Tsar Samoil and the Archbishopric of Ohrid in Macedonia

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  • TrueMacedonian
    • Jan 2009
    • 3823

    BUmp. Another good topic.


    • George S.
      Senior Member
      • Aug 2009
      • 10116

      Good to hear that samuel was macedonian & not bulgarian.A lot of people say from different countries try to missapropriate him ,just because his rule encompassed bulgaria doesn't mean he is bulgarian.Also they'll try & put a slant for one reason or another to say that he is bulgarian.The problem is they try & write our history for us instead of us writing our own history.
      "Ido not want an uprising of people that would leave me at the first failure, I want revolution with citizens able to bear all the temptations to a prolonged struggle, what, because of the fierce political conditions, will be our guide or cattle to the slaughterhouse"


      • Soldier of Macedon
        Senior Member
        • Sep 2008
        • 13675

        Here is an older post from a discussion between TM and Bratot, more relevant on this thread given the information concerning the so-called Bitola 'inscription'.

        Go ahead indigen tell us more about it and while you're at it tell us some more about Samoil's kingdom.

        Originally posted by TrueMacedonian View Post
        But what about the so-called Bitolski Nadpis? Here's something on it;

        I know many people call it a forgery. But what if it's not?(how many objective scholars call it a forgery?) This would be a year or 2 after Samoil's death.

        This is logical and explains alot about the term "Bulgar" during this time.

        If we accept that assumption than those scholars should explain why the Bulgarian Chan Crume (802-814) have tittled himself 2 times as „De Cruma rege Macedonie“ and „Cruma rex Macedonie“.

        On the other hand the other Bulgarian Tzar Ivan Alexandar have tittled himself as: Sanctus Johannes Alexander Macedo (Macedonian S.A.), meaning Ivan Alexander the Macedonian.

        The both of them were not even close to being Macedonians, but should we make claims on them using the Bulgarian propaganda logic?

        Prof. Lunt:

        "In 1956 a marble block serving as part of the threshold of a sixteenth-century mosque in Bitola was discovered to contain a badly worn Slavonic inscription. The text clearly must have spilled over to a lost block on the left, and to one or more blocks at the top. Yet the twelve preserved lines refer to ”John, autocrat of the bulgars„ and, later, ”son of Aron.„

        The historian and paleographer Vladimir Moshin published the text (in Makedonski jazik, 1966), with a bold series of conjectures and emendations arguing that the inscription included reference to Samuel's defeat in 1014 and had been set up by Ivan Vladislav, Samuel's nephew (ruled 1015-1018). The Zaimovs confidently ”restore„ most of the text, including dates, and proceed to take their wish thoughts as incontrovertible proof of a number of historical events otherwise unknown.

        Unfortunately there is no even remotely reliable set of criteria for dating early South Slavic Cyrillic, and epigraphic material is sparse and extremely controversial. I must respectfully disagree with Moshin's estimate that this text fits in the early eleventh century. Zaimov's paleographic and linguistic arguments are inaccurate and naive.

        One basic point: Moshin clearly records the fact that the date he confidently reconstructs as 6522 (1014) has been worn away (”datata e izlizhana„; p.39 in Slovenska pismenost, ed P.Ilievski, Ohrid, 1966).
        Indeed it does not show up in any published photographs (note that Zaimov's plate 2 has been doctored in an unspecified manner, and plate 3 is frankly drawing), nor is it found in a latex mold made by Professor Ihor Sevchenko of Dumbarton Oaks.
        Assuming that this spot does contain a date, one can grant the 6 and the final 2, and a vertical line with a partial crosspiece that could be F(500) but looks much more like ps (700), and is followed by a space wide enough even for M (40). If one then conjectures the numbers as 6742, the date would be 1234. This fits beautifully with the ortography and language, and identifies Ivan as Asen II, who gained power over Macedonia in 1230. Yet it also demolished the inctricate historical explanations elaborated by the Zaimovs and generally diminishes the light that this inscription allegedly throws on an obscure period of Macedonian and Bulgarian history. The crucial questions remains open.

