Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 5
  • Print publication year: 1995
  • Online publication date: March 2008

9 - Slavs and Bulgars



The successive expeditions of Constantine V against the Bulgars in the later years of his reign are mostly depicted in Byzantine chronicles as fatuous and vainglorious affairs. The turn of the eighth and the ninth centuries is celebrated for a series of invasions and counter invasions on the part of Byzantines and Bulgars. In 827 a Bulgar fleet sailed up the river Drava and an attempt was made to wrest control of the local Slavs from the Franks. Imperial propaganda inclined to treat the adoption of the Orthodox creed by the Bulgar khan as a triumph for the Byzantine state: Boris and his people had now submitted to the emperor. The church in Bulgaria gained the ambivalent status of an 'autocephalous' archbishopric: the only other such see encompassed the island of Cyprus. To all appearances, the Byzantines and the Bulgarians were united in the body of Christ.