LATINITAS OR EUROPA-FROM PAST TO PRESENT FROM PRESENT TO PAST School Project 2004/2005 SOCRATES /COMENIUS 1
The participation of Bulgaria is based on the fact that in our country there are Roman traces and we intend to examine them and to present in the project activities. The theme of the project is interesting and challenging for Bulgarian institution. Despite the fact that Bulgarian language is a Slavonic Language there is some Latin influence in our language. The studies will be led in the following ways: • 1.Tracing the Latin heritage mainly in our Bulgarian language. • 2.Finding out the spheres in the Bulgarian culture where the Latin culture can be seen(Language, History, Architecture, Archeaology , History, Fine Arts,Education,Science). • 3. Analysis of the most characteristic examples of Latin in our culture. • 4. Making a comparison of this research with the results achieved by the colleagues from other schools.
LATIN HERITAGE IN BULGARIA • INTRODUCTION • When we talk about Latin heritage in Bulgaria we should keep in mind that there are a lot of traces in Bulgaria about it. We should go back in antiquity in the period of thriving of the Roman Empire ( i.e. the period of emperor August (30 BC -14 AD). At the beginning the Roman empire built its cultural foundations on Greek culture and after that it built its own unique culture. Part of these rich and unique cultural heritage are a lot of sculptures and art works , roads, amphitheatres. • There is a unique Roman amphitheatre in Bulgarian city- Plovdiv. The Roman amphitheatre was uncovered in the end of the 20th Century. • The special kind of Roman water- mains , called aqueducts still could be seen in some Bulgarian cities. There are such kind of water-mains in Italy , France and other countries as well.
In Thrace, that is now in Bulgaria , there are a lot of Roman baths. They were built in places with mineral water springs. And even today well-preserved fortified walls could be seen in some Bulgarian cities- Varna, Plovdiv , Nesebar,Hisarya. • Later Byzantium as a successor of Roman Empire continued to carry out its culture in Europe and mainly on the Balkan Peninsula. After the foundation of the Latin Empire (11 AD) deep contacts with Bulgaria were established. Later after the crash of the Latin Empire , Byzantium was established. Later Byzantium was subjugated by Ottoman Turkish Empire and there was a decline in culture. A lot of monasteries were built during that period.
LATIN HERITAGE IN BULGARIA, TRACED IN ARCHITECTURE AND ARCHEAOLOGY • ( city of PLOVDIV ) • Ruins from antiquity, Middle Ages, Renaissance and Modern culture live together, mingled with the beauty of this eternal city. Unique cultural monuments of the Roman culture are still preserved in the city of Plovdiv: the Roman stadium, the Roman amphitheatre, beautiful coloured mosaics, the antique forum and fortified walls, the Roman aqueducts, ruins from Thracian settlements. There is a part of the city called Trihill where the most colorful monuments of Bulgarian Renaissance architecture could be seen. • The city has a gold medal from UNESCO for restoration and conservation of the cultural monuments.
In the archaeological place called “Nebet Hill” there are ruins from the Roman fortresses which protected the town from the Turkish.
The fortified Walls • The ruins from two fortified walls and their doors could be seen among the monuments from the Roman period. If one takes a walk around The Trihill ,he will see the antique fortifications which are from Roman and Byzantine time. It is undoubted that among the fortified doors the most colorful and the most preserved is the door called “Hysar Gate” which was built during the rule of the emperors Trajan and Marcus Aurelius. The ruins from the second fortified wall revealed that it had solid turrets and loop- holes. It was 8 meters high and 2,3 meters wide. It was built from huge stone blocks, connected horizontally with metal solid fits. A secret entrance to the fortress was uncovered, which connected acropolis with the river Maritza through tunnel and stairs. The staircase was dug into the rocks of “Nebet Hill”.
