1. Map of Bulgaria
The origins of the Thracians are obscure. They figure in the Iliad as allies of the Trojans, hailing from Thrace. Living
between the Macedonians and the Scythians, they followed Greek ways, but spoke their own language. They served in
Alexander the Great’s army as light horse and light infantry.
By the 5th century BC, the Thracian presence was pervasive enough to have made Herodotus (book 5) call them the second-
most numerous people in the known world (after the Indians), and potentially the most powerful, if not for their disunity.
The Thracians in classical times were broken up into a large number of groups and tribes, though a number of powerful
Thracian states were organized, such as the Odrysian kingdom of Thrace. Various kings minted coins as they consolidated
their rule such as Seuthes III and Teres III, only to be conquered by Philip II of Macedon in 354 BC.After 323 B.C. most of
the country was in the hands of Lysimachus.It fell apart once more after Lysimachus’ death (281 B.C)2. Thrace.
3. Neighbors 4 Detail
5. Gold mask of Seuthes III? 6. Thracian warriors
7. Bowman 8. Tomb
9. Interior 10 Burial of a noble
11. victory crown 12. Crown similar to Asia minor
13. horseman 14. another
15. dinner service, rhytons of deer, Amazons 16. Old Heracles and Omphale?
17. Teres III, 350-325BC, bipennis ax 18. rev. Grapvines
19. Seuthes III c.325 BC Zeus/horseman 20. Lysimachos 321-281BC
21. Alexander the Great, horn of Ammon/Athena 22. silver and gold vase, rider
23.Alexander/Zeus 24. Gold vase-chariots
25. Athena/Athena Promachos 26. silver and gold vase, female rider
27. Athena\Lion 28. deer rhyton
29. Athena\forepart of lion 30. Amazon rhyton
31 Abdera-griffin\man’s head 32 Cheronesos-Lion/punch mark
33.Maroneia-horse/design 34. Thasos-Dioysios\D. Standing
35. Messembria-helmet/wheel 36. Amazon/Athena Promachos
37. Odessos-Great/ God rider 38. Apollo?\satyr reclining
The Thracian kings accelerated the Roman conquest by their own confusing dynastic squabbles. Sometimes there were three
Thracian kings ruling at once. For instance, when Rhoemetalces I (11BC-12 AD) died in 12 AD the Romans. War soon
broke out between brothers and cousins, and there were anti-Roman uprising of Odrysians, Dii and Koilaletai in Thrace in
21AD. The rebels besieged king Rhoemetalces II (AD 19-36) in Philippopolis, but the Romans arrived in time to save him.
Rhoemetalces III was less lucky and was killed during a rebellion in 44/45AD. He was the last Thracian king.
In 46 AD, Emperor Claudius annexed Thrace as the province of Thracia, under a Roman procurator, with Perinthos as its
capital. This, however, did not stop further raids, incursions, and rebellions. Imperial troops raised in the province of Thrace
were armed the same as any other auxiliaries fighting in the regular Roman army. As such, Thracians fought throughout the
Roman Empire organized the lands of present-day Bulgaria into several provinces - Scythia (Scythia Minor), Moesia (Upper
and Lower), Thrace, Macedonia (First and Second), Dacia (Coastal and Inner, both situated south of Danube), Dardania,
Rhodope and Hemimont, and had a mixed population of Thracians, Greeks and Dacians, most of whom spoke either Greek
or a Latin-derived language known as Romance.
COINS WERE MINTED IN THESSALONIKA UNDER LATE ROMANS AND BYZANTINES, BUT BULGARIA NEVER
MAINTAINED CONTROL of Thessalonika.
39. Roman Thrace 169BC -500AD 40. Augustus and King Rhoemetalkes
41. and his Queen 11BC-12AD 42. Antonius Pius 138-61
43. \Dionysius on leopard 44.Commodos 177-192
45.City gates Anchialus 46. Julia Domna, 193-211
47. Snake and staff 48.Carracalla 198-217 rev. prow Coela
49. head, Hadrianopolis 50. rev. Serapis
51. head–Philipopolis 52. Athena standing
53. Geta 209-212 Augusta Traina,fruit basket 54. Severus Alexander 222-231Deultum
55. Homonoia (order and unity)stands 56. Maximinus 235-237 Anchialus, city gate
57. Gordian III 238-244 Odessus 58. Gordian and Serapis facing
59. rev. Athena standing
Bulgars arrived in the Balkans in the 7th century from central Asia, but their exact origin is not entirely clear. The established
theory is that the Bulgars are related to the Huns or Avars. The ruling Huns must have been a small minority like the
Varangians or Normans that ruled Russia. They left very little genetic contribution to the largely Slavic population of Bulgaria.
