This site is a mirror of the original site, made in 2022 by Heraldry of the World. The original site is unaltered. This mirror functions as an archive to keep the material available on-line.
All rights remain with the late Hubert de Vries, the original site owner.


Part 1



First Bulgarian Empire

Macedonian Empire

Byzantine Rule

Second Bulgarian Empire

Sebastocrators and Despots







Armed Forces


History & Heraldry


Present Bulgaria comprises a large part of the Late-Roman diocese of Thracia consisting of the provinces of Moesia II, Scythia, Thracia, Haeminontus, Rhodope and Europa in the prefecture Oriens, and of the diocese of Dacia in the prefecture of Illyria. Today Rhodope is Greek and Europa Turkish.

Though history Bulgaria had its political center in each of the former dioceses, in Preslav, Tarnovo, Skopje and Sofya, Skopje not even located in present Bulgaria. 

Also, some parts of present Bulgaria were once called Triballia, Dardania, Vidin, Romania, Paradunavon, Nigbolu etc. in different eras.

In the middle ages Bulgaria knew its largest extend in the time of Kaloyan (1197-1207) when it stretched over most of Dacia, Macedonia, Moesia II and Thracia.




In Roman times the diocese of Thracia was governed in the 4th-5th centuries by a vicar of which the insignia of his office are known and were of the then common style. 


The insignia of the Vicar of Thracia

As in the Notitia Dignitatum, fol. 43.


The insignia of the vicar of Tracia were a book of mandates inscribed: FL intall comord P.R. (Floreas Inter allectos comites ordinis primi / Mayst thou prosper amongst the chosen counts of the first rank) and a codicil (scroll) standing on a table covered with a blue cloth. On the right of the table stands a theca which is the symbol of judicature.

The insignia of the governors of Dacia and Macedonia are unknown but may have been a book of mandates and a codicil. [1]

Shield of the Moesiaci Seniores auxiliaries

 as in the Notitia Dignitatum fol. 68


First Bulgarian Empire        



In 680, in the reign of Constantine IV (668-685) Bulgaria was founded by the Proto Bulgarians, a tribe of Turkic-tatar origin.

In the beginning of 8th century an alliance between the Byzantine emperor Justinian II and the Bulgarian Khan Tervel defeated the invading Arabs and Khan Tervel received the Byzantine title "khesar", which stands for "next to the emperor".[2] Under the warrior Khan Krum (802-814) Bulgaria expanded northwest and south, occupying the lands between the middle Danube and Moldova rivers, all of present-day Romania, Sofia in 809 and Adrianople in 813, and threatening Constantinople itself.

During the reign of Khan Omurtag (814-831), the northwestern boundaries with the Frankish Empire were firmly settled along the middle Danube. Under Boris I, Bulgarians became Christians, the autonomous Bulgarian Archbishop settling at the capital Pliska.

By the late 9th and early 10th centuries, Bulgaria extended to Epirus and Thessaly in the south, Bosnia in the west and controlled all of present-day Romania and eastern Hungary in the north. A Serbian state came into existence as a dependency of the Bulgarian Empire. Under Tsar Simeon I of Bulgaria (Simeon the Great), Bulgaria became a serious threat to the Byzantine Empire. Simeon, hoping to take Constantinople and become emperor of both Bulgarians and Greeks, proclaimed himself "Tsar of the Bulgarians and the Romans", a title which was recognised by the Pope, but not by the Byzantine Emperor.


First Bulgarian Empire


House of Dulo










House of Ukil


















House of Krum














Boris I




Simeon I


Peter I


Boris II


In 971 tsar Boris II was defeated by the Byzantine emperor Basil II who could establish himself for a few years, In 986 he again undertook a campaign to conquer Bulgaria. After a war lasting several decades he inflicted a decisive defeat upon the Bulgarians in 1014 and completed the campaign four years later. In 1018, after the death of the last Bulgarian Tsar - Ivan Vladislav, most of Bulgaria's nobility chose to join the Eastern Roman Empire. However, Bulgaria lost its independence and remained subject to Byzantium for more than a century and a half.


House of Dulo




In 811 Nikephorus of Byzantium went on a campaign against the greatest of all Bulgarian kings, Krum. He however walked into an ambush and had to surrender. In this representation he is derided by Krum shortly before he was beheaded by the Bulgarians.


Derision of Nikephorus by Krum

Manasses Chronicle by Johannes Skylitzes, 1345 (Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana)



On the shield of the guard is a crescent or what may be a shield buckle (umbo) and a red arabesque below.


The chronicle was written at the end of the 11th century by John Skylitzes. There are two copies, one from the 13th century, today in Spain, and one from 1345 today in the Vatican. The dress of the princes on the representation is from the time of Skylitzes and the shields, of norman shape existed in his time. For that reason the charge of the shield of the soldier is contemporaneous with the chronicler and is perhaps drawn after the example of shields of the guard of the last independent prince, Ivan Vladislav (1015-’18), submitted by Basil II Bulgaroctonus.


On the image on the left is King Krum riding to capture Nikephorus, his guard flying his red pennon ensigned with what looks like a crescent and ball.


Peter I           



During the reign of Peter I, Bulgaria prospered in a long-lasting peace with Byzantium. This was secured by the marriage of Peter with a Byzantine princess Maria Lakapina. However after Maria's death in 963, the truce had been shaken and Peter I sent his sons Boris and Roman to Constantinople, as honorary hostages, to honor the new terms of the peace treaty. During these years the Byzantines and Bulgarians had entangled themselves in a war with Kievan Rus' prince Sviatoslav, who invaded Bulgaria several times.


The Preslav Treasure was found in autumn of 1978 at the vineyard in Castana, 3 km to the north - west of the second Bulgarian capital Veliki Preslav. The excavations that followed revealed more than 170 golden, silver and bronze objects including 15 silver Byzantine coins of Constantine VII (913-’59 and Romanus II (959-‘63) and other artifacts dating far back to the period between the 3rd and 7th centuries.



Five enameled plates from the Preslav Treasure

Constantinople, 1st half-middle of 10th cent. (?)

5.39´4.41; 5.39´4.48; 5.34´4.45; 5.37´4.45; 5.37´4.43 cm

Preslav, Arkheologicheski Muzei “Veliki Preslav”, inv. nr. 3381/2


These plates are a part of a cuirass of the shape St. Michael is wearing on the Icon of St. Michael from Venice dating from about 1100


The Cuirass of St. Michael, 1100 ca.

They represent:

Alexander the Great on a cart pulled by two griffins, two senmurws, a griffin and a winged lion.[3]


The scales have belonged to a scale-armour which was the fashion in the 11th-12th century and Basileus Bulgaroctones is for example represented in such a coat of arms. The Alexander and the senmurws are probably of armenian ori gin and are the badges of a high ranking military commander, probably the domestic of the west. They are in the tradition of the representation of all rank-badges from low to high on the armour and coat of arms of a supreme commander. A candidate-owner os the whole armour is Leo Phokas the Younger  who, under Romanus II, was named Domestic of the Schools of the West, i.e. commander of the western armies in the Balkans (959-963).




