A Concise History of Bulgaria / Edition 2

Hardcover (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from BN.com
$74.81
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $19.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 78%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (7) from $19.99   
  • New (3) from $68.00   
  • Used (4) from $19.99   

Overview

Richard Crampton presents a general introduction to Bulgaria at the cross-roads of Christendom and Islam. This concise history traces the country's growth from pre-history, through its days as the center of a powerful medieval empire and five centuries of Ottoman rule, to the political upheavals of the twentieth century which led to three wars. It highlights 1995 to 2004, a vital period during which Bulgaria endured financial meltdown, set itself seriously on the road to reform, elected its former King as prime minister, and finally secured membership in NATO and admission to the European Union. First Edition Hb (1997) 0-521-56183-3 First Edition Pb (1997) 0-521-56719-X
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Crampton, in A Concise History of Bulgaria has produced a valuable introduction to the history of the Bulgarian people and their state...R.J. Crampton's A Concise History of Bulgaria is the best short treatment of the history of Bulgaria currently available." Canadian Journal of History
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521850858
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 11/24/2005
  • Series: Cambridge Concise Histories Series
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 5.43 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Meet the Author

R. J. Crampton is Professor of East European History at the University of Oxford. He has written a number of books on modern Eastern Europe History, including Eastern Europe in the Twentieth Century - and After (1996) and The Balkans since the Second World War (2002).
Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

Cambridge University Press
0521850851 - A Concise History of Bulgaria - by R. J. Crampton
Excerpt


1

The Bulgarian lands from prehistory to
the arrival of the Bulgarians

The lands which now constitute the state of Bulgaria were amongst the first in Europe to witness the emergence of organised, social life. Settlements existed in these lands as early as the middle palaeolithic period, from c. 100,000 to 40,000 BC. In neolithic times the population gradually forsook their caves for the plains where they began to work the land. By the third millennium BC they were cultivating non-food crops such as flax and had become adept at metal-working. In the sixth millennium BC an unknown people were producing objects of great originality and which experts consider to be the products of a spontaneously generated rather than an imported culture. This culture, in which the chief object of veneration appears to have been the mother goddess, reached its zenith in the fourth millennium BC.

By the end of the third millennium BC the lands to the east of the Morava-Vardar valleys were falling under the cultural influence of the Thracians. An Indo-European people, the Thracians lived in a loosely organised tribal society. They were masters of metal-working, particularly with silver and gold. Many spectacular hoards have been unearthed in present-day Bulgaria at sites such as Panagiurishte, Velchitrun and Vratsa, and many more remain to be excavated. In addition to a high level of proficiency in metal-working the Thracians were renowned for their horsemanship. Music too was an essential feature of Thracian culture for Orpheus himself was an early Thracian king who managed to unite the disparate tribes of Thrace and Macedonia for a short period. This

Image not available in HTML version

Map 1.1 Ancient sites in present-day Bulgaria.

Image not available in HTML version

Plate 1.1 A Mother Goddess figure produced by the unidentified people who thrived in the Bulgarian lands during the sixth millenium BC.

was a considerable feat in that the Thracians showed little disposition towards political cohesion and cooperation, Herodotus once noting that if the Thracians could only unite and subordinate themselves to one leader they would be invincible. As is so often the case in the Balkans, it was external pressures rather than internal inclinations which brought about political unity.

These pressures came from the Greeks who established mercantile centres and colonies along the Black Sea coast. The Greeks held the Thracians in low esteem, unjustifiably so because not only were the Thracians their equal in crafts and horsemanship, they also began minting coins at much the same time as their haughty southern neighbours. The Persian invasions of the Balkans in the sixth and fifth centuries BC were a much more serious threat than Greek cultural arrogance. This external danger brought about the Odryssian kingdom which united the Thracian tribes of the central Balkans.

The Persian storm was weathered but in the fourth century BC another threat appeared, this time from within the Balkan peninsula. The powerful new Macedonian state soon clashed with the Thracians. The latters' cultural achievements continued but they suffered chronic political weakness; they accepted Macedonian domination, and Thracian archers and horsemen formed a significant proportion of the army which Alexander the Great took to the frontiers of India. After the disappearance of the Macedonian danger came one much more ominous.

Landing first in the west of the Balkans to suppress pirates in the third century BC, the Romans spread inexorably inland. By the first century AD the entire peninsula south of the Danube was under their control. For a while they allowed a truncated Thracian kingdom to continue as a client state but eventually that too disappeared. The Thracian language survived in remote areas until the fifth century AD and their worship of the horse was continued by later inhabitants of the area; and some scholars still see the 'mummers' found in parts of the south-west of present-day Bulgaria as a relict of Thracian culture.

Roman rule was characteristically efficient and strict, giving the Balkan peninsula a unity and stability enjoyed neither before nor since. Under Roman law and the firm grip of the legions the provinces of Moesia, the area between the Balkan mountains and the Danube, and Thrace, from the Balkans to the Aegean, prospered. The new system of roads bound the Balkans together on both a north-south and an east-west axis. At the crossroad of important diagonal routes across the peninsula was to be found the city of Serdica, the site on which Sofia now stands. Other cities flourished, not least Trimontium, now Plovdiv, whose magnificent Roman theatre was discovered only in the 1970s when a new road was being built.

With Roman rule, eventually, came Christianity and when the empire was divided in 395 Moesia and Thrace became part of the

Image not available in HTML version

Plate 1.2 A one-handled vase from the Vratsa treasure, between 380 and 350 BC. The vase, 9 cm in height, illustrates the Thracian prowess in horsemanship.

eastern empire focused on Constantinople (Byzantium). For the next millennium and a half the city was to play a hugely important role in the history of the Bulgarian lands.

