In 680 Bulgar tribes under the leadership of Asparukh moved south across the Danube and settled in the area between the lower Danube and the Balkan, establishing their capital at Pliska.

A peace treaty with Byzantium in 681 AD marked the beginning of the First Bulgarian Empire. The Bulgars gradually mixed up with the local population, adopting a common language on the basis of the local Slavic dialect.

Thus, the earliest and official date of Bulgarians on the Balkan Peninsula is at the end of the seventh century, however, according to The Ravenna Cosmography compiled by an anonymous cleric in Ravenna around the sixth century:

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The label Bulgari on the same Balkan area:

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Now, the existence of Old Great Bulgaria dates back to (at least) 632 AD (if we don't consider the Nominalia of the Bulgarian khans)and its location is on the Western Pontic–Caspian steppe which is far away from the Balkan Peninsula.


Having this in mind, could it be claimed that there were Bulgarians in the Balkans long before the "...Bulgar tribes under the leadership of Asparukh moved south across the Danube in 681 AD..."?

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    I hope you realise that this map is a modern interpretation of the Ravenna Cosmography. The Cosmography is a prose text and does not contain any maps. – fdb Oct 29 '16 at 11:49
  • @fdb Yes (and thank you for the clarification), this is a visualisation based on (if I'm not mistaken): archive.org/details/ravennatisanonym00geoguoft – Ziezi Oct 29 '16 at 11:57
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    You'd have to go through Romania first so I doubt it. More than like Romania "introduced" Southeastern Europe to their new friends.... – Doctor Zhivago Oct 30 '16 at 3:23
  • Also according to Wikipedia, the cosmography was compiled around 700 AD, not in the sixth century. – Spencer Jun 24 at 22:05

Yes, there are numerous sources pointing to Bulgarian people in this region long before the officially accepted 681 year. You can check Saint Jerome's map who lived in 4th century. On the map there is a label - Mesia hec & vulgares which is roughly translated as Moesia here also Bulgaria.

The map is a copy from 12th century which is used as an excuse to claim that this was added later. Note that the authenticity of the copy is not questioned and during the 12th century Bulgarian lands are under Byzantine rule and Bulgaria does not exists as a country.

But even without this map, there are plenty of other Latin and Greek sources mentioning Bulgarians living on the Balkans before 7th century. Here you can check some of these sources.

You can also check this genetic study from 2013 which brings forth some very interesting questions about who exactly are the ancestors of modern day Bulgarians.

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    "Hec et vulgares" is Latin for "and these folk" - there's no evidence of a connection to the Bulgars. – Spencer Jun 24 at 22:08
  • @Spencer what about the rest of the sources? – Ziezi Jun 24 at 23:01
  • @Zeizi The Google Maps thing just looks like a bald assertion. – Spencer Jun 24 at 23:06
  • @Spencer, this meaning of just folks does not make sense. This is not a meme map saying "here be dragons", this is a map of Saint Jerome. It's the equivalent of contemporary map saying here live some folks. Yes, It may describe more than one tribe, but it definitely describes a group of people with some common denominator. The "bald assertion" for Google Maps is actually grouped links to Latin and Greek sources mentioning Bulgarians on the Balkans long before 681. You can't find anything more valid than that. – VKNikov Jun 26 at 8:22
  • Also I would be very glad if you share with us your translation of this quote from the chronography of 354: "Ziezi ex quo Vulgares." – VKNikov Jun 26 at 8:34

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