The Thracian-Bulgar legacy to the P-I-E and Hellenistic world

Excerpted from “Thracians” Wikipedia:

In Greek mythology, Thrax (by his name simply the quintessential Thracian) was regarded as one of the reputed sons of the god Ares.[5] In the Alcestis, Euripides mentions that one of the names of Ares himself was Thrax since he was regarded as the patron of Thrace (his golden or gilded shield was kept in his temple at Bistonia in Thrace).The ethnonym Thracian comes from Ancient Greek Θρᾷξ (plural Θρᾷκες; Thrax, Thrakes) or Θρᾴκιος/Ionic: Θρηίκιος (Thrakios/Thrēikios), and the toponym Thrace comes from Θρᾴκη/Ion.: Θρῄκη (Thrakē/Threkē).[3] Both names are exonyms developed by the Greeks.

The first Greek colonies in Thrace were founded in the 8th century BC … in such areas as Byzantium, Apollonia. Thracian civilisation was not urban and the largest Thracian cities were in fact large villages. The Thracians were typically not city-builders[14][15] and their only polis was Seuthopolis

Thracians inhabited parts of the ancient provinces: Thrace, Moesia, Macedonia, Dacia, Scythia Minor, Sarmatia, Bithynia, Mysia, Pannonia, and other regions on the Balkans and Anatolia. This area extends over most of the Balkans region, and the Getae north of the Danube as far as beyond the Bug. Living simply in small fortified villages, usually on hilltops and aligning themselves in kingdoms and tribes, they never achieved any form of national unity beyond short, dynastic rules at the height of the Greek classical period. By the 5th century BC, the Thracian presence was pervasive enough to have made Herodotus[13] call them the second-most numerous people in the part of the world known by him (after the Indians), and potentially the most powerful, if not for their lack of unity. The Thracians in classical times were broken up into a large number of groups and tribes, though a number of powerful Thracian states were organized, such as the Odrysian kingdom of Thrace and the Dacian kingdom of Burebista. A type of soldier of this period called the Peltast probably originated in Thrace. In parts of Moesia (northeast Serbia) the Celtic Scordisci and Thracians lived beside each other, evident in the archaeological findings of pits and treasures, spanning from the 3rd century BC to 1st century BC. In 279 BC, Celtic Gauls advanced into Macedonia, Southern Greece and Thrace…. they remained in Thrace until the end of the 3rd century BC. From Thrace, three Celtic tribes advanced into Anatolia and formed a new kingdom called Galatia. Following the Third Macedonian War, Thracia came to acknowledge Roman authority

The Persians called Thrace Skudra. Thrace south of the Danube (except for the land of the Bessi) was ruled for nearly half a century by the Persians under Darius the Great, who conducted an expedition into the region from 513 BC to 512 BC.

Evidence of proto-Thracians in the prehistoric period depends on remains of material culture. It is generally proposed that a proto-Thracian people developed from a mixture of indigenous peoples and Indo-Europeans from the time of Proto-Indo-European expansion in the Early Bronze Age when the latter, around 1500 BC, conquered the indigenous peoples. We speak of proto-Thracians from which during the Iron Age[9] (about 1000 BC) Dacians and Thracians begin developing.

Ancient Greek artwork often depicts Thracians as redheads.[38] Rhesus of Thrace, a mythological Thracian King, derived his name because of his red hair and is depicted on Greek pottery as having red hair and beard.[38] Ancient Greek writers also described the Thracians as red haired. A fragment by the Greek poet Xenophanes describes the Thracians as blue-eyed and red haired:

…Men make gods in their own image; those of the Ethiopians are black and snub-nosed, those of the Thracians have blue eyes and red hair.[39]
Bacchylides described Theseus as wearing a hat with red hair, which classicists believe was Thracian in origin.[40] Other ancient writers who described the hair of the Thracians as red include Hecataeus of Miletus,[41]Galen,[42] Clement of Alexandria,[43] and Julius Firmicus Maternus.[44]

A fresco of a red-haired woman in the Ostrusha Mound in central Bulgaria.

Nevertheless academic studies have concluded that Thracians had physical characteristics typical of European Mediterraneans. According to Dr. Beth Cohen, Thracians had “the same dark hair and the same facial features as the Ancient Greeks.”[45] Recent genetic analysis comparing DNA samples of ancient Thracian fossil material from southeastern Romania with individuals from modern ethnicities place Italian, Albanian and Greek individuals in closer genetic kinship with the Thracians than Romanian and Bulgarian individuals.[Cardos, G., Stoian V., Miritoiu N., Comsa A., Kroll A., Voss S., Rodewald A., p. 246. “Computing the frequency of common point mutations of the present-day European population with the Thracian population has resulted that the Italian (7.9 %), the Alban (6.3 %) and the Greek (5.8 %) have shown a bias of closer genetic kinship with the Thracian individuals than the Romanian and Bulgarian individuals (only 4.2%).”] On the other hand, Dr. Aris N. Poulianos states that Thracians like modern Bulgarians belong mainly to the Aegean anthropological type.[ Poulianos, Aris N., 1961, The Origin of the Greeks, Ph.D. thesis, University of Moscow, supervised by F.G.Debets]

Apart from the tale of the legendary singer, Orpheus, whose birthplace is said to be the Rhodopi Mountains (in modern Bulgaria), the mythology and culture of the Thracians is largely unknown in the west, having been eclipsed by a Greek-centred view of early European history. Yet from the Bronze Age through to the Roman conquest, Thrace was an important power and influence in its own right and the ancient Greeks borrowed freely from its exotic religion and ecstatic cults.

See Thracian stele of Sabazius

The Thracians were a fierce powerful people ruled by tribal priest kings. They were excellent warriors renowned for their skill and bravery in battle, fighting alongside the Trojans against the Greeks in the Trojan War. They were expert horse breeders, produced fine wines and were master metalworkers, creating exquisite adornments, objects and vessels in silver and gold. Ancient Greek authors describe them as high-spirited, violent, uninhibited, lusty, drunken, musical and artistic.

Thracian myth and culture is dramatic, veering from light to dark, encompassing both solar worship and dark Dionysian rites. It is located in a wild mountainous landscape where the great goddess hunts, the horse is sacred and the mysterious Thracian Horseman dispenses both life and death. And Orpheus, the great singer, musician, healer and sorcerer, descends to the Underworld in search of his dead consort Eurydice, offering the promise of immortality and rebirth.

The Thracians revered the forces of nature, worshipped the sun and believed in the immortality of the soul. Caves were significant as symbolic entrances to the womb of the earth. Death was not to be feared, and past and present were not separate in time, but coexisted as one. Human sacrifice was sometimes practised, including the ritual slaying of a king’s favourite wife upon his death, an honour for which the king’s wives apparently competed.
Divine Marriage
Sexual union between the goddess daughter and the hero son. The mother of the gods stands beside them.

Letnitsa Treasure 4th century BC
The Thracian pantheon included Bendis, the great mother and goddess of wild nature, also known as Kotyto or Perke, Mountain-Mother. It is likely that she encompassed influences from the strong fertility goddess cults which thrived in the Balkan lands during the earlier Neolithic (New Stone Age) and Chalcolithic (Copper Age) periods.

As great mother she initiated creation, bringing forth from herself her son, who was both the sun in the daytime and the fire god at night. She united with him in divine marriage so that the cosmic cycle could be fulfilled and fertility renewed. She was also associated with the moon and was sometimes depicted riding a doe, bow in hand with a quiver of arrows upon her back.

Dionysus, usually called Zagreus in Thrace, was the twice born son of the great goddess. He was the dark god of wine, of intoxication, excess and inspiration. He had a wild band of female followers called Maenads, and ecstatic orgiastic rites were held in his honour. Poetry, music and dance swept along with him. He was the dying and reborn god who was sacrificed in the form of a bull, his body torn into pieces and his blood spilled upon the earth. In this way he united in divine marriage with the great mother goddess, fertilising her so that he could be reborn and the annual cycle of life could be renewed.

In contrast, the cult of Orpheus was ascetic, solar-based and open only to men. Orpheus was the son of the Thracian king Oeagrus (or of the sun god Apollo) and the muse Calliope. He played the lyre and sang beautifully, and is best known for his descent to the underworld to bring his beloved bride Evredika (Eurydice) back from the dead. Music as a transforming power was central to Orphic rites, and the aim was to achieve immortality. (Read more about the Orpheus myth in the Travel Guide to Mythological Bulgaria.)

The Thracian Horseman, sometimes simply called Hero, was probably a god of nature and vegetation. He combined both solar and underworld aspects. He is depicted on countless votive plaques, often riding towards the tree of life with his cloak flying behind him, or spearing a boar.

After the 6th century AD the Thracians were absorbed into the Slavic and Bulgarian peoples who settled in the area, but the subsequent Bulgarian kingdom inherited their legacy. It is thought that the nomadic Karakachani people, who still live in Bulgaria and retain a distinct cultural identity, are direct descendents of the ancient Thracians.

Bulgaria is rich in Thracian archaeological remains and the landscape is scattered with huge burial mounds enclosing Thracian tombs. Traces of Thracian myth and religion have also survived in current Bulgarian folklore and customs, such as those given below.

Kukeri are masked male dancers and mummers, who wear fantastic, often animal like masks (like the one pictured above), and huge bronze cowbells round their waists (like those pictured below). They carry sticks, which symbolise the phallus, in a spring fertility rite possibly derived from the ancient Dionysian new year festival. (Ritual adapted for Beyond Nine Forests)
::

Following the ancient Thracian Tradition, the Sacred Mystery Rites of Thrace performed during the high festivals and jubilees since the remotest past, were in effect a reinactment of the event of the Original Creation of the Upper, Middle and Lower Earth by the power of the Divine Word of God. Thus, the birth of the God-Word, his agonizing sacrifice, and triumphant coming back to life, were marking his Rising as the Sun-God who defeats all darkness and the enemies of humankind, thus bringing eternal gifts to the Initiated Ones in his awsome mysteries, in the form of healing and all kinds of worldly and heavenly blessings.

The Thracian Epic Story represents the Cosmic Battle of Good versus Evil, which culminates in the Victory of the Good God ? the Creator over the evil dragon ? the Chaos. This makes the Mystery Rites of Thrace special events of joyful celebration of the Triumph of Life over death and destruction, and this fact explains the ecstatic dancing and jubilation by its initiated participants, crowning the occasion by a great joint “horo” dance which marks the grand finale of the festivities. Thus, every single Act in this most unique Drama can and should be viewed as a direct sequence triggered by the pronouncement of the Divine Speech, chronologically preceding it.
Following this logic, it is the Primal Song of the legendary Orpheus ? a grand exultation of the omnipotent power of the Divine Word of God, which marks the beginning of the sacred drama and triggers the unfolding manifestation of the genesis of existence of all the visible and invisible worlds, lifted above the chaos and founded upon the Divine Speech of God-the-Word. Thus, the ensuing sacred frenzy dance of the “rusaliiki” maidens, circling around the Runic Pictogram representing the Name of the Three-One God, is a joyful manifestation of the cosmic birth of the Divine Omnipresent Life.

Next is the entrance of the Insignia of the Divine Logos ? the Triumphant Sun, and of His power as Providence and eternal Fate. The Mystery of giving gifts, praise and glory to the Son-God represents the pre-gospel cosmic event of worshipping the Son of God, preceding the historical succession. The sacred drama action reaches its climax at the point where a funeral procession of a new adept, “fallen asleep” just like Lazarus from the Gospel story, is about to be “awaken” to a new life by the kiss of his Beloved Bride-to-be, and thus to become a truly initiated one. The newly revived and now initiated neophyte receives the Bread of Life from her, while the other dancing maidens distribute it among the rest of the people.

The Sacred Mystery of Eternal Love and the Divine Bridal Chamber are ultimately revealed in the Sacred Matrimony procession of the Divine Wedding. It is best expressed in the orphic iconography (orph-iconic) dance of the Rusaliiki maidens, making a holy offering to God in the “self-outpouring” prostration (orphi-static) stance, before the Throne of the Divinity. This signals the beginning of a devotional celebration of the Wedding Mystery by the followers of God and the initiated ones in His intimate secrets, and the people partake of the Sacred Wine ? “the Blood of the Vine”, which is the symbol of the New Divine Nature, imparted to all faithful ones.

The various parts of the Mystery Drama of Thrace were practised together or independently in the everyday life of the Thracians and their families since most ancient times, and some of these sacred practices have continued to this present day. And conversely, all of these spiritual practices and rites constitute together the Sacred Thracian Mystery drama, which is a vivid manifestation of the Divine Creative Word. Thus, the ancient Sacred Drama of Thrace expresses spiritual and socio-cultural phenomena in the life of Bulgarians and human society, which are primal components, manifestations and emanations of the Divine Logos.

