Make your own free website on
The 'Second Bulgarian Empire.' Its Origin and History to 1204
R. Wolff


When, after more than a century, the fourth uprising did take place in 1186, it was under the auspices of two local chieftains, Peter and Asen, whom all the sources, Byzantine and western, agree in calling Vlachs, and who lived in the Balkan mountains. [37] The most elaborate theories have been resorted to by Bul-


garian historians to prove that the word 'Vlach' had by 1185 come to mean a 'Bulgar from the northwest part of the country.' They explain this phenomenon as the result of a conspiracy of silence on the part of Byzantine writers, who, they argue, were trying to avoid the use of the word 'Bulgar' and to substitute 'Vlach.' In fact, however, it can be demonstrated that Byzantine writers use the word 'Bulgar' quite freely when they are talking about Bulgars, and use 'Vlach' only to refer to Vlachs. It has long been realized that any other interpretation involves the twisting of the sources until they bear no relationship to the ascertainable facts about the origin and development of the ‘second Bulgarian Empire.’ [38]


These are about as follows: in the year 1185, the Emperor Isaac Angelus, celebrating his marriage with the daughter of King Bela III of Hungary, [38a] found himself short of ready cash. He proceeded to levy a tax on flocks and herds, which


fell especially heavily upon the region of Anchialus. The Vlachs of the Balkan mountains sent Isaac, who was at Kypsella in Thrace, two messengers, the brothers Peter and Asen. These petitioned to be enlisted in Isaac's armies, and to be given by imperial decree some small property in the mountains. Isaac refused; the brothers, especially Asen, were loudly and rudely insistent, and threatened to revolt unless their wishes were granted. The sebastocrator John struck Asen in the face; and the brothers left in a fury. [39] When they reached their home in the mountains, the Vlachs at first refused to rebel against the Empire; but Peter and Asen built a church, into which they gathered many 'people of both sexes possessed by devils,' who were told to prophesy that 'God had decided upon the freedom of the Bulgarians and of the Vlach people and upon the removal from their necks of the yoke they had borne so long.' The inspired prophets added that St Demetrius, who was a name to conjure with, had left Thessalonica and its temples and had come over to them to preside over the rebellion. [40] This convinced the rank and file of the Vlachs, who then opened a bloody campaign, giving no quarter to prisoners. Peter crowned himself with a golden diadem, and donned the purple boots symbolic of the office of Emperor. The Vlachs swept down from the hills, taking cattle and men from the cities. Advancing to meet them, Isaac scored a signal success in a battle in a fog, which prevented the Vlachs from retreating to their mountains; he drove them — like the Gadarene swine — into the Danube. But they were not drowned. They crossed the river, and joined the Cumans (Scyths). The grave difficulties of the terrain helped decide Isaac not to follow up his advantage or to garrison the inaccessible Vlach mountain villages. He retired after burning their harvest, misled by their false promises of submission. On his return to the capital he was reproached by Leo Monasteriotes, one of the judges in the city, who said that the spirit of Basil the Bulgarslayer was grieved at Isaac's conduct. Monasteriotes recalled that, after destroying the Bulgarians, Basil had advised that, if the Vlachs should ever revolt, the Emperor of the day should follow his example, and garrison their country. Monasteriotes and Basil both proved to be right. Reenforced by their Cuman allies, the Vlachs re-crossed the Danube, and, finding no Byzantine army in Moesia, Nicetas says, they were not contented to rule over Moesia alone, but did as much harm as they could to the Rhomaeans, uniting the rule


of Moesians (Vlachs) and Bulgarians under one sovereign, as it had been before. [41] Isaac himself did not march against the rebels this time, but sent an army under the sebastocrator John, who was a good general, but under suspicion of plotting for the throne, and who was replaced by the Emperor's brother-in-law, the Caesar John Cantacuzene. Through carelessness in failing to post guards, Cantacuzene was badly defeated by the Vlachs in a night attack, Peter even capturing and putting on the gold-embroidered robes of the Caesar. Cantacuzene's successor, Alexius Branas, tried to usurp the Byzantine throne, leading a rebellion against Isaac, from which the Emperor was saved only by the intervention of Conrad of Montferrat. [42] When this was over (1187) Isaac took the field in person against the rebels in Bulgaria. Although he pursued the Vlachs from Adrianople to Philippopolis to Sofia (Triaditsa), he won no major victory, and the enemy escaped from the liberated territory with all his booty. The imperial armies were caught by winter, and Isaac himself went back to Constantinople for recreation at the games. When he renewed the campaign in the spring (1188), it was to spend three months in the fruitless siege of Lobitsos. Operations were suspended after Isaac had captured Asen's wife, and had been given a third brother of Asen and Peter, John — the later King Ioannitsa — as a hostage. But these Byzantine successes were illusory. Nicetas says things went from bad to worse. [43]

