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Three Millennia of Greek Literature

Vasilief, A History of the Byzantine Empire

The Macedonian epoch (867-1081)

Relations of the Byzantine Empire with the Bulgarians and Magyars 


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The relations with Bulgaria in the time of the Macedonian emperors were extremely significant for the Empire. Although in the time of King Simeon Bulgaria became a formidable enemy of the Byzantine Empire, threatening even the capital and the Emperor's power, the rulers of the Macedonian dynasty completely subjected this kingdom and transformed it into a Byzantine province.

During the reign of Basil I peaceful relations were maintained with Bulgaria. Immediately after the death of Michael III the negotiations concerning the restoration of the union between the Bulgarian and Greek churches came to a happy ending. King Boris went so far as to send his son, Simeon, to be educated in Constantinople. These friendly relations were very advantageous for both sides. Relieved of all anxiety about his northern borders, Basil could pour all his forces into the struggle with the eastern Arabs in the heart of Asia Minor and the western Muslims in Italy. Boris, in his turn, needed peace for the internal upbuilding of his kingdom, which had only recently adopted Christianity.

After the accession of Leo VI (886), peace with Bulgaria was broken immediately because of some dispute regarding certain customs duties which were highly detrimental to Bulgarian trade. Bulgaria was ruled at this time by its very famous King Simeon, son of Boris. His love of knowledge led him to reread the books of the ancients, and he rendered his kingdom great services in the realms of culture and education. His wide political schemes were to be realized at the expense of the Byzantine Empire. Leo VI, aware of the fact that he was unable to offer adequate resistance to Simeon because the Byzantine army was engaged in the Arabian campaigns, appealed for help to the wild Magyars. The latter agreed to make a sudden invasion of Bulgaria from the north in order to divert Simeon's attention from the Byzantine borders.

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