MANY HISTORIANS HAVE WRITTEN of the life and deeds of Ivan Assen II and unanimous by recognize him as one of the greatest statesmen of medieval Bulgaria. He would never use a sword where reason, humaneness and patience would do, for he would not have Bulgarian blood shed in vain.
The son of Tsar Assen I ascended the throne in 1218 after dethroning the mediocre Boril with the assistance of Russian and Kumanian troops. His lot was not an easy one: to restore the country, devastated by the incompetent rule of his forerunner. Ivan Assen II’s ideas of state and governance far outshined those of neighboring rulers. His flexible diplomacy, eye for strategic marriages and good-will in relations with neighbors preserved the vital force of the nation.