Boris II




Byzantine rule


Basil II Bulgaroctonus of Byzantium

Co-emperor 960-976

Emperor 976-1025


The vanquished of Basil II, amongst them Boris II.

 Psalterium of Basil II, Constantinople (976-1025). Venezia, Bibl. Marciana Ms. gr. z 17, fol. III r°., lower margin


The emperor dresses in purple chiton and golden cuirass. In his left a spear and in his right a sword in a red sheath. On his head a crown with pendilia. At his feet his enemies kneeling, dressed in purple, blue and red, the one dressed in purple probably Boris II of Bulgaria.


Macedonian Empire




Emperor 997-1014


Тhe Stara Zagora Slabs

From the reign of Samuel some heraldic badges are found in Stara Zagora and on his shroud. On stone slabs are a lion making a pair with a lioness and her cub, a griffin, a two-headed eagle and two peacocks supporting an undefined device. [4] From his shroud found in his tomb, two eagles respecting are known. All these badges belong to the Byzantine repertory of heraldic devices.


Lioness and Lion.

Bulgarian (Stara Zagora), 10th-11th century

Nasionalen Arkheologicheski Muzei, Sofia Inv. nr. B: 852



From Stara Zagora


The bones of Bulgaria’s legendary Tsar Samuel were found in 1969 by professor at Thessaloniki Aristotle University Nikolaos Moutsopoulos. During the excavation works of the basilica of Agios Achilios (St. Achilles) on the eponymous island in the small Prespa Lake he had found, near the grave with the relics of the saint, four "significant" sarcophagi as they were presented to journalists. After some scientific and historical research, Moutsopoulos had concluded that these were the remains of Tsar Samuel and his close relatives. Thereafter, Bulgarian experts who studied the bones supported his conclusion as well. [5]


Gold-threaded cloth

from the grave of Tsar Samuel in the

St. Achilles basilica on Prespa island

Emblem of Samuel from his shroud


Two-Headed Eagle

Bulgarian (Stara Zagora), 10th-11th century

Red schist 72.5 Í 110 Nasionalen Arkheologicheski Muzei, Sofia Inv. nr.B: 854. [6]


Two peacocks supporting a monument

From Stara Zagora


Gabriel Radomir

Ivan Vladislav





Byzantine Rule



After the successful conclusion of the Byzantine–Bulgarian Wars, and the fall of the First Bulgarian Empire in 1018 Basil II guaranteed the indivisibility of Bulgaria in its former geographic borders and did not officially abolish the local rule of the Bulgarian nobility, who became part of Byzantine aristocracy as archons or strategoi. The former empire was divided into two Byzantine military districts (themes) both headed by a katepano. They were  Bulgaria in the west with its capital Skopje (today the capital of Macedonia) its first commander being David Areianites, and Paradunavon in the east with its capital Silistra. [7]


After the death of Basil II the empire entered into a period of instability. In 1040, Peter Delyan organized a large-scale rebellion, but failed to restore the Bulgarian state and was killed. Shortly after, the Komnenos dynasty came into succession and halted the decline of the empire. During this time the Byzantine state experienced a century of stability and progress.


From this period of Byzantine rule are the frescoes of the St. Panteilimon in Nerezi at 8 km west of Skopje. They show amongst others, six warriors in Byzantine armoury supporting their shields. Such frescoes portraying warriors are by no means unique. Other examples can be found all over the Balkans representing other katapanos or generals.


Three warriors on a fresco in St Pantaleimon Church in Nerezi.


The church is said to be constructed in 1164 as a foundation of Alexius Angelus Comnenus, a son of Constantine Angelos (†1156) and Theodora Komnene, a daughter of Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos. On an architrave of the church is the inscription: “The church of the holy and renowned great-marty Panteleimon was beautifully made with the aid of Lord Alexios Komnenos, son of the purple born Theodora in the month of September, indiction 13, 1164. Ionnikos the monk being hegoumenos.”

The three warriors may be a representation of the military governor (strategos) of the theme Bulgaria together with his commanders (turmachai) of its brigades (turmai). The one in the middle, dressed in purple and a cuirass and armed with sword and shield, being the strategos. [8]


The three warriors of the other fresco may be their predecessors or succesors.


Three other warrions in St. Pantaleimon Church


Like many other Byzantine institutions, the katepanikion as an administrative subdivision was also adopted in the Second Bulgarian Empire.


The arms quarterly on these frescoes are also of a muc later Connetable de France (Charles d’Albret, 1368-1415) on the Icon of St. George in relief, Byzantine from Arta, Greece, 13th century.


Second Bulgarian Empire



House of Asen



Asen I

Emperor 1185-1197

Co-emperor 1189-1196


In 1180 the last of the capable Komnenoi, Manuel I Komnenos, died and was replaced by the relatively incompetent Angeloi dynasty, allowing some Bulgarian nobles to organize an uprising.


In 1185 Theodore and his younger brother Ivan Asen, leading nobles of supposed and contested Bulgarian, Cuman, Vlach or mixed origin, appeared before the Byzantine emperor Isaac II Angelos at Kypsela to request a pronoia, but their request was dismissively refused and Ivan Asen was slapped in the ensuing argument. The insulted brothers returned home to Moesia and, taking advantage of discontent caused by the heavy taxation imposed by the Byzantine emperor to finance his campaigns against William II of Sicily and to celebrate his marriage to Margaret of Hungary, raised a revolt against Byzantine rule and Theodore declared himself Peter II Tsar of the Bulgars, Greeks and Wallachians.

The rebellion failed to immediately capture Bulgaria's historic capital Preslav, but established a new capital city at Tărnovo, presumably the center of the revolt.


A victory over the Byzantines in 1190 brought Ivan Asen to the fore, and Peter IV had apparently already crowned him co-emperor in 1189. With Ivan Asen I left in charge of Tărnovo and the campaigns against the Byzantines, Peter IV retired to Preslav without abandoning the throne. After the murder of Ivan Asen I in 1196, Peter IV marched on Tărnovo, besieged the murderer Ivanko, and forced him to flee to the Byzantines. About a year later, in 1197, Peter IV was also murdered. He was succeeded by his younger brother Ivan (nicknamed Kaloyan or Ivanica/Ioanica), whom he had apparently associated on the throne in 1196.     



