For more than 25 years I have been working on the project of a Corpus of the Seals of Medieval Bulgaria which aims to record all seals with reference to the history of medieval Bulgaria.
Working on the seals of the strategy of Preslav, I was forced to adduce their parallels from Bulgaria and overseas. Thus, I came up with the idea to document all Byzantine seals found on the territory of modern Bulgaria.
In 1998 all hitherto discovered seals from Bulgaria were documented (more than 2500 lead seals, 700 lead blanks, 20 moulds and 2 boulloterions). The result was one of the reasons to organize the VIth International Symposium of Byzantine Sigillography in Bulgaria and especially in Preslav.
Our next task was to publish this overwhelming manuscript of more 1500 pages and almost 4000 photos. Together with Agato Publishers, I decided to publish it in English. This ambitious plan turned out to be impossible to carry out for two main reasons.
The first problem is of financial nature. The translation into English and the publication expenses demand significant funds which in the present state of affairs in Bulgaria are impossible to amass. That is why it was decided to publish the manuscript in stages, in which there is some progress, i.e. the text was translated which includes the seals with geographical names, namely the provincial administration (secular and ecclesiastical) according to the model adopted by Dumbarton Oaks and already demonstrated in four volumes.
Another difficulty is connected w ith the dynamic social and economic processes taking place in this country. Every day new seals are being found in Bulgaria mostly by individuals who try to sell them for profit. In the past year the finds number more than several hundred.
Thus, after the publication in 2001 of the Corpus of Seals from Medieval Bulgaria, which included all seals of the medieval Bulgarian state, now we offer to the attention of the experts and readers a Corpus of Byzantine Seals from Bulgaria, volume 1: Byzantine Seals with Geographical Names.
It includes 1 boulloterion, 422 lead seals belonging to 82 titularies from the Byzantine provincial administration (secular and ecclesiastical).
The seals are listed according to the names of the individual administrative units written on the seals and grouped in alphabetical order (according to the Greek alphabet) by topo-nyms but not according to the territorial areas and their smaller subdivisions, some of which are also presented here by sphragistic materials. In the cases when several toponyms are inscribed on the seal as united administrative areas, the list includes the first toponym, which has to be assumed as a centre of unification where its ruler resided.
Some short information is provided for the present locality, time of foundation, duration of existence of every administrative unit. As regards those on the territory of present-day Bulgaria, the names of other holders of the office are listed etc.
After providing the data of the seal, commentary is included on the person of its owner, other known evidence about it extracted from narrative sources or from other seals, as well as information on his relatives.
This analysis aims to determine the chronological framework of seals, i.e. the time when this administrative centre was ruled by the owner of the respective seal (or seals). The information obtained by sphragistic data occupies a special place. The seals reflect some dynamic processes and they are the only sources for information about lots of settlements and especially these situated in the Bulgarian lands.
Most of the seals bear toponyms from Western Byzantium and most of them came from Bulgarian cities and regions. There are also some seals which belonged to the rulers of the East, although they are few in number. The latter are chronologically and territorially isolated from another and they attest the accidental character of the exchanged correspondence. Some of the owners of the seals are known to have taken part in military expeditions to the West while others just visited their relatives or friends. And, vice verso, the seals which came from the West, especially these from the Bulgarian lands, witness a regular correspondence with reference to concrete events and persons, whose names had been written on the seals, and these persons were active "actors" in this historical "theatre".
At the end of volume there are indices of personal and family names, geographical locations, titles, offices and iconographical images on the seals.
The writing of this book would have been impossible without the cooperation of colleagues and institutions in Bulgaria and abroad.
First of all, I would like to thank my colleagues in Bulgaria who provided me with materials, the people who excavate Pliska. Preslav, Silistra. Veliko Turnovo and other settlements of medieval Bulgaria and who keep these seals: Dr. Vladimir Penchev from the National Museum of History; Dr. Dochka Aladzhova and Zhenia Zhekova from the Shou-nien Museum of History; Dr. Dimitur Draganov from the Yambol Museum of History; Dr. Ivan Karayotov from the Bourgas Museum of Archaeology; Krasimir Velkov from the Nova Zagora Museum of History; Dr. Boris Borisov from the Radnevo Museum; Dimitur Yankov and Mariana Minkova from the Stara Zagora Museum of History; Rositsa Moreva from the Plovdiv Museum of Archaeology; D. Aladzhov from the Haskovo Museum of History; Dr. Ilya Prokopov from the Kujstendil Museum of History; Dr. Hristo Haritonov from the Veliko Turnovo Museum of History and many, many others whose names are impossible to mention.
I am grateful to a number of Bulgarian collectors who supplied me with materials: N. Nikolov from Razgrad; V. Panteleev from Varna; St. Bilik from Sofia; Al. Peikov from Veliko Turnovo; Ivan Yotov from Yambol and many others whose names I cannot disclose because of their expressed wish.
Ключови думи: Време за книга