Motifs of Bulgarian History in Chronologia Magna and Satyrica Historia by Paulinus of Venice

Scripta & e-Scripta vol. 14-15, 2015
  • Author(s):
  • Subject(s): History // Language studies // Language and Literature Studies // Cultural history // Theoretical Linguistics // Studies of Literature // Diplomatic history // Military history // Political history // Middle Ages // Comparative Linguistics // 6th to 12th Centuries // 13th to 14th Centuries // Philology // Translation Studies //
  • Published by: Institute for Literature BAS
  • Print ISSN: 1312-238X
  • Summary/Abstract:

    This paper contains the first publication of printed excerpts related to Bulgarian history from two historical compilations by Paulinus of Venice. Chronologia Magna sive Compendium is presented according to lat. 4939, National library, Paris (14th c.) and Satyrica historia – according to Ms 445, Jagiellonian library, Cracow (15th c.). As the study and analysis of these manuscripts demonstrate, the compendia contain many accounts related to Bulgarian history – from the formation of the Bulgarian state in 681 up to the dynastic marriage of the Latin emperor of Constantinople Henry in 1213. All of the motifs from Bulgarian history, which Paulinus selected and included, are significant and fully aligned with the aims, which he had set himself in the prologue to Satyrica historia. These motifs are not merely a compilation of successes and failures, but are to form a body of well researched information, which will serve to edify posterity, based on the historical experience of the Roman and other kingdoms. Interpreting the evidence in Paulinus’ accounts in light of his stated approach, it appears that after their appearance on the European stage (681) the Bulgarians played the role of the defenders of Christian Europe (717) and the armament of God (811 г., 1205 г.). Their joining the Christian family of the European people is also recounted (865) through the example of the determination and beatitude of the Bulgarian ruler who defended the new faith even against his own son. Additionally, the Bulgarians are described as participants in events related to Byzantine history (705), as well as being adversely affected by the expansion of the unconverted Hungarians (907, 970, 1003). The accounts related by Paulinus are re-workings of earlier sources he was apparently well acquainted with. It can be argued that the present publication identified those sources with significant accuracy. The mistakes in the dating that occur in Paulinus’ compilations are often attributable to him connecting events to significant historical episodes or historical personalities, around which he builds a whole chapter or rubric of the narration. Sometimes the anachronisms are due to the sources he used. The study of the context, in which motifs related to Bulgarian history are placed allowed me to identify the sources of the material and the method of compilation employed by Paulinus of Venice. Last but not least, the analysis of the content of the motifs allowed me to establish that Dandolo mainly used information from Historia satyrica, but perhaps also consulted with Chronologia magna. He included in his chronicle almost all the motifs from the works of Paulinus, with the exception of the chronological note on the death of Nicephorus I Genik and the episode on Walter Senzavohir. Thus, the publication of the fragments from Historia satyrica and Chronologia magna clarified the origin of those passages in the chronicle of Andrea Dandolo about which D. Angelov wrote that they are connected to earlier historiographical sources but their origins are in need of further investigation.