world literature devoted to Peter – was written by Bulgarian (Miliana Kaymakamova, Georgi N. Nikolov, Angel Nikolov, Nikolay Hrissimov) and Polish medievalists (Miroslaw J. Leszka, Kirił Marinow, Zofia A. Brzozowska Jan M. Wolski). Thanks to a thorough analysis of the sources and an in-depth knowledge of the literature of the subject, they constructed a comprehensive and balanced image of the reign of their protagonist, and of the role he played in the history of mediaeval Bulgaria.

We are dealing here with a monograph that is exceptional not only in Polish, but also international historiography. Its authors, known for their numerous dissertations, papers on the history of Byzantium and Bulgaria and other works, undertook the task of creating a synthesis, world’s first comprehensive study devoted to the Bulgarian Tsar Peter and his times […] The authors convincingly present the political achievements of the monarch and his contributions to the development of the early mediaeval Bulgarian culture […] they accurately recreate the image of the contemporary Bulgarian society which, during Peter’s times, benefited from the fruits of the second peace.

Due to its original theme, the monograph may meet with a lively interest of readers both in Poland and abroad

from the editorial review of Dr. hab. Jarosław Dudek,
professor of the University of Zielona Góra

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Contents

Forword 1

Sources and Modern Scholarship – Zofia A. Brzozowska, Mirosław J. Leszka, Kirił Marinow 5
1. Sources 5
2. Literature on the Subject 17

PART ONE: THE EVENTS 21

Chapter I. Peter’s Way to the Bulgarian Throne – Mirosław J. Leszka 23
Chapter II. Bulgarian-Byzantine Relations during the Reign of Symeon I the Great (893–927) – Mirosław J. Leszka 35
Chapter III. Peace – Mirosław J. Leszka, Kirił Marinow 47
1. Negotiations 47
2. Peace Treaty 50
Chapter IV. The Byzantine Consort of the Bulgarian Ruler: Maria Lekapene – Zofia A. Brzozowska 55
1. Origins and Early Years 56
2. The Year 927 – a Wedding among Peace Negotiations 60
3. Maria Lekapene as a Mother 71
4. On the Bulgarian Throne at Peter’s Side 77
5. Maria’s Death 88
Chapter V. The Internal Situation – Mirosław J. Leszka, Kirił Marinow 91
1. Fighting Internal Opposition 91
2. Characterisation of Domestic Policy 104
Chapter VI. Foreign Policy – Mirosław J. Leszka, Kirił Marinow 111
1. The Serbian Question 111
2. Hungarians 120
3. Relations with Otto I 129
4. The Rus’ and the Pechenegs 132
Chapter VII. Last Years of Peter’s Reign (963–969) – Mirosław J. Leszka, Kirił Marinow 137
1. The Crisis in Bulgarian-Byzantine Relationships 139
2. The Invasions of Svyatoslav (968) 151
3. Death of Peter 157
Chapter VIII. The Year 971 – Mirosław J. Leszka, Kirił Marinow 159

PART TWO: THE STRUCTURES 171

Chapter I. The Environment and Geopolitics of the State – Kirił Marinow 173
Chapter II. The Economy – Kirił Marinow 203
1. Agriculture and Animal Husbandry 203
2. Crafts and City Development 207
3. Trade 216
Chapter III. Everyday Life – Nikolay Hrissimov 223
1. Climate and Environment 223
2. Society 226
3. Food and Nutrition 239
4. Dwellings 250
5. Holidays and Celebration 251
Chapter IV. State Organisation and Power Hierarchy in the Bulgarian Empire (927–969) – Georgi N. Nikolov 257
Chapter V. Armed Forces and the Defence System of Peter’s State – Kirił Marinow 269
1. The Army and its Organisation 270
2. The Defence System of the Bulgarian State 280
Chapter VI. Wild, Haughty and Menacing Highlanders: Bulgarians and Mountains in the Context of Byzantine-Bulgarian Armed Conflicts – Kirił Marinow 287
Chapter VII. The Church – Mirosław J. Leszka, Jan M. Wolski 303
1. The Status of the Bulgarian Church and its Organisation – Mirosław J. Leszka 303
2. Monasticism – Jan M. Wolski 317
3. Bogomilism – Jan M. Wolski 335
Chapter VIII. The Culture – Zofia A. Brzozowska, Angel Nikolov 347
1. Political Ideology, Education and Literature – Angel Nikolov 347
2. Art and Church Architecture – Zofia A. Brzozowska 380

PART THREE: THE INTERPRETATIONS 401
A. MEDIEVAL VISIONS 403

Chapter I. The Portrayal of Peter in Mediaeval Sources – Mirosław J. Leszka 405
1. Byzantine Sources 405
2. Bulgarian Sources 419
3. Other Sources 430
Chapter II. War and Peace in the House of the Lord: A Conflict among Orthodox Christians and its Overcoming according to the Homily ‘On the Treaty with the Bulgarians’ – Kirił Marinow 435
1. War and its Influence 438
2. The Motive of Peace 446
Chapter III. The Cult of the Bulgarian Tsar Peter (927–969) and the Driving Ideas of the Bulgarian Liberation Uprisings against the Byzantine Rule in the 11th–12th Century – Miliana Kaymakamova 457
1. A Brief Overview of the History of the Cult of Tsar Peter in Medieval Bulgaria 460
2. The Importance of the Cult of Tsar Peter for the Conceptual Justification of the Bulgarian Liberation Uprisings in the 11th–12th Century 468

B. MODERN VIEWS 479

Chapter IV. The Portrayal of Peter in Modern Historiography – Jan M. Wolski 481
1. Seventeenth to Mid-Eighteenth Centuries 483
2. Mid-Eighteenth to Mid-Nineteenth Century: The Birth of Native Historiography and the Development of Historical Literature in the Balkans and in Russia 494
3. Historiography after the 1850s 511

Conclusion 529
Abbreviations 535
Bibliography 543
1. Sources 543
2. Modern Scholarship 557
Indices 635
1. Index of People and Personages 635
2. Index of Ethnic, Religious and Geographic Names 652
Illustrations 663

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