Bulgars
   HOME

TheInfoList



OR:

The Bulgars (also Bulghars, Bulgari, Bolgars, Bolghars, Bolgari, Proto-Bulgarians) were Turkic semi-nomadic warrior tribes that flourished in the
Pontic–Caspian steppe The Pontic–Caspian steppe, formed by the Caspian steppe and the Pontic steppe, is the steppeland stretching from the northern shores of the Black Sea (the Pontus Euxinus of antiquity) to the northern area around the Caspian Sea The ...
and the
Volga region The Volga Region (russian: Поволжье, ''Povolzhye'', literally: "along the Volga") is a historical region in Russia Russia (, , ), or the Russian Federation, is a List of transcontinental countries, transcontinental country span ...
during the 7th century. They became known as nomadic equestrians in the Volga-Ural region, but some researchers say that their ethnic roots can be traced to
Central Asia Central Asia, also known as Middle Asia, is a region of Asia Asia (, ) is one of the world's most notable geographical regions, which is either considered a continent in its own right or a subcontinent of Eurasia, which shares the c ...
. During their westward migration across the
Eurasian steppe The Eurasian Steppe, also simply called the Great Steppe or the steppes, is the vast steppe ecoregion An ecoregion (ecological region) or ecozone (ecological zone) is an ecology, ecologically and geographically defined area that is smaller ...
, the Bulgar tribes absorbed other tribal groups and cultural influences in a process of ethnogenesis, including
Iranian Iranian may refer to: * Iran, a sovereign state * Iranian peoples, the speakers of the Iranian languages. The term Iranic peoples is also used for this term to distinguish the pan ethnic term from Iranian, used for the people of Iran * Iranian lan ...
, Finnic and Hunnic tribes. Modern genetic research on Central Asian Turkic people and ethnic groups related to the Bulgars points to an affiliation with Western Eurasian populations. The Bulgars spoke a
Turkic language The Turkic languages are a language family of over 35 documented languages, spoken by the Turkic peoples The Turkic peoples are a collection of diverse ethnic group An ethnic group or an ethnicity is a grouping of people who identi ...
, i.e.
Bulgar language Bulgar (also known as Bulghar, Bolgar, or Bolghar) is an extinct Oghuric languages, Oghur Turkic language spoken by the Bulgars. The name is derived from the Bulgars, a tribal association that established the Bulgar state known as Old Great Bu ...
of Oghuric branch. They preserved the military titles, organization and customs of Eurasian steppes, as well as pagan shamanism and belief in the sky deity Tangra. The Bulgars became semi-sedentary during the 7th century in the Pontic-Caspian steppe, establishing the polity of
Old Great Bulgaria Old Great Bulgaria or Great Bulgaria (Medieval Greek: Παλαιά Μεγάλη Βουλγαρία, ''Palaiá Megálē Voulgaría''), also often known by the Latin names ''Magna Bulgaria'' and ''Patria Onoguria'' ("Onoğurs, Onogur land"), w ...
c. 630–635, which was defeated by the Khazar Empire in 668 AD. In c. 679, Khan
Asparukh Asparuh (also ''Ispor''; bg, Аспарух, Asparuh or (rarely) bg, Исперих, Isperih) was а ruler of Bulgars in the second half of the 7th century and is credited with the establishment of the First Bulgarian Empire in 681. Early life ...
conquered Scythia Minor, opening access to
Moesia Moesia (; Latin: ''Moesia''; el, Μοισία, Moisía) was an ancient region and later Roman province situated in the Balkans south of the Danube River, which included most of the territory of modern eastern Serbia, Kosovo, north-eastern Alban ...
, and established the Danubian Bulgaria – the
First Bulgarian Empire The First Bulgarian Empire ( cu, блъгарьско цѣсарьствиѥ, blagarysko tsesarystviye; bg, Първо българско царство) was a medieval Bulgars, Bulgar-Early Slavs, Slavic and later Bulgarians, Bulgarian state t ...
, where the Bulgars became a political and military elite. They merged subsequently with established Byzantine populations, as well as with previously settled
Slavic tribes This is a list of Early Slavs, Slavic peoples and Early Slavs, Slavic tribes reported in Late Antiquity and in the Middle Ages, that is, before the year AD 1500. Ancestors *Proto-Indo-Europeans (Proto-Indo-European language, Proto-Indo-European ...
, and were eventually
Slavicized Slavicisation American and British English spelling differences#-ise, -ize (-isation, -ization), or Slavicization, is the acculturation of something Slavic into a non-Slavic culture, cuisine, region, or nation. To a lesser degree, it also means a ...
, thus forming the ancestors of modern
Bulgarians Bulgarians ( bg, българи, Bǎlgari, ) are a nation and South Slavs, South Slavic ethnic group native to Bulgaria and the rest of Southeast Europe. Etymology Bulgarians derive their ethnonym from the Bulgars. Their name is not complete ...
. The remaining Pontic Bulgars migrated in the 7th century to the
Volga River The Volga (; russian: Во́лга, a=Ru-Волга.ogg, p=ˈvoɫɡə) is the List of rivers of Europe#Rivers of Europe by length, longest river in Europe. Situated in Russia, it flows through Central Russia to Southern Russia and into the Cas ...
, where they founded the
Volga Bulgaria Volga Bulgaria or Volga–Kama Bulgaria, was a historic Bulgar state that existed between the 7th and 13th centuries around the confluence of the Volga The Volga (; russian: Во́лга, a=Ru-Волга.ogg, p=ˈvoɫɡə) is the List of ...
; they preserved their identity well into the 13th century. The modern
Volga Tatars The Volga Tatars or simply Tatars ( tt-Cyrl, татарлар, tatarlar) are a Turkic peoples, Turkic ethnic group native to the Idel-Ural, Volga-Ural region of Russia. They are subdivided into various subgroups. Volga Tatars are Russia's second ...
and
Chuvash people The Chuvash people ( , ; cv, чӑваш ; russian: чуваши ) are a Turkic peoples, Turkic ethnic group, a branch of Onogurs, Oghurs, native to an area stretching from the Volga-Ural region to Siberia. Most of them live in Chuvashia and th ...
claim to have originated from the Volga Bulgars.


Etymology and origin

The etymology of the ethnonym '' Bulgar'' is not completely understood and difficult to trace back earlier than the 4th century AD. Since the work of Wilhelm Tomaschek (1873), it is generally said to be derived from
Proto-Turkic Proto-Turkic is the linguistic reconstruction of the common ancestor of the Turkic languages that was spoken by the Proto-Turks before their divergence into the various Turkic peoples. Proto-Turkic separated into Oghur languages, Oghur (western) ...
root *''bulga-'' ("to stir", "to mix"; "to become mixed"), which with the consonant suffix ''-r'' implies a noun meaning "mixed". Other scholars have added that ''bulğa'' might also imply "stir", "disturb", "confuse" and Talat Tekin interpreted ''bulgar'' as the verb form "mixing" (i.e. rather than the adjective "mixed"). Both Gyula Németh and
Peter Benjamin Golden Peter Benjamin Golden (born 1941) is an American historian who is Professor Emeritus of History, Turkish and Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University. He has written many books and articles on Turkic peoples, Turkic and Central Asian Studies, ...
initially advocated the "mixed race" theory, but later, like
Paul Pelliot Paul Eugène Pelliot (28 May 187826 October 1945) was a French Sinologist and Oriental studies, Orientalist best known for his explorations of Central Asia and his discovery of many important Chinese texts such as the Dunhuang manuscripts. Earl ...
, considered that "to incite", "rebel", or "to produce a state of disorder", i.e. the "disturbers", was a more likely etymology for migrating nomads. According to Osman Karatay, if the "mixed" etymology relied on the westward migration of the Oğurs, meeting and merging with the Huns, north of the Black Sea, it was a faulty theory, since the Oghurs were documented in Europe as early as 463, while the Bulgars were not mentioned until 482 – an overly short time period for any such
ethnogenesis Ethnogenesis (; ) is "the formation and development of an ethnic group". This can originate by group self-identification or by outside identification. The term ''ethnogenesis'' was originally a mid-19th century neologism that was later introdu ...
to occur. However, the "mixing" in question may have occurred before the Bulgars migrated from further east, and scholars such as Sanping Chen have noted analogous groups in
Inner Asia Inner Asia refers to the northern and landlocked regions spanning North Asia, North, Central Asia, Central and East Asia. It includes parts of Western China, western and Northeast China, northeast China, as well as southern Siberia. The area over ...
, with phonologically similar names, who were frequently described in similar terms: during the 4th century, the '' Buluoji'' (
Middle Chinese Middle Chinese (formerly known as Ancient Chinese) or the Qieyun system (QYS) is the historical variety of Chinese recorded in the '' Qieyun'', a rime dictionary first published in 601 and followed by several revised and expanded editions. The ...
''b'uo-lak-kiei''), a component of the " Five Barbarian" groups in Ancient China, were portrayed as both a "mixed race" and "troublemakers". Peter A. Boodberg noted that the ''Buluoji'' in the Chinese sources were recorded as remnants of the
Xiongnu The Xiongnu (, ) were a tribal confederation of nomads, nomadic peoples who, according to ancient Chinese historiography, Chinese sources, inhabited the eastern Eurasian Steppe from the 3rd century BC to the late 1st century AD. Modu Chanyu, ...
confederation, and had strong Caucasian elements. Another theory linking the Bulgars to a Turkic people of Inner Asia has been put forward by Boris Simeonov, who identified them with the ''Pugu'' (僕骨; ''buk/buok kwət''; ''Buqut''), a Tiele and/or Toquz Oguz tribe. The Pugu were mentioned in Chinese sources from 103 BC up to the 8th century AD, and later were situated among the eastern Tiele tribes, as one of the highest-ranking tribes after the
Uyghurs The Uyghurs; ; ; ; zh, s=, t=, p=Wéiwú'ěr, IPA: ( ), alternatively spelled Uighurs, Uygurs or Uigurs, are a Turkic peoples, Turkic ethnic group originating from and culturally affiliated with the general region of Central Asia, Cent ...
. According to the ''Chronicle'' by
Michael the Syrian Michael the Syrian ( ar, ميخائيل السرياني, Mīkhaʾēl el Sūryani:),( syc, ܡܺܝܟ݂ܳܐܝܶܠ ܣܽܘܪܝܳܝܳܐ, Mīkhoʾēl Sūryoyo), died 1199 AD, also known as Michael the Great ( syr, ܡܺܝܟ݂ܳܐܝܶܠ ܪܰܒ݁ܳܐ, ...
, which comprises several historical events of different age into one story, three mythical
Scythian The Scythians or Scyths, and sometimes also referred to as the Classical Scythians and the Pontic Scythians, were an Ancient Iranian peoples, ancient Eastern Iranian languages, Eastern * : "In modern scholarship the name 'Sakas' is reserved f ...
brothers set out on a journey from the mountain Imaon (
Tian Shan The Tian Shan,, , otk, 𐰴𐰣 𐱅𐰭𐰼𐰃, , tr, Tanrı Dağı, mn, Тэнгэр уул, , ug, تەڭرىتاغ, , , kk, Тәңіртауы / Алатау, , , ky, Теңир-Тоо / Ала-Тоо, , , uz, Tyan-Shan / Tangritog‘ ...
) in Asia and reached the river Tanais ( Don), the country of the
Alans The Alans (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around prese ...
called Barsalia, which would be later inhabited by the Bulgars and the Pugurs (''Puguraje''). The names Onoğur and Bulgar were linked by later Byzantine sources for reasons that are unclear.Tekin derived ''-gur'' from the Altaic suffix ''-gir''. Generally, modern scholars consider the terms ''oğuz'' or ''oğur'', as generic terms for
Turkic tribal confederations The Turkic languages, Turkic term ''oğuz'' or ''oğur'' (in z-Turkic, z- and r-Turkic, respectively) is a historical term for "military division, clan, or tribe" among the Turkic peoples. With the Mongol invasions of 1206–21, the Turkic kha ...
, to be derived from Turkic ''*og/uq'', meaning "kinship or being akin to". The terms initially were not the same, as ''oq/ogsiz'' meant "arrow", while ''oğul'' meant "offspring, child, son", ''oğuš/uğuš'' was "tribe, clan", and the verb ''oğša-/oqša'' meant "to be like, resemble". There also appears to be an etymological association between the Bulgars and the preceding
Kutrigur Kutrigurs were Turkic people, Turkic Eurasian nomads, nomadic equestrians who flourished on the Pontic–Caspian steppe in the 6th century AD. To their east were the similar Utigurs and both possibly were closely related to the Bulgars. They warred ...
(''Kuturgur'' > ''Quturğur'' > ''*Toqur(o)ğur'' < ''toqur''; "nine" in Proto-Bulgar; ''toquz'' in Common Turkic) and
Utigur Utigurs were Turkic people, Turkic Eurasian nomads, nomadic equestrians who flourished in the Pontic–Caspian steppe in the 6th century AD. They possibly were closely related to the Kutrigurs and Bulgars. Etymology The name ''Ut(r)igur'', recorde ...
(''Uturgur'' > ''Uturğur'' < ''utur/otur''; "thirty" in Proto-Bulgar; ''otuz'' in Common Turkic) – as '' 'Oğur'' (Oghur) tribes, with the ethnonym Bulgar as a "spreading" adjective. Golden considered the origin of the Kutrigurs and Utigurs to be obscure and their relationship to the Onogurs and Bulgars – who lived in similar areas at the same time – as unclear. He noted, however, an implication that the Kutrigurs and Utigurs were related to the Šarağur (''šara oğur'', ''shara oghur''; "white oğhurs"), and that according to
Procopius Procopius of Caesarea ( grc-gre, Προκόπιος ὁ Καισαρεύς ''Prokópios ho Kaisareús''; la, Procopius Caesariensis; – after 565) was a prominent late antique Greek scholar from Caesarea Maritima. Accompanying the Roman ge ...
these were Hunnish tribal unions, of partly
Cimmerian The Cimmerians (Akkadian: , romanized: ; Hebrew: , romanized: ; Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It ...
descent. Karatay considered the Kutrigurs and Utigurs to be two related, ancestral people, and prominent tribes in the later Bulgar union, but different from the Bulgars. Among many other theories regarding the etymology of Bulgar, the following have also had limited support. * an Eastern Germanic root meaning "combative" (i.e. cognate with the Latin ''pugnax''), according to D. Detschev; * the Latin ''burgaroi'' – a Roman term mercenaries stationed in ''burgi'' ("forts") on the ''
limes Limes may refer to: * the plural form of lime (disambiguation) * the Latin word for ''limit'' which refers to: ** Limes (Roman Empire) (Latin, singular; plural: ) is a modern term used primarily for the Germanic border defence or delimitin ...
'' (G. A. Keramopulos); * a reconstructed but unattested early Turkic term meaning "five oğhur", such as ''*bel-gur'' or ''*bil-gur'' ( Zeki Velidi Togan).


