Alusian of Bulgaria

Alusian ruled as emperor (tsar) of Bulgaria for a short time in 1041.

Alusian was a son of Emperor Ivan Vladislav of Bulgaria by his wife Marija. Together with his older brother Presian II he attempted to resist Bulgaria's annexation by the Byzantine Empire in 1018 but eventually had to surrender to Emperor Basil II in the same year.

In the Byzantine Empire Alusian joined the ranks of the court aristocracy and was appointed governor ("stratēgos") of the "theme" of Theodosioupolis (Karin). Alusian increased his wealth by marrying a rich member of the Armenian nobility, but in the later 1030s he lost the favor of Emperor Michael IV the Paphlagonian and his brother, John the Orphanotrophos. Alusian was deprived of certain estates and fined a hefty amount for alleged misdeeds.

Hearing of the successes of his second cousin Peter II Delyan against the emperor in 1040, Alusian joined Peter II's ranks in Bulgaria as an apparent deserter from the Byzantine court. Alusian was welcomed by Peter II, who gave him an army with which to attack Thessaloniki. The siege, however, was raised by the Byzantines, and the army was defeated. Alusian barely escaped and returned to Ostrovo.

One night, during dinner, Alusian took advantage of Peter II's inebriation, and cut off his nose and blinded him with a kitchen knife in 1041. Since Alusian was of the blood of Samuel, he was quickly proclaimed emperor in Peter II's place by his troops, but conspired to desert to the Byzantines. As the Bulgarian and Byzantine troops were preparing for battle, Alusian deserted to the enemy and headed for Constantinople, where his possessions and lands were restored to him, and he was rewarded with the high courtly rank of "magistros". The same title had been granted earlier to other deposed emperors of Bulgaria, namely Boris II in 971 and Presian II in 1018.

Alusian's subsequent fate is unknown, but his descendants continued to prosper in the ranks of the Byzantine aristocracy.


By his marriage to an Armenian noblewoman from the theme of Kharsianon, Alusian had several children, including:
# Basil, a Byzantine general
# Samuel, a Byzantine general
# Anna, who married the future Byzantine Emperor Romanos IV Diogenes

External links

* [ Detailed List of Bulgarian Rulers]


* John V.A. Fine Jr., "The Early Medieval Balkans", Ann Arbor, 1983.

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