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great boilads," and then for the other boilads, "the inner and the outer.' There were thus three grades in this order. We do not know whether the high military offices of tarkan and kaukhan 2 were confined to the boilads. The khan himself had a following or retinue of his own men,3 which seems to have resembled the German comitatus. The kingdom was divided into ten administrative divisions, governed by officers whose title we know only under the equivalent of count.*
The Bulgarians used the Greek language for their official documents, and like the ancient Greeks recorded their public acts by inscriptions on stones. Mutilated texts of treaties and records of important events have been discovered. They are composed in colloquial and halting Greek, not in the diplomatic style of the chancery of Byzantium, and we may guess that they were written by Bulgarians or Slavs who had acquired a smattering of the Greek tongue. Among these monuments are several stones inscribed by the khans in memory of valued officers who died in their service. One of them, for instance, met his death in the waters of the Dnieper, another was drowned in the Theiss." This use of the Greek language for
1 In Constantine, Cer. 681, we find the six great boilads (tenth_cent.), but in De adm. imp. 154, we learn of the capture of "the twelve great boilads" by the Servians (ninth cent.). It seems plain that inner and outer simply mean a higher and lower grade. For we find exactly the same terms, great, inner, and outer applied to the three Bulgarias. There were the Great Bulgarians on the Danube, the Inner Bulgarians on the Sea of Azov, and the Outer Bulgarians on the Volga. See below, p. 410 sq.
2 The Tаρκávos (inscriptions) was undoubtedly a military commander. We meet this Turkish title in Menander's account of an embassy of the Turkish Khan Dizabul to Justin II. (fr. 20). The ambassador's name was Tagma, ἀξίωμα δὲ αὐτῷ Ταρχάν. See also Cont. Th. 413, καλουτερκάνος (leg. Καλού TЄρKάvos), and Const. Cer. 681, o Boulias TaρKávos. See Uspenski, op. cit. 199-200; Marquart, Chron. 43-44. For the κavɣávos see inscriptions, Aboba, 220, 233, and Simeon (Cont. Georg. ed. Muralt, 819, ed. Bonn 893), ἅμα καυκάνῳ. Other dignities were βαγατουρ οι βογοτορ (inscriptions; also
Const. Porph. De adm. imp. 15817, ἀλο-βογοτούρ, as Marquart corrects for ἀλογοβοτούρ), the Turkish bagadur, from which the Russian bogatyr (= hero) is derived; and Soupyov (zerco, in Mansi, xvi. 158; see Uspenski, ib. 204). κολοβρος (κουλουβρος) seems to have been a title of rank, not a post or office; Tomaschek equates it with Turkish qolaghuz, a guide, and Marquart (Chron. 41) compares Boukoλaßpâs in Theoph. Simocatta, i. 8. 2, who explains it as μάγος οι ἱερεύς.
θρεπτοὶ ἄνθρωποι, frequent in the inscriptions. See Uspenski's long discussion, ib. 204 sqq.
Ann. Bert., sub a. 866 (p. 85), " intra decem comitatus." Silistria was the chief place of one of the counties: inscription, Simeon, Izv. Kpl. iii. 186, κόμης Δρίστρου. Cp. also Theophylactus, Hist. mart., P. G., 126, 201, 213. See Aboba, 212.
5 Some mysterious epigraphic fragments have also been discovered, written, partly at least, in Greek letters, but not in the Greek tongue. They are very slight and little can be made of them. See Aboba, c. viii.