History


Turkic migration

The origin of the early Bulgars is still unclear. Their homeland is believed to be situated in
Kazakhstan Kazakhstan, officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a List of transcontinental countries, transcontinental country located mainly in Central Asia and partly in Eastern Europe. It borders Russia to Kazakhstan–Russia border, the north and ...
and the North Caucasian steppes. Interaction with the Hunnic tribes, causing the migration, may have occurred there, but the
Pontic–Caspian steppe The Pontic–Caspian steppe, formed by the Caspian steppe and the Pontic steppe, is the steppeland stretching from the northern shores of the Black Sea (the Pontus Euxinus of antiquity) to the northern area around the Caspian Sea The ...
seems a more likely location. The first clear mention and evidence of the Bulgars was in 480, when they served as the allies of the Byzantine Emperor Zeno (474–491) against the
Ostrogoths The Ostrogoths ( la, Ostrogothi, Austrogothi) were a Roman-era Germanic peoples, Germanic people. In the 5th century, they followed the Visigoths in creating one of the two great Goths, Gothic kingdoms within the Roman Empire, based upon the larg ...
. Anachronistic references about them can also be found in the 7th-century geography work ''
Ashkharatsuyts ''Ashkharatsuyts'' or ''Ašxarhac′oyc′'' (Աշխարհացոյց (traditional A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition is truth, true. In epistemology, ...
'' by
Anania Shirakatsi Anania Shirakatsi ( hy, Անանիա Շիրակացի, ''Anania Širakac’i'', anglicized: Ananias of Shirak) was a 7th-century Armenians, Armenian polymath and Natural philosophy, natural philosopher, author of extant works covering mathematics ...
, where the ''Kup'i Bulgar'', ''Duč'i Bulkar'', ''Olxontor Błkar'' and immigrant ''Č'dar Bulkar'' tribes are mentioned as being in the North Caucasian-Kuban steppes. An obscure reference to ''Ziezi ex quo Vulgares'', with
Ziezi According to an anonymous Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *Roman people, the people of ancient Rome *''Epistle to the Romans'', s ...
being an offspring of Biblical
Shem Shem (; he, שֵׁם ''Šēm''; ar, سَام, Sām) ''Sḗm''; Ge'ez language, Ge'ez: ሴም, ''Sēm'' was one of the sons of Noah in the book of Genesis and in the book of Chronicles, and the Quran. The children of Shem were Elam (Hebrew ...
, is in the ''
Chronography of 354 The ''Chronograph of 354'' (or "Chronography"), also known as the ''Calendar of 354'', is a compilation of chronological and calendrical texts produced in 354 AD for a wealthy Roman Christian named Valentinus by the calligrapher and illustrator ...
''. According to D. Dimitrov, the 5th-century ''
History of Armenia The history of Armenia covers the topics related to the history of the Armenia, Republic of Armenia, as well as the Armenians, Armenian people, the Armenian language, and the regions historically and Armenian Highlands, geographically consid ...
'' by
Movses Khorenatsi Movses Khorenatsi (ca. 410–490s AD; hy, wikt:Մովսէս, Մովսէս wikt:խորենացի, Խորենացի, , also written as ''Movses Xorenac‘i'' and Moses of Khoren, Moses of Chorene, and Moses Chorenensis in Latin sources) was a promi ...
speaks about two migrations of the Bulgars, from
Caucasus The Caucasus () or Caucasia (), is a region between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, mainly comprising Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia (country), Georgia, and parts of Southern Russia. The Caucasus Mountains, including the Greater Caucasus range ...
to
Armenia Armenia (), , group=pron officially the Republic of Armenia,, is a landlocked country in the Armenian Highlands of Western Asia.The UNbr>classification of world regions places Armenia in Western Asia; the CIA World Factbook , , and '' ...
. The first migration is mentioned in the association with the campaign of Armenian ruler Valarshak (probably
Varazdat Varazdat (; flourished 4th century) was the king of Arsacid dynasty of Armenia, Arsacid Kingdom of Armenia (antiquity), Armenia from 374/375 until 378. He was installed on the throne by the Roman emperor Valens after the assassination of his kins ...
) to the lands "named Basen by the ancients... and which were afterwards populated by immigrants of the vh' ndur Bulgar Vund, after whose name they (the lands) were named Vanand". The second migration took place during the time of the ruler Arshak III, when "great disturbances occurred in the range of the great Caucasus mountain, in the land of the Bulgars, many of whom migrated and came to our lands and settled south of Kokh". Both migrations are dated to the second half of the 4th century AD. The "disturbances" which caused them are believed to be the expansion of the Huns in the East-European steppes. Dimitrov recorded that the toponyms of the Bolha and Vorotan rivers, tributaries of the Aras river, are known as ''Bolgaru-chaj'' and ''Vanand-chaj'', and could confirm the Bulgar settlement of Armenia. Around 463 AD, the Akatziroi and other tribes that had been part of the Hunnic union were attacked by the Šarağurs, one of the first Oğuric Turkic tribes that entered the Ponto-Caspian steppes as the result of migrations set off in Inner Asia. According to
Priscus Priscus of Panium (; el, Πρίσκος; 410s AD/420s AD-after 472 AD) was a 5th-century Eastern Roman Empire, Eastern Roman diplomat and Byzantine Greeks, Greek historian and rhetorician (or Sophist (dialogue), sophist)...: "For information a ...
, in 463 the representatives of Šarağur, Oğur and Onoğur came to the Emperor in Constantinople, and explained they had been driven out of their homeland by the
Sabirs The Sabirs (Savirs, Suars, Sawar, Sawirk among others; el, Σάβιροι) were nomadic people A nomad is a member of a community without fixed habitation who regularly moves to and from the same areas. Such groups include hunter-gatherers, N ...
, who had been attacked by the Avars. This tangle of events indicates that the Oğuric tribes are related to the Ting-ling and
Tiele people The Tiele (, Mongolian ''*Tegreg'' " eople of theCarts"), also transliterated as Dili (), Chile (), Zhile (), Tele (), also named Gaoche or Gaoju (, "High Carts"), were a tribal confederation of Turkic peoples, Turkic ethnic origins living to ...
. It seems that Kutrigurs and Unigurs arrived with the initial waves of Oğuric peoples entering the Pontic steppes. The Bulgars were not mentioned in 463. The account by
Paul the Deacon Paul the Deacon ( 720s 13 April in 796, 797, 798, or 799 AD), also known as ''Paulus Diaconus'', ''Warnefridus'', ''Barnefridus'', or ''Winfridus'', and sometimes suffixed ''Cassinensis'' (''i.e.'' "of Monte Cassino"), was a Benedictine monk, sc ...
in his ''
History of the Lombards The ''History of the Lombards'' or the ''History of the Langobards'' ( la, Historia Langobardorum) is the chief work by Paul the Deacon Paul the Deacon ( 720s 13 April in 796, 797, 798, or 799 AD), also known as ''Paulus Diaconus'', ''Warnefr ...
'' (8th century) says that at the beginning of the 5th century in the North-Western slopes of the
Carpathians The Carpathian Mountains or Carpathians () are a range of mountains forming an arc across Central Europe. Roughly long, it is the third-longest European mountain range after the Urals at and the Scandinavian Mountains at . The range stretche ...
the ''Vulgares'' killed the Lombard king Agelmund. Scholars attribute this account to the Huns, Avars or some Bulgar groups were probably carried away by the Huns to the Central Europe. The Lombards, led by their new king Laimicho, rose up and defeated the Bulgars with great slaughter, gaining great booty and confidence as they "became bolder in undertaking the toils of war." The defeated Bulgars then became subjects of the Lombards and later migrated in Italy with their king
Alboin Alboin (530s – 28 June 572) was king of the Lombards from about 560 until 572. During his reign the Lombards ended their migration period, migrations by settling in Italy, the northern part of which Alboin conquered between 569 and 572. He h ...
. When the army of Ostrogoth chieftain Theodoric Strabo grew to 30,000-men strong, it was felt as a menace to Byzantine Emperor Zeno, who somehow managed to convince the Bulgars to attack the Thracian Goths. The Bulgars were eventually defeated by Strabo in 480/481. In 486 and 488 they fought against the Goths again, first as allies of the Byzantium, according to
Magnus Felix Ennodius Magnus Felix Ennodius (473 or 47417 July 521 AD) was Bishop of Pavia in 514, and a Latin rhetorician and poet. He was one of four Gallo-Roman aristocrats of the fifth to sixth-century whose letters survive in quantity: the others are Sidonius Ap ...
, and later as allies of the
Gepids The Gepids, ( la, Gepidae, Gipedae, grc, Γήπαιδες) were an East Germanic tribes, East Germanic tribe who lived in the area of modern Romania, Hungary and Serbia, roughly between the Tisza, Sava and Carpathian Mountains. They were said t ...
, according to Paul the Deacon. However, when
Theoderic the Great Theodoric (or Theoderic) the Great (454 – 30 August 526), also called Theodoric the Amal dynasty, Amal ( got, , *Þiudareiks; Medieval Greek, Greek: , romanized: ; Latin: ), was king of the Ostrogoths (471–526), and ruler of the independent ...
with Ostrogoths parted for Italy in 489, the Illyricum and
Thrace Thrace (; el, Θράκη, Thráki; bg, Тракия, Trakiya; tr, Trakya) or Thrake is a geographical and historical region in Southeast Europe, now split among Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey, which is bounded by the Balkan Mountains to th ...
were open for Bulgar raids. In 493, according to Marcellinus Comes, they defeated and killed
magister militum (Latin for "master of soldiers", plural ) was a top-level military command used in the later Roman Empire, dating from the reign of Constantine the Great. The term referred to the senior military officer (equivalent to a war theatre commander, ...
Julian. In 499, crossed Danube and reached Thrace where on the banks of the river Tzurta (considered a tributary of
Maritsa Maritsa or Maritza ( bg, Марица ), also known as Meriç ( tr, Meriç ) and Evros ( ell, Έβρος ), is a river that runs through the Balkans in Southeast Europe. With a length of ,Justin and
Baduarius Baduarius ( el, Βαδουάριος) was an Byzantine Empire, East Roman aristocrat, the son-in-law of Byzantine emperor Justin II (r. 565–578). Theophanes the Confessor erroneously calls him a brother of the Emperor.. Biography Possibly the s ...
. However, Gothic general, Mundus, offered allegiance to the Emperor
