Bulgarian Kings: Krum (Bulgarian: Крум)

From Wikipedia:

Krum (Bulgarian: Крум) was Khan of Bulgaria, from after 796 to 814 AD. During his reign the Bulgarian territory doubled in size, spreading from the middle Danube to the Dnieper and from Odrin to the Tatra Mountains.

Family Origin

There are two hypotheses about the family origin of Krum. According to the first one, his family has come from Pannonia, where it had been in service of the Avars whereas according the second and more popular, Krum was born in Macedonia. This could give further explanation to the fact that Krum was described and portrayed by the Byzantine chronists as a light-hairеd man with light eyes.

Establishment of New Borders

In c. 805, Krum took advantage of the defeat of the Avar Khaganate to destroy the remainder of the Avars and to expand his authority across the Carpathians over Transylvania and along the Danube into eastern Pannonia. This resulted in the establishment of a common border between the Frankish Empire and Bulgaria, which would have important repercussions for the policy of Krum's successors.

5 интересни факта за хан Крум - YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbAMIV1xjfY

Conflict with Nikephoros I

Krum engaged in a policy of territorial expansion. In 807 the Bulgarian forces defeated the Byzantine army in the Struma valley. In 809 Krum besieged and forced the surrender of Serdica (Sofia), slaughtering the Byzantine garrison of 6,000 men in spite of his promise of safe conduct (Siege of Serdica, 809). This provoked the reaction of the Byzantine Emperor Nikephoros I, who proceeded to settle Anatolian populations along the frontier to protect it. He also attempted to retake and refortify Serdica, although this enterprise ultimately failed.

In early 811, Nikephoros I undertook a massive expedition against Bulgaria, and advanced to Marcellae (near Karnobat). Here Krum attempted to negotiate on July 11, 811, but Nikephoros was determined to continue with his advance. His army managed to avoid the Bulgarian ambushes in the Balkan Mountains and defeated an army of 12,000 men that tried to block their advance into Moesia. Another hastily assembled army of 50,000 men was defeated before the walls of the Bulgarian capital Pliska, which fell to the emperor on July 20. Here Nikephoros, who had been a financial minister before becoming emperor, helped himself to the treasures of Krum, while setting the city afire and turning his army on the population. A new diplomatic tentative from Krum was rebuffed.

While Nikephoros I and his army were busy pillaging, devastating and plundering the Bulgarian capital, Krum mobilized his people (including the women) to set traps and ambushes in the mountain passes. On his way back to Constantinople the emperor learnt about these preparations for battle. The panicked emperor repeatedly stated to his companions "Even if we have had wings we could not have escaped from peril." At dawn on July 26 the Byzantines found themselves trapped against a moat and wooden wall in the Vărbica pass. Nikephoros was killed in the ensuing battle together with many of his troops, while his son Staurakios was carried to safety by the imperial bodyguard after receiving a paralyzing wound to his neck. According to tradition, Krum had the Emperor's skull lined with silver and used it as a drinking cup.

Krum spent the winter of 813 preparing for a major attack on Constantinople, where rumor reported the assembling of an extensive siege park to be transported on 5,000 carts. However, before he set out, he died on April 13, 814, and was succeeded by his son Omurtag.


Krum was also remembered for instituting the first known written Bulgarian law code which ensured subsidies to beggars and state protection to all poor Bulgarians. Drinking, slander and robbery were severely punished. Through his laws he became known as a strict but just ruler, bringing Slavs and Bulgars into a centralized state.


Krum. Wikipedia.

Related reading:

Загадъчната смърт на кханасюбиги Крум - SegaBG, 2014 http://buff.ly/1cXbR4W

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