Saturday, October 28, 2006


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1345 - In a letter to the Venetian Doge Andrea Dandolo the Serbian emperor Stephan Dushan (1331 - 1355) explains that since he possesses Macedonia he is a ruler of a part of the Bulgarian kingdom 

"By the grace of God Stephan, King of Serbia, Dioclea, Zachulmia, Zeta*, Albania and the Pomorie** and ruler of not a small part of the kingdom of Bulgaria, and Lord of almost all Romania***."

Monumenta Slavorum meridionalium II, Zagrabiae, 1870, p. 278.

* Zachulmia, Dioclea and Zeta - small Serbian principalities on the Adriatic
** Pomorie - the Aegean coast of Macedonia
*** Romania - the European part of Byzantium

1353 - The scribe Stanislav in the Lesnovo monastery puts the name of the Bulgarian tsar in front of that of the tsar of Serbia, although the monastery is in Macedonia, which is possessed by the Serbs*.

"...This book was written in the time of the pious and Christ-loving Bulgarian tsar Ioan Alexander and the pious and holy tsar of the Serbian and Greek land Stefan and the great despot Ioan Oliver**."

Lesnovo Parenesis, the original is in Old Bulgarian.

* This is evidence that although the monastery was in Serbia, the monks felt Bulgarian and acknowledged the Bulgarian king. Moreover, they continued to write in the Bulgarian version of Old Bulgarian, whereas the Serbs wanted to introduce the Serbian version. This case is very similar to the Bologna Psalter (click here).
** Ioan Oliver was a Serbian voivoda (military leader) who later become a despot (big feudal lord) and was given lands in Zletovo in central Macedonia by the Stefan Dushan.

1381 - 1383 - Documents of the notary Manoli Bresciano in the town of Candia on the island of Crete about the sales of slaves.*

Sept. 12, 1381 - "... a slave ... Maria of Bulgarian stock [de genere Bulgarorum], from the locality of Prilep." (#19)

Nov. 4, 1381 - "... Theodora, of Bulgarian stock, from the locality of Kostour..." (#31)

July 5, 1382 - "... a slave named Alexo, of Bulgarian stock, from the locality of Serres..." (#99)

July 8, 1382 - "... a slave named Irina, of Bulgarian stock, from the locality of Kostour..." (#100)

July 12, 1382 - "... a slave named Irina, of Bulgarian stock, from the locality of Devol**..." (#105)

Sept. 18, 1382 - "... a slave named Dimitar, a Bulgarian from the locality of Vodena..." (#125)

Sept. 21, 1382 - "... of Bulgarian stock, from the locality of Veles..." (#126)

Mar. 7, 1383 - "...Mihail, of Bulgarian stock, from the locality of Skopie..." (#184)

Iv. Sakuzov, Newly found documents from the end of the XIVth c. about the Bulgarians from Macedonia sold as slaves, Makedonsky Pregled, 1932, No. 2-3, pp. 1- 62; the original is in Italian.

* The famous slave market in Candia was on the island of Crete, held by the Venetians. Each selling or liberating of a slave had to be confirmed by a notarial deed. The notary asked the slaves questions and according to the answer wrote down his name, nationality and place of birth. All slaves from Macedonia, with the exception of a few Greeks and Wallachians have been recorded as Bulgarians.
** Devol - a town in East Albania close to Ochrid

From the "Life of St. John of Rila [Sveti Ivan Rilski]" (end of the XIVth century), written in the library of the "St. Clement [Sveti Kliment]" church in Ohrid.

"Pray to the merciful God to save your compatriots - your congenial Bulgarian people."

c. 1500 - The Serbian historian Mihail of Ostrovitsa in his chronicle reports that Dushan's son and successor, Stephan Urosh V, gave the two brothers, the Serbian feudal lords Vukashin and Uglesha, to rule over the Bulgarian lands.*

"He allowed the two brothers to govern the Bulgarian Kingdom... When he was only four miles away from Drenopole, the two brothers, who had occupied the Bulgarian land, rose up against their master."

The original is in Serbian.

* to see the extent of Vukashin and Uglesha's lands click here

1591 - Information by the Venetian ambassador Lorenzo Bernardo about the Bulgarian character of the localities in Macedonia.

"They say that Struga is a town but as a matter of fact it is rather a village; it is the first locality in succession in Bulgaria. A river flows across Struga which runs out of the lake of Ochrida; here, they say, is also the spring of the river of the town of Lesius [Drim river]. Practically the whole plain of Struga is cultivated, tiled and very fertile; a little further away, at the beginning of the plain of Struga, one passes through a bridgewhich is on the border between Bulgaria and Albania. The Bulgarians speak Slav and observe the Greek [Eastern Orthodox] rite."

"On May 23, proceeding further on a good road, they reached Bitola at 7 o'clock. Bitola is a Bulgarian town, densely populated, as they say, 1,500 houses, including 200 Jewish."

"On May 27, descending the hill abounding in water and wells, they followed the foot of the mountain situated opposite the hill and came down in a wide plain which the Turkscall Vardar Ova and the Bulgarians - Slanitsa."

"They passed through a wooden bridge, 300 steps long, leading across the Vasrdar River which further on flows through Skopje...This bridge is the boundary between Bulgaria and Thessaly. Near the bridge there is a house from which a Bulgarian maid came with a loaf baked under hot ashes."

Jordan Ivanov, The Bulgarians in Macedonia, pp. 169-170; the original is in Italian.


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