It is often considered on the importance of the rulers of medieval Bulgaria. The great kings of Bulgaria are defined as those in which our country not only stands firmly on the European map, but imposes dominance in the European Southeast. The great rulers managed to unite the vast territories inhabited by Bulgarians into one. Or they are distinguished by something extremely positive, which is remembered, honored and glorious centuries after their death - for example, the Crossing of the Bulgarian people or the flowering of Old Bulgarian literature and a culture called the "golden age." The traditional view is that our worthy rulers are those with whom the Bulgarian kingdom is united, and in military terms our country can easily rival all its neighbors. In this sense, there are not many rulers who can be described as "great" or "worthy".
Of course, there are outright misfits on the throne. They find themselves unprepared for the weight of the Bulgarian crown and leave without glory the historical scene. In the middle, between successes and failures, between greatness and shame, on the pages of our history stands one of the famous rulers of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom. This is King Boril (1207 - 1218), also known as Boril Assen, the sister son of the reigning Kaloyan before him (1197 - 1207), the winner of the Crusaders.
The ironic thing about Boril's history is that, like his predecessor, Kaloyan could be named the Crusader winner. Shortly after the victory at Edirne, Boril also broke the invincible crusaders in Europe. This is the case at the battle of Beroya (Stara Zagora) in 1208, which is part of the so-called. "War for Thrace", waged between Bulgarians and Latin. A little later in the same year (31 July 1208), the Latin people "came back" with a victory in Plovdiv, but this is not a final or total defeat of the Bulgarians. Parts of Thrace with their adjoining fortresses remain in Bulgarian hands.
Only three rulers in Bulgarian history have participated in campaigns against Constantinople. They are definitely among our greatest. After Tervel (against the Arabs), Krum and Simeon (against the Byzantines), and Boril participated in a campaign against Constantinople, which was then the capital of the Latin Empire. In the "Thracian War", Boril allied himself with the Emperor Theodore I Lascaris of Nice, and attacked, though unsuccessfully, Constantinople. But few know of Boril's achievement.
Calling Boril an "underrated" or "underrated" ruler is also not proper. Nowadays, a number of attempts are being made to rehabilitate him historically. The truth is, Boril is no weak ruler. He is a good commander. Conducts a balanced foreign policy, uses moderate risk. He won the battle against the crusaders of Emperor Henry. He manages, though halfway, with the separatism of his opponents Alexei Slav and Stresa.
He is a good diplomat and a desirable foreign policy partner. He makes dynastic marriages with strong Hungarians and Latinos. Because of their friendly relations with the Hungarians, later supported by the marriage between Boril's daughter and the Hungarian heir to the throne, they run to the aid of Boril against rebellious Kuman chiefs and "four relatives" in northwestern Bulgaria. So on the international stage, Boril's Bulgaria is a serious player equivalent to Latinos, Byzantines, Serbs and Hungarians (Hungarians). None of the Bulgarians' opponents at the time in the European Southeast could be said to be a serious threat or to possess superior military resources.
Boril is one of the most zealous rulers in religious terms. In 1211, he convened a church gathering on the anti-Brahmin basis, which resulted in the publication of the famous "Borilov Synod" (a document announcing the decisions of the synod). Boril denounces malicious heretics on Bulgarian lands, calling themselves "Bogomils."
"And he commanded that a council be called. And when all the priests and priests and all the nobles, and all the nobles, and a great multitude of the rest of the people were gathered together, and the king knew that they were all gathered, he went out at once with his bright purple, and sat in one of the great churches then, until the council stood before him on both sides. He commanded the sowers to be brought to dishonor, but he did not stop them at once, but took them with great cunning, telling them to reject all fear and to expose their blasphemous teachings freely.
And in order to capture the king and those who were with him, they explained in detail all their sinister heresy. And the king and those who were with him long answered them with wise questions from the divine scriptures, until they revealed their wicked wisdom. They stood dumb like fish and were completely bewildered. And when the pious king saw them utterly ashamed, and the devil fell, and Christ magnified, he filled himself with joy, and commanded them to be kept, as well as them that were seduced. "
In this situation we see the Bulgarian ruler in a very decent light. In a brilliant way, he deals with the destroyers of the order - the Bogomilswho are against any authority, whether royal or ecclesiastical. In the king's face, the Bulgarian people find their desired patron, who at the most appropriate moment to oppose the "three-cursed and blasphemous Bogomil heresy, which then began the perverse pop Bogomil."
Now let us also mention the weaknesses in Boril's rule. Most researchers in the past have described him as a bad ruler. They rely on the news from Georgi Acropolit that after the death of Kaloyan, "the royal power over the Bulgarians was taken by the son of his sister, named Boril, who married his war." As a conclusion, the implicit accusation against Boril of power is imposed: he takes the royal power and does not get it rightly. And to that end, he even marries his wife, the queen of Kuman origin, who is alleged to be involved in the plot to kill Kaloyan. So, voluntarily or not, Boril becomes involved in the power struggles that lead him to the royal throne. In this sense, he is perceived as an usurper of the throne, but it must be said that this is too strong an accusation.
However, Boril belongs to the maternal lineage of the Asenevtsi family, he is a nephew of the Bulgarian kings. In addition, there is no direct heir to the throne - Kaloyan has a son, who, however, does not live in Bulgaria and is not known to desire the crown. In this case, the son of the old king Assen - Ivan (the future king Ivan Assen II) can make legitimate claims to power. But it never does, and instead "Assen's son, who was a child, was secretly taken by someone and taken to the Scythians."
Why would they hide the official contender for the Bulgarian throne by taking him secretly to the Scythians, ie? Cumans? Because his presence in Tarnovo, apparently, would not please the seized power by the violent Boril.
What are the consequences of Boril's ascension to the throne? Bulgaria loses nearly 1 / 3 from its territory. This is a consequence of the ensuing feudal anarchy. Since Boril does not rightfully inherit the throne, why then should his equals be subordinate to him? Why not take a piece of the Bulgarian kingdom from where they rule, regardless of the central government in Tarnovo? Such is the motivation of Boril's cousins, Alexey Slav and Stresa (Stresa is believed to be his brother).
Stresa tears off much of Macedonia along with the former capital Ohrid, backed by the Serbian king, in this regard. Alexei Slav is fortified in the Rhodopes, where his side are the Latin. The Latin emperor Henry Flanders gives his illegitimate daughter for Alexei Slav's wife. In this way, with the support of a breakaway, the aim is, of course, to invalidate the central government in Bulgaria.
The power-hungry Boril will remain in history as a good, though not so successful, commander. He managed to win over the allegedly invincible Latin knights and to take part in the siege of Constantinople - all commemorative events for a Bulgarian king. His failures and negative evaluations of his personality come from the fact that he does not have sufficient legitimacy on the throne, which allows riots and fragmentation on the Bulgarian territory from both external and internal enemies.
In the end, lack of sufficient legitimacy also leads to his overthrow - Ivan Asen returns to claim his father's throne. Boril is blinded and the king of the Bulgarians becomes Ivan Assen II, our last mighty ruler.