In the next year, the forces of Frederick Barbarossa, moving on Constantinople, presented a grave threat to the Empire. As they crossed the Balkans in July 1189, they received letters from Peter, who had joined with two Serb zhupans in an alliance against Isaac. The allies now offered Frederick aid in any operation he might undertake against Byzantium. The offer was renewed that winter, when Peter specifically promised Frederick 40,000 Vlach and Cuman archers for an attack on Constantinople, scheduled for the beginning of spring 1190; and this offer Frederick was tempted to accept. But he reached an agreement with Isaac during the winter, and decided not to attack Constantinople. Isaac's 'dapifer magnus' asked Barbarossa for aid against the Vlachs, and, on the same day, a representative of Peter the Vlach arrived, eager to get Frederick's aid against the Greeks. Frederick refused both requests. This is almost all we know of the relations between Barbarossa and the Vlach brothers: one source adds that, when Peter offered Frederick the 40,000 auxiliaries for use against


Isaac, he also asked Frederick to crown him Vith the diadem of the realm of Greece'; and explains that Barbarossa in a friendly way turned the request aside, since he was more anxious to get on with the Crusade across the Straits than to delay in 'Greece' to help claim an empire for somebody else. [44]

After the pressing danger from the crusaders — or a crusader-Vlach alliance — had passed, Isaac undertook in 1191 a new expedition against the Vlachs, who were ravaging Byzantine territory. By way of Anchialus he marched into the narrow passes of the Balkans. He found the fortresses supplied with newly-built walls and towers, and the enemy leaping up the inaccessible heights as lightly as deer and as sure-footed as goats. Isaac made the mistake of taking a short-cut near Berrhoea through a narrow valley, where there was a waterfall, instead of keeping to the main road, which was suitable for marching. He was set upon, and lost the greater part of his army, escaping himself, Nicetas says, only through divine aid. The action was so hot — the Vlachs hurling stones upon the Greeks


from above, and attacking on the ground at the same time — that Isaac lost his own helmet in his headlong dash for Berrhoea. As a result of this imperial defeat, the Vlachs recaptured Anchialus, took Varna, destroyed Sofia, and removed the inhabitants and cattle from Stoumpion and Nish.

Isaac was like a honeycomb with bees buzzing all around it, says Nicetas; he did not know what to do first. Dividing his army between the military leaders, he rebuilt Varna and Anchialus, from which the Vlachs had apparently withdrawn, and installed garrisons. In the fall of 1192 near Philippopolis he attacked the Vlachs and also the Serb Zhupan, who had destroyed Skoplye. Again, however, his luckless forces were caught, this time crossing the Morava, as they pushed on into south Serbia, and many soldiers were drowned or pierced by spears. But Isaac passed Nish, and moved across the Sava to a rendezvous with his brother-in-law, King Bela of Hungary. After a conference with him, planning joint action against the Vlachs, Isaac returned at once to Constantinople via Philippopolis. [45]

Isaac then appointed his cousin Constantine Angelus governor of Philippopolis, with the title of , and, for a while, this young but able general kept the Vlachs at a distance. They feared him more than they did the Emperor. But, like so many successful provincial governors, Constantine fancied himself as Emperor, and put on the purple boots. His attempted usurpation came to nothing (he never had an effective following), and Isaac had him blinded. Peter and Asen rejoiced at his misfortune, saying that Isaac could have done them no greater favor, and that they hoped Isaac's family, the Angeloi, would continue in power for many years, and never die, if possible. Vlach depredations began again on a scale greater than ever. [46]

In 1194 Isaac put Alexius Gidos, commander of the troops in the east, and Basil Vatatzes, commander of the troops in the west, in command of a force, which engaged the Vlachs near Arcadiopolis, and suffered a severe defeat, Vatatzes being killed in the field. So the Emperor decided to take command in person once again, and in the spring of 1195 began to assemble a large army, which included auxiliaries sent him by Bela as arranged at their conference in Serbia. But once more the Vlachs won a victory, which was Isaac's last defeat. A group of discontented nobles headed by his brother, Alexius Angelus, succeeded in winning over the army; Isaac was dethroned; he escaped, was captured, blinded, and remanded to that captivity from which the arrival of the Latins of the fourth Crusade some eight years later was so briefly to rescue him. [47]

Alexius III Angelus proceeded to disband the army, and send the troops home, paying no heed to the ravages of the Vlachs and Cumans. [48] He made an effort to negotiate a peace, sending ambassadors to Peter and Asen. But the conditions proposed by the Vlachs were intolerable for the Empire, and, while Alexius was in the east — attempting to deal with the insurrection of a Cilician rebel [49] — the