Justinian I Justinian I (; la, Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Iustinianus, ; grc-gre, Ἰουστινιανός ; 48214 November 565), also known as Justinian the Great, was the Byzantine emperor, Eastern Roman emperor from 527 to 565. His reign is marked by ...
(527–565) in 530, and managed to kill 5,000 Bulgars plundering Thrace.
John Malalas John Malalas ( el, , ''Iōánnēs Malálas'';  – 578) was a Byzantine Empire, Byzantine chronicler from Antioch (now Antakya, Turkey). Life Malalas was of Assyrian people, Syrian descent, and he was a native speaker of Syriac language ...
recorded that in the battle was captured Bulgar warlord. In 535, magister militum Sittas defeated the Bulgar army at the river
Yantra Yantra () (literally "machine, contraption") is a geometrical diagram, mainly from the tantra, Tantric traditions of the Indian religions. Yantras are used for the worship of deities in temples or at home; as an aid in meditation; used for the b ...
. Ennodius,
Jordanes Jordanes (), also written as Jordanis or Jornandes, was a 6th-century Eastern Roman bureaucrat widely believed to be of Goths, Gothic descent who became a historian later in life. Late in life he wrote two works, one on Roman history (''Romana ...
and
Procopius Procopius of Caesarea ( grc-gre, Προκόπιος ὁ Καισαρεύς ''Prokópios ho Kaisareús''; la, Procopius Caesariensis; – after 565) was a prominent late antique Greek scholar from Caesarea Maritima. Accompanying the Roman ge ...
identified the Bulgars with the Huns in a 6th-century literary topos, in which Ennodius referred to a captured Bulgar horse as "''equum Huniscum''". In 505, the alleged 10,000 Hun horsemen in the Sabinian army, which was defeated by the Ostrogoths, are believed to be the Bulgars. In 515, Bulgar mercenaries were listed along with others from the Goths, Scythians and Hunnic tribes as part of the Vitalian army. In 539, two Hunnic "kinglets" defeated two Roman generals during the raid into Scythia Minor and
Moesia Moesia (; Latin: ''Moesia''; el, Μοισία, Moisía) was an ancient region and later Roman province situated in the Balkans south of the Danube River, which included most of the territory of modern eastern Serbia, Kosovo, north-eastern Alban ...
. A Roman army led by magister militum Ascum and Constantiolus intercepted and defeated them in Thrace, however, another raiding party ambushed and captured two Roman generals. In 539 and 540, Procopius reported a powerful Hunnic army crossed the Danube, devastated Illyricum and reached up to the Anastasian Wall. Such large distances covered in short time indicate they were horsemen.
Jordanes Jordanes (), also written as Jordanis or Jornandes, was a 6th-century Eastern Roman bureaucrat widely believed to be of Goths, Gothic descent who became a historian later in life. Late in life he wrote two works, one on Roman history (''Romana ...
described, in his work ''
Getica ''De origine actibusque Getarum'' (''The Origin and Deeds of the Getae oths'), commonly abbreviated ''Getica'', written in Late Latin Late Latin ( la, Latinitas serior) is the scholarly name for the form of Literary Latin of late antiquity. ...
'' (551), the Pontic steppe beyond the Acatziri, above the Pontic Sea, as the habitat of the ''Bulgari'', "whom the evils of our sins have made famous". In this region, the ''Hunni'' divided into two tribes: the ''Altziagiri'' (who trade and live next to Cherson) and ''Saviri'', while the ''Hunuguri'' (believed to be the Onoğurs) were notable for the
marten A marten is a weasel-like mammal in the genus ''Martes'' within the subfamily Guloninae, in the family (biology), family Mustelidae. They have bushy tails and large paws with partially retractile claws. The fur varies from yellowish to dark bro ...
skin trade. In the Middle Ages, marten skin was used as a substitute for minted money. The Syriac translation of
Pseudo-Zacharias Rhetor Pseudo-Zacharias Rhetor is the designation used by modern scholarship for the anonymous 6th-century author who compiled a twelve-part history in the Syriac language The Syriac language (; syc, / '), also known as Syriac Aramaic (''Syrian Ara ...
's ''Ecclesiastical History'' (c. 555) in Western Eurasia records:
The land Bazgun... extends up to the Caspian Gates and to the sea, which are in the Hunnish lands. Beyond the gates live the Burgars (Bulgars), who have their language, and are people pagan and barbarian. They have towns. And the Alans – they have five towns... Avnagur (Aunagur, considered Onoğurs) are people, who live in tents
Then he records 13 tribes, the ''wngwr'' ( Onogur), ''wgr'' (Oğur), ''sbr'' ( Sabir), ''bwrgr'' (Burğa, i.e. Bulgar), ''kwrtrgr'' (Kutriğurs), ''br'' (probably Vars, also known as the Avars), ''ksr'' (''Kasr''; possibly
Akatziri The Akatziri or Akatzirs ( gr, Άκατίροι, Άκατζίροι, ''Akatiroi'', ''Akatziroi''; la, Acatziri) were a tribe that lived north of the Black Sea, though the Crimean city of Chersonesus, Cherson seemed to be under their control in the ...
), ''srwrgwr'' ( Saragur), ''dyrmr'' (unknown), ''b'grsyq'' (''Bagrasir'', i.e. Barsil), ''kwls'' (unknown), ''bdl'' (probably Abdali), and ''ftlyt'' (Hephthalite) ... They are described in typical phrases reserved for nomads in the ethnographic literature of the period, as people who "live in tents, earn their living on the meat of livestock and fish, of wild animals and by their weapons (plunder)".
Agathias Agathias or Agathias Scholasticus ( grc-gre, Ἀγαθίας σχολαστικός; Martindale, Jones & Morris (1992), pp. 23–25582/594), of Myrina (Mysia), an Aeolian city in western Asia Minor (Turkey), was a Greece, Greek poet and the princip ...
(c. 579–582) wrote:
...all of them are called in general Scythians and Huns in particular according to their nation. Thus, some are Koutrigours or Outigours and yet others are Oultizurs and Bourougounds... the Oultizurs and Bourougounds were known up to the time of the Emperor Leo (457–474) and the Romans of that time and appeared to have been strong. We, however, in this day, neither know them, nor, I think, will we. Perhaps, they have perished or perhaps they have moved off to very far place.
According to D. Dimitrov, scholars partially managed to identify and locate the Bulgar groups mentioned in the Armenian ''Ashkharatsuyts''. The ''Olxontor Błkar'' is one of the variations used for the Onoğurs Bulgars, while others could be related to the ancient river names, such as the ''Kup'i Bulgar'' and the
Kuban Kuban (Russian language, Russian and Ukrainian language, Ukrainian: Кубань; ady, Пшызэ) is a historical and geographical region of Southern Russia surrounding the Kuban River, on the Black Sea between the Pontic–Caspian steppe, ...
(Kuphis). The ''Duč'i'' could read ''Kuchi Bulkar'' and as such could be related to the
Dnieper } The Dnieper () or Dnipro (); , ; . is one of the major Transboundary river, transboundary list of rivers of Europe, rivers of Europe, rising in the Valdai Hills near Smolensk, Russia, before flowing through Belarus and Ukraine to the Black ...
(Kocho). However, the ''Č'dar Bulkar'' location is unclear. Dimitrov theorized that the differences in the ''Bulgar'' ethnonym could be due to the dialect differentiations in their language. By the middle of the 6th century, the Bulgars momentarily fade from the sources and the Kutrigurs and Utigurs come to the front. Between 548 and 576, mostly due to Justinian I (527–565), through diplomatic persuasion and bribery the Kutrigurs and Utigurs were drawn into mutual warfare, decimating one another. In the end, the Kutrigurs were overwhelmed by the Avars, while the Utigurs came under the rule of the Western Turks. The Oğurs and Onoğurs, in the 6th- and 7th-century sources, were mentioned mostly in connection with the Avar and Turk conquest of Western Eurasia. From the 8th century, the Byzantine sources often mention the Onoğurs in close connection with the Bulgars.
Agathon Agathon (; grc, Ἀγάθων; ) was an Athens, Athenian tragic poet whose works have been lost. He is best known for his appearance in Plato's ''Symposium (Plato), Symposium,'' which describes the Symposium, banquet given to celebrate his obt ...
(early 8th century) wrote about the nation of Onoğurs Bulğars.
Nikephoros I Nikephoros I or Nicephorus I ( gr, Νικηφόρος; 750 – 26 July 811) was Byzantine emperor This is a list of the Byzantine emperors from the foundation of Constantinople in 330 AD, which marks the conventional start of the Byzantin ...
(early 9th century) noted that
Kubrat Kubrat ( el, Κοβρᾶτος, Kούβρατος; bg, Кубрат ) was the ruler of the Onogur–Bulgars The Bulgars (also Bulghars, Bulgari, Bolgars, Bolghars, Bolgari, Proto-Bulgarians) were Turkic peoples, Turkic semi-nomadic warri ...
was the lord of the ''Onoğundurs''; his contemporary Theophanes referred to them as ''Onoğundur–Bulğars''.
Constantine VII Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus (; 17 May 905 – 9 November 959) was the fourth Byzantine emperor, Emperor of the Macedonian dynasty of the Byzantine Empire, reigning from 6 June 913 to 9 November 959. He was the son of Emperor Leo VI and his f ...
(mid-10th century) remarked that the Bulğars formerly called themselves ''Onoğundurs''. This association was previously mirrored in Armenian sources, such as the ''Ashkharatsuyts'', which refers to the ''Olxontor Błkar'', and the 5th century ''History'' by Movses Khorenatsi, which includes an additional comment from a 9th-century writer about the colony of the Vłĕndur Bułkar. Marquart and Golden connected these forms with the ''Iġndr'' (*Uluġundur) of Ibn al-Kalbi (c. 820), the ''Vnndur'' (*Wunundur) of Hudud al-'Alam (982), the ''Wlndr'' (*Wulundur) of
Al-Masudi Al-Mas'udi ( ar, أَبُو ٱلْحَسَن عَلِيّ ٱبْن ٱلْحُسَيْن ٱبْن عَلِيّ ٱلْمَسْعُودِيّ, '; –956) was an Historiography of early Islam, Arab historian, geographer and Explorer, traveler. He is ...
(10th century) and Hungarian name for Belgrad ''Nándor Fejérvár'', the ''nndr'' (*Nandur) of Gardīzī (11th century) and ''*Wununtur'' in the
letter Letter, letters, or literature may refer to: Characters typeface * Letter (alphabet), a character representing one or more of the sounds used in speech; any of the symbols of an alphabet. * Letterform, the graphic form of a letter of the alphabe ...
by the Khazar King
Joseph Joseph is a common male given name A given name (also known as a forename or first name) is the part of a personal name quoted in that identifies a person, potentially with a middle name as well, and differentiates that person from the o ...
. All the forms show the phonetic changes typical of later Oğuric (prothetic v-). Scholars consider it unclear how this union came about, viewing it as a long process in which a number of different groups were merged. During that time, the Bulgars may have represented a large confederation including the remnants of Onoğurs, Utigurs and Kutrigurs among others.