* 1168ca-†1207


            King 07.11.1204


Kaloyan was a younger brother and heir of Peter IV (Petăr IV) of Bulgaria and Ivan Asen I. In 1187 (a year after the declaration of independence) he was sent as a hostage to Constantinople, from where he escaped and returned to Bulgaria about 1189. After the successive assassinations of both of his brothers, Kaloyan became the Tsar of Bulgaria (1197). Kaloyan pursued his predecessors' aggressive policy against the Byzantine Empire. In 1201 he conquered Konstanteia in Thrace and Varna, and in 1202 most of Slavic Macedonia


A great deal of the diplomatic efforts of Kaloyan consisted of securing an imperial title for himself and the recognition of the head of the Bulgarian church as a patriarch.

Innocent III had written to Kaloyan, inviting him to unite his Church with the Roman Catholic Church, as early as 1199. Wanting to bear the title of Emperor and to restore the prestige, wealth and size of the First Bulgarian Empire, Kaloyan responded in 1202. In this political maneuver, he requesed that Pope Innocent III bestow on him the imperial crown and sceptre that had been held by Simeon I, Peter I, and Samuel and in exchange he might consider communication with Rome. Kaloyan also wanted the Papacy to recognize the head of the Bulgarian Church as a Patriarch. Meanwhile, in an attempt to foster an alliance with Kaloyan, the Byzantine Emperor Alexios III Angelos (1195-1203) recognized his imperial title and promised him patriarchal recognition. The pope was not willing to make concessions on that scale, and when his envoy, Cardinal Leo, arrived in Bulgaria, he anointed the Archbishop Vasilij of Tărnovo as Primate of Bulgarians and Vlachs. Kaloyan only received a crown as rex Bulgarorum et Blachorum  or rex Bulgarie et Blachie ("King of Bulgaria and Wallachia"), not emperor. [9] He was crowned in Trnovo by cardinal Leo on 7 November 1204. Also  Innocent sent him a flag together with a letter explaining its symbolism. [10] This flag bore a cross and the keys of St. Peter, "pretendit autem non sine mysterio crucem et claves, quia Beatus Petrus Apostolus, et crucem in Christo sustinuit, et claves a Christo recepit", and another mention of it is found in a letter from Kaloyan to Innocent in 1205. [11] This description however is not exact enough to reconstruct the flag. A possibility for example is: Gules, a (latin-) cross between two keys per pale Or/Argent. Galbreath thinks it was: “Gules, a cross between four keys per pale Argent” which was later made the flag of Viterbo (Italy).


Probably as a result of this rapidly deteriorating relations between the Latin Empire, supported by Innocent III, and Kaloyan the flag Innocent III had proposed was apparently soon  abandoned.

While the introduction of a flag symbolizing the subordination of Bulgaria to the Holy See seems to have failed, Kaloyan has used a badge qualifying him as a prince. His signet ring shows a lion which is the badge of such a prince and not of a king let alone an emperor. With it he is referring to his status before he succeeded his brother in 1197.


Reconstruction of the garment of Tsar Kaloyan

(from unknown sources)


Æ If this is a reconstruction after an orginal piece found in connection with King Kaloyan it demonstrates his ambition to be recognized as an emperor of the Bulgars as, according to himself in his letters to Innocent III, some of his predecessors had been.


In 1972 the grave of King Kaloyan was discovered. The corpse, of considerable length, was dressed in purple robes embroidered with pearls and had a red cap decorated with gold on his head. On his feet were red shoes, emblem of armed authority. Last but not least there was a golden signet ring on his fingers showing a quadruped of uncertain kind within the legend ‘Kaloyan’s Ring’.

 Signet ring of Kaloyan found in his grave in Veliki Tarnovo.


Emblem: Spotted quadruped passant reguardant (?). L.: X КАЛОЫИО ПРЬСТЕИЬ  (= Kaloyan’s Ring). [12]


ë Probably the spotted quadruped is a dog and perhaps an early form of the dalmatian dog. This would match with the nickname Skyloïōannēs or ‘John Dog’ some Byzantine historians gave to Kaloyan, it is said referring to his cruel treatment of the Byzantines.

Such quadrupeds, sometimes of the shape of a dog or of a marten are known from heraldry from all over the Balkans. Early examplea are the martens on the official dress of sebastocrator Alexander  and on the coins of  Bela IV (1235-’70) and his successors from Slavonia.

Coin of Bela IV and Stephen, minted in Zagreb


In a way these quadrupeds could be associated with the former Avar kingdom which comprised the kingdom of Hungary (and Croatia) as well as Bulgaria north of the Danube. This makes the nickname ‘John Dog’ a reference to his origin.



Ivan Asen II

Koloman I

Michael II






Before the Tatar invasions king Bela IV had made plans to untertake a crusade against the schismatic bulgarians with the help of pope Gregrory IX (1227-’41) but nothing had come of it.

In 1255 Bulgaria came peacefully under the Hungarian crown and was protected against attacks by Bela IV and his son Stephen, then voivode of Trasilvania. From then on the Hungarian kings bore the title of Regis Bulgarii until 1918.

Effectively from the time of Charles Martel of Anjou (1292-’95):




For this Hungarian Bulgaria a coat of arms was created after the peace of Karlowitz (1699). It is:

Arms: Azure, a fess Gules charged with a running marten Argent between two fesses tierced per fess of the third and the first.


Kaliman II

Emperor of Bulgaria 1256-1257/61


Kaliman Asen II was the son of sebastokrator Alexander, who was the younger brother of Ivan Asen II of Bulgaria.

In 1256 Kaliman Asen murdered his first cousin Michael Asen I and usurped the throne. In 1261 he was murdered after being abandoned by most of his supporters.


Constantine Tikh (Asen)



Constantine I was the son of a nobleman named Tih (short for Tihomir or the like) and probably a descendant of a Skopje notable named Tihomir, who lived at the beginning of the 13th century. Through his mother, Constantine was descended from Stefan Nemanja of Serbia.

In 1257, Constantine was elected by the nobles (boyars) to replace the ineffective Mitso Asen as emperor of Bulgaria. By 1261 Mitso Asen was decisively defeated, and sought asylum with Michael VIII Palaiologos, the emperor of Nicaea. To enhance his position as legitimate ruler, Constantine adopted the name Asen and married Eirene of Nicaea, a daughter of emperor Theodore II Doukas Laskaris by Elena of Bulgaria, the daughter of Ivan Asen II of Bulgaria.


Fresco of Constantine and Eirene

in Boyana Church


On the frescoes in Boyana Church Constantine and his wife are represented in thoroughly Byzantine official dress. No badge of rank or office is seen on the dress of Empress Eirene. [14] Instead badges of rank are depicted on the carpet exposed above their heads. This shows medallions charged with lions passant and (single-headed) eagles.


Fresco of a carpet with lion and eagle medallions

in Boyana Church


One cannot help thinking that this carpet is intended to demonstrate the rank of Constantine, represented here as a successor from the House of Asen (lion) and as a ruler of Bulgaria with the rank of a king as was granted by Pope Innocent III in 1204 (eagle).