There is a cosmic connection and a cause-and-effect sequence between the different parts of the Thracian Sacred Mystery Drama, which correspond to the gradual unfolding of the Scroll of the Divine Word in space and time. In this manner, the intimate inner contents of its primal forms and images produce countless myriads of new derivative forms and images, which constitute new sentences of the Eternal Speech of God…
Source: The Thracian Mystery Rites Drama

:::

Archaeology: New Thracian grave found in northeastern Bulgaria

Numismatic chronicle Ares as a sun-god and symbols on the coins ofMacedon and Thrace  http://members.multimania.nl/Numis06/PDF/6580.pdf

:::

Cult of Thracian Horsemen spread over much of the Balkans during the Roman period

Paleo-Balkanic religion is a rubric that entails the gods and goddesses worshipped by the Dacians, Thracians, and Illyrians. Unfortunately, little is known about the mythology of the Iron Age Balkans in general. One notable cult that is attested from Thrace to Moesia and Scythia Minor is that of the “Thracian horseman”, also known as the “Thracian Heros”, at Odessos (Varna) attested by a Thracian name as Heros Karabazmos, a god of the underworld usually depicted on funeral statues as a horseman slaying a beast with a spear. | Solid gold Thracian mask unearthed by Georgi Kitov near Shipka

Source: Thracians

:::

The Aleksandrovo tomb is a Thracian burial mound and tomb excavated near Aleksandrovo, Haskovo Province, South-Eastern Bulgaria, dated to early c. 4th century BCE.
3rd century BC Getic tomb (Getae people) reflects the fundamental structural principles of Thracian cult buildings. The tomb’s architectural decor is considered to be unique, with polychrome half-human, half-plant caryatids and painted murals. The ten female figures carved in high relief on the walls of the central chamber and the decorations of the lunette in its vault are the only examples of this type found so far in the Thracian lands. It is a remarkable reminder of the culture of the Getae, a Thracian people who were in contact with the Hellenistic and Hyperborean worlds, according to ancient geographers. small antechamber and a tunnel, approximately 6 meters (20 ft) long. Both the antechamber and main chamber are decorated with well-preserved frescoes that reflect the artist’s knowledge of Late Classical and Early Hellenistic art.[2] The fresco in the main chamber depicts a hunting scene where a boar is attacked by a mounted hunter and a naked man wielding a double-axe. The double-axe is interpreted as representing royal power[1], the naked man as representing Zalmoxis, the Thracian solar god corresponding to Zeus. Greek influence.[4] In the wall-paintings beards, tattoos, cloaks, boots, hats, top-knots have disappeared.[4] Greek footwear replaces their boots.[4] The tomb may be that of Triballi.[5]Also other changes are seen such as Thracians wearing gold or bronze torcs around their necks (usually three).

See also The tomb of Sveshtari

Gold artefacts are seen after they were unearthed from an ancient Thracian tomb near the village of Sveshtari, some 400km (248 miles) north-east of Sofia, November 7, 2012. REUTERS/Emil Iordanov/BGNES

Gold artefacts are seen after they were unearthed from an ancient Thracian tomb near the village of Sveshtari, some 400km (248 miles) north-east of Sofia, November 7, 2012.
Credit: Reuters/Emil Iordanov/BGNES

Ancient Thracian gold hoard unearthed in Bulgaria

SOFIA | Thu Nov 8, 2012 11:38am EST
(Reuters) – Bulgarian archaeologists unearthed ancient golden artefacts, including bracelets with snake heads, a tiara with animal motifs and a horse head piece during excavation works at a Thracian tomb in northern Bulgaria, they said on Thursday.

The new golden artefacts are dated back to the end of the fourth or the beginning of the third century BC and were found in the biggest of 150 ancient tombs of a Thracian tribe, the Getae, that was in contact with the Hellenistic world.

The findings also included a golden ring, 44 applications of female figures as well as 100 golden buttons.

“These are amazing findings from the apogee of the rule of the Getae,” said Diana Gergova, head of the archaeologist team at the site of the ancient Getic burial complex situated near the village of Sveshtari, some 400 km northeast from Sofia.

“From what we see up to now, the tomb may be linked with the first known Getic ruler Cothelas,” said Gergova, a renowned researcher of Thracian culture with the Sofia-based National Archaeology Institute.

One of the tombs there, known as the Tomb of Sveshtari, is included in the World Heritage List of U.N. education and culture agency, UNESCO, for its unique architectural decor with half-human, half-plant female figures and painted murals.

The Thracians, ruled by a powerful warrior aristocracy rich in gold treasures, inhabited an area extending over modern Romania and Bulgaria, northern Greece and the European part of Turkey from as early as 4,000 BC.

They lived on the fringes of the Greek and Roman civilisations, often intermingling and clashing with the more advanced cultures until they were absorbed into the Roman Empire around 45 AD.

Archaeologists have discovered a large number of artefacts in Bulgaria’s Thracian tombs in recent decades, providing most of what is known of their culture, as they had no written language and left no enduring records. (Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova, editing by Paul Casciato)

:::

The Kazanluk Tomb and the Valley of the Kings

If you travel through the Thracian plain that separates the southern Bulgarian mountains from the northern Stara Planina Balkan range, in the area known as the Valley of the Roses, you will see that the landscape is dotted with countless tumuli. These are the tombs of the Thracian kings and leaders who lived in these lands for 2000 years until their people were assimilated by the incoming Slavs and Proto-Bulgarians in the 6th century AD. Most of the burial mounds have not been excavated and many secrets lie waiting to be revealed.

There is a concentration of tumuli (called mogila (s) or mogili (pl) in Bulgarian) in the area northwest of Kazanluk along the route to the Shipka Pass. It was an area sacred to the inhabitants of Thracian Seuthopolis and today it is known as the Valley of the Kings. Some fine tombs have been excavated and recent spectacular discoveries such as those near Shipka (the Golyamata Kosmatka tomb, believed to be that of King Seutes III, excavated in 2004) have shed more light on this ancient and proud warrior civilization.

The Kazanluk Tomb is a good starting place to find out more about the Thracian way of life and death. Its frescoes are beautifully executed artistic masterpieces but they are so delicate that the original tomb is not open to the public so you can only visit a replica which lies right next door in a small park on the northern outskirts of the town. It is a sensitive reconstruction and it is still possible to sense the power of the original within it.

The stone-built beehive tomb dates to the end of the 4th century BC. It is very womb-like. It has an ante chamber and a low narrow passageway leading into the small round-domed burial chamber. The passageway is beautifully painted on both sides with two friezes, one of battle scenes and the other with vegetation motifs, set above a strip stained a deep red. But the crowning glory is the intimate vaulted burial chamber, decorated with exquisite frescoes. At the centre sits the chieftain for whom the tomb was built. http://www.spellintime.fsnet.co.uk/Folklore_Section_Travel.htm
Encircled by a 263 metres long wall of hewn stone blocks, symbolizing the sun, the tomb itself represents the earth goddess. It is hidden within a huge mound 20 metres high overlooking a vast valley. A grand stone staircase cuts into the mound, leading up to a large landing. From there a wide passageway leads to the impressive rectangular doorway into the temple.

Going inside is like entering the earth itself, and is a reminder of the Thracian belief that the goddess of Earth lived inside a cave. There are two chambers: a rectangular antechamber and an inner sanctum. The sanctum is a beautifully constructed domed chamber supported by Doric semi-pillars and covered with ornate stone plates. The vaulted ceiling is painted with a red, black, green and blue coloured frieze.

The sanctuary was probably used in Orphic mystery rites. Young men would probably have danced ritual dances on the outer landing before entering the inner sanctum.

Koukeri
Pazardzhik region
The ancestral homeland of the Bulgars, often known as the Proto (early/original) Bulgarians, is uncertain but it was probably the Pamir mountain lands north of Pakistan or less likely the Altai Mountains of Central Asia.

The Proto-Bulgarians left their ancestral lands long ago, becoming part of the Great Migration of peoples in the early centuries AD. They were nomadic, kept herds, revered horses, and drank mare’s milk as an essential part of their diet. They were skilled in metalwork, and lived in clans under the leadership of khans who held absolute power. They were excellent warriors with a well-organised army, fighting alongside Attila the Hun. In the seventh century AD they established a state called Great Bulgaria in the Russian steppes north of the Caucasus.

But Great Bulgaria lasted only a few decades before it came under attack from the Khazars and began to disintegrate. Khan Asparuh, one of the five sons of the great Khan Kubrat of the Dulo clan, set out with a section of the Proto-Bulgarian tribe to seek new lands. In 681 AD he founded the first Bulgarian state in the Balkans in exchange for protecting the local Slav population against Byzantine attack. But the Proto-Bulgarians were a minority ruling group, so eventually their language and culture were absorbed into that of the Slavic majority. The Kapantsi, an ethnic group living in north-east Bulgaria, are thought to be descendents of Asparuh’s original tribe.

Proto-Bulgarian religion centred on the worship of the seven celestial bodies: the sun, the moon and the five then known planets – Jupiter, Venus, Mercury, Mars, Saturn. Their main deity was the sky god, Tangra (perhaps also called Edfu), whose sacred animals included the horse and the eagle. White horses were particularly revered, and horse’s entrails were used for divining.
The goddess of fertility and Tangra’s consort may have been Umai; her image is engraved into the rock at Perperikon (see the Travel Guide to Mythological Bulgaria). Shamanism was practised and each clan had a sacred animal totem ? deer, dogs and wolves seem to have had special significance. Waterfowl were a symbol of life.

Although they had no writing system as such, the Proto-Bulgarians used runes and had their own very accurate calendar based on a 12-year cycle like the Chinese calendar, each year bearing the name of an animal, bird or reptile.

[Most people are familiar with the Chinese zodiac. Their zodiac consists of a 12 year cycle, which starts with the new moon in late January/early February. Every year, the zodiac sign changes. The year 2011 was the Year of the Rabbit, and the Year of the Dragon begins on January 23, 2012.

The signs of the Chinese zodiac are: Rat, Pig, Rooster, Snake, Tiger, Dragon, Horse, Monkey, Ox, Rabbit, Sheep, and Dog.

The Chinese zodiac travelled west with the Huns, nomadic people whose original homeland was northern China and Mongolia. During their westward migration, some of them settled in southeastern Europe, and became the ancestors of the present day Hungarians. The Huns, in their travels, may have brought their method of timekeeping to Bulgaria. What is little known to most people is the striking resemblance of the Bulgarian calendar to the Chinese zodiac.

Wikipedia mentions that: The European Huns used the Chinese Zodiac complete with “dragon”, “pig”. This common Chinese-Turkic Zodiac was in use in Balkan Bulgaria well into the Bulgars’ adoption of Slavic language and Orthodox Christianity.