Old Great Bulgaria

The Turk rule weakened sometime after 600, allowing the Avars to reestablish the control over the region. As the
Western Turkic Khaganate The Western Turkic Khaganate () or Onoq Khaganate ( otk, 𐰆𐰣:𐰸:𐰉𐰆𐰑𐰣, On oq budun, Ten arrow people) was a Turkic peoples, Turkic khaganate in Eurasia, formed as a result of the wars in the beginning of the 7th century (593– ...
declined, finally collapsing in the middle of the 7th century, it was against Avar rule that the Bulgars, recorded as ''Onoğundur–Bulğars'', reappeared. They revolted under their leader
Kubrat Kubrat ( el, Κοβρᾶτος, Kούβρατος; bg, Кубрат ) was the ruler of the Onogur–Bulgars The Bulgars (also Bulghars, Bulgari, Bolgars, Bolghars, Bolgari, Proto-Bulgarians) were Turkic peoples, Turkic semi-nomadic warri ...
(c. 635), who seems to have been prepared by
Heraclius Heraclius ( grc-gre, Ἡράκλειος, Hērákleios; c. 575 – 11 February 641), was List of Byzantine emperors, Eastern Roman emperor from 610 to 641. His rise to power began in 608, when he and his father, Heraclius the Elder, the Exa ...
(610–641) against the Sasanian–Avar alliance. With his uncle
Organa Organa (Alpo-Morgan) was Kubrat's maternal uncle of the Ermi clan. According to John of Nikiu, he was regent (kavkhan) over the tribe of the Onogurs, Onogur Bulgars from 617 to 630 in place of his nephew, Kubrat, for the time Kubrat was growing u ...
in 619, Kubrat had been baptized in Constantinople. He founded the
Old Great Bulgaria Old Great Bulgaria or Great Bulgaria (Medieval Greek: Παλαιά Μεγάλη Βουλγαρία, ''Palaiá Megálē Voulgaría''), also often known by the Latin names ''Magna Bulgaria'' and ''Patria Onoguria'' ("Onoğurs, Onogur land"), w ...
(''Magna Bulgaria''), also known as ''Onoğundur–Bulğars'' state, or ''Patria Onoguria'' in the ''
Ravenna Cosmography The ''Ravenna Cosmography'' ( la, Ravennatis Anonymi Cosmographia,  "The Cosmography of the Unknown Ravennese") is a list of place-names covering the world from India to Ireland, compiled by an anonymous cleric in Ravenna around 700 AD. Textu ...
''. Little is known about Kubrat's activities. It is considered that Onogur Bulgars remained the only steppe tribes in good relations with the Byzantines. His date of death is placed between 650 and 663 AD. According to Nikephoros I, Kubrat instructed his five sons to "never separate their place of dwelling from one another, so that by being in concordance with one another, their power might thrive". Subsequent events proved Old Great Bulgaria to be only a loose tribal union, as there emerged a rivalry between the
Khazars The Khazars ; he, כּוּזָרִים, Kūzārīm; la, Gazari, or ; zh, 突厥曷薩 ; 突厥可薩 ''Tūjué Kěsà'', () were a semi- nomadic Turkic people that in the late 6th-century CE established a major commercial empire cover ...
and the Bulgars over Turk patrimony and dominance in the Pontic–Caspian steppe. Some historians consider the war an extension of the Western Turks struggle, between the ''Nushibi'' tribes and Ashina clan, who led the Khazars, and the ''Duolu/Tu-lu'' tribes, which some scholars associated with the
Dulo clan The Dulo clan was a ruling dynasty of the Bulgars The Bulgars (also Bulghars, Bulgari, Bolgars, Bolghars, Bolgari, Proto-Bulgarians) were Turkic peoples, Turkic semi-nomadic warrior tribes that flourished in the Pontic–Caspian steppe and ...
, from which Kubrat and many Bulgar rulers originated. The Khazars were ultimately victorious and parts of the Bulgar union broke up.


Subsequent migrations

It is unclear whether the parting ways by brothers was caused by the internal conflicts or strong Khazar pressure. The latter is considered more likely. The Bulgars led by the first two brothers
Batbayan Batbayan ( bg, Батбаян) ruled the Khazarian Bulgars mentioned by Theophanes the Confessor, Theophanes and Nikephoros I of Constantinople, Nicephorus after the Khazars defeated the Bulgars and Old Great Bulgaria disintegrated. There is a sc ...
and Kotrag remained in the Pontic steppe zone, where they were known as ''Black Bulgars'' by Byzantine and Rus sources, and became Khazar vassals. The Bulgars led by Kotrag migrated to the middle
Volga The Volga (; russian: Во́лга, a=Ru-Волга.ogg, p=ˈvoɫɡə) is the List of rivers of Europe#Rivers of Europe by length, longest river in Europe. Situated in Russia, it flows through Central Russia to Southern Russia and into the Cas ...
region during the 7th and 9th centuries, where they founded
Volga Bulgaria Volga Bulgaria or Volga–Kama Bulgaria, was a historic Bulgar state that existed between the 7th and 13th centuries around the confluence of the Volga The Volga (; russian: Во́лга, a=Ru-Волга.ogg, p=ˈvoɫɡə) is the List of ...
, with
Bolghar Bolghar ( tt-Cyrl, Болгар, cv, Пăлхар) was intermittently the capital of Volga Bulgaria from the 8th to the 15th centuries, along with Bilär, Bilyar and Nur-Suvar. It was situated on the bank of the Volga River, about 30 km down ...
as its capital. According to Ahmad ibn Rustah (10th century), the Volga Bulgars were divided into three branches: "the first branch was called Bersula (Barsils), the second Esegel, and the third Bulgar". In 922 they accepted
Islam Islam (; ar, ۘالِإسلَام, , ) is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion centred primarily around the Quran, a religious text considered by Muslims to be the direct word of God in Islam, God (or ''Allah'') as it was revealed to Muh ...
as the official religion. They preserved their national identity well into the 13th century by repelling the first Mongol attacks in 1223. They were eventually subdued by the Mongols in 1237. They gradually lost their identity after 1431 when their towns and region were captured by the Russians. The third and most famous son,
Asparukh Asparuh (also ''Ispor''; bg, Аспарух, Asparuh or (rarely) bg, Исперих, Isperih) was а ruler of Bulgars in the second half of the 7th century and is credited with the establishment of the First Bulgarian Empire in 681. Early life ...
, according to Nikephoros I: Asparukh, according to the ''Pseudo''–Zacharias Rhetor, "fled from the Khazars out of the Bulgarian mountains". In the Khazar ruler Joseph's letter is recorded "in the country in which I live, there formerly lived the Vununtur (< Vunundur < Onoğundur). Our ancestors, the Khazars warred with them. The Vununtur were more numerous, as numerous as the sand by the sea, but they could not withstand the Khazars. They left their country and fled... until they reached the river called Duna (
Danube The Danube ( ; ) is a river that was once a long-standing frontier of the Roman Empire and today connects 10 European countries, running through their territories or being a border. Originating in Germany, the Danube flows southeast for , pa ...
)". This migration and the foundation of the Danube Bulgaria (the
First Bulgarian Empire The First Bulgarian Empire ( cu, блъгарьско цѣсарьствиѥ, blagarysko tsesarystviye; bg, Първо българско царство) was a medieval Bulgars, Bulgar-Early Slavs, Slavic and later Bulgarians, Bulgarian state t ...
) is usually dated c. 679. The composition of the horde is unknown, and sources only mention tribal names Čakarar, Kubiar, Küriger, and clan names Dulo, Ukil/Vokil, Ermiyar, Ugain and Duar. The ''Onglos'' where Bulgars settled is considered northern
Dobruja Dobruja or Dobrudja (; bg, Добруджа, Dobrudzha or ''Dobrudža''; ro, Dobrogea, or ; tr, Dobruca) is a historical region in the Balkans that has been divided since the 19th century between the territories of Bulgaria and Romania. I ...
, secured to the West and North by Danube and its Delta, and bounded to the East by the
Black Sea The Black Sea is a marginal sea, marginal Mediterranean sea (oceanography), mediterranean sea of the Atlantic Ocean lying between Europe and Asia, east of the Balkans, south of the East European Plain, west of the Caucasus, and north of An ...
. They re-settled in North-Eastern Bulgaria, between
Shumen Shumen ( bg, Шумен, also Romanization of Bulgarian, romanized as ''Shoumen'' or ''Šumen'', ) is the List of cities and towns in Bulgaria, tenth largest city in Bulgaria and the administrative and economic capital of Shumen Province. Etymo ...
and Varna, including
Ludogorie The Ludogorie ( bg, Лудогорие, usually used with a definite article, Лудогорието, ''Ludogorieto'') or Deliorman (''Делиорман'', tr, Deli Orman, lit=mad forest and Bulgarian: lud - "mad", "crazy" and gora - "forest"), ...
plateau and southern Dobruja. The distribution of pre-Christian burial assemblages in Bulgaria and Romania is considered as the indication of the confines of the Bulgar settlement. In the Balkans they merged with the Slavs and other autochthonous Romance and Greek speaking population, like the
Thracians The Thracians (; grc, Θρᾷκες ''Thrāikes''; la, Thraci) were an Indo-European languages, Indo-European speaking people who inhabited large parts of Eastern Europe, Eastern and Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe in ancient history.. ...
and
Vlachs "Vlach" ( or ), also "Wallachian" (and many other variants), is a historical term and exonym used from the Middle Ages until the Modern Era to designate mainly Romanians but also Aromanians, Megleno-Romanians, Istro-Romanians and other Eastern ...
, becoming a political and military elite. However, the influence of the pre-Slavic population had relatively little influence on the Slavs and Bulgars, indicating their population was reduced in previous centuries. The hinterlands of the Byzantine territory were for years occupied by many groups of Slavs. According to Theophanes, the Bulgars subjugated the so-called Seven Slavic tribes, of which the Severeis were re-settled from the pass of Beregaba or Veregava, most likely the Rish Pass of the
Balkan Mountains The Balkan mountain range (, , known locally also as Stara planina) is a mountain range in the eastern part of the Balkan Peninsula in Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe. The range is conventionally taken to begin at the peak of Vrashka Chuka ...
, to the East, while the other six tribes to the Southern and Western regions as far the boundary with the Pannonian Avars. Scholars consider that the absence of any source recording the Slavic resistance to the invasion was because it was in their interest to be liberated from the Byzantine taxation. It is considered that the Slavic tribal organization was left intact, and paid tribute to the ruling Bulgars. According to Nikephoros I and Theophanes, an unnamed fourth brother, believed to be
Kuber Kuber, (also Kouber or Kuver), was a Bulgar leader who, according to the '' Miracles of Saint Demetrius'', liberated a mixed Bulgar and Byzantine Christian population in the 670s, whose ancestors had been transferred from the Eastern Roman Empi ...
, "having crossed the river Ister, resides in Pannonia, which is now under the sway of the Avars, having made an alliance with the local peoples". Kuber later led a revolt against the Avars and with his people moved as far as the region of
Thessaloniki Thessaloniki (; el, Θεσσαλονίκη, , also known as Thessalonica (), Saloniki, or Salonica (), is the second-largest city in Greece, with over one million inhabitants in its Thessaloniki metropolitan area, metropolitan area, and the capi ...
in Greek Macedonia. The fifth brother, reported by Nikephoros I and Theophanes, "settling in the five
Ravenna Ravenna ( , , also ; rgn, Ravèna) is the capital city of the Province of Ravenna, in the Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy. It was the capital city of the Western Roman Empire from 408 until its collapse in 476. It then served as the cap ...
te cities became a subject of the Romans". This brother is believed to be Alcek, who after a stay in Avar territory left and settled in Italy, in Sepino, Bojano and
Isernia Isernia () or, in Pliny and later writers, ''Eserninus'', or in the Antonine Itinerary The Antonine Itinerary ( la, Itinerarium Antonini Augusti,  "The Itinerary of the list of Roman Emperors, Emperor Antoninus Pius, Antoninus") is a famo ...
. These Bulgars preserved their speech and identity until the late 8th century.


