Saturday, June 11, 2011

Prof. Vasilka Tapkova-Zaimova

A Biography with a Commentary

This text is written mainly on the basis of an interview with prof. Tapkova-Zaimova, conducted by Zoia Hristova-Dimitrova in December 2007. The interview is published in Bulgarian on the websites of the Association for the Development of the University Classical Education and the Department of Classics, University in Sofia. The quotations in the main text, given in italics, are from the interview. Also, the biographical notes, published in the volumes, dedicated to her 60-th, 70th, and 80th anniversary, have been considered. Some corrections and additions have been made by prof. Tapkova-Zaimova herself during our meetings in the end of October 2010.
The commentaries with smaller letters are providing the necessary explanations in respect of the mentioned events, and also references to some important publications.

I. Origin and family

Vasilka Tapkova was born on the 7th of August 1924 in Sofia, in teachers’ family.
The ancestors of her father had lived in Thessaloniki. Her grandfather Dimitar Tapkov had founded in 1874 the Bulgarian school in Lerin (today Florina, Greece) and had taught there. Since 1882 he had been a teacher in Prilep, and later moved to Thessaloniki, where lived with his family till the end of his life.
The family of his parents had been Catholic (uniatic) and he himself had demanded to be buried in the Catholic cemetery of Thessaloniki. His second wife Vasilka Mircheva, from Prilep (the grand-mother of Prof. Tapkova) had been Orthodox. Five children had been born in this marriage – three boys (one of them had been Cyril, the father of Prof. Tapkova) and two girls.

The establishment and the functioning of the school in Lerin was similar to the ones of other Bulgarian schools in this region, which then was beyond the boundaries of the state. All of them were launched, supported and supervised by the Bulgarian Exarcheia (established in 1870). The situation of the Bulgarians in Macedonia in the last years before the Liberation was connected directly with the activity of the Exarcheia.
The literature, devoted to the Bulgarian-Greek Church conflict and the separation of the Bulgarian Church from the Patriarchy in Constantinople is enormous. See mostly Бурмов, Т. Българо-гръцката църковна разпря/Burmov, T. The Bulgarian-Greek Church Quarrel; Снегаров, История на съвременните православни църкви/Snegarov, History of the Contemporary Orthodox Churches. On the activity of the Exarcheia before the Liberation see Маркова, Българската екзархия 1870-1879/Markova, The Bulgarian Exarcheia; История на България, БАН, т. 6/History of Bulgaria, publ. by BAS (the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences), vol. VI.
There are 20 letters by Dimitar Tapkov, written in the period 1874-1876, published by prof. Tapkova herself and her daughter Raya Zaimova under the title За един български учител в Лерин през 70- те години на миналия век/In respect of a Bulgarian Teacher in Lerin in the 70-ies of the past century. See also the memoires of Kuzman Shapkarev, who had taught in Macedonia in this period. Материали за историята на възражданието българщината в Македония от 1854 до 1884 год./Materials for the History of the Bulgarian Revival in Macedonia from 1854 till 1884.

Cyril Dimitriev Tapkov (1885-1941) had studied classical philology in the University La Sapienza in Rome. After his graduation he had taught Latin and French in the Bulgarian school in Syar (nowadays Serres, Greece) and in Bitola till 1913. After the occupation of Thessaloniki during the Second Balkan War (called also the Inter-allies War), he had been forced to escape with his brother in Italy and after that they moved to Sofia.
In Sofia he had taught Latin in the state First Male and First Maiden’s gymnasia, and later in the private French college. Till 1935 he had worked as a translator and secretary in the commission for the reparations (paid by Bulgaria to the winners of the First World War).
Her mother Donka Boshnakova (1893-1983) had lived since childhood in Sofia and the families of her parents are from Stara Zagora and Gorna Oryahovitsa. She had received her university degree in political sciences in Brussels. In Bulgaria she had taught mathematics in the Second Maiden gymnasium and in the French language schools.
Her brother Dimitar Tapkov, born in 1929, is a composer, and professor for decades in the Musical Academy in Sofia. He had been a director of the Opera in Sofia.

In respect of the situation of the Bulgarians in Macedonia after the Liberation and the activity of the Exarcheia, which competed the activities of Serbia, Greece, Constantinople and the uniatic mission till 1913 see Георгиев, Трифонов. История на българите в документи, т. ІІ/Georgiev, Trifonov. History of the Bulgarians in Documents, vol. II.История на България, БАН, т. 7/History of Bulgaria, BAS, vol. VII ; Св. Елдъров. Католиците в България 1878-1989/ Sv. Eldurov, The Catholics in Bulgaria 1878-1898. On the Macedonian question and the developments till the end of the Inter-allies war see П. Милюков (1859-1943). Живата истина/P. Milyukov, The Vivid Truth; Уил Мънро. България и нейните хора/Will Munro, Bulgaria and its People; Данев, Стоян (1858-1949). Мемоари/Danev, Stoyan. Memoires.
On the organization of the pre-gymnasium and gymnasium education in Bulgaria immediately after the Liberation see mostly Дринов, Марин (1838-1906). Съчинения, т. ІІІ/Drinov, Marin, Writings, vol. III.
Almost all the teachers in the classical languages in the gymnasia before 1925, when the first classical philologists have graduated from the Sofia University, had received their education, similarly to Cyril Dimitriev Tapkov, in foreign universities. Famous among them are Ivan Brožka (1853-1927; he is the author of the first Latin-Bulgarian dictionary, with co-author Delidelvov); Perikli Chilev (1864-1925, who late becomes teacher of the king Boris III and prince Cyril), D. Delidelvov (teacher of Al. Balabanov in First male gymnasium.)
For them and the teaching manuals, used then see Геров, Б. Из историята на класическото образование в България от Освобождението до днес/Gerov, B. From the history of the Classical Education in Bulgaria from the Liberation till the present day. Бешевлиев, В. (1900-1992) Погледъ върху историята на класическите студии в нашите земи./Beshevliev, V. A Glance on the History of the classical studies in our lands.
The education in the first classical gymnasium in Sofia (1894-1899) is described in the memories of Ал. Балабанов. И аз на тоя свят/Alexander Balabanov. Me also on this world .
Very detailed information about the family of Prof. Tapkova’s father is given in the still unpublished manuscript, prepared by her and her daughter: Тапкова-Заимова, Василка и Заимова, Рая. Историята на една учителска фамилия в Македония / Tapkova-Zaimova, Vasilka and Zaimova, Raya. The History of a Teacher’s Family in Macedonia.

II. Secondary education

According to Vasilka Tapkova one part of the Bulgarian intelligentsia in Thessaloniki had preferred to send abroad their children to study in Italian higher education institutions. It should be added, that the majority of them have used as a major foreign language French. Her father had been a teacher in French, and for her, for her daughter and for her grandchildren the French language has always been the second language after the Bulgarian.
The beginning of her gymnasium education coincides with the reform, undertaken in 1937, when the middle variant of semi-classical secondary studies had been left behind, and the only the forms of “classical” and/or “real” classes had remained. She has been enrolled in the classical department of the French college, where both of the two old languages had been studied profoundly.
- By this time, she says, the classical gymnasia were established everywhere. The instruction in the college has been lead in French, and the classical and modern languages, including Russian, were studied with the usages of French textbooks/manuals. The matriculation exams (called “matura”) have been two – in French and Bulgarian. Vasilka Tapkova has finished the French catholic college in 1943 and has become a student in Sofia University, in specialty classical philology.

General information about the secondary (pro-gymnasium and gymnasium) education in Bulgaria till 1944 is given in Попов, Пиронкова. Образователната система в България/Popov, Pironkova. The educational system in Bulgaria. See also Колев, В. и др. Летопис на просветното министерство 1879-1995/Chronicle of the educational ministry 1879-1995 .The situation in Sofia is depicted by Минко Гечев in Образованието в София (1878-1944)/Minko Gechev. The education in Sofia (1878-1944). See also the general considerations on the gymnasium education by Ivan Georgov (1862-1935) in his writing On the reform in our gymnasia/Ив. Георгов. За реформата на нашите гимназии. The instruction in French in Bulgaria even before the liberation is discussed in История на България, БАН, т .6/History of Bulgaria, BAS, v. 6. Boris Gerov has written about the teaching of Latin and more exactly about the teaching aid-materials in his Из историята на класическото образование в България от Освобождението до днес/From the history of the Classical Education in Bulgaria from the Liberation till the present day. In his book Познайте ги по делата им/ You will know them by their deeds, Ivan Venedikov (1916-1997) tells about the instruction in the classical class of the First male gymnasium, where he has been enrolled in 1929.
Among the teachers in the inter-wars period very popular are the names of Christo Kodov (1901-1982), Iordan Bratkov (1901-1986), Mladen Tonev (1902-1940), Georgi Batakliev (1910-1994), Alexander Milev (1904-1980), Russka Gandeva (1911-2001), Makaryi Portalski (1915-1979), Mihail Voynov (1905 - 1985).

