Olli Thomson
Photography

Samuel of Bulgaria

Samuel was Tsar of the First Bulgarian Empire from 997 until his death in 1014. I was curious about his name when I first saw this sculpture and read the attached plaque since Samuel is hardly a Bulgarian name. Further reading revealed that he was one of four brothers – David, Moses, Aaron and Samuel – named for rulers of the people of Israel in the Bible. Like his biblical namesake Tsar Samuel came to power at a time when the people were threatened by hostile neighbours and spent much of his life at war. While Tsar Samuel’s conflict with the Byzantines initially brought success and the expansion of the Empire, by the time of his death repeated setbacks had brought Bulgaria to crisis point and the Empire finally fell to the Byzantines is 2018.

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