Word and Power in Mediaeval Bulgaria


The law is a cultural phenomenon that impacts on the whole normative system of a civilisation and finally its core values. It is part of and simultaneously protector of these values. As such the law is in close relation with identity and with one of its main transmitters - the language. Every civilisation has a law code that should be common to all its parts and members and should be based on a common lexis. This book presents a case study in the legal terminology of mediaeval Bulgaria displayed against the broader background of the Byzantine civilisation to which the country belonged. It is accompanied by a glossary of the juridical lexis that is not only an example but forms the very basis of the researc project.


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Biographical Note

Ivan Biliarsky, Ph.D (1989), Doctor Sci. (2009) Mediaeval history, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, professor in legal history and institutions, Varna Free University (2000), Senior fellow, Institute of History (2001). Author, co-author and editor of thirteen books, published in Switzerland, Bulgaria, France, Romania and Germany.

Review Quotes

"...Der Verfasser betont mit Recht, dass man ein kulturelles Phänomen nicht hinreichend verstehen kann, wenn man nicht auch seine Sprache gründlich zur Kenntnis nimmt. Er hatte zudem guten Grund, sich der bulgarischen Verfassung dank der Vielfalt seiner Quellen sich der bulgarischen Rechtskultur auf diese Weise die zu nähern. ... Angesichts des Reichtums des hier vorgelegten Wortmaterials muss man es bedauern, dass sich der Verfasser nur mit der Rechtssprache der Verfassung beschäftigt und die praktische Rechtspflege unerörtert lässt, doch hatte er mit der Erforschung dieses Teils der bulgarischen Rechtssprache bereits genug zu tun. Ein lehrreiches Buch über das Recht einer uns noch immer fremden Welt."
Hans Hattenauer, Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung für Rechtsgeschichte, 129. Band, 2012
"...One can only admire Ivan Biliarsky's determination to complete a research project that would have been diffiult to fulfil by an entire team of researchers. The result of his effort is the impressive volume, almost 600-pages long...The enumeration is impressive enough, but one should add a thorough scrutiny of each of these terms to gain an image of Biliarsky's painstaking study...As a result, Word and Power in Medieval Bulgaria is an appealing and thought-provoking book. Through a meticulous and intense analysis, in an overwhelming display of scholarship, Biliarsky contributes to a better understanding of the Byzantine Commonwealth."
Marian Coman, Studii si materiale de Istorie Medie, vol. XXIX, 2011

Table of contents

Foreword ... ix

Introduction The Bulgarian Legal Vocabulary during the Middle Ages: Outlining the Problem. Objectives and Tasks of the Study ... 1

Abbreviations ... 15

Chapter One Glossary of Mediaeval Bulgarian Legal Vocabulary ... 17
Chapter Two Law, Language, and Identity ... 183
Chapter Three Legal Vocabulary Related to the Supreme State Power ... 205
Chapter Four Institutions, Military and Administrative Vocabulary ... 261
Chapter Five Taxation and Fiscal Legal Concepts and Terms ... 393
Chapter Six General Ecclesiastical Vocabulary. Ecclesiastical Dignities, Orders and Institutions ... 501

Conclusion ... 517

Bibliography ... 523


All those interested in the mediaeval history of the Orthodox polities of the Byzantine Commonwealth and especially in legal history and institutions and their terminology: historian, jurists, philologists, theologians.


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