III. Higher education

1. Professors and colleagues

At the time, when Vasilka Tapkova becomes a student, there are four habilitated professors in the specialty (Alexander Balabanov, D. Dechev, V. Beshevliev and Vladimir Georgiev) and two assistant-professors (B. Gerov, G. Mihailov). She mentions several colleague-students: Todor Sarafov, who later becomes associate professor in Latin in the department; Konstantin Kostakev, who later works as a teacher in a gymnasium; Magdalina Stancheva, who later becomes an archaeologist and specialist in the ancient history of Sofia; and Slavka Slavova - a future actress. Two years before the beginning of her studies, Al. Nichev had been enrolled as a student.
Many times in her interview she stresses on the high quality of the teaching in the department classical philology. However, the professors have differed in respect of character and style of instruction. What she is telling is confirmed by numerous other evidences.
Alexander Balabanov who had been lecturing in Greek literature, had never literary read his lectures and he had been very fond of provoking disputations with the students. Frequently he had invited them to walks and restaurant-dinners, by which the conversations had been even more relaxed. Sometimes, at these gatherings extra the auditoria, the students could meet scholars, writers and intellectuals, with whom Balabanov had been at friendly terms. In her interview Vasilka Tapkova mentions the art-theoretician Protich, and the archaeologists Venedikov and Dzhambov, who later becomes director of the Archaeological Museum in Plovdiv.
The rest of the professors had preferred to communicate with the students only in the auditorium. Dimitar Dechev and Vladimir Gueorgiev had taught respectively Latin literature and historical grammar of the Latin language. Their courses had been ordered and systematic. Beshevliev, who then had had a course in Alexandrian poetry, had been especially demanding from the more negligent students.
Boris Gerov had lead seminars, on which Latin authors, especially Horace was read and the text and the verses had been analyzed in detail. Georgi Mihailov had been a very inspiring lecturer. Speaking about him she says, that he has been more connected with the French school, whereas the other majority of the professors had been relying on the German researches.
- Otherwise all of them, she adds, knew French, German and English, I mean only their inclinations.
The specialty classical philology, divided into departments in Greek and Latin philology is created with a decision of the Academic council in the beginning of the year 1921/1922. First regular professors are Alexander Balabanov and Dimitar Dechev (1877-1958). But in fact, since the establishment of the University in 1888, there were number of courses in the classical languages, literature and history, delivered in the Historic-philological Faculty. The professors were: Nikola Mihailovski (1818-1892) in Greek language for the first three semesters and after him, till 1898 – Marko Balabanov (1837-1921). Gavril Katsarov (1874-1958) has been associate professor in ancient history since 1900. Bogdan Filov (1883-1945) becomes associate professor in archeology in 1911. Balabanov himself is habilitated as early as 1909, and in 1914 is published the volume with his lectures, entitled Класическа литература/The Classical Literature.
The best sources for the biographies of the first professors in the classical antiquities are: Алманах на Софийския Университет до 1928, съставен от Ив. Георгов, Алманах на Софийския Университет "Св. Климент Охридски" 1888-1939, А-Я и Алманах на Софийския Университет "Св. Климент Охридски" 1939-1988/The Almanac of Sofia University, edited by Ivan Georgov; Almanac of Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridsky” 1888-1939, A-Z, and Almanac of Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridsky” 1939-1988.
Detailed information about the foundation of the specialty, the activity of the scholars, working on antiquity and the University in general is to be found in Арнаудов, М. (1878-1978), История на Софийския Университет „Св. Климент Охридски” през първото му полустолетие 1888-1939 /M. Arnaudov. History of SU “St. Kliment Ohridsky” in its first half of a century 1888-1939.
Memoirs about the specialty and its professors are published: by Ivan Venedikov in Познайте ги по делата им/ You will know them by their deeds;Boris Gerov has published memories about Dimiter Dechev in Спомени за Софийския университет/ Memories about SU; in the same book Velizar Velkov writes about the specialty in general; also Emil Georgiev, although he had studied in another department; Dimitar Angelov (1917-1996), who had studied classical philology as a minor specialty, also writes about the professors in Спомени..
In the introduction of the autobiographical book by Alexander Balabanov И аз на тоя свят/Me also on this world, T. Borov (1901-1992) has written: “Balabanov was one of the most popular persons all over Bulgaria and the most famous professor in the University». Indeed, the memories, the references and the texts on him in general are probably more, than on all the other scholars of the antiquities in Bulgaria, taken together. Balabanov had never interfered in politics, but had been very active in the literary and cultural life.
There is the monography “Alexander Balabanov” by Anastasiya Purvanova (published by the Macedonian cultural institute in 1994); several special essays by Todor Borov, the largest of which (45 pages) is published in Живот с книги/Life with Books; the collection Александър Балабанов и Симеон Радев в спомените на съвременниците си/ Alexander Balabanov and Simeon Radev in the Memoirs of their Contemporaries, where several authors have written on him: Elin Pelin (1877-1949), Simeon Radev (1879-1967), Alexander Bozhinov (1878-1968), Dimitar Mihalchev (1880-1967), Konstantin Gulubov (1892-1980), Georgi Mihailov (1916-1991), Ivan Bogdanov (1910-1992), Boris Delchev (1910-1987), Christo Radevski (1903-1996), Velizar Velkov (1928-1993), and others. He is also depicted by Georgi Markov in “Memories on Sofia University”. It is worth taking into consideration the impressions of Cyril Christov (1875-1944) in Време и съвременници/Time and Contemporaries, not forgetting however, that Cyril Christov is extremely reluctant to praise anyone at all.

2. During the War

The regular academic process in Sofia had been possible in Sofia till the end of 1943. The first bombing of the English-American aviation over the city occurred on the 15th of November. Even more destructive had been the attacks in 1944, especially on the 10th of January, the 29th and the 30th of March.
Vasilka Tapkova had been evacuated with her mother, her brother (five years younger than her), the one of the grand-mothers and the family of her uncle in Dragoman, where they have remained till October. However, she had taken with her the Greek dictionary and the anthology “Alexandrian poetry ”, compiled by Beshevliev, saying about it:
- I have eaten it up with the hard-cover.
In Dragoman she had had enough free time and then she had improved her knowledge of Russian and German (by reading books, to which she had had access) and even she had had the chance to pass the regular (“lecturer’s”) exam in German, with Zhana Nikolova-Galabova as an examiner, who also had been evacuated in Dragoman. Initially she had intended to take the exam in French, but in order to pass it she had to travel to Sliven and her mother had advised her not to do it.
- How is that? You are going to travel from Dragoman through all these roads, under the bombs, heading to Sliven? There is no way!
When they had returned to Sofia, they found their house on “Tsar Assen” str. destroyed, and the neighboring house, which had belonged to their grandmother, only with punctured roof. But the furniture and the piano had survived (65 years later, during the interview, she has shown the interviewer Zoia the same chairs, that had been preserved despite the bombing).
While the reconstruction of the house was going on, they had been sheltered in the house of the other grandmother, on “Gurgulyat” str. There, of course, they had not been accommodated quite comfortable.
- All of us had slept on one sofa – my mother, me and my brother.
The greatest inconveniences in the every day life were connected with the destroyed houses.
- Literally we have remained in the street.
Food had been distributed on coupons as late as 1950. On this occasion she speaks of the friendly relations in the specialty.
- The father of Rayna Kabaivanska (the famous Bulgarian opera diva) was head of the commission for the nutrition of the population. Balabanov was familiar with him and went to him to beg for some additional coupon, and so, that’s how we were feasting, in the seminar room upstairs (on the last floor of the building – note of the transl.) with some sausages and bread.
I would add, that the tradition of these collegiate parties in the auditoria-offices of the specialty, in the attic of the building, which had began in these years (the central building had been consecrated in 1934, but some specialties have used it earlier), turned out to be very vivid. During the 80-es and the 90-es the soul of the company of this parallel academic life was Krassimir Banev (1940-1995), who was aware that it is his duty to keep alive the Balabanov’s spirit in the specialty. So, in the beginning of the 90-ies I was present to a party in the so-called Columbarium – the last floor of the Rectorate building, on which the offices of the classicists are situated, where Vasilka Tapkova had studied. At this party in the early 90-ies Venedikov himself was present – the author of the memories about the classical education during the 30-ies. During Banev’s time the parties were held either in the Columbarium - the attic, or, in the opposite place, in “The Egg” – the university restaurant, which has no windows, because it is situated in the basement. The crises after 1989 have created living conditions, similar in a way to the ones after the war. After that the colleagues have gathered around Anna Nikolova, and after her retirement in 2004, they are initiated – even till the present day – by doctoral students and bachelors, but mainly by these, who have graduated the NGDEK – The National Gymnasium for Classical Languages and Cultures.
On the participation of Bulgaria in the war in 1943-1944 and especially on the situation in Sofia see: the documents, published in България – своенравният съюзник на Третия райх/ Bulgaria – the Recalcitrant Ally of the Third Reich. Detailed evidence for the effect of the bombings are to be found in the Diary of Bogdan Filov/ Богдан Филов. Дневник,. Personal impressions could be read in K. Katsarov - 60 години живяна история/60 years of History. The consequences of the bombings for the University are described in: През годините на военни изпитания/During the years of the military hardships, in History of Sofia University, published in 1988. In Спомени за Софийския университет/Memoires of Sofia University could be found impressions by the professors M. Genovski, T. Taschev, P. Slavov, Svet. Ivanchev, D. Karanov, V. Vulchanov, A. Bunkov.

3. Before the work in the BAS. De-fascisation and reform in the education. The situation in the University and the specialty
Vasilka Tapkova many times stresses the collegiate atmosphere and the tolerance among the classical philologists. During the “purge” one professor in the department had been fired – V. Beshevliev. She mentions also the expel of the historian Ivan Duichev, with whom they later have worked together in BAS and of the geographer Dimitar Yaranov, with whom they have been neighbors for a while in “Gurgulyat” str. Beshevliev and Duichev, and Yaranov as well, have been accused in chauvinism and declared pro-fascist views.
- … because he (Beshevliev) and Duichev have done research in Macedonia, but they have been sent there, to study the Bulgarian antiquities there. And according to the accusation their writings have turned out to be “ pro-fascist”! Nothing!
From the students in the specialty one has been expelled – the one was Slavka Slavova, because of the phrase:
- I have been a member of the Brannik-organization and I am proud of that.
(Brannik was a youth organization, created with a special legislative act in 1940. After 1944 it has been forbidden and condemned as the Bulgarian counterpart of Hitleruegend - note of the transl.)
When the interviewer Zoia Hristova-Dimitrova remarks that this seems to her quite a negligible “sin” she replies:
- Ah, for that reason… there were much more insignificant reasons for expulsion.
However, all these are tiny and miniscule, compared with the events in the Faculty of History and many other places.
- The people who were (in the Department of Classics) belonged to a generation with good upbringing. They couldn’t change themselves, as had happened in the Faculty of history. There was a real horror!
The movement for the de-fascisation and the removal of the enemies among the professors and the students came mostly from the students’ circles. In the specialties, including Classical philology there were groups of activists, mainly members and sympathizers of the communist party and the People’s Front. Vasilka Tapkova mentions Al. Nichev.
- He was an utmost communist, he was studying two years in advance of me. He was already finishing his university studies, but he was commanding the parade. However, as a person he was a good man.
Her tone in general in the reference for him is benevolent.


When she had been a student in the third year of her study (in the academic 1945-1946) the news was spread that the classical languages will be removed from the secondary education. She had joined a students’ initiative – petition against this reform. She mentions that in the department of French philology the colleagues had not supported it eagerly, but the Director of the Alliance Française – George Hateau, who had lectured in the university as well, had signed it.
During her study, the ideological disciplines still have not been introduced as obligatory (History of the BCP etc.). However, later, she had been obliged to pass exams in these disciplines, when she already had the position of a researcher in the BAS.
- When I was a student, for example, still the study of Marxism and Leninism was not obligatory. Still, the study of the History of the Bulgarian Communist Party was not obligatory. All these, imposed later, were not studied by me, when I was a student. We were suppressed to death later, when I was already in the Institute. Then we were forced to pass exams in Marxism and Leninism, then we were forced to attend courses in the History of the BCP”.

