The Bulgarian Tsar Simeon

Slav Epic

Tsar Simeoni I of Bulgaria (1923) by Alphonse MuchaPrague City Gallery

The height of the medieval Bulgarian power and glory is the rule of Tsar Simeon at the end of the ninth / beginning of the tenth century. 

After fierce wars against the neighbouring countries, he took control of almost the whole of the Balkan and was close to seizing the Byzantine throne. At the height of his rule he obtained the Emperor’s crown or himself as well as for Bulgaria.

When bishop Methodius died in Great Moravia on 6 April 885, there were disputes between the supporters of Latin and Slavic liturgies. 

Although Methodius had championed Moravian priest Gorazd as his successor, the Roman Curia charged Wiching, the bishop of Nitra, to manage the Moravian Church and prohibited Slavic languages from being used in religious services.

Slavic priests were forced to leave Great Moravia and most of them found a new home in Great Bulgaria. They included Clement of Ohrid, the first Bulgarian bishop of Slavic origin – depicted in the upper left-hand part – 

 – and Naum and Angelarius, who simplified the Glagolitic alphabet and developed it into the Cyrillic – they can be seen in the upper right-hand corner. 

Simeon was an educated man who loved and spread art, especially literature. In 894 he proclaimed the language of the Bulgarian Slavs the official language of both the state and the church.

He also supported schools of literature in Ohrid and Preslav. He is depicted sitting on his throne in the palace in the capital city, Preslav, managing the work of scribes recording the memories of old men so that they do not sink into oblivion. 

Available literature is being translated and the monks are copying works of literature. The whole painting features Byzantine colourfulness and spectacular nature.

Credits: Story

Written on the basis of the "Catalogue for the Exhibition 'The Slav Epic' by Alphonse Mucha"
Published in 2022 by the Municipal Cultural Centre of Moravský Krumlov, náměsti T. G. Masaryka 40, 672 01 Moravský Krumlov

Written by: Bc. Pavla Červinková. Language and history proofreading: Mgr. Šárka Kočí

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Explore more
Google apps