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Telets of Bulgaria

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Title: Telets of Bulgaria  
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Subject: 760s, Kardam of Bulgaria, Malamir of Bulgaria, Michael Asen I of Bulgaria, 762
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Telets of Bulgaria

Khan of Bulgaria
Reign 762–765
Predecessor Vinekh
Successor Sabin
House Ugain
Born c. 731
Died c. 764

Telets (Bulgarian: Телец) was the ruler of Bulgaria from 762 to 765.

According to the Namelist of Bulgarian Rulers, Telets reigned for 3 years "instead of another", and he was a member of the Ugain clan. This is corroborated by the Byzantine sources, which indicate that Telets replaced the legitimate rulers of Bulgaria. The same sources describe Telets as a brave and energetic man in his prime (about 30 years old). Scholars have conjectured that Telets may have belonged to an anti-Slavic faction of the Bulgarian nobility.

After his accession, Telets led a well-trained and well-armed army against the Byzantine Empire and devastated the Empire's frontier zone, inviting the emperor to a contest of strength. Emperor Constantine V Kopronymos marched north on June 16, 763, while another army was carried by a fleet of 800 ships (each carrying infantry and 12 horsemen) with the intent to create a pincer movement from the north.

Telets at first fortified the mountain passes with his troops and some twenty thousand Slavic auxiliaries. Later he changed his mind and led out his troops to the plain of Anchialos (Pomorie) on June 30. The bloody battle of Anchialus that then began at mid-morning, and lasted until dusk. At the end Telets was deserted by his Slavic auxiliaries, who deserted to the emperor, who won the field, but chose to return home in triumph. According to the Byzantine sources, Constantine V brought home a throng of Bulgarian prisoners in wooden restraints, for the entertainment of Constantinople's populace.

The military defeat sealed the fate of Telets, who was lynched together with his supporters by his rebellious subjects.

The 17th century Volga Bulgar compilation Ja'far Tarikh (a work of disputed authenticity) represents Teles (i.e., Telets) as the son of Korymdžes (i.e., Kormisosh), but this does not agree with the testimony of the Imennik, in which the former ruler belongs to the Ugain clan, and the latter to the Vokil clan. The Ja'far Tarikh alleges that Telets was killed in battle by the retainers of his successor Sabin.

See also


  • Mosko Moskov, Imennik na bălgarskite hanove (novo tălkuvane), Sofia 1988.
  • Jordan Andreev, Ivan Lazarov, Plamen Pavlov, Koj koj e v srednovekovna Bălgarija, Sofia 1999.
  • (primary source), Bahši Iman, Džagfar Tarihy, vol. III, Orenburg 1997.
Preceded by
Khan of Bulgaria
Succeeded by
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