Vladimir of Bulgaria

Knyaz of Bulgaria

Penalty Vladimirovo mural of the church "St. Dimitar" in Teshovo, XIX century
Reign 889–893
Predecessor Boris I
Successor Simeon I
House Krum's dynasty
Father Boris I

Vladimir-Rasate (Bulgarian: Владимир Расате) was the ruler of Bulgaria from 889 to 893.


In 853 or 854, the Bulgar Army led by Vladimir, the son of Boris I of Bulgaria, invaded Serbia in an attempt to extract vengeance for the previous defeat of Presian 839-842 against Vlastimir. The Serbian Army was led by Mutimir and his brothers, which defeated the Bulgars, capturing Vladimir and 12 boyars.[1] Boris I and Mutimir agreed on peace (and perhaps an alliance[1]), and Mutimir sent his sons Pribislav and Stefan to the border to escort the prisoners, where they exchanged items as a sign of peace. Boris gave them "rich gifts", while he was given "two slaves, two falcons, two dogs, and 80 furs".

He became ruler (knyaz) of Bulgaria when his father Boris-Mihail I (Boris adopted the name Mihail - Michael - after his baptism) decided to retire to a monastery after a reign of 36 years. Preserved seals with the inscription "Michael the Monk, who is archon of the Bulgarians" suggest, however, that Boris I never fully relinquished his power.

Vladimir-Rasate was the oldest of Boris-Mihail's sons and possibly the only one of them who had been born before Boris' adoption of Christianity. According to Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitos, Vladimir had taken part in a Bulgarian invasion of the Serbian lands, predating the Christianization of Bulgaria. The little we know about his reign includes a military alliance he concluded in 892 with the East Frankish (German) King Arnulf of Carinthia against Great Moravia which, having in mind the interests of the Byzantine Empire, was indirectly aimed against Constantinople. This was a serious straying from the pro-Byzantine policy of his father.

Vladimir is mainly remembered for his attempt to eliminate Christianity in Bulgaria and the re-institution of Paganism. This event is written of by Constantine of Preslav in his Didactic Gospel. Vladimir started the process of destroying the Christian temples and persecuting of the clergymen, because he regarded them as instruments of Byzantium and its efforts to influence the Bulgarian kingdom. However, Vladimir Rasate's actions were not well received by the population and the aristocracy, and he was only supported by a few of the boyars. Therefore, in 893, Boris I left the monastery he inhabited and dispossessed his son. He blinded Vladimir and put him in a dungeon, where his trails vanish.

After coping with Vladimir's uprising against Christianity, Boris placed his third son Simeon on the Bulgarian throne during the Council of Preslav which was a direct consequence of Vladimir-Rasate's ill attempt to restore paganism.

Preceded by
Boris I
Knyaz of Bulgaria
Succeeded by
Simeon I


  1. 1 2 The early medieval Balkans, p. 141
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