        Horace G Lunt
        Harvard University

        ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horace_Lunt )

        According to Igor Schevchenko
        ( http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/05/wo...5sevcenko.html ):

        "The little of this numeral can be seen on unretouched photograph might indeed be part of the cyrillic letter f (=500); but, as Horace G Lunt has pointed out, it might be also part of the cyrilic letter ps(=700), in which case the Bitolja inscription would seem to be of the thirteen century." (Slavic and Eastern European Journal, 1977, 21, 1)

        R. Mathiesen (emeritus, Brown University http://brown.edu/web/directory/academicsdepts.shtml):

        "Lunt informs me that Sevchensko's photogrpaphs exclude the possibility of the numeral being an f (=500), but not being a ps (=700), amd may even exclude the possibility of the numeral being part of date. The date may then have stood at the beggining of line 12." (Slavic and Eastern European Journal, 1977, 21,1)

        His conclusion:

        "As long as its true age remains in doubt, the evidence of the Bitolja inscription will have to be used with great caution; but this does not lessen the special importance of cyrillic palaegraphy which it will have as the work of two stonecutters--whatever the outcome if and when doubts are ever finally laid to rest." (Slavic and Eastern European Journal, 1977, 21, 1)

        So we have three significant figures pointing out on the inacurate date and they have no Macedonian background to have an personal interest in this situation which is not the same for the Bulgarian side.
        In the name of the blood and the sun, the dagger and the gun, Christ protect this soldier, a lion and a Macedonian.


        • Soldier of Macedon
          Senior Member
          • Sep 2008
          • 13675

          The lists are from wikipedia so not sure of their complete accuracy.

          Bishoprics (diocese) under the jurisdiction of the Archbishopric of Ohrid in Macedonia, mentioned in 1019:

          Bishopric of Ochrid
          Bishopric of Kostur
          Bishopric of Strumica
          Bishopric of Pelagonia, seat at Bitola
          Bishopric of Velbazhd
          Bishopric of Ras, seat at Stari Ras, formed by 878 (as of 1219 part of Serbian Orthodox Church)
          Bishopric of Prizren, formed in 10th century (as of 1219 part of Serbian Orthodox Church)
          Bishopric of Niš, formed by 343 (as of 1219 part of Serbian Orthodox Church)
          Bishopric of Braničevo, formed by 878 (as of 1219 part of Serbian Orthodox Church)
          Bishopric of Vidin,
          Bishopric of Sredets,
          Bishopric of Drastar, including the Theme of Paristrion (Moesia Inferior)
          Bishopric of Servia, formed in 5th century (as of 1882 part of Ecumenical Patriarchate)

          Bishops and Archbishops of Justiniana Priima and the Archbishopric of Ohrid in Macedonia:

