The Bulgarian Embassy in the USA reports: A unique seal of Khan Tervel is kept in the Dumbarton Oaks Museum in Washington. The museum is under the trusteeship of Harvard University.


“The museum houses a unique seal of Khan Tervel, one of the most successful rulers in the early history of the Bulgarian state. The seal has been part of the collection of the Center for Byzantine Studies in Dumbarton Oaks since 1958. Made of lead in the 8th century, on one side it depicts the face of the Bulgarian ruler, and on the other a cross with a monogram in Greek: “Mother of God, protect Caesar” Tervel”.


Khan Tervel is in a coat of arms on the seal, holding a spear and a shield with a horseman, and the six-pointed stars on either side of him are considered to be the oldest preserved symbol of a Bulgarian ruler. According to experts, Tervel’s seal resembles the gold coin of the Byzantine Emperor Constantine IV (668-685).

In 705, Tervel was awarded the high title of Caesar/Caesar by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian II – a precedent in history and recognition of the bright qualities of the Bulgarian ruler. Tervel became famous throughout Europe when, in 718, the Bulgarian army led by him defeated the Arab troops at Constantinople and stopped the invasion of the Old Continent.

In 2017, the Bulgarian National Bank released a silver commemorative coin with applied partial gilt on the subject of “Han Tervel” from the “Medieval Bulgarian Rulers” series. The coin is modeled after the seal of Khan Tervel in the Dumbarton Oaks Museum.

Website of the Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria in USA, with abbreviations

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