The educational reform in the period 1944-1949 and the repressions against the university teaching faculty are described in the detailed research, published by Vessela Chichovska The Politics against the Educational Tradition/Весела Чичовска, Политиката срещу просветната традиция. Numerous valuable documents are published again by her and Vera Mutaphchieva in Съдът срещу историците/ The Court against the Historians. On these topics see also Национализираният университет/The nationalized university by R. Donkov/Р. Донков in the volume Университетът, and the relevant chapter in Sofia University. The first 120 years. The point of view of the ruling party in this period is exposed in История на Софийския Университет от 1988/History of Sofia University, 1988.
Some of the texts, written by V. Beshevliev and Ivan Duichev, that might have served as a pretext for their dismissal, are published in the journal “Prometheus” between 1941 and 1943.
Alexander Nichev really had published texts, in which the historical materialism evidently is taken as the philosophical basis of the historic and literary research. See his article Методологически въпроси в областта на античната литература. Methodological questions in the field of ancient literature в сп. “Септември”, 1950/ in the journal “September”, 1950, and the reaction to it by Balabanov, described by Ivan Bogdanov in Александър Балабанов и Симеон Радев в спомените на съвременниците/Alexander Balabanov and Simeon Radev in the Memories of their Contemporaries. Also История на класическата литература, History of the Classical Literature, 1949, written by Nichev and B. Gerov. Nichev is also the author of the relevant part, dedicated to the antiquity, in the handbook in literature for the secondary schools, which had been reprinted many times during the 60-ies and the 70-ies. There are all the necessary references to Marx and Engels, and some of the most significant Marxist-Leninist phraseology-staff.
Studies, which bear signs of the compromise with the power, had been published by other professors in the specialty as well. G. Mihailov is author of the Класовата борба на остров Лесбос VІІ-VІ в./Class struggle on the island Lesbos VII-VI c.,1950, and later Rousska Gandeva publishes За прогресивната идейност в Еврипидовата “Медея”, 1959/On the Progressive Ideas in the Euripide’s “Medea”.

III. Professional development till 1989. Family.

1. In the Institute for Bulgarian history
Soon after the graduation from the university Vasilka Tapkova begins to work as an assistant-researcher in the BAS – in the Institute for Bulgarian history. She says, by this time this has been the Commission for the publication of sources. But she hadn’t intended to work precisely in this area, because the structure of the BAS with its numerous institutions has been something new. The classical philologist, who had graduated from the university before the reform in 1947, could hope to be employed as a teacher in the classical languages in a gymnasium, or as a teacher in a modern language, especially if (s)he had obtained as a “minor” study second specialty in some western or Russian philology. In order to be allowed to teach, and this obligation has been kept later as well, one had had to pass through training practice in some gymnasium. When Vasilka Tapkova had went to the Third Male gymnasium (on “Pirotska’’ str.), where she had been assigned to practice, it had turned out, that her tutor would be a person, personally involved in the dismissal of her father from work in the beginning of the 40-ies.
- All of a sudden it turns out, that I receive as a patron somebody, who once upon a time had been a communist, but after that had flattered Filov and had become a protégé of Filov …So, I went to the Third Male gymnasium and I see: the person, who had sent the message to my father, now is supposed to become a tutor of mine!... So, I don’t know whether that person recognized me or not, but when we, the applicants for the pedagogical practice went there, we were told by him: ‘’Today we are not going to work together and tomorrow we are not going to work together, because we, the fighters against fascism, have an important meeting!’’
That’s why she had given up the pedagogical practice and after hearing that there is a competitive exam for an assistant in the Institute for Bulgarian history, she applied for the position and had the best result among 22 other applicants.
- See what comes sometimes out of despair!’’
The examining committee had been presided by Ivan Snegarov, and also the archeologist D. Dimitrov had taken part. The applicants had to translate a text by St. Basil the Great.
- It was funny, because my name is Vasilka and we had to translate St. Vassiliy/Basil the Great. That’s why I was lucky!
After the competition she had met the future archeologist Maria Chichikova, who had informed her about the very positive reference for her exam-results from Dimitar Dimitrov.
So, she had received the order for the appointment in the BAS, but almost immediately she had received the message that as a beneficiary of state stipend she is obliged to work on a ‘’destination’’. Despite of the lack of pedagogical practice, she has been assigned to work as a teacher in Bossilegrad.
- And do you know what was still there? Real horror. They were still fighting there. I was to be cast there.

In the Institute their duties were to translate and comment Greek sources for the Bulgarian history. In their group the classical philologists Genoveva Tsankova and Strashimir Lishev had been included, as well, and the person in charge had been Mihail Voynov.
- It was a very meticulous work.
Firstly, they had typed the Greek texts in columns, after that they had cut them with scissors and besides they pasted the columns with the Bulgarian translation. Beneath the commentary had been added. After that Boyan Mirchev was employed as a typist.
- He was from the family of the famous Mirchevs, the scholars in the Slavonic studies. Because he had worked as a journalist in ‘’Zora’’, and consequently – persecuted for that, he was not allowed to have any other work, except the one of a typist. He was intelligent person, and although he didn’t know Greek, he was typing punctually in Bulgarian. Without mistakes.
In the commission, which had supervised their work, Beshevliev and Gerov had been included, and the Bulgarian text had been corrected by Stoyan Romanski.

In the period till 1963 Vasilka Tapkova-Zaimova has attended conferences, scholarly meetings and working visits in Krakow (1959), in Dubrovnik for research on sources (1963) and Leningrad (1963). She has been a secretary of the Organization Committee of the VIth Conference of the Organization for the study of the classical antiquity “Eirene” (held in Plovdiv, in 1962). In 1963 she has specialized for three months in the Moscow Institute for history.
In 1950 Vasilka Tapkova marries the linguist (specialist in Bulgarian language) Yordan Zaimov (1921-1987). They have two children: Velislav Zaimov, born in 1951, who is a composer and professor in the Musical Academy; and Raya Zaimova, born in 1957, senior associate researcher (equal to a professor) in the Institute for Balkan studies, a specialist in the French-Ottoman cultural relations.
For the structure of the BAS and the inner composition of the separate institutes, including the Institute for history, see Ралева, О., Пейчева, Р. БАН след 9.IX.1944 /BAS after the 9. IX 1944. For the events after 1944, the restructuring and the enlargement of the Academy see История на БАН 1869-1969/History of BAS 1869-1969. The new structure is enacted by the special Act for the BAS from 1947. After the arrest of Bogdan Filov in April 1945 for a president of the Academy has been elected Dimitar Mihalchev. In January the same year for a regular member has been elected Todor Pavlov – he is the first Marxist-member of the presidium of BAS.
He becomes president in 1947 and is re-elected by the General assembly in 1948 and 1956, remaining a president till 1962.
In the beginning of 1958 the BAS has 8 Sections, 4 of which are humanitarian and they comprise the separate institutes. The Institute for Bulgarian history is included in the subsection History and Pedagogy. By this time there are 88 academicians and member-correspondents and 372 scientific or scholarly researchers. Among the academicians are Sp. Kazandzhiev, D. Mihalchev, G. Katzarov, A. Protich, Ivan Snegarov. V. Beshevliev and D. Dimitrov are member-correspondents.
By that time director of the Institute for Bulgarian history is Dimitar Kossev. There are 5 Commissions for the publication of sources in the section of archeography and bibliography of Bulgarian history: for the publication of Greek, Latin, Slavonic, Turkish and Hebrew sources. Vasilka Tapkova works in the Commission for the publication of the Greek and Latin sources. In the volume БАН след 9. ІХ. 1944/ BAS after 9. IX. 1944 among the senior researchers are mentioned D. Angelov and Ivan Duichev, whereas M. Voynov with the other publishers of sources, is included among the junior researchers.
The first 6 volumes Гръцките извори за българската история/The Greek sources for the Bulgarian history, are published between 1954-1965. Among the translators are mentioned also Dimitar Dechev, Velizar Velkov, Lyubomir Yonchev, Petar Tivchev. The publishing of the Greek and the Latin sources continues later, and the last – for the time being – 32th volume. Some of them can be seen on the web: Prof. Tapkova-Zaimova has taken part in the preparation of 11 of the Greek and 2 of the Latin volumes.
Many details about her researches till 1963 are given in the book: Василка Тъпкова-Заимова. Биобиблиография. Велико Търново, 1985.

2. Members of the BCP and non-members in the BAS. The ideologization. The dossier files of Vasilka Tapkova-Zaimova and Yordan Zaimov
Vasilka Tapkova has worked in the Institute for Bulgarian history till 1963.
- There was the opinion: “ They are not going to be allowed to become senior researchers”, because the editing and the publishing of sources was not reckoned (by them) to be a proper scholarly work.
Mihail Voynov is mentioned several times in the interview with explicit respect and cordiality.
- If somebody is to be pointed at as my teacher – this is Voynov.
He had advised her and the other younger colleagues to concentrate their work only on the sources, in order not to be forced to publish ideological texts. Many years after that Prof. Georgi Bakalov has told her: “Only in your writings there are no such passages”.
However, by doing this, they have sentenced themselves to a lack of publications. A book or article in history without the Marxist and the Leninist phraseology could hardly appear in the 50-ies and the early 60-ies. That’s why she had accepted the invitation of Nikolai Todorov and Vladimir Georgiev to move to the brand new Institute for Balkan studies, in the section for the history of Byzantium and the Balkan people.
- I gave this name to it.
However, they couldn’t appoint her as a scientific secretary, which would be equal to a deputy director, because such a position could be obtained only by a member of the Party. Her husband Yordan Zaimov had also abstained from becoming a member of the Party.
- So, also, one day Nikolai (Todorov) came and told me: ‘’Well, we don’t have a deputy director, and the scholarly secretary has to be a Party-member, as well”. So, Vladimir Georgiev told me: ‘’Let’s accept you and your husband as Party-members’’. So, we were both proposed, but we rejected. I have already told you, that Nikolai (Todorov) was a good man, he was a Party-member, doing the necessary party-deeds, but he didn’t torture the people. He never raised the topic again.

To the question of Zoia whether the Party-secretaries in the organizations had been external people, Vasilka Tapkova replies that they have been researchers and scholars like all the rest. As her story confirms, it depended on the person to accept or to reject the proposal to become a member, and nevertheless in the latter case to remain on the same working position. But to occupy a leading prestigious position without being a Party member, for a very long time had not been possible. However, Yordan Zaimov had become a deputy director of the Unified Center in Linguistics in 1986 – one year before his death.
The relations between the Party-members and the non-members on the working place could be very stressful. The Party-members could have easy access to the leading persons in charge in the BAS and this had created options for intrigues and pressure. Thus, Mihail Voynov had been dismissed and for a certain period had to earn his living as a carpenter.
- A carpenter! Well, although fired from the institute, didn’t he have allowance for some other job?
- No, no, he didn’t. So, he made the shelter for the hens of a neighbour.

Obviously everyone, who had not become a Party-member could be pressed, especially if one had made the impression of an uncompromising person.
- And we heard what slanders were made against us; they went to the Head-department of the academy in order to report that we are unfit for this job, that we should be expelled, we should be fired, and so.
Still, the non-members could rely on the support of some high-ranked colleagues-Party-members, who had respected them for their professionalism or simply had tried to act according to justice. Vasilka Tapkova says good words for Todor Pavlov, who had restored Mihail Voynov to his earlier appointment. Also she mentions quite positively Nikolai Todorov, who had never demanded any demonstrative ideology in the publications. There are no generalities in the interview about the Party and the ideology, nor the advantages and the shortcomings of the regime are discussed.
Vasilka Tapkova and Yordan Zaimov had had prolific files.
- The dossier file of my husband consisted of 145 pages.
She had read them and even had taken copies of some pages, which later had sent to their authors. Some of them had not been “slanders” from special informers, but mere so-called characteristics (something as a regular reference), written by Party-secretary, intended for administrative and Party usage, but probably they had been used by the State Security, as well. They had been written regularly.
- So, was there a report every year?
- Aha!