The Bulgarians, as a people, have been star-gazers for millennia, and even now, watch the sky closely and have even sent music into space, with the help of NASA, in the hope of making contact with beings outside our solar system. The Golden Record that went up on the Voyager Spacecraft in 1977 contained a Bulgarian folk song performed by Valya Balkanska, titled “Izlel e Delyu Haidutin.”
Source: The Ancient Bulgarian Calendar and its connection with the Chinese zodiac http://www.helium.com/items/1512507-ancient-bulgarian-calendar-and-chinese-zodiac

The Bulgar calendar was a calendar system used by the Bulgars, a seminomadic people, originally from Central Asia, who from the 2nd century onwards dwelled in the Eurasian steppes north of the Caucasus and around the banks of river Volga. The main source of information used for its reconstruction is a short 15th century transcript in Russian language called Nominalia of the Bulgarian Khans,[1] which contains 10 pairs of calendar terms. Additionally, the same dating system is used in a marginal note in a manuscript by 10th century monk Tudor Doksov and in the Chatalar inscription by 9th century Bulgar ruler Omurtag, who also provides the Byzantine imperial dating equivalent (the indiction). According to the reconstructed calendar, the Bulgars used a 12-year cyclic calendar similar to the one adopted by Turkic peoples from the Chinese calendar, with names and numbers that are deciphered as in Bulgar language.[2] The reading, along with the “cyclic calendar” interpretation itself, was originally proposed by Finnish Slavist Jooseppi Julius Mikkola in 1913. Later, there have been various modifications and elaborations during the 20th century by scholars such as Géza Fehér, Omeljan Pritsak, Mosko Moskov and other scientists.[3] Peter Dobrev, who supports a new “Iranian” fringe theory about the origin of the Bulgars, argues the Turkic names of the animals show that the Turkic peoples had borrowed these words from the Iranian Bulgars.[4]] The European Huns used the Chinese Zodiac complete with “Dragon”, “Pig”. This common Chinese-Turkic Zodiac was in use in Balkan Bulgaria well into the Bulgars’ adoption of Slavic language and Orthodox Christianity. Following is the Hunnish or Turkic Bulgarian Pagan zodiac calendar, distinctive from the Greek zodiac but much in conformity with the Chinese one: In Kazakhstan, an animal cycle similar to the Chinese is used, but the dragon is substituted by a snail (Kazakh: улу), and tiger appears as a leopard (Kazakh: барыс).] [Compare Greek zodiac: The later studies of the mathematicians Otto Neugebauer and Bartel van der Waerden on cuneiform astronomy have clearly shown that the zodiac originated in Mesopotamia and not earlier than the 1st millennium BCE.//The zodiac is Babylonian (Mesopotamian) in origin and evolved slowly over the period 1300 BCE to 500 BCE. The three major stages in the development of the zodiac were: (1) the establishment of 12 unequal constellations along the ecliptic, (2) the division of the ecliptic into 12 equal segments based on the 12 constellations, and (3) the division of the 12 equal segments into 12 equal tropical signs. Reconstructions vary slightly, because some of the names are unattested, and the exact form of a few is debatable. The following list is based on Mosko Moskov’s description of the average mainstream interpretation, as well as his own reconstruction, and takes into account the existing disagreements:[5]

Mouse {In Bulgar: Somor}
Ox {In Bulgar: Shegor}
Uncertain, probably Tiger / Wolf {In Bulgar: Ver?}
Rabbit {In Bulgar: Dvan[sh]}
Uncertain, probably Dragon {In Bulgar: Ver[eni]?}
Snake {In Bulgar: Dilom}
Horse {In Bulgar: Imen[shegor]?}
Ram {In Bulgar: Teku[chitem]?}
Unattested, probably Monkey
Hen or Rooster {In Bulgar: Toh}
Dog {In Bulgar: Eth}
Boar {In Bulgar: Dohs}
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bulgar_calendar
All Proto-Bulgarian inscriptions with Greek letters come from a clearly outlined area – North Eastern Bulgaria (and whole of Dobrudja). Outside this area no such inscriptions have been discovered, with the exception of the inscription from Nagy Saint Miklos. This type of inscription is therefore peculiar to the Proto-Bulgarians, the settlers of the central part (the capital) of the first Bulgarian Empire. The language of these inscriptions is the language once spoken at the Proto-Bulgarian court. It is the language of Krum and Omurtag, preserved until the days of Simeon. The largest inscription of this type comes from Preslav, the capital at the time of Simeon. It is written in the Proto-Bulgarian language and describes the armaments of the garrison of the capital.

Of course, the surviving inscriptions and fragments of inscriptions are only a small part of what was once written on stone in this area, but they are sufficient to give us an idea of the language spoken by the founders of the Bulgarian state. At the time when I started my work, the conception that the Proto-Bulgarians belonged to the group of Turkic peoples dominated the science. Despite numerous studies, these linguistic peculiarities did not appear in any Turkic language (and I had examined not only the Turkish and Tatarian language, but also a multiplicity of smaller Turkic languages from Central Asia).

None of the old Turkic inscriptions from Orchon and Enissei, corresponds to the Proto-Bulgarian ones, explaining why all attempts to translate these inscriptions from Turkic were far from successful. In none of the old Turkic inscriptions does one meet the two most important morphologic features of the Proto-Bulgarian inscriptions. The studies of J. Denis and of A. Sterbak, on the inscriptions from Preslav of Nagy Saint Miklos respectively, determined quite correctly that these inscriptions “do not sound Turkic at all” and are probably are in “an unknown language, decorated here and there with Turkic terms “.The same feature is also characteristic for a series of other Indo European peoples – for example, for some Iranian languages, in which the ending -I fulfils various grammatical functions.

Something similar resulted also from an investigation of the final word E, as well as of the expression ASO E of the Proto-Bulgarian inscriptions. The parallels discovered are also exclusive to the Indo European languages – from Celtic and from Iranian, while Turkic cannot help. With the assistance of the Celtic language the independent word E (in inscriptions such as ZENTI ASO E) can be translated as THAT or THAT IS. One also finds a similar word in some eastern Iranian languages, in which the word ASO exists, meaning “ash, mortal remains”. As we will see further, there is a whole series of other features showing that the language of the Asparuh Proto-Bulgarians was not a Turkic language but a language of a quite different type. PROTO-BULGARIAN INSCRIPTIONS IN GREEK LETTERS http://www.kroraina.com/pb_lang/pbl_1_1.html The golden drinking cup with Greek inscription from the gold treasure of Nagy Saint Miklos is a very interesting article in both linguistic and cultural points of view. It was a gift from a Proto-Bulgarian dignitary to another dignitary as a symbol of a sacred oath. In the area the Proto-Bulgarians originate from, there existed a custom known as “fraternization”. The main feature of that custom was a sacred drinking vessel, and the blood drops of the fraternizing in it sealed the eternal brotherhood.

All points that the inscription from Nagy Saint-Miklos is connected with such a ritual. There is a sacred oath between two men. On that occasion one gave to the other a golden cup. The cup was connected with the oath, it was a pledge for the oath. The fraternization oath, that age-old custom of our people, was still to be found until the last century under the Bulgarian sky Source:  The Golden Cup of Friendship http://www.kroraina.com/pb_lang/pbl_1_3.html The preserved Proto-Bulgarian inscriptions with Greek letters provide an inestimable wealth for the Bulgarian history. The thorough investigation yields a series of new data: for example, that the Proto-Bulgarians besides the Greek letters, had also their own letters, which were adapted much better to the specifics of their language.

The fact is best demonstrated by the fragment found at the village Dlazhko, in the district of Shumen (see Supplement 1, Fragment 6) – in places, between the Greek letters there were inserted some special characters. The science had difficulties in answering the question about the origin of these characters. It seemed somehow very improbable that the Asparuh Bulgars used their own alphabet beside the Greek one. However the characters discovered at Dlazhko were found at other places without any accompanying Greek letters. Gradually, there appeared a collection of inscriptions written in that special alphabet which was particularly common in North East Bulgaria. the occurrence of similar inscriptions in the areas of the former Old or Kubrat Bulgaria points out it was a runic writing, used by the Proto-Bulgarians even before their settlement on that side of Danube.

The Proto-Bulgarian Inscriptions

Altogether, 31 are the photographed and published inscriptions from Murfatlar. 5 of them were written in the Slavic alphabet and 26 – in Proto-Bulgarian. Supplement 3 contains a systematized collection of the Dobrudjan, Slavic inscriptions and Proto-Bulgarian runic, inscriptions.

The collection starts with inscriptions, accompanied by drawings. These inscriptions are particularly valuable, since the drawings facilitate significantly the interpretation and allow a relatively easy deciphering of the words, written in runic characters. Five inscriptions with drawings were found in Murfatlar, one – written in Slavic letters, and four – in Proto-Bulgarian runic characters.

Most of the illustrative material have religious content. Three of the drawings show persons in clerical garbs – most likely saints, and in one – a rectangular plan, most likely a church. Another drawing depicts a bird. Prof. Edward Triarsky, who was the first to deal with these inscriptions, explained the religious character of the drawings by the fact that they come from churches. Murfatlar was one of the Early Christian Bulgarian centres, it is not amazing therefore that most of the drawings illustrating the inscriptions represent saint. It appears that in Murfatlar’s inscriptions that frequency is similar to those for letters: each character occurs 5 times on the average (the total number of characters is 53 and a total length of the texts is 237 characters). Such frequency is untypical for the hieroglyphic and syllabic systems. Thus the answer to the first question is that the inscriptions of Murfatlar contain letters. The frequency of occurrence of the characters at Murfatlar corresponds to that in the Proto-Bulgarian texts – total length of 240 characters, between 6 and 7 occurrences. In the Caucasian writings it is between 5 and 6.
[Murfatlar is a port on the Danube-Black Sea Canal (Romania today next to north of Bulgaria) and has a population of 11,070. A complex of caves Basarabi Cave Complex http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basarabi_Cave_Complex http://www.patzinakia.com/BASARABI/index.html was found carved in the hills nearby, see the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murfatlar ]
The second question was in which direction the texts should be read. Prof. E. Triarsky thought, most likely because of the wide-spread assumption that the Proto-Bulgarians were Turkic people, that these inscriptions must be read from right to the left. The interpretation was based on the fact that all Turkic runic writings are read from right to the left. The thorough study of the inscriptions found on the walls of Murfatlar reveals, however, the … special features … point that the inscriptions of Murfatlar, unlike the Turkic inscriptions, were written from left to the right. This direction of writing, although rare in the East, was characteristic for a number of Iranian and Caucasian peoples – Alans, Kassogs, etc. The inscriptions of Murfatlar appear to be very old , they were brought from Kubrat Bulgaria. G. Turchaninov discovered a multiplicity of inscriptions of this type in Southern Ukraine, in Northern Caucasus and in the Imeon (Pamir) mountains. With no sufficient argumentation as to why he assumed that they were left by the Alans and the Kassogs. But what was regarded as Alanian and Kassogian proved to be an inheritance of the Kubrat Bulgaria. The alphabet brought by the Asparuh Bulgars is not Turkic. A proof for that are the works of the well-known Turkologist R. Kazlassov, who after a thorough investigation of the two writings came to the conclusion that they are principally different. “The inscriptions of Murfatlar (Besarabi), he writes, were written in a special alphabet, which does not resemble any of the well-known alphabets of the Turkic peoples”. (see R. Kazlassov. The ancient Turkic runic alphabet – In: Problems of the Proto-Bulgarian history and culture. Sofia, 1989, p. 239).

An important peculiarity, revealed by the deciphering and interpretation of the inscriptions of Murfatlar, is the quite frequent use the special church character “tilde” above some words. This character accompanies holy terms in the Christian texts, or more accurately, it is an abbreviation for holy terms.

The following words appear with “tilde”: . It greatly assists the translation as each of these characters is Christian.

A set of inscriptions from Caucasus renders some clarification. Inscriptions from Eastern Dagestan from the epoch of the spread of Christianity there show that some more important religious terms were denoted with special runic characters. And above these terms (although written in runes) appears the symbol “tilde”. It was probably brought to the region of Caucasus by Byzantine missionaries.

The word GOD, for example, is written there as (see A. Abramjan. The deciphering of the Caucasian inscriptions, Erevan, 1963). Similar religious terms, marked with a “tilde”, are also discovered in Western Caucasus. The religious traditions probably brought with them certain characters and symbols. Thus the character “tilde” has travelled a very long journey back – from the Greeks to the Christian Caucasians, to the Proto-Bulgarians, and, finally, to the Slavs.

Then, even not knowing the exact meaning, it can be safely stated that the special words such as are Proto-Bulgarian Christian terms. Thus in the Christian texts the word GOD was written as BG and CHRIST like XC, etc. The Proto-Bulgarians apparently abbreviated the high Christian symbols and in this way came to somewhat strange combinations of runic characters, marked by the classic Christian “tilde”. Particularly interesting is the symbol which was not marked by “tilde”, but has particularly large dimensions and stands out against the rest inscriptions on the wall. It is the most remarkable of the inscriptions of Murfatlar, and that could be hardly a coincidence (see Supplement 3, inscription 2.1).

The stress on this symbol shows that it probably meant the common among the ancient Near East peoples word AN (GOD), which appeared first in Sumerian but later spread among many eastern peoples. It makes us believe that the Proto-Bulgarians (whose homeland was situated to the east of Sumer and Accad) could have use similar religious terms in their language. The character is read exactly as AN in some eastern alphabets (Alanian, Kassogian). In them, as well as in the Proto-Bulgarian, the combinations AN and EN were depicted by a single letter. The cases of similarities between Proto-Bulgarian and Sumerian words, revealed in our earlier publications, show likewise that the Sumerian word AN was also used by the Proto-Bulgarians.

And finally, in this inscription below the word is the word which, with the help of eastern alphabets, can be read as UAKH (monastery, cloister). That likewise confirms the proposition that the character denotes GOD. Both words together form GOD’S CLOISTER – the meaning of the most impressive inscription from Murfatlar. http://www.kroraina.com/pb_lang/pbl_2_3.html The leftmost character is the largest one, the inscription starts with this character and it is read from left to the right. It is untypical for the Turkic but typical for the inscriptions from former Kubrat Bulgaria. Another important feature is that one character is above the others. Such a way of writing may look somewhat peculiar today, but it was quite common in antiquity. It occurs both in Greek handwritings and in Proto-Bulgarian texts. In our case probably the reason for that is that the recorder had reached the encircling double line and he had to find a place for the fourth character. For the moment it is only a hypothesis, however it can be safely stated that this character is also part of the inscription.

