Medieval Bulgarian Army
Infobox War Faction
name= Medieval Bulgarian Army
war= the wars of the
caption= Khan Krum feasts with a
skull cupmade of Emperor Nicephorus Is head following the victory in the battle of Pliska.
active= 632 - 1422 AD
leaders= Bulgarian Emperor (Commander-in-chief)
Balkans, Pannonia, Ukrainian Steppes
strength= c. 60,000 (9th-10th century)
Slavs, Pechenegs, East Franks, Cumans
opponents= Byzantines, Avars, Hungarians, the
Caliphate, Franks, Serbs, Rus', Crusader states, Pechenegs, Khazars, Mongols, Ottomans and others
The Medieval Bulgarian Army was the primary military body of the First and the
Second Bulgarian Empire. During the first decades after the foundation of the country the army consisted of Bulgarcavalry and Slavicinfantry. The core of the Bulgarian army was the heavy cavalry, which consisted of 12,000 - 30,000 [Димитров, Б. "Българите - първите европейци", с. 41, УИ "Св. Климент Охридски", София, ISBN 954-07-1757-4] heavily armed riders. At its height in the 9th and 10th centuries, it was one of the most formidable military forces in Europeand was feared by its enemies. There are several documented cases of Byzantine commanders abandoning an invasion because of a reluctance to confront the Bulgarian army on its home territory. [Andreev, J. "The Bulgarian Khans and Tsars" ("Balgarskite hanove i tsare", "Българските ханове и царе"), Veliko Tarnovo, 1996, p. 111 ISBN 954-427-216-X] [Leo Diakonos, ibid., pp. 62-63 - Leo Diakonos wrote: "...to bring his armies to those dangerous places and to sent them to the Bulgarians who would slaughter them as cattle, because it is said that the Romans often got into the bad places of Bulgaria and were met by their doom. That is why he decided to retreat with his army and marched back to Byzantium."] [Andreev, J. "The Bulgarian Khans and Tsars" ("Balgarskite hanove i tsare", "Българските ханове и царе"), Veliko Tarnovo, 1996, p. 158 ISBN 954-427-216-X]
The army was intrinsically linked to the very existence of the Bulgarian state. Its successes under Tsar Simeon I marked the creation of a wide-ranging empire, and its defeat in a prolonged war of attrition in the early 11th century meant the end of the Bulgarian independence. When the Bulgarian state was revived in 1185, a series of capable emperors achieved a remarkable string of victories over the Byzantines and even the Western Crusaders, but as the state and its army fragmented in the 13th and 14th centuries, it proved unable to halt the Ottoman advance, which resulted in the conquest of all of Bulgaria by 1422. It would not be until 1878, with the
Liberation of Bulgaria, that a Bulgarian military would be restored.
Bulgarswere a warlike people and war was part of their everyday life, with every adult Bulgar obliged to fight. The early Bulgars were exclusively horsemen: in their culture, the horse was considered a sacred animal and received special care.
The overall commander was the Khan, who mustered the army with the help of the aristocracy. The military ranks from lowest to highest were "bagain", "bagatur", "boil", "tarkhan". The permanent army consisted of the Khan's guard of picked warriors, while the campaign army consisted practically of the entire nation, assembled by clans. In the field, the army was divided into right and left wings.
The Bulgars were well versed in the use of . They often held a strong cavalry unit in reserve, which would attack the enemy at an opportune moment. They also sometimes concentrated their free horses behind their battle formation to avoid surprises from the rear. Like all steppe peoples, they used ambushes and feigned retreats, during which they rode with their backs to the horse firing clouds of arrows on the enemy. If the enemy pursued and became disorganized, they would turn back and fiercely attack them. According to contemporary historians the Bulgars "could see in the dark as bats"Cited in Халенбаков, О. "Детска енциклопедия България: Държавата - 681 г.", с. 13] and often fought at night.
