The Rise of Bulgaria, 8th–10th Centuries
The treaty of 681 with Byzantium granted the Bulgars territories south of the Danube and north of the Balkan Mountains. From their capital at Pliska, the Bulgar hans (rulers) controlled the Slavic inhabitants of their newly-acquired lands, as well as Wallachia and other lands north of the Danube stretching northeastward to the Eurasian steppes. Under the successive heirs of Asparuh, the new state’s founder, Bulgaria (also known as the First Bulgarian Empire) attempted to expand its territories in the Balkans at Byzantine expense, either through peaceful and favorable alliances with the imperial authorities (such as Tervel’s [701–18] with Emperor Justinian II [705–11]) or through warfare. By the opening of the 9th century, Bulgar ruler Krum (808–14), who from his capital at Pliska ruled a large state stretching to Great Moravia in the north, was in the position to commence life-threatening attacks on the Byzantine Empire.