Friday, March 16, 2012

Bitola inscription by Ivan Vladislav

Tsar Ivan Vladislav of Bulgaria (also known as "Ioan Vladislav, Jovan Vladislav), nephew of Samuel, the last tsar of the first Bulgarian kingdom (ruled in 1015-1018).

The Bitola inscription is a medieval stone inscription written in Old Church Slavonic. It was found in 1956 during the demolition of an old Ottoman mosque in the town of Bitola, FYROM and it is now kept at the Institute and Museum of Bitola epigraphic monument as "a marble slab with Cyrillic letters of Ioan Vladislav from 1015/17". The text commemorates the fortification works on the fortress of Bitola under a certain Tsar Ivan. It is believed to date from c.1015 and the monarch in question is Tsar Ivan Vladislav of Bulgaria. According to some scholars, the inscription dates back from the 13th century, in which case it would be Tsar Ivan Asen of Bulgaria.

Text of the inscription:

† Въ лѣто Ѕ ҃Ф ҃К ҃Г ҃ отъ створенїа мира обнови сѧ съ градь зидаемъ и дѣлаемъ Їѡаном самодрьжъцемъ блъгарьскомь и помощїѫ и молїтвамї прѣс ҃тыѧ влад ҃чицѧ нашеѧ Б ҃чѧ ї въз()стѫпенїе І ҃В ҃ i връховънюю ап ҃лъсъ же градь дѣлань бысть на ѹбѣжище и на сп҃сенѥ ї на жизнь бльгаромъ начѧть же бысть градь сь Битола м ҃ца окто ҃вра въ К ҃. Конъчѣ же сѧ м ҃ца ... исходѧща съ самодрьжъць быстъ бльгарїнь родомь ѹнѹкъ Николы же ї Риѱимиѧ благовѣрьнѹ сынь Арона Самоила же брата сѫща ц ҃рѣ самодрьжавьнаго же i разбїсте въ Щїпонѣ грьчьскѫ воїскѫ ц ҃рѣ Васїлїа кде же взѧто бы злато ... фоѧ съжев ... ц҃рь разбїенъ бы ц҃рѣмь Васїлїемь Ѕ ҃Ф ҃К ҃В ҃ г. лтѣ оть створенїѧ мира ... їѹ съп() лѣтѹ семѹ и сходѧщѹ

Translated in English:
In the year 6523 (1015) since the creation of the world, this fortress, built and made by Ivan, Tsar of Bulgaria, was renewed with the help and the prayers of Our Most Holy Lady and through the intercession of her twelve supreme Apostles. The fortress was built as a haven and for the salvation of the lives of the Bulgarians. The work on the fortress of Bitola commenced on the twentieth day of October and ended on the [...] This Tsar was Bulgarian by birth, grandson of the pious Nikola and Ripsimia, son of Aaron, who was brother of Samuil, Tsar of Bulgaria, the two who routed the Greek army of Emperor Basil II at Stipone where gold was taken [...] and in [...] this Tsar was defeated by Emperor Basil in 6522 (1014) since the creation of the world in Klyutch and died at the end of the summer.
[The reconstruction of the FYROM scientist Ugrinova-Skalovska is very similar to the recunstruction made by Russian/Yugoslavian Moshin and Bulgarian Zaimov - Угриновска-Скаловска, Радмила. Записи и летописи. Скопје 1975. 43-44]

Official attitude of FYROM

The official state doctrine in the FYROM denies any Bulgarian link to medieval Macedonia and especially to Tsar Samuil's state and to its rulers, as Ivan Vladislav for example. The historical and political importance of the inscription were the reason for controversy in the FYROM in 2006. The French consulate in Bitola sponsored and prepared a tourist catalogue of the town and printed on its front cover the entire text of the inscription. News about it had spread prior to the official presentation of the catalogue and was a cause for confusion among the officials of the Bitola municipality. The French consulat was warned, the printing of the new catalogue was stopped and the photo on the cover was changed.


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