The Bulgarian army was well armed, according to the Avar model: the soldiers had a
sabreor a sword, a long spearand a bowwith an arrow-quiver on the back. On the saddle they hung up a round shield, a maceand a lasso, which the Bulgarians called "arkani". On their decorated belts the soldiers carried the most necessary objects such as flints and steel, knife, cup and needlecase. The heavy cavalry was supplied with metal armour and helmets. The horses were also armoured. Armour was of two types - chain-mail and plate armour. The commanders had belts with golden or silver buckles which signalled their rank and title.Cited in Халенбаков, О. "Детска енциклопедия България: Държавата - 681 г.", с. 13]
The army had iron discipline, with the officers vigorously checking if everything was ready before battle. For a horse that was undernourished or not properly taken care of, the punishment was death. The soldiers were under pain of death when having a loose bow-string or an unclean sword; or even if riding a war horse in peacetime. [Cited in Халенбаков, О. "Детска енциклопедия България: Държавата - 681 г.", с. 12]
The infantry of the newly formed state was comprised mainly of Slavs, who were generally lightly armed soldiers, although their chieftains usually had small cavalry retinues. The Slavic footmen were equipped with swords, spears, bows and wooden or leather shields. However, they were less disciplined and less effective than the Bulgar cavalry.
In 680, the Byzantines under
Constantine IVwere crushed in the battle of Ongaland were forced to conclude a humiliating peace treaty by which they " de jure" acknowledged the formation of a Bulgarian state on their territory. [Петров П. Хр., "Към въпроса за образуването на първата българска държава", Славянска филология, V, София, 1963, стр. 89—112] However, in 718, the Bulgarian intervention was crucial in the repulsion of the Second Arab Siege of Constantinople. According to contemporaries, the Arabsfeared the Bulgarian army and built trenches to protect themselves from a cavalry charge. In the decisive battle, in the summer that year the Bulgarians slaughtered between 20,000 and 32,000 Arabs. [Andreev, J. "The Bulgarian Khans and Tsars" ("Balgarskite hanove i tsare", "Българските ханове и царе"), Veliko Tarnovo, 1996, p. 26 ISBN 954-427-216-X] Apart from the south, the Bulgarians had to fight the Avars to the north-west [Zlatarski, V. " [http://www.promacedonia.org/vz1a/vz1a_b1_2.html History of the Bulgarian state in the Middle Ages] ", p. 214 Sofia, 1971, ] and the Khazarsto the north-east. After bloody fights between the Dnesterand the Dneperrivers, the Khazar threat was eliminated but the founder of the Bulgarian state Khan Asparukhperished in one of the battles in 700. [Andreev, J. "The Bulgarian Khans and Tsars" ("Balgarskite hanove i tsare", "Българските ханове и царе"), Veliko Tarnovo, 1996, p. 19 ISBN 954-427-216-X]
On the turn of the 9th century, the Bulgarian Empire was on the rise. Following the victory over the Byzantines at Marcelae in 792, the country overcame a 50-year crisis and entered the new century stronger and consolidated. During the first years of his reign, Khan Krum destroyed the Avar Khaganate and doubled Bulgaria's territory, taking over the fertile
Pannonian Plainand the salt and gold mines of Transylvania. Krum achieved major victories over the Byzantine Empire, annihilating the Byzantine armies in the battle of Pliska(811) and at Versinikia (813), while capturing the important city of Sofia in 809.
The Byzantine historian Pseudo-Simeon stated that Krum sent a 30,000 strong cavalry, "the whole armoured with iron", [Symeon Magister, ibid., p. 616] which devastated
Thrace. According to inscriptions found in the region of Pliska, Preslav, Madaraand Shablain north-eastern Bulgaria, armaments for 1,713 heavy riders were available. [Венедиков, София, с. 53-54] Assuming that the surviving inscriptions are around 1/10 of the total number, that makes 17,130 men only in the so called "inner region" of Bulgaria. After comparison with the data of Pseudo-Simeon, it can be assumed that the heavy cavalry component of the Bulgarian army numbered between 17-20,000 and 30,000 men, depending on the level of mobilization.Иванов, И. " [http://liternet.bg/publish8/ivelin_ivanov/vyprosa.htm КЪМ ВЪПРОСА ЗА БЪЛГАРСКАТА ВОЕННА МОЩ ПРЕЗ ПОСЛЕДНАТА ЧЕТВЪРТ НА X И НАЧАЛОТО НА XI ВЕК. ЗАЩО БЪЛГАРИЯ ЗАГУБИ ДВУБОЯ С ВИЗАНТИЯ?] "] During the end of the 9th and the beginning of the 10th centuries, Emperor Simeon the Great was able to lead in battle more than 60,000 soldiers. [http://bg-science.info/view_bg_his.php?id=11 Battle of Anchialus] ] Traditionally, the army's commander-in-chief was the ruler. The second in the chain of command was the "kavkhan" who led the army during the Emperor's absence. The third most important title in the hierarchy was the " ichirgu-boil" who commanded the garrison of the capital. In the field, the army was divided into three parts: center, right flank and left flank. The center was commanded by the ruler, the left flank by the "kavkhan" and the right flank by the "ichirgu-boil". [Бешелиев, В. "Прабългарски епиграфски паметници", с. 37] Other higher military ranks included the " tarkhan" which was equal to the Byzantine " strategos" according to Stephen Runciman, [ [http://www.promacedonia.org/en/sr/sr_app5.htm Steven Runciman, A history of the First Bulgarian Empire, London 1930, p. 286] ] and the higher officers were called "bagain". All higher military ranks were part of the Bulgarian nobility called bolyars or boils.