Bulgarian empires

The First Bulgarian Empire (681–1018) had a significant political influence in the Balkans. In the time of
Tervel Khan Tervel ( bg, Тервел) also called ''Tarvel'', or ''Terval'', or ''Terbelis'' in some Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its ea ...
(700–721) the Bulgars helped Byzantines two times, in 705 the Emperor
Justinian II Justinian II ( la, Iustinianus; gr, Ἰουστινιανός, Ioustinianós; 668/69 – 4 November 711), nicknamed "the Slit-Nosed" ( la, Rhinotmetus; gr, ὁ Ῥινότμητος, ho Rhinótmētos), was the last List of Byzantine emperors, Ea ...
to regain his throne, and 717–718 defeating the Arabs during the siege of Constantinople. Sevar (738–753) was the last ruler from the Dulo clan, and the period until c. 768–772 was characterized by the Byzantino-Bulgar conflict and internal crisis. In the short period followed seven rulers from the Uokil and Ugain clan. Telerig (768–777) managed to establish a pacific policy with Byzantium, and restore imperial power. During the reign of Khan
Krum Krum ( bg, Крум, el, Κροῦμος/Kroumos), often referred to as Krum the Fearsome ( bg, Крум Страшни) was the Khan (title), Khan of First Bulgarian Empire, Bulgaria from sometime between 796 and 803 until his death in 814. Du ...
(803–814), the Empire doubled its size, including new lands in Macedonia and
Serbia Serbia (, ; Serbian language, Serbian: , , ), officially the Republic of Serbia (Serbian language, Serbian: , , ), is a landlocked country in Southeast Europe, Southeastern and Central Europe, situated at the crossroads of the Pannonian Bas ...
. He also successfully repelled the invading force of the Byzantines, as well defeated the Pannonian Avars where additionally extended the Empire size. In 865, during the reign of Khan Boris I (852–889), the Bulgars accepted Christianity as the official religion, and Eastern Orthodoxy in 879. The greatest expansion of the Empire and prosperity during the time of Simeon I (893–927) is considered as the Bulgarian
Golden Age The term Golden Age comes from Greek mythology, particularly the ''Works and Days'' of Hesiod, and is part of the description of temporal decline of the state of peoples through five Ages of Man, Ages, Gold being the first and the one during ...
. However, from the time of Peter I (927–969) their power declined. The Hungarians,
Kievan Rus' Kievan Rusʹ, also known as Kyivan Rusʹ ( orv, , Rusĭ, or , , ; Old Norse: ''Garðaríki''), was a state in Eastern Europe, Eastern and Northern Europe from the late 9th to the mid-13th century.John Channon & Robert Hudson, ''Penguin Hist ...
Slavs, as well
Pechenegs The Pechenegs () or Patzinaks tr, Peçenek(ler), Middle Turkic languages, Middle Turkic: , ro, Pecenegi, russian: Печенег(и), uk, Печеніг(и), hu, Besenyő(k), gr, Πατζινάκοι, Πετσενέγοι, Πατζινα ...
and
Cumans The Cumans (or Kumans), also known as Polovtsians or Polovtsy (plural only, from the Russian language, Russian Exonym and endonym, exonym ), were a Turkic people, Turkic nomadic people comprising the western branch of the Cuman–Kipchak confede ...
held many raids into their territory, and so weakened were eventually conquered in 1018 by the Byzantine Empire. In 1185, the Bulgarians and Vlachs held a
revolt Rebellion, uprising, or insurrection is a refusal of obedience or order. It refers to the open resistance against the orders of an established authority. A rebellion originates from a sentiment of indignation and disapproval of a situation and ...
against the Byzantine Empire, and helped by the settled Cumans from Hungary, created the
Second Bulgarian Empire The Second Bulgarian Empire (; ) was a medieval Bulgarians, Bulgarian state that existed between 1185 and 1396. A successor to the First Bulgarian Empire, it reached the peak of its power under Tsars Kaloyan of Bulgaria, Kaloyan and Ivan Asen II ...
(1186–1396) ruled by the
Asen dynasty The Asen dynasty ( bg, Асеневци, ''Asenevtsi'') founded and ruled a medieval Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria,, ) is a country in Southeast Europe. It is situated on the ...
(1187–1280). From 1280 till 1322 periodically ruled the
Terter dynasty The House of Terter ( bg, Тертер), also Terterids or Terterovtsi (Тертеровци), was a Bulgarian noble and dynasty, royal house of Cumans, Cuman origin,István Vásáry (2005) ''Cumans and Tatars'', Cambridge University Press, p. 2 ...
, and from 1323 till 1396 the Shishman dynasty, all the three of Cuman origin. In 1396, the Bulgarians were conquered by the
Ottoman Turks The Ottoman Turks ( tr, Osmanlı Türkleri), were the Turkic peoples, Turkic founding and sociopolitically the most dominant ethnic group of the Ottoman Empire ( 1299/1302–1922). Reliable information about the early history of Ottoman Turks ...
, and only in 1878 established an autonomous principality, while in 1908 declared independence.


Society

Bulgars had the typical culture of the nomadic equestrians of Central Asia, who migrated seasonally in pursuit of good pastures, as well attraction to economic and cultural interaction with sedentary societies. Being in contact with sedentary cultures, they began mastering the crafts of
blacksmith A blacksmith is a metalsmith who creates objects primarily from wrought iron or steel, but sometimes from #Other metals, other metals, by forging the metal, using tools to hammer, bend, and cut (cf. tinsmith). Blacksmiths produce objects such ...
ing,
pottery Pottery is the process and the products of forming vessels and other objects with clay and other ceramic materials, which are fired at high temperatures to give them a hard and durable form. Major types include earthenware, stoneware and porc ...
, and
carpentry Carpentry is a skilled trade and a craft in which the primary work performed is the cutting, shaping and installation of building materials during the construction of buildings, Shipbuilding, ships, timber bridges, concrete formwork, etc. ...
. The politically dominant tribe or clan usually gave its name to the tribal confederation. Such confederations were often encouraged by the Imperial powers, for whom it was easier to deal with one ruler than several tribal chieftains. In nomadic society the tribes were political organizations based on kinship, with diffused power. Tribes developed according to the relation with sedentary states, and only managed to conquer them when had social cohesion. If the raiding by the nomads had negative effect on the economic development of the region it could significantly slow down their own social and cultural development. In a nomadic state the nomad and sedentary integration was limited, and usually had vassal tribute system. When the Bulgars arrived in the Balkan their first generations probably still lived a nomadic life in
yurt A yurt (from the Turkic languages) or ger (Mongolian language, Mongolian) is a portable, round tent covered and Thermal insulation, insulated with skins or felt and traditionally used as a dwelling by several distinct Nomad, nomadic groups in ...
s, but they quickly adopted the sunken-featured building of rectangular plan and sedentary or seasonal lifestyle of the Slavs and autochthonous population. The Bulgar and Slavic settlements cannot be distinguished other than by the type of biritual cemeteries.


Social structure

The Bulgars, at least the Danubian Bulgars, had a well-developed clan and military administrative system of "inner" and "outer" tribes, governed by the ruling clan. They had many titles, and according to
Steven Runciman Sir James Cochran Stevenson Runciman ( – ), known as Steven Runciman, was an English historian best known for his three-volume '' A History of the Crusades'' (1951–54). He was a strong admirer of the Byzantine Empire The Byzantine ...
the distinction between titles which represented offices and mere ornamental dignities was somewhat vague. Maenchen-Helfen theorized that the titles of the steppe peoples did not reflect the ethnicity of their bearers. According to Magnus Felix Ennodius, the Bulgars did not have nobility, yet their leaders and common men became noblemen on the battle field, indicating social mobility. Tribute-paying sedentary vassals, such as the Slavs and Greek-speaking population, formed a substantial and important part of the ''khanates maintenance. The ruler title in Bulgar inscriptions was '' khan''/''kana''. A counterpart of the Greek phrase (''ho ek Theou archon'') was also common in Bulgar inscriptions. The ''
kavhan The ''kavkhan'' ( grc-x-byzant, καυχάνος; bg, кавха̀н) was one of the most important officials in the First Bulgarian Empire The First Bulgarian Empire ( cu, блъгарьско цѣсарьствиѥ, blagarysko tsesarystvi ...
'' was the second most important title in the realm, seemingly chief official. Some Bulgar inscriptions, written in Greek and later in Slavonic, refer to the Bulgarian rulers respectively with the Greek title ''
archon ''Archon'' ( gr, ἄρχων, árchōn, plural: ἄρχοντες, ''árchontes'') is a Greek word that means "ruler", frequently used as the title of a specific public office. It is the masculine present participle of the verb stem αρχ-, mean ...
'', or the Slavic titles ''
knyaz , or (Old Church Slavonic: wiktionary:кнѧзь, Кнѧзь) is a historical Slavic languages, Slavic title, used both as a royal and noble title in different times of history and different ancient Slavic lands. It is usually translated i ...
'' and ''
tsar Tsar ( or ), also spelled ''czar'', ''tzar'', or ''csar'', is a title used by East Slavs, East and South Slavs, South Slavic monarchs. The term is derived from the Latin word ''Caesar (title), caesar'', which was intended to mean "emperor" i ...
''. There are several possible interpretations for the ruler title, '' kana sybigi'', mentioned in six inscriptions by the Khan Omurtag and two by Malamir. Among the proposed translations for ''sybigi'' or ''subigi'' are "lord of the army", from the reconstructed Turkic phrase ''syu-beg'' (army master) paralleling the attested Orkhon Turkic '' syubashi''. Runciman and J. B. Bury considered ''ubige'' or ''uvege'' to be related to the
Cuman The Cumans (or Kumans), also known as Polovtsians or Polovtsy (plural only, from the Russian language, Russian Exonym and endonym, exonym ), were a Turkic people, Turkic nomadic people comprising the western branch of the Cuman–Kipchak confede ...
-Turkic ''öweghü'' (high, glorious); "bright, luminous, heavenly"; and more recently "(ruler) from God", from the Indo-European ''*su-'' and '' baga-'', i.e. ''*su-baga''. Florin Curta noted the resemblance in the use of the ''kana sybigi'' with the Byzantine name and title ''
basileus ''Basileus'' ( el, ) is a Greek term and title that has signified various types of monarchs in history. In the English-speaking world it is perhaps most widely understood to mean "monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New Col ...
''. Members of the upper social class bore the title ''
boila Boila (History of the Bulgarian language, Old Bulgarian: ; bg, боила; el, βοιλα; otk, 𐰉𐰆𐰖𐰞𐰀, Boyla) was a title worn by some of the Bulgars, Bulgar and Göktürks, Göktürk aristocrats (mostly of regional governors and ...
'' (later ''
boyar A boyar or bolyar was a member of the highest rank of the Feudalism, feudal nobility in many Eastern European states, including Kievan Rus', Bulgarian Empire, Bulgaria, Russian nobility, Russia, Boyars of Moldavia and Wallachia, Wallachia and ...
''). The nobility was divided onto ''small'' and ''great'' boilas. In the 10th century, there were three classes of boyars: the six ''great'' boilas, the ''outer'' boilas, and the ''inner'' boilas, while in the mid-9th century there were twelve ''great'' boyars. The ''great'' boilas occupied military and administrative offices in the state, as well the council where they gathered for decisions on important matters of state. ''Bagaïns'' were the lesser class of the nobility, probably a military class which also participated in the council. The title '' bagatur'', once as ''bogotor'', is found in several instances within the inscriptions. It derives from Turkish ''bagadur'' (hero) and was a high military rank. The Bulgarian military commander who was defeated by the Croats in the Battle of the Bosnian Highlands (926) was called Alogobotur, which is actually a title comprised by ''alo'' (considered Turkic '' alp, alyp''; chief) and ''bagatur''. There are several title associations with uncertain meaning, such as ''boila kavkhan'', ''ičirgu boila'', ''kana boila qolovur'', ''bagatur bagain'', ''biri bagain'', ''setit bagain'' and ''ik bagain''. ''Kolober'' (or ''qolovur''), a rank title, is cited in two inscriptions, and it derives from the Turkish term for a guide, ''golaghuz''. The title ''
župan Župan is a noble and administrative title used in several states in Central Europe, Central and Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe between the 7th century and the 21st century. It was (and in Croatia still is) the leader of the administrative ...
'', also once as ''kopan'' in the inscriptions, was often mentioned together with the bearer's name. They were traditionally seen as Slavic chiefs. It seems to have meant "head of a clan-district", as among the South Slavs (Croats, Serbs) where it was more widely used, it meant "head of a tribe" with a high district and court function. The title ''
tarkhan Tarkhan ( otk, 𐱃𐰺𐰴𐰣, Tarqan, mn, or ; fa, ترخان; ; ar , طرخان; alternative spellings ''Tarkan'', ''Tarkhaan'', ''Tarqan'', ''Tarchan'', ''Turxan'', ''Tarcan'', ''Turgan, Tárkány, Tarján'') is an ancient Central Asia ...
'' probably represented a high military rank, similar to the Byzantine ''
strategos ''Strategos'', plural ''strategoi'', Linguistic Latinisation, Latinized ''strategus'', ( el, στρατηγός, pl. στρατηγοί; Doric Greek: στραταγός, ''stratagos''; meaning "army leader") is used in Greek language, Greek to ...
'', of the military governor of a province. The variations ''kalutarkan'' and ''buliastarkan'' are considered to be officers at the head of the ''tarkans''. Curta interpreted the title ''zhupan tarqan'' as "''tarqan of (all the) zhupans''". Although it was not recorded on inscriptions, the title ''sampses'' is considered to be related to the royal court. The title ''tabare'' or ''iltabare'', which derives from the old Turkish ''ältäbär'', like ''sampses'' is not mentioned on inscriptions, but is related to the legates and ambassadors. The
Anastasius Bibliothecarius Anastasius Bibliothecarius or Anastasius the Librarian (c. 810 – c. 878) was ''bibliothecarius'' (literally "librarian") and chief archivist An archivist is an information professional who assesses, collects, organizes, preserves, main ...
listed Bulgarian legates at the
Council A council is a group of people who come together to consult, deliberate, or make decisions. A council may function as a legislature, especially at a town, city or county/ shire level, but most legislative bodies at the state/provincial or ...
at Constantinople in 869–870. They were mentioned as Stasis, Cerbula, Sundica (''vagantur''=''bagatur''), Vestranna (''iltabare''), Praestizisunas (''campsis''), and Alexius Hunno (''sampsi'').