          Justiniana Prima Bishops, 535 - 602
          Saint Clement of Ohrid, Sveti Kliment Ohridski, 893-916
          Philip, Filip, 997
          John I of Debar, Jovan I, 1018-1037
          Leo, Lav, 1037-1056
          Theodulus I, Teodul I, 1056-1065
          John II Lampinus, Jovan II Lampinos, 1065-1078
          John III, Jovan III, 1078-1079
          Theophylact, Teofilakt, 1084 1107
          Leo II Mung, Lav Mung, 1108 1120
          Michael Maximus, Mihail Maksim, 1120
          John IV Komnenos, Jovan IV Komnin, 1143-1160 (resurrected the title of Archbishop of Justiniana Prima in 1143)
          Constantine I, Konstantin I, 1160
          Јоhn V Kamateros, Јovan V Kamatir, 1183-1216
          Demetrios Chomatianos, Dimitar Homatijan, 1216-1234
          Joannicius, Joanikij
          Sergius, Sergej
          Constantine II Kavasilas, Konstantin II Kavasila, 1255-1259, 1260-1282
          Jacob Proarchius, Jakov Proarhij, 1275-1285
          Hadrian, Adrijan
          Gennadius, Genadij
          Macarius, Makarij
          Anthimus Metochites, Antim Metohit, 1341-1346
          Nicholas I, Nikolaj I, 1346
          Gregory II, ,Grigorij II, 1364/65
          Matthew, Matej, 1408
          Nicodemus, Nikodim, 1452
          Dositheos I, Dositej I
          Dorotheos, Dorotej, 1466 (expatriated to Istanbul in 1466 along with his administration due to support provided to George Kastriot - Skenderbeg)
          Mark Xylokaravis, Marko Ksilokaraf, 1466
          Nicholas II, Nikolaj II
          Zacharius, Zaharij, 1486
          Prochorus, Prohor, 1528-1550
          Simeon, 1550-1557
          Nicanor, Nikanor, 1557-1565
          Paisius, Pajsij, 1565
          Parthenius I, Partenij I
          Sophronius, Sofronij, 1567-1572
          Gabriel, Gavril, 1572-1588
          Theodulus II, Teodul II, 1588-1590
          Gregory III, Grigorij III, 1590-1593
          Joachim, Joakim, 1593-1596
          Athanasius I, Atanasij I, 1596-1598
          Varlaam, 1598-1598
          Nectarius I, Nektarij I, 1598-1613
          Metrophanes, Mitrofan, 1614-1616
          Nectarius II, Nektarij II, 1616-1624
          Porphyrius Palaiologos, Porfirij Paleolog, 1624-1627
          George, Georgij, 1627-1628
          Joasaph, Georgij, 1628-1629
          Abraham Mesaps, Avramij Mesaps, 1629-1637
          Meletius I, Meletij I, 1637-1643
          Chariton, Hariton, 1643-1650
          Daniel, Daniel, 1650-1652
          Dionysius I, Dionisij I, 1652-1653
          Athanasius II, Atanasij II, 1653
          Paphnutius, Pafnutij
          Ignatius I, Ignatij I, 1660-1663
          Arsenius I, Arsenij I, 1663-1663
          Zosimus, Zosim, 1663-1670
          Panaretus 1671 1673
          Nectarius III, Nektarij III, 1673-1676
          Ignatius II, Ignatij II, 1676-1676
          Teophanes, Teofan, 1676-1676
          Meletius II, Meletij II, 1676-1677
          Parthenius II, Partenij II, 1677-1683
          Gregory IV, Grigorij IV, 1683-1688
          Germanus, German, 1688-1691
          Gregory V, Grigorij V, 1691-1693
          Ignatius III, Ignatij III, 1693-1703, 1695-1706
          Zosimus II, Zosim II, 1695-1707, 1699-1708
          Raphael, Rafail, 1699-1702
          Germanus II, German II, 1702-1702
          Dionysius II, Dionisij II, 1706-1709, 1706-1714
          Methodius I, Metodijus I, 1708-1708
          Philotheus, Filotej, 1714-1718
          Joasaph II, Joasaf II, 1719-1745
          Joseph, Josif, 1746-1752
          Dionysius III, Dionisij III, 1752-1756
          Methodius II, Metodijus II, 1757-1758
          Cyril, Kiril, 1759-1762
          Jeremy, Ieremija, 1763-1763
          Ananias, Ananij, 1763-1763
          Arsenius II, Arsenij II, 1763-1767
          In the name of the blood and the sun, the dagger and the gun, Christ protect this soldier, a lion and a Macedonian.


