At the time of the Second Empire Medieval the first Bulgarian Coins were minted by the Bulgarian Emperors during the Middle Ages. No evidence proves that coins were minted during the First Bulgarian Empire, and minting ceased after the fall of the Second Empire with Ottoman control in 1396 or 1422.
The Second Empire was a state and existed between 1185 and 1396. The First Empire reached its peak of power with the control of Kaloyan and Ivan Asen II then gradually the Empire fell from grace and was later conquered by Ottomans in the 14th early and 15th centuary. It was succeeded by the Principality and later Kingdom of Bulgaria in 1878.
Culturally the Bulgarian Empire was among the most advanced states in contemporary Europe.
The first Bulgarian coins made were golden (perperi ), silver (aspri ), billon (coinage of silver and copper) and copper coins, all flat and hollow. The details on the Bulgarian coins were usually in Bulgarian language and barely in Greek. Due to the limited space the inscriptions were abbreviated and special signs were used. Artistically, the Bulgarians continued the Byzantine tradition but the Bulgarian coin designs were often more illustrated. The main means of expression were lines and dots. The first Bulgarian coins had images different from the Byzantine and Slav coinage, also the coins are an important source for the history of the Second Bulgarian Empire. Despite the strong Byzantine influence, the Bulgarian artists and architects managed to create their own distinct style on their Bulgarian coins. Literature flourished in the 14th century and around 80% of the Bulgarian population was literate.
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