February 19, 2016

Medieval Macedonia


(9th - 16th century)

The Slavic tribes - Brsiaks, Strumians, Dragovits, Smolians, Rinhins and Velegezits had settled the territory of Macedonia from the end of the 6th century till the middle of the 7th century. The ancient Macedonian population that was found there was assimilated by the majority of the Slavic population. The toponimes were also Slavonicized. The so-called Sclavines were organized with tribal leaders at the head, who had been trying to conquer Salonica with united forces and establish a medieval state in Macedonia during the 7th and the 8th century. Feudalism began to develop in Macedonia as a result of the increased property differentiation.

Under the influence of the early Christianization, and afterwards as a result of the activity of the well-known Slavic educators, the brothers St. Cyril and St. Methodius and their disciples St. Clement and St. Naum, Macedonia became one of the oldest and the most developed centres of the Slavic literacy, with the city of Ohrid as its milieu.

As a result of the feudalism strengthening, people became discontent which culminated into the Bogomil movement against both - the secular and the ecclesiastical supremacy. Bogomilism spread through the whole Macedonia, the Balkans and Europe.

In the almost semi-centennial reign of czar Samoil and his successors in Macedonia (969 - 1018), the medieval state developed into a strong feudal state on the Balkans with a centre on the island Achilles (Mala Prespa) and Ohrid. Samoil ruled the territory of Macedonia (except the city of Salonica), a large part of Bulgaria and parts of Greece, Rashka (Serbia), Bosnia, Duklja (Montenegro), and Dalmacia.

At the end of the 10th century Samoil was crowned by the Roman church. In his reign, the Macedonian church was raised to a rank of archbishopric and afterwards into patriarchite. The process of formation of the Macedonian nation was terminated in the second half of the 10th century within the frames of the Macedonian state. Following the result of the establishment of the Macedonian regular army and a centralized machinery of government, the separate Macedonian Slavic tribes were united and a nation was founded.

Falling under the Byzantine rule, (1018) Macedonia preserved the ecclesiastical autocephality of the Ohrid Archbishopric during the seven centuries. There were many insurrections in Macedonia against the Byzantine authorities during the 11th century. The most famous of them were the insurrections of Petar Delyan (1040 - 1041) and Georgi Voyteh (1073). Besides that, the feudal lord Dobromir Hrs succeeded to establish the rule in Macedonia in the period of 1186 - 1202.

From the 13th century onwards, parts of the territory of Macedonia were under Epirus, Latin, Bulgarian, Nicaea (Byzantine) and Serbian rule. At the end of the 14th century (1371 - 1395) Macedonia definitively fell under the Ottoman rule.

The Pope Hadrian II reception of St. Cyril and Methodius (the fresco from the 11th century, "San Clemente" church in Rome)

The fragment of the fresco from the 9th century with St. Cyril (Constantine) figure, "San Clemente" church in Rome; the 19th century copy

The fragment of the fresco from the 9th century with St. Methodius figure, "San Clemente" church in Rome; the 19th century copy

The prince Rostislav appeal to the Byzantine emperor Michael III for sending teachers into Moravia to spread the Christianity and the Slavic literacy. Michael III sent to Moravia the Salonika teachers, the brothers St. Cyril (Constantine) and St. Methodius, 862/863 (Vast Hagiography of St. Methodius in Uspenski’s Miscellany, 12th - 13th century)

The Slavic teachers St. Cyril and St. Methodius presented during their mission for spreading the Christianity and the Slavic literacy, Menology of Vasilie II, the 11th century (The Vatican Library - Rome)

"O pismeneh" ("On Letters") - the tractate written by Tsrnorizec Hrabar (an unknown author connected with the name of St. Clement and St. Naum) on the way of creation the first Slavic alphabet created by St. Cyril and St. Methodius in the second half of the 9th century in Macedonia. Transcript from 1348, The Laurentie’s Miscellany (The Public Library "Salticov - Shchedrin" - St. Petersburg)

"The Praiseworthy Letter of Constantine Philosopher (St. Cyril) and Methodius" written by Vladislav Gramatik, 1479

"The Wise Thoughts of Constantine Philosopher", Old Church Slavic Manuscript, The Pogodin Miscellany (The Public Library "Salticov - Shchedrin" - St. Petersburg, No. 1287)

Copyright The Archive of MACEDONIA

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