          • Soldier of Macedon
            Senior Member
            • Sep 2008
            • 13675

            Originally posted by TrueMacedonian View Post
            Originally posted by TrueMacedonian View Post

            page 61

            Here is another perspective on the Macedonian Empire under Samuel, by George Ostrogorski (History of the Byzantine State).
            After the death of John Tzimisces, a revolt broke out in the Macedonian region, led by the provincial governor of Macedonia. The rising took on serious proportions and became a war of liberation, which spread over the whole of Macedonia and sought to remove the greater part of the Balkans from Byzantine rule.
            Samuel became the founder of a powerful Empire, which had its centre first at Prespa and later at Ochrida. Little by little he gathered under his sway the whole Macedonian region except Thessalonica, the old Bulgar territory between the Danube and the Balkan range, Thessaly, Epirus, part of Albania including Dyrrachium, and finally Rascia and Dioclea.
            Politically and ecclesiastically, the new empire was the direct descendant of the empire of Symeon and Peter, and was regarded by Samuel and the Byzantines alike as being simply the Bulgarian Empire. For apart from Byzantium, only Bulgaria at that time possessed a tradition of empire with a patriarchate of its own. Samuel was entirely committed to these traditions. But in reality his Macedonian kingdom was essentially different from the former kingdom of the Bulgars. In composition and character, it represented a new and distinctive phenomenon. The balance had shifted towards the west and south, and Macedonia, a peripheral region in the old Bulgarian kingdom, was its real centre.
            For Basil II, the struggle with Samuel became his chief task and the annihilation of Samuel's empire his life's ambition. He seems to have sought the support of other Balkan rulers against the powerful Macedonian Empire, and to have made an alliance with the prince John Vladimir of Dioclea.
            In the name of the blood and the sun, the dagger and the gun, Christ protect this soldier, a lion and a Macedonian.


            • Soldier of Macedon
              Senior Member
              • Sep 2008
              • 13675

              More from Ostrgorski, this time relating to events that took place after Samuel was toppled. Basil was rather 'sympathetic' by the usual standards of a conqueror, despite the people of Macedonia being the most important element in the former empire led by Samuel. Perhaps it was sentimental due to his own Macedonian heritage (and that of the Macedonia Theme where he came from). His actions don't appear to reflect a cruel emperor that would blind 15,000 soldiers who were largely Macedonian (not that I am discounting a severe punishment of some sort). Overall, this book from Ostrogorski is a good read, but one part I disagree with is his view of the Ohrid Patriarchate as a revival of the Bulgarian church. He fails to draw the same conclusion with the church as he does with the state, despite using similar criteria.
              Having regard to the situation of the country and its existing customs, he excused his new subjects from the obligation of paying taxes in gold which was imposed on the economically further developed parts of the Empire, accepting instead payment in kind. The Patriarchate of Ochrida was degraded to an archbishopric; but the new archbishopric ranked as autocephalous, had many important privileges and was given control of all the bishoprics which had earlier belonged to the empire of Samuel and of the tzar Peter. In practice, what was meant by the autocephalous nature of the archbishopric of Ochrida was that it was subject not to the Patriarch of Constantinople but to the will of the Emperor, who reserved to himself the right of appointment to the see. This arrangement - a real master-stroke of imperial policy -- secured for Byzantium control over the churches of the southern Slavs, but avoided any further extension of the already vast sphere of jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Constantinople, and at the same time properly emphasised the special claims as an ecclesiastical centre of Ochrida, whose autocephalous archbishops occupied in the hierarchy of the Greek Church a significantly higher place than other princes of the Church who were subordinate to the Patriarchate of Constantinople. As a component of the Byzantine Empire, the newly-conquered region was divided into themes, like any other Byzantine territory. The lands which had been the kernel of Samuel's empire now formed the theme of Bulgaria and, out of respect to the great importance of this new theme, it was governed first by a capetan, and later, indeed, by a dux. Its centre was at Skoplje. Along the lower reaches of the Danube lay the theme of Paristrion or Paradunavon, with its centre at the Danube town of Silistria, which was also later raised to a catepanate, and then to a duchy (ducatus). The region of Sirmium seems to have formed a further theme on the northern boundary of the Empire. The region on the Adriatic coast, including Zadar (Zara) in the north and Dubrovnik (Ragusa) in the south, formed the theme of Dalmatia as before. The territory of Dioclea, however, and the regions of Zachlumia, Rascia and Bosnia were not organized as themes but on the contrary continued, as did Croatia, to be under the rule of their native princes, thus forming vassal principalities of the Byzantine Empire rather than provinces proper. The region south of Lake Scadar (Scodra) belonged now as formerly to the duchy of Dyrrachium, which formed the most important strategic stronghold of the Byzantine Empire on the Adriatic, just as the theme Thessalonica, created a duchy at the same time, was its most important bastion of the Aegean.
              The following map is basically an illustration of the theme system of East Rome. Basil named the new theme in which much of Macedonia was located as the 'Bulgaria Theme', and it was based on Macedonian territory where the former Bulgarian Empire had expanded into. It was also the core region of Samuel's empire. It is largely because of the Bulgaria Theme that a legacy of the Bulgarian name remained in Macedonia for centuries later. This clearly has no ethnic affiliation, for example, much of actual Bulgaria in Moesia is located in the Paraistrion Theme. The territory of western Thrace had been officially named 'Macedonia Theme' over 2 centuries earlier, a result of previous influence stemming from a Macedonian element in the region.

