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The anniversary of the death of Tsar Simeon the Great

The anniversary of the death of Tsar Simeon the Great

5/27/2011 5:25:00 AM

Simeon (893 - 927), the third son of Bulgarian Knjaz Boris I, comes to the throne to replace his brother Vladimir Rassate. The versatile talents of Tsar Simeon were unequaled by any other Bulgarian ruler during the Middle Ages. Simeon had just turned 27 when he took the helm in 893.

His contemporaries called him "the Great" in acknowledgment of his talents as a military commander and diplomat and his spiritual strength. This son of Prince Boris received a top-notch education in the famous Magnaur Academy in Constantinople, attended by the children of Byzantine notables. He was preparing to become the head of the Bulgarian Church. However, he was destined to cast off the cassock and to replace at the throne his brother Vladimir, deposed and blinded after his attempt to return to paganism.

Simeon's rule was defined by two main goals: to break away from Byzantine political and religious influence and to turn Bulgaria into a powerful rival of the centuries-old empire. The task required tremendous energy, understanding of the laws of history and admiration of culture. Prince Simeon possessed every one of those qualities. As soon as he took the helm, he replaced the Greek language in liturgy with Bulgarian. The capital was moved from paganist Pliska to Preslav.

Byzantium's rulers underestimated Bulgaria's ambition to follow an independent political and religious course. In 893 they moved the market for Bulgarian goods from Constantinople to Thessaloniki, subjecting Bulgarian tradesmen to higher taxes. In the subsequent prolonged war, the first one in Europe to be fought for economic reasons, the initial battles were won by the Bulgarians.

For two decades Simeon fought with the Byzantines, repulsed the attacks of Hungarians and entered into an alliance with the Pechenegs against Byzantium. After a crushing victory of the Bulgarians in 896 near Bulgarophygon in Eastern Thrace, the Byzantine emperor had no choice but to sue for peace. The market was returned to Constantinople and Byzantium had to pay annual tribute to Bulgaria. Distrust mounted between Preslav and Constantinople.

The info has been taken from the Bulgaria.com site

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