Decline under Peter I
During the long years of warfare under
TsarSimeon I the Great (893-927), the country was exhausted. The constant wars were unpopular enough so that 20,000 people sought refuge in Byzantium because of Simeon's "warlike rush and relentless intentions". [Andreev, J. "The Bulgarian Khans and Tsars" ("Balgarskite hanove i tsare", "Българските ханове и царе"), Veliko Tarnovo, 1996, p. 104 ISBN 954-427-216-X] His successor Peter I concluded a favourable peace treaty with the Byzantines, but the situation inside the country saw no improvement. There were many reasons for the decline - some historians dismiss Peter I as a weak ruler, incapable of handling his own family (two of his brothers rose up against him). Furthermore, in the mid-10th century the new Bogomil heresyspread itself widely over the country. [Nicolaus Papa. Response, p. 1015] The Bogomils preached that people must not follow secular authorities, pay taxes or enroll in the army. As a result the Bulgarians were unable to stop the Magyars, who looted and plundered the countryside, further contributing to the grim situation of the state. When the Byzantines paid the Rus' " knyaz" Svyatoslav I to invade Bulgaria in 968, Peter I could send only 30,000 men against the 60,000 strong invading force. [Cedrenus: II, p. 383] During the Rus' invasion between 968 and 971 the Bulgarians " de facto" lost control of the north-eastern parts of their country, including the capital Preslav, and in 970, Svyatoslav massacred 300 Bulgarian nobles, the elite of the Bulgarian nation and army, in Silistra.Иванов, И. " [http://liternet.bg/publish8/ivelin_ivanov/vyprosa.htm КЪМ ВЪПРОСА ЗА БЪЛГАРСКАТА ВОЕННА МОЩ ПРЕЗ ПОСЛЕДНАТА ЧЕТВЪРТ НА X И НАЧАЛОТО НА XI ВЕК. ЗАЩО БЪЛГАРИЯ ЗАГУБИ ДВУБОЯ С ВИЗАНТИЯ?] "] [Драгиев, Ч. "Детска енциклопедия България: Години на изпитание", с. 14]
The fall of the north-eastern parts of the Bulgarian Empire under Byzantine rule and the decimation of its military elite had a severe impact on the Bulgarian army, [Божилов, 1979; c. 122] especially since most of the heavy cavalry which was instrumental in the earlier successes over the Byzantines was recruited exactly in that region. Contemporary sources continue to mention the existence of a Bulgarian cavalry, but it was much reduced in size and was mostly
light cavalry. [Zlatarski, V. " [http://www.promacedonia.org/vz1a/vz1a_b1_2.html History of the Bulgarian state in the Middle Ages] ", p. 600 Sofia, 1971, ]
Consequently, the infantry's importance grew and the tactics changed to reflect the new conditions: the
ambush, although employed in the past, now became the cornerstone of Bulgarian tactics - most Bulgarian victories in that period were a result of ambush and careful exploitation of the terrain. [Skylitzes-Cedrenus, pp. 278, 285, 288] During this period, the Bulgarians acquired a reputation for their skillful archers.
