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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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we note 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 in mind the above:

Question

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..."?


  • 3
    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
  • 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

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