Vlachs destroyed another Byzantine army near Serres, captured the commander, Alexius Aspietes, seized numerous fortresses, and garrisoned them, taking away a great amount of booty. The Emperor countered this move by sending his son-in-law, the sebastocrator Isaac, at the head of another army. When Asen's spies warned him that the Emperor had sent troops, and urged him to take proper precautions before he went on another raid, because Alexius was a much better soldier than his brother Isaac, Asen responded somewhat sententiously that rumors () were not to be heeded, and that he would have to be convinced by the evidence of his own eyes rather than take hearsay. If one took Alexius' previous achievements as a guide, Asen said, one found that he had no military experience, and that, unlike Isaac, he had never won a victory. He had got the crown altogether by chance. There was no reason for the Vlachs to worry about him. Then, in a rhetorical flight, suspiciously like Nicetas' own style for a barbarian chieftain, Asen went on to show that, by all calculations, Alexius was no better general than Isaac, and that the Byzantine armies would not be found formidable by the Vlachs, who had so often defeated them. In the end, this proved to be the case. The sebastocrator Isaac fell into a trap, and his army was annihilated and he himself captured near Serres. The Cuman who captured him tried to keep it a secret, in the hope of getting a large ransom, but the rumor spread about, and Isaac was delivered to Asen. [50]

Not long thereafter, one of Asen's captives, a priest, who spoke the Vlach language, begged for his freedom, and was refused, Asen saying with a grim pun (a pun, it is true, only in Greek, and we are told that they were speaking Vlach) that he intended not to let him go (airoKvav) but to kill him (d-TroXXuet^). The priest, weeping, told Asen that God would show no future mercy to a man who had refused to heed the request of a poor suppliant. And indeed Asen was shortly thereafter killed by Ivanko, a Vlach, who was having an affair with Asen's wife's sister. Angered at the scandal, Asen had begun by threatening his wife, but soon turned his anger against Ivanko, whom he sent for late at night, refusing to postpone the interview. Taking council with his friends, Ivanko concealed a sword under his cloak for use only if Asen drew first. Asen reached for his sword immediately, and Ivanko struck. It was said that the captive sebastocrator Isaac had been at the root of the plot, and that he had promised Ivanko his own daughter in marriage. But even before the killing of Asen, Isaac had died in his chains. Ivanko's friends agreed that he would make a better ruler than the tyrannical Asen; and, seizing Tirnovo, Ivanko prepared to hold out against Asen's brothers Peter and Ioannitsa.

He requested Byzantine aid, offering to hand over Tirnovo, Vlach capital and the key to their Balkan defenses. Alexius sent Manuel Kamytzes at the head of an army, which had hardly left Philippopolis and entered into Vlach territory when it mutinied and demanded to go home, unwilling to tackle the Balkan terrain, which had proved fatal to so many previous armies. Kamytzes' forces broke and fled, fearing that the enemy was upon them. A second attempt by Alexius


to send an army to relieve Ivanko in Tirnovo came too late. Troubled because the Greeks had not arrived, and beset by Peter and Ioannitsa, Ivanko fled to Constantinople, where he was well received, entered imperial service, and married the widow, rather than the young daughter, of the sebastocrator Isaac. 'Why,' said Ivanko, who was a crude chap, and who lived with the Byzantines but never learned their ways, 'should I bother with the suckling lamb when I can have the ewe, who is ready to be covered?' Ivanko distinguished himself fighting against his fellow Vlachs, and Alexius III put great trust in him, hoping that he had finally found an answer to this threat to the Empire, which had been increasing steadily for more than twelve years, and to whose seriousness the devastation of all Macedonia and Thrace, Nicetas says, bore witness more eloquently than any commemorative inscriptions or historical writings. [51]

The assassination of Peter, surviving leader of the original Vlach revolt, seemed another piece of good fortune for the Byzantines. Rule over the Vlachs and their allies then passed (1197) to Ioannitsa, the third brother, who had once been a hostage in Byzantine hands, but who had escaped, and fled back to his home. Nicetas expresses the view that Ioannitsa was just as deadly as Peter or Asen. [52] How true this was both Byzantines and the successful warriors of the fourth crusade were shortly to learn.