Under the warrior Khan Krum (802-814), Bulgaria expanded northwest and southwards, occupying the lands between middle
Danube and Moldova, the whole territory of present-day Romania, Sofia in 809 and Adrianople in 813, and threatening
Constantinople itself. He is depicted on coins of Boris III and his kingdom was the source of the ideology of Greater Bulgaria
Under Boris I (852-889) the Bulgarians became Christians. 861 is the traditional date for the founding of the first Slavic
nation. Cyril and Methodius, devised the Glagolitic alphabet, which was adopted in the Bulgarian Empire around 886. The
alphabet and the Old Bulgarian language gave rise to a rich literary and cultural activity centered around the Preslav and Ohrid
Literary Schools, established by order of Boris I in 886. In the beginning of 10th century AD, a new alphabet - the Cyrillic
By the late 9th and the beginning of the 10th century, Bulgaria extended to Epirus and Thessaly in the south, Bosnia in the
west and controlled the whole of present-day Romania and eastern Hungary to the north. A Serbian state came into existence
as a dependency of the Bulgarian Empire. Under Tsar Simeon I (893-923)(Simeon the Great), who was educated in
Constantinople, Bulgaria became again a serious threat to the Byzantine Empire. Simeon hoped to take Constantinople and
make himself Emperor of both Bulgarians and Greeks, and fought a series of wars with the Byzantines through his long reign
(893-927). The war boundary towards the end of his rule reached Peloponnese in the south. Simeon proclaimed himself
"Tsar (Caesar) of the Bulgarians and the Greeks," a title which was recognized by the Pope, but not of course by the
The Byzantines conquered Bulgaria under Basil II the Bulgar Slayer 976-1025 and ruled Bulgaria from 1018 to 1185,
subordinating the independent Bulgarian Orthodox Church to the authority of the Ecumenical Patriarch in Constantinople and
converting the Russians as well. Basil II created the armored mounted knight, covering man and horse with scale male,
armed with a lance, the origin of the KNIGHT. This new development acted as a tank on the battle field and drove all before
them, slaughtering the Bulgarian armies. He also defeated the Muslims and was preparing to invade Sicily and restore
Justinian’s Empire when he died.
In 1185 Peter and Ivan Asen (1185-1197), led a revolt against Byzantine rule and Peter declared himself Tsar Peter II (also
known as Theodore Peter). The following year the Byzantines were forced to recognize Bulgaria's independence. Peter styled
himself "Tsar of the Bulgars, Greeks and Vlachs". The first Bulgarian coins were minted in style and fabric similar to
Byzantine coins, including trachys.
Byzantines successfully engineered the assassination of Ivan Asen, but the 4th Crusade (1204) and Sack of Constantinople
prevented any other response, as the Byzantine Empire would not be restored until 1262. The Bulgarian state enjoyed a brief
period of independence with the support of Russia staving off Crusaders and Hungarians, but falling to the Mongol Hordes in
60. Mediaeval Bulgaria 61. Huns 6th -8th century-horseman
62. Hun army 63. Byzantines 8th-1362
64. Basil II Bulgar Slayer–court painting 65. head
66. army 67. follis Christ with gospels
68. Jesus Christ King of Kings 69. monogram
71. Ivan Asen (1187-1196) Warred against Byzantine Emperor Isaac II, successfully gaining independence with the help of
72. trachy-Ivan standing 73. Latin cross
74. Bulgarian imitation Ivan and brother Peter?
75. Constantine Asen (1257-1277) Married Byzantien Emperor John IV’sdaughter, allied with Russian against Hungary and
raided Byzantine territory with the Mongols after Michael VIII killed John IV.