Vasilka Tapkova distinguishes an “early” and “late” part in her dossier-file. In the early part there had been reports about her meetings with French citizens in the Embassy of France, especially with the director of the French college in Plovdiv – Father Oson – who had been held under the suspicion that he is an agent of a foreign service. However, later it had become clear that she is visiting the Embassy, because she gave lessons in Latin to the daughter of the ambassador. However, this contact of her had not been quite safe.
- If I’ve been ‘’included’’ in the Catholics’ case, I was endangered to be sent to a camp. So, you know, in 1952 several Catholics were shot. And because of the fact that I have graduated from the French college, they write in my file that in the Embassy I am regularly meeting the Director of the French college in Plovdiv: “she met with him today, tomorrow, the day after tomorrow”…
Her husband, likewise her father before 1944, has been followed by the secret services in connection with his beliefs mainly on the Macedonian question.
In respect of the pressure, exercised by the Party on the historians, working in the field of the study of antiquity and the middle ages see again, Съдът срещу историците/ The Court against the Historians op. cit., and also the autobiography of Georgi Bakalov in the volume, dedicated to his 60-th anniversary. On the other point of view see the memoires of D. Angelov.

3. Other appointments and teaching till 1989

In the Institute for Balkan studies it has been much easier for her. The section History of Byzantium and the Balkan people had been initially directed by Beshevliev and after his retirement – by Vasilka Tapkova.
- Then they didn’t demand from us to write accordingly to Marxism, because Nikolai Todorov was an extremely intelligent man.
So, she was given then the opportunity not only to publish sources and to translate, but also to write texts of her own. She has remained in the Institute till 1989, when she has retired. She has began to teach in 70-ies (1970-ies) in the Academy for the Arts.
- I was teaching medieval history, but in the Department of Theory of Arts. This was a position, previously held by (Alexander) Fol, who has left it, because then began his career (literary: they have begun to pull him higher). So after him, the position was proposed to me.
She becomes professor in 1973 (as part-time appointment) and keeps lecturing in the Academy till 1993.


In the period 1964-1973 she attends conferences, scholarly meetings and working visits in Athens, Berlin, Bucharest, Brno, Venice, Zagreb, Ljubljana, Moscow, Paris, Strassburg, Hamburg, Schwerin, and many Bulgarian towns. She delivers lectures in Bucurrest (1966) and Paris (1972). She and her husband receive the state honour “Cyril and Methodius” for the book Битолски надпис на Иван Владислав /The Bitola inscription of Ivan Vladislav. In 1973 she becomes senior associate researcher of first degree in BAS, which corresponds to the rank of university professor.
Since 1975 she is a part-time lecturer in the University of Veliko Turnovo. Between 1974 and 1984 she participates in conferences and scholarly meetings in Ankara, Athens, Belgrade, Berlin, Birmingham, Budapest, Bucharest, Brno, Vienna, Greifswald, Dumbarton Oaks, Kiev, Krajova, London, Moscow, Muehlhausen, Paris, Prague, Rome, Thessaloniki, Strasbourg, and many places in Bulgaria. She has delivered lectures in the University of Cologne (1984). She has been since 1979 a vice president of Association Internationale des Etudes du Sud-Est Europeen – AIESEE.

On the activity of Nikolai Todorov see his Дневник/Diary. On the scholarly and public activity see the volume, collecting his articles ant interviews Самотният пешеходец/The Lonely Pedestrian. About him and the circle of intellectuals, close to the BCP and Lyudmila Zhivkova see Н. Неделчев. Тоталитарни идеологии в историята/N. Nedelchev, Totalitarian Ideologies in History; Ив. Еленков. Културният фронт/Ivan Elenkov, The Cultural Front; Хр. Христов. Тодор Живков. Биография/Hristo Hristov. Todor Zhivkov. Biography.
For her scholarly work till 1984 see again Василка Тъпкова-Заимова. Биобиблиография. Велико Търново, 1985.

IV. After the retirement

In 1993 she receives proposal to resume work, but this time in the Section of history in the Institute for Cyril-and-Methodius studies in the BAS and works there till 2003. But also she has been lecturing in several universities: in Sofia and in Plovdiv (2000-2002), Blagoevgrad South-West University (1992-1996), and mostly in the University in Veliko Turnovo (from the end of the 70-ies). Till 2001 she has been a member of the Leading committee of the Union of the scientists in Bulgaria. She has lectured also in this period in Athens, Munich, Thessaloniki, Yoannina.
In 2003 she becomes doctor honoris causa of the university in Bucharest, and in 2004 she eceives the same honour from the University in VelikoTurnovo.


I am personally acquainted with Prof. Tapkova-Zaimova from the autumn of 1993, when for a very short time I was an assistant of her in the course Byzantine literature and culture in the specialty Modern Greek philology in University of Sofia. Since then we have had three longer conversations on her biography: in July 2001 on a cocktail reception in the Embassy of France; in July 2007 in a cafe after the promotion of the dissertation of Yanko Dimitrov, whose work was reviewed by her and me (later Yanko became husband of the interviewer Zoia Hristova); and finally, in the last week of October, 2010 at her home on “Praga blvd” in Sofia, when we discussed this biographical paper.


Translation from Bulgarian - Dimka Guicheva-Gocheva

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Classical Studies in Bulgaria 1959-1979. The situation by 1979

I. Classicists and scholars, whose researches were related to Classics (who is who)
in memoriam
Todor GERASIMOV (1974)
Head of Section for Epigraphy and Numismatics at the Archeological Institute (since 1964).
retired (1968)
Co-author of Thracian Art (1973).
Makarij Portalski (1979)
retired (1976)
Co-author of Latin Grammar (1961)
Translation of Quintilian`s Institutio Oratoria (1982)

1. Professional profiles and main institutions classicists work in
a. Sofia University
(The main source for the CVs is Алманах на Софийския Университет "Климент Охридски" 1939-1988, А-Я. SU Press, 1988)
- Department of Classical philology
G. Mihailov – professor (1964).
(Or 1963 - Димитър Веселинов. Летописна книга на ФКНФ 1888-1965. SU Press, 2008)
Editor of Greek Inscriptions Discovered in Bulgaria (in Latin), t. III-IV. 590 p. + 329 pl. and 348 p. + 86 pl. (1961-1966). Author of The Thracians. 320 p. (1972).
Translations of Plato`s Dialogues (1979, selected).
Courses: Greek Syntax; Historical Grammar and History of Greek Language; Greek Epigraphy; History of Greek Culture.
Al. Nichev - professor (1963). D-r of the Moscow State University (1972).
Author of: The Tragic Guilt in Sophocles` Oedipus the King (in French). 108 p. (1962); Sofronij`s Translation of Aesop`s Fables. 122 p. (1963). Aleko Konstantinov. 326 p. (1964). The Riddle of the Tragic Catharsis in Aristotle (in French). 254 p. (1970).
Translations of: Plautus` Menaechmi and The Pot of Gold (1966), Miles Gloriosus (1978); Aeschylus, all plays (1967); Aristotle`s Poetics (1967); Lucian`s Dialogues (selected) (1971); Seneca`s Oedipus (1977); Euripides` Electra and Bacchae (1977); Aristophanes` The Assemblywomen and Ploutos (1978); Menander`s Dyskolos (1978); Terence`s The Brothers (1978)
Courses: History of Ancient Literature; Greek Literature; Modern Greek Grammar
K. Vlahov – associate professor (1967) and professor (1973).
Author of The Thracian Personal Names. 138 p. (1976). Articles on the Thracian language (650-700 p. in Bulgarian and German) (1963-1979)
Courses: Phonetics and Morphology of the Greek Language; Syntax of the Greek Language; Thracian Language
T. Sarafov - associate professor (1973).
Author of: The Literary Views of Apuleius. 48 p. (1966); The Thracian satres (sic!). 70 p. (1973); Transcription and Pronuntiation of Latin and Greek Personal Names in Bulgarian. 23 p. (1979). Articles on Thracian language and history (30 p. in Bulgarian and French) (1970-1978).
Translation of Aesop's Fables (1967).
Zorka POPOVA (b. 1921 in Razgrad). Graduated from the Sofia University, Classical philology (1944). Teacher in Latin language (1961).
Author of articles on the influence of Tibullus, Catullus, Horace and Propertius on the Latin epigraphic inscriptions (200-250 p.) (1967-1980)
Courses: Morphology of the Latin Language; Phonetics of the Latin Language; History of the Latin Language
Anna B. NIKOLOVA (b. 1939 in Sofia). Graduated from the Sofia University, classical philology (1962). Assistant (1968). PhD (1975) with Chronology of Seneca`s De Ira and De Clementia.
Bogdan BOGDANOV (b. 1940 in Sofia). Graduated from the Sofia University, classical philology (1963). Assistant (1969). PhD (1976) with The Euripides` Two-parts Tragedies and the Question of the Description of the World-view Problematics of the Attic Tragedy.
Author of: From Homer to Euripides. Essays on Greek Literature. 192 p. (1971); Homer`s Epic. 127 p. (1976); Hellenistic Literature. 199 p. (1979).
Translations of: Theophrastus` Characters (1968); Plutarch`s Lives (1969, selected); Greek Novels (1975, selected); Plato`s Dialogues (1979, selected)
Courses: Introduction in the Classical philology (since 1979)
N. GEORGIEVA (b. 1947 in Elin Pelin, near Sofia). Graduated from the Sofia University, classical philology (1971). Assistant (1979).
8 teachers (5 men 3 women): 4 Greek scholars (3 literature-culture, 1 language), 4 Latin (2 literature and culture, 2 language)
- other Departments and Faculties
V. Velkov – associate professor (1961) and professor (1970) at the Department of Old and Medieval History. Head of Section for Epigraphy and Numismatics at the Archeological Institute (1972-1989).
Author of: Slavery in Thrace and Moesia in Antiquity. 154 p. (1967); Cities and Thrace and Dacia in Late Antiquity (in English). 308 p. (1977). Roman Cities in Bulgaria (in English). 300 p. (1979);
Co-author of Thracians in Greco-Roman Egypt (in French). 118 p. (1977)
Courses: History of Ancient World (since 1961);
R. Radev – associate professor (1969) and professor (1977) at the Department of Philosophy. D-r of the Philosophical Sciences (1976).
Author of: Materialistic Principles in Aristotle`s Philosophy of Knowledge. 156 p. (1961). Through the History of Arab Philosophy. 164 p. (1966). Hellenistic Philosophy. 312 p. (1973). Epicurus. Life and Work. 168 p. (1976).
Courses: History of Ancient and Medieval Philosophy
Alexander FOL (b. 1933 in Sofia). Graduated from the Sofia University, History (1957). Assistant (1963). PhD (1966) with The Thracians in Italy and in the Western Provinces of the Roman Empire. Associate professor (1972) and professor (1974) at the Department of Old and Medieval History.
Author of: Political History of Thracians until the end of V c. BC. 216 p. (1972)
Co-author of: Epaminondas. 111 p. (1967); Thracian Military Art. 127 p. (1969). Thracians in Greco-Roman Egypt (in French). 118 p. (1977); Thrace and the Thracians (in English). 160 p. (1977).
Courses: History of Ancient Greece (from 1972); Thracian Sources (from 1972); Thracology (since 1979)
Margarita TACHEVA (b. 1936 in Shumen). PhD (1969) with The Migrants of Asia Minor Syria and Egypt in the Economic and Cultural Life of Moesia Inferior and Thrace I-III c. Chief Assistant (1974). Associate professor (1976) at the Department of Old and Medieval History.
Author of Ancient Thrace and the South-East of Europe (in Russian). 88 p. (1976).
Courses: History of Ancient World (1975-1979); Thracology (1979)
Krasimir BANEV (b. 1940). Graduated from the Sofia University, classical philology (196…). Assistant in Methods of Teaching Classical Language (Department of Methods of Teaching Foreign Languages) (around 1970).
Dimitar POPOV (b. 1950). Graduated from the Sofia University, history (1973). PhD (1977) with Political and Religious Aspects of the King`s Institution by the Thracians. Assistant (1978) at the Department of Old and Medieval History.
Petar DELEV (b. 1951 in Sofia). Graduated from the Sofia University, history (1977). Assistant (1979) at the Department of Old and Medieval History.
7 teachers (6 men 1 woman): 4 historians, 1 archeologist-epigraphist, 1 philologist-methodologist, 1 philosopher