6 Aboba, 190-194.
their records is the most striking sign of the influence which was exercised on the Bulgarians by the civilization of Constantinople. We can trace this influence also in their buildings, and we know that they enlisted in their service Greek engineers, and learned the use of those military engines which the Greeks and Romans had invented for besieging towns. Notwithstanding the constant warfare in which they were engaged against the Empire, they looked to Constantinople much as the ancient Germans looked to Rome. Tervel had been created a Caesar by the gratitude of Justinian II., and two of his successors found an honourable refuge in the Imperial city when they were driven by rivals from their own kingdom. Tserig fled to the court of Leo IV. (A.D. 777), accepted baptism and the title of Patrician, and was honoured by the hand of an Imperial princess. It might be expected that the Bulgarians would have found it convenient to adopt the Roman system of marking chronology by indictions or even to use the Roman era of the Creation of the world, and we actually find them employing both these methods of indicating time in their official records.2 But they had also a chronological system of their own. They reckoned time by cycles of sixty lunar years, starting from the year A.D. 659, memorable in their history as that in which they had crossed the Danube and made their first permanent settlement in Moesia. For historical purposes, this system involved the same disadvantage as that of Indictions, though to a much smaller degree; for instance, when an event was dated by the year shegor alem or 48, it was necessary also to know to what cycle the year referred. But for practical purposes there was no inconvenience, and even in historical records little ambiguity would have been caused until the Bulgarian annals had been extended by the passage of time into a larger series. It is possible that the Bulgarian lunar years corresponded to the years of the Hijra, and if so, this would be a remarkable indication of Mohammadan influence, which there are other reasons for suspecting. We know that in the ninth century there must have been some Bulgarians who were acquainted with Arabic literature.4
1 Krum's sister married a Greek deserter.
2 See Aboba, 227 and 546.
3 See Bury, Chronol. Cycle.
4 Responsa Nicolai, § 103, "libri profani quos a Saracenis vos abstulisse ac apud vos habere perhibetis." Cp. Jireček, Geschichte, 134.
But the Bulgarians had other neighbours and foes besides the Romans, and political interests in other directions than in that of Constantinople. It is recorded that the same prince who crossed the Danube and inaugurated a new period in Bulgarian history, also drove the Avars westward,1 and the record expresses the important fact that in the seventh century the Bulgarians succeeded to the overlordship which the Avar khans had exercised over Dacia in the reigns of Maurice and Heraclius. This influence extended to the Theiss or beyond. Eastward, their lordship was bounded by the Empire of the Khazars, but it is impossible to define the precise limit of its extent. There can be no doubt that in the seventh and eighth centuries Bulgaria included the countries known in later times as Walachia and Bessarabia,2 and the authority of the khans may have been recognised even beyond the Dniester. At all events it appears to be certain that in this period Bulgarian tribes were in occupation of the coastlands from that river wellnigh to the Don, and this Bulgarian continuity was not cleft in twain till the ninth century. The more easterly portion of the people were known as the Inner Bulgarians, and they were probably considered to belong to the Empire of the Khazars. But we cannot decide whether it was at the Dniester or rather at the Dnieper that the authority of the Khazars ended and the claims of the Great Bulgarians of Moesia began.
South of the Danube, the kingdom extended to the Timok, which marked the Servian frontier. The Bulgarians lived on terms of unbroken friendship with the Servians, and this may perhaps be explained by the fact that between their territories the Empire still possessed an important stronghold in the city of Sardica.
For the greater security of their country the Bulgarians reinforced and supplemented the natural defences of mountain
1 [Moses of Chorene], Geography (seventh cent.), cited in Westberg, Beiträge, ii. 312; Marquart, Chron. 88.
2 Scr. Incertus, 345. Βουλγαρίαν ἐκεῖθεν τοῦ Ἴστρου ποταμοῦ (= PseudoSimeon, 615). There is no reason to suppose that when Isperikh settled in the Dobrudzha, he abandoned Bessarabia. Till the ninth century there was no power but that of the Khazars
to limit the Bulgarians on their eastern frontier, and there is no probability that the Khazars ever exerted authority further than the Dniester, if as far.
3 One point on the frontier (Constantine, De adm. imp. 155) seems to have been Rasa (Novi Bazar, Jireček, Geschichte, 150).
and river by elaborate systems of fortification and entrenchment.1 Their kingdom, almost girt about by an artificial circumvallation, might be compared to an entrenched camp, and the stages in its territorial expansion are marked by successive ramparts. Beyond the Danube, a ditch and earthen wall connected the Pruth with the Dniester in northern Bessarabia, and a similar fence protected the angle between the mouths of the Sereth, the Danube, and the Pruth.2 The early settlement of Isperikh at Little Preslav, near the mouth of the Danube, was fortified by a rampart across the Dobrudzha, following the line of older Roman walls of earth and stone, but turned to confront a foe advancing from the south, while the Roman defences had been designed against barbarians descending from the north. When the royal residence was moved to Pliska, a line of fortifications was constructed along the heights of Haemus; and a trench and rampart from the mountains to the Danube marked the western frontier. When their successes at the expense of the Empire enabled the conquerors to bestride the mountains, a new fence, traversing Thrace, marked the third position in their southward advance.4 The westward expansion is similarly separated by two more entrenchments connecting the Haemus with the Danube, while the right bank of that river was defended by a series of fortresses and entrenchments from Little Preslav to the neighbourhood of Nicopolis.