76. Emperor 77. Virgin Mary
78.Teodor Svetoslav (1300-1321) came to rule as a vassal of the Golden Horde, gradually consolidating his rule at home,
gaining independence during the civil wars in the Golden Horde, and fending off a Byzantine army and concluding peace by
marrying Andronikos’ sister Theordora.
79. Latin cross 80. Emperor mounted
81. Michael Shisman (1323-1330) Successfully warred with Serbia and Byzantium
82. 2 headed eagle/cross with floral legs 83. monogram HP/cross
84. Lion rampant cross
85. Ivan Alexander (1331-1371) successfully maintained his independence against Serbs, Hungarians and Byzantines, but
saw his kingdom diminish under the onslaughts of the Ottoman Turks.
86. Christ stands 87. Ivan and Michael III
88. Ivan and Michael III sand 89. City wall
90. Ivan 91. Latin Cross
92. Ivan and wife Theodora 93. Monograp QEP
94. Ivan 95. cross
96. Ivan Shishman 1371-1395 ruled a divided Bulgaria and fought the Ottoman’s bravely alone an in alliance with neighboring
kings at Kossovo. However, he a captive of the Turks.
97. Christ facing 98. Ivan mounted on hoorse
99. Ivan Stracimir 1356-1396, brother of Ivan Shishman, often defeated by Hungarian (when he was forced to convert to
Catholicism), was restored to the throne by his brother, then surrended as a vassal to the Turks, only to betray they when
the Hungarian knights came ona crusade against the Turks. The Crusaders were defeated and Stracimir also died in Ottoman
100. Christ standing 101. Emperor standing
In 1396 the Kingdom (Tsardom) of Vidin was also occupied, bringing the Second Bulgarian Empire and Bulgarian
independence to an end.
102. Ottoman Rule 1396-1877
Oppression Against the Bulgarian Population
The Ottoman Rule was a period of brutal oppression against Christians on the Balkan Peninsula. The Empire maintained a rule
based on terror. Every accusation of insubordination was punished with death. Christians within the Empire were known as
“gyaurs” and lacked even basic rights. The received very little or no protection for their life and property. In courts they had
lower standing than Muslims and their testimony as witnesses was disregarded. In addition, Christians were forced to pay
much higher taxes than Muslims. The famous "tribute of children" (or blood tax), whereby every fifth young boy was taken
to be trained as a warrior of the Empire. These corps were called Janissaries (yenicheri or "new force") and were an elite and
loyal unit of the Ottoman army. This was one of the main reasons why the Ottomans did not convert much of the Christian
population to Islam.
102 Mehmed II (1444-1481)-Sacker of Constantinople 103. assault on Constantinople
104. Aftermath of war 105. silver akche
106. rev. akche 107. Suleiman II (1687-1691)-drives Austrians out of Bulgaria
108. Musluim horseman raid town 109. Muslin soldiers
110. Muslim slaughter of prisoners 112. AE mangir-toughra
113. dated 1099=1687
114. Abdul Mejid (1839-1861)-Allies with Western powers against Russian in Crimea War, and liberalizes bureaucracy.
115. Bulgarians vs. Ottomen 116. slaughter of the captive
117. Ottoman soldier display heads of Bulgarians 118. British cartoon
Bashi-bazouks and April Uprising & Yellow Journalism
The reaction to the April Uprising of 1876 by the Ottoman authorities was quick and ruthless. Detachments of regular and
irregular Ottoman troops (bashi-bazouks) were mobilized and attacked the first insurgent towns as early as 25 April. By the
middle of May, the insurrection was completely suppressed. Some 30,000 people were massacred, 80 villages and towns
were burned and destroyed and 200 others were plundered. The atrocities which accompanied the suppression of the
insurrection reached its peak in the northern Rhodopes. Nearly the whole population of the town of Batak (3,000 people) was
slaughtered or burned alive by Ottoman irregulars who left piles of dead bodies around the town square and church.
The organizers of the uprising did not realistically expect to overthrow the Ottoman oppression but had the goal of drawing
attention to the plight of the Bulgarians and placing Bulgaria on the political agenda of the Great Powers. Although the
insurrection was a military failure, it succeeded in causing an enormous public outcry in Europe. The pictures of burned or
slaughtered human bodies and the articles on the Ottoman atrocities went round all European newspapers and were
condemned by a number of leading European political and cultural figures, including William Gladstone, Charles Darwin,
Oscar Wilde, Victor Hugo and Giuseppe Garibaldi.
