|5,000 - 10,000 BCE||342 BCE||852 - 889||Ca. 1348||1492|
Pre-historic wall painting, 10,000 – 8,000 BCE, Magura, Bulgaria
“The word Bulgar is derived from a Turkic verb meaning ‘to mix.’” Richard Crampton
Bulgaria has for more than 5,000 years been a kind of borderland between East and West: a place of hybrid cultures and multiple identities, echoing with with memories, languages, images.
“Bulgaria is a very complex palimpsest of consecutive cultures.” Maria Todorova
Layer upon layer: a mountainous region of incredibly fertile land, site of many Homeric adventures and mythological encounters, deeply ‘multi-cultural’ before the term even existed.
Given the dynamism of Wagenstein’s life, why did he subtitle his 2012 memoir NEOLITHIC SCRIBBLES? Because, he says – having lived through the last 90+ years, through many revolutions, each of which was confidently presented as the transformative breakthrough to universal justice and equality : “At the moment, we’re in the Neolithic era of democracy… we’re just repeating what has already happened in the past.”
Is he referring to the Roman empire? The Ottoman empire? The Soviets? The Americans? All of these and more! But he is also hinting that there WILL be progress – to a Bronze Age of democracy, or even a Golden Age.