b. outside the University
- other universities (Tarnovo, Plovdiv, Medical academy in Sofia… no inf. yet)
* Theological Academy
Al. Milev - senior teacher in classical languages at the University (1964). Retired (1969). Professor (1970-1980).
Co-author of Latin Grammar (1961)
Translations of: Aristophanes` Clouds (1962), Homer`s Iliad (in cooperation) (1969); The Greek Lives of St Kliment Ohridski (1961); Plato`s Republic (1974
- Academy of Sciences
* Archeological Institute
Teofil IVANOV (b…). Graduated from Sofia University, classical philology. Head of Section for Ancient Archeology (1965-1982).
* Institute for Bulgarian History
(Edited Greek Sources for Bulgarian History (v. I-VI) until 1965)
G. TSANKOVA (b…) - junior researcher (senior since…)
S. LISHEV (b…) - junior researcher…(senior since…)
* Institute for Balkan Studies
Vasilka Tapkova-Zaimova - researcher at section Byzantium and the Balkan Peoples (since 1964)
* Thracology Institute
- elsewhere in academic and cultural institutions
* museums
Iv. Venedikov - senior researcher at the Archeological Institute (since 1962). Senior researcher (1973-1978) at the Thracology institute. Director of the section of Ancient archeology at the National Historical Museum (1973-1986).
Co-author of Thracian Art (1973).
6 classicists (4 men 2 woman): 2 archeologists, 2 philologists-editors, 1 philologist-historian, 1 Greek and Latin teacher and translator
- gymnasiums (the NGDEK)
Dimitar BOJADZHIEV (b. 1949). Graduated from the Sofia University, classical philology (1973). Teacher of Latin language. PhD (1979)
Ivan GENOV (b. 1956). Graduated from the Sofia University, classical philology (1979). Teacher of Greek language (since 1979)
Dorotei GETOV (b. 195…). Graduated from the Sofia University, classical philology (197…). Teacher of Greek language (since 1978)
Maria KOSTOVA (b. 1948). Graduated from the Sofia University, classical philology (1971). Teacher of Latin language (1978-1982)
Judith PHILIPOVA (b. 195…). Graduated from the Sofia University, classical philology (197…). Teacher of Latin language since 1978
Ognyan RADEV (b. 1955 in Varna). Graduated from the Sofia University, classical philology (1979). Teacher of Greek language and Ancient Culture (since 1979)
Rumen STEFANOV (b. 195…). Graduated from the Sofia University, classical philology (197…). Teacher of Greek language (since 1978)
7 teachers (5 men 2 women); 3 Greek language, 1 Greek language and culture, 3 Latin language
- no position in educational (academic, etc.) institution (or no information about)
G. Batakliev - Translations of: Apuleius` The Golden Ass (1964, in cooperation); Homer`s Odyssey (1971); Ovid's Metamorphoses (1974);
P. Radev - Translation of Apuleius` The Golden Ass (1964, in cooperation)
M. Markov - Translations of: Sallust`s Conspiracy of Catiline and Jugurthine War; Livy's History of Rome, I (1978); Aristotle`s On the Soul (1979).
Borislav GEORGIEV - Translation of Ancient Lyric (1970, selected)
Nikolina BAKARDZIEVA - Translation of Pliny`s the Younger Letters (1979)
Milko MIRCHEV - Translation of Thucydides` History of the Peloponnesian War (1979).
6 classicists (mostly known as translators) (5 men 1 woman): 2 from Greek, 3 from Latin, 1 both;
- left educational (academic, cultural) institution (fired, retired)
Y. Bratkov, retired (1967).
Co-author of Latin Grammar (1961)
B. Gerov, retired (1969).
Investigations on West-Thracian Lands in Roman Times. Parts I-IV. 540 p. (1960-1969)
D. P. Dimitrov, retired (1971).
Bulgaria – Land of Ancient Civilizations (in English) (57 p., 1961)
V. Beshevliev, retired (1972).
Head of Section for Epigraphy and Numismatics at the Archeological Institute (until 1964). Since 1964 senior researcher at the Institute for Balkan Studies.
Proto-Bulgarian Inscriptions (in German, 382 p., 1963; in Bulgarian, 1979). Late Greek and Late Latin Inscriptions from Bulgaria (in German, 235 p., 1964)
Vl. Georgiev, retired (1974).
Bulgarian Etymology and Onomastics (180 p., 1960). The Vocal System in the Development of the Slavic Languages (128 p., 1964)
Specialized courses: Contemporary Linguistics (1965-1974)
Hr. Danov, retired (1975)
Ancient Thrace (1968), 471 p. The Thracians (1979), 183 p.
R. Gandeva, retired (1978)
Senior teacher (1962). Associate professor (1969) and professor (1974).
Author of articles on Horace (200-250 p. in Bulgarian, German and Latin) (1963-1978).
Co-author of Latin Grammar (1961)
Courses: Morphology of Latin Language; Latin Syntax; History of Roman Literature
M. Vojnov (?) – at least until the end of 50s in the Institute for Bulgarian History
8 classicists (7 men 1 woman): 1 historian, 1 archeologist, I linguist, 2 philologists-epigraphists, 1 philologist-methodologist, 1 Latin literature teacher, 1 editor

2. Overview – 42 classicists (active and retired)
a. age
- old (over 60) - 14
- middle-aged (over 35) – 20 (?)
- young (under 35) - 8
b. gender, family, native region, place (city) they are based – 32 men, 10 women
Almost all work at Sofia.
c. professional field/educational degree/position
- philology (literature/culture, language/linguistic studies, edition of sources) – 12 (7 lit., 5 language)
- history and archeology, epigraphy - 10
- language teaching and translation – 17
- Greek, Latin studies (where clear distinction is possible) – 22 (11 Greek, 12 Latin)
- in educational institutions – 23 (7 secondary, 16 higher)
- outside educational/academic/cultural institution – 13
d. academic awards
e. administrative positions in academic institutions
Hr. Danov - Head of the Department of Ancient and Medieval History (1960-1975)
Al. Nichev - Head of the Department of Classical philology (1970-1978); Dean of the Faculty of Western Philologies (1970-1972)
V. Velkov – Head of the Department of Ancient and Medieval History (from 1979).
Al. Fol – Director of the Thracology Institute at the Academy (from 1972); Head of the Department of Thracology at the University (from 1979);
f. social and political activities and consequences of them
- social activities. Awards
- works, probably politically motivated (related to the political situation)
Hr. Danov – Critical Review of the Bourgeois Historiography on Antiquity in Bulgaria until September 9, 1944. 66 p. (1964). R. Radev – Criticism of Neothomism. 424 p. (1970); Neothomism – the “Modern” Philosophy of Catholicism. 67 p. (1976)
- political activities
* members of the Communist party
R. Radev (1962), Al. Fol (1966)
* high party and state positions (government, state administration, cultural institutions)
Al. Fol – Deputy President of the Committee of Culture (1974-1977);
Minister of People`s Education (1979-1986)
* state awards, titles
Vl. Georgiev – Hero of Socialist Labour (1969), Dimitrov Prize (1969), People`s Scientist (1971)
B. Gerov – Red Flag of Labour (1963), 25 Years People`s Power (1969)
Y. Bratkov – Active Fighter against Fascism and Capitalism (1966); Cyril and Methodius I degree (1971); People`s Republic of Bulgaria I degree (1972); Hero of Socialist Labour (1978)
Hr. Danov – Honoured Scientist (1978)
M. Portalski – Cyril and Methodius I degree (1976)
- penalties

II. Fields and directions of study

1. Production
a. researches (fields)
- epigraphy and source editing (Greek, Latin, Proto-Bulgarian, Byzantine) – Mihailov, Gerov, Beshevliev, Vojnov, Tapkova-Zaimova
- contemporary Bulgaria`s lands in antiquity (monuments of Roman and Greek presence, other peoples except Thracians) – Danov, Mihailov, Gerov, Beshevliev, Velkov, Tacheva, Dimitrov
- thracology (material culture, art, written sources, political history, religious cult, language) – Georgiev, Danov, Mihailov, Gerasimov, Venedikov, Velkov, Vlahov, Fol, Popov
- literature, theory (Greek tragedy, Aristotle`s views on literature) – Nichev, Bogdanov
- literature, history (history of Greek and Latin literature, Greek and Roman poetry) – Gandeva, Sarafov, Popova, Bogdanov, Nikolova
- philosophy (Greek materialism, Aristotle`s tradition in Middle Ages, Hellenistic philosophy) – R. Radev
- cultural studies (Greek, Thracian, mythology) – Mihailov, Velkov, Fol, Bogdanov, Popov
b. translations
- Greek authors (Homer, Aeschylus, selected works by Euripides and Aristophanes, selected lyric, Thucydides, Aristotle (Poetics, on the Soul), Plato (early dialogues), selected works by Plutarch and Lucian) novels – Milev, Batakliev, Nichev, B. Georgiev, Mirchev, Markov, Mihailov, Bogdanov
- Roman authors (selected drama, Sallust, Livy (book I), selected lyric, Ovid, Pliny the Younger, Apuleius) – Nichev, Batakliev, Bakardzhieva, Markov, Radev