New York World August 9, 1877 H.P. Blavaksty
Let me say, then, that during this campaign the Turkish troops have been guilty of such fiendish acts as to make me pray
that my relatives may be killed rather than fall into their hands. In a letter from the Danube, corroborated by several
correspondents of German and Austrian papers, the writer says:
On June 20th we entered Kozlovetz, a Bulgarian town of about two hundred houses, which lies three or four hours distant
from Sistova. The sight which met our eyes made the blood of every Russian soldier run cold, hardened though he is to such
scenes. On the principal street of the deserted town were placed in rows 140 beheaded bodies of men, women, and children.
The heads of these unfortunates were tastefully piled in a pyramid in the middle of the street. Among the smoking ruins of
every house we found half-burned corpses, fearfully mutilated. We caught a Turkish soldier, and to our questions he
reluctantly confessed that their chiefs had given orders not to leave a Christian place, however small, before burning it and
putting to death every man, woman, and child.
The first d On day that the Danube was crossed some foreign correspondents, among them that of the Cologne Gazette, saw
several bodies of Russian soldiers whose noses, ears, hands, etc., had been cut off, while the genital organs had been stuffed
into the mouths of the corpses. Later, three bodies of Christian women were found—a mother and two daughters—whose
condition makes one almost drop the pen in horror at the thought. Entirely nude, split open from below to the navel, their
heads cut off; the wrists of each corpse were tied together with strips of skin and flesh flayed from the shoulder down; and
the corpses of the three martyrs were similarly bound to each other by long ribbons of flesh dissected from their thighs.
A correspondent writes from Sistova:
The Emperor continues his daily visits to the hospitals and passes whole hours with the wounded. A few days ago His
Majesty, accompanied by Colonel Wellesley, the British military attaché, visited two unfortunate Bulgarians who died on the
night following. The skull of one of them was split open both laterally and vertically, by two sword-cuts, an eye was torn
out, and he was otherwise mutilated. He explained, as well as he could, that several Turks seeing him, demanded his money.
As he had none, four of the party held him fast while the fifth, brandishing his sword, and repeating all the time, time, you
Christian dog, there’s your cross for you! " first split his skull from the forehead to the back of the head, and then crosswise
from ear to ear. While the Emperor was listening to these details the greatest agony was depicted upon his face. Taking
Colonel Wellesley by the arm, and pointing to the Bulgarian, he said to him in French: "See the work of your protégés!" The
British officer blushed and was much confused.
Massacre of Bulgaria 1876
This letter, which was dated 2nd August, and appeared in the Daily News about a week later, created a profound sensation,
not only in Great Britain but throughout Europe. It was at once a series of pictures describing with photographic accuracy
what the observers had seen and a mass of the most ghastly stories they had heard on trustworthy authority. They had seen
dogs feeding on human remains, heaps of human skulls, skeletons nearly entire, rotting clothing, human hair, and flesh putrid
and Lying in one foul heap.
They saw the town with not a roof left, with women here and there wailing their dead amid the ruins. They examined the
heap and found that the skulls and skeletons were all small and that the clothing was that of women and girls. MacGahan
counted a hundred skulls immediately around him. The skeletons were headless, showing that these victims had been
beheaded. Further on they saw the skeletons of two little children lying side by side with frightful sabre cuts on their little
skulls. MacGahan remarked that the number of children killed in these massacres was something enormous. They heard on
trustworthy authority from eye-witnesses that they were often spiked on bayonets. There was not a house beneath the ruins
of which he and Mr. Schuyler did not see human remains, and the streets were strewn with them. When they drew nigh the
church they found the ground covered with skeletons and lots of putrid flesh. In the church itself the sight was so appalling
that I do not care to reproduce the terrible description given by Mr. MacGahan.
