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The Second Bulgarian Empire, 1185 - 1396, reached its peak under Tsars Kaloyan and Ivan Asen II and was the dominant power in the Balkans until 1256. Bulgaria defeated the Byzantine Empire in several major battles. In 1205, Kaloyan defeated the newly established Latin Empire in the Battle of Adrianople. Ivan Asen II defeated the Despotate of Epiros and made Bulgaria a regional power. Bulgaria spread from the Adriatic to the Black Sea and the economy flourished. Tarnovo, the capitol, was considered a "New Constantinople" and became the cultural hub and the center of the Eastern Orthodox world. In the late 13th century, however, the Empire declined under constant invasions by Mongols, Byzantines, Hungarians, and Serbs, as well as internal unrest and revolts. The 14th century saw a temporary recovery and stability, the "Second Golden Age of Bulgarian culture," when literature and art flourished. This was also, however, a period of Balkan feudalism as central authorities gradually lost power in many regions. Bulgaria was divided into three parts before gradually being conquered by the Ottomans in the late 14th and early 15th centuries.ME85965. Silver gros, Imitative of a Venetian grosso of Giovanni Dandolo (1280-1289); Radushev-ZhekovType 1.17.1, Youroukova-Penchev 160, Dochev –, gVF, well centered, weight 1.232 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain mint, early 14th century A.D.; obversenimbate Christ Pantokrator enthroned facing, holding gospels in lap, IC - XC (Greek abbreviation: Iισους Xριστος - Jesus Christ) flanking Christ's head; reverse Doge, standing on left, receiving tall flag from St. Mark, standing on right, DVX down flag staff; very rare; $280.00 (€238.00)
Bulgars in Byzantine Bulgaria(?), Anonymous Follis of Christ, Imitative of Class A3, c. 1023 - 1040 A.D.
This imitative was most likely struck by an unofficial mint in unruly Byzantine Bulgaria. In 1018, the Byzantine emperor Basil II conquered the First Bulgarian Empire. The Bulgarian aristocracy were given Byzantine titles and moved to Asia. The existing tax system, laws, and the role of low-ranking nobility remained, at first, unchanged. As the Byzantine Empire declined under Basil's successors, Pecheneg invasions and rising taxes led to discontent and major uprisings. Bulgaria remained under Byzantine rule until the brothers Asen and Peter liberated the country in 1185, establishing the Second Bulgarian Empire. BZ86796. Bronze anonymous follis, See Lampinen Imitative, p. 54, for a similar Class A imitative; prototype: Basil II & Constantine VIII, 1023-1028, SBCV 1818, VF, somewhat weak strike, other than the small flan and retrograde reverseinscription the style is similar to the official prototype, weight 7.975 g, maximum diameter 27.2 mm, die axis 180o, unofficial (Bulgarian?) mint, c. 1023 - 1040 A.D.; obverse facing nimbatebust of Christ, pallium and colobium, Gospels in both hands, no legend or inscription; reverse retrograde Greek inscription: + IhSuS / XRISTuS / bASILEu / bASILE (Greek: Jesus Christ King of Kings); $200.00 (€170.00)
Second Bulgarian Empire, Vidin Kingdom, Ivan Stratsimir, 1356 - 1397 A.D.
Ivan Alexander divided his kingdom between his two sons. Ivan Stratsimir received Vidin. In 1365, the Hungarian King Louis I of Anjou captured Vidin. Sratsimir and his family were held captive in Croatia for four years but in 1369 Sratsimir was restored to his throne under Hungarian overlordship. After the Ottoman invasion in 1388, he was forced to acknowledge Ottoman overlordship and garrisons. In 1396 Sratsimir and his subjects aligned themselves with the anti-Ottoman Crusade led by the Hungarian king Sigismund of Luxemburg. The crusade ended in disaster at the battle of Nikopol on 25 Sep 1396. By the end of 1397 Sultan Bayezid I approached Vidin and, assured by the promise of his safety, Ivan Stratsimir came out to meet him. On the order of Bayezid I, Ivan Stratsimir was arrested and conveyed to Bursa, while the Sultan confiscated the contents of the Vidin treasury. Sratsimir's fate is unknown. Vidin was likely annexed by the Ottoman Empire in 1397, but at least part of the realm remained under the control of Sratsimir's son and heir Constantine II.
This type is described as a half grosch in older references. ME47140. Silver grosch, reduced weight; Radushev-Zhekov 1.14.4; Moushmov 7542, c. 0.50g, c. 16mm diameter, Vidin mint, 1371 - 1376 A.D.; obversenimbate half length figure of Christ, right hand raised in benediction, book of gospels in left, IC - XC (Greek abbreviation: Iισους Xριστος - Jesus Christ) flanking Christ's head, legend around; reverse Stratsimir enthroned facing, nimbate, scepter in right, mappa in left, lis left and right, rosette between legs, legend around; VF, typical crude examples with uneven strikes and wavy flans; Forum's random selection from the same group as the coins in the photograph; one coin; rare; $60.00 (€51.00)
Second Bulgarian Empire, Ivan Shishman, 1371 - 1395 A.D.
Ivan Alexander divided his kingdom between his two sons. Ivan Shishman inherited the central portion of Bulgaria with the capital Tarnovo. In 1393, after three-month siege, Tarnovo fell to the Ottoman Empire. Ivan Shishman continued to rule in Nikopol as an Ottoman vassal but Sultan Bayezit I had him beheaded on June 3, 1395.ME47142. Silver grosch, reduced weight; Moushmov 7454, pl. LXV 8, c. 0.60g, c. 15mm diameter, Tarnovo mint, c. 1380 - 1393 A.D.; obverse Czar standing facing, cruciform scepter in left, legend and monograms around; reverse half length figure of Virgin Orans facing, infant Christ's head facing at Her breast, M − Θ (Greek abbreviation: Mother of God) across field flanking head; VF or better, nice examples with the usual imperfect strikes and slightly wavy flans; Forum's random selection from the same group as the coins in the photograph; one coin; $60.00 (€51.00)
Dochev, K. Coins and Coin Usage in Turnovo (XII-XIV c.). (Tirnovo, 1992).
Jordanov, I. Corpus of Byzantine Seals from Bulgaria. (Sofia, 2003).
Krause, C. & C. Mishler. Standard Catalog of World Coins. (Iola, WI, 2010 - ).
Mouchmoff, A. Numismatique et Sigillographie Bulgares. (Sofia 1924).
Raduchev A. & G. Zhekov. Catalogue of Bulgarian Coins. (Sophia, 1999).
Romanoff, D. The Orders, Medals and History of the Kingdom of Bulgaria. (Denmark, 1982).
Youroukova P. & V. Penchev. Bulgarian Medieval Coins and Seals. (Sofia, 1990).
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