The Antique ForumThe place is 0,6 hectares and it was uncovered when the foundations of the hotel “Trimoncium “ were put. The streets in this region of Plovdiv are covered with syenite plates. It’s interesting fact that the buildings were built on the curb stones. The forum parts which are opened for tourists, clearly reveal the different levels in the building of the Thracian agora with well-preserved ruins of Roman marble.
The Roman Stadium • The stadium is in a form of horseshoe, which is 180 meters in length and there are 30000 seats for spectators. It’s proved that this stadium dated back from the Roman Emperor Septimus Severus (193-211year). The most splendid sports competitions were so called Pytiani and Alexandrian games which were organized as a model of Greek Olympic Games. The main sports were athletics, wrestling, jumping, rifle practice, discus-throwing, javelin throw.
It’s the most impressive part from Roman time. It took ten years for excavations and cleaning the place and 15 meters soil were removed. The spectators seats have amphitheatrical form and they are divided into 2 rings of 14 rows each. The theatre had a capacity of 7000 spectators. The names of the different residential districts were engraved into the benches of each sector. The stage on two levels reveals the architectural and decorative richness of the theatre. The high quality of the used materials and art works reveal undoubtedly the great social meaning which the theatre had during that time.
In Plovdiv there have been uncovered a lot of Roman Mosaics. They are very beautiful and valuable. Such kind of Roman mosaics one could see in the popular basilica of another Bulgarian city- Sandanski. From the springs, in the skirts of the Rhodopes Montain the water was transported through clay pipes in a huge water basin in Markovo village. There are ruins from Roman aqueduct. The Romans kneew the principles of interconnected vessels. In 1983, when the parts of the aqueduct were uncovered in the center of the town, the water inside was good for drinking.
PERPERIKON • General Info and Road Map
Perperikon (or Hyperperakion or Perperakion) is in the Eastern Rhodope range, some 10 miles from the town of Kurdzhali. The roads from Sofia, via Asenovgrad or Haskovo, are fairly good and well maintained. Perperikon is perched on a rocky peak at 1,400 ft above sea level guarded at its foot by the village of Gorna Krepost [high castle]. The gold-bearing river Perpereshka flows nearby forming a valley some 7 miles long and 2.5 miles wide. This fertile sheltered place had attracted settlers in very ancient times, and today, dozens of sites clustered around the natural hub of Perperikon reveal layer upon layer of archaeological remains. Just a little further downstream, the Perpereshka flows into the artificial lake of Stouden Kladenets on the river Arda. Where the two bodies of water meet, is the village of Kaloyantsi, a scenic place with some tourist facilities.
Bulgaria and Byzantium at War for Perperikon • The riches hidden in the Eastern Rhodope had attracted the Bulgars since the late 7th century, when they first settled on the plain between the Danube and the Balkan Mountains to form the kernel of what was to become the first Bulgarian empire. Their expansionist ambitions were spurred on by the local population which, since the late 6th century, had been strongly permeated by Slavic elements. Indeed, contemporary Byzantine chroniclers claimed that the Bulgars' raids on the Rhodope were successful because the local tribes them gave them their support.
The Eastern Rhodope were finally conquered by the second Bulgarian empire soon after the brothers Asen and Peter, the first Bulgarian rulers of the House of Asen (1185-1280), launched a revolt to throw off Byzantine sovereignty. During the war between Kaloyan, their brother and successor, and the knights of the Fourth Crusade (1205-1207), the Eastern Rhodope became the southernmost Bulgarian stronghold from which the Bulgars raided the Aegean lowlands. The second Bulgarian empire reached its height during the reign of Tsar Ivan Asen II (1218-41). His successors, however, could not match his ability. In 1246, his son Koloman, still a child, died. His other son, Michael Asen, succeeded his brother under the de facto regency of his mother Irina. She was the daughter of the Byzantine emperor and willingly gave back the Bulgarian southern conquests, including the Eastern Rhodope.
