Medieval Bulgarian literature


Medieval Bulgarian literature
A page from a 14th century Bulgarian manuscript.

The Medieval Bulgarian literature may be defined as the Bulgarian literature in the Middle Ages written in the Bulgarian Empire or outside its borders.

With the Bulgarian Empire welcoming the disciples of Cyril and Methodius after they were expelled from Great Moravia, the country became a centre of rich literary activity during what is known as the Golden Age of medieval Bulgarian culture. In the late 9th, the 10th and early 11th century literature in Bulgaria prospered, with many books being translated from Byzantine Greek, but also new works being created. Many scholars worked in the Preslav and Ohrid Literary Schools, creating the Cyrillic alphabet for their needs. Bulgarian scholars and works influenced most of the Slavic world, spreading Old Church Slavonic, the Cyrillic and the Glagolithic alphabet to Kievan Rus', medieval Serbia and medieval Croatia.

As the Bulgarian Empire was subjugated by the Byzantines in 1018, Bulgarian literary activity declined. However, after the establishment of the Second Bulgarian Empire followed another period of upsurge during the time of Patriarch Evtimiy in the 14th century. Evtimiy founded the Tarnovo Literary School that had a significant impact on the literature of Serbia and Muscovite Russia, as many writers fled abroad after the Ottoman conquest.

Medieval Bulgarian literature was dominated by religious themes, most works being hymns, treatises, religious miscellanies, apocrypha and hagiographies, most often heroic and instructive.

See also

  • Anonymous Bulgarian Chronicle

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