In 1277, a popular movement led by Ivajlo of Bulgaria defeated the Mongols, but in 1278/’79 Nogai of the Golden Horde defeated the Bulgarians and besieged Ivaylo in Silistra. Ivajlo tried to ally with Nogai, but Nogai had him murdered,


Ivan Asen III



House of  Terter


Georg I Terter

† 1308



Nogai made George I Terter his vassal.


By treaty of Andronicus II and  George I of 1283 the deposed Tsar Ivan Asen III had to be appointed Romanian Despot by a treaty concluded earlier with his father Michael VIII.





After George's flight to Constantinople, Nogai set his close associate Smilets on the Bulgarian throne but he was deposed by the Khan of the Golden Horde Toqtu (1291-1312).





Son of Nogai, murdered by Theodore Svetoslav


Theodore Svetoslav



Theodore Svetoslav accompanied his brother-in-law Chaka in an invasion of Bulgaria in 1298. The regency for Ivan II fled Tărnovo in 1299, and Theodore Svetoslav helped convince the Bulgarian nobility to accept Chaka as ruler. However, the armies of the khan of the Golden Horde Toqta entered Bulgaria in pursuit of Chaka, and Theodore Svetoslav promptly organized a plot, deposing Chaka and having him strangled in prison in 1300. Theodore Svetoslav now became emperor of Bulgaria and sent Chaka's severed head as a present to Toqta, who withdrew his armies from the country.


Theodore Svetoslav pursued a ruthless course of action, punishing all who stood in his way. In the face of the new emperor's brutality, some noble factions sought to replace him with other claimants to the throne, backed by Andronikos II. A new claimant appeared in the person of the sebastokratōr Radoslav Voïsil or Vojsil, from Sredna Gora, a brother of the former emperor Smilets, who was defeated, and captured by Theodore Svetoslav's uncle, the despotēs Aldimir (Eltimir), at Krăn in about 1301. Another pretender was the former emperor Michael Asen II, who unsuccessfully tried to advance into Bulgaria with a Byzantine army in about 1302.

As a consequence of his victories, Theodore Svetoslav felt secure enough to move on to the offensive by 1303 and captured the fortresses of northeastern Thrace, including Mesembria (Nesebăr), Anchialos (Pomorie), Sozopolis (Sozopol), and Agathopolis (Ahtopol) in 1304. The Byzantine counterattack failed at the battle of Skafida near Poros (Burgas), where the co-emperor Michael IX Palaiologos was turned to flight.

Nevertheless, the war continued, with Michael IX and Theodore Svetoslav taking turns pillaging each other's lands. It only ended with a peace treaty in 1307, cemented with a marriage between Theodore Svetoslav and Theodora, a daughter of Michael IX Palaiologos.

Coin of Theodore Svetoslav

with two-headed eagle and the name ТЄРТЄР (Terter)


George II




Died without issue.


House of Shishman


The Shishman dynasty consecutively ruled the Second Bulgarian Empire for approximately one century, from 1323 to 1395/1422, when it was conquered by the Ottomans. The Shishmanids were related to the earlier Asen and Terter dynasties. The Shishman dynasty's founder, despotēs Shishman of Vidin, may have been the brother of George I, the first Bulgarian Terterid ruler, thus also coming to Bulgaria from the Kingdom of Hungary after 1241.

Among its more notable members were:


Main branch:

despotēs Shishman of Vidin

Michael Shishman (Michael Asen III) (*1280+  ruled 1323-1330)

Ivan Stephen  (ruled 1330-1331)

despotēs Belaur of Vidin (†1336)



Sratsimir branch:

Michael Asen IV  (*1322ca, co-emperor 1332-1355)

Ivan Sratsimir (*1324/1325, ruled 1356-1397 in Vidin)

Ivan Shishman (*1350/1351, ruled 1371-1395 in Tarnovo)

Constantine II (*1370+, ruled 1397-1422 in Vidin and in exile)

Fruzhin (†1460ca)


Michael III Šišman






Ivan Stefan




Ivan Alexander

Michael IV


co-emperor 1332-†1355


Ivan Alexander of Bulgaria


In the Gospels of Tsar Ivan Alexander he is depicted together with his family. He himself and his wife are dressed in Byzantine-style imperial dress and he is standing on a red suppedion decorated with golden two-headed eagles. His sons of the age of about six and seven, are dressed in the same way, the youngest, Ivan Asen, for some reason in purple. No two-headed eagles are on their suppedions. [15]


The Royal Family. Turnovo, 1355-56

Gospels of Tsar Ivan Alexander. British Library Add. MS 39627, f.3


The persons represented are:

His wife Theodora (†1380+), his 4th son and future ruler of Tarnovo Ivan Shishman (1350-’95), Ivan Alexander (†1371) himself and his 5th son Ivan Asen V (†1388),.


The two-headed eagle on his suppedion is confirmed by one of his coins:


Coin of Ivan Alexander


Obv: Cross set on acanthus base; IC XC in upper quarters; triple pellets above each of the leaves

Rev: Imperial double-headed eagle facing, with wings displayed


After a period of stressed relations an attempt for cooperation between Bulgaria and the Byzantine Empire was made in 1355, after John VI Kantakouzenos had been forced to abdicate and John V Palaiologos had been established as supreme emperor. To cement the treaty, Ivan Alexander's daughter Keraca Marija was married off to the future Byzantine Emperor Andronikos IV Palaiologos. 

From this time are the arms of  Die Keyser v Bolgheries as in the Armorial of Gelre Herald. They are:

Arms: Barry of six [Or and Vert] with a canton of Romania: Gules, a cross between four crosses patée encircled Or. [16]


Which indicates at least friendly relations between Bulgaria and Byzantium.


Ivan Shishman


ruled in Tarnovo 1371-1395


Ivan Shishman inherited only parts of his father's realm: the lands between the Iskar River and Silistra, the valley of Sofia, parts of the Rhodope mountains and northern Thrace. To the west, the areas centred around Vidin recognised Ivan Sratsimir as emperor of Bulgaria, while to the east, the Principality of Karvuna under the rule of despot Dobrotitsa, did not recognise the authority Ivan Shishman either.

Unable to resist the attacks of the Ottoman sultan Murad I, Ivan Shishman had to negotiate with him in 1373 and was forced to become an Ottoman vassal.  Under this agreement, Bulgaria regained some of the conquered territories such as Ihtiman and Samokov, and began nearly ten years of uneasy peace with the Turks.

