How come that Bulgarians started to speak a Slavic language?

Aug 2019
51
Livingston 62° 38′ 27″ S, 60° 22′ 0.98″ W
It is generally considered that the Slavicization of Bulgaria finished under khan Boris. Now, Christianization certainly played a part in Slavicization since Boris invited the so-called Slavonic mission into Bulgaria and they spread Old Church Slavonic throughout the land and made it an official Church language. Boris wanted to make the Bulgarian Church as independent as possible from Constantinople so promoting Old Church Slavonic as a liturgical language instead of Greek was something Boris certainly felt was a good move. Thing is, many Slavs were already living inside the Bulgarian state and they outnumbered the Bulgars so it made sense to further integrate the Slavs into Bulgaria by promoting their language. At the same time, Boris was weakening the old Bulgar elite which rebelled against him and he retaliated by killing many influential boyars and their families. So, khan Boris must have considered the Slavs more loyal than the Bulgars, thus it would make even more sense to Slavicize his realm. By Slavicizing Bulgaria, he was strengthening his position.
The official state language of the Bulgarians until the arrival of Cyril and Methodius students in Bulgaria is Greek. This is evident from all the preserved stone inscriptions from the pre-Khippian period. There are several with mixed Bulgarian and Greek words, but entirely with Greek letters. The main reason for changing the language is
1. Boris's desire for full concentration and centralization of power in the hands of the ruler, already as God's deputy on earth and unification of the Slavic and other population in a unified Bulgarian nationality
2. Boris's desire to be equal and recognized by Rome and Constantinople and the understanding that this is achieved by building one's own cultural identity.
3. The Glagolitic alphabet, created for the Slavs already made in Christian Bulgaria, contributes a great deal to point 2. There is no need for Bulgarians to write in Greek or Latin.
4. The sum of points 1, 2 and 3 leads to the fact that the 893th year of a common national assembly, the Slavic language in Bulgaria was declared as the official state language, and the capital of Bulgaria was moved from Pliska to Preslav. Boris is officially retiring and handing over the government to his third son, Simeon.
5. During the reign of Simeon was the greatest flourishing and development of ancient Bulgarian culture, literacy and literacy, which established and spread Slavic literacy in the Slavic countries
 

Shtajerc

Ad Honorem
Jul 2014
6,743
Lower Styria, Slovenia
I do not agree very much with the fact that the Slavs were the majority. Yes, but only in the western Balkans. Much of the local population of the Slavic and Bulgarian expansions of the Balkans has already been Romanized and Christianized by the Thracian-Dacian population. The Christian population could hardly be mixed with the pagan then Bulgarian or Slavic. In addition, Bulgarians and Slavs profess different pagan beliefs and until the 9th century before the Christianization of Bulgaria they mixed little.
Yes, I too think that there was a lot of romanised Thracians and such. But they probably adopted the Slavic language relatively quickly although I would be guessing really. I only know more about how things supposedly happened here, where there was rather little left of the romanised Celtic population. I know that today Bulgarians and Macedonians speak Slavic languages that show strong influences of languages that were existing in the Balkans already before.
 
Aug 2019
51
Livingston 62° 38′ 27″ S, 60° 22′ 0.98″ W
Yes, I too think that there was a lot of romanised Thracians and such. But they probably adopted the Slavic language relatively quickly although I would be guessing really. I only know more about how things supposedly happened here, where there was rather little left of the romanised Celtic population. I know that today Bulgarians and Macedonians speak Slavic languages that show strong influences of languages that were existing in the Balkans already before.
In order to adopt a language from a group speaking another language, there must be a strong blending of ethnicities through marriage, but while they are culturally and religiously different, it is more difficult. A common religion and a common state creates an already consolidated mass of people professing common values and this leads to the formation of one common language for all of them, especially when it is written. This is the way of creation of peoples - common religion, common language common traditions, common history. Without a state there is no nation, the peoples are the product of the state as a political union The Bulgarians and the North Macedonians speak practically one language, because the lands of present-day Northern Macedonia have been part of the Bulgarian state from the first half of the 9th century from the time of Khan Presian to Boris's father until the time when were given to the Serbo-Croatian Kingdom and then to Yugoslavia
 

Maki

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
3,412
Republika Srpska
because the lands of present-day Northern Macedonia have been part of the Bulgarian state from the first half of the 9th century from the time of Khan Presian to Boris's father until the time when were given to the Serbo-Croatian Kingdom and then to Yugoslavia
Not true. North Macedonia was also a part of the medieval Serbian state in the 13th and 14th centuries. After that, they were conquered by the Ottomans.
 
