[Footnote 112: Between 453 and 469 A.D. according to different writers.]
But now we arrive at a period when there was some little interval in the successive inroads of barbarians, and a breathing time for the peaceably disposed inhabitants of Dacia; for the next race of wanderers who entered upon the fertile plains of the Danube succeeded in holding their ground almost as undisputed masters for three centuries. Later on, as we shall find, they founded a second dynasty in combination with the Wallachs; and, although their rule was troubled by the incursions of other barbarians, and by wars first with the Byzantines and afterwards with the Hungarians or Magyars, yet they managed with some intermission to remain the governing power, and their descendants have ruled in various localities even down to the present day.
But what makes the history of this tribe, the Bulgari, so interesting, is not so much the domination which they exercised in the Danubian provinces, as the insight which it gives us into the condition of the people during the dark ages; and although we must content ourselves with a brief sketch of their career and a few incidents selected from it, we can confidently recommend our readers to prosecute the enquiry for themselves, with the certainty of being repaid for their labour and research. The origin of the Bulgari, or Bulgarians, like that of most of the so-called barbarians, is more or less clouded in mystery. According to some writers they were of Scythian origin, and comprised numerous tribes, amongst whom the Wallachs, the Croats, and the Moravians are the best known. Gibbon says that the Bulgarians and Slavonians were a wild people who dwelt, or rather wandered, on the plains of Russia, Lithuania, and Poland. They were bold and dexterous archers, who drank the milk and feasted on the flesh of their indefatigable horses. Their flocks followed, or rather guided, their movements, as it was in search of pasture for these that they roamed about from place to place. They were practised in flight and incapable of fear. Roesler is of opinion that they were an offshoot of the Huns, and in the earlier period of their career, he says, they adopted the costume of all the Ural races, and notably of the Avari. The hair of the head was shorn off with the exception of a tuft.