2. Teaching
a. courses
b. manuals, handbooks

3. General tendencies

III. The classical studies and classical education in general

1. Institutions
a. secondary education
- The NGDEK (15)
The National Gymnasium for Ancient Languages and Cultures was opened in the autumn of 1977. First year 99 pupils were enrolled (32 boys, 67 girls) (Иван Еленков. Неосъщественият "Национален научно-методически център за подготовка усъвършенстване на кадри по древни езици и култури" в контекста на неосъществените проекти на Людмила Живкова. Paper, read on the conference in memory of prof. Dimitar Bojadzhiev, SU, 13-14 of November, 2009). From then every year about 80 pupils were enrolled with, if possible, an equal number of boys and girls.
In the program, which remains almost unchanged until today, were included as classical languages Latin, Greek and Old Bulgarian. The first year the pupils learned only Latin (4 hours for week); the second Greek was added (4 hours); the third they had Old Bulgarian too (2 hours). All these languages were studied as compulsory disciplines.
The discipline of History was taught mainly by university teachers (In the first years Ancient History (1st year, Greece, Rome, Thrace) was taught by D. Popov (then young assistant, now professor at the Sofia University) and K. Yordanov (researcher at the Thracology institute, now professor at the NBU); Medieval History, with special stress to Byzantine and Bulgarian relationships (2 year) – by G. Bakalov and P. Angelov, now both professors at the Sofia University. Modern Western History (3 year) – by R. Donkov and R. Guenov, now professors at the Sofia University too). Ancient Classical Culture and Medieval Bulgarian Culture were taught as separated disciplines. There were also courses in Ancient (including the ancient East), Medieval and Renaissance art.
At the fourth year began the Lyceum-degree (It was called so in the following years. According to the actual regulations Gymnasium education is completed at he end of the 3d year. At the following 2 years the pupils acquire the specialised Lyceum education (see At this degree disciplines as Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology were no more studied. At their place began the specialized education, where at the beginning the pupils could choose between two “profiles” - Old Bulgarian Philology (Старобългаристика) and Sanskrit language.
b. higher education (Sofia University)
The situation in the Department of Classical philology and in other Departments and Faculties –exams, curricula, number of enrolled and graduated students.
c. elsewhere
d. theological schools
- secondary
- higher (Sofia University)

2. Contacts between scholars and publishing
a. internal
- congresses, conferences etc.
- associations
- periodicals
b. external
- membership in foreign academic organizations. Awards
G. Mihailov – Corresponding Member of: British Academy of Sciences (1972); French Academie des Inscriptions at Belles-Lettres (1979); Member and President of the International Association for Greek and Latin Epigraphy (since its founding, 1972)
K. Vlahov – Member of the Committee for Classic Studies in the Socialist Countries “Eirene”.
V. Velkov - Member of: Austrian Archeological Institute (1972); German Archeological Institute (1972)
- meetings with academicians from abroad
* congresses, conferences etc.
* lectures (courses) of foreign scholars in Bulgaria
* lectures (courses) of Bulgarian scholars abroad
G. Mihailov – Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton (1977/1978)
Hr. Danov – Courses and lectures at Paris (Sorbonne) and Oxford (1974)
- publishing in other languages
* languages
* publishing houses, periodicals

3. Ideology of the classical studies
a. debates about Classics (in academic circles, media, the view of state and Party elite)
b. histories of classical studies (in Bulgaria and generally)
- general surveys, bibliographies etc.
B. Gerov – The Classical philology in Bulgaria (in German). 5 p. (1960)
G. Mihailov – The Epigraphy in Bulgaria (in French). 6 p. (1971)
- memoirs

IV. Education and studies in general

1. Institutions for education and research
Financing of science: 0.5% of GNP (1960), 1.2% (1965), 2,44 (1974)

a. primary and secondary education
3060 basic schools (I-VII class); 144 gymnasiums (VIII-XI class), 172 full secondary schools (I-XI class); 219 technicums; - 158 004 pupils and 8021 teachers in the high degree (VIII-XI class), 90 778 pupils and 4999 teachers in the technicums (1960/1961)
2812 basic schools; 137 gymnasiums, 127 full secondary schools; 246 technicums, 184 СПТУ; 9 art schools - 102 795 pupils and 6242 teachers in the high degree; 151 017 pupils and 8793 teachers in the technicums, 68 163 pupils and 4836 teachers in СПТУ; 2174 pupils and 434 teachers in the art schools (1969/1970)
- general
At the beginning of the 60s appear the “secondary professional-technical schools” (средни професионално-технически училища, СПТУ). Since 1964 mathematical gymnasiums are opened and since 1968 – sport schools.
The secondary education is obligatory for all (Constitution of 1971, art…). The obligatory basic education (and the pre-school education as well) is organized and secured by the regional and municipal people`s councils. They can select and appoint the teachers in the kindergartens and basic schools. They are responsible for the material conditions in these schools (Regulations for the tasks and functions of the regional and municipal people`s councils, 1969).
Since the beginning of the 70-ties the term of education in the high degree of the secondary polytechnic schools and the technicums becomes 3 years.
Since 1979 – “unified secondary polytechnic school”, USPS (единно средно политехтичесщо училище, ЕСПУ) with two degrees (10+2 years). In the second degree is given a certain professional preparation and the pupils participate in the production (manufacture) system.
- humanities

b. higher education
22 schools of higher education, 61 444 students, 100 000 university graduates (1961/1962).
26 schools of higher education (end of the 60s), 84 467 students (1965/1966) – 103 per 10 000. 70% - in technical, economic and agricultural schools. 160 000 university graduates. 2 000 subjects taught.
25 schools of higher education, 1 Academy for Social Sciences and Civil Administration, 6 High Military Schools, 1 Theological Academy (1975/1976).
Unified Centre for Mathematics and Mechanics (since 1971, created with an order of the Council of Ministers from December 30, 1970). The scholars of the Academy begin to read lectures at the universities and to be elected for members of University Departments (since 1972). Common Plans for Scientific Research of SU and the Academy (since 1973). The procedures of conferring academic and scholarly titles and degrees are performed by the specialized scientific councils at the unified centers (since 1972).
- Sofia University
Nearly 16 000 students in all educational forms (regular, corresponding) (1965), 15 000 (1971-1975), 11 000 (1979)
7 020 Bulgarian and 191 foreign students graduated (1972-1975).
836 regular staff (120 professors, 150 associate professors, 405 assistants, 161 lecturers). 269 part-time staff (27 professors, 15 associate professors). 261 PhD, 41 Doctor of Sciences. Average age – 43.5 years. 758 men, 347 women (mid-70s).
Every year (by the end of the 60s) the University academic staff publishes more than 1000 works (20% abroad).
In the period 1972-1975 387 university manuals and handbooks are published.

* general
Evening education (since 1961).
Scientific and Research Sector (Научно-изследователски сектор, НИС) – a form of “connection of the scientific work with economic problems and social practice” (since the beginning of the 60s; stopped after 1971/72, restored 1978).
The Faculty of Biology, Geology and Geography is divided into Faculty of Biology (specialties biology (8 Departments) and biochemistry with microbiology (3 Departments)) and Faculty of Geology and Geography (1962-1963). In 1963 the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics is separated into three new faculties – Mathematics (with 7 Departments until 1969; later – Mathematics and Mechanics), Physics (8 Departments), Chemistry (7 Departments). Department of Library Studies, Bibliography and Scientific Information (1968).
During the 60s 30% of the staff in the Faculty of Physics obtained their PhD (Candidate) degrees in USSR, 25% made long-period postdoctoral studies there.
Special meeting of the Academic Council of SU (July 1, 1966). Criteria for promotion (a “Candidate” and “Doctor of Sciences” degree is necessary for obtaining the titles of “associate professor” and “professor”).
Student scientific circles, connected with the Departments – 68 with 1019 participants (1960), 88 with 1380 participants (1971); student constructor bureaus at the Faculties of Mathematics and Physics.
Discussions of the Academic Council on the rights of the University in granting scholarly degrees and titles (1971-1972).
In the 9 Unified Centers (since 1972) is included 90% of the “scientific potential of SU”.
Plan for cooperation with the Moskow State University (1973).
From the beginning of the academic 1978/1979 is started the teaching according to new curricula (elaborated in the Departments and approved by the Faculty Councils and the Academic Council).
Rectors: Dimitar Kosev (1962-1968); Pantalei Zarev (1968-1972); Blagovest Sendov (1973-1979); Ilcho Dimitrov (1979-1981).
* humanities
The Department of Modern General History is divided into two parts: Early Modern and Modern General History and, on the other hand, Old and Medieval History (1964). A Department of Psychology is constituted (1964). Arabian Philology (1964). The Faculty of Philology is divided into two: Faculty of Slavic Philology and Faculty of Western Philology (1965). Departments in the Faculty of Western Philology: English, Roman (French and Italian), Spanish (since 1961), German, Classical, Eastern Languages , Methods of Teaching Foreign Languages. At the Faculty of Slavic Philology: Bulgarian, Russian, Polish, Czech, Serbo-Croatian; Department of Journalism (separated from the Faculty of Slavic Philology in 1974, after becomes Faculty); Department of General and Indo-European Linguistics and Department of Theory of Literature (196…).
The Faculty of Philosophy and History is divided into the Faculty of History and Faculty of Philosophy (1972). Faculty of Education and Faculty of Primary and Pre-school Education are created (mid-70s).
Council for Post-Graduate Qualification, presided by a vice-Rector (1971). Center of Qualification of Teachers (1975, branch of SU).