Aug 2019
51
Livingston 62° 38′ 27″ S, 60° 22′ 0.98″ W
Yes, I too think that there was a lot of romanised Thracians and such. But they probably adopted the Slavic language relatively quickly although I would be guessing really. I only know more about how things supposedly happened here, where there was rather little left of the romanised Celtic population. I know that today Bulgarians and Macedonians speak Slavic languages that show strong influences of languages that were existing in the Balkans already before.
The actual Christianization of the Slavic tribes began earlier than the Christianization of Bulgaria as a state. This helps them to blend in easily with the local already Christianized and Romanized local population. With regard to the Bulgarians, what they were and what their language was, science has no clear answer. So far, priority has been given to the Turkic theory of their origin, but there is no archaeological or written historical document that provides a clear and confirmatory answer. Their origins are judged by the fact that they were part of the West Turkic kaganate and vassals of the Avars by the time Kubrat Khan rejected the vassalage and created Magna Bulgaria, known by the Byzantine chronicles. But in the Eurasian steppes, not all nomadic tribes were Turks. Scythians and Sarmatians were not Turks, but they were nomads in the Eurasian steppes. I could assume that the language of the Bulgarians was Turkic or Oguric having in mind their vassal status and that they were part of the West Turkic Haganate, but genetically rather not, or mixed to some extent
 
Aug 2019
51
Livingston 62° 38′ 27″ S, 60° 22′ 0.98″ W
Not true. North Macedonia was also a part of the medieval Serbian state in the 13th and 14th centuries. After that, they were conquered by the Ottomans.
it was about 40-50 years before the Ottoman conquest of the Balkans. I am talking about centuries-old identity
The Serbian identity for the time under the Ottomans has not changed, has it?
 

Maki

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
3,412
Republika Srpska
it was about 40-50 years before the Ottoman conquest of the Balkans. I am talking about centuries-old identity
The Serbian identity for the time under the Ottomans has not changed, has it?
Both Serbian and Bulgarian identities were present in Macedonia.
 
Jul 2012
763
Australia
The Slavic ethnogenesis is somewhat a mystery as would be why a nomadic tribe (relatively high level of military organisation) would succumb to a culture that at the time was not highly developed.

The Bulgars were a people pushed a few times westward from their home territories somewhere on the steppes. They appear on the lower reaches of the Dnieper; later further west towards the Transnistria territories before migrating into Bulgaria. It is highly probable they were joined by other nomadic peoples, so that by the time of entering Bulgaria they no longer possessed a singular, coherent culture. Consequently they would have been open to assimilating cultural attributes from other people.

The migration theory of the spread of slavs is at best the most coherent of an inadequate lot of theories to explain the spread of Slavs through central europe. We should not be married to ideas of the spread of slavdom in the traditional manner, and be open to other ideas how slavic culture spread and why the Bulgars would replace their existing culture with another.

Florian Curta does have an interesting idea (mentioned at post #14) in the peoples outside the Roman Empire adopting a singular lingua franca. That is, there is no biological group that could be called Slavic. Rather, disparate groups living within an area, and along lines of trade and communication, adopted a language, and through that language adopted similar practices that could later be seen to be part of a singular culture that became to be called slavic.

The disparate groups would have been the remnants of original dwellers in the area plus the various steppe nomads and Goths who traversed this area. The Slavic lingua franca may have been developed out of common sounds of many of the nomadic languages in the area. If that is the case then it remains possible that the Bulgars may have had a prominent role in developing the Slavic language - that is, the Bulgars were participating in a newly emerging language and culture.

In other works Floria Curta raises the issue that there is no archeological evidence of specifically slavic culture before 600AD. Subsequent materials appear to point to the spread of the culture from south to north and not north to south as one would expect under the migration theory. (The Russian Primary Chronicle clearly describes this movement north and east of slavic culture.)
 

Shtajerc

Ad Honorem
Jul 2014
6,743
Lower Styria, Slovenia
The Slavic ethnogenesis is somewhat a mystery as would be why a nomadic tribe (relatively high level of military organisation) would succumb to a culture that at the time was not highly developed.

The Bulgars were a people pushed a few times westward from their home territories somewhere on the steppes. They appear on the lower reaches of the Dnieper; later further west towards the Transnistria territories before migrating into Bulgaria. It is highly probable they were joined by other nomadic peoples, so that by the time of entering Bulgaria they no longer possessed a singular, coherent culture. Consequently they would have been open to assimilating cultural attributes from other people.

