By R. J. Crampton

Richard Crampton offers a common advent to Bulgaria on the cross-roads of Christendom and Islam. This concise heritage lines the country's development from pre-history, via its days because the heart of a robust medieval empire and 5 centuries of Ottoman rule, to the political upheavals of the 20th century which ended in 3 wars. It highlights 1995 to 2004, an essential interval in which Bulgaria continued monetary meltdown, set itself heavily at the street to reform, elected its former King as major minister, and at last secured club in NATO and admission to the ecu Union. First version Hb (1997) 0-521-56183-3 First version Pb (1997) 0-521-56719-X

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Extra info for A Concise History of Bulgaria (2006) (Cambridge Concise Histories)

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The great aristocrats had been dispossessed immediately after the conquest but the lower nobility remained, merging gradually into the ranks of the spahis. Some Christian communities may also have been tempted into Islam by the prospect of easier tax burdens and the privileges which belonging to the dominant religion could offer. There were additional cases where Christian villages were enticed into Islam by being offered the freedom to loot and pillage local church or monastic property. Finally there were cases of enforced, violent conversion.

There were additional cases where Christian villages were enticed into Islam by being offered the freedom to loot and pillage local church or monastic property. Finally there were cases of enforced, violent conversion. There were a number of such instances in the third quarter of the seventeenth century in the Rhodope mountains. The motivation for this sudden outburst of militancy amongst the Muslims is unclear. This was a time when Islam seemed to be resurgent with the sultan’s armies soon to press forward to Vienna, and the conversions could in part be explained by the exhilaration which this resurgence bred.

It was suppressed with the customary brutality, but further to the west, in the mountains near Sofia, there remained armed groups of so-called haiduks who were more than mere robbers, if less than the nationalist heroes depicted by some later historians. 3 Christ Sabaoth and Christ Pantocrator (below) from the church of Sveti Iliye, Boboshevo village, Struma district. Executed in 1678 these represent, in the words of the leading western scholar of the subject, ‘one of the most complete and best preserved ensembles of Bulgarian painting from the Ottoman period’.

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