Journal Epohi
“ST. CYRIL AND ST. METHODIUS” UNIVERSITY OF VELIKO TARNOVO - UNIVERSITY PRESS

The rebellious Haemus. The mountain range as an attack launching point and a refuge in the period of the early Asen dynasty


Authors:
Kiril Marinov University of Lodz, Poland

Pages: 330-347

Abstract:

Mountains were always a convenient region, which could be profited from as both a safe refuge protecting from the enemy as well as an opportune starting point of an attack against the enemy’s territory. An analysis of works left by Byzantine historians and orators, describing military struggles between the Byzantines and the Bulgarians, which took place at the end of the 12th and the beginning of the 13th centuries, prove the abovementioned role was played by the Haemus range (meaning here the Pre-Balkan and Stara Planina) in the process of recreating the Bulgarian state on the eve of the late Medieval Period. The texts suggest that over the period the mountains were associated by the Byzantines with a lair of rebels, i. e. a place, where their enemies were seeking refuge form the imperial army, and an area from which they would launch their attacks against the Byzantine territory. The Bulgarians, in turn, utilized the naturally protective characteristic of the Haemus itself as well as strongholds constructed therein to turn the region into a stronghold of their independence movement, which was especially important in the initial period of existence of their late medieval Bulgarian state, i.e. still when it was not a well-established political structure.

Keywords:

medieval Bulgarian state, Haemus, mountain, Asen dynasty, Byzantines, Bulgarians, military struggles, protective characteristic.

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