In the Kassogian alphabet the first character is a special vowel which sounds as “ua”. This vowel reminds of the sound “oa” of the word “zoapan”, found on the Proto-Bulgarian treasure by Nagy Saint Miklos. The next character is, likewise, quite common in the Alanian and the Kassogian languages. It denotes the sound “r”. The same character not as “r” but as “l” appears in some Caucasian alphabets – for example in the writings of the Caucasian Alans and in one version of the Georgian alphabet. The differences in its sound value are explained by its origin as an Aramean character, which denoted different sonar consonants – r, l and n. In our case it indicates the letter “r”. That is not only underlined by the Alano-Kassogian appearance of the entire inscription, but also by the fact that in the Glagolic alphabet, once very common in our areas, the sound “r” was expressed by exactly the same character. Among the descendants of the Alans – the today’s Ossetians, the word “uardon” means a ‘church, sanctuary’. In the southern parts of Central Asia – exactly those areas, that was once inhabited by the Proto-Bulgarians before their settling in Europe, the word “arkon” has the same meaning as the above Ossetian word – a ‘church, sanctuary’.

The two drawn one into another rectangles framing the inscription could represent the geometrical plan of a building. Interestingly, buildings with such geometrical forms – two nested one into another rectangles, are discovered in the areas, once inhabited by the Alans and the Proto-Bulgarians. Five such buildings are known – two in Madara and Pliska, two in Southern Ukraine and another one in Caucasus, in the ruins of Humarin. These buildings were once churches and sanctuaries. The space framed by the double rectangles contained the altar with the holy fire. The book “History of the peoples of Northern Caucasus” (M., 1988, p. 135) contains valuable data about this type of buildings. The zoroastrian temples of the fire had exactly the same appearance and the building with two inserted one into another rectangles, discovered in Humarin, is certainly a zoroastrian temple Source: Mt Imeon  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Imeon
[see also glyphs found in the Negev desert http://www.viewzone.com/firsttongue.html] http://www.viewzone.com/alphabet33.html We have almost the entire numerical system, produced by the mathematical solution of the Proto-Bulgarian calendar terms, still present in the Pamirs and in the Hindu Kush. It was common in the mentioned area since oldest times – its signs were discovered in Khotan handwritings from the third, fourth century BC. The same system of counting is also found among peoples, emigrated from these areas a long time ago. It is partially preserved at present in the Eastern Caucasus, once affected by migration from the Pamirs. Some of the above cardinal numbers are used even as calendar terms.[compare Issyk inscriptions of Kazakhstan http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Issyk_inscription%5D

According to Ashharatsuyts[1][2] the Central Asian territory west of Imeon was inhabited in Antiquity by fifteen old artisan and trading nations: Massagetae, Bulgars (Bulhi in Armenian; Shirakatsi uses the same name for the Bulgars who inhabited the valleys of Northern Caucasus at his time, and according to Moses of Chorene had settled also the Bulgarian-Armenian principality of Vanand before that[6]), Khwarezmians (‘Horozmiki’) etc., and by forty-three nomadic tribes including the Hephthalites and Alchons. Apart from Anania Shirakatsi, other historiographers in late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages such as Agathias of Myrina, Theophylact Simocatta, and Michael the Syrian also identify Mount Imeon as an early homeland of the ancient Bulgars — where the ancient Kingdom of Balhara was located.

//The zodiac we have inherited is from the Greeks. There is no solid evidence that the Greeks possessed a complete zodiac until the 5th-century BCE. http://members.westnet.com.au/gary-david-thompson/page9a.html][ The division of the ecliptic into the zodiacal signs originates in Babylonian (“Chaldean”) astronomy during the first half of the 1st millennium BC, likely during Median/”Neo-Babylonian” times (7th century BC),[3] The classical zodiac is a modification of the MUL.APIN catalogue, which was compiled around 1000 BC. Some of the constellations can be traced even further back, to Bronze Age (Old Babylonian) sources, including Gemini “The Twins”, from MAŠ.TAB.BA.GAL.GAL “The Great Twins”, and Cancer “The Crab”, from AL.LUL “The Crayfish”, among others.

Babylonian astronomers at some stage during the early 1st millennium BC divided the ecliptic into twelve equal zones of celestial longitude to create the first known celestial coordinate system: a coordinate system that boasts some advantages over modern systems (such as equatorial coordinate system). The Babylonian calendar as it stood in the 7th century BC assigned each month to a sign, beginning with the position of the Sun at vernal equinox, which, at the time, was depicted as the Aries constellation (“Age of Aries”), for which reason the first sign is still called “Aries” even after the vernal equinox has moved away from the Aries constellation due to the slow precession of the Earth’s axis of rotation. //The Babylonian star catalogs entered Greek astronomy in the 4th century BC, via Eudoxus of Cnidus and others. Babylonia or Chaldea in the Hellenistic world came to be so identified with astrology that “Chaldean wisdom” became among Greeks and Romans the synonym of divination through the planets and stars. Hellenistic astrology originated from Babylonian and Egyptian astrology. Horoscopic astrology first appeared in Ptolemaic Egypt. The Dendera zodiac, a relief dating to ca. 50 BC, is the first known depiction of the classical zodiac of twelve signs.

Particularly important in the development of Western horoscopic astrology was the astrologer and astronomer Ptolemy, whose work Tetrabiblos laid the basis of the Western astrological tradition. Under the Greeks, and Ptolemy in particular, the planets, Houses, and signs of the zodiac were rationalized and their function set down in a way that has changed little to the present day.[ The Hindu zodiac signs and corresponding Greek signs sound very different, being in Sanskrit and Greek respectively, but their symbols are nearly identical. For example, dhanu means “bow” and corresponds to Sagittarius, the “archer”, and kumbha means “water-pitcher” and corresponds to Aquarius, the “water-carrier”. The correspondence of signs is taken to suggest the possibility of early interchange of cultural influences.

The epic hero, Krali Marko, was a real historical person who lived in the 14th century AD. He has since become overlaid with an earlier mythology that may reflect some aspects of the Thracian Horseman god, who was sometimes simply called Hero. There are many heroic songs about Krali Marko’s adventures with his magical horse Sharkoliya. Traditionally these epic tales were told through song. (Tales included in Breathing The Dawn and The Red Blood Rose.) Read more about horse mythology.

Nestinarstvo fire dancing There are now only a few genuine Nestinari/Nestinarki (male/female fire dancers) left in the Strandja area of Bulgaria. They enter into a spiritual trance to dance barefoot on burning embers during the festival of St Konstantin and Elena in midsummer, in a relic of an ancient Thracian solar ritual.

Samodiva plural samodivi (also samovili): There are many tales about these wild female nymphs of the waters, woodlands and the mountains, renowned for their exquisite singing and dancing. Though they are generally viewed as Slavic in origin (see below), in Bulgarian folklore they share some characteristics with the Thracian goddess Bendis. In one tale, Vida, a powerful samodiva of the Pirin mountains, rides a stag harnessed with reins of grass snakes and stirrups of serpents. She kills the beautiful male singer, Iv? (a relic of Orpheus?) with her bow and arrows, and flies up to the moon, before restoring him to life in the curative gardens of Magda samovila. In other tales, samodivi call down the moon and milk it like a cow. In some tales they kill or take the heads of humans who cross them, reminiscent of the Maenads, the ecstatic female followers of Dionysus who tore Orpheus apart in a drunken frenzy. (Tales about samodivi included in The Dark-Eyed Warrior and Breathing The Dawn.)

Trifon Zarezan is the patron saint of vineyards. On 1st February (old Julian calendar, or 14th February in the new calendar), there is a ceremonial pruning of the vine shoots, and a wine libation is poured onto the earth. The custom is associated with a Bulgarian legend which tells how the Virgin Mary punishes Trifon by causing him to cut off his nose with his pruning shears. The custom and legend reflect elements of the Thracian cult of Dionysus, the dying and reborn god of wine.

Bulgaria’s ancient style of singing, famed throughout the world for its haunting vocals and exquisite harmonies, surely follows in the tradition of Orpheus. It is also thought that Bulgaria’s unusual uneven rhythms may derive from Thracian music.

The ancient Thracians (Ancient Greek: Θρᾷκες, Latin: Thraci) were a group of Indo-European tribes inhabiting areas in Southeastern Europe.[1] They spoke the Thracian language – a scarcely attested branch of the Indo-European language family. The study of Thracians and Thracian culture is known as Thracology.

The first historical record about the Thracians is found in the Iliad, where they are described as allies of the Trojans in the Trojan War against the Greeks.[2] The ethnonym Thracian comes from Ancient Greek Θρᾷξ (pl. Θρᾷκες) (Thrax, Thrakes pl.) or Θρᾴκιος (Ionic: Θρηίκιος) (Thrakios, Ion. Thrēikios), and the toponym Thrace comes from Θρᾴκη (Ion. Θρῄκη) (En. Thrakē, Ion. Threkē).[3] Both names are exonyms developed by the Greeks

In Greek mythology, Thrax (by his name simply the quintessential Thracian) was regarded as one of the reputed sons of the god Ares.[5] In the Alcestis, Euripides mentions that one of the names of Ares himself was Thrax since he was regarded as the patron of Thrace (his golden or gilded shield was kept in his temple at Bistonia in Thrace).

The origins of the Thracians remain obscure, in absence of written historical records. Evidence of proto-Thracians in the prehistoric period depends on remains of material culture. It is generally proposed that a proto-Thracian people developed from a mixture of indigenous peoples and Indo-Europeans from the time of Proto-Indo-European expansion in the Early Bronze Age[7] when the latter, around 1500 BC, conquered the indigenous peoples.[8] We speak of proto-Thracians from which during the Iron Age[9] (about 1000 BC) Dacians and Thracians begin developing

Divided into separate tribes, the Thracians did not manage to form a lasting political organization until the Odrysian state was founded in the 5th century BC. Like the Illyrians, the mountainous regions were home to various warlike and ferocious Thracian tribes, while the plains peoples were apparently more peaceable.[citation needed]

Thracians inhabited parts of the ancient provinces: Thrace, Moesia, Macedonia, Dacia, Scythia Minor, Sarmatia, Bithynia, Mysia, Pannonia, and other regions on the Balkans and Anatolia. This area extends over most of the Balkans region, and the Getae north of the Danube as far as beyond the Bug.

Several Thracian graves or tombstones have the name Rufus inscribed on them, meaning “redhead” – a common name given to people with red hair.[37] Ancient Greek artwork often depicts Thracians as redheads.[38] Rhesus of Thrace, a mythological Thracian King, derived his name because of his red hair and is depicted on Greek pottery as having red hair and beard.[38] Ancient Greek writers also described the Thracians as red haired. A fragment by the Greek poet Xenophanes describes the Thracians as blue-eyed and red haired:
…Men make gods in their own image; those of the Ethiopians are black and snub-nosed, those of the Thracians have blue eyes and red hair.[39]
Bacchylides described Theseus as wearing a hat with red hair, which classicists believe was Thracian in origin.[40] Other ancient writers who described the hair of the Thracians as red include Hecataeus of Miletus,[41]Galen,[42] Clement of Alexandria,[43] and Julius Firmicus Maternus.[44]
Nevertheless academic studies have concluded that Thracians had physical characteristics typical of European Mediterraneans. According to Dr. Beth Cohen, Thracians had “the same dark hair and the same facial features as the Ancient Greeks.”[45] Recent genetic analysis comparing DNA samples of ancient Thracian fossil material from southeastern Romania with individuals from modern ethnicities place Italian, Albanian and Greek individuals in closer genetic kinship with the Thracians than Romanian and Bulgarian individuals.[46] On the other hand, Dr. Aris N. Poulianos states that Thracians like modern Bulgarians belong mainly to the Aegean anthropological type.

By the second millennium BCE, the people in the central and southern Balkans were developing a unique culture and language, and subsequently became known as the Thracians. They prospered in the area for almost two thousand years, until the final conquest of the region in 46 CE, when Thrace became a Roman province. As they never developed a written form of their language, most of what is known about them today comes from direct archaeological evidence and from sources written by outsiders. Herodotus, the famous Greek historian, once wrote that the size of the Thracian population outnumbered any other in the world at that time, save for India’s. Despite a stream of later wars, invasions and eventual assimilation, they are still said to be one of the “bedrock” people of Bulgarians today.

A relatively advanced culture for their time, the Thracians were farmers and cattle-herders who were also superbly talented in the arts of war, horsemanship and craft working. Individual tribes were headed by powerful priest-kings and their greatest warriors were considered to be the aristocracy as well. Conflict between Thracian tribes was very common, and quite possibly was the only reason the group as a whole did not become the most powerful force in south-eastern Europe at the time. Occasionally, there were attempts to unite the tribes, most notably under the leadership of the Odrysae tribe in the fourth to fifth centuries CE, but the coalitions never lasted.

