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The Prosopography of Bulgaria under Byzantine Rule 971–1185

Ivan Jordanov, Archaeological Institute, Bulgarian Academy of Science, Fellow 2004/05

My scholarly research has followed two basic lines of investigation:

І. Searching in the narrative sources (chronicles, annals, acts, documents, vitae, etc.) to ascertain information on the following people:

Byzantine governors (secular, military and ecclesiastical) of the Bulgarian lands for the period 971–1185.

Individuals connected with the Bulgarian lands: Bulgarians by origin; short- or long- term residents in the Bulgarian lands and generally persons with material and other interests in the Bulgarian lands.

The materials under this rubric available at Dumbarton Oaks have proved extremely numerous and the time allotted for their detailed examination and bringing this process to completion has proved insufficient. All those materials have been documented by photocopying or scanning. Work on them will continue after my return to Bulgaria with the intention to involve other specialists in this field.

ІІ. Investigation in the field of sigillography, archaeology and epigraphy with the purpose of documenting the following:

Seals of Byzantine governors (secular, military and ecclesiastical) of the Bulgarian lands.

Seals of individuals connected with the Bulgarian lands: Bulgarians by origin; short- or long-term residents in the Bulgarian lands; individuals who wrote letters to Bulgaria and whose seals have been found in situ in the Bulgarian lands.

Individuals attested on monuments of art, archaeological materials, inscriptions etc., connected with the Bulgarian lands in the discussed period.

I focused my efforts on this line of investigation, since the Dumbarton Oaks resources in these areas are enormous and this work can only be carried out in person. From the very large collection of seals at Dumbarton Oaks (ca. 17, 000 specimens), I have located seals of individuals connected with the Bulgarian lands in the period 971–1185, namely: by office: Byzantine governors (secular, military and ecclesiastical) of the Bulgarian lands for the period 971–1185; by origin: bearing proper or family names indicating a Bulgarian origin; parallels of the more than 3,000 Byzantine seals discovered in the Bulgarian lands and generally seals of individuals of the same families somehow connected with Bulgaria, since the theme of the project is basically prosopographic.

This process took more than five months working with the card-indexes and the originals. After January 2005 I began entering the information from the examined seals and narrative sources into the manuscript of the Corpus of the Byzantine Seals from Bulgaria, volume 2: Seals with Family Names.

The working process was slow but extremely useful. The whole manuscript, whose English text is going to be revised soon, amounts to ca. 500 computer pages. It includes nearly 800 Byzantine seals, a large number of which are unpublished to date, and contains a prosopographic survey of more than 2,000 individuals who played an important role in the Bulgarian lands and generally in Byzantine society in the Ⅹth–Ⅻth centuries. I hope the volume Corpus of the Byzantine Seals from Bulgaria, volume 2: Seals with Family Names will be published before the congress in Byzantine Studies in London in 2006.

Of course, with this the work on my project and generally my scholarly research have not been completed. I have also examined and documented materials (sphragistic and narrative) that will be included in the next Corpus of the Byzantine Seals from Bulgaria, volume 3: Seals of Byzantine Institutions (secular and ecclesiastical) from the capital Constantinople.

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