It was at this juncture, in 1198 or 1199, that local Vlach chieftains other than the family of the Asen brothers began to set up independent principalities. Chrysos (Dobromir Chrysos), a Vlach, had at first not joined in the original insurrection of Peter and Asen, but had helped the Byzantines against them with a force of 500 men. Later he was captured, and drawn over to the side of his own people, disappointing Alexius by setting himself up as local ruler at Strumnitsa. The Emperor undertook one fruitless expedition against him, and some time later set out on a second, Chrysos having by this time taken possession of the virtually impregnable fortress of Prosakon (Prosek) on a cliff jutting out into the Vardar, and almost surrounded by water. [53] Here Alexius foolishly undertook siege operations, which, however, nearly succeeded. Had it not been for a shortage of battering rams, Prosakon might have fallen, and much later trouble saved. [54]


Then Ivanko, so useful for the brief period he had fought against the Vlachs, also deserted. Alexius sent his sons-in-law, Theodore Lascaris and George Palaeologus, to catch him, but they could not do so. Although wiser heads felt that this sort of pursuit of an eagle from crag to crag or of a serpent gliding through the rocks was inadvisable, Alexius tried once again, and a Byzantine army retook several castles; but Ivanko, who had now changed his own name to Alexius, captured Manuel Kamytzes, the protostrator, by a stratagem, and scored a series of important military successes, exhibiting great cruelty when in his cups by chopping off the limbs of his captives. [55] But the Emperor Alexius, having sworn to respect the person of Ivanko at a conference on terms of peace (Ivanko wanted an imperial grant of all the cities he had captured, and the person of his wife, whom he had left behind in Byzantium when he had deserted) broke his oath — an act which Nicetas condemns — and took Ivanko prisoner. [56] The next year (1201 or 1202) the Vlachs and Cumans raided Byzantine territory as usual, and this time the capital was saved only by some Russian mercenaries. [57]

Manuel Kamytzes, Ivanko's prisoner, was now ransomed by Chrysos, and joined him at Prosakon, whence, together, they raided and subdued a large area of Macedonia and Thessaly, [58] while John Spiridonakis, imperial governor of Smolena, a Cypriot by birth, also set himself up as independent. But Alexius defeated Spiridonakis, and made peace with Chrysos, sending him Ivanko's wife, Theodora, widow of the sebastocrator, Isaac. This broke up the alliance between Chrysos and Kamytzes, who was now driven out of Thessaly, and took refuge at Stanon. We hear no more of him. These were real successes for Alexius, and he crowned them by signing a truce with Ioannitsa, whose terms Nicetas does not give, [59] but which, it may be conjectured, included the granting of the imperial title, and the establishment of the Bulgarian patriarchate. The evidence for this will be presented below.

But it was now the eve of the Latin conquest; these last events are to be ascribed to 1202 or 1203; the 'young Alexius,' son of the dethroned Isaac Angelus and nephew of Alexius III, had gone to the west, to enlist sympathy and aid for his imprisoned father, and was soon to return with the forces of the fourth Crusade. This is all that Nicetas tells us about the Vlach-Bulgarian-Cuman revolt from 1185 to the Latin conquest; and, except for Ansbert's brief references to the negotiations between Frederick Barbarossa and the Vlach leaders, it is almost all we know. The emergence, toward the end of the period, of semi-independent local rulers, Chrysos, Ivanko, Kamytzes, and Spiridonakis, all of whom were in and out of Byzantine service, and Nicetas' shift of the major part of his attention to them, should not obscure the fact that the most important political formation on the territory of the old Bulgarian Empire was the loose conglomeration of Balkan peoples in revolt led by the Vlachs Peter and Asen, and later by their brother Ioannitsa.

Of their political institutions we know absolutely nothing, except for a single


mention (see below) of a 'constable,' who appears to have been a trusted servant of Ioannitsa, and who may have been an officer of the royal household. We do not know what was the relationship of the three peoples — Vlachs, Bulgarians and Cumans — to each other, how much power their nominal 'Emperor' had over them or over the local chieftains like Chrysos, how it was exercised or delegated, or how wide was its territorial extent. Nicetas does not even tell us whether Ioannitsa took the title of 'Emperor' after the death of Peter, although we know from another source, as will be seen, that he did. We can be sure, however, that the long succession of military victories over the Angeloi had gained the brothers great prestige. This is perhaps best indicated by the fact that in 1199 Pope Innocent III had begun to correspond with them. Much of the correspondence survives; it is second in importance only to Nicetas as a source for the development of the 'second Bulgarian' Empire. [60]

[Previous] [Next]
[Back to Main Page]

37. For the period of the outbreak of the revolt the only source is Nicetas Choniates. (It may be of some interest to note that all the passages of Nicetas dealing with the Asen brothers have been collected and translated into Rumanian with an introduction by G. Murnu, 'Din Nichita Acominatos Honiatul,' Analele Academiei Romane, Seria II, 28 [1905-1906] Memoriile Sectiunii Istorice, 357-467). A few years later we have as well the testimony of Ansbert and of the other western sources for the Crusade of Frederick Barbarossa. Then comes the papal correspondence with Ioannitsa, continuing on after the fourth Crusade, and the flood of materials for the Crusade itself, with Villehardouin and Robert of Clari as the most important. It is worth noting that a few years before the revolt, and about the same time as their appearance in Benjamin of Tudela (1160) — see Appendix A below — the Vlachs appear in an important passage of Cinnamos as an element of the Byzantine army being recruited for duty against the Cumans. The historian even refers to the Italian (Roman) origin of the Vlachs. (Cinnamos, p. 260:

The 'Black Sea regions' referred to are presumably in the Dobrudja, south of the Danube. See note 62. Rumanian historians themselves have differed as to the locale of the Vlach revolt. D. Onciul, Originele Pricipatelor Romane (Bucharest, 1899), pp. 28-29, 151-153, placing it north of the Danube, and Iorga, Geschichte des Rumanischen Volkes (Gotha, 1905), p. 96, in the Pindus mountains of Thessaly, while A. Xenopol, Istoria Romanilor din Dacia Traiana (Bucharest, 1926), III, 224, maintains that the Balkan range and the land between it and the Danube was never called Vlachia. This anxiety to locate the revolt away from the Balkan range and north of the Danube can be attributed to the Rumanians' determination to defend (against the Hungarians) their favorite theory of 'Daco-Roman continuity' north of the Danube. (The Hungarians maintain that all the Rumanians [Vlachs, Daco-Romans] were withdrawn from present-day Rumania and established in the Balkan mountains [Moesia] by Aurelian when he abandoned Dacia in the late third century.) To admit the presence of Vlachs in the Balkan mountains in 1186 would strengthen the Hungarian contention that the Vlachs disappeared north of the Danube, even though it would refute the Bulgarian argument that the Vlachs had nothing to do with the revolt of Peter and Asen. The most sensible Rumanian discussion of the problem — which correctly locates the origin of the brothers Peter and Asen in the Balkan mountains — where Nicetas (who knew) put it (p. 808: ), is that by C. C. Giurescu, 'Despre Vlahia Asenestilor,' Lucrarile Institutului de Geografie al Universitatii din Cluj, IV (1928-1929; Cluj, 1931), 109-124. See also C. Bratescu, 'Nume vechi ale Dobrogii: Vlahia lui Asan, Vlahia Alba,' Arhiva Dobrogei, II (1919), 18-31. Bratescu makes much of the evidence supplied by a well-known passage of William of Rubruck, the celebrated thirteenth-century Franciscan traveller, locating Vlachia between the Danube and the Balkan mountains. See also A. Sacerdoteanu, Guillaume de Rubrouck et les Roumains au milieu du XIIIe siecle (Paris, 1930).

For the likelihood that the name Asen (Asan), generally admitted to be of Turkish origin, is connected with a word in use among the Khazars, meaning 'king,' see Ibn Fadlans Reisebericht (ed. A. Zeki Validi Togan) in Abhandlungen fur die Kunde des Morgenlandes, XXIV, 3 (Leipzig, 1939), Excursus 99a, p. 270; who refers to Hudud al 'Alam (tr. V. Minorsky, E. J. W. Gibb Memorial Series, New Series, Oxford, 1937), pp. 161-162 and 451. See Études Slaves et Roumaines, I (1948), 64, for a review of Togan.