Their skills and bravery in battle were widely noted and feared by other regional groups such as Mesopotamia, Greece and Rome, all of which later often hired Thracian warriors as mercenaries. Spartacus, the slave-turned-gladiator that led an almost-successful rebellion against Rome, is considered the epitome of Thracian strength, skill, tenacity and grit.

Although their culture and lifestyles were largely based on warfare, they were also very talented artisans. They produced extremely well-crafted gold and silver jewellery and utensils, very advanced weaponry and elaborately designed pottery and sculptures, indicating a society that was comfortably well off enough to devote much time to honing skills other than those of mere survival.

One of Europe’s most ancient gold treasures found to date is in fact a Thracian hoard found near Panagyurishte – an amazing collection of exquisitely ornate cups, plates and ceremonial urns dating from the third century BCE and weighing in at about 6.5 kg. You can see this remarkable find as well as many other Thracian artifacts at the virtual tour site of Sofia’s National History Museum: http://www.historymuseum.org.

Often, written sources of the time describe the Thracians as being quite ‘barbaric’ as compared to the surrounding civilizations, and not just due to their ferocious battle behaviour, such as returning home after battle with the severed heads of their enemies while chanting and singing loudly! Tattoos were apparently quite common, and were possibly just for women. Young girls were encouraged to be promiscuous with many men until the time they were married (they were actually sold by their families to their new husbands), and many tribes practiced polygamy, where one man would have several wives.

This all seems to be in line with the overall form of religion the Thracians practiced, which was closely related to the worship of the Greek god of wine and debauchery, Dionysus.

Many religious rites centered on the belief in life after death and the cycles of rebirth. At the top of the social hierarchy, a king-priest was usually buried in a lavish mound tomb replete with elaborately painted wall murals and sculptures, fresh food, jewels and gold treasure, armour and weaponry, and everything else he could possibly need in the afterlife. This often included his dog and warhorse, which would be killed and interred with him, and his wives would fight for the honour of being the one to be sacrificed and buried alongside him.

Several fantastically preserved burial mounds can be found dotted across the region. Two tombs in particular, the UNESCO World Heritage sites near Kazanluk in the Valley of the Roses and Sveshtari near Razgrad, contain stunning murals and rock sculptures and are prime attractions. The tomb at Kazanluk is actually closed to the public in order to preserve its delicate paintings, and a replica has been created nearby for visitors to see.

When the Greeks set up colonies on the Black Sea coast around the seventh century BC, some conflict occurred, but there was also a new opportunity for both groups to trade. Food, crafts, clothes, tools, people and new political and cultural ideas inevitably crossed and mixed, tying the two cultures together perhaps more than they realised.

One of the best known Greek legends is based on the historical figure of the Thracian king-priest Orpheus, who tried to woo his true love from Hades and the Underworld by using his enchanting lyre music. The musician failed and was ultimately (and literally) torn apart during a wild religious rite by a group of Thracian women who were drunk on wine.

Through the present location of different artifacts of Thracian origin, it seems they had quite an extensive trading system. This extended not only through much of the Balkan peninsula, but also south into the Aegean Sea region encompassing ancient Greece and Crete, further south into Egypt and Phoenicia and eastward into Asia Minor and the Middle East. Source: Bulgaria Guide – Bulgarian History, The Thracians Sun, Feb 01 2009 http://sofiaecho.com/2009/02/01/679464_bulgaria-guide-bulgarian-history-the-thracians

In the middle of the 1st millennium BC the first powerful Thracian kingdom was founded in the present Bulgarian lands – that of the Odrysae under the authority of Teres. The ancient Greek chroniclers provide numerous evidences of the history of the Odrysian kingdom, as well as those of the Getae, Triballi etc. During the rule of the Odrysian kings Sitalkes, Seuthes I, Amadokos I and Kotys I (mid-5th – mid-4th cent. BC), who resided in palaces of stone quadrae and architectural decoration, the Getae acknowledged the supremacy of the Odrysae. Under certain agreements trade centers (emporia) were founded in the interior lands, inhabited by Thracian and Greek population. The Odrysian kingdom grew into a political power of the greatest importance on the Balkan Peninsula. According to Thucydides, it was the wealthiest of all the European states situated between the Ionian gulf (Adriatic Sea) and Pontos Euxeinos (Black Sea) judging by its revenues and prosperity. After the assassination of Kotys I (383–359) in a conspiracy inspired by Athens, the Odrysian kingdom disintegrated in three parts. For a few decades, it remained under the power of Philip II Macedon, Alexander the Great and Lysimachos. At the end of the 4th century BC Seuthes III, king of the Odrysae, founded a capital and named it Seuthopolis after himself. The city was developed according a construction design with streets crossing at right angles and shaping squares embellished with statues and sanctuaries. A stone fortress with gates and towers encircled the capital. Inside the fortified royal residence of stone colonnade and polychrome decoration, a sanctuary was situated in one of its halls.
Although the incorporation of the Thracians into the Roman Empire and the vanished boundaries between the separate Thracian kingdoms brought to certain economic and social problems, the free exchange of people and ideas was eased and enhanced. Urbanization that had begun in the Hellenistic period continued well in the following centuries and divided the Thracian lands in two worlds – the Greek-Roman urban world and the rural world of the Thracians. The official Roman art developed mainly in towns and expressed the respect to the state pantheon and the ruling Emperor. Sanctuaries emerged near the villages, where the old cult persisted. Most often, they were dedicated to the Heros, the supreme Thracian God-Horseman, in whose representation the functions of the old Orphic deities merged. The Thracians continued to raise tumuli and to place rare and expensive offerings in them. Sometimes chariots decorated with rich bronze and silver appliques of predominantly Dionysian repertoire were among the gifts.
Plastic arts, jewelry, production of vessels and other utilitarian and cult objects continued developing. The local masters retained their taste of the Eastern artistic goods and often reproduced them. Thus, the Thracian lands turned into the cultural bridge between the East and West.
Treasures from Zlatinitsa, Sinemorets, Kralevo and Yakimovo (4th–1st century BC), Kapitan Andreevo (3rd century AD), gold and silver finds from the excavations of the National Museum of History in the Valley of the Kings, as well as exquisite silver vessels from the fund of the National Museum of History (4th–3rd century BC), Thracian protective and offensive armament of all kinds from the 4th–2nd century BC are shown in the Hall. The Hall displays parts of treasures and rich grave offerings from Rogozen, Letnitsa, Duvanlii, the Mogilanska burial mound in Vratsa. The richest private collection of antique monuments and artefacts “Vasil Bozhkov” is also on display.

Origin of the Rhyton Rhyta occur among the remains of civilizations speaking different languages and language groups in and around the Near and Middle East, such as Persia, from the second millennium BC onwards. They are often shaped like an animal head or horn and can be very ornate and compounded with precious metals and stones. In Minoan Crete, silver and gold bulls’ heads with round openings for the wine (permitting wine to pour from the bull’s mouth) seemed particularly common, for several have been recovered from the great palaces (Iraklion Archaeological Museum).Minoan steatite rhyta in the Iraklion Archaeological Museum.

An Urartian silver rhyton from Erebuni

Rhytons were very common in ancient Persia, where they were called takuk (تکوک). After a Greek victory against Persia, much silver, gold, and other luxuries, including numerous rhytons, were brought to Athens. Persian rhytons were immediately imitated by Greek artists.[5]

Classical Athenian pottery, such as red-figure vases, are decorated with painted themes typically from mythology. One standard theme depicts satyrs, which symbolize ribaldry, with rhyta and wineskins. The horn-shaped rhyta are carefully woven in composition with the erect male organs of the satyrs, but this blatantly sexual and somewhat humorous theme appears to be a late development, in keeping with Athenian humor, as is expressed in the plays of Aristophanes. The ornate and precious rhyta of the great civilizations of earlier times are grandiose rather than ribald, which gives the democratic vase paintings an extra satirical dimension.

The connection of satyrs with wine and rhyta is made in Nonnus’s epic Dionysiaca. He describes the satyrs at the first trampling out of the grapes during the invention of wine-making by Dionysos:

“…the fruit bubbled out red juice with white foam. They scooped it up with oxhorns, instead of cups which had not yet been seen, so that ever after the cup of mixed wine took this divine name of ‘Winehorn’.”[6]
Karl Kerenyi, in quoting this passage,[7] remarks, “At the core of this richly elaborated myth, in which the poet even recalls the rhyta, it is not easy to separate the Cretan elements from those originating in Asia Minor.” The connection to which he refers is a pun not present in English translation: the wine is mixed (kerannymenos), which appears to contain the bull’s horn (keras), the then name of the rhyton.

In the myth, ichor from Olympus falls among rocks. From it grow grapevines. One grows around a pine tree, where a serpant, winding up the tree, eats the grapes. Dionysus, seeing the snake, pursues it into a hole in the rocks. Following an oracle of Rhea, the Cretan mountain goddess, Dionysus hollows out the hole and tramples grapes in it, dancing and shouting. The goddess, the rocks, the snake, the dancing, are all Cretan themes. The cult of Dionysus was Anatolian. At its most abstract, the rhyton is the container of the substance of life, celebrated by the ritual dancing on the grapes
These Indo-European peoples, while considered barbarian and rural by their refined and urbanized Greek neighbors, had developed advanced forms of music, poetry, industry, and artistic crafts. Aligning themselves in kingdoms and tribes, they never achieved any form of national unity beyond short, dynastic rules at the height of the Greek classical period. Similar to the Gauls and other Celtic tribes, most people are thought to have lived simply in small fortified villages, usually on hilltops.

Although the concept of an urban center wasn’t developed until the Roman period, various larger fortifications which also served as regional market centers were numerous. Whether the cult originated on Minoan Crete (as an aspect of an ancient Zagreus) or Africa – or in Thrace or Asia, as a proto-Sabazius – is unanswerable, due to lack of evidence. Some scholars believe it was an adopted cult not native to any of these places and may have been an eclectic cult in its earliest history, although it almost certainly obtained many familiar features from Minoan culture. The original rite of Dionysus (as introduced into Greece) is associated with a wine cult (not unlike the entheogenic cults of ancient Central America), concerned with the grapevine’s cultivation and an understanding of its life cycle (believed to have embodied the living god) and the fermentation of wine from its dismembered body (associated with the god’s essence in the underworld). Most importantly, however, the intoxicating and disinhibiting effects of wine were regarded as due to possession by the god’s spirit (and, later, as causing this possession). Wine was also poured on the earth and its growing vine, completing the cycle. The cult was not solely concerned with the vine itself, but also with the other components of wine. Wine includes other ingredients (herbal, floral and resinous) adding to its quality, flavour and medicinal properties. Scholars have suggested that, given the low alcoholic content of early wine, its effects may have been due to an additional entheogenic ingredient in its sacramental form. Honey and bees wax were often added to wine, introducing an even older drink (mead). Károly Kerényi postulated that this wine lore superseded (and partly absorbed) earlier Neolithic mead lore involving bee swarms associated by the Greeks with Dionysus.[2] Mead and beer (with its cereal base) were incorporated into the domain of Dionysus, perhaps through his identification with the Thracian corn deity Sabazius.

It seems likely that the migrating Phrygians brought Sabazios with them when they settled in Anatolia in the early first millennium BCE, and that the god’s origins are to be looked for in Macedonia and Thrace. The recently discovered ancient sanctuary of Perperikon in eastern Thrace is believed to be that of Sabazios. The Macedonians were also noted horsemen, horse-breeders and horse-worshippers up to the time of Philip II, whose name signifies “lover of horses”.

Possible early conflict between Sabazios and his followers and the indigenous mother goddess of Phrygia (Cybele) may be reflected in Homer’s brief reference to the youthful feats of Priam, who aided the Phrygians in their battles with Amazons. An aspect of the compromise religious settlement, similar to the other such mythic adjustments throughout Aegean culture, can be read in the later Phrygian King Gordias’ adoption “with Cybele”[3] of Midas.