- other universities and schools of higher education
* general
Institute for Foreign Students (1963). School of Higher Education at the Ministry of the Interior (…), Central Trade Union School.
Veliko Turnovo University “Cyril and Methodius” (since…). Higher Pedagogical Institute in Turnovo. Higher Pedagogical Institute in Shumen.
* humanities
c. elsewhere
- Academy of Sciences
* general
* humanities
In April 1972 with a decision of the Council of Ministers is created the United Centre for Study of History and Training of Specialists (Единен център за наука и подготовка на кадри по история) along with another 8 Centers for Science and Training of Specialists with Higher Education (Центрове за наука и подготовка на кадри с висше образование). The Center of History includes the Institute of History, the Institute for Balkan Studies, the Institute of Archeology, the Ethnographic Institute and the Thracology Institute – all of them parts of the Academy. With the same decision is created a separated Faculty of History in the Sofia University.
* Institutes:
The Institute for Bulgarian History is renamed in the early 60-ies in Institute for History.
The Thracology Institute was founded as a new part of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences with a decision of the Council of Ministers from 12.05.1972. His director from the beginning and until 1992 was Prof. Al. Fol.
- associations
d. financing
e. different events (projects, discussions) in (or concerning) the institutions for education and research (fields and way of research and study)
T. Zhivkov criticize the old position of the Party about the existence of a separate Macedonian nation (March 1963)

2. Educational and study policy
a. internal
- legislation
The education is based on the achievements of contemporary science and Marxist-Leninist ideology (Constitution of 1971, art…)
Act for Scholarly Degrees and Titles (197…)
- discussions and decisions of Government and Party leadership
Decree of the CC of the BCP and the Council of Ministers for “Further Development of Bulgarian Science and Increasing of its Role in the Socialist Conctruction” (1960).
The Political Bureau of the CC took decision “for improving the teaching and study of ideological subjects in schools of higher education” (January 1966) (История на Софийския Университет. SU Press, 1988. p. 320)
Decision of IX Congress of BCP for “introduction of computing technologies in different branches of people`s economy” (1966).
Discussion of “the problems of the reform and further development of education” on the Plenum of the CC of the BCP (July 30-31, 1969)(!) (About the significance of the Plenum for the higher education see University of Sofia “St Kliment Ohridski”. The first 120 years. “St Kliment Ohridski” UP, 2008. p. 191-195. According to Popov and Pironkova (Николай Попов, Мария Пиронкова. Образователната система в България. С., 2007) the decisions are labeled “basic principles of the reform of educational system in PR of Bulgaria” (p. 72). At the same place they say that “the educational system after the Act of 1959 is ruled not through laws, but through party documents – decisions of the Plenums of CC of BCP” (p. 72, 74 ))
Plenum of the CC of the BCP on the “problems of science and higher education” (September 1971).
Decree 153 of the Council of Ministers (April 21, 1972) on the integration of science and higher education.
Plenum of the CC of the BCP on the scholarly Unified Centres (the integration of SU and the Academy) (1972) (!)
Decision of the PB of the CC and of the Bureau of the Council of Ministers (July 11, 1978 - the term of education at the universities becomes 5 years) and November 11, 1978 (the nomenclature and the characteristics of the university specialties are approbated) (See Университетът. SU Press, 1999. p. 315).
On a session of the Presidency of the Committee of Culture on 30 May 1978, presided by L. Zhivkova, is adopted the proposed with a reporting paper by the first vice-President of the Committee Prof. d-r Al. Fol “Structure of the National Scientific and Methodic Center for Training and Qualification of Cadres for Ancient Languages and Cultures ”(!) (Central State Archive (ЦДА), ф. 405, оп. 9, а. е. 206, л. 1-17. Report and decision of the session of the Presidency of the CC, 30 May 1978 г. Cited in Еленков. Неосъщественият…)
Plenum of the CC of the BCP (July 1979), where are adopted “Thesises for Development of the Educational Work in PR of Bulgaria” (For a comment see Попов, Пиронкова, p. 72-76. Also Университетът, p. 315).

- coordinating and controlling structures, different from the Ministry of Education
Every year 1/5 of the High Attestation Commission members are newly elected (University of Sofia…, p. 176).
The State Committee of Science and Technical Progress (end of 1962).
“Science and Education” section of the CC of the BCP.
9 Unified Centres (10 faculties of SU and 32 institutes, 13 laboratories and 2 independent sections of the Academy) (Университетът, p. 305). Not the University, but the specialized scientific counsels of the Unified Centre already have the authority to award university degrees (since 1972).
Committee of Culture (L. Zhivkova (the first Chairperson of the Committee) had around her a group of intellectuals, most of whom occupied important positions at state institutions, responsible for the education and the cultural politics in Bulgaria. It seems, that especially influential for the decisions concerning classical education was prof. Fol. For the activity of the circle regarding the general cultural policy some information could be found at the book of Iv. Elenkov Културният фронт… 2009).
- Ministry of Education (autonomy in decision-taking, individual role of some ministers )
Ministers: G. Ganev (1962-1968); St Vasilev (1968-1973); N. Stanev (1973-1977); D. Valcheva (1977-1979); Al. Fol (1979-1986)
- “movements”, awards
Movement for “Technical and Scientific Creation of the Youth” (since the second half of the 60s).
Introduction of the system of summer and autumn brigades in help of the agriculture (since the end of the 60s).
Dimitrov Prize – new regulations. The financial part – 60 000 lv. (5 times the average annual salary) (1960).

- instruments of promoting the Party`s ideology in the education (higher)
* ideological subjects (specialties, departments), schools
From 250 members of the staff, teaching ideological subjects at SU, 9 were professors, 27 associate professors, 1 doctor of Sciences, 65 PhD (148 with no degree)
The subject Scientific Communism is introduced in Sofia University (since 1962 or 1966?).
In 1959/1960 the Department of Foundations of Marxism-Leninism is transformed into the Department of History of the Communist Party of the USSR (in 1967 – Department of Scientific Communism). Department of History of USSR (…?)
Scientific Communism, Philosophy, Political Economy, History of the BCP became obligatory for all schools of higher education. History of the Communist Party of the USSR – obligatory for the students of History in SU, in Higher Pedagogical Institute in Turnovo, in the Political Faculty of the Military Academy “G.S. Rakovski” (since 1966).
In May 1974 the Rector Council adopts program for teaching of ideological disciplines until 1980.
Faculty for Preparation of Lecturers and Propagandists (SU, 1976). Laboratory for Investigation of Personality Development of Students and of Communist Upbringing of Young People (SU, 1976). University Methodical Center for Ideological Sciences (1979?).
Evening Party University (at SU) with four Faculties: Marxist-Leninist Philosophy, Actual Problems of Marxism and Leninism, Political Economy, Aesthetics (70s?).
Higher Party School (…?).
* Communist Party structures
Conference of the Party Committee of the University with theme: “The Class and Party Approach in the Selection, Promotion and Upbringing of the Cadres” (April, 1968)
Plenum of the PC of the University (March 1975) declares measures for raising the methodological qualification of the teachers in the ideological disciplines.
- conflicts and repressions, concerning (higher) educational and studies
Zh. Zhelev (the future President of the Republic) is expelled from the Party for criticizing Lenin`s definition of matter (1965). Sanctions against the assistants of philosophy Ivan Slavov and Asen Ignatov (1968).
Three students in history are sentenced to prison for protesting against the military actions in Czechoslovakia (1968)
Prof. R. Likova is prohibited temporarily from teaching because of positive review about works of a dissident writer (G. Markov) (April 1972 with a decision of the Academic Council).

b. external
- events
Summer Seminar for Bulgarian Language and Literature for Foreign Scholars of Bulgarian and Slavic Studies (since 1963).
First Regional Congress on Balkan Studies in Sofia (August 26-September 1, 1966 ) (T. Zhivkov, R. Maellot - Director General of UNESCO were present) (intention of promoting Bulgaria as centre of the studies on the region)

3. Ideology of the education
a. researches on education (published in the period)
b. principles and aims of education (constitution, laws, Party documents)

V. Political situation

1. Political system
Bulgaria is a socialist state of the people from towns and villages led by the working class. The BCP is the guiding force (Constitution of 1971, art…). The system is called “developed socialism”.
a. legislation
Constitution, adopted on May 18, 1971.
b. discussions and decisions of Government and Party leadership
Plenum of the CC on ideological issues (spring 1962). VIII (November 1962), IX (1966), X (April 1971), XI congress of BCP (March-April 1976)
c. structure
d. principles

2. Governments

3. Party leadership

4. State policy
a. internal
b. external
The cooperation and mutual assistance with USSR is guiding principle of external policy (Constitution of 1971, preamble)

5. Events (projects, discussions), which probably influenced the state policy and the political system
a. internal
Unsuccessful preparation of coup d'etat against T. Zhivkov (1965)
b. external
Berlin (1958-1962) and Caribbean (October 1962) crises. L. Brezhnev becomes leader of USSR after Khrushchev (1964). China`s first nuclear weapon`s test on October 16, 1964. Events in Czechoslovakia (March-August 1968)

VІ. Geopolitical and geo-historical debates

- in the 60s and early 70s the possibility of joining USSR was not excluded
- ethnicity of the population in medieval Bulgaria; status of the lands of contemporary Bulgaria at the time of first invasion (VII c.)

VII. Religious situation

1. Bulgarian Orthodox Church

On 25 July 1971 the Metropolitan of Lovech Maxim is elected for Patriarch of Bulgaria (eparchies, parishes)
2. other Christian denominations
Status of Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant societies
3. other religions
Muslims and Jews
4. Events (projects, discussions), which probably influenced the religious situation
At the third assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC) in India in 1961 the BOCh was accepted as a member (BOCh left the organization in 1998).


Detailed CVs of alive classicists
CV (until end-seventies) of the classicists, scholars and public figures, who influenced directly or indirectly the classical studies. With book-titles and terms in the original language.


This text was discussed at the Focus Group Fellow Seminar Classical education and classical studies in Bulgaria - The period of 1959-1979
at Collegium Budapest - June 3, 2010

Monday, June 28, 2010

Classical Studies in Bulgaria 1945-1995: Methodological Questions

І . Starting conditions (February 1938 - December 1943)

(According to the amendments of the Education Act from 11.02. 1938 the gymnasiums could be only classical and “real” (to have classical and “real” sections, without the form of semi-classical).
In December 1943 began the first heavy air-raids of American and British aviation against Sofia)

Department of Classical Philology at Sofia University - 2 professors (Greek and Latin philology), 1 extraordinary professor and 1 assoc. professor, and 2 assistants (Greek and Latin philology) (15-20 students for year); maybe part-time lecturers for languages
Other Departments - 2 professors (1 full, 1 associate) in ancient history, 2 professors (1 full, 1 associate) in classical archeology
SU - 7 faculties, 306 teaching staff, 5 184 students (1938)
5 schools of higher education, about 10 000 students (1939). 8 schools of higher education
with 25 180 enrolled students in 1944/1945
1 assoc. prof. in ancient history in the Bulgarian University at Scopje.
(All 5 full professors were graduates of German universities (Leipzig, Jena, Freiburg, Gottingen); the docents and assistants graduated (with 1 exception) in Sofia)
Researchers in museums (number?); teachers in secondary education (several decades – in the classical sections of the gymnasiums)
26 full secondary schools (gymnasiums) – 11 male (real and classical), 6 female, 9 pedagogical (5 male, 4 female) (1906/1907); 40 full secondary schools (1911/1912; On 9 Sept. 1944 - 135 full secondary schools (14 in Sofia).
Association of the Friends of Classical Culture in Bulgaria (since 1930)
Journal for classical culture “Prometheus” (1937-1943, 6 booklets yearly)

Translations of ancient authors (titles) - 1879-1918 – 129 (3.3 for year); 1919-1944 – 157 (6,3 for year)

Population of Bulgaria - 3 154 375 (1887), 7 029 349 (1946)

II. Development

1. 1944-1959

Department of Classical Philology – 8 persons teaching staff (1 woman)
Other Departments - 5 persons teaching staff at least (0 women)
ideological subjects (specialties, departments), schools (since 1948 – official ideologisation of higher education)
SU – 10 faculties, 5-years term of study; 6 806 students (5 014 regular, the other - correspondent) (1954/1955)
Academy of Sciences with Institutes for Archeology, Bulgarian History – 8 researches with classical background at least (2 w)
no classics in secondary education (private foreign schools are closed; since 1950 - gymnasiums with teaching of Russian, English, French and German languages)

Political assessment of all University teaching staff. On 3 November 1944 the Bill for lustration of persons, accused for fascist activity, is published. It provided administrative (definitive or temporary) firing for persons, whose fascist activity is proved.
30 academics lost positions (6 from the Faculty of History and Philology) permanently, 27 temporarily (Nov. 22, 1944 – Jan. 1945); 80 academics from all higher education institutions and 495 teachers from the lower schools were fired. Altogether 1378 students expelled (beginning 1949); almost 500 expelled in autumn 1956 - their students rights were restored in 1957-1958.
5 professors, ministers during the War, were sentenced to death (2 of them in absentia)

Education, based on Marxism-Leninism (Bill of H.Ed., 1947).

