Tervel of Bulgaria

Tervel of Bulgaria

Infobox_Monarch | name =Tervel
title = Khan of Bulgaria

caption = Seal of Khan Tervel.
reign = 700 - 721
coronation =
predecessor = Asparukh
successor = Kormesiy
consort =
issue =
royal house = Dulo
royal anthem =
father =
mother =
date of birth =
place of birth =
date of death =
place of death =
buried =|

Tervel ( _bg. Тервел) also called "Tarvel", or "Terval", or "Terbelis" in some Byzantine sources, was the ruler of the Bulgars at the beginning of the 8th century.

The Nominalia of the Bulgarian khans states that Tervel belonged to the Dulo clan and reigned for 21 years. According to the chronology developed by Moskov, Tervel would have reigned 695–715. Other chronologies place his reign in 701–718 or 700–721, but cannot be reconciled with the testimony of the "Imennik". The testimony of the source and some later traditions allow identifying Tervel as the son and heir of his predecessor Asparukh, who had perhaps died in battle against the Khazars.

Tervel is first mentioned in the Byzantine sources in 704, when he was approached by the deposed and exiled Byzantine emperor Justinian II. Justinian acquired Tervel's support for an attempted restoration to the Byzantine throne in exchange for friendship, gifts, and his daughter in marriage. With an army of 15,000 horsemen provided by Tervel, Justinian suddenly advanced on Constantinople and managed to gain entrance into the city in 705. The restored emperor executed his supplanters, the emperors Leontius and Tiberius III, alongside many of their supporters. Justinian awarded Tervel with many gifts, the title of "kaisar" (Caesar), which made him second only to the emperor and the first foreign ruler in Byzantine history to receive such a title, and possibly a territorial concession in northeastern Thrace, a region called Zagora. Whether Justinian's daughter Anastasia was married to Tervel as had been arranged is unknown.

A mere 3 years later, Justinian II himself violated this arrangement and apparently commenced military operations to recover the ceded area. Tervel routed him at the Battle of Anchialus (or Ankhialo) in 708. In 711, faced by a serious revolt in Asia Minor, Justinian again sought the aid of Tervel, but obtained only lukewarm support manifested in an army of 3,000. Outmaneuvered by the rebel emperor Philippicus, Justinian was captured and executed, while his Bulgar allies were allowed to retire to their country. Tervel took advantage of the disorders in Byzantium to raided Thrace in 712, plundering as far as the vicinity of Constantinople.

Given the chronological information of the "Imennik", Tervel would have died in 715. However, the Byzantine Chronicler Theophanes the Confessor ascribes Tervel a role in an attempt to restore the deposed Emperor Anastasius II in 718 or 719. If Tervel had survived this long, he would have been the Bulgarian ruler who concluded a new treaty (confirming the annual tribute paid by the Byzantines to Bulgaria, the territorial concessions in Thrace, regulating commercial relations and the treating of political refugees) with Emperor Theodosius III in 716, and also the Bulgarian ruler who helped relieve the Second Arab siege of Constantinople in 717–718 by land. According to the Theophanes, the Bulgars slaughtered some 22,000 Arabs in the battle before Constantinople. However, elsewhere Theophanes records the name of the Bulgarian ruler who concluded the treaty of 716 as "Kormesios", i.e., Tervel's eventual successor Kormesiy. It is probable that the chronicler ascribed the events of 718 or 719 to Tervel simply because this was the last name of a Bulgar ruler that he was familiar with, and that his sources had been silent about the name, as in his account of the siege of Constantinople.

The 17th century Volga Bulgar compilation "Ja'far Tarikh" (a work of disputed authenticity) represents Tarvil (i.e., Tervel) as the son and successor of Atil'kese (i.e., Asparukh), and as the predecessor of Ajjar (otherwise unknown, but possibly the first of two lost names of the Imennik). The "Ja'far Tarikh" also names Tarvil as the father of the later ruler Kermes (i.e., Kormesij).


Tervel may have been married to Anastasia, daughter of Emperor Justinian II and his first wife Eudoxia.


Tervel Peak on Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica is named after Tervel of Bulgaria.

ee also

*History of Bulgaria


* Mosko Moskov, "Imennik na bălgarskite hanove (novo tălkuvane)", Sofia 1988.
* Jordan Andreev, Ivan Lazarov, Plamen Pavlov, "Koj koj e v srednovekovna Bălgarija", Sofia 1999.
* (primary source), Bahši Iman, "Džagfar Tarihy", vol. III, Orenburg 1997.
* (primary source), Nikephoros Patriarch of Constantinople, "Short History", C. Mango, ed., Dumbarton Oaks Texts 10, 1990.
* (primary source), "The Chronicle of Theophanes Confessor", C. Mango and R. Scott, trans., Oxford University Press, 1997.

External links

* [http://www.bulgaria.com/history/rulers/tarvel.html Rulers of Bulgaria - Tervel]

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