One of the native religion’s creatures was the Lunar Bull. Sabazios’ relations with the goddess may be surmised in the way that his horse places a hoof on the head of the bull, in a Roman marble relief at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.[4] Though Roman in date, the iconic image appears to be much earlier.
Sabazios – rider skygod The iconic image of the god or hero on horseback battling the chthonic serpent, on which his horse tramples, appears on Celtic votive columns, and with the coming of Christianity it was easily transformed into the image of Saint George and the Dragon, whose earliest known depictions are from tenth- and eleventh-century Cappadocia and eleventh-century Georgia and Armenia. It seems likely that the migrating Phrygians brought Sabazios with them when they settled in Anatolia in the early first millennium BCE, and that the god’s origins are to be looked for in Macedonia and Thrace. The recently discovered ancient sanctuary of Perperikon in eastern Thrace is believed to be that of Sabazios. The Macedonians were also noted horsemen, horse-breeders and horse-worshippers up to the time of Philip II, whose name signifies “lover of horses”.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabazius

:::

A word on the origin and domestication of wine

The oldest evidence of wine production can be found in ceramic jars at the remains of a Neolithic village in present-day Georgia, dating to around 6,000 BC. Other evidence for winemaking at this time comes from present-day Iran in 5,000-5,400 BC. Because the samples are so old, the data is not 100% reliable—the residue found at the bottom of pottery jars in these areas looks like the type left by wine, but it could be other organic compounds. If these results are accurate, then winemaking could have originated in present-day Georgia and then spread south.

However, scientists believe that whatever winemaking took place in these ancient times, vintners were probably using wild grapes. Real cultivation didn’t take place until much later. Archaeological evidence for the earliest domestication of grapes points to a time of around 3,200 BC in the Near East.

Wine cultivation spread to Ancient Egypt around 3,000 BC, where it played an important ceremonial role. Egyptian tombs carry pictures of winemaking scenes, and five Egyptian wine varieties were included in the list of foods available to the dead in the afterlife. Most Egyptian wine from these times was red, but some evidence of white wine has been found as well.

Nobody is sure when wine first arrived to ancient Greece. However, it was known to the Minoans, Greek ancestors who lived around 2,700 BC, and it was clearly part of Greek culture from the earliest times. There was even a specific God of wine and revelry, Dionysus, who was an important part of the ancient Greek pantheon. In Greece, wine was mixed with other ingredients” —Source: The History of Wine

In wine there is truth, in vino veritas, as the ancient Romans put it. And the truth is that people first cultivated grapes for vino about 8,000 years ago, finds a genetics study.

In the current Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team led by Sean Myles of Cornell, looked at “1,000 samples of the domesticated grape, Vitis vinifera subsp. vinifera, and its wild relative, V. vinifera subsp. sylvestris.” Comparing the gene maps across the grapes, the team concludes that humanity has only begun to explore the genetic diversity of the humble grape.

“Archaeological evidence suggests that grape domestication took place in the South Caucasus between the Caspian and Black Seas and that cultivated vinifera then spread south to the western side of the Fertile Crescent, the Jordan Valley, and Egypt by 5,000 y ago. Our analyses of relatedness between vinifera and sylvestris populations are consistent with archaeological data and support a geographical origin of grape domestication in the Near East. Grape growing and winemaking then expanded westward toward Europe, but the degree to which local wild sylvestris from Western Europe contributed genetically to Western European vinifera cultivars remains a contentious issue. Our results … all support a model in which modern Western European cultivars experienced introgression from local wild sylvestris.”

“Grapes are one of the world’s most economically important fruit crops, and this study shows not only the potential for developing new approaches for improving existing varieties, but also the genetic relationships between many common varieties,” said Edward Knipling, of the Agriculture Department, which sponsored the research, in a statement.

Earlier this week, a UCLA team reported archaeological evidence from an Armenian cave of the earliest known wine press, dating to 6,000 years ago — Source: Grapes domesticated 8000 years ago USATODAY, Jan 19, 2011

:::

The Dionysian Mysteries of mainland Greece and the Roman Empire are thought to have evolved from a more primitive initiatory cult of unknown origin (perhaps Thracian or Phrygian) which had spread throughout the Mediterranean region by the start of the Classical Greek period. Its spread was associated with the dissemination of wine, a sacrament or entheogen with which it appears always to have been closely associated (though mead may have been the original sacrament).

The Slavs

The Slavs migrated to the Balkan peninsula from Central Europe in the early part of the 7th century AD. They were a freedom-loving agricultural people, living democratically in clan communes with no rigid organisational structures or hierarchies.

They believed in many deities, spirits of nature and demons, and for them, the world was alive with all-pervasive supernatural powers and energies, including wood and water nymphs, witches, vampires and werewolves. Certain trees and animals were revered as man’s ancestors, fire and the sun were an important part of rituals, and the celebration of seasonal festivals, particularly the solstices, featured prominently in their religion. Like the Thracians, they also practised occasional human sacrifice.

At the centre of the Slavic mythological universe, giving it structure, stood the World Tree. The realm of the dead lay at its roots, the world of living creatures at its trunk and heaven rose at its crown.

The Slavs worshipped their gods in the form of stone or wooden idols in shrines located near old trees. Their main god was Perun, the god of thunder, who gave his name to the Pirin mountains in southern Bulgaria. Volos, or Veles was the god of horned animals. Black Mother Earth was revered but female deities were otherwise less significant. They may include Lada and Lyulya, who are controversially goddesses of love, spring and beauty.

Source: http://www.spellintime.fsnet.co.uk/Folklore.htm

:::::

The Bukhara Bulkhara Bulgara Bactrian-Margiana connection: Bactria was incorporated in the Achaemenid empire as a special satrapy that was sometimes ruled by the crown prince or intended heir (mathišta). The country north of the Oxus, Sogdia, was at times part of this satrapy. The capital of Bactria was Bactra (Balkh, near modern Mazâr-e Sharîf), an important city in the history of Zoroastrianism. It is known to have had a sanctuary dedicated to the goddess of water and fertility Anahita, and is called “the town with the high-lifted banners” in the Avesta, the sacred book of the Zoroastrians.

When Darius I the Great reorganized the Persian empire and created formal satrapies, the Bactrians and the otherwise unknown Aeglians were reckoned to be one tax district, which was supposed to pay 360 talents every year. The Bactrian warriors were famous: they are known to have been part of the army of Darius’ son and successor Xerxes, who invaded Greece in 480. Herodotus mentions their turbans, bows, and spears, and tells that they were employed during the battle of Plataea in 479.

The Greeks knew no nation beyond Bactria. When the Athenian playwright Euripides wanted to write that the god Dionysus was born in the far east, he called it Bactria, and the philosopher Aristotle of Stagira argued that from the Hindu Kush, one could see the eastern Ocean.

From coins, it can be deduced that these exiles managed to keep in touch with the motherland. Another group of Greek settlers was called the “Branchidae” and descended from a group of priests that had once lived near Didyma (near Miletus) and had been taken captive by the Persians.

In 329, the Macedonian conqueror Alexander the Great arrived in Bactria, after a heroic crossing of the Hindu Kush. His opponent, the Persian leader Artaxerxes V Bessus, had expected an invasion from Aria in the west, and had destroyed the countryside, but Alexander arrived from the southeast. He captured Bactria, passed through the desert (text) and crossed the river Oxus. For the Iranian tribesmen in Bactria and Sogdia, the shock was too much, and their leader Spitamenes arrested Bessus, who was handed over to Alexander’s colonel Ptolemy.
In c.130, the Graeco-Bactrian kingdom came to an end: the Sacae nomad ( Scythians ) from the north, who had often made incursions, broke through, and in 110, they were also present in India. There were many small kingdoms, which have produced a remarkable variety of coins.
In the first century CE, the Yuezhi nomads or Kushans reunited Bactria and the Punjab. From their capital Peshawar in Gandara, the new kings ruled a powerful Buddhist empire, in which Indian, Iranian, Sacan, Parthian, and Greek elements were integrated. The Silk road connected Bactria with the Roman Empire in the west and China in the far east

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRjCM2NHDgY

about 2000 words which Bulgarian language shares with Afghan langueges ( Pushtu, Pamirian Languages and Farsi-dari ).
WERE THE PROTO-BULGARIANS A SAKA TRIBE ?

The Saks (Shaka), were another neighbouring people of the Bulgarians of the earliest period. This great and mighty tribe once lived to the east and north of Imeon. According to the legends, Buddha, also known as Shakyamuni, sprang. Little is known of the relations between the Bulgarians and the Saks. It is known though that the Saks spoke a language of the Eastern-Iranian type, which was close to the Sogdian language. They resembled the ancient Bulgarians in their outer appearance; there is information about that in the Indian sources. In the Arabic chronicles, the Bulgarians were called by two parallel names, Bulgarians and Sakalibs. When their king sent a letter to the Arab khalif, Al-Moktadir, he called himself King of the Sakalibs in order, perhaps, to highlight his connection to the famous ancient Saks. It is also known that a characteristic feature of the clothing of the Saks and the Volga Bulgarians was the tall pointed fur cap. That is shown in the Persian images and the picture of Volga Bulgaria where the tall pointed cap is called kalansuva va al-Bulgaria (Bulgarian cap) by the Arab writer.
Ancient Aryana (Afghanistan and East Iran)

Afghanistan is the present geographical name of Ancient Aryana. The oldest records of the Aryans, the Vedas (1500 BC) and the Avesta of Zoroaster (600 BC) refer clearly to the land of the Aryana, around the ranges of the Hindukush, between the Oxus and Indus rivers.
Afghanistan has been an ancient crossroads and a melting post of different cultures and civilizations. The birthplace of Zoroaster (Zardushte) is considered by many to be Balkh (Bactria).
“According to most anthropologists, Pashto-speaking Pashtuns appear to be primarily of Iranian origin (as well as being modified by various other invaders and migrants over the centuries) and are very similar to the Pamirians,Ossetians,Yaghnobis, Persians, Tajiks and probably Proto-Bulgarians.
Pashtuns have Eastern Iranian origin as the Pashto language is classified as an eastern Iranian tongue distantly related to Ossetic among other Iranian languages (see Ethnologue for further details). The other East Iranians “Ossetians” in Caucasian would later adopt Christianity, with Russian Orthodoxy becoming dominant following their annexation into the Russian Empire, while some converted to Islam due to the influence of the Ottomans.
Bactrian language was completely assimilated by the Persian and later by Turkish language, which spread in Tocharistan. This process is believed to take place until the 12th century. Some Bactrian tribes moved south, some north-west who saved partially thier languages
The Bactrians are one of the ancestral lines of the modern-day Pashtuns, Tajiks, Dards, and Pamirians . Some bactrians who lived around Oxus were assimilated by Altic people
Source: Land of Aryans

Hittite ・//Sanskrit
Around 1800 BC, the Aryans from Pamir and Hindu Kush conquered northern India bringing along new culture and traditions that would play a significant role in the further development of this historic region. Vedic teachings appeared following the activities of Bulgar Brahmas in India. The Brahma Panini who was born in the capital of Balkhara – the city of Balkh, founded the first grammar of the Sanskrit language.

The Indian epic Mahabharata and the sacred books Vedi were recorded in Sanskrit with “Brahmi” writing. In Mahabharata, the name balhika/bahlika (Bulgars) was mentioned 70 times [40]. These Indian sources, supported by some Arab chronicles (Di-mashqi, al-Biruni), write about the re-settlement in India of the ancient king Kardama, coming from Balkh, the capital of Balkhara. In India, this king founded the Kingdom of Kardamites. It is evident that Kardama came from Balkhara not only from the direct sources but also from his name, which according to Sanskrit experts, is not of an Indian origin but comes from the languages north of India, in the area of Balkhara.

Chinese chronicles refer to Balkhara with the name Bo-lo and write directly that together with the old state Bo-lo there is another state with the same name founded by Bo-lo people who re-settled in Northern India. Later chronicles write that Bo-lo (Balkhara) was settled by the displaced more eastern people Yuèzhī (月氏) whose ruler was attacked by the Huns and escaped in India where he founded a new kingdom called the Small Yuèzhī.