Despite the vassalage and the peace treaty, Ottoman raids were renewed in the beginning of the 1380s and culminated in 1385 with the fall of Sofia, the last stronghold of Ivan Shishman to the south of the Balkan Mountains. The vassalage of Ivan Shishman was invalidated in 1388 but reconfirmed soon after when the Ottoman troops had seized the fortresses of Shumen, Madara, Venchan and Ovech and he had been forced to ask for peace after the siege of Nikopol.

When the Bulgarian Empire had been devastated in the following years, Ivan, still an Ottoman vassal, was murdered in 1395 in the city of Nikopol.


From Ivan Shishman a coin is known showing a lion rampant. This lion rampant, we may be sure, is his badge of rank as an Ottoman vassal, his father and his co-rulers in Vidin and Karvuna bearing the two-headed eagle of a caesar. [17]


Coin of Ivan Shishman


Obv: Lion rampant; triple pellets behind head, two pellets behind tail

Rev: Large cypher across field; triple-pellet group and single pellet below; additional pellet above.


Flag of “burgaria” on the portolan of Guillem Soler, 1380.

(Bibl. Nat. Paris)


The flag, planted in Varna, shows the cypher of Ivan Shishman in red on a yellow cloth.

The cypher is in the tradition of the tamgha which was also adopted by the Golden Hordе, but is written in cyrillic: Ш(ишьма)Н(ь) ЧР(ь).



Coin of Ivan Sratsimir in Vidin [18]

Obv.: Two-headed eagle and cross.

Rev.: Tsar with cross and globe.


A flag of Vidin is given by the 14th century Book of Knowledge:

I went [...] to a great city called Vecina. [...]this city of Vecina which is the capital of the kingdom. It has a white flag with four squares. [19]


The arms of Die Keyser va Bodiin Ivan Sratsimir, can also be found in the Armorial of Gelre Herald. They are:

Arms: Quarterly of Romania and Azure. [20]


Flag of Vidin

Arms of Ivan Sratsimir


On the map of Guillem Soler the flag of the Golden Horde is depicted at Vecina which would mean that Vidin was (for a short time) a vassal of the Golden Horde. Maybe it’s an error (?).


Trachy Coin of Ivanko Terter, Despot in Karvuna 1386-’87. [21]


Obv.: Two-headed eagle.

Rev.: Large Terter cypher.


The lion of Ivan Shishman seems to have been the prototype of the Bulgarian Lion known from the end of the 16th century. He must have been acceptable for the Ottoman government as he expressed the vassalage, or at least the subordination of Bulgaria to the Ottoman empire.


Constantine II




Constantine II was the son of Ivan Sratsimir  of Bulgaria. He was crowned co-emperor by his father in or before 1395, when he was sent on a mission to the old Bulgarian capital Tărnovo. After his father's arrest and imprisonment by Sultan Bayezid I in 1396 Constantine II claimed the title of  Emperor of Bulgaria and was accepted as such by foreign governments, but he is often omitted from listings of rulers of Bulgaria.

It is supposed that at least some portions of the territory of Vidin may have remained under Constantine II's rule almost until his death in 1422. Together with his cousin Fruzhin, a son of Ivan Shishman, Constantine II took advantage of the Ottoman Interregnum to raise an anti-Ottoman revolt in northwestern Bulgaria. The anti-Ottoman rebellion lasted for half a decade (1408–‘13) until the rebels were defeated by Sultan Musa.

Constantine and Fruzhin attempted to make up for their losses by siding with Musa's brother and rival Sultan Mehmed I. After Mehmed I's victory in 1413, Constantine II spent much of his life in Hungary and Serbia. His last possessions in Bulgaria were annexed in 1422, and shortly afterwards he died at the Serbian court on 17 September 1422. His dispossession and death marks the end of the Second Bulgarian Empire.


It may readily be accepted that the arms, Sable, three lions passant Or which occur in some 15th century armorials were actually the arms of Constantine II. As they only appear after he had become a refugee in Hungary and Serbia in 1413, they may have been adopted at the court of one of their kings and have been written down there.

As his cousin Fruzhin († c. 1460) also bore the title of Tsar of Bulgaria he may be the candidate for the arms Or, three lions passant Sable which also occur in 15th century armorials. Because Fruzhin was mainly based in the Kingdom of Hungary, where he was the ruler of Temes County, both arms may have been codified at the Hungarian court (of King Sigismund 1387-1437).


Leaf from a compilation of Armorials, 1530

 Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, München, Hss Cod.icon. 391, Fol. 4v


On this leaf are the arms of the adversaries of Sultan Musa between 1408 and 1413.


1. Fruzhin (*?-†1460): Kayser von Pulgarye: Arms: Sable, three lions passant guardant Or.

2. Mehmed I (*1390-†1421): Das forpanner der durrkſisſen kaysers: Arms: Gules, a crescent Or.

3. Manuel II  (*1347-† 1425): Der kayser von Konstantinopel: Arms: Gules, a crowned two-headed eagle Argent [Or].

4. Constantine II (*1370-†1422): Pullgarie der allt kd: Arms: Or, a bulls’ head, a cross potent between its horns, Gules.

These arms are called the arms of the Duke of Bulgaria with its capital Vidin by Konrad Grüneberg: herzog vo' der wulgry Die haubtstat in d' bilgry haist budem. [22]


After Fruzhin and Constantine II had managed to restore their rule over at least a part of the Bulgarian lands the arms Or, three lions passant Sable occur and these may be the arms of Constantine II, replacing the arms with the bulls’ head. The first mention of these arms are in a copy of Ulrich Richentals’ Council of Konstanz from 1438-’50. [23]


The 2nd arms of Constantine II

In:  Das Wappenbuch Conrads von Grünenberg, Ritters und Bürgers zu Constanz - BSB Cgm 145 (1480)


Both arms are depicted in an armorial from the first half of the 16th c.:


The arms of Constantine II and Fruzhin.

Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, München, Hss Cod.icon. 392d, Fol. 54v


Kayser von Bulgarij:

Arms: Or, three lions passant guardant Sable.

Crown: An imperial crown.

Der ander Keij; auß der Tartarij:

Arms: Sable, three lions passant guardant Or.

Crown: An imperial crown. [24]


Sebastocrators and Despots


With certainty during the reign of Ivan Assen II (1218-‘41) his brother Alexander was proclaimed sebastocrator, and this title was used in Bulgaria until the year 1277. After that sebastoctrators were not appointed, however, during the reign of Ivan Assen III the title despot was introduced in the year 1279. This title was first conferred on Georgi Terter (a future tsar) and remained in use until the end of the 14th century. It seems, that as a rule, every tsar appointed only one sebastocrator and only one despot afterwards. We judge of the insignia of the sebastocrator by the attire of sebastocrator Kaloyan, depicted in the church of Boyana during the reign of Constantine Tih Assen. The attire and the crown - stamatogirion with pearls and a forehead's chamber with a blue diamond, are similar to those of the Byzantine sebastocrators.