In 1254, Michael Asen, who had come of age, decided to reclaim his father's possessions and marched south at the head of a large army. In his history of the Byzantine Empire, the contemporary scholar and statesman George Acropolites relates that in a very short time the Bulgars subjected to their rule a vast territory with many cities along the Maritsa River. They then marched on the Eastern Rhodope and captured all the fortresses there, except for Mneakos, the administrative centre of the region, which withstood the siege even though its fortifications were almost destroyed. • The Bulgars made their last attempt to conquer the Eastern Rhodope in 1343, taking advantage of the unrest over the succession to the Byzantine throne. By negotiations alone, Tsar Ivan Alexander acquired the strategically important region of Plovdiv. As one of the pretenders, who eventually did become Emperor John VI Cantacuzenus, wrote in his memoirs, Ivan Alexander then desired to take hold of the Eastern Rhodope, captured Perperikon and installed his archon there. Some decades ago, a fragment of a letter was found at Perperikon sealed with Ivan Alexander's only surviving gold signet. Soon after, however, Byzantium sent a military expedition to recapture Perperikon. The Bulgarian garrison was outnumbered and had to surrender the fortress. Just a few years later the Eastern Rhodope, and the second Bulgarian empire, fell to the Ottoman Turks, who were overrunning the Balkans from the south. Perperikon and the other fortresses were raised to the ground and sank into final oblivion.
Latest research, however, suggests that the Christian settlements at the foot of Perperikon survived. Indeed, throughout the period of Turkish rule (15th-19th century), the Rhodope Mountains were a bastion of Slavic culture. The region's ethnic makeup remained largely unchanged until the massive Turkish colonisation and displacement of the indigenous population in the late 18th and early 19th century.
The Bessians Read the Bible in the Thracian Language • On 24 May 303, Roman Emperor Diocletian published one of his four edicts which secured him a place in history as a most ruthless persecutor of Christianity. Only 10 years later, Constantine, one of the pretenders for the throne in Rome, came to power with the help of the Christians in the army. Christianity was to become the religion of the Empire. • Nothing changed, however, in the Rhodope. The Bessians, who had "never yet bec[o]me obedient to any man," preserved the cult of Dionysus and his temple in the Holy Mount. It took almost another century before the Thracians were converted to Christianity, and the causes were as much perhaps of an external as they were of an internal nature. During the 4th century the Roman Empire fell prey to a massive barbaric onslaught from the North. A Germanic tribe, the Visigoths, had settled in Dacia (now in Romania) when they were attacked by the Huns in 376 and driven southward across the river Danube into the Roman Empire. The exactions of Roman officials soon drove them to revolt and plunder the Balkan provinces. On 9 August 378, they utterly defeated the army of the Roman emperor Valens on the plains outside Adrianople (now Edirne in Turkey), killing the emperor himself.
Ironically, the devastation, which did not spare the eastern Rhodope, paved the Christian missionaries' way to the souls of the pagan tribes. According to Paulinus of Nola, one of the most important Christian authors of his time, Nicetas, Bishop of Remesiana (now Bela Palanka in eastern Serbia) initiated the Christianisation of the Rhodope, which continued during the entire 5th century. Thus enthused Paulinus: [...] have not indeed the Bessians - for all that their land and soul be callous, and their skin be thicker than the snow upon their land - have they not indeed, under your guidance, become meek as lambs and flocked into the fold of peace! They now rejoice, the Bessians, with a bounty richer than toil can ever afford - for has not the gold for which, with their hands, they dig the earth now descended upon their souls from Heaven! [...] Those mountains, once impenetrable and blood-ridden, now shelter monks who have forsaken the weapons of war to become the nurslings of peace. To facilitate the Thracians' conversion to Christianity, a compromise was even allowed, which earlier had only been made for the Goths. Somewhere in the depths of the holy mountain, the Scriptures were translated into the Bessian language, contrary to the doctrine which recognised only Greek, Latin and Hebrew as sacred languages. Legend has it that the Biblia Bessica was translated from the original in a Bessian monastery in the Rhodope.
