Posts Tagged ‘Emperor Basil II’

Tsar Samuil (997 – 1014)

Saturday, May 3rd, 2008

In the SW corner of Bulgaria, excavations are underway at the sight of an ancient fortress from the Byzantium era. Known as “Samuil’s Fortress,” it is the site where the king of Bulgaria, Tsar Samuil, stationed his forces in defiance of the Byzantine army in 1014 AD…

In 986 AD, Emperor Basil II fled Bulgaria after the battle at Troyanovi Vrata, leaving behind his treasure hoard and a supply train. Under Samuil, Bulgaria entered a period of expansion and cultural revival, even commanding the attention of the Holy See.

But, in 1001, Basil II raised another army and started a new campaign against Bulgaria. Samuil was not able to stand against his old enemy, and after a series of defeats, disunity began to plague his state.

In the summer of 1014, Basil soundly defeated the Bulgarian army near the village of Klyuch, in Macedonia. Angered at the death of a close friend, the Emperor ordered that his prisoners, some 14,000 in number, be blinded. One man in every hundred was left with one eye in order to lead his comrades home.

Legend states that Samuil was so grieved at the sight of his blinded soldiers that he suffered a heart attack and died.