By the fourth century Roman power was weakening. Internal problems were compounded when tribes from the Asiatic steppes raided the north-east of the Balkans. In the following century ultimately fatal damage was inflicted on the Roman body politic by a series of such invaders who included the Alani, the Goths and the Huns, all of whom were enticed by the prospect of looting the fabled wealth of Byzantium. They failed in that aspiration and soon moved out of the Balkans in search of fresh plunder, but if these invaders were transient, the Slavs who also first appeared in the fifth century,

Image not available in HTML version
Image not available in HTML version

Map 1.2 The Roman empire in the Balkans.

Image not available in HTML version

Plate 1.3 The Roman theatre in Plovdiv which came to light only in the 1970s during the construction of a new inner city road.

were not. They were settlers. They colonised areas of the eastern Balkans and in the seventh century other Slav tribes combined with the Proto-Bulgars, a group of Turkic origin, to launch a fresh assault into the Balkans. The Proto-Bulgars originated in the area between the Urals and the Volga and were a pot-pourri of various ethnic elements, the word Bulgar being derived from a Turkic verb meaning 'to mix'. What differentiated the Proto-Bulgars from the Slavs was that they had, in addition to a formidable military reputation, a highly developed sense of political cohesion and organisation. In 680 their leader, Khan Asparukh, led an army across the Danube and in the following year established his capital at Pliska near what is now Shumen. A Bulgarian state had appeared in the Balkans.

2

Mediaeval Bulgaria, 681-1393

Two main problems confronted the new Bulgarian state at the end of the seventh century: the need to establish clearly defined and secure borders; and the need to weld together the two main human components of the state, the Proto-Bulgarian conquerors and the conquered Slavs. The second of these two problems was eventually to be resolved, but the first was seldom out of consideration for more than a few years; this problem was to be a persistent feature of Bulgarian states, modern as well as mediaeval.

The new state commanded a powerful position. From Pliska it could control the north-south routes through the eastern passes of the Balkan mountains and along the narrow lowland coastal strip. In the north, however, its extensive territories beyond the Danube inevitably led it into conflict with both the tribal groups milling around in the plains to the north-east, and with the succession of states which were established on the north-western borders. For the leaders of mediaeval Bulgaria, however, the most persistent and pressing problem was defining Bulgaria's relations with the great power to the south. The first mediaeval Bulgarian state was to be destroyed by Byzantium; the second was to fall to Byzantium's successor, the Ottoman empire.

BULGARIA UNDER THE KHANS, 681-852

After its foundation in 681 the new state enjoyed almost a century of growth. Initial tensions with Byzantium were contained and regulated in a treaty of 716 which awarded northern Thrace to Bulgaria and was unusual in the mediaeval era in that it contained purely economic clauses. Immediately after the treaty the Bulgarian state assisted Byzantium in the latter's conflict with the Arabs in Asia Minor. By the middle of the eighth century part of the Morava valley had been added to Bulgaria which then included much of what is now southern Romania and parts of present-day Ukraine.

By this time the Black Sea was a virtual Byzantine lake, and in this sector it went virtually unchallenged by Bulgaria because Bulgaria never developed a sizeable sea-going force. Even if the strategic need for a such a force had been recognised it is doubtful if anything effective could have been done to act upon that need; the Bulgarian state had a relatively low technological base and the degree of planning and coordination needed to produce a navy would have been difficult to achieve in an economy which did not even mint its own coins, preferring instead to rely on Byzantine currency.

The lack of a navy ruled out expansion along the Black Sea coast either to the north or the south, just as the chaos of the steppe area made impossible any territorial gains to the north-east; the natural direction of movement for the Bulgarian state was therefore to the north-west and the south-west. In the north-west the collapse of the Avar kingdom created a vacuum into which Bulgaria's rulers gladly advanced, this taking their frontier up to the river Tisza; Transylvania too became part of Bulgaria. Expansion to the south and south-west was not so easy. Some of Macedonia had been taken late in the eighth century but only at the cost of losing part of Bulgaria's possessions in Thrace. Khan Krum (803-14) determined to remedy this. In 811 he took the recently fortified Sredets (now Sofia) from the Byzantines, went on to seize Nesebûr on the Black Sea coast, and then marched as far as the walls of Byzantium itself. This was a characteristically vicious war in which, in 811, the Byzantine Emperor Nicephorus became the first of his rank for almost five hundred years to lose his life on the battlefield; Krum encrusted his deceased enemy's skull in silver and used it as a drinking goblet.

In 814 his successor, Khan Omurtag (814-31), concluded a peace which gave Bulgaria some territory in the Tundja valley, and later in his reign he was able to add Belgrade (Singidunum) and its

© Cambridge University Press

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

1. The Bulgarian lands from pre-history to the arrival of the Bulgarians; 2. Mediaeval Bulgaria, 681–1393; 3. Ottoman rule in the Bulgarian lands; 4. The national revival and the liberation; 5. The consolidation of the Bulgarian state, 1878–1896; 6. Ferdinand's personal rule, 1896–1918; 7. Bulgaria 1918–1944; 8. Bulgaria under communist rule, 1944–1989; 9. Post-communist Bulgaria.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2008

    Easy-to-read, thorough but brief even-handed review

    I read before traveling to Bulgaria to do a grad level social assessment in Bulgaria. Felt better prepared to understand the culture and governmental processes after reading it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)