Despite those difficulties, Emperor Samuil resisted the Byzantine army, which reached its zenith under
Basil II, for nearly half a century. In 976 the Bulgarians led by the Cometopulibrothers reconquered the north-eastern parts of the realm. The first Byzantine attempts for counter-attack were repulsed after the annihilation of a 60,000 [ [http://www.standartnews.com/archive/2004/08/23/history/index.htm При Самуил стигаме до Коринт и Далмация] ] force in the battle of the Gates of Trajanin 986 in which Basil II himself barely escaped. In the following decade the Bulgarians took Thessaly, destroyed the Principality of Duklja, advanced deep to the south as far as Corinthon the Peloponnesepeninsula and campaigned in Dalmatiaand Bosnia. However, a major defeat at the battle of Spercheiosin 996 signalled that the tide of the war had begun to change in the Byzantines' favour. From 1001 onwards, Basil II launched yearly campaigns into Bulgarian territory, methodically taking important cities such as Preslav, Pliskaand Vidin, and inflicting several defeats on Samuil. In addition, in 1003 Samuil was involved in a war with the Kingdom of Hungary. After years of campaigning, in 1014, in the decisive battle of Kleidionthe Bulgarian army was crushed and 14,000 captured Bulgarian soldiers were blinded ["Ioannes Scylitzes", Historia, р. 458] and sent to Samuil, who died at the sight of his army on 6 October.
In the battle of Kleidion the Bulgarian army numbered around 20,000 soldiers. According some estimates the total number of the army including the squads of local militia reached a maximum level of 45,000. The Byzantine historian Georgius Monachus Continuatus wrote that the Bulgarian army had 360,000 men, a greatly exaggerated number, the actual being 10 times smaller. [Nikolov, Centralism and Regionalism in Early Medieval Bulgaria , p. 131]
In 1185 the Bulgarian Empire was restored as a result of the successful Rebellion of Asen and Peter, who founded the new
Asen dynasty. The long period of Byzantine rule had left its mark on the Bulgarian army - the titles during the Second Empire were mostly borrowed from Byzantium. In the absence of the Emperor the commander-in-chief was called "velik (great) voivoda"; the commander of smaller squads was a " voivoda" and a "strator" was the person responsible for the defense of certain regions and the recruitment of soldiers.
In the late 12th century the army numbered 40,000 men-at-arms. [Emperor Peter IV offered a 40,000-strong army to
Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperoragainst the Byzantines in return of recognition of his Imperial title - Andreev, J. "The Bulgarian Khans and Tsars" ("Balgarskite hanove i tsare", "Българските ханове и царе", Veliko Tarnovo, 1996, p. 145 ISBN 954-427-216-X] The country was able to mobilize around 100,000 men in the first decade of the 13th century (Kaloyan reportedly offered the leader of the Fourth CrusadeBaldwin I 100,000 soldiers to help him take Constantinople). [Andreev, J. "The Bulgarian Khans and Tsars" ("Balgarskite hanove i tsare", "Българските ханове и царе", Veliko Tarnovo, 1996, p. 166 ISBN 954-427-216-X] In that period the Bulgarian army used large numbers of Cumancavalry which numbered between 10,000 and 30,000 riders, depending on the campaign. These were drawn from among the Cumans who inhabited Wallachiaand Moldavia, and were at least nominally under the suzerainty of the Bulgarian Emperors. The army was well supplied with siege equipment, including battering rams, siege towers and catapults.
In the first fifty years after the reestablishment of the Empire, the Bulgarians, led by skillful commanders such as Peter IV, Ivan Asen I, Kaloyan and Ivan Asen II, achieved massive military successes. After a number of successful battles between 1185 and 1204, the Byzantine Empire was effectively driven from the lands it held in the northern
Balkans, and the Imperial crown and cross. [See Andreev, pp. 154-155 - In the battle of Tryavnain 1190 the Bulgarians captured the Imperial treasure of the Byzantine Emperors including the crown, the golden cups of the nobility and the Imperial cross made up of solid gold with a piece of the Holy Crossbuilt in inside. A Byzantine priest threw it into the river so that it would be never found it but it was soon recovered by the Bulgarians. Throughout the 13th century that treasure was showed off during processions and celebrations in Tarnovoas described by the Byzantine historian George Acropolites.] The army of the Crusaders, who established the new Latin Empire, were in turn annihilated in the battle of Adrianople (1205), when their Emperor was captured, and again at Rusion in 1206. The Hungarians were defeated after several fights along the valley of the Moravariver in 1202. After several setbacks under Boril I (1207-1218), Ivan Asen II decisively defeated the Despotate of Epirusin the battle of Klokotnitsa, in which the much smaller Bulgarian army outmaneuvered its enemy. In 1241, the Tsar defeated a Mongolarmy, fighting under Batu Khanand Subutai.
