#408394

Anonymous

I’d like to reply to some of Svetlomir’s points from November:

– first ever mentionings of bulgarians refer to 4th century on Balkans; – No. That first ever mentioning you’re referring to (the so-called Anonymous Latin Chronographer from 354) places the Bulgars in the North Caucasus/Pontic area, the lands between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. Funnily enough, it was recently claimed that’s exactly the land from which the Indo-Europeans first originated, and from which a whole plethora of Caucasian nations originate as well, which is why I’ve dubbed that region “the Mother of Nations”. :D In any case, there are older sources, like the Armenian Ashharatsuyts, which also place the Bulgars in that region, in the 2nd century.

– there are 30 early and late medieval authors which refer to bulgarians as identical to natives/so called tracians/; – if by “Thracians” you mean the references to “Moesians” – yes. There’s also a whole bunch of contemporary authors who call the Bulgars Huns and Scythians. Actually, there’s even a chronologic order in that regard – first it’s mostly Huns (and less Scythians), then it’s mostly Scythians (and rarely Huns) and finally it’s mostly Moesians (and occasionally Scythians). The first period, “mostly Huns”, is the early Caucasian one, soon after the collapse of the Hunnic empire, part of which were the Bulgars, among all the other tribes (Goths and other Germanics, Alans and other Iranics, possibly even Slavs). Then in the time of Old Great Bulgaria and the first centuries of Danubian Bulgaria it’s the “mostly Scythians” period and finally it’s the “mostly Moesians” period. These two periods are particularly interesting from the geopolitical-psychological point of view of the Byzantines, as the Scythian period designates an ideological resistance against the Bulgars, it shows the Byzantines still saw them as invaders and temporary occupants of their own Byzantine lands. Then comes the transition to Moesians when the Byzantines soften up a bit, finally admitting that these lands are ours now, for good or for bad, that we are the actual owners of Moesia and not they. Of course, the Christianization of the country helped for that quite a lot. In any case, just because we were called Huns/Scythians/Moesians, doesn’t mean we were necessarily such – the Byzantines also called the Russians “Tauroscythians”, the Magyars “Turks”, the (Seljuk) Turks “Persians” etc. It’s a well-known trend of the Byzantine educated elite to often use archaizations for modern to them times. That’s f.e. how they also called Constantinople “Byzantion” (and respectively its people – Byzantines), which eventually made the Westerners in the Renaissance to completely replace their name with the archaization.

– there is not a trace of any other language spoken by the bulgarians but the slavic one; – Except, you know, the nearly hundred official inscriptions on Greek from the Bulgar period (as well as most of the graffitti from that time) and the only three non-Greek ones being military inventory lists on Turkic (which, of course, doesn’t necessarily mean the Bulgars were Turkic or not – for quite awhile they had been under Avar and Gok-Turk control, so it wouldn’t be impossible if they had adopted some of their military terminology).

– there are some words and toponyms left of so called tracians which are still in use in bulgarian language/eventually in the other slavic languages/; – True. There are even more Greek ones – that doesn’t mean we’re Greeks now, does it?

– not a single author has ever said that bulgarians are asian turkic-mongolic or iranian tribe; – Nonsense. All modern historians gravitate either to the Turkic or the Iranic theories for the origin of the Bulgars. And if you mean medieval authors – as I already said, many of them called us Scythians, and the Scythians were Iranic. You’re right that none of the medieval authors called us Turks or Mongols though – only modern post-Yugoslavs call us Mongols, thus insulting their own intelligence. :P Which is expectable, considering the Bulgars were mentioned in Europe centuries before the Turks appeared as a tribe (the Ashina clan) in Asia, not to mention the arrival of the Mongols, which was even later.

– there is not a single bulgarian ruler who is called khan, han or whatever/there is only “kanas” in greek which is trancription of къняз=княз/; – In this you are partially correct – “khan” has never been attested as a separate title in the Bulgar titulature. Almost all inscriptions, being on the Greek language, use the title “archon”. There are also a few mentions of “kanasuvigi”, which appear after Krum’s conquest of the Avar Khaganate (possibly related to the Avar “kanizauci”), and for which it’s still not certain how the word are divided, though I personally agree that it’s “kanas uvigi” (IIRC, there’s one inscription by Malamir where it’s “archon uvigi”).

– the link between bulgarians and “volga bolgars” is 20th century interpretation based on 10th century mentioning of city of Bolgar by Ahmed Ibn Fadlan; – Eh, no. For starters, Ibn Fadlan didn’t mention only a city of Bolgar, but a whole country. And he’s definitely not the only Arab source for that. Heck, there’s even a whole number of non-Arab sources for it as well. It’s interesting that even the Magyars f.e. used “polgar” for both the Danubian and Volgan Bulgars, but for the Danubian ones they also had an additional name – Nandor (hence one of their names for Belgrade – Nandorfehervar – the Bulgarian White City). Second, that “interpretation” isn’t based on Ibn Fadlan, but on Patriarch Nikephoros and Theophanes Confessor, who speak about Kubrat’s Old Great Bulgaria and how after his death his son Kotrag took the Kutrigurs up the Volga, while Asparuh went west, towards the Danube. There are numerous other examples of both countries bearing the Bulgarian name, although the differences between them grew bigger and bigger and bigger. F.e. the mission of Friar Julian from 1235 in search of the ancient Magyar homeland (near Volga Bulgaria) first passed through Danubian Bulgaria and Tarnovgrad, where it’s said the Bulgarians told him how to reach Volga Bulgaria (and, respectively, in Volga Bulgaria he was shown the way to Bashkiria, or Great Hungary as Friar Julian called it). You can check Georgi Vladimirov’s book about the two states in the Early-to-High Middle Ages. In any case, you are correct in your hint (I presume) that modern Bulgarians and the descendants of the Volga Bulgars (Kazan Tatars and Chuvashes) have grown very, very different from one another – we became Christians, while they’re Muslims (though I think the Chuvashes have relatively strong Paganism as well); we are Slavic-speakers, while they adopted Arabic and Kypchak in the Middle Ages (Arabic only as religious language, obviously); genetically we’re closer to the Thracians, while they – to the local Finno-Ugrian populations etc. Our biggest connection right now, ironically or not, is Russia. :P

And for something completely different, since I don’t know where else to post it, I’ll post it here – I just found out of an interesting project to make a cartoon based on Bulgarian/Balkan/Eastern European folklore, which could then be exported (translated on English) around the world. What do you think, could this project f.e. be one day broadcasted over Cartoon Network, educating children all over the world that, you know, Slavic folklore is as interesting as all those samurais, vikings and whatnot? I see the comments comparing it to Samurai Jack and although I have no idea what that’s like, it seems to be a good comparison. Might even make me watch cartoons again. :D

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