Krum, the Great Khan of Bulgaria (756-814)

Khan Krum

Otherwise known as the Fearsome Krum, or Krum the Horrible, depending upon who you were talking to. He was born in Pliska, Bulgaria, and his father was Kardam of the Bulgars. The Bulgars may have come from Central Asia and they have appeared in Chinese texts. The Old Greater Bulgarian Empire was in the area between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. This empire fell in the 600s and the Bulgars migrated west into the Byzantine Empire occupying Thrace and parts of Macedonia. This was the Second Bulgarian Empire with many conflicts with the Byzantine Empire. The capital city was Pliska, where my 43rd great grandfather, Krum was born.

Krum led many raids into the Byzantine Empire, slowly adding villages to the expanding Bulgar Empire. This led the Byzantine Empire to refer to him as Krum the Horrible. The Emperor decided enough was enough and led a great army all the way to Pliska, and ravaged the land. At one point killing the children of Pliska in the capital’s town square.

In response, Krum gathered troops and fought the Byzantines, decimated the army, and killed the Emperor Nikephoros. The Bulgars started referring to him as “the Fearsome“. The replacement Emperor was wounded and died a few years later. The next Emperor was also defeated and forced to become a monk.

Krum is known as a strict, but fair ruler, who brought laws to the Bulgarians and protection for the poor and elderly.

Eventually his descendants moved further west, married into Hungarian royalty, then Frankish royalty. I was happy to find him as my 43rd great grandfather because I thought his name was awesome.