In the 4th c. BC in the area of Balkhara (known as Bactria in Greek literature) the meeting, mutual understanding and penetration of the Bulgar and Greek cultures took place. This happened after Alexander the Great reached here with his troops. Since then the Bulgars began to use Greek script together with kunig. [The word kunig originates from the same root as the Chinese k`üen meaning ‘scroll’. The ancient writing kunig emerged in the old Bulgar state Balkhara in the region of Mount Imeon (Pamir, Hindu Kush, Tian-Shan – Bogdo Khan) and the Tarim Basin. Rivaling the neighbouring Chinese people, Bulgars nevertheless had deep economic and cultural ties with them. In pre-historic times, a type of mnemonic node writing similar to Inca’s quipu, existed in this region. Later, it was replaced by cuneiform ideographic writing widely used by all Asian peoples and developed in different kinds of alphabets. the Bulgar kuni (kunig letters) represent a transition to phonetic syllabic alphabet. The earliest kunig (4000-3000 BC) found in the region of Mount Imeon contains both ideographic and phonetic kuni. The ideographic kuni are pictograms rather than cuneiforms which suggests a more western (Egyptian, Sumerian) influence. The Aryan character of kunig is supported by the presence of the swastika symbol (35) which is found on artifacts throughout the territories once inhabited by Aryans. Many scientists have found similarities between the Bulgar kunig, Phoenician and Sumerian writing, Chinese characters, Brahmi writing in India, Etruscan alphabet found on the territory of modern Italy, Old German and Scandinavian runes. Bulgarian researchers (Dimitar Sasselov [36], Peter Dobrev [39], Dorian Alexandrov, Vesselin Beshevliev [37] [38], etc.) pay attention to the similarity between the characters of the Glagolitic and Cyrillic alphabet and kunig on one side and Chinese characters (mostly their old versions). Most probably, in the course of the Bulgar migrations in the general east-to-west direction, Bulgars had been picking elements of other people’s alphabets whose cultures they inherited on their way.
The similarity between kunig and the ancient Sumerian script can be explained by the fact that the creation of Sumer (Samara) involved the Bulgar Aryans. There are similar Sumerian and Bulgar words – idol (saint), kunuku (inscription), shar (to paint), zid (to erect). The similarity between kunig and Etruscan alphabet can be explained by the fact that according to the chronicles of Volga Bulgaria, Atryach city (Troy) was established by the Bulgars whose name for the region of Asia Minor was Yana Idel (cf. Anadol, Anatolia). After the conquest and destruction of Atryach, part of the survivors led by Aeneas, sailed away and settled on the Apennine Peninsula where the natives called them by the name of their town Atryach – Etruscan./Around 1800 BC, the Aryans from Pamir and Hindu Kush conquered northern India bringing along new culture and traditions that would play a significant role in the further development of this historic region. Vedic teachings appeared following the activities of Bulgar Brahmas in India. The Brahma Panini who was born in the capital of Balkhara – the city of Balkh, founded the first grammar of the Sanskrit language./ The Indian epic Mahabharata and the sacred books Vedi were recorded in Sanskrit with “Brahmi” writing. In Mahabharata, the name balhika/bahlika (Bulgars) was mentioned 70 times [40]. These Indian sources, supported by some Arab chronicles (Di-mashqi, al-Biruni), write about the re-settlement in India of the ancient king Kardama, coming from Balkh, the capital of Balkhara. In India, this king founded the Kingdom of Kardamites. It is evident that Kardama came from Balkhara not only from the direct sources but also from his name, which according to Sanskrit experts, is not of an Indian origin but comes from the languages north of India, in the area of Balkhara./ Chinese chronicles refer to Balkhara with the name Bo-lo and write directly that together with the old state Bo-lo there is another state with the same name founded by Bo-lo people who re-settled in Northern India. Later chronicles write that Bo-lo (Balkhara) was settled by the displaced more eastern people Yuèzhī (月氏) whose ruler was attacked by the Huns and escaped in India where he founded a new kingdom called the Small Yuèzhī.

In the 4th c. BC in the area of Balkhara (known as Bactria in Greek literature) the meeting, mutual understanding and penetration of the Bulgar and Greek cultures took place. This happened after Alexander the Great reached here with his troops. Since then the Bulgars began to use Greek script together with kunig. This tradition was preserved in the Kushan empire, built on the ruins of the Greco-Bactrian state that existed between 1st and 2nd c. AD. …numerous kunig inscriptions were discovered in the same area. Some were carved on the walls of the Bulgarian capitals Pliska and Preslav, others were discovered in the northeastern Bulgarian villages of Madara, Krepcha, Ravna, Popina, Byala, and Asparuhovo Northeastern Bulgaria is exactly the area once most densely populated by the Danubian Bulgars and in the 8-9th c. AD it formed the central area of the First Bulgarian Empire. Isolated kunig inscriptions were found outside this territory – for example in the village of Shudikovo (Eastern Serbia), on the island of Pakujul lui Soare (Romania), Balshi (Albania), Varosh (FYROM), Zhitkov (Serbia), Nagy szent Miklosh (Hungary). The finds from the village Murfatlar in Northern Dobrudja are particularly rich. About 60 inscriptions were photographed there and published – most written in kunig and the others written in Slavic. Some inscriptions are accompanied with drawings which are particularly valuable, since they facilitate significantly the interpretation and allow relatively easy deciphering of the words, written in kunig.

Most of the illustrative material have Christian religious content. Three of the drawings show persons in clerical garbs – most likely saints, and one – a rectangular plan, most likely a church. Another drawing depicts a bird. Prof. Edward Triarsky, who was the first to deal with these inscriptions, explained the Christian character of the drawings by the fact that they come from churches. As Murfatlar was one of the early Christian Bulgarian centres, it is not amazing that most of the drawings illustrating the inscriptions represent saints. Triarsky advanced the hypothesis that the Murfatlar script was an artificial writing created by a Greek scholar specifically for the Bulgars after their conversion to Christianity. But the occurrence of similar inscriptions in the areas of the Old Great Bulgaria points out it was a runic writing, used by the Bulgars even before their settlement on the south coast of Danube.

The reading of the runic inscriptions is particularly assisted by some Slavic inscriptions carved nearby on walls in Murfatlar, in Pliska and Preslav. Comparison of Slavic and Bulgar inscriptions allowed the deciphering of 7 of the old characters. It can be safely stated that the decoding is correct, because the Slavic inscriptions demonstrate how each of these 7 characters sounded like./ Particularly helpful for the interpretation of the inscriptions from Danubian Bulgaria (after 7th c. AD) is the existence of similar inscriptions from the territory of Old Great Bulgaria (2nd-7th c. AD). Acad. G. Turchaninov [33] discovered many inscriptions of this type in Southern Ukraine, in Northern Caucasus and in the Imeon (Pamir) mountains and assumed with no sufficient argumentation that they were left by the Alans and the Kassogs. But what was regarded as Alanian and Kassogian proved to be an inheritance of the Kubrat Bulgaria. In one inscription Turchaninov [33] read these two indicative words: ALANUI KAN, i.e. the “Khan of the people Alans”, “the ruler of the Alans”. This inscription contains the highest Bulgar title KHAN, written with kunig-type letters. Another point of interest is that the Alans are well-known as people, once closely connected with the Bulgars. Since the 5-6th c. AD they lived together with the Bulgars in Southern Ukraine and in Caucasus. It is not a coincidence that the high ruler of the Alans bore the Bulgar title KHAN./ Likewise, the similarity of the Ukrainian characters with that of Pliska and Murfatlar, the areas, in which Asparuh set foot, is not coincidental. The close political and cultural relations between Alans and Bulgars suggest the application of the already deciphered Ukrainian inscriptions as a key for those from Murfatlar. For example, it is not difficult to recognize that six out of the seven characters in the inscription ALANUI KAN are also found in Murfatlar.

Beside the Alans, the Kassogs, another people once living close to the Bulgars, had also a kunig-like alphabet. Seventh-century Armenian sources mentioned that the people “Kash” (the Kassogs) live “between the Bulgars and the Pontus”, i.e. in the area between that of Kubrat Bulgaria and the Black Sea. The Kassogs were therefore also close neighbours of the Alans. That is why there is close similarity between the Alanian inscriptions, discovered along the lower course of Don, the Kassogian inscriptions between Don and Kuban, and the Murfatlar kunig. In one of the Kassogian inscriptions Turchaninov read the title KHAN KAISIHI, the word KHAN being written in contemporary kunig. Seven out of the ten characters of the Kassogian inscription appear in Murfatlar, two more – of a somewhat modified appearance.

The Alanian, Kassogian and Ossetian inscriptions helped to interpret 20 Murfatlar characters. Adding another seven characters from the Slavic characters, we have almost the whole runic alphabet of Murfatlar deciphered.
http://lyudmilantonov.blogspot.jp/2011/04/bulgarian-alphabet.html ] This tradition was preserved in the Kushan empire, built on the ruins of the Greco-Bactrian state that existed between 1st and 2nd c. AD. A set of inscriptions from Caucasus renders some clarification. Inscriptions from Eastern Dagestan from the epoch of the spread of Christianity there show that some more important religious terms were denoted with special runic characters. And above these terms (although written in runes) appears the symbol “tilde”. It was probably brought to the region of Caucasus by Byzantine missionaries.

The word GOD, for example, is written there as [35]. Similar religious terms, marked with a “tilde”, are also discovered in Western Caucasus. The religious traditions probably brought with them certain characters and symbols. Thus the character “tilde” has travelled a very long journey back – from the Greeks to the Christian Caucasians, to the Bulgars, and, finally, to the Slavs.

Then, even not knowing the exact meaning, it can be safely stated that the special words such as are Bulgar Christian terms. Thus in the Christian texts the word GOD was written as BG, CHRIST like XC, etc. The Bulgars apparently abbreviated the high Christian symbols and in this way came to somewhat strange combinations of runic characters, marked by the classic Christian “tilde”. Particularly interesting is the symbol which was not marked by “tilde”, but has particularly large dimensions and stands out against the other inscriptions on the wall. It is the most remarkable of the inscriptions of Murfatlar, and that could hardly be a coincidence.

The stress on this symbol shows that it probably meant the common among the ancient Near East peoples word AN (GOD), which appeared first in Sumerian but later spread among many eastern peoples. It makes us believe that the Bulgars (whose homeland was situated to the east of Sumer and Accad) could have use similar religious terms in their language. The character is read exactly as AN in some eastern alphabets (Alanian, Kassogian). In them, as well as in the Bulgars, the combinations AN and EN were depicted by a single letter. The cases of similarities between Bulgar and Sumerian words show likewise that the Sumerian word AN was also used by the Bulgars.

And finally, in this inscription below the word is the word which, with the help of eastern alphabets, can be read as UAKH (monastery, cloister). That likewise confirms the proposition that the character denotes GOD. Both words together form GOD’S CLOISTER – the meaning of the most impressive inscription from Murfatlar.
::
Anticipating somewhat, we note that we will have good reasons to speak about the Bulgarish ethnic origin of the Scythians, so let’s keep in mind the available reliable data on the Bulgars.
After the collapse of the Western Turkic Khaganate in the second half of the 1st millennium two large states were formed in Azov and Caspian steppes. They were created by the related tribes of the Bulgars and the Khazars related. In the 6th century Bulgars which lived near the Sea of Azov were divided into two parts, one of which went to Pannonia. The remaining tribes were merged into the Great Bulgaria by one of the tribal leaders Kubrat (Kuvrat) in 635, and about the same time the Khazar Khanate began to take shape too. Shortly after the death of Kubrat strained relations between the two states resulted the collapse of the Great Bulgaria. The Khazars in alliance with the Hungarians defeated the Bulgars, in consequence one Bulgar horde migrated to the Danube and occupied Southern Transnistria. Their leader, Khan Asparukh created here a new state – Danube Bulgaria. The second horde became a member of the Khazar Khaganate. In 680, after the unsuccessful campaign of Emperor Constantine IV on the Danube Bulgaria the army of Khan Asparukh took Moesia and Dobrudja, inhabited by scattered Slavic tribes. By combining the Slavs in one state, Asparukh became the founder of the Slavic Bulgaria.
By the early 8th century the Khazar Khaganate already possessed a large territory that included the foothills of Dagestan, the steppes of the Kuban, Azov and partly Black Sea region, most deal of the Crimea. The young state had to wage a hard struggle for existence with the Arabs, and so most of the Bulgars gradually moved north to the river Kama, where they eventually formed their own state of the Volga Bulgaria (PLETNIOVA S.A. Khazary., 186: 20-41; RONA-TAS ANDRAS. 2005: 116-117). Obviously, this state included also the local Turkic population descended the carriers of the Balanov culture, as well as neighboring Finno-Ugric population. All this compel to suppose that the Bulgars had to be very numerous people, whose history can be traced by the ways of its migration from western Ukraine through the Pontic and Azov steppes to the banks of the Kama. Consequently this great people which stayed in steppes of the Ukraine at Herodotus’ time could not to remain without attention of this historian. One could assume that the Bulgars, at least, were among the foks mentioned by Herodotus in his “History.” Logic dictates that just the Bulgars should be the Scythians. This assumption is contradicted only avowed Iranian ethnicity of the Scythians, so we must prove that the Scythians (or a substantial part of them) were not Iranian-speakers. Let us begin with that the Scythians called themselves Scoloti (Σκολοτουσ).
Tibetan script