38. The bibliography of this controversy is as follows: The most recent book to examine the evidence is the brief work of N. Banescu, Un problème d'histoire mediévale. Création et caractère du second Empire Bulgare (Bucharest, 1943). This is essentially an answer to V. Zlatarski, ‘Potekloto na Petra i Asenya, Vodachite na vuzstanieto v 1185 god,' Spisanie na Bulgarskata Akademiya na Naukite, XLV (1933), 8-48; and Istoriya, II, pp. 410-483; but it reviews the previous literature as well. Cf. Jirecek, op. cit., pp. 217 ff. Zlatarski's theories go back to F. I. Uspenskii, Obrazovanie vtorago Bolgarskago Tsarstva (Odessa, 1879), extract from the Zapiski Imperatorskago Novorossiiskago Universiteta. It was Uspenskii (p. 57) who first broached the theory that the Byzantine sources (Nicetas and Cinnamos) for the twelfth century — the reigns of John II and Manuel Comnenus — for political reasons suppressed the word Bulgar and replaced it with the word 'Vlach.' This is easily proved false; Banescu (Un Probleme, pp. 13 ff.) gives numerous examples of the appearance of the word 'Bulgar' in the sources, arguing also that the official title  which appears on the seals of Byzantine officials in the province is sufficient evidence that the name was still in use. To Uspenskii's other chief argument against a Vlach origin for the brothers Peter and Asen — that they called their state the 'Bulgarian Empire’ — Banescu replies that the tradition of the first Bulgarian Empire was so strong that it was essential for any later state on the same territory and making the same pretentions to bear the same name. Zlatarski tries unsuccessfully to show that Boril, successor of Peter, Asen, and Ioannitsa, was the descendant of another Boril, who was an influential (Bulgarian) courtier at the court of Nicephorus Botaneiates (1078-1081), and was an early enemy of his influential young general, Alexius Comnenus. Some of Banescu's points refuting Zlatarski and Uspenskii had first been made by V. G. Vasilievskii, in his review of Uspenskii's book, Zhurnal Ministerstva Narodnago Prosveshcheniya, CCIV (1879), 144-217 and 318-348, who also showed that the name of Bulgaria and Bulgarians was not dropped by Byzantine authors. Arguing from the evidence of later folk-tradition, Vasilievskii concluded that the brothers had grown up in an area where a kind of fusion between Vlachs and Bulgars had taken place. Vasilievskii's strictures went unnoticed by most later scholars, J. L. Pic, for example, in his Über die Abstammung der Rumänen (Leipzig, 1880), pp. 87 ff., following Uspenskii. Meanwhile, C. R. von Höfler ('Abhandlungen aus dem Gebiete der slavischen Geschichte, I, Die Walachen als Begründer des zweiten bulgarischen Reiches der Aseniden, 1186,' Sitzungsberichte der K. Wiener Akademie der Wissenschaften, XCV [1879], 229-245), considering the sources independently of Uspenskii, and without any Slav parti pris, concluded that the new kingdom was founded by Vlachs, and that the Cumans played a large part in the struggle for its creation, with the Bulgarians simply a third element in the movement. Other significant treatments of the subject are those of A. D. Xenopol, 'L'Empire Valacho-Bulgare,' Revue Historique, XLVII (1891), 277-308 stressing the role of the Vlachs; P. Mutafciev, ‘Proizchodut na Asenevtsi,' Makedonski Pregled, IV (1928), 1-42, 149-152 which supports a 'Cumano-Russian’ origin for the name of the Asens. Banescu's demonstration that Mutafciev and Zlatarski have misread the sources and created hypotheses out of nothing, is altogether convincing. Zlatarski reverts to the subject Istoriya, III, 16 ff., but presents no new evidence or arguments. Recent works which add nothing are P. Nikov, Vtoro Bulgarsko tsarstvo (Sofia, 1936), which, Duicev, in the bibliographical article cited above (note 2) refers to as a 'Büchlein'; another book with the same title (Sofia, 1937), containing essays by Nikov, Duicev, and others, which Duicev calls 'ein Sammelwerk mit popularen Aufsätzen'; and some popular articles in the periodical Bulgarska Istoricheska Biblioteka.

In Sofia, during the summer of 1948, after this study had been completed, I was able to secure a copy of the most recent Bulgarian work on the subject: Vsevolod Nikolaev, Potekloto na Asenevtsi i etnicheskiyat charakter na osnovanata ot tech durzhava (Sofia, 1944), pp. 140 with French and Russian resumes. Nikolaev quite rightly maintains that, irrespective of the racial origin of the founders, the 'second Bulgarian Empire' was primarily a Bulgarian state, and argues that the Rumanian claims that it was a manifestation of the Rumanian national genius are chauvinist and meaningless. Having demonstrated the irrelevancy of the founders' racial origin, however, Nikolaev devotes much ingenuity to an effort to prove that they were not Vlach, or, perhaps, Vlach on their maternal side only. His work is a tissue of misunderstandings and false assumptions: he even concludes that Peter and Asen were descendants of the rulers of the first Bulgarian Empire. Professor Dimiter Angelov of the University of Sofia, in conversation with me, himself gave the same estimate of Nikolaev's book, and expressed his personal belief that Peter and Asen were Vlachs who successfully led a revolt and founded a state predominantly Bulgarian in traditions, population, and language. See now Angelov's review of Nikolaev's book, Istoricheski Pregled, III (1946-1947), 374-383.

38a. The bride, Margaret or Maria, then only ten years old, was to have a remarkable career. After the death of Isaac and the second Latin conquest of Constantinople in 1204 she married Boniface of Montferrat, and became Queen of Thessalonica.

39. Nicetas, pp. 481-482. Here occurs the first clear account of the word 'Vlach,' and the identification of Peter and Asen as Vlachs (p. 482):

 In spite of this and of all the other evidence, F. Cognasso, 'Un imperatore Bizantino della decadenza, Isacco II Angelo,' Bessarione, XXXI (1915), 44, calls them 'Due bojari bulgari.' In addition to the works already cited, an account of the Bulgarian wars is included in M. Bachmann, Die Rede Johannes Syropoulos an den Kaiser Isaak II Angelas (1185-1195) (Munich, 1935), pp. 72-98, drawn especially from the hitherto little-used 'rhetorical' sources.