Population - 7 613 709 (1956)

Translations of ancient authors (titles) - 16 (1,1 for year)

2. 1959-1979

Department of Classical Philology – 8 persons teaching staff (3 w)
Other Departments - 7 persons teaching staff at least (1 w)
SU - 836 permanent teaching staff (120 professors, 150 associate professors, 405 assistants, 161 lecturers) and 269 part-time staff (3 times more than 1938).
Average age – 43.5 years; 758 men, 347 w (mid-70s.)
25 schools of higher education + 1 Academy for Social Sciences and Civil Administration, 6 High Military Schools, 1 Theological Academy (1975/1976) (3 times more than 1943)
Academy of Sciences with Institutes for Archeology, Bulgarian History, Balkan studies, Thracology – 5 researches at least (2 w)

gymnasiums (the NGDEK) - 7 teachers at least (2 w)
The National Gymnasium for Ancient Languages and Cultures was opened in the autumn of 1977 (admission of around 80 pupils (40b/40g) for year, 90% finish successfully)
137 gymnasiums, 127 full secondary schools (different from the gymnasiums); 246 technicums, 184 СПТУ; 9 art schools (1969/1970) (5 times more than 1943)

“The education is based on the achievements of contemporary science and Marxist-Leninist ideology” (Constitution of 1971)
Plenums with Decrees and Decisions of the CC of the BCP for “Development of the Education and Science”.
250 from the 1105 teachers in SU teach ideological subjects

Translations of ancient authors (titles) - 25 (1,3 for year)

Population - 8 727 771 (1975)
(Between 1887 and 1975 the population was increasing with nearly 62 000 for year)

3. 1979-1995

Department of Classical Philology – 12 persons teaching staff (7 w)
Other Departments - 8 persons teaching staff at least (3 w)
other universities - 3 persons teaching staff at least (2 w)
Academy of Sciences with Institutes for Archeology, Balkan studies, Thracology, Philosophy, Cyril and Methodius` Studies - 5 researches at least (4 w)
30 schools of higher education with 14 409 teachers and 101 507 students (1985/1986) (10 times more students than 1939); 31 611 scientists and teaching staff
SU - 15 561 students (10% of them foreign); 1627 teaching staff (37 % associate professors and professors) (1988). 23 233 students (18 360 financed by the state). 1295 foreign students from 48 countries (end of 1995)
gymnasiums (the NGDEK) - 13 teachers at least (8 w)

Reduction in the teaching load of the staff by 30% (decree of the Government, end of 1984).
Abolition of the ideological subjects (Marxism, Scientific Communism, History of the BCP, Political Economy – December, 1989)
Bill for the autonomy of the universities (January 1990)
Students declare the elections from July 11, 1990 “not fair” and occupy the central building of the University (until July 9). Second occupation (Nov. 5 – Dec. 17, 1990). Third occupation (Nov. 1993 – March 1994).

Translations of ancient authors (titles) - 62 (44 before 1989 – 4,4 for year; 18 after – 3.0 for year)

Population - 8 992 000 (1989) – 28% increase from 1946; 8 384 700 in 1995 and 7 563 710 in 2010 (16 % decrease from 1989)
Around 800 000 emigrated between 1990 and 2005; 53.4 % of the new-born children in 2009 were born out of wedlock (in comparison with 12,4 % in 1990)
(it is possible to conclude that Bulgaria as a whole did not benefit from the change in 1989)


* Continuous growing of number of permanent work-places for classicists in SU and appearance of jobs in the Academy and other universities (from 11 in 1943 to 28 in 1995) (numbers are approximate)
* Abolishment of classical education in secondary schools in the mid-1940s; restoration after 30 years (Sofia-based)
* Abrupt break of classical researches after WW II; very slow growing until 1977; fast development until 1989; considerable retardation after that (number of translations as criterion).
* Feminisation of higher classical education and studies (seems irreversible) (The increase of the women`s share in all academic/research staff with classical background goes like that: 0% (1943), 14% (1959), 30% (1979), 57% (1995); only in the Dept. of Classical philology at SU - 64% (2010)
* Open (officially introduced and regulated by state) marxist-leninist ideologisation of humanities during 42 years (1947-1989). It is unclear how to judge the negative and positive effects on the education and society.
* Dramatic increase of the number of secondary and higher educational institutions, teaching staff, students – 200-900% (3-10 times) between 1939 and 1989.
* Severe demographic and social crisis after 1989. After an increase of population with nearly 30 % for 40 years, there is decrease with nearly 15 % for 20 years (and continues to decrease).

III. The question of basic premises and limitations in conceiving what happened

1. Limitations

a. typical for the collegium of classicists

- limited experience in historical research (especially in modern/recent history) (Methods; working in archives, interviewing people)
- limited or no experience in political debates (also: widespread lack of articulated and reasonably founded personal political convictions (different from usual patriotic, cosmopolitan, leftist or rightists feelings)
- unsufficient orientation in the problems of modern history and of contemporary social and political situation

b. other

- decrease of number of people, having personal experience of the period (inevitable) (personal experience hinders gross ideologisation of historical events)

2. Premises

a. about classical studies

- the situation of classical studies all over the world

i. autonomy of classics
(Are classics a autonomous discipline like psychology or linguistics? Or they are a temporally/geographically and culturally confined section of history like “medieval studies”? Or helping and technical discipline in the way archival science is? Or a sine qua non like anesthesiology for surgery? That are questions about the place of classics in the system of humanities)

ii. “classics” is West-European discipline.
(No concept of classics (not to speak about Roman classics) in Byzantium. Classics began as a Latin-based study of pre-Christian literature. They gave ground for a secular (religiously independent) humanitarian education, unknown in Orthodox East before XVIII c.)
The role of German conception for classics. “Full classics”. The completely educated classicist – “a perfect European”
(German neo-humanists of the XIX c. lived in a non-catholic and non-Romance language society. They saw classics as fundamental European humanitarian education based equally on Latin (Roman) and Greek pre-Christian traditions and regarded this education as potentially normative for all humanity. In this way they were preparing the image of Germany as a possible cultural and political unifier of the West and the East of Europe, following the example of the bilingual and Greek-educated Empire of ancient Rome and pretending, with much better chances for success, for global leadership. Despite the greatness of this project, it had little to tell to the public in countries like Bulgaria, whose ambitions were incomparably smaller; and where this model of Classics was introduced from abroad, together with the whole system of University higher education. Unexpectedly, the German model found a ground in the old and vital concern of Orthodox Bulgaria to stay at almost equal ecclesiastical distance between Roman Catholics and the Greek Patriarch in Constantinople).

iii. decline of Europe as basis of states-superpowers. Classics in the age of post-colonialism
(Classics with their eurocentrism are now excluded as possible ground for global humanitarian education. In USA the classical languages were far less popular than in Europe even before WW I. After WW II classics are already a discipline of local (strictly academic, maybe commercial) interest, analogical to Egyptology, Mesopotamian Studies, Aztec and Maya studies, Comparative Mythology, Astrology, History of Magic and Superstition, Extraterrestrial Intellect and others. Although having their place in academic curricula, classics are conceived by the broader public more and more as a kind of innocent private hobby. Even academics are not far from such an estimation of the role of their discipline. Hence the unhealthy atmosphere in some departments, characterized with an attitude to the work what I call with regret “infantilisation of classical studies”)

b. (former) communist countries

- different local (cultural, geopolitical etc.) context in the countries under investigation

i. old differences
(linguistic: Slavic-other; geopolitical: west-oriented/dominated – Russia-oriented/dominated; religious: catholic-protestant-orthodox)

ii. how can they be politically together?
Today Central, East- and South-East Europe is a constellation of national states emerged in the last 200 years as result of the rivalry of central Europe/west Europe/USA versus Russia. This rivalry contributed to the successive disintegration (sometimes to the appearance as well) of several large states as: Ottoman Empire, Austro-Hungary, Germany (temporary), Soviet Union, Yugoslavia.
Europe, after being temporary divided in Moskow-controlled and USA-controlled areas (that is the so-called communist period, 1945-1989) developed geopolitically after 1989 as a USA-supported (or controlled) federation (EU). In the time to come this project depends almost entirely on the steadiness of USA world-leading role.

- how to discuss communism?

i. possibility of moral judgement. (Principle of right moral judgement- “look first at yourself”)
(It is preferable for the historian to condemn rather ideas/attitudes than persons. There are people, who were adult in the considered times, but speak so as if they had lived somewhere else. The younger, who blame the conformism of their fathers without seeing anything wrong today and around themselves, could be suspected in conformism as well)

ii. past and contemporary communism
(The opinion that the communism as a political practice already belongs to the past, became widespread after 1989. That is true only for the Soviet version of communism. In fact, nearly 20% of world population lives today in communist states (because of the PR of China, a communist state and candidate for world-leadership), meanwhile the population of USA and EU together does not exceed 12% of world population)

iii. alternatives of communism. Conceiving contemporaneity
(How to name the contemporary political regime in the former soviet-communist countries, and moreover, in Europe and the “West”? The word “democracy” covers fundamental differences. Do we have one and the same regime in Kosovo, Czech Republic and Russia? How similar are the political systems of Switzerland, Bulgaria, EU and USA?)

c. more general

- the question of historical truth

i. necessity of a general view to history and human nature
(Even if somebody had passed much of his/her life in a communist country he cannot evaluate this reality without conception of today`s political and ideological situation. Everybody would have preferred the better accounts/explanations than the worse. But “better” - when said about a statement - means “true”. The proposal for gathering many different accounts/explanations and just leaving them to exist together is satisfactory only in case we are not interested in truth.
The communism is a global secular movement, relying on the imposed material equality and demanding abstention from unnecessary consummation. It pretended to have understood the principles of human life (biological, social and spiritual) and hopes to offer security for the majority and justice for all.
Many people, including honest scientists and intellectuals believe in these dogmas because of the “technological fallacy”. They suppose that if man is able to control a machine, more powerful than him, he should be able control himself too. If humanity is able to construct radio, airplane, rockets, atomic bomb, it should be able to construct a just society as well)

- the Evil


This text was discussed at the Conference
Gnothi Seauthon - Classics and Communism
The History of the Studies on Antiquity in the Context
of the Local Classical Tradition of the Socialist
Countries (1944/45-1989/90)
supported by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation
Collegium Budapest - June 24-26, 2010