Khan Tervel

Tarvel {or Terval} of the Dulo dynasty, son of Asparuh, succeeded his father to the throne. Tervel ascended the throne in 700 or 701, he ardently continued his father's lifework.

During his reign Bulgaria would be occupying {to the humiliation of Byzantium} lands south of the Danube into the Thracian plain. While the Bulgars had thus deprived the empire of control in the north and central Balkans, the Romans were lucky to have them as neighbors.

At this time, in the west, the Moors conquered the Iberian Peninsula to be checked only by Charles Martel in the battle at Poitiers in 732 AD. It was going to take a few hundred years to drive them out of Spain. The situation in the east was even more dramatic. About 716 AD the whole of Byzantium was trodden over by Arab cavalry hooves and its capital squeezed in the steel belt of siege and starvation ready to surrender. And then I imagine a meeting, in Constantinople, that went something like this:

Emperor: What do we do about the Arabs?

Some general: I dunno know!

Some other guy: Hey, let's get the Barbarian's barbarians to fight the Arabs!

Emperor: What?!?

The guy: Well, remember how the Bulgars beat up the Ostrogoths? Let's pay them to do it again, with the Arabs!

Emperor: Hmmm.... that just might work!!!

In, 716 AD, the Bulgarian heavy cavalry under the command of Khan Tervel came forward at the porte of Constantinople. The Arab horse-mounted troops, on their light, desert-sand adapted horses, never stood a chance against the armored Bulgar cavalry. In a crucial battle in 718 AD the Bulgarian cavalry defeated the Arabs. "The Bulgars assaulted the Arabs, slaying many of them... They were more afraid of the Bulgars than of the Byzantines," reads the account of an Arab chronicler of Khan Tervel's sweeping victory which left some 30 000 Arabs dead. The rest of the Arab army was finished off by the Bulgarians in the next couple of days. This blow put an end to the Arabs attempting to penetrate into the Old Continent through the Balkan Peninsula.

The grateful Byzantines welcomed the Bulgarian Khan in Constantinople with great honors, putting a royal mantle on his shoulders and showering him with gifts. Under the new treaty Bulgaria received, for the first time, lands south of the Balkan range: the region of Zagora in Eastern Thrace, through which many strategic routes passed. Furthermore, the Khan was awarded the title of Caesar. This was the first time in Byzantine history that a foreigner was bestowed such a title, and a lead seal reading "Mother of God, help the Caesar Tervel" attests to the honor.

The area added in 705 was Justinian II's thanks to Tervel for helping him regain his throne.

Khan Tervel's rule was marked by a growing prosperity of both the Khan and the people, and a Byzantine chronicler would later write of the wealthy ruler: "Tervel, commander of the Bulgars, was at the apogee of his prosperity... He would turn the shield he used in times of war hollow side up, put his whip onto it and pour money until both were covered. He would put his spear on the ground and pile silk garments at its two ends. He would fill boxes with gold and silver coins and give it out to the soldiers, throwing gold with his right hand and silver with his left."

After Tervel's rule, Bulgaria was racked by internal fighting among the nobles. Khans came and went, falling victim to their rivals or seeking refuge in Constantinople. Khan Chourmesius, who was from the Dulo clan, reigned from 721 to 738, he maintained peace with Byzantium. Khan Sevar reigned from 738 to 753, he was the last ruler from the Dulo dynasty, the Bulgar Khanate expanded, but the Boyars deposed him after he lost a battle against Byzantine. Khan Kormisosh reigned from 753 to 756. He was from the Vokhil clan. His reign was the first dynasty take over. The Vokil clan, replacing the Dulo clan as the ruling family. Khormish led continuous wars with Byzantium. Khormish loses the throne after another take over.

Khan Winech reigned from 756 to 762 He was from the Oulhiil kin . He became Khan after the last take over. Vinech loses the battle in 756 by the Markeli fortress. But he is victorious against Byzantine in 759.

First a little background information. The Bulgar Khans Dragon and Kuber from the Doulo clan, {respectively in the 5th and 7th c.} had settled in the Bitola and Ohrid Regions - Prespa and Korca. Kuber moved to Pannonia around 670-680. These Bulgars lived in the south-eastern part of Pannonia near the Morava and the Vardar rivers. Their main city was Sirmium, which they called Onoguria. The Bulgars were settled in the border areas as border guards, they founded Nandor White Fort {Nandorfeh‚rvar} In a 1366 document it was called Nandor-albenses. For many a years, Khan Kuber's people, the Kotragoi Bulgars, who controlled the regions north of Thessalonike, {Kuber failed to take Thessalonike in the one attempt he made on it.} took part in the struggle of the Slavic tribes against the Byzantenes. In 850 AD, during the reign of Khan Presian, the Slavs and Macedonians, intermingling with Kuber's Bulgars, joined the Bulgarian State where their kindred Slavs, Thracians and Bulgars lived.

But first, in 759 the Macedonians call on Bulgaria for help, and are answered. The Byzantines in Macedonia are defeated. Despite his victories, Vineh didn't last long. Khan Vinek and all his kin were assassinated.

Khan Telez ruled from 762 to 765, he was from the Ugain clan. In 762 he seized southern Thrace. But Teletz loses a battle against Byzantium near Anhialo and because of this loses the throne and is killed by the Boyars. {That's the faith of all Khans who lose important battles. If you're in command of the army, don't screw up!} Khan Sabbin lasted from 765 to 766. He established a disadvantageous peace pact with Byzantium, where he later escaped. Khan Umor lasted 40 days. Khan Toctu reigned from 766 to 767. He rebelled against the political influence of Byzantium on Bulgaria. Expelled by his opposition, he was killed near the Danube. Khan Pagan, 767-768 maintains peace with Byzantium. Khan Telerig ruled from 768 to 777. He established a peace pact with Byzantium. But then he tricked and captured the Byzantine agents and killed them. Later he runs away to Constantinople.