Today, all traces of that ancient place of Christian worship have been lost. However, there is every reason to believe that it was in the holy city of Perperikon. Archaeological research throughout the Rhodope has invariably revealed that the Christians did not destroy the Thracian shrines but converted them into churches, much as they themselves had been converted to Christianity from their pagan beliefs. If the famous Temple of Dionysus was at Perperikon, as is quite likely, then the centre of early Christian learning in the Rhodope must have been there as well
Fragments of the True Cross Found at Perperikon • Recent research has revealed that Perperikon's glory did not fade into oblivion during the age of Christianity. In the 5th-7th century, it was probably the see of an early diocese, and in the 8th-12th century it became regional centre under the direct authority of Constantinople. The surviving historical records are supported by an abundance of interesting archaeological finds. One of them is of particular value. • On 21 August 2002, a cruciform pendant reliquary made of bronze was found in one of the chambers of the Christian place of worship at the foot of Perperikon. Such pendant reliquaries were known as Palestine crosses for they were believed to have come from the Holy Land. The Perperikon find was dated quite accurately to the 9th-10th century judging by its characteristic iconography. Both sides of the pendant are modelled in high relief, one depicting a crucifix, Christ alive on the cross and clad with a long robe, and the other showing the Holy Mother in prayer interceding before her Son in behalf of humanity. • The real surprise came a few months later, when the reliquary was opened in a laboratory environment: several tiny pieces of what might be wood were found inside. Paleobotanic analysis confirmed that the material was indeed wood but, unfortunately, the surviving quantity was insufficient to determine the wood variety or date the find. It is quite certain, however, that the reliquary had held fragments of the True Cross, i.e., reputedly, the wood of the cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified. Legend relates that the True Cross was found by St. Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, during her pilgrimage to the Holy Land about 326. The relic was originally deposited in the Byzantine capital Constantinople. In 1204, the crusaders captured and plundered the city, their justification being the desire to obtain possession of the True Cross.
Relics of the True Cross and reliquaries designed to hold them, also known as staurotheques (stauros, Greek for cross), multiplied wherever Christianity expanded in the mediaeval world, and some precious objects of this kind survive. Until 2002, only two reliquaries holding wood fragments had been found in Bulgaria: one at Pliska and one at Veliki Preslav (successive capitals of the first Bulgarian empire). The find in the Eastern Rhodope was therefore perceived by many as a good omen. On 1 December 2002, hundreds of believers joined the procession which took the relic to the church Dormition of Mary in Kurdzhali where it was deposited in a specially designed wooden casket.
The Acropolis • In 45 AD, Thrace was conquered by the Romans. In the Balkans, the process of Romanisation, which went on throughout the vast empire, meant the fusion of the ancient Hellenic and Thracian traditions with the new trends introduced by the conquerors. This development was particularly pronounced at Perperikon, where during the 1st-4th century AD, the sacred structures carved in the rock took on a distinct Classical character. • Broadly speaking, Perperikon comprises four elements: the citadel, an acropolis at the top of the hill; a palace or temple immediately beneath the acropolis and facing southeast; and two outer cities, one on the northern and one on the southern slope of the hill. So far, no archaeological research has been done of the two outer cities but terrain observations indicate that they had streets and secular and religious buildings carved in the rock. A host of villages flocked at the foot of the hill and the fertile river valley was densely inhabited throughout the period of Roman rule. The hilltop was protected by the acropolis whose walls are 8 and a half feet thick. The citadel had probably been built earlier but the Romans renovated it and enhanced the fortifications. No bonding mixture was used for the walls; they were built of solid stone blocks, perfectly finished on each side, and layers of crushed rock separated the rows of blocks.
All along its perimeter, the wall was built directly onto the rock surface of the hillside. The builders had to carve special beds in the rock to lay the foundation blocks. These have been wrongly described as steps, while they actually allow to trace the perimeter where sections of the wall are missing. Behind the walls, the acropolis was densely built up. The ground floors of the buildings were entirely carved in the rock. Even though a considerable part of the complex is still covered with earth, the 21st century visitor can walk down broad streets and step over doorsills carved in the rock, with holes for the doorposts preserved. As if not so long ago, Perperikon was still a vibrant community.
