Medieval Bulgarian history is marked by extremes. The incredible rise is followed by a lightning fall. Caesar Tervel repulsed the Arabs from the Balkans and was received in Constantinople, and his successors put the country in danger of total destruction. Forty years after the Golden Age of the Bulgarian script, when Simeon the Great it is proudly called the "king of Bulgarians and Greeks", eastern Bulgaria disappears from the map, and the capital Preslav has been turned into a Byzantine city. Forty years after the death of the mighty Ivan Asen II, during which the state reached three seas, the Bulgarian kingdom fell under the political dependence of the Tatar Golden Horde. Cultural prosperity began under Ivan Alexander, and under his sons Ivan Shishman and Ivan Sratsimir the country was conquered by the Ottomans.


As one Russian scholar points out, Bulgarian history is "a strange string of rapidly changing power and powerlessness."


But this is only at first glance. An in-depth reading shows that in the Bulgarian lands people are too attached to their traditions. Here that even today are still celebrated holidays inherited from pagan times - mummer's games, firefighting, charging and more. Paganism left a solid imprint on the Bulgarian state system in the first centuries after the Christianization. We are accustomed to thinking that immediately after 865 the Bulgarian princes parted with the pagan titles they bore and adopted Christian instead. But while our rulers Boris, Simeon, Peter и Samuel are called princes and kings according to Christian custom, then their nobles long after the Baptism retain their old titles.


Let's see what are the more significant pagan titles and what are their origin and purpose!

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It is known that their holders are equal in rank to today's Bulgarian ministers of the Council of Ministers. They are the confidants of the ruler and the strong personalities of medieval Bulgaria. These are the great boyars, who according to written records are six in number. They form a council of rulers, which the khan consults if necessary. The boyars belong to the highest social class of the proto-Bulgarians, followed by the classes of the Baha'is and the common people. Experts point out that boyle is a Turkic term used to mean "tall, great, mighty." It is present in Turkic monuments from the VIII century - the title of the military leader of the East Turkic Haganate Tonyukuk is boila baga tarkan. Over time, in the Slavic languages, the plural "boili" changed to "boyars".


In the Byzantine diplomatic protocol the following ceremonial attitude towards envoys coming from Bulgaria is adopted. It dates from the middle of the XNUMXth century and is described in a famous work of Konstantin Bagrenorodni: “How is the spiritual grandson of our holy emperor (God-appointed ruler of Bulgaria? How is the queen (placed) by God? How are the kanartikin, the vuiatarkan, the sons of the god-appointed ruler of Bulgaria and his other children? How are the six great boyars? How are the other inner and outer boyars? How is the whole nation?

The Kanartikin and the Vuiatarkan are titles related by kinship, which are given to the heirs to the throne - sons of the ruler. And who then are the others mentioned - the "external and internal boyars" in question? Obviously, the ceremonial ordination is not arbitrary, but is performed in honor, so it begins with the ruler and the queen and ends with the people.


We know from domestic historical sources that the "inner and outer boyars" enjoy the greatest dignity among ichirgu boil (for domestic) and yuk boil (for external). Both proto-Bulgarian titles have been translated literally since ichirgu boil means "inner boyar" and yuk boil - "outer boyar". But while the ichirgu boyle is a high dignitary, very close to the ruler (his "inner" man), the yuk boil is a boyar with minor duties.


We get information about the yuk boil from an old Bulgarian inscription found near Madara, Shumen region: "Yuk boil has 26 armor, ichirgu bagain 12, zitkomir 17, yuk bagain 22, beer bagain 22." It is evident that from the listed military-administrative positions yuk boyle it has the most armor, therefore it has the most soldiers under its command. This is natural, since only he among those mentioned comes from the Boil class, while the rest are from the Baha'i. Etymologically, the term "yuk boil" is derived from the Turkic languages. "Yuk" has the meaning of "end, distance", and according to other views - "convoy", but in any case points to the secondary role that this boil has for the state.

In contrast, the ichirgu boil enjoys enormous power. The title of this boyar is of Turkic origin. The phrase "ichirgu" is present in the written traditions of the Turks and Uighurs, meaning "inner, palace servant." The first historically attested ichirgu boil is called Tuk (according to some it is called Tsuk). The Hambarli stone inscription, cut by order of Krum and dated 813, states: "The first here is the Ichirgu boyal for the right side, and the strategists Yannis and Vardan are subordinate to him." in which the Bulgarians defeated the Byzantines at Versinikia. The Ichirgu boyar Tuk, a senior military leader, commanded one wing of the Bulgarian army.

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After the Baptism, in connection with the solution of the Bulgarian ecclesiastical question, the name of another Bulgarian ichirgu boil, who held this position during the time of Prince Boris-Mihail, is mentioned. It is about ichirgu boyla Stasis, who heads two Bulgarian delegations, held in Rome in 867 and 869/870 at the Eighth Church Council. Stasis is the first diplomat and foreign minister of Prince Boris. During the reign of Boris, another ichirgu boyar ruled - Peter, to whom Pope John VIII addressed a letter in 879. Apparently Peter took the place of Stasis.


The chronicles of the successor of Theophanes and Simeon Logothetes mention the activities of George Sursuvul (ie George Ichirgu Boila), who in 927 negotiated a peace treaty with Byzantium in Constantinople on behalf of King Peter. And this ichirgu boil serves as the king's foreign minister. In the 50s of the XX century in Veliki Preslav the archeologists came across the grave of one of the Bulgarian ichirgu boilies. 

The dedication of his tombstone is in Cyrillic and reads: “Here rests Mostich, who was a scoundrel with Tsar Simeon and Tsar Peter. And at the age of eighty, leaving his sorcery and all his possessions, he became a monk and thus ended his life. ”Chargubilla is a Slavicized form of ichirgu boil. Science has speculated that Georgi Sursuvul and Chergubilya Mostich are the same person, but this is unproven at this stage.


The nobles of the First Bulgarian Kingdom kept their pagan titles even after the Baptism. Until the fall under Byzantine rule, Bulgaria followed its own specific path of development, and at the head of the country were all leaders, closely connected with our pagan past.

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