In 681 Byzantium was forced to recognise the existence of a Bulgarian state, under the khan Asparuch, on the soil of the Empire. Acknowledgement of this state, which had been created out of the land lying between the Danube and the Haimos mountain range, with its capital at Pliska, was conditional upon the Bulgarians accepting certain obligations as allies, obligations which however they did not observe. Repeated attacks mounted in the 8th century by Bulgarian chieftains (particularly during the reign of Krum) caused disturbances in the northern provinces of the Byzantine Empire.
The baptism of the Rus people
Miniature from a manuscript of
Constantine Manasses' writings, 1344-1345 AD
After their conversion to Christianity in the 9th century, the Bulgarians became subject to the political and cultural influence of Byzantium, but at the same time they began to entertain ideas of expanding their state or even of replacing the Byzantine Empire with a great Bulgarian Empire.