              The extent of jurisdiction for the Archbishopric of Ohrid in Macedonia around the same period.
              In the name of the blood and the sun, the dagger and the gun, Christ protect this soldier, a lion and a Macedonian.


              • Soldier of Macedon
                Senior Member
                • Sep 2008
                • 13675

                With regard to the below by Ostrogorski which I cited earlier:
                Politically and ecclesiastically, the new empire was the direct descendant of the empire of Symeon and Peter, and was regarded by Samuel and the Byzantines alike as being simply the Bulgarian Empire. For apart from Byzantium, only Bulgaria at that time possessed a tradition of empire with a patriarchate of its own. Samuel was entirely committed to these traditions.
                I also disagree with him here. There is no evidence to suggest that Samuel personally identified as a 'Bulgarian', strictly or otherwise. In the only surviving inscription by Samuel he identifies himself as a Christian (роб божји, servant of God). Those who wrote about him and his empire as 'Bulgarian' only did so because the new state in Macedonia partly arose from the ashes of the Bulgarian Empire which had ceased to exist only a few years earlier. It was the only precedent of statehood at the time, and is the same reason why the later theme was also named 'Bulgaria'. When the new state was created in Macedonia by Samuel and his brother(s), the territory of the actual Bulgarians had already been captured by the Romans. Thus, such references in the case of Samuel and his state relate specifically to Macedonia and Macedonians, with the legacy of the 'Bulgarian' name being relevant only in a political and not an ethnic context. It is interesting to note that while writers tended to refer to Samuel and his empire as 'Bulgarian', it was not unknown for actual Bulgarian rulers to fashion themselves as leaders of 'Romans'. Khan Krum of Bulgaria was recorded as 'De Cruma rege Macedonie' and 'Cruma rex Macedonie' and Tsar Ivan Alexander as 'Sanctus Johannes Alexander Macedo' due to their campaigns in the Macedonia Theme. John Skylitzes is an author who refers to Samuel and his state as 'Bulgarian'. However, at closer inspection his book reveals some insightful information:
                The Tsar of the Bulgarians, Peter, was opposed by his brother Ivan together with other Bulgarian noblemen. But Ivan was caught, whipped and thrown into jail and all the others were subjected to the heaviest punish*ments.....Mihail, the other brother of Peter, also dreamed of seizing power in Bulgaria....He soon died, however, and his adherents, because they were afraid of Peter's wrath, entered the Byzantine lands by way of Macedonia, Strymon and Hellas.....Peter, Tsar of the Bulgarians, renewed the peace immediately after his wife's death and concluded a treaty with the Emperors and gave as hostages his own sons Boris and Roman. Not long afterwards, he died. After this his sons were sent to Bulgaria to occupy their father's Kingdom and to stop the advance of the Kometopouli. Because David, Moses, Aaron and Samuel, sons of one of the powerful comites of Bulgaria, were planning an uprising and were spreading unrest throughout the Bulgarian State.....
                The rule of Petar had caused friction within his own family, which demonstrated that the Bulgarian Empire was already in a precarious position. Furthermore, the Bogomil movement, which arose in the Bulgarian Empire during the rule of Petar, found a stronghold in Macedonia (despite being persecuted by both Bulgarians and Romans alike, there is no evidence of persecution by Macedonians during the reign of Samuel). It was in this environment that the population in Macedonia rose up in rebellion against both Bulgarian and Roman rule. A governor in Macedonia, Nikola (father of Samuel) died around the same time as Petar (or shortly afterward). His sons continued to consolidate their hold over the regions previously held by their father, which was seen as a threat by the Romans, who released the sons of the deceased Bulgarian ruler Peter to confront both the