119. Bulgarian Kingdom
120. cartoon of Russian emperor Alexander III coming to aid of Bulgaria
Having its reputation at stake, Russia had no other choice but to declare war on the Ottomans in April 1877. The Romanian
army and a small contingent of Bulgarian exiles fought alongside Russians. The Coalition was able to inflict a decisive defeat
on the Ottomans at the Battle of Shipka and at the Pleven, and, by January 1878 they had liberated much of the Bulgarian
121. Prince Alexander of Battenberg, (1879-1886) a nephew of Tsar Alexander II, was chosen. After six years of instability,
Alexander was deposed in 1886 when Russian withdrew its support when Bulgaria declared war on Serbia, also an ally of
122. Silver crest 123. 5 leva 1885
124. postcard The conservative Czar Ferdinand (1894-1918), a proud Bourbon, Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was
named the new ruler in 1887. Meanwhile, territorial ambitions (particularly in Macedonia) remaining from the Treaty of Berlin
(only 37%) brought Bulgaria into two Balkan wars in 1912 and 1913, which in turn led to the onset of World War I in
Bosnia. Siding with Germany and Austria-Hungary in that war, Bulgaria was forced by popular opinion and military defeats to
withdraw in September 1918. As a result of the Balkan Wars, the League of Nations initiated a great population exchange
among Greece, Turkey, and Bulgaria wherein millions of ethnic minorities were deported back to their ethnic countries.
126. 10 leva note modeled on Russian note 127. reverse
128. silver head left 129. 5 leva 1892
129. 2 leva, 1910
130. Lion crest 131. 10 stoinki, 1912
132 Balkan War 1912-1913
133. cartoon Serbia, Bulgaria, Montenegro, and Greece team up to fight the Turk
134. the Balkan War 135. lead to World War I
136. 5 leva note from Balkan War 137 the reverse
138. Tsar Boris III (1918-1943) ended a period of political chaos in 1935 by declaring a royal dictatorship. In the late 1930s,
Bulgaria increasingly moved into the economic and geopolitical sphere of Nazi Germany. Under strong pressure after the
outbreak of World War II, Bulgaria signed the Tripartite Pact with Germany and Italy in 1941. Bulgaria maintained a passive
part in fighting, taking part in no battles, and vigorously protected its Jewish minority, and even joined the Allies at the end.
139. In German uniform
140. 50 leva note with Boris III 141. women gleaning
142 100 leva coin 1934
143. silver -crest 144. 2 leva 1925
145 German tank in Bulgaria
146. Cumean warrior hunts lion identified with Krum 147. Iron WWII coin, 10 leva
148. CN- crest 149. 2 leva
150. Into the Modern Era and Communism 1944-1989, Communist banner:
During this time (1944-1989), the country was known as the "People's Republic of Bulgaria" (PRB) and was ruled by the
Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP). Although Bulgaria took a passive position throughout the war, the Soviet Union invaded it
in 1944 and withdrew only in 1947, leaving behind a communist government. After a period of Stalinist repression under
Vŭlko Chervenkov (prime minister, 1950–56), Todor Zhivkov (1962-1989) completed his rise through the ranks of the
Bulgarian Communist Party by becoming prime minister in 1962. For the next 27 years, Zhivkov would remain the
unchallenged leader of Bulgaria.
151. Lenin statue being built 152. Peoples Republic of Bulgaria crest
153. 1 lev coin 154. Commemorative of April Uprising
155. coins commemorating workers and 1878 revolution 156. heros of the revolution
157. Ivan Asen and Peter Asen warriors 158. Motherhood
159. Two monasteries 160. 25 lev note Todor Zhikov/railroad builders
160. 50 lev note women harvesting tobacco/roses 161. Pope shot by Bulgarian 1981
162. In February 1990 the Party voluntarily gave up its claim on power and in June 1990 the first free elections since 1931
were held, won by the moderate wing of the Communist Party, renamed the Bulgarian Socialist Party. In July 1991 a new
Constitution was adopted, in which there was a weak elected President and a Prime Minister accountable to the legislature.
163. modern map of Bulgaria 164. Duchess Desislava. daughter of Ivan Alexander on 20 leva note
165. rev. Boyana Church
166. Rock carving of Cumean warrior hunting lion with his dog identified as Krum
167. drawing of same 168. Krum on small denominatin coins
169. St. Ivan of Rila on bimetal coin, patron saint, 2 leva coin 170. 10 leva coin, Krum, 1997