40. The propaganda about St Demetrius was likely to be enhanced by the great impression produced by the Byzantine loss of Thessalonica, his city, to the Normans, a few months before. It was clear that he must have abandoned Thessalonica, which he had so often protected; why should he not have come to the aid of the Vlachs and Bulgars? Apparently Isaac Angelus later captured an icon of St Demetrius in the house of Peter; Theodore Balsamon wrote a poem on the subject:  ed. K. Horna, 'Die Epigramma des Theodor Balsamon,' Wiener Studien, XXV (1903), 192.

41. Nicetas, pp. 485-489.

The specific equation of  (see note 39) above plus the specific reference in this passage to  as separate peoples is in itself enough to dispose of the 'Bulgarian' theory that 'Vlach' meant 'Bulgar' or that there was a conspiracy of silence among Byzantines to drop the word 'Bulgar' from usage.

42. Nicetas, pp. 489 ff. For Branas' revolt, see Cognasso, loc. cit., pp. 47 ff.

43. Nicetas, pp. 515-516, and 517-521. For the military tactics of the speedy Cumans, who attacked the heavy armed and slow-moving Byzantine forces, see the letters of Nicetas reporting on the campaign to the Patriarch. Nicetas, who took part in the operations in person, was logothete  and reports the entire campaign as a great victory. See , (ed. K. Sathas, Venice, 1872), I, 77 ff. Eustathius of Thessalonica also congratulated Isaac on the victory in an oration delivered at Philippopolis, Opuscula (ed. Tafel), pp. 41-45. See head of this article.

44. The passages from which this account is drawn are all in 'Ansbert' and the Historia Peregrinorum, (ed. Chroust), MGH, SS, new series, V (1928). For the first account of the Asen brothers (p. 33):
‘ ... in Bulgarie maxima parte ac versus Danubium, quousque mare influat, quidam Kalopetrus Flachus ac frater eius Assanius cum subditis Flachis tyrannizabat. In ea fluctuatione regni Grecie prefati comites de Saruigia (Serbia) et Grazzia (Rascia) eo tempore quo exercitus crucis Bulgariam transmeabat, occasione accepta, partem Bulgarie sue ditioni subiugaverant, federe inito cum Kalopetro adversus imperatorem Constantinopolitanum. Qui scilicet Kalopetrus dominum imperatorem (Frederick) scriptis et nuntiis officiose salutare debita reverentia et fidelis auxilii contra hostes spon-sione maiestati eius inclinabat.'

This shows again that Peter and Asen were Vlachs, although Bulgarian scholars argue that the Latin sources followed the Greek in calling them Vlachs instead of Bulgars. This cannot be supported: the Latins were dealing with the Vlachs directly, not through Greek intermediaries, and the Latins were hostile to the Greeks, and would not have adopted such a Greek usage, even if it had existed, which it did not. The Latins were well informed as to who was who in the Balkans. For the offer of 40,000 men (p. 58):
'Kalopetrus, Blacorum et maxime partis Bulgarorum (note the distinction between the peoples) in hortis Tracie dominus, qui se imperatorem . . . (lacuna probably to be filled by 'nominabat et legates misit ad imperatorem [Frederick] qui eum salutabant' see below, passage from Historia Peregrinorum) et coronam imperialem regni Grecie ab eo sibi imponere efflagitabat seque ei circa initium veris quadraginta milia Blacorum et Cumanorum tenentium arcus et sagittas adversus Constantinopolim transmissurum constanter asseverebat. Quem nuntium domnus imperator benigne a se pro tempore remisit et Kalopetro placentia rescripsit.'

See pp. 64-65 for terms of Frederick's peace with Isaac, which made the Vlach alliance unnecessary to him. For the end of his negotations with the Vlachs, p. 69:
' ... dapifer magnus Constantopolitani imperatoris (Isaac) qui exercitum pergrandem adunaverat, ut Blachorum hostium publicorum agmina perturbaret, transmissa legatione supplicavit domno imperatori (Frederick) et, quoniam pax inter ipsum (Frederick) et dominum sum Constantinopolitanum imperatorem fratrem imperii eius (Isaac) unita esset, gloriosum exercitum peregrinorum Christi sibi transmitteret in adiutorium ad dimicandum contra Blachos. Ipsa nichilominus die Kalopetrus Blachorum dominus itemque a suis dictus imperator Grecie, litteris directis auxilium Christi peregrinorum adversus exercitum Grecorum expoposcit; sed utrique nuntii a domino imperatore (Frederick) inefficaciter ad sua sunt reversi.'

