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The Legend of Basil the Bulgar-slayer

Stephenson, P.


P. Stephenson


The reign of Basil II (976–1025), the longest of any Byzantine emperor, has long been considered as a ‘golden age’, in which his greatest achievement was the annexation of Bulgaria. This, we have been told, was achieved through a long and bloody war of attrition which won Basil the grisly epithet Voulgartoktonos, ‘the Bulgar-slayer’. In this new study Paul Stephenson argues that neither of these beliefs is true. Instead, Basil fought far more sporadically in the Balkans and his reputation as ‘Bulgar-slayer’ was created only a century and a half later. Thereafter the ‘Bulgar-slayer’ was periodically to play a galvanizing role for the Byzantines, returning to centre-stage as Greeks struggled to establish a modern nation state. As Byzantium was embraced as the Greek past by scholars and politicians, the ‘Bulgar-slayer’ became an icon in the struggle for Macedonia (1904–8) and the Balkan Wars (1912–13). • A broadly-based, accessible book which spans history, art history and literature in both the medieval and modern periods • Addresses major issues in national history and nationalism in Byzantium and Greece through the ages • Illustrated in colour and black-and-white with rare and unusual images

Book Type Authored Book
Publication Date 2003-08
Deposit Date Mar 30, 2007
Publisher Cambridge University Press
ISBN 05218153043
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information (expanded Greek translation, O Thrylos tou Basileiou tou Boulgaroktonou, Athens: Enalios, xxx + 279 pp.)