Malamir of Bulgaria

This article is about the Bulgarian ruler. For other uses, see Malamir.
Khan of Bulgaria[1][2][3][4][5]
Reign 831–836
Predecessor Omurtag
Successor Presian
House "Krum's dynasty" (possibly Dulo)
Father Omurtag

Malamir (Bulgarian: Маламир) was the ruler of Bulgaria 831–836.

Malamir was a son of Omurtag and a grandson of Krum. His name may be of Slavic origin, and is claimed to be the first Bulgar khan to possess a Slavic name; however another theory is that it was an Iranian name, as there is an Iranian city named Malamir. This has led to the speculation that his mother was a Slav, which cannot be proven.

Malamir became ruler of Bulgaria in 831 on the death of his father Omurtag, because his older brother Enravota (Voin) had forfeited his right to the succession by becoming a Christian. It is possible that Malamir was young and inexperienced at the time of his accession, and that affairs of state were managed by his kavhan (kaukhanos) Isbul.

About 833 Malamir executed his older brother Enravota for refusing to renounce Christianity. After the expiration of the original 20-year peace treaty with the Byzantine Empire in 836, emperor Theophilos ravaged the regions inside the Bulgarian frontier. The Bulgarians retaliated, and under the leadership of Isbul they reached Adrianople. At this time, if not earlier, the Bulgarians annexed Philippopolis (Plovdiv) and its environs. Several surviving monumental inscriptions from this reign make reference to the Bulgarian victories and others to the continuation of construction activities in and near Pliska. Malamir died in 836, allegedly as retribution for his execution of his older brother.

In several older studies Malamir is identified with his successor Presian I, and it is assumed that he survived until the 850s as the direct predecessor of Boris I. This is very unlikely, as Malamir is attested as having been succeeded by his nephew (the son of his brother Zvinica), while Boris I was preceded by his father Presian I. Zlatarski resolved the problems in the fragmentary sources by determining that Malamir's unnamed nephew and successor was in fact Presian I, and Boris I was the latter's son.

The 17th century Volga Bulgar compilation Ja'far Tarikh (a work of disputed authenticity) represents Balamir (i.e., Malamir) as the son of Yomyrčak (i.e., Omurtag), and as the brother of Sabanša (i.e., Zvinica), who was the father of Birdžihan (i.e., Presian I).

Malamir Knoll on Greenwich Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica is named for Khan Malamir of Bulgaria.

See also


  1. Byzantium and Bulgaria, 775-831, Panos Sophoulis, BRILL, 2011, ISBN 9004206957, pp. 71-72.
  2. Word and Power in Mediaeval Bulgaria, Ivan Biliarsky, BRILL, 2011, ISBN 9004191453, p. 211.
  3. Reading the Middle Ages: Sources from Europe, Byzantium, and the Islamic World, Barbara H. Rosenwein, University of Toronto Press, 2013, ISBN 1442606029, p. 160.
  4. Southeastern Europe in the Middle Ages, 500-1250, Florin Curta, Cambridge University Press, 2006, ISBN 0521815398,pp. 162-163.
  5. A Concise History of Bulgaria, R. J. Crampton, Cambridge University Press, 2005, ISBN 1139448234, p. 270.


Preceded by
Khan of Bulgaria
Succeeded by
Presian I
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