Medieval Bulgarian literature

Translated Literature in the Bulgarian Middle Ages as a Social and Cultural Phenomenon

  • Summary/Abstract

    The study reviews the Medieval Bulgarian translations from Greek as a multi-centennial process, preconditioned by the constant contacts between Byzantium and its Slavonic neighbor and dependant on the historical and cultural circumstances in Medieval Bulgaria. The facts are discussed from the prospective of two basic determining factors: social and cultural environment (spiritual needs of the age, political and cultural ideology, translationsʼ initiator, centers of translation activities, degree of education/literacy). The chronological and typological analysis of the thematic and genre range of the translated literature enables the outlining of five main stages: (1) Cyrillo-Methodian period (the middle of the 9th centuty – 885) – reception of the corpus needed for missionary purposes; (2) The First Bulgarian Tsardom period (885–1018) – intensive translation activities, founding the Christian literature in Bulgaria; (3) The period of The Byzantine rule (1018–1185) – a standstill in the translation activities and single translations of low-level literature texts; (4) The Second Bulgarian Tsardom – the period of Asenevtsi dynasty (the late 12th and the 13th centuries) – a partial revision of the liturgical and paraliturgical books; (5) The Second Bulgarian Tsardom – the Athonite-Tarnovo period (the 14th – early 15th century) – extensive relations with Byzantium and alignment to the then-current Byzantine models, intensifications of the translations flow and a broad range of the translation stream.

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