Finally, see the Historia Peregrinorum (ibid., p. 149):
'Interea Kalopetrus qui cum Assanio fratre suo dominabatur populis Blacorum, misit legationem Adrianopolim, diadema regni Grecie de manu imperatoris capiti suo rogans imponi et adversus imperatorem Constantinopolitanum promittens se venturum illi in auxilium cum quadraginta millibus Cumanorum. Imperator vero illius petitioni amicabile et placens pro tempore dedit responsum, quamvis alia cura et maiori sollicitudine propositum iter proficere moneretur. Amplius namque desiderabat partibus transmarinis succurrere et videre bona Hierusalem quam in Grecia demorando alienum sibi imperium vendicare.'

45. Nicetas, pp. 561-569. Recueil des Historiens des Croisades — Historiens Grecs, II, 738-741, where, as an appendix, is published an oration previously unprinted.

46. Nicetas, pp. 570-573.

47. Nicetas, pp. 587-596.

48. Ibid., p. 600.

49. Ibid., pp. 608-610.

50. Ibid., pp. 612-617.

51. Ibid., pp. 617-624. Ivanko's personality, and his comment on the ladies of the sebastocrator's family; p. 623:

52. Nicetas, pp. 621-622.

53. Ibid., pp. 643-644. For the first name Dobromir see Nicetas' address to Alexius III Angelus, in  (ed. K. Sathas, Venice, 1872), II, 90. For Prosakon and its rulers including Chrysos see N. Radoychich, ‘O nekim gospodarima grada Proseka na Vardaru,’ Letopis Matitse Srpske CCLIX (1909), 1-19, and CCLX (1909), 32-40 (Serbian); P. Mutafciev, 'Vladetelite' na Prosek’, Sbornik na Bulgarskata Akademiya Na Naukite, I (1913), 1-85; V. N. Zlatarski, 'Ansbertoviyat "zhupan ili satrap na Bulgariya" ne e bil Dobromir Chriz,' Godishnik na Sqfiiskiya Universitet, Ist.-Fil. Fak. XXIX (1933), 1-20. Zlatarski, Istoriya, III, 108 ff.

54. Nicetas, pp. 665-672.

55. Ibid., pp. 675-680.

56. Ibid., pp. 685-687.

57. Ibid., pp. 691-692.

58. Ibid., pp. 707-708. Also Radoychich, loc. cit.

59. Nicetas, pp. 708-709.

60. The letters in this correspondence have recently been re-edited by I. Duicev, 'Prepiskata na Papa Innokentiya s bulgarite" ('Innocentii III epistolae ad Bulgariae historiam spectantes'), Godishnik na Sqfiiskiya Universitet, Ist.-Fil. Fak. XXXVIII (1942), no. 3, pp. 116, with 11 plates. This has not been accessible to me. It is referred to in Duicev's bibliographical article cited above (note 2), and is reviewed with care by M. Lascaris, Revue Historique du Sud-Est Européen, XIX (1942), 621-62.. In an earlier article printed Izvestiya na Bulgarskoto istorichesko druzhestvo, XIII (1933), 113-141 - also inaccessible to me — Duicev pointed out minor inexactitudes in the text of the letters as they are published in A. Theiner, Vetera Monumenta Slavorum Meridionalium (Rome, 1863), hereafter Theiner, Mon. Slav, which, however, I have had to use. But Duicev never mentions — so Lascaris says — the edition of the letters in E. de Hurmuzaki and N. Densusianu, Documente privitore .. Istoria Romdnilor, I (Bucharest, 1887), hereafter H.-D. Documente, which is in effect a new edition and which I have also used. Neither Theiner nor Hurmuzaki-Densusianu presents the letters in chronological order, which is often to be inferred only from internal evidence. I have attempted to follow the course of the correspondence as it actually took place. Quotations from Duicev in Lascaris' review indicate that Duicev affirms the most extreme version of the Bulgarian theory: 'L'étude des source contemporaines . . . confirme completement l'opinion que la renouvellement du second empire bulgare a été effectuée uniquement par les Bulgares.' There was, he says, among twelfth and thirteenth century authors ‘un mode qui consistait dans l'emploi du nom de Vlaque pour designer les Bulgare du mont Balkan et de la Bulgarie du nord,' the name 'Bulgar' being reserved for the inhabitants of southern Bulgaria. This is, of course, the Zlatarski theory, which I cannot accept. The Greek and Latin sources were written independently of each other by well-informed eyewitnesses. A Vlach was a Vlach to them, and a Bulgar a Bulgar. Peter, Asen, Ioannitsa, Chrysos, and Ivanko were Vlachs and spoke a Vlach language. The testimony of every source so far considered bears this out; the papal letters are no exception, as we shall see. Zlatarski (Istoriya, III, 108), calls them Bulgars. For the papal correspondence see pages 173 ff.