Religion

Very little is known about the religion of the Bulgars, but it is believed to have been
monotheistic Monotheism is the belief that there is only one deity, an all-supreme being that is universally referred to as God.F. L. Cross, Cross, F.L.; Livingstone, E.A., eds. (1974). "Monotheism". The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (2 ed.). Ox ...
. In Greek language inscriptions from pagan Danube Bulgaria, Bulgar monarchs describe themselves as "ruler from God", indicating authority from a divine origin, and making an appeal to the deity's
omniscience Omniscience () is the capacity to know everything. In Hinduism, Sikhism and the Abrahamic religions The Abrahamic religions are a group of religions centered around worship of the God in Abrahamic religions, God of Abraham. Abraham, ...
. Presian's inscription from
Philippi Philippi (; grc-gre, Φίλιπποι, ''Philippoi'') was a major Greek city northwest of the nearby island, Thasos. Its original name was Crenides ( grc-gre, Κρηνῖδες, ''Krenides'' "Fountains") after its establishment by Thasians, Tha ...
(837) states: It is traditionally assumed that the God in question was the Turkic supreme sky deity,
Tengri Tengri ( zh, 騰格里; otk, 𐰚𐰇𐰚:𐱅𐰭𐰼𐰃, Kök Teŋri/Teŋiri, lit=Blue Heaven; Old Uyghur: ''tängri''; Middle Turkic languages, Middle Turkic: تآنغرِ; ky, теңир; tr, Tanrı; az, Tanrı; bg, Тангра; Pro ...
. In the Chinese transcription as ''zhenli'', and Turkic as ''Tangara'' and ''Tengeri'', it represents the oldest known Turco-Mongolian word. Tengri may have originated in the Xiongnu confederacy, which settled on the frontiers of China in the 2nd century BC. The confederacy probably had both pre-Turkic and pre-Mongolian ethnic elements. In modern Turkish, the word for god, ''Tanrı'', derives from the same root.
Tengrism Tengrism (also known as Tengriism, Tengerism, or Tengrianism) is an ethnic and old state Turkic peoples, Turko-Mongolic peoples, Mongolic religion originating in the Eurasian Steppe, Eurasian steppes, based on folk shamanism, animism and general ...
apparently engaged various shamanic practices. According to Mercia MacDermott, Tangra was the male deity connected with sky, light and the Sun. The cult incorporated Tangra's female equivalent and principle goddess,
Umay Umay (also known as Umai; otk, 𐰆𐰢𐰖; kk, Ұмай ана, ''Umay ana''; ky, Умай эне, ''Umay ene''; russian: Ума́й / Ымай, ''Umáj / Ymaj'', tr, Umay (Ana)) is the goddess of fertility in Turkic mythology and Tengrii ...
, the deity of fertility. Their
tamgha A tamga or tamgha (from otk, 𐱃𐰢𐰍𐰀, tamga, lit=stamp, seal; tr, damga; mn, tamga; ; ); an abstract Seal (emblem), seal or Seal (emblem), stamp used by Eurasian nomads and by cultures influenced by them. The tamga was normally the e ...
, which can be frequently found in early medieval Bulgaria is associated with deity Tangra. However, its exact meaning and use remains unknown. The most sacred creatures to Tangra were horses and eagles, particularly white horses. Broze amulets with representations of the Sun, horses and other animals were found at Bulgar archeological sites. This could explain the variety of Bulgars taboos, including those about animals. Ravil Bukharaev believed that such an autocratic and monotheistic religion
henotheism Henotheism is the worship of a single, supreme god In monotheistic thought, God is usually viewed as the supreme being, creator, and principal object of faith. Swinburne, R.G. "God" in Honderich, Ted. (ed)''The Oxford Companion to Philo ...
, as seen in the report by
Ahmad ibn Fadlan Aḥmad ibn Faḍlān ibn al-ʿAbbās ibn Rāšid ibn Ḥammād, ( ar, أحمد بن فضلان بن العباس بن راشد بن حماد; ) commonly known as Ahmad ibn Fadlan, was a 10th-century Arab Muslim, Muslim traveler, famous for his a ...
(10th century) about the
Oghuz Turks The Oghuz or Ghuzz Turks ( Middle Turkic: ٱغُز, ''Oγuz'', ota, اوغوز, Oġuz) were a western Turkic people that spoke the Oghuz branch of the Turkic language family. In the 8th century, they formed a tribal confederation conve ...
, kindred to the Bulgars, made the acceptance of Islam more natural and easier in Volga Bulgaria: Another mention of Tengri is on the severely damaged Greek inscription found on a presumed
altar An altar is a Table (furniture), table or platform for the presentation of religion, religious offerings, for sacrifices, or for other ritualistic purposes. Altars are found at shrines, temples, Church (building), churches, and other places of wo ...
stone near Madara, tentatively deciphered as "Khan ''sybigi'' Omurtag, ruler from god...was...and made sacrifice to god Tangra...''itchurgu boila''...gold". An Ottoman manuscript recorded that the name of God, in Bulgarian, was "Tängri". A piece of ethnographic evidence which has been invoked to support the belief that the Bulgars worshipped Tengri/Tangra is the relative similarity of the name "Tengri" to "Tură", the name of the supreme deity of the traditional religion of the
Chuvash people The Chuvash people ( , ; cv, чӑваш ; russian: чуваши ) are a Turkic peoples, Turkic ethnic group, a branch of Onogurs, Oghurs, native to an area stretching from the Volga-Ural region to Siberia. Most of them live in Chuvashia and th ...
, who are traditionally regarded as descendants of the Volga Bulgars. Nevertheless, the Chuvash religion today is markedly different from Tengrism and can be described as a local form of
polytheism Polytheism is the belief in multiple deity, deities, which are usually assembled into a pantheon (religion), pantheon of Gender of God, gods and goddesses, along with their own religious sects and rituals. Polytheism is a type of theism. Within ...
, due to pagan beliefs of the forest dwellers of Finnic origin, who lived in their vicinity, with some elements borrowed from Islam.
Paganism Paganism (from classical Latin ''pāgānus'' "rural", "rustic", later "civilian") is a term first used in the fourth century by early Christianity, early Christians for people in the Roman Empire who practiced polytheism, or ethnic religions ot ...
was closely connected with the old clan system, and the remains of
totemism A totem (from oj, ᑑᑌᒼ, italics=no or ''doodem The Anishinaabe The Anishinaabeg (adjectival: Anishinaabe) are a group of culturally related Indigenous peoples present in the Great Lakes region of Canada and the United States. T ...
and
shamanism Shamanism is a religious practice that involves a practitioner (shaman) interacting with what they believe to be a Spirit world (Spiritualism), spirit world through Altered state of consciousness, altered states of consciousness, such as tranc ...
were preserved even after the crossing of Danube. The
Shumen Shumen ( bg, Шумен, also Romanization of Bulgarian, romanized as ''Shoumen'' or ''Šumen'', ) is the List of cities and towns in Bulgaria, tenth largest city in Bulgaria and the administrative and economic capital of Shumen Province. Etymo ...
plate in the archaeological literature is often associated with shamanism. In the 9th century, it was recorded that before a battle the Bulgars "''used to practice enchantments and jests and charms and certain auguries''".
Liutprand of Cremona Liutprand, also Liudprand, Liuprand, Lioutio, Liucius, Liuzo, and Lioutsios (c. 920 – 972),"LIUTPRAND OF CREMONA" in ''Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium'', Oxford University Press, New York & Oxford, 1991, p. 12 ...
reported that Baian, son of Simeon I (893–927), could through ''magicam'' transform into a wolf.
Clement of Ohrid Saint Clement of Ohrid (Bulgarian language, Bulgarian, Serbian language, Serbian and Macedonian language, Macedonian: Свети Климент Охридски, ; el, Ἅγιος Κλήμης τῆς Ἀχρίδας; sk, svätý Kliment Ochri ...
reported the worship of fire and water by the Bulgars, while in the 11th century
Theophylact of Ohrid Theophylact ( gr, Θεοφύλακτος, bg, Теофилакт; around 1055after 1107) was a Byzantine Empire, Byzantine archbishop of Ohrid and commentator on the Bible. Life Theophylact was born in the mid-11th century at Chalcis, Euripus ( ...
remembered that before the Christianization the Bulgars respected the Sun, Moon and the stars, and sacrificed dogs to them. Allegedly, the Dulo clan had the dog as its sacred animal. To this today Bulgarians still use the expression "he kills the dog" to mean "he gives the orders", a relic of the time when the Dulo Khan sacrificed a dog to the deity Tangra. Remains of dog and deer have been found in Bulgars graves, and it seems the
wolf The wolf (''Canis lupus''; plural, : wolves), also known as the gray wolf or grey wolf, is a large Canis, canine native to Eurasia and North America. More than thirty subspecies of Canis lupus, subspecies of ''Canis lupus'' have been reco ...
also had a special mythological significance. The Bulgars were bi-ritual, either cremating or burying their dead, and often interred them with personal objects (pottery, rarely weapons or dress), food, and sacred animals. Because of the cult of the Sun, the Bulgars had a preference for the south. Their main buildings and shrines faced south, as well their
yurt A yurt (from the Turkic languages) or ger (Mongolian language, Mongolian) is a portable, round tent covered and Thermal insulation, insulated with skins or felt and traditionally used as a dwelling by several distinct Nomad, nomadic groups in ...
s, which were usually entered from the south, although less often from the east. Excavations showed that Bulgars buried their dead on a north–south axis, with their heads to the north so that the deceased "faced" south. The Slavs practiced only cremation, the remains were placed in urns, and like the Bulgars, with the conversion to Christianity inhumed the dead on west–east axis. The only example of a mixed Bulgar-Slavic cemetery is in
Istria Istria ( ; Croatian language, Croatian and Slovene language, Slovene: ; ist, Eîstria; Istro-Romanian language, Istro-Romanian, Italian language, Italian and Venetian language, Venetian: ; formerly in Latin and in Ancient Greek) is the larges ...
near ancient Histria, on the coast of the Black Sea. D. Dimitrov has argued that the Kuban Bulgars also adopted elements of Iranian religious beliefs. He noticed Iranian influences on the cult of the former Caucasian Huns capital Varachan ( Balanjar), making a religious syncretism between the principal Turkic deity Tengri and the Iranian sun god Hvare. Dimitrov cited the work by V.A. Kuznetsov, who considered the resemblance between the layout of the
Zoroastrian Zoroastrianism is an Iranian religions, Iranian religion and one of the world's History of religion, oldest organized faiths, based on the teachings of the Iranian peoples, Iranian-speaking prophet Zoroaster. It has a Dualism in cosmology, du ...
temples of fire and the Kuban Bulgar centre, Humarin citadel, situated 11 km to the north of the town
Karachayevsk Karachayevsk (russian: Карача́евск; krc, Къарачай шахар, ''Qaraçay şaxar'') is a types of inhabited localities in Russia, town in the Karachay-Cherkess Republic, Russia, located on the Kuban River in the Caucasus Mountain ...
, where the pottery belonged to the Saltovo-Mayaki culture. Kuznecov also found a connection in the plan of the Danube Bulgars sanctuaries at
Pliska Pliska ( , cu, Пльсковъ, translit=Plĭskovŭ) was the first capital of the First Bulgarian Empire during the Middle Ages and is now List of cities and towns in Bulgaria, a small town in Shumen Province, on the Ludogorie plateau of the Dan ...
,
Veliki Preslav The modern Veliki Preslav or Great Preslav ( bg, Велики Преслав, ), former Preslav ( bg, link=no, Преслав; until 1993), is a city and the seat of government of the Veliki Preslav Municipality (Great Preslav Municipality, new ...
, and Madara. The architectural similarities include two squares of
ashlar Ashlar () is finely dressed (cut, worked) stone, either an individual rock (geology), stone that has been worked until squared, or a structure built from such stones. Ashlar is the finest stone masonry unit, generally rectangular cuboid, ment ...
s inserted one into another, oriented towards the summer sunrise. One of these sites was transformed into a Christian church, which is taken as evidence that they served a religious function. The view of the Parthian and
Sasanian The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians (, ) and also referred to by historians as the Neo-Persian Empire, was the History of Iran, last Iranian empire before the early Muslim conquests of the 7th-8th cen ...
influence, which
Franz Altheim Franz Altheim (6 October 1898 – 17 October 1976) was a German classical philologist Classics or classical studies is the study of classical antiquity Classical antiquity (also the classical era, classical period or classical age ...
also argued, is considered debatable, showing the cultural impact of the Iranian world on communities in the Pontic–Caspian steppe. Many scholars believe that the square shape, with the north–south and east–west axis of the Bulgar sacral monuments is very similar to those of Turkic khagans in Mongolia. However, that the Bulgar residence in Pliska and Palace of Omurtag were inspired by the Byzantine architecture is considered indisputable.
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the Major religious groups, world's ...
had already begun to penetrate, probably via their Slavic subjects, when it was adopted in the First Bulgarian Empire by
Knyaz , or (Old Church Slavonic: wiktionary:кнѧзь, Кнѧзь) is a historical Slavic languages, Slavic title, used both as a royal and noble title in different times of history and different ancient Slavic lands. It is usually translated i ...
Boris I in 865 as a state religion. There was interest in
Islam Islam (; ar, ۘالِإسلَام, , ) is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion centred primarily around the Quran, a religious text considered by Muslims to be the direct word of God in Islam, God (or ''Allah'') as it was revealed to Muh ...
as well, seen in the book ''Answers to the Questions of the King of the Burgar addressed to him about Islam and Unity'' by the
Abbasid The Abbasid Caliphate ( or ; ar, الْخِلَافَةُ الْعَبَّاسِيَّة, ') was the third caliphate to succeed the Islamic prophet Muhammad. It was founded by a dynasty descended from Muhammad's uncle, Abbas ibn Abdul-Muttalib ...
caliph
Al-Ma'mun Abu al-Abbas Abdallah ibn Harun al-Rashid ( ar, أبو العباس عبد الله بن هارون الرشيد, Abū al-ʿAbbās ʿAbd Allāh ibn Hārūn ar-Rashīd; 14 September 786 – 9 August 833), better known by his regnal name Al-Ma'mu ...
(813–833) for the Pontic/Bosporan Bulgars, while it was officially adopted in Volga Bulgaria as a state religion in 922.


