Thursday, 20 September 2012

Pirates and vampires

Source: The Sofia Globe
The 'vampire skeleton' found in Sozopol in Bulgaria belonged to a man named Krivich, a name meaning the Crooked, according to novinite:

'He was a legendary pirate, manager of the Sozopol fortress or one of his heirs.

The Crooked, as his contemporaries called him, has been a crippled, but extremely intelligent man. He outshined everyone with his knowledge about the sea, the stars and herbs. Byzantine chronicles describe how he plundered a Venetian ship. It is possible that he was declared a master of the witchcraft because of these talents, which explains the metal stake through his heart.

Experts also believe that the man may have been an intellectual and perhaps a medic, as such individuals often raised suspicions in the Middle Ages. The grave was discovered near the apse of a church, which suggests that he was an aristocrat.'

National Geographic has produced a documentary about the skeleton, featuring Bozhidar Dimitrov, director of the Bulgarian National Museum of History. Dimitrov has recently supported news of the discovery of the skeleton of a gambler in Sozopol. In this connection The Sofia Globe writes:

'Sozopol is one of Bulgaria’s oldest towns, the current settlement dating back to the seventh century BCE when it was founded as a Greek colony named Antheia (the town’s name would later change to Apollonia and then Sozopolois), but it appears that the site was inhabited as far back as the second millennium BCE, which makes it a rich digging ground for archaeologists every summer.

It does not hurt that one of the town’s more famous sons, the head of the National History Museum in Sofia, Bozhidar Dimitrov, rarely misses an opportunity to promote Sozopol – as he did with the “vampire” find, which grabbed international media attention and resulted in a documentary by the National Geographic channel.

Dimitrov is not averse to making bombastic pronouncements on the value of new finds – in 2010, he proudly proclaimed the contents of a relic urn found on a small island off the coast of Sozopol to contain the bones of St John the Baptist, even before the remains could be dated.

Dimitrov, who is a former diver and whose historian credentials are based mainly on his research of the medieval Boyana church near Sofia, has in recent years seized every opportunity to big up his hometown, nor is he afraid of stepping on anyone’s toes – earlier this summer, he proudly proclaimed Vlad the Impaler, the Wallachian prince who served as the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula, as having been Bulgarian.

Following the “vampire” find earlier this summer, Sozopol plans to twin with Sighisoara, the Transylvanian town where Vlad spent his exile between his first two reigns.'

Earlier this Summer, The Sofia Globe noted that 'the Sozopol souvenir shops urgently are placing orders for Dracula souvenirs, as it turns out that the Sozopol “vampire” and the notorious Romanian count have been relatives. According to the website, several advertising agencies in Bourgas have received orders for vampire souvenirs.'

No doubt, pirates and vampires make for an excellent tourist attraction.

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