Byzantine despots' attire and crowns were worn also by the Bulgarian despots. This was proven by the portraits of the despot Mihail in Dolna Kamenitza [25] and of the despot Constantine in the Gospel of London.

They wore crowns with 4 chambers with built in rubies and purple kavadions with aureate bands at the front and on the periphery.




From this Alexander little more is known than that he was the son of Ivan I Asen (†1196) and the brother of Tsar Ivan II Asen (†1248). He further was the father of Tsar Koloman II and bore the title of sebastocrator.

Nevertheless some items showing a griffin may readily be associated with him. This, in the first place is a portrait of Alexander as the client of a copy of the Historia of Niketas Choniates.   


Portrait of a sebastokrator, probably Alexander

From: Niketas Choniates: Historia. (Constantinople, 1st half 14th century)

Hofbibliothek Wien, Cod. hist. gr. 53. Fol. 291 v°.


This leaf represents an offcial dressed in a purple himation Byzantine style, decorated with large medallions enclosing white griffins surrounded by five foxes pursuing each other. The official wears a crown with one large gem, as was worn by sebastokrators in the 12th and 13th centuries.

The griffins are the badges of office of the governors of the (former) roman provinces, Dacia mediterranea with its capital Serdica (Sofia) being one of them. The dogs or quadrupeds are borrowed from the seal of  king Kaloyan excavated 1972.Ç  Much later such a dog was a beast associated with Bulgaria and Slavonia. [26]

The hypothesis that the badge of rank or office of Alexander was a griffin is supported by some other items from the beginning of the 13th century  also representing a griffin.

The first is a stone slab from ‘central Greece’ showing a griffin within a medallion.


The large medallions on Kaloyan's robes indicate a very high position in the Empire, possibly that of Viceroy of Thrace (prefect of Illyricum).





Kaloyan (КАЛѠѢНѢ) was a 13th-century Bulgarian noble, sebastocrator of Sredets (Sofia) and the surrounding region during the Asen dynasty of the Second Bulgarian Empire.

Kaloyan may have been the grandson of Tsar Ivan Asen I (1189–‘96) from his younger son sebastocrator Alexander, as he is mentioned as a cousin of Tsar Constantine Tih (1257–‘77); however, his relation to the royal family may have been merely titular. Kaloyan was an opponent of Tsar Michael Asen I's (1246–‘56) pro-Byzantine policy and took part in the plot against him.


Kaloyan inherited the title possibly from his father Aleksandar (d. after 1232), a son of Ivan Asen I of Bulgaria (r. 1189–1196)  [27].[5]


Sebastocrator Kaloyan is mainly known as the main donor of Boyana Church, a medieval Eastern Orthodox church in Boyana, Sofia. An inscription from 1259 in the church describes Kaloyan's role in its construction; he is also referred to as a grandson of the Serbian king Saint Stephen.

The church patrons' inscription in Middle Bulgarian from 1259 reads:


+ взъдвиже сѧ ѿ земѧ и създа сѧ прѣчисты хра

мъ ст҃аго иерарха х҃ва николы ст҃аго и великѡ

славнагѡ мѫченика хв҃а пантелеимwна тече

ниемъ и трѹдомъ и любовиаѧ многоаѫ калѡ

ѣнѣ севастократора братѹчѧди цр҃ва внѹкъ ст҃а

стефана кралѣ србьскаго написа же сѧ при цр҃

вство блгарское при благовѣрнем и бг҃очь

стивѣмъ и хр҃столюбивѣмъ цр҃и костан

динѣ асѣна едикто з҃ в лѣто



[This immaculate temple of the Holy Christ's hierarch Nicholas and of the Christ's holy and most glorious martyr Panteleimon was erected from the ground and created with the funds, care and great love of Kaloyan, sebastokrator, cousin of the Tsar, grandson of Saint Stephen, King of Serbia. This was written in the Bulgarian Empire under the pious and devout Tsar Constantine Asen. Indiction 7 of the year 6767 [1259].]


The church also features donor portraits of Kaloyan and his wife Desislava:


Portrait of  Sebastokrator Kaloyan and his wife Desislava

in the Church of St. Nicholas and Pantelimon in Boyana, painted in 1259.


On the dress of Desislava large medallions of two lions endorsed, emblem of a  grand duchess. On her mantle medallions with golden [two-headed] eagles of a sebastokratissa


On this fresco the resemblance of Kaloyan and his predecessor Alexander is striking and feeds the hypothesis that he in fact was his son.  Here Kaloyan is dressed in a purple himation and a green mantle. No griffins are seen. Instead his wife has large medallions on her dress, on her himation lions addorsed, a badge of office which may be associated with the office of a megas doux or byzantine commander in chief. [28] The two headed eagles may be the badge of a member of the imperial house (Paleologos). In some cases indeed the wife of the official could wear his distinctives on her dress.

The change of badges of office may mean that, after the accession of Constantine Tih Kaloyan was promoted to a chief commander.


In 1277 the title of sebastocrator was abolished in Bulgaria and the title of despot was introduced. The badge of rank of such a despot apparently was a two headed eagle, a badge usually associated with a caesar.


Relief Depicting a Griffin.

Central Greece or the Balkans (?), ca. 1250–1300. Marble; 59.5 ´ 51.5 ´ 6.5 cm  The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Rogers Fund and Jeannette and Jonathan Rosen Gift, 2000 (2000.81).


The others are two quotes from 13th century rolls of arms ascribing a coat of arms with a griffin to ‘Griffonie” which has to be interpreted as the arms of ‘Greece’, the name of Bulgaria in the 13th and 14th centuries. [29]


1272: : le. Roi de frisõnie. Arms: Or, a griffin Gules. (Wijnbergen n° 1281).


1280 Le rey de Griffonie, l’escu de azur od und griffun d’or. (Camden Roll, D 12.)


This leads us to the hypothesis that the arms of Alexander, at least in the French version was a griffin, be it red on a golden background or gold on a blue backgroun.

In any case these arms were often repeated in later armorials which were (partially) based on these rolls.

Arms of the Rey de Grifonia the the Livro do Armeiro Mor (1509). [30]


The arms of Greiffe: Azure, a griffin Argent (Virgil Solis, 1555)


The insecurity of the blazoning of the arms of Griffonie may be due to the fact that the arms or badge of office were only used for the short period of the rule of Alexander. It may also be due to the probablity that also other sebastocrators of Grecia used such badges or arms. A candidate for the Azure-Or version is the successor of Alexander, Kaloyan.




At the end of the 14th century Bulgaria became a part of the Ottoman eyalet Rumelia, consisting of the despotate Epirus, the kingdom of Bulgaria and the former Latin Empire and its vassals. This eyalet was at first administered from Sofya, then from Edirne and from 1520 until the 18th century from Sofya again.