rebels of Macedonia in the west and the Kievan Rus who had occupied Bulgaria in the east. Soon after, the Romans intervened against Kievan Rus, and, after being victorious they subsequently terminated the existence of the Bulgarian Empire. Either through negligence or hesitancy, Macedonia remained untouched and the position of authority held by Samuel and his brother(s) during the loose transition from Bulgarian to nominal Roman rule remained after the destruction of the former. Immediately after the death of Roman emperor John Tzimiskes, Samuel and his family rose in revolt. Boris and Roman, sons of the deceased Bulgarian emperor Petar, again departed from Constantinople, either through escape or at the instigation of Basil, the new Roman emperor, who may have hoped to cause a division between Samuel and his subjects. Upon entering Macedonia, Boris was killed by soldiers in the service of Samuel, while Roman escaped the same fate by immediately identifying himself. His former title no longer significant in Macedonia, Roman was still generously provided a measure of respect by Samuel, who made him governor of Skopje (Bulgarians argue that this was another person with the same name based on the works of Yahya of Antioch, but Ostrogorski and others dismiss this because Roman was castrated and could not produce an heir or make a claim on the title against the powerful Samuel). Skylitzes wrote:
                And the town of Skopje was surrendered to the Emperor by Roman, the son of Peter, Tsar of the Bulgarians, and brother of Boris, called also Simeon after his grandfather and placed there as governor by Samuel. The Emperor received him and after honouring him for his decision with the title of patrician and prepositor, sent him as a strategus to Abydos.
                When Skopje came under a suprise attack by Basil several years later, the town was surrendered to him by Roman, who was subsequently honoured with title and a position of authority in a distant province of the empire. The fact that Roman was left alive after leaving Constantinople and joining Samuel suggests that he and Basil were on favourable terms. He had either failed or betrayed Samuel. He was the last in a long line of rulers descending from the original Bulgar aristocracy in the Balkans. As for the family of Samuel, Skylitzes mentioned four brothers in total:
                Of the four brothers, David was immediately killed by some Wallachian vagabonds between Kostur, Prespa and the so-called “Fair Oak Wood.” While besieging Ser, Moses was hit by a stone cast from the wall and died. Aaron was killed by his brother Samuel on July 142 (986) in the place called Razmetanitsa, together with all his kin, because he was a supporter, so they say, of the Romans, or because he was trying to seize power for himself. Only his son Vladislav Ivan was saved by Samuel's son Radomir Roman.
                This account differs to that of Yahya of Antioch and Stepanos Asoghik, who wrote that Samuel had only one brother (David) and that they had an Armenian origin. It is possible that Samuel, like his adversary Basil, had a combined Macedonian-Armenian origin as a result of Armenian settlers being assimilated by the local population in Macedonia proper and the Macedonia Theme. According to the only surviving inscription by Samuel, he had just one brother called David. This argument is further strengthened with Yahya claiming that the son of Samuel was assassinated by the 'leader of the Bulgarians, son of Aaron', because Aaron belonged to the race that reigned over Bulgaria. Thus, Samuel and David were not from the same race as the Bulgarian royalty to which Aaron (and possibly Moses) belonged to. The story of kinship may have only surfaced after the son of Aaron murdered the son of Samuel and claimed lineage to legitimise his rule. If this were the case, then it wouldn't even matter if the so-called 'Bitola inscription' was from the son of Aaron instead of a later Bulgarian ruler that occupied Macedonia during the 13th century.
                In the name of the blood and the sun, the dagger and the gun, Christ protect this soldier, a lion and a Macedonian.