The migration theory of the spread of slavs is at best the most coherent of an inadequate lot of theories to explain the spread of Slavs through central europe. We should not be married to ideas of the spread of slavdom in the traditional manner, and be open to other ideas how slavic culture spread and why the Bulgars would replace their existing culture with another.

Florian Curta does have an interesting idea (mentioned at post #14) in the peoples outside the Roman Empire adopting a singular lingua franca. That is, there is no biological group that could be called Slavic. Rather, disparate groups living within an area, and along lines of trade and communication, adopted a language, and through that language adopted similar practices that could later be seen to be part of a singular culture that became to be called slavic.

The disparate groups would have been the remnants of original dwellers in the area plus the various steppe nomads and Goths who traversed this area. The Slavic lingua franca may have been developed out of common sounds of many of the nomadic languages in the area. If that is the case then it remains possible that the Bulgars may have had a prominent role in developing the Slavic language - that is, the Bulgars were participating in a newly emerging language and culture.

In other works Floria Curta raises the issue that there is no archeological evidence of specifically slavic culture before 600AD. Subsequent materials appear to point to the spread of the culture from south to north and not north to south as one would expect under the migration theory. (The Russian Primary Chronicle clearly describes this movement north and east of slavic culture.)
Yeah, there's also the idea that it was the lingua franca of the Avar khaganate.

As for there not being a biological group that we could call Slavic, I don't agree. There are two groups that fit in quite nicely, from what I know, but we are not allowed to discuss genetics ...

Like you said, the Slavic ethnogenesis is quite misterious, but we have certain clues about the language itself. Slavic hidronyms appear in an area where the Polish, Belarusian and Ukrainian borders come together, the marshy lands of the Pripyat and around there. Those areas correspond with what trees grow there and which animals live there and the present native words for them as oposed to trees that don't grow there and animals that don't live there, for which we have borrowed words from Germanic and others. That area is also right next to what used to be the Baltic Urheimat, which goes along with the two linguistic branches being closely related, either because they split from a common Balto-Slavic ancestor language or simply influenced each other a lot because they developped right next to each other for so long. The area explains Iranic loanwords and religious practices taken from Iranic steppe peoples and the proximity of Germanic peoples like the Goths. It makes sense that Germanics were constant neighbours of the Slavs because the word for stranger (němьcь, meaning "mute" or "the one who doesn't speak (our language)") became our exonym for the Germans (Nemci, Niemcy, Němcy, Немси etc) as dual oposition to our endonym slověninъ ("man of the word" or "the one who speaks (like us)"). So the area where the language developped is probably there, it all fits. Now, how it spread is a different matter. Many argue that it was some kind of lingua franca for trade or military as it otherwise wouldn't remain so uniform until the 10th century, which is something that makes you think. How did the language remain pretty much the same for some 400-500 years after the start of the Slavic "explosion" across Central and Eastern Europe while not being written down for most of that period and before that?
 
Jul 2017
221
Neverland
Aren't Bulgarians Slavic?
Lol It would appear, that the gentleman from Slovenia took the wind out of my sails.The proto-Bulgarians(bulgars) spoke iranic like language and used greek lettering to express it
I find the history of Bulgaria quite intriguing and stumbled into it by researching the 'lost' nation of the huns. Bulgars are what remained of the huns of Attila and by that measure
the only living relatives of the Kushans of former Bactria.

In 1220 Genghis khan exterminated the original population of nowdays Northern Afghanistan and we have an area called afghani Turkestan, where the former Bactria - maternal country of the old bulgars was located.It might also make sense to assume, that Roxanne - the local wife of Alexander the Great, was of ols Scythian - proto-Bulgarian stock.
She was the daughter of the satrap in Balkh- the capital city of Bactria and the ethnonym of the Balkhars(bulgars).

here is a link on the town of Balkh - now in North Afghanistan aka Afghani Turkestan.
Balkh - Wikipedia

I also took the liberty to post images of proto-Bulgarian rulers from the the First Bulgarian Kingdom as depicted on Byzantine manuscripts.

Kanasubigi Omurtag aka as Mortagon to the Byzantines

1567542564030.png

Kanasubigi Krum - father of Mortagon

1567542646674.png

Simeon the Great

1567542721415.png


To assist you better, I went on a digging expedition to pull out more on the old bulgar alphabet and language

Inscription and Alphabet of the Proto-Bulgarians - Contents
 
Likes: TupSum

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