Within the eyalet Rumeli the former Bulgarian Empire was divided into the sançaks Sofya and Nigbolu (Nikopol). These sançaks were roughly located on the former roman provinces of Dacia and Moesia II.


After the fall of Constantinople in 1453 the Ottoman sultan Mehmed II the Conqueror (1451-’81)     initially continued the use of the heraldic emblems of Epirus, Byzantium and the Latin Empire. According to Conrad Grüneberg (1483) these were the arms with the cross between the four crosses encircled of the Latin Empire, the cross between the four B of Byzantium and the arms with the two-headed eagle of Epirus.  [31]


Arms of the Latin Empire in the Grüneberg Armorial, 1480


If this is true or just wishful thinking, these arms do not reappear later in the context of the Ottoman Empire.


In the time of Ottoman Rule the emblems of the Ottoman Sultan and of the Ottoman state were valid in Rumelia. They were in the first place the tughra of the reigning sultan which was used on imperial decrees or firmans.


Header of a firman of Sultan Mustafa III, 1870

for the establishment of a Bulgarian Exarchate.


The state was represented by a banner which, after the victory of Mehmet I in 1413 was a red cloth with a yellow crescent. Such flags are represented on many 15th-17th century portolans, the banner represented in Rumelia always red. In West European sources these banners were sometimes taken as a model for a coat of arms which then became Gules, a crescent Or.


Flags of the Ottoman Empire, 1857-‘76


The eyâlet Rumeli was administered by a beylerbey or governor general, who was a pasha with two tughs (horse-tails) as a badge of rank. Later they were dressed in the official dress of an Ottoman governor general. 




At the end of the 16th century a coat of arms for Bulgaria appears in the Korenić-Neorić Armorial of 1595. This is a copy of the lost original of the Ohmućević Armorial (Ohmućević grbovnik) commissioned by Petar Ohmućević (†1599), a Spanish admiral of Ragusan origin, at some point between 1584 and 1594. It probably is an invention of him and may have been based on unknown sources or just unfounded assumptions. As the arms are a lion it may be based for example on the assumption that a lion was the proper emblem of a ban, governor or bey.

In any case, the arms presented for Bulgaria were:  Or, a lion Gules.

In 1619 the arms with the lion were explicitely chosen by some Bulgarian notables in a petition to the Venetian senate.

They were copied in many other armorials which appeared in Illyria or Western Rumelia and Bosna.

By Pavlo Ritter Vitezovic (1652-1713), a Croatian writer and historian, the tinctures of the arms were reversed, the former arms of Bulgaria becoming now the arms of Macedonia  and vice versa. It is not known what Vitezovic had in mind by this change but since then the arms for Bulgaria were supposed to be Gules, a lion Or. 


Arms of Bulgaria by Pavao Ritter Vitezovic

From his Stemmatographia, 1701


The Sançak of Sofya was established around 1393. Initially it had two nahiyahs: Znepolje and Visok. Its first sançakbey was Ince Balaban, also referred to as 'the conqueror of Sofya'. One of its sanjakbeys was Malkoçoğlu Ali Bey, a member of the Malkoçoğlu family, who died in 1514.

Soon after the establishment of this sançak Sofya became the seat of the Rumelia Eyalet. Although beglerbegs of Rumelia in early periods sometimes stayed in Bitola, Sofya remained the seat and center of Rumelia Eyalet. Since it was a seat of the Rumelian beglerbey Sançak of Sofia had the status of Pasha Sançak (Turkish: Paşa Sancağı), the main sançak of the Elayet.

The Sançak of Sofya and its 50 timars were registered for tax purposes in 1446 and 1455, and also in 1488/1489 and 1491. At the end of 16th and beginning of 17th century Niš belonged to the Sançak of Sofya

At the end of 18th century it was under frequent attacks by Osman Pazvantoglu. Between 1846—1864 the Sançak of Sofya belonged to Niš Eyalet while from 1864–1878 it belonged to Danube Vilayet. At that time it had the following kazas: Sofya, Kyustendil, Samokov, Dupnica, Radomir, Zlatica, Orhanie and Džumaja.


The Ottoman system began declining by the 17th century and at the end of the 18th had all but collapsed. Central government weakened over the decades and this had allowed a number of local Ottoman holders of large estates to establish personal ascendancy over separate regions.  During the last two decades of the 18th and first decades of the 19th centuries the Balkan Peninsula dissolved into virtual anarchy.

The decline of Ottoman authoritiy allowed a gradual revival of Bulgarian culture, which became a key component in the ideology of national liberation.


Bulgarian nationalism emerged in the early 19th century under the influence of western ideas which trickled into the country after the French Revolution, mostly via Greece. The Greek revolt against the Ottomans which began in 1821 also influenced the small Bulgarian educated class.


The Vitezovic-Jefarovic arms of Bulgaria occurred on the banner of an apparently Bulgarian division of the tsarist Russian army of Nicholas I (1825-’55)


Flag of a Bulgarian Regiment of the Russian Army


Crowned arms of Bulgaria surrounded by a crown of oak and laurel. The legend reads: по ДИОКРОВИТЕІЉЦТВОМЪ РОССІИ И ДЕРЖАВНЪ И ШАГО.


A few years later the Bulgarian lion appeared on the seals of several dissident Bulgarian  movements in Walachia and Bulgaria.


Bulgarian Provisional Directorate, 1862

Liberty or Death

Central Bulgarian Revolutionary Committee in Bulgaria 1867


Bulgarian People’s Society



A flag with the Bulgarian lion was introduced by Stefan Karajda (†1868) a promeninet leader of the rebellion against the Ottomans.


Banner of Stefan Karadja, 1868.


The flag bears a golden crowned lion rampant on a black cloth and the war cry: На Оружя Мили Братя (Take up Arms Dear Brothers).


In 1869 a Bulgarian Revolutionary Central Committee was founded in Rumenia. This Committee chose the lion of Vitezovic but uncrowned for its emblem. He is printed on the cover of the statutes of the Committee of 1870 and on its stamps


Stamp of the B.R.C.C in Bucharest

National Historical Museum Sofya

Stamp of the B.R.C.C in Bulgaria

National Historical Museum Sofya



Statutes of the Bulgarian Revolutionary Central Committee, vignette


The vignette shows the Bulgarian Lion in a landscape, trampling down the Ottoman national flag.


In 1876 the Bulgarians revolted in the April Uprising which was crushed by the Ottomans, who for the purpose brought irregular Ottoman troops (bashi-bazouks) from outside the area. The massacres in the following course of events aroused a broad public reaction and provoked the 1876–‘77 Constantinople Conference of the Great Powers.