                • Soldier of Macedon
                  Senior Member
                  • Sep 2008
                  • 13675

                  Below is a picture of a certified museum terracota copy of a ceramic cup with the 16-ray Ancient Macedonian sun, dated the 3rd century BC and excavated in the Ohrid fortress of Samuel. It is currently in the hands of the 'Institute for Protection of Cultural Monuments and the National Museum of Ohrid'. Given the place where it was recovered, it is likely that such items from antiquity were used in a decorative if not practical manner in the capital of Samuel's state in Macedonia.

                  Here is another item from Samuel's fortress.

                  The below picture is of a flag depicting Alexander that was created in the 10th century and is currently found in the Wrzburg museum (Bavaria). Earlier in this thread there is an article which suggests that it may have been an Easter gift by Samuel and Aaron to Western Roman Emperor Otto III. Samuel visited the emperor in Quedlinburg during 973 seeking recognition for his state. It would be good to confirm how the museum came by this flag.

                  In the name of the blood and the sun, the dagger and the gun, Christ protect this soldier, a lion and a Macedonian.


                  • Krivan
                    Junior Member
                    • Jul 2010
                    • 46

                    An University of Texas LRC blog post on Samuil.

                    An issue that frequently arises in connection with the LRC's lesson series Old Church Slavonic Online is the national or cultural or other affiliation of the famous Tsar Samuel (or Samuil, or somewhat more faithfully Samoilŭ). In the context of the lesson series, Samuel is mentioned as author of a particular inscription that provides the oldest dated text in the Old Church Slavonic language. To be clear: that is the only reason for Samuel's mention in the lesson series, which concerns itself primarily with the language of a particular region and time.

                    Nevertheless, the series editors have on numerous occasions been reminded by readers that Samuil's status as a prominant early figure in Bulgarian and Macedonian history is a great source of either pride or animosity. We would like to state flatly that the Linguistics Research Center does not espouse any particular viewpoint re: Samuil's association with any modern or historically recent political entity.

                    There are several themes that recur in email that our readers send us, and in the spirit of furthering modern understanding of historical cultures it is worth addressing some of these themes in light of modern scholarship.

                    Samuil's ethnic origin: The perennial question is whether Samuil was Bulgarian or Macedonian. The simple fact is that it is difficult to answer this question, because what those terms mean now is not necessarily what they would have meant to Samuil. Moreover, one of the few primary sources in any way contemporary with Samuil, written by Asolik, states that Samuil was in fact Armenian. As Adontz (1938) points out, the name of Samuil's mother, Ripsime, is peculiar to a specific region in Armenia, and his father's name Nicolas is found in numerous regions at that time, among them Armenia. Thus an Armenian origin for Samuil is certainly a credible, though perhaps not the only, reading of the evidence presented to date.

                    Samuil's cultural self-identification: As many point out, what we in the modern era think about Samuil's cultural affiliation is moot if we know what he thought of himself. Unfortunately, that's not easy to determine. Though Samuil and later members of his family used, in reference to their cultural affiliation, terms we might now render as "Bulgarian," given the political climate and power struggles of his time it is quite difficult to ascertain to what degree this term truly specified a traditional culture, or to what degree it might rather have specified a political entity defining the empire. It is quite possible that "Bulgarian" meant to Samuil something similar to what "Roman" likely meant to Charlemagne, who neither lived in nor hailed from Rome.