Terter and Shishman dynasties
The country and the army declined after Ivan Asen II's death. His successors could not cope neither with the external nor with the internal problems. Mongol, Byzantine and Hungarian invasions were combined with
separatismamong the nobility and several civil wars. In 1277, a peasant named Ivailo rebelled against Emperor Constantine Tikh. In the ensuing battle the Emperor was defeated and slain, and Ivailo proclaimed himself Emperor of Bulgaria in Tarnovo. Although he managed to defeat both the Mongols and the Byzantines, a plot among the nobility forced him to seek refuge among the Mongol Golden Horde, where he was killed in 1280. The army now numbered less than 10,000 men - it is recorded that Ivailo defeated two Byzantine armies of 5,000 and 10,000 men, and that his troops were outnumbered in both cases. [Andreev, J. "The Bulgarian Khans and Tsars" ("Balgarskite hanove i tsare", "Българските ханове и царе", Veliko Tarnovo, 1996, p. 227 ISBN 954-427-216-X]
After the end of the rebellion of Ivailo, the Bulgarians were no match for the Mongols who plundered the country undisturbed for 20 years. With the reign of Theodore Svetoslav (1300-1321), the situation of the army improved - in 1304 he defeated the Byzantines at Skafida. Under his successor the garrison of
Plovdivnumbered 2,000 heavily armed footmen and 1,000 horsemen. [Andreev, J. "The Bulgarian Khans and Tsars" ("Balgarskite hanove i tsare", "Българските ханове и царе", Veliko Tarnovo, 1996, p. 253 ISBN 954-427-216-X] In 1330 Michael III Shishman raised a 15,000-strong army [Cantacuzenos, I, p. 429. 19] to face the Serbs but was defeated at the battle of Velbazhd. Two years later the Bulgarian army numbered 11,000 men. [Andreev, J. "The Bulgarian Khans and Tsars" ("Balgarskite hanove i tsare", "Българските ханове и царе", Veliko Tarnovo, 1996, p. 269 ISBN 954-427-216-X] When the Ottoman Turksinvaded Bulgaria and the Balkans in the mid-14th century, the once glorious Bulgarian army was only a shadow of its former self. Feudal disunion and the widespread heretical movements such as Bogomilism, the Adamitesor the Varlaamites did not allow the country to maintain a significant force. The Bulgarians relied on their fortified cities and castles for defense, but due to the lack of a common leadership, coordination amongst them was feeble and they were defeated and occupied in detail.
Initially, the Ottoman invasion was not considered as a significant threat by both Bulgarians and Byzantines. For only one decade between 1354 and 1364 the Ottomans conquered virtually the whole of
Thraceseizing large cities such as Plovdiv, Boruy, Dianopolis ( Yambol) and Adrianopleand defeating several small Bulgarian forces. [Angelov, D. Certains aspects de la conquete des peuples balkaniques par des turks - BSI, 1956, 162, p. 237] The centuries-old mistrust between Bulgarians and Byzantines spoiled the negotiations between the two empires for an alliance and even led to the last Byzantine-Bulgarian war in 1364. [Ioannes Cantacuzenus. Historiarum... 3, p.362] In 1371 a large Bulgarian-Serb army under Vukašin Mrnjavčevićand Jovan Uglješa, two feudal lords in Macedonia, was annihilated by the Ottomans under Lala Shahin Pashaat Chernomen and soon the Bulgarian Emperor had to admit the defeat and became a vassalto the invaders. [Синодник царя Борила, с. 89] Numerous Bulgarian fortresses in the Rhodope mountains, Sofia valley and eastern Bulgaria were captured one by one over the next twenty years. In 1393 the capital Tarnovowas besieged and seized by the Ottoman Turks and three years later fell Vidin- the last major Bulgarian city. Resistance to the invaders continued until 1422 when the country was fully conquered. The Ottoman invasion was a disaster for the Bulgarian army - the nobility and the leaders of the nation were killed or emigrated and the ordinary people were not allowed to have weapons until the 19th century.