Turkey's refusal to implement the conference decisions gave the Russians a long-awaited chance to realise their long-term objectives with regard to the Ottoman Empire. Having its reputation at stake, Russia declared war on the Ottomans in April 1877. The Bulgarians also fought alongside the advancing Russians. The Coalition was able to inflict a decisive defeat on the Ottomans at the Battle of Shipka Pass and at Pleven and by January 1878 they had liberated much of the Bulgarian lands.

An autonomous Bulgarian Prinsicpality was set up by the Treaty of San Stefano, signed on 3 March 1878. It comprised the territories of the Second Bulgarian Empire, including the regions of Moesia, Thrace and Macedonia. Though the principality was de jure only autonomous it de facto functioned independently. However, trying to preserve the balance of power in Europe and fearing the establishment of a large Russian client state on the Balkans, the other Great Powers were reluctant to agree to the treaty.

As a result, the Treaty of Berlin (1878), revised the earlier treaty, and scaled back the proposed Bulgarian state. The new territory of Bulgaria was limited between the Danube and the Stara Planina range, with its seat at the old Bulgarian capital of Veliko Turnovo and including Sofia.


Seal of the Provisional Government of Bulgaria



Æ Part 2

Rulers of Bulgaria


  Back to Main Page



© Hubert de Vries  11.08.2014. Updated 2020-09-25


[1] Berger, Pamela: The Notitia Dignitatum. Diss. 1974. Revised ed. 1981. P. 83

[2] The imperial title was the Greek basileus, rendered in slavonic as tsar.

[3] From:  Otto der Grosse, Magdeburg und Europa. Band 2. Katalog. Mainz, 2001 Nr.VI.58b pp. 488-489. And bibliography.

[4] Ваклинов, Станчо:  Формиране на старобългарската култура VI-XI век

[5] See more at: http://www.grreporter.info/en/greece_ready_return_bones_samuel/10726#sthash.8MvYmPRR.dpuf

[6] Evans, Helen C. & William D. Wixom. Eds.: The Glory of Byzantium. Art and Culture of the Middle Byzantine Era A.D. 843-1261. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1997. Pp.326-327.

[7] Holmes, Catherine (2005). Basil II and the Governance of Empire (976–1025). Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-927968-5. Pp. 302-302

[8] For an other opinion see: Cernevodeanu, Dan: Contributions à l’étude des origines lointaines de l ‘héraldique (Moyen Orient) et son développement du XIIe au XVe siècles à Byzance et dans le sud-est européen. In: Genealogica & Heraldica. Copenhagen, 1980. pp. 339-358.

[9] This Wallachia was about present Wallachia and Macedonia. The Vlachs, a latin speaking people, were divided by the invasions of the Bulgars in two parts: the Vlachs north of the Danube and the Vlachs around Vardar and Skoplje.

[10] Baluzius, Stephanus: Epistolarum Innocentii III Ponti­ficis libri XI. 1628. [This reference could not be found in book XI]. He also sent Ioannitsa (=Kaloyan) a cross for use as a standard (vexillum) in war against 'those who render the crucifix lip-service only' - the Greeks - and against the wild pagans.Æ Wolff, note 77.

[11] Mann: The Lives of the Popes of the Middle Ages. 1st & 2nd eds. London, 1925-'29 XI. 293. These references in: Galbreath, Donald Lindsay: Papal Heraldry. Second edition revised by Geoffrey Briggs. Heraldry Today. London, 1972.

[12] Hist. Museum Veliki Tarnovo inv. n°  5934. Lit.: Poutiers, Jean-Christian: Le Félin de la bague-cachet de Kaloyan. In: Etudes Balkani­ques. 1974 n° 4 pp. 118-126. 

[13] Gardonyi, Albert: I Karoly Kiraly Nagypecsetjei. In: Turul. A magyar heraldikai és genealogiai tarsasag közlönye. 1907, pp. 38-39, fig.

[14] http://kalinabadamba.wordpress.com/category/royal-and-%d0%b0ristocracy-costumes/

[15] Shivkova, L.: Das Tetraevangeliar des Zaren Ivan Alexander. Recklinghausen, 1977

[16] 1365 ca W.: burelé [Or and Vert]... au fr quartier de Constan­ti­nople (= n° 1484).  [= Alexandre Stratimirovic = Jean Asen II (1331-1365)]. (Gelre n° 1485).

[17] BI Trachy (Youroukova & Penchev-131)

[18] Angel Radishev & Gospodin Zhekov, Catalog of Bulgarian Medieval Coins, p 182

[19] Book of the Knowledge of all the kingdoms, lands, and lordships that are in the world. (ca 1350) Works issued by the Hakluyt Society. 2nd series N° XXIX. 1912. P. 56, fig 83

[20] 1365 ¼ de Constantinople & d'azur L.: Die Keyser va Bodiin [Bodun Johan Strazimir, son of Gelre 1485. Gelre n°1487.

[21] Raduchev & Zhekov Type 1.16.9; Youroukova & Penchev 147. Ivanko Terter ruled from Varna, moving his capital from Kaliaktra during the first year of his reign, in 1386. Later that year, peace was negotiated with Murad I. In 1387, a commercial treaty was ratified with the Genoese of Pera. Varna was attacked that year by forces of Ivan Shishman, Tsar of Turnovo. The countermark is attributed to the date of the Turkish peace, and the eventual subjugation of Karvuna in 1389 to the Ottomans attests to the fragility of relations with the Turks as that time.

[22] Armorial of Conrad Grünenberg, Parchment Codex, P. 72, 1483 Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, München, Cgm-145. And also: Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, München, Hss Cgm. 9210, Fol. 83

[23] Eulendorf Codex, fol. 477. The Spencer Collection of the New York Public Library.

[24] See also: http://heraldika-bg.org/gallery_armorial.htm

[25] https://kalinabadamba.wordpress.com/author/kalinabadamba/

[26] The official is usually identified as Alexius Murzuphlus, the last emperor of Byzantium.

[27] Bakalov, Georgi; Milen Kumanov (2003). "КАЛОЯН (неизв.-след 1259)". Електронно издание "История на България" (in Bulgarian). Sofia: Trud, Sirma. ISBN 954528613X.

[28] After the Byzantine recovery of Constantinople in 1261, the title reverted to its old function as commander-in-chief of the navy, and remained a high rank for the remainder of the empire, its holder ranking sixth after the emperor, between the prōtovestiarios and the prōtostratōr

[29] According to 14th 15th century portolans Bulgaria and its surroundings was called ‘Grecia’ which was understood as ‘Griffonie’ or other corruptions.  

[30] 1506-1509 Livro do Armeiro-Mor (Livre du Grand Armurier)

[31] Grünenberg, Konrad: Das Wappenbuch Conrads von Grünenberg, Ritters und Bürgers zu Constanz - BSB Cgm 145, [S.l.],  1480 ca. [BSB-Hss Cgm 145]

Flag Counter In cooperation with Heraldry of the World