Language

The origin and language of the Bulgars has been the subject of debate since around the start of the 20th century. It is generally accepted that at least the Bulgar elite spoke a language that was a member of the Oghur branch of the Turkic language family, alongside the now extinct
Khazar The Khazars ; he, כּוּזָרִים, Kūzārīm; la, Gazari, or ; zh, 突厥曷薩 ; 突厥可薩 ''Tūjué Kěsà'', () were a semi-nomad A nomad is a member of a community without fixed habitation who regularly moves to and f ...
and the solitary survivor of these languages, Chuvash. Some scholars suggest Hunnic had strong ties with Bulgar and to modern Chuvash and classify them as separate Hunno-Bulgar languages. According to P. Golden this association is apparent from the fragments of texts and isolated words and phrases preserved in inscriptions. In addition to language, their culture and state structure retain many Central Asian features. Military and hierarchical terms such as ''khan/qan'', ''kanasubigi'', ''qapağan'', ''tarkan'', ''bagatur'' and ''boila'' appear to be of Turkic origin. The Bulgar calendar within the '' Nominalia of the Bulgarian khans'' had a twelve-year animal cycle, similar to the one adopted by Turkic and Mongolian peoples from the Chinese, with animal names and numbers deciphered as Turkic.
Tengri Tengri ( zh, 騰格里; otk, 𐰚𐰇𐰚:𐱅𐰭𐰼𐰃, Kök Teŋri/Teŋiri, lit=Blue Heaven; Old Uyghur: ''tängri''; Middle Turkic languages, Middle Turkic: تآنغرِ; ky, теңир; tr, Tanrı; az, Tanrı; bg, Тангра; Pro ...
(in Bulgar ''Tangra/Tengre'') was their supreme god. Bulgar inscriptions were written mostly in
Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group. *Greek language, a branch of the Indo-European language family. **Proto-Greek language, the assumed last common ancestor ...
or
Cyrillic The Cyrillic script ( ), Slavonic script or the Slavic script, is a writing system used for various languages across Eurasia. It is the designated national script in various Slavic languages, Slavic, Turkic languages, Turkic, Mongolic languages, ...
characters, most commonly in Greek or Graeco-Bulgar, sometimes with Slavic terms, thus allowing scholars to identify some of the Bulgar
glosses A gloss is a brief notation, especially a marginal one or an interlinear one, of the meaning of a word or wording in a text. It may be in the language of the text or in the reader's language if that is different. A collection of glosses is a ' ...
. Several Bulgar inscriptions were found in Northeastern Bulgaria and parts of Romania, written in runes similar to the
Old Turkic alphabet The Old Turkic script (also known as variously Göktürk script, Orkhon script, Orkhon-Yenisey script, Turkic runes) was the alphabet An alphabet is a standardized set of basic written graphemes (called letter (alphabet), letters) t ...
; they apparently have a sacral meaning. Altheim argued that the runes were brought into Europe from Central Asia by the Huns, and were an adapted version of the old
Sogdian alphabet The Sogdian alphabet was originally used for the Sogdian language The Sogdian language was an Eastern Iranian languages, Eastern Iranian language spoken mainly in the Central Asian region of Sogdia (capital: Samarkand; other chief cities: Panj ...
in the Hunnic/Oghur Turkic language. The custom of stone engravings are considered to have Sasanian, Turkic and Roman parallels. The Madara Rider resembles work of the
Sasanian The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians (, ) and also referred to by historians as the Neo-Persian Empire, was the History of Iran, last Iranian empire before the early Muslim conquests of the 7th-8th cen ...
rock
relief Relief is a sculptural method in which the sculpted pieces are bonded to a solid background of the same material. The term ''wikt:relief, relief'' is from the Latin verb ''relevo'', to raise. To create a sculpture in relief is to give the impres ...
tradition, but its actual masonry tradition and cultural source is unknown. The Danubian Bulgars were unable to alter the predominantly Slavic character of Bulgaria, seen in the toponymy and names of the capitals Pliska and Preslav. They preserved their own native language and customs for about 200 years, but a bilingual period was recorded since the 9th century. Golden argued that Bulgar Turkic almost disappeared with the transition to Christianity and
Slavicisation Slavicisation American and British English spelling differences#-ise, -ize (-isation, -ization), or Slavicization, is the acculturation of something Slavic into a non-Slavic culture, cuisine, region, or nation. To a lesser degree, it also means a ...
in the middle of the 9th century. When the ruling class abandoned its native language and adopted Slavic, according to Jean W. Sedlar, it was so complete that no trace of Turkic speech patterns remained in Old Slavic texts. The Bulgarian Christian Church used Slavic dialect from Macedonia. Among Bulgarian academics, notably Petar Dobrev, a hypothesis linking the Bulgar language to the
Iranian languages The Iranian languages or Iranic languages are a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages in the Indo-European language family that are spoken natively by the Iranian peoples The Iranian peoples or Iranic peoples are a diverse grouping of I ...
(
Pamir Pamir may refer to: Geographical features * Pamir Mountains, a mountain range in Central Asia ** Pamir-Alay, a mountain system in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, part of the Pamir Mountains *A pamir (valley) is a high plateau or valley surro ...
) has been popular since the 1990s. Most proponents still assume an intermediate stance, proposing certain signs of Iranian influence on a Turkic substrate. The names
Asparukh Asparuh (also ''Ispor''; bg, Аспарух, Asparuh or (rarely) bg, Исперих, Isperih) was а ruler of Bulgars in the second half of the 7th century and is credited with the establishment of the First Bulgarian Empire in 681. Early life ...
and Bezmer from the '' Nominalia'' list, for example, were established as being of Iranian origin. Other Bulgarian scholars actively oppose the "Iranian hypothesis". According to
Raymond Detrez Raymond Detrez (Antwerp 1948) is Professor of East European history and cultures and modern Greek history at the University of Ghent, Belgium. Biography He has studied Eastern European languages and history at the University of Ghent (1967–71 ...
, the Iranian theory is rooted in the periods of
anti-Turkish sentiment Anti-Turkish sentiment, also known as Anti-Turkism ( tr, Türk karşıtlığı), or Turkophobia () is hostility, intolerance, or xenophobia against Turkish people, Culture of Turkey, Turkish culture and the Turkish language. The term refers to i ...
in Bulgaria and is ideologically motivated. Since 1989, anti-Turkish rhetoric is now reflected in the theories that challenge the thesis of the proto-Bulgars' Turkic origin. Alongside the Iranian or Aryan theory, there appeared arguments favoring an autochthonous origin.


Ethnicity

Due to the lack of definitive evidence, modern scholarship uses an
ethnogenesis Ethnogenesis (; ) is "the formation and development of an ethnic group". This can originate by group self-identification or by outside identification. The term ''ethnogenesis'' was originally a mid-19th century neologism that was later introdu ...
approach in explaining the Bulgars origin. More recent theories view the nomadic confederacies, such as the Bulgars, as the formation of several different cultural, political and linguistic entities that could dissolve as quickly as they formed, entailing a process of ethnogenesis. According to Walter Pohl, the existential fate of the tribes and their confederations depended on their ability to adapt to an environment going through rapid changes, and to give this adaptation a credible meaning rooted in tradition and ritual. Slavs and Bulgars succeeded because their form of organization proved as stable and as flexible as necessary, while the Pannonian Avars failed in the end because their model could not respond to new conditions. Pohl wrote that members of society's lower strata did not feel themselves to be part of any large-scale ethnic group; the only distinct classes were within the armies and the ruling elite. Recent studies consider ethnonyms closely related with warrior elites who ruled over a variety of heterogeneous groups. The groups adopted new ideology and name as political designation, while the elites claimed right to rule and royal descent through origin myths. When the Turkic tribes began to enter into the Pontic–Caspian steppe in the Post-Hunnic era, or as early as the 2nd century AD, their confederations incorporated an array of ethnic groups of newly joined Turkic, Caucasian, Iranian, and Finnic peoples. During their Western Eurasian migrations to the Balkans, they also came into contact with Armenian, Semitic, Slavic, Thracian and Anatolian Greek among other populations. From the 6th to 8th centuries, distinctive Bulgar monuments of the Sivashovka type were built upon ruins of the late
Sarmatian The Sarmatians (; grc, Σαρμαται, Sarmatai; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber ar ...
culture of the 2nd to 4th centuries AD, and the 6th century
Penkovka culture The Penkovka culture ( uk, Пеньківська культура ''Penkivska kultura'') is an archaeological culture in Ukraine spanning Moldova and reaching into Romania. Its western boundary is usually taken to at the middle Prut and Dniester ...
of the Antes and Slavs. Early medieval Saltovo-Mayaki (an Alanic-based culture) settlements in the
Crimea Crimea, crh, Къырым, Qırım, grc, Κιμμερία / Ταυρική, translit=Kimmería / Taurikḗ ( ) is a peninsula in Ukraine, on the northern coast of the Black Sea, that has been Russian occupation of Crimea, occupied by Ru ...
since the 8th century were destroyed by the Pechengs during the 10th century. Although the older Iranian tribes were enveloped by the widespread Turkic migration into the Pontic–Caspian steppe, the following centuries saw a complete disappearance of both the Iranian and Turkic languages, indicating dominance of the Slavic language among the common people.


