Grigorii Tsamblak and Konstantin Kostenechki

The great religious writers Grigorii Tsamblak, Konstantin Kostenechki, Cyprian and others developed under the direct influence of Patriarch Evtimi. After the Ottomans invaded Bulgaria they continued their useful activities abroad. Grigorii Tsamblak was elected bishop of Kiev and Cyprian became Metropolitan of Moscow. Konstantin Kostenechki emigrated to neighbouring Serbia where he wrote, among many other things, a biography of the Serbian King Stefan Lazarevic,

Parallel with the official literature, as at the time of the ‘Golden Age’, a rich apocryphal literature developed, written by unknown authors from among the people. The apocryphal works can be divided into two large groups – one dealing with economic and everyday life, and another one dealing with the eternal questions of the origin of the world and man. The most famous apocryphal works which have survived from the second group are ‘The Vi-sion of Isaiah’, ‘Enoch’ and the ‘Sermon of the Three . Saints’.

The spirit of the Renaissance was felt not onLy in the apocryphal works and in some of the woiks of Patriarch Evtimi, but also in a considerable number of translated literary works on secular topics, such as. ‘The Fable of Troy’, ‘The Alexandria’ (about the life and exploits of Alexander the Great), ‘Physiologist’ (descriptions of various plants, animals and minerals), historical chronicles by the Byzantine authors George Hamartol (9th century), Zonara (12th century), Konstantin Manasses (12th century), local variants of pre-biblical legends, etc.

The remarkable upsurge of Bulgarian art and literature during the second half of the 14th century placed Bulgaria in the front ranks of the countries which were headed for the new times. This promising upsurge was, however, crudely nipped in the bud by an external factor – the last barbarian wave which flooded the European South-east in the 14th and 15th century – the onslaught of the Ottomans.

Downfall of the Bulgarian State

While the Balkan states were exhausting their strength in feudal disunity and rivalries (there existed by the middle of the 14th century 40 independent feudal possessions in the Balkans), stormy clouds appeared from Asia, ominously threatening the Balkan peoples. The beginning of the 14th century marked the onward march of the Ottoman Turks. In 1352 they captured the Tsimpe stronghold on thq Gallipoli Peninsula and two years later the Gallipoli fortress, thus placing the Dardanelles under their control. The Byzantine Emperor offered to Serbia and Bulgaria to act in concert against the invaders, but they turned a deaf ear to his desperate appeals. During the 1360s Sultan Murad I conquered the whole of Eastern and part of Northern Thrace, including the big cities of Plovdiv and Stara Zagora.