Carved in the rock in the eastern part of the acropolis is a large basilica-planned structure. Archaeological research suggests that it was a pagan temple transformed into a Christian church by the addition of an apse to house the altar. At the western end, two monumental stone portals preserve the holes for what must have been double doors. A portico leads from the basilica into the heart of the acropolis, its columns intact, still in place, thus completing the Classical makeup of the structure.
To see such a wonder of human creation on a craggy hilltop in the deepest recess of a wild mountain almost defies belief. Two gates of the acropolis have been unearthed so far. One leads into the citadel from the west and is guarded by a rectangular barbican; the other, opening onto the south, was discovered in 2002 and is particularly important because it leads to a grand palace (or temple). • Perfectly preserved doorways with stone sills, elegant stairs and corridors lead to the ground floor rooms. During the Roman period, the floors were covered with solid ceramic tiles. Some windows, cut through the rock walls, also survive, opening onto a magnificent panorama of the river valley. • A very important element in the ensemble is the Great Hall, carved in the rock at its western end and extending 90 ft to the east over a wooden beam structure supported by two massive walls. At the entrance, a flight of five broad steps leads to the double door. Two vaults carved deep in the rock were found in the remote western and eastern sections of the palace, one holding 15, and the other, five sarcophaguses made of solid stone slabs. Unfortunately, these must have been ransacked already in ancient times and it is impossible to tell who was buried in them.
A Masterpiece of Engineering and Architecture • The palace and all the other structures on Perperikon are an amazing achievement of architectural creativity and craftsmanship. One's heart fills with awe as one passes through doors first opened a thousand years ago; steps onto thresholds that still keep the traces of generations long gone by; walks along mysterious passageways once lit by the light of torches. • Today, one can only speculate what some of the elements were meant for: niches and shelves of various sizes; a massive throne with footstool and armrests carved out of the rock at the northern wall of the palace court. A chamber in the south-western wing of the palace was named by the archaeologists 'the bathroom', as what appear to be washbasins and benches line the walls. In the basement under the Great Hall, a round bed in the rock must have held an enormous pulley: a part of hoisting mechanism perhaps, like those described by the ancient authors... • Yet another structural feature demonstrates an amazing engineering talent. Already the first builders of Perperikon had to consider the need to drain off the rain from the vast floor surfaces. The sewer system grew more complex with subsequent developments of the site to reach its final stage during the Roman period. Gutters run under the floor tiles in every room, across the doorsills and into larger ones along the streets, complete with shafts to clean the system from leaves and dirt. These empty into several large sewers which take the water out under the perimeter walls and down the side of the hill.
Yet another structural feature demonstrates an amazing engineering talent. Already the first builders of Perperikon had to consider the need to drain off the rain from the vast floor surfaces. The sewer system grew more complex with subsequent developments of the site to reach its final stage during the Roman period. Gutters run under the floor tiles in every room, across the doorsills and into larger ones along the streets, complete with shafts to clean the system from leaves and dirt. These empty into several large sewers which take the water out under the perimeter walls and down the side of the hill. • But then, drinking water had to be provided as well. This must have been a serious challenge in a citadel perched on the top of a hill. The usual solution were cisterns to collect rain or spring water. So far, two such reservoirs have been discovered at Perperikon, and they are the largest structures of this kind found in the Rhodope. The one in the acropolis has a perimeter of 36 ft by 15 ft and is 18 ft deep. • Amazingly again, both cisterns were carved in the rock with walls perfectly finished. Furthermore, there are reasons to believe that the city had a pipe network for drinking water supply. In 2002, an ancient water fountain was discovered at about a mile from Perperikon. The water was brought to it by clay pipes and a metal spout mounted in a stone base filled three communicating stone troughs.