Middle Bulgarian

Middle Bulgarian

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Historical Overview Section

Bulgaria 1186-1300
The Second Bulgarian Empire existed between 1185 and 1396, reaching the peak of its power under rulers Kaloyan and Ivan Asen II before gradually declining to evetually be conquered by the Ottomans in the late 14th-early 15th century. Before 1256 the Second Bulgarian Empire was the dominant power in the Balkans, despite only warranting a short army list in the FoG Companion. They handed the Byzantines their s__es on a plate several times, especially in 1205 when the newly-established Latin Empire was crushed in the battle of Adrianople by Emperor Kaloyan. His nephew Ivan Asen II (1218-1241) defeated the Epirote Late Byzantines to made Bulgaria a leading European power once again, but in the late 13th century the Empire declined under the constant invasions of Tatars, Byzantines, Hungarians and a wave of internal instability and revolts.

The empire was founded in 1186 when a pair of singing Vlachs Peter and Asen led a revolt against Byzantine rule. Peter declared himself Tsar Peter IV and after less than a year of warfare the Byzantines were forced to acknowledge Bulgaria's independence, though fighting continued. The new state was ethnically diverse, including Slavic-speaking Bulgarians Cumans, Vlachs and Greeks: Peter styled himself "Tsar of the Bulgars, Greeks and Vlachs". The brothers pushd back the Byzantines over the next five years reconquering more towns and castles in northern Thrace and Macedonia, especially after the major victory at Arcadiopolis in 1194. Loads of typically Medieval East European Byzantine-influenced succession malarkey then took place, with people being murdered, poisoned and usurped all over the countryside on a daily basis, until Tsar Kaloyan came to power in 1197, beating the Byzantines, Later Crusaders, Post Latin Conquest Byzantines and Hungarians, and was so succesful he copied Basil's idea and names himself "Roman-Slayer" (instead of "Bulgar Basher").

Kaloyan was succeeded by his cousin (of course - nothng obvious like his son), who lost loads of territory, however normal service was resumed by Ivan Asen after 1218 who reconquered loads of places, beat the Hungarians and made the Epirote Late Byzantine state a vassal - he even managed to stop the dreaded Tatars in their tracks. But, once he pegged out, the Tatar Golden Horde Mongols made the country into a vassal of their own.

Using the army in FoG

  • A lancer-swordsmen army with plenty of extra toys to support - or distract - your strike force. Support comes from cheap infantry bowmen, a smattering of spearmen, but best of all from loads of Shooty Cavalry and Bw/Sw LH. This means you can hold an enemy back across large swathes of the table, whilst softening them up for a decisive strike with your lancers.
  • As your core troops are undrilled you need a clear target for the lancers, as in-period enemy with drilled cavalry will try to exploit your flanks and position themselves for flank intercept charges using the “move full speed then turn 90 degrees” with columns of drilled cavalry.
  • The big issue is protecting the flanks of your line of charging lancers. Here your massed LH and Shooty cavalry can do a good job for you and are unlikely to be outnumbered, possibly allowing you to pick off enemy BGs of LH before your lancers charge home. 8's of MF with Bw may be OK on a flank where they will come up against against enemy mounted of LH. And a unit of 8 LF can form a good screen in front of lancers to protect them from shooting.
  • The ideal combination for lancers is a mix of 4’s and 6’s, using the 6’s as the sledgehammer to take casualties and not suffer the -1 for losing 25%, and also to last longer before autobreaking. Lancer Cavalry also ideally need generals to help them in combat, and so having a general with a 6 is better value. Your lancers can also help your LH to hunt enemy LH, with combined Lancer/LH charges that enemy LH have to flee from, and where your own LH may be able to catch the flee-er’s.
  • The HF spearmen are almost sufficient to do a holding job, but are not good enough to do much more than this, and will need support from a general who may be better employed leading lancers to victory, or bolstering LH involved in a shooting match.

UK Tournament Results with this army

User-contributed links about this army:


  • Cuman : Dates: Before 1270 Swords and Scimitars page 21 : Can be fielded just as lots of Bw/Sw LH, with optional Armoured Cv to stiffen it. But more LH ? Why? Maybe 6 Superior Armoured shooty cavalry looks appealing, but its surely just distracting you from your real troops?
  • Serbian, Middle : Dates: Before 1196 Swords and Scimitars page 41 : Loads of lancer cavalry, and no compulsary foot - in penny packets - so lots more Lancers? Why? If you feel 24 is not enough...
  • Byzantine, Post Latin Conquest (Nikia) : Dates: 1236 to 1261 Swords and Scimitars page 46 : Drilled average lancers are compulsary, there's LH to support them, but the proper knights are the best bit.
  • Greece, Latin : Dates: From 1213 Swords and Scimitars page 49 : Up to 8 proper knights, lots of bits and pieces of infantry bowmen and crossbows, and 4 optional lancer cavalry.
  • Late Byzantine - Again some drilled lancers, but no knights, Not bad, but not magical either
  • Early Hungarian
  • Tatar - As for Cuman, although the option to have some Superior LH Bw/Sw mixed in with your own average ones is also quite enticing as it could give you and edge over other LH outfits.

15mm Manufacturers supplying figures for this army

A generic East European kingdom, less Western-influenced than some of the others like the Serbs
You can see some of the figures in the Ancients Photo Gallery also on this site

Image Image Image Image

Core Troops

Which troops are absolutely needed for this army, and what are your thoughts on how to organise, paint and buy them.

Army Lists

Sample army lists for this army

Name of Army / Date

  • Using asterisks inthe edit mode creates a bulleted list in the actual site
  • This is a lot easier to do than easier than setting up tables
  • For FoG I suggest listing your army in order or march
  • with troop desctiptions on each line, for example
  • 4 HF Armoured Average Drilled Impact Foot Swordsmen
  • 8 LG Undrilled Unarmoured Poor Bowen
  • Dont forget to include your Generals !!!

Include any notes you want here, including comments on how to use - or play against - the army.

Remember to leave a line before you copy the above section as a template for your own list

Alternative Lists & Historical Interpretations

((Alternative <Insert name of Army Here>))

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