The Balkans

The Story of the Nations - The Balkans

By William Miller, 1911






David, is known to have been murdered by a band of wandering Wallachs in the mountains. Moses, the second brother, fell in battle. Aaron, the third of the family, was put to death by Samuel's orders because of his sympathies with the Greeks. A story was long current to the effect that Samuel had put his father's eyes out and then strangled him, in order to secure the throne. But this is probabiy an invention. Samuel was a cruel ruler, but it is not necessary to accuse him of parricide. The fact is certain that in 976 he became Czar, and for nearly forty years the fortunes of Bulgaria were in his hands.

The empire to which Samuel succeeded was Macedonian rather than Bulgarian. At first, indeed, he fixed his residence at Sofia, the present capital; but he soon moved to Macedonia, and established himself in a rocky and beautifully-wooded island in the lovely lake of Prespa. The travellers who have seen the place have still been able to trace the ruins of his castle, or Grad, from which the island derives its present name. Amid the clusters of the vine and the fiery glow of the pomegranate, the columns of four churches still rise in silent grandeur; while a second island, called Mali Grad, or " the little castle,"

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