The main road from Constantinople to the capital of the Bulgarian kings crossed the frontier, east of the Tundzha, near the conspicuous heights of Meleona, which, still covered with
1 The following brief description is based on Shkorpil's, in Aboba, c. xx. 503 sqq.; cp. also Prilozh. ii. 566-569. Masudi describes the "dominion of the Bulgarians as surrounded by a thorn fence, with openings like wooden windows, and resembling a wall and canal (Harkavi, Skazaniia, 126). Uspenski (Aboba, 15) takes "dominion" to mean the royal aula, and relates the description to Aboba. This is a strained interpretation; but possibly Masudi's source mentioned both the circumvallation of the kingdom and the fortifications of Pliska, and Masudi confused them.
2 There was also an entrenchment
the remains of Bulgarian fortifications, marked an important station on the frontier, since they commanded the road. To the north-west of Meleona, the Bulgarians held Diampolis, which preserves its old name as Jambol, situated on the Tundzha. The direct road to Pliska did not go by Diampolis, but ran northward in a direct course to the fortress of Marcellae, which is the modern Karnobad.1 This stronghold possessed a high strategic importance in the early period of Bulgarian history, guarding the southern end of the pass of Veregava, which led to the gates of the Bulgarian king. Not
far to the west of Veregava is the pass of Verbits, through which the road lay from Pliska to Diampolis. The whole route from Marcellae to Pliska was flanked by a succession of fortresses of earth and stone.
§ 2. Krum and Nicephorus I.
In the wars during the reign of Irene and Constantine VI., the Bulgarians had the upper hand; king Kardam repeatedly routed Roman armies, and in the end the Empress submitted to the humiliation of paying an annual tribute to the lord of Pliska. A period of peace ensued, lasting for about ten years (A.D. 797-807).
497, who relates that Krum sought to renew with Michael I. (see below) the treaty concluded "in the reign of Theodosius of Adramyttion and the patriarchate of Germanus with Kormisos, "then ruler of Bulgaria.' There is an error here, as Tervel was the Bulgarian king in the reign of Theodosius III., and Constantine V. was Emperor in the reign of Kormisos (743-760). If we accept Theodosius, the treaty was in A.D. 716; if we accept Kormisos, it was a generation later. My view is that the treaty on which Krum based his negotiations was between Kormisos and Constantine V., but that in the text of that treaty an older treaty between Theodosius and Tervel was referred to. decision of this question does not, of course, decide the date of the Erkesiia, as Meleona (τοὺς ὅρους ἀπὸ Μηλεώνων τῆς Θράκης, ib.) may have been the boundary many years before its construction. Zlatarski dates it in the reign of Tervel, Shkorpil in that of
We may surmise that the
Kormisos, Jireček in the ninth century (cp. Aboba, 568). See below p. 361.
Aboba, 564, cp. 562. Jireček (Arch.ep. Mitth. x. 158) wished to place Marcellae at Kaiabash. His identification is based on Anna Comnena, i. 244 and ii. 71 (ed. Reifferscheid), and he places Lardeas at Karnobad. But Shkorpil finds Lardeas at the pass of Marash (565). Both place Goloe (also mentioned by Anna) near Kadirfakli. Kadirfakli, Kaiabash, and the Marash defile lie in this order on the southward road from the Verbits pass to Jambol.
2 The identification of the KλεισоÛρа Βερεγάβων with the Rish Pass is unquestionably right. Cp. Aboba, 564; Jireček, Heeresstrasse, 149-150. Jireček also identifies Veregava with the Túλa σιδηραί οι Σιδηρᾶ of Greek historians, but Shkorpil (Aboba, 565) takes Zidnpâ to be the Verbits pass. I am inclined to agree with Jireček. The two neighbouring passes are together known as the Gyrlorski Pass (ib. 548).