The Bulgarian army employed various military
tactics. It relied both on the experience of the soldiers and the peculiarities of the terrain. The Balkan mountainsplayed a significant role in the military history of Bulgaria and facilitated the country's defense against the strong Byzantine armywhich conveyed the Roman military art in the Middle Ages. Most of the nine campaigns of the ambitious Emperor Constantine Vto eliminate the young Bulgarian state, which suffered political crisis, failed in the mountain passes of the Balkan. In 811 the whole Byzantine army was destroyed in the Varbitsa pass and in 12th-13th centuries several other Byzantine forces shared that doom. The Bulgarians maintained many outposts and castles which guarded the passes and were able to locate an invading force and quickly inform the high command about any enemy moves.
Another widely used tactic was to make a false retreat and then suddenly attack the enemy - breaking the lines when in pursuit.Haldon J.F., Warfare, "State and Society in the Byzantine World", 565–1204, L., 1999, p. 211] This trick won many victories, most notably at the battle of Adrianople in 1205 against the Crusaders. Sometimes the Bulgarians left a strong cavalry force in reserve which attacked in the sublime moment and tipped the balance in Bulgarians' favour, for instance in the battle of Anchialus in 917. [http://bg-science.info/view_bg_his.php?id=11 Battle of Anchialus] ] Ambush was another widely used and very successful strategy especially during the Cometopuli dynasty.
The Bulgarians usually avoided frontal assault and waited the enemy to attack first. After the opponent inevitably breaks his battle formation the Bulgarians would counter-attack with their heavy cavalry. In several battles the Bulgarian troops waited the Byzantines for days until the latter attack - for instance at Marcelae (792) or Versinikia (813) - and scored decisive victories.Haldon J.F., Warfare, "State and Society in the Byzantine World", 565–1204, L., 1999, p. 211] [Beševliev V., "Die protobulgarische Periode der bulgarischen Geschichte", Amsterdam, 1980, S. 253–254] In one of the rare occasions in which the army made a frontal attack on the enemy, the result was a defeat despite the heavy casualties the enemy suffered -
battle of Anchialus (763). [Georgius Monachos, p. 762] After a successful battle the Bulgarian would pursue the enemy in depth in order to eliminate as much soldiers as possible and not to allow him to reorganize his forces quickly and effectively. For instance after the victory at Ongal in 680 the Byzantines were chased for 150-200 km. After the success at Anchialus in 917 the Byzantines were not given time to prepare their resistance properly and the result was the annihilation of their last forces in the battle of Katasyrtai.
During war the Bulgarians usually sent light cavalry to devastate the enemy lands on a broad front pillaging villages and small towns, burning the crops and taking people and cattle. [For instance
Niketas Choniateswrote: "Surrounded from all sides like bees on wax, he [the Emperor] ( Isaac II Angelos), did not know to whom of the suffering from attacks by the enemy to help first, to whom to delay help..." - see Zlatarski, The Bulgarian state during the Asen dynasty, pp. 73-74] During the Second Empire that task was usually assigned to the Cumans. The Bulgarian army was very mobile - for instance prior to the battle of Klokotnitsa for four days it covered a distance three times longer than the Epirote army for a week; in 1332 it covered 230 km for five days. [Andreev, J. "The Bulgarian Khans and Tsars" ("Balgarskite hanove i tsare", "Българските ханове и царе", Veliko Tarnovo, 1996, p. 269 ISBN 954-427-216-X]
The early Bulgarian army was not supplied with proper siege equipment - the Bulgars who comprised the bulk of the army were a
steppepeople who did not need to take large cities. The Bulgarians used siege machines on a large scale for the first time during the reign of Khan Krum (803-814), when they employed Arabrenegades to gain experience. By 814 they possessed a large number of enormous siege machines [Zlatarski, V. " [http://www.promacedonia.org/vz1a/vz1a_b1_2.html History of the Bulgarian state in the Middle Ages] ", p. 361, Sofia, 1971] - battering rams, ballistas, mangonels, catapults, siege towers, machines against battlements. [Symeon Magister, ed. Bon., 617] They were transported by 5,000 iron-covered carts, hauled by 10,000 oxen. [Symeon Magister, ibid., p. 617] In addition, after the siege of Mesembria, the Bulgarians captured 36 copper siphons which the Byzantines used to throw the famous Greek fire.