Anthropology and genetics

Genetic and anthropological researches have shown that the tribes of the Eurasian steppes were not always ethnically homogeneous, and were often unions of multiple ethnicities. Skeletal remains from
Kazakhstan Kazakhstan, officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a List of transcontinental countries, transcontinental country located mainly in Central Asia and partly in Eastern Europe. It borders Russia to Kazakhstan–Russia border, the north and ...
(Central Asia), excavated from different sites dating between the 15th century BC to the 5th century AD, have been analyzed. The distribution of east and west Eurasian lineages through time in the region agrees with available archaeological information. Prior to the 13th–7th century BC, all samples belong to European lineages, while later, an arrival of
East Asian East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia (, ) is one of the world's most notable geographical regions, which is either considered a continent in its own right or a subcontinent of Eurasia, which shares the continental landmas ...
sequences that coexisted with the previous genetic substratum was detected. Hundreds of excavated mummies in the
Tarim Basin The Tarim Basin is an endorheic basin in Northwest China occupying an area of about and one of the largest basins in Northwest China.Chen, Yaning, et al. "Regional climate change and its effects on river runoff in the Tarim Basin, China." Hyd ...
(West China) have Caucasoid features, revealing the presence of an ancient Caucasoid substratum in East Asia. These findings are associated with the ancient
Tocharians The Tocharians, or Tokharians (American English, US: or ; British English, UK: ), were speakers of Tocharian languages, Indo-European languages known from around 7600 documents from around 400 to 1200 AD, found on the northern edge of the Tari ...
and
Tocharian languages The Tocharian (sometimes ''Tokharian'') languages ( or ), also known as ''Arśi-Kuči'', Agnean-Kuchean or Kuchean-Agnean, are an extinct branch of the Indo-European language family spoken by inhabitants of the Tarim Basin The Tarim Basin ...
. According to P. Golden, the Central Asian Turkic peoples have multiple points of origin and are a mixture of steppes ethnic groups.
Eric Hobsbawm Eric John Ernest Hobsbawm (; 9 June 1917 – 1 October 2012) was a British historian of the rise of industrial capitalism, socialism Socialism is a left-wing Economic ideology, economic philosophy and Political movement, movement enco ...
considered the languages to be "almost always semi-artificial constructs". Political processes, rather than linguistic, tribal or ethnic elements, created new communities. Golden noted that the Turkic tribes in the Western Eurasia since the 1st millennium BC had contacts with
Proto-Indo-Europeans The Proto-Indo-Europeans are a hypothetical prehistory, prehistoric population of Eurasia who spoke Proto-Indo-European language, Proto-Indo-European (PIE), the ancestor of the Indo-European languages according to linguistic reconstruction. ...
. Those tribes were considered by Golden to be the ancestors of the Oğuric Turks. Recent blood and DNA studies of present-day populations in Central Asia confirm the extreme genetic heterogeneity. The latest DNA studies on Turkic people in Central Asia and Eastern Europe also confirm genetic heterogeneity, indicating that the Turkic tribal confederations included various mtDNA and Y-DNA
haplogroup A haplotype is a group of alleles in an organism that are inherited together from a single parent, and a haplogroup (haploid from the el, ἁπλοῦς, ''haploûs'', "onefold, simple" and en, group) is a group of similar haplotypes that share ...
s. A 2013 comparative genetic study shows that modern Bulgarians primarily are represented by the Western Eurasian Y haplogroups, with 40% belonging to haplogroups E-V13 and I-M423, and 20% to R-M17 (R-M198 and R-M458). Haplogroups common in the Middle East ( J-M172, J-M267, and G-M201) and in South Western Asia ( R-L23*) occur at frequencies of 19% and 5%, respectively. The central Asian and Altaic-Turkic haplogroups C, N and Q together occur at the negligible frequency of only 1.5% among Bulgarians. It could indicate that "a shared paternal ancestry between proto-Bulgarians and Altaic and Central Asian Turkic-speaking groups either did not exist or was negligible". However according to the Genetic Atlas of Human Admixture History by Hellenthal et al. 2014, using a chromosome painting, to follow the
genetic admixture Genetic admixture occurs when previously diverged or isolated genetic lineages mix.⅝ Admixture results in the introduction of new Lineage (genetic), genetic lineages into a population. Examples Climatic cycles facilitate genetic admixture in col ...
, only a small Northeast Asiatic DNA signal among Bulgarians (2,4%) might correspond to the whole genetic legacy left from the invasions of the Bulgars. The DNA studies of the
Chuvash people The Chuvash people ( , ; cv, чӑваш ; russian: чуваши ) are a Turkic peoples, Turkic ethnic group, a branch of Onogurs, Oghurs, native to an area stretching from the Volga-Ural region to Siberia. Most of them live in Chuvashia and th ...
, who speak a Turkic language ( Chuvash), show that they are genetically related to Caucasians, Mediterraneans, and Middle Easterners, partially Central or Northern Europeans (Finnic), but with little Central Asian-Altaic gene flow. The DNA studies of the
Tatars The Tatars ()Tatar
in the Collins English Dictionary
is an umbrella term for different Turki ...
,
Bashkirs , native_name_lang = bak , flag = File:Bashkirs of Baymak rayon.jpg , flag_caption = Bashkirs of Baymaksky District, Baymak in traditional dress , image = , caption = , population = approx. 2 mill ...
and Russians in
Chelyabinsk Oblast Chelyabinsk Oblast (russian: Челя́бинская о́бласть, ''Chelyabinskaya oblast'') is a federal subjects of Russia, federal subject (an oblast) of Russia in the Ural Mountains region, on the border of Europe and Asia. Its admini ...
show European and Finnic impact on the Tatars; Caucasoid and East Asian impact were reported for the Bashkirs. Some aspects of genetic relationships were found between Tatars and Chuvashes, as well Bulgarians, which could support the view that the Tatars may be descendants of ancient Bulgars. It is currently unknown with which haplogroup the Bulgars should be associated; some scholars consider the possibility that only a cultural and low genetic influence was brought into the region. A 2015 Bulgarian mtDNA study on 13 samples from the 8th–10th century suggests a Western Eurasian matrilineal origin for Proto-Bulgarians. The study established that "Proto-Bulgarians are positioned among South-Eastern and Southern European populations including modern Bulgarians. Proto-Bulgarians are genetically distant from Northern and Western Europeans and populations from the Near East and Caucasus. On the greatest distance from Proto-Bulgarians are Volga-Ural and Arabic populations." The study further mentions that "...proto-Bulgarians are genetically similar to modern Bulgarians and to certain South-Eastern European as well as Italian populations." Until now there's still not enough archaeogenetic data to confirm Turkic, Ugrian and/or Sarmatian origin and admixture of Proto-Bulgarian elite, however, Todor V. Chobanov and Svetoslav Samov in their research of available archaeological and genetical data presuppose "Proto-Bulgarians were a mixture of Late Sarmatians and older Caucasus populations, closely related to the Alans and preserving their genetic inheritance, even after arriving on the Balkans and mixing with Slav peoples and the remnants of the local Late Antiquity peoples". The paleoanthropological material from all sites in Volga region, Ukraine and Moldova attributed to the Bulgars testify complex ethno-cultural processes. The material shows the assimilation between the local population and the migrating newcomers. In all sites can be traced the anthropological type found in the Zlivka necropolis near the village of Ilichevki, the district of
Donetsk Donetsk ( , ; uk, Донецьк, translit=Donets'k ; russian: Донецк ), formerly known as Aleksandrovka, Yuzivka (or Hughesovka), Stalin and Stalino (see also: Names of European cities in different languages (C–D), cities' alternat ...
, of brachiocranic
Caucasoid The Caucasian race (also Caucasoid or Europid, Europoid) is an Historical race concepts, obsolete racial classification of human beings based on a now-disproven theory of biological race. The ''Caucasian race'' was historically regarded as a b ...
with small
East Asian East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia (, ) is one of the world's most notable geographical regions, which is either considered a continent in its own right or a subcontinent of Eurasia, which shares the continental landmas ...
admixtures but with Bulgar males being more Mongoloid than females. Despite the morphological proximity, there is a visible impact of the local population, in the Volga region of Finnic and ancient Turkic, in Ukraine of
Sarmatian The Sarmatians (; grc, Σαρμαται, Sarmatai; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber ar ...
-
Alans The Alans (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around prese ...
, and in Moldova of Slavic people. The comparative analysis showed large morphological proximity between the medieval and modern population of the Volga region. The examined graves in Northern Bulgaria and Southern Romania showed different somatic types, including Caucasoid-
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa ...
and less often East Asian. The pre-Christian burial customs in Bulgaria indicate diverse social, i.e. nomadic and sedentary, and cultural influences. In some necropolises specific to the Danube Bulgars, artificial deformation was found in 80% of the skulls. The Bulgars had a special type of shamanic "medicine-men" who performed trepanations of the skull, usually near the
sagittal suture The sagittal suture, also known as the interparietal suture and the ''sutura interparietalis'', is a dense, fibrous connective tissue joint between the two parietal bones of the human skull, skull. The term is derived from the Latin word ''sagitt ...
. This practice had a medical application, as well as a symbolic purpose; in two cases the patient had brain problems. According to Maenchen-Helfen and Rashev, the artificial deformation of skulls, and other types of burial artifacts in Bulgars graves, are similar to those of the Sarmatians, and Sarmatized Turks or Turkicized Sarmatians of the post-Hunnic graves in the Ukrainian steppe.


Legacy

In modern
ethnic nationalism Ethnic nationalism, also known as ethnonationalism, is a form of nationalism wherein the nation and nationality are defined in terms of ethnicity, with emphasis on an ethnocentrism , ethnocentric (and in some cases an ethnocracy, ethnocratic) ...
there is some "rivalry for the Bulgar legacy" (see Bulgarism). The
Volga Tatars The Volga Tatars or simply Tatars ( tt-Cyrl, татарлар, tatarlar) are a Turkic peoples, Turkic ethnic group native to the Idel-Ural, Volga-Ural region of Russia. They are subdivided into various subgroups. Volga Tatars are Russia's second ...
and
Chuvash people The Chuvash people ( , ; cv, чӑваш ; russian: чуваши ) are a Turkic peoples, Turkic ethnic group, a branch of Onogurs, Oghurs, native to an area stretching from the Volga-Ural region to Siberia. Most of them live in Chuvashia and th ...
, are said to be descended from the Volga Bulgars, and there may have been ethnogenic influences on the
Bashkirs , native_name_lang = bak , flag = File:Bashkirs of Baymak rayon.jpg , flag_caption = Bashkirs of Baymaksky District, Baymak in traditional dress , image = , caption = , population = approx. 2 mill ...
,
Karachays The Karachays ( krc, Къарачайлыла, Qaraçaylıla or таулула, , 'Mountaineers') are an indigenous Caucasian Turkic ethnic group An ethnic group or an ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), i ...
and
Balkars The Balkars ( krc, Малкъарлыла, Malqarlıla or Таулула, , 'Mountaineers') are a Turkic people of the Caucasus region, one of the titular nation, titular populations of Kabardino-Balkaria. Their Karachay-Balkar language is of ...
also.


See also

* Bulgar calendar *
Bulgar language Bulgar (also known as Bulghar, Bolgar, or Bolghar) is an extinct Oghuric languages, Oghur Turkic language spoken by the Bulgars. The name is derived from the Bulgars, a tribal association that established the Bulgar state known as Old Great Bu ...
*
Eurasian nomads The Eurasian nomads were a large group of nomadic peoples from the Eurasian Steppe, who often appear in history as invaders of Europe, Western Asia, Central Asia, Eastern Asia, and South Asia. A nomad is a member of people having no permanent ab ...
*
History of Bulgaria The history of Bulgaria can be traced from the first settlements on the lands of Bulgaria, modern Bulgaria to its formation as a nation-state, and includes the history of the Bulgarians, Bulgarian people and their origin. The earliest evidence of ...
*
Oghur languages The Oghuric, Onoguric or Oguric languages (also known as Bulgar, Pre-Proto-Bulgaric or Lir-Turkic and r-Turkic) are a branch of the Turkic language family. The only extant member of the group is the Chuvash language Chuvash ( , ; , , ) i ...
*
Turkic migration The Turkic migrations were the spread of Turkic peoples, Turkic tribes and Turkic languages across Eurasia and between the 6th and 11th centuries. In the 6th century, the Göktürks overthrew the Rouran Khaganate in what is now Mongolia and expande ...
*
Turkic tribal confederations The Turkic languages, Turkic term ''oğuz'' or ''oğur'' (in z-Turkic, z- and r-Turkic, respectively) is a historical term for "military division, clan, or tribe" among the Turkic peoples. With the Mongol invasions of 1206–21, the Turkic kha ...
*
Volga Bulgaria Volga Bulgaria or Volga–Kama Bulgaria, was a historic Bulgar state that existed between the 7th and 13th centuries around the confluence of the Volga The Volga (; russian: Во́лга, a=Ru-Волга.ogg, p=ˈvoɫɡə) is the List of ...


Citations


General and cited sources

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Further reading

* * * * * *Karatay, Osman. "The Bulgars in Transoxiana: Some Inferences from Early Islamic Sources." Migracijske i etničke teme 1–2 (2009): 69–88. * *


External links


Bulgars
''
Encyclopædia Britannica Online An encyclopedia (American English American English, sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language native to the United States. English is the Languages o ...
''
Arrival of the Bulgars
''
Encyclopædia Britannica Online An encyclopedia (American English American English, sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language native to the United States. English is the Languages o ...
'' {{DEFAULTSORT:Bulgar Extinct Turkic peoples History of Ural Medieval Bulgaria Migration Period Moldova in the Early Middle Ages Romania in the Early Middle Ages Saltovo-Mayaki culture Turkic peoples of Europe