By R. J. Crampton
Richard Crampton provides a normal advent to Bulgaria on the cross-roads of Christendom and Islam. This concise historical past lines the country's progress from pre-history, via its days because the middle of a robust medieval empire and 5 centuries of Ottoman rule, to the political upheavals of the 20 th century which resulted in 3 wars. It highlights 1995 to 2004, an important interval in which Bulgaria persevered monetary meltdown, set itself heavily at the highway to reform, elected its former King as best minister, and at last secured club in NATO and admission to the ecu Union. First version Hb (1997) 0-521-56183-3 First version Pb (1997) 0-521-56719-X
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Additional info for A Concise History of Bulgaria (2006) (Cambridge Concise Histories)
It was also beset by another debilitating heresy, hesychism, whose adherents called for the rejection of all social activity and for a life devoted to hesychia, or silent contemplation and prayer; this, its adherents argued, was the only condition in which God’s true light could be perceived. Maybe it was; but it did little to help repel invaders. 3 The Christ child, detail from the frescoes at Boyana near Sofia which is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. The frescoes, which date from 1259, are remarkable for their sophistication and realism.
The bogomils argued that the entire visible world, including mankind, was the creation of Satan; only the human soul was created by God who sent his son, Christ, to show humanity the way to salvation. The bogomils believed the gratification of all bodily pleasures to be an expression of the diabolic side of creation, and therefore they preached a formidable asceticism which enjoined poverty, celibacy, temperance and vegetarianism. The few peripatetic ‘Holy Ones’ who lived up to these exacting precepts were greatly respected by the general body of the population, who were painfully aware of the Mediaeval Bulgaria, 681–1393 19 contrast between these ‘Holy Ones’ and the official clergy.
The great aristocrats had been dispossessed immediately after the conquest but the lower nobility remained, merging gradually into the ranks of the spahis. Some Christian communities may also have been tempted into Islam by the prospect of easier tax burdens and the privileges which belonging to the dominant religion could offer. There were additional cases where Christian villages were enticed into Islam by being offered the freedom to loot and pillage local church or monastic property. Finally there were cases of enforced, violent conversion.