A wide range of siege equipment was also used during the Second Empire. [Nicetas Choniata. Historia, p. 835] During the siege of
Adrianoplein 1207, Emperor Kaloyan had 33 catapults and an engineer corps which was tasked with destroying the city walls. [Andreev, J. "The Bulgarian Khans and Tsars" ("Balgarskite hanove i tsare", "Българските ханове и царе", Veliko Tarnovo, 1996, p. 172 ISBN 954-427-216-X] In the beginning of the 13th century, during the siege of Varna, the Bulgarians constructed an enormous siege tower which was wider than the moatof the fortress.
Foreign and mercenary soldiers
After the Bulgarians conquered the Avar Khanate in 804-805, Avar soldiers, who were now subjects of the Bulgarian crown, were recruited in the army, especially during the campaign against
Nicephorus Iin 811, when the Byzantines burned down the capital, Pliska. [Andreev, J. "The Bulgarian Khans and Tsars" ("Balgarskite hanove i tsare", "Българските ханове и царе", Veliko Tarnovo, 1996, p. 47 ISBN 954-427-216-X] In the 9th-10th centuries the Bulgarians often resorted to the services of the Pechenegs, who were probably Bulgarian federates. When the Byzantines stirred the Kievan Rus' up against the Empire, the Bulgarian diplomacy in turn used the Pechenegs against Rus'. [Zlatarski, V. " [http://www.promacedonia.org/vz1a/vz1a_b1_2.html History of the Bulgarian state in the Middle Ages] ", pp. 359-360, Sofia, 1971] [Cedrenus: II, p. 383]
During the Second Empire, foreign and mercenary soldiers became an important part of the Bulgarian army and its tactics. Since the very beginning of the rebellion of Asen and Peter, the light and mobile Cuman cavalry was effectively used against the Byzantines and later the Crusaders. For instance, fourteen thousand of them were used by Kaloyan in the battle of Adrianople. [Andreev, J. "The Bulgarian Khans and Tsars" ("Balgarskite hanove i tsare", "Българските ханове и царе", Veliko Tarnovo, 1996, p. 167 ISBN 954-427-216-X] The Cuman leaders entered the ranks of Bulgarian nobility, and some of them received high military or administrative posts in the state. [Andreev, J. "The Bulgarian Khans and Tsars" ("Balgarskite hanove i tsare", "Българските ханове и царе", Veliko Tarnovo, 1996, pp. 167-169 ISBN 954-427-216-X] During the 14th century the Bulgarian army increasingly relied on foreign mercenaries, which included Western knights, Mongols,
Ossetiansor came from vassal Wallachia. Both Michael III Shishman and Ivan Alexander had a 3,000-strong Mongol cavalry detachment in their armies. [Nic. Gregoras. I, р. 455. 7-9.] [Andreev, J. "The Bulgarian Khans and Tsars" ("Balgarskite hanove i tsare", "Българските ханове и царе", Veliko Tarnovo, 1996, p. 269 ISBN 954-427-216-X] In the 1350s, Emperor Ivan Alexander even hired Ottoman bands, as did the Byzantine Emperor.
Byzantine-Bulgarian Wars Bulgarian-Latin Wars
Medieval Bulgarian Navy
* Zlatarski, V. " [http://www.promacedonia.org/vz1a/index.html History of the Bulgarian state in the Middle Ages: Part 1] ", IInd edition Sofia, 1971
* Zlatarski, V. " [http://www.promacedonia.org/vz1b/index.html History of the Bulgarian state in the Middle Ages: Part 2] ", IInd edition Sofia, 1971
* [http://www.promacedonia.org/vz1a/vz1a_prit_09.html Annex 9: The siege machines during the reign of Khan Krum]
* Павлов, П. "Бунтари и авантюристи в средновековна България". Варна: LiterNet, 2005 - [http://liternet.bg/publish13/p_pavlov/buntari/voenachalnici.htm Военачалници и съюзници кумани, татари и алани във Второто българско царство]
* Runciman, S. [http://www.promacedonia.org/en/sr/index.html A history of the First Bulgarian Empire] , G. Bell & Sons, London 1930
*Note that the works Byzantine authors are usually from their Bulgarian edition "ГИБИ" ("Гръцки Извори за Българската История" - "Greek Sources for the Bulgarian History")
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