                    General import: The above points hopefully provide an inkling of the grave difficulties that surround the interpretation of the small amount of information we have concerning Samuil. Certainly there is room for continued refinement in our understanding. But we would do well to keep in mind points raised by Aleksandar Panev:

                    "The differences in the various historical accounts of Samuel, who ruled a short-lived kingdom centered in Prespa and Ohrid from 976 to 1014, reflect recent nationalistic controversies and scholarly discourses that have emerged in the scholarly literature of modern Macedonia and Bulgaria. The dispute focuses on Samuel's ethnic affiliation and the alleged nationality of his subjects. On one hand, scholars from the Republic of Macedonia tend to emphasize the cultural, social, and even linguistic distinctiveness of Samuel's kingdom. On the other, Bulgarian scholars emphasize the fact that Samuel used the Bulgarian name for himself and his kingdom and the beginnings of his career in southwestern Macedonia are rarely mentioned. Both approaches clearly aim to support present-day nationalistic claims and agendas. The Macedonians need this approach in order to demonstrate that they have long been a separate nationality with their own language and history; the Bulgarian interpretation, on the other hand, supports the claim that Macedonians are essentially Bulgarians by ethnic origin, as well as by cultural and linguistic characteristics. Both approaches are anachronistic. It is indeed difficult to speak about the national consciousness of a short-lived medieval ruler and his subjects and to discuss his impact on national development at a time when the majority of the population was illiterate and boundaries were fluid. Moreover, the only primary source that discusses the ethnic affiliation of Samuel asserts that he was an Armenian by origin. Bulgarian and Macedonian ethnic groups only began to acquire national consciousness in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Only during the past century and a half have Southeastern European Slavs gradually begun to assert their nationality and unify around several urban centers. Thus, the national affiliation of Samuel can neither be determined nor could it be relevant to today's situation in the region." (Panev, 2005)



                    • makedonche
                      Senior Member
                      • Oct 2008
                      • 3242

                      In short, more people telling us who we are or who we were! When are we going to start telling them who we are and stop waiting for them to determine our status?
                      On Delchev's sarcophagus you can read the following inscription: "We swear the future generations to bury these sacred bones in the capital of Independent Macedonia. August 1923 Illinden"


                      • lavce pelagonski
                        Senior Member
                        • Nov 2009
                        • 1993

                        I am more inclined towards Tsar Samoil, what do people think about Basil II?

                        Самуиловото царство - YouTube
                        Стравот на Атина од овој Македонец одел до таму што го нарекле Страшниот Чакаларов гркоубиец и крвожеден комитаџија.

                        Ако знам дека тука тече една капка грчка крв, јас сега би ја отсекол целата рака и би ја фрлил в море. Васил Чакаларов


                        • Soldier of Macedon
                          Senior Member
                          • Sep 2008
                          • 13675

                          Originally posted by lavce pelagonski View Post
                          I am more inclined towards Tsar Samoil, what do people think about Basil II?
                          Why are you more inclined towards Samoil? Personally, I find good things about both of them, and perhaps some not so good things (depending on how one looks at it).
                          In the name of the blood and the sun, the dagger and the gun, Christ protect this soldier, a lion and a Macedonian.


                          • Amphipolis
                            • Aug 2014
                            • 1328

                            Here are the remains of Samuel in the Byzantine Museum of Thessaloniki, presented to the Bulgarian President about a month ago.


                            • Philosopher
                              Senior Member
                              • Sep 2008
                              • 1003

                              Bulgarian and Macedonian ethnic groups only began to acquire national consciousness in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Only during the past century and a half have Southeastern European Slavs gradually begun to assert their nationality and unify around several urban centers. Thus, the national affiliation of Samuel can neither be determined nor could it be relevant to today's situation in the region.
                              This is strange, considering we have documents from the 1500s and 1600s that speak of a Macedonian ethnicity and consciousnesses. But I guess historians have overlooked those documents.


                              • Amphipolis
                                • Aug 2014
                                • 1328

                                The picture of the skeleton when first found and a drawing (by Moutsopoulos) that recreates Samuel's face.