Indic script

Brahmi script

Gari Ledyard believes that the basic hangul consonants were adopted from the Mongolian Phagspa script of the Yuan dynasty, known as the 蒙古篆字 měnggǔ zhuānzì (Mongol seal script). Only five letters were adopted from Phagspa, with most of the rest of the consonants created by featural derivation from these, as described in the account in the Hunmin Jeong-eum Haerye. However, which letters the basic consonants were differs between the two accounts. Whereas the Haerye implies that the graphically simplest letters ㄱㄴㅁㅅㅇ are basic, with others derived from them by the addition of strokes (though with ㆁㄹㅿ set apart), Ledyard believes the five phonologically simplest letters ㄱㄷㄹㅂㅈ, which were basic in Chinese phonology, were also basic to hangul, with strokes either added or subtracted to derive the other letters. It was these five core letters which were taken from the Phagspa script, and ultimately derive from the Tibetan letters ག ད ལ བ ས. Thus they may be cognate with Greek Γ Δ Λ Β and the letters C/G D L B of the Latin alphabet. (The history of the S sounds between Tibetan and Greek is more difficult to reconstruct.) A sixth basic letter, ㅇ, was an invention, as in the Haerye account. http://www.omniglot.com/writing/korean.htm

The creation of the vowel letters is essentially the same in the two accounts.
Murfatlar There are many inscriptions graved on the walls in Old Slavic Glagolitic and Cyrillic, some in Greek alphabet and some in Turkic runes. The language of the Slavic texts is Old Bulgarian. The language of the Turkic runes is Proto-Bulgarian, as suggested by Bulgarian scholars[who?], or Turanic, as implied by Romanian scholars[who?]. In fact that may be the same, because the Proto-Bulgarian language most probably is a mix of Turanic and Aryan origin. Some Romanian scholars[who?] questioned the Latin origin of the names such as “Petre” found in the cave, but it actually is a derivative from the Greek πέτρα and of the name of Saint Peter[citation needed], which is widespread Christian name

Source: Bulgarian alphabet

Proto-BUlgar Runes

Swed runes

Anglo-Saxon futhorc runes

Germanic runes

Good for maps;

Bulgars S. Runciman

History of Bulgaria

http://s155239215.onlinehome.us/turkic/25Bulgars/SRuncimanFirstBulgarianEmpireBook2En.htm
Qutaybah ibn Muslim -659-750 Kangar Union state – 709-713 Arab expansion from the west into Central (Middle) Asia led by Kuteyba (Qutayba), taking Bukhara and Samarkand, Khiva, Horesm, and sacking Kashgar

Source: Brittanica

:::
Sarmatian and Horesmian Clans.

Horesm is authentically the most ancient of the Western Turkestan independent states, usually identified with the first country of Zoroausrian faith (Arianam Vaidja), surrounded by the nomad tribes (and in tightest economic relations with them), and also in the immediate vicinity of such mighty states as Ahaemenid or Sassanid Persia, Greko-Bactria, and Kushan kingdom. Already in the days of the Alexander the Great campaign to Central Asia Horesmian king Farasman ostensibly controlled extensive territories in the west down to the Northern Black Sea Coast and Colchis (Arrian. 4.15.4). Later, in the 2nd-3rd centuries AD, the Horesmian ceramics spread in Sarmatia up to Itil river. The orientation of the eastern groups of Sarmato-Alans toward the cultured, economically advanced (but usually not too politically powerful) Horesm is quite natural. It is possible to think, that also took place mixed marriages (its enough to recollect the 2nd-3rd centuries S.Ural Temyasovo burials of women with several dress elements of far-away Fergana). By the records of Biruni and Masudi, large groups of Alans and Ases (al-Lariysa) still lived on the border of Horesm by the 8th century AD (Biruni Kharazmi, 973-1048, Geodesy. Introduction, 47).

For early Sarmatian tamgas of the 1st century BC – 1st half of the 1st century AD, the Central Asian analogies concentrate precisely in the Horesm during its 2nd period of its tamgas (fig. 28), though also exist analogies with earlier tamgas Among the royal tamgas of the Horesm we note 2 similar tamgas in the complexes of the nobility in the Lower Don (Royal burial ground) and in the Right-bank (fig. 5/28, 84; compare: fig. 28/50, 52); and later, in the 2nd-3rd centuries, the first tamga also continued to be used in the same part of the Ukraine (fig. 6/106), and in the Horesm it is depicted on the coins of Bivasar minted approximately from the beg. of the 4th century (Vainberg, 1977, 35-36, tab. XI, 3). The X, f, upside down trident are tamgas of Horesm Many exact analogues to the earlier Horesmian tamgas of the 1-st period (6th-2nd centuries BC) are among the Sarmatian tamgas of the mid 1st-mid 2nd century AD. Quite ”many” of them are in the Lower Don (fig. 5/37а, 44, 47; compare: fig. 27/25, 82 and widespread 147 , used synchronously and in the neighboring territories, in this case in Sogdiana and in the lower reaches of Syr-Darya) and the neighboring Northern Azo “Kuteyba destroyed the people, who knew the Horesm system of writing, their legends and the sciences developed by the Horesm population, and put them to torture. These legends became so secret it is impossible to know what became of the Horesm population even after the development of the Islam (source: Kazakhstan: Cultural Inheritance and Social Transformation
By Abdumalik )

Qutaybah ibn Muslim, (died 715), Arab general under the caliphs ʿAbd al-Malik and ʿAbd al-Walīd I whose conquests in Afghanistan and Central Asia helped bring the Umayyad caliphate to the height of its power.
The first task which Qutayba set himself was the suppression of the rebellion in Lower Tokharistan, which was accomplished swiftly with the reconquest of Balkh. Qutayba then secured the submission of the local princes in the upper Oxus valley, most notably of Tish, king of al-Saghaniyan. After extensive negotiations led by Sulaym the Persian, the tarkhan Nizak, ruler of the Hephthalite principality of Badghis, surrendered to Qutayba, and pledged to accompany him in his expeditions.[1][6] In 706–709, Qutayba occupied himself with the long and bloody conquest of Sogdia. The Sogdians were at the time divided by civil war, and Qutayba was able to easily capture the city of Baykand, near the Sogdian capital Bukhara, after a two-month siege. He left a small garrison there and departed, but the inhabitants launched a revolt soon after. The Arab army then turned back and proceeded to sack the city. The men of fighting age were executed, the women and children sold off as slaves, and enormous booty amassed, especially in armour and weapons, which equipped the Arab army.[1][7][8] The brutal punishment meted out to Baykand shocked the region
Taking advantage of Qutayba’s absence in the south, the inhabitants of Samarkand overthrew their ruler due to his passive stance towards the Arabs, and installed the prince Ghurak in his stead. As Qutayba prepared to march against Samarkand during the winter of 711/712, he received envoys from the king of Khwarezm, who asked for his aid in dealing with the rebellion of his brother Khurrazadh. Qutayba advanced with his forces in a lightning campaign, and while his brother Abd al-Rahman defeated Khurrazadh’s troops, he secured the levy of 10,000 Khwarezmian troops for his own use. The Khwarezmians however rebelled shortly after Qutayba’s departure and killed their ruler. It was not until later in the year that Qutayba was able to send a force under al-Mughira ibn Abdullah to subdue the region; the Arabs proceeded to massacre most of the upper classes who had fomented the revolt and installed direct Arab rule in Khwarezm, although the local dynasty was left in place.

Source: Qutayba Wikipedia

Qutaybah was granted the governorship of Khorāsān (now part of Iran) in 704 by ʿAbd al-Malik and thus came into the command of a large standing army of about 50,000 Arab troops. From this time on, he used his military expertise in numerous campaigns to expand Umayyad dominion over the territories to the north and east. He began in 705 with the recovery of lower Tukharista

Tamgas of Iranic people
Tamgas of two triangles topping each other is precisely in the famous assembly of the 1st-2nd centuries AD petroglyphs on the r. Tsagan-gol in the present day Southwestern Mongolia (where also was found a unique series of prototypes of the the Bosporn royal and aristocratic ”tridents” of the 2nd-3rd centuries AD) was discovered a tamga of the future Aorsian (?) king Inismei (Vainberg/Novgorodova, 1976, fig. 5, б) (fig. 34/а1; 35/с54; compare: fig. 5/86).
Sarmatian mt DNA Graphic 4 Enlarged map of Caucasus showing predominant location of Pr 11 type haplotypes in Turkic areas, Balkar/Karachai and Azeri in the Caucasus
Pokrovka-10 burials mtDNA

Sarmatians-Late Sarmatians paleoanthropology This anthropological study makes a crucial link in the Scytho-Iranian theory, hanging on the chain Iranian-Ossetian-As-Alan-Sarmatian-Scythian that led to the victorious equating Iranian = Scythian, quite delightful: as Sarmatians were Uraloids, and the core of that theory holds that they were kindred with the other links of the linguistic chain, that makes Iranians a type of Uraloids of a Chuvash-looking variety, or given that the fate did not bless the theory with low-faced cranially deformed Chuvashe-Iranians, that forces all those resting under kurgans deceased to re-learn their native kitchen languages to graduate to the luster of the Iranian-speaking Sarmats. The work clearly guides us from original Uraloid Prokhorov Sarmatians to the “Eastern complex” Late Sarmatians. It is noteworthy that like the Genesis chapter, the Scytho-Iranian theory relied for its survival on forced hearsay argumentation and absence of scientific studies; every ray of daylight shed on the subject always turns out to be its last straw. Almost all skulls from the Pokrovka-10 burials have more or less distinct traces of intravital artificial cranial deformation. one of the anthropological components forming the series of the Late Sarmat time was a local, Uralic. In principle, this craniological complex is comparable to the complex which is usually typical for the modern representatives of the Uralic race (Uraloid).

The Component 2 that we have isolated has closest analogy of comparable skulls in the synchronous materials originating from the territory of Kazakhstan and Central Asia. In the last centuries of the 1st millennia BC and in the first centuries AD, artificially deformed meso-brachicranial, broad-faced, sharply profiled in the horizontal plane skulls with strongly protruding nasal bones were found in a wide area from southern Tajikistan to the Aral Sea (Ginsburg, Trofimova, 1972, Kiyatkina, 1976, Yablonsky 1999). A series of such skulls (but with some Mongoloid traits) was described, in particular, in the Kenkol Cemetery (Ginsburg, Jirov, 1949), whose origin was tentatively connected with the Huns. Nowadays, this conclusion is disputed, but the Caucasoid base of the Hun-time (200 BC-!00 AD) Central Asian and Kazakhstan population can not be doubted. The skulls of the “Central Asian-Kazakhstan version” of the Pokrovka-10 is notable for the absence of any expressions of the Mongoloid admixture. It is supposed (Alekseev, Gohman, 1984, p.55) that the anthropological layer of the Hun or Usun time (200 BC-!00 AD) in Central Asia and Kazakhstan displays a genetic continuity with the population of that region in the previous eras. In the Southern Urals territory, in particular in the Pokrovsk cemeteries, the inflow of the Central Asian population is documented still during the Early Sarmatian time (Yablonsky, 1997, 2000a). Apparently, in the Late Sarmat epoch the Central Asian nomads also were migrating into the Southern Urals territory, and were one of the anthropological components among the indigenous population.

The Component 3 Among the known craniological materials the skulls morphologically similar to the Pokrovka skulls, but of the preceding period, were found only in the Caucasus, in the territory of Armenia. Assyrian literary records name a number of tribes in the Northern Mesopotamia with suspiciously Türkic-sounding names, all of them depicted as horse pastoralists, with dating starting at 21st c. BC and extending into 8th c.BC: Tukriş (Turuk, Tuγri), Guties (Guzes), Kangar (Kangly), Subartu (Suvar/Chuvash/Savir etc.) and Kumans. In the 21st -8th cc. BC these nomadic tribes were also aboriginal tribes of the Armenian Highland, and wide-faced Armenians are as typical for Armenian phenotype as Micronesians are for Scandinavian phenotype. In the context of our theme the anthropological analogy of the N.Mesopotamia aborigines with the S.Urals component of Late Sarmatians is fascinating and educational. See W.B. Henning Guties. the analysis of the Late Sarmat time craniological series from the Pokrovka-10 burial leads to the following conclusions:

The population that left this cemetery was anthropologically extremely heterogeneous and included at least three morphological components.

One of them constituted a majority of the deceased, mainly women, had a local Uralic origin, it is comparable with the modern representatives of the Uralic race (Uraloid).

Two other groups have appeared in the South Urals as a result of migration.

One (small) group came from the Central Asia and Kazakhstan territory. By its physical type, it has no exact analogies in the modern populations, but closest to it are relatively gracilized (relative to it) representatives of the northern variant of the Pamir-Fergana race. \

Another, also a small group of migrants, by their physical type has no (known) analogies in the Eurasian steppes and semi-deserts, and their genetic origins apparently is connected with the S.Caucasus territory.

These findings, in principle, not in conflict with the archaeological data, which detects the funeral burial inventory Caucasian and Central Asian imports.

The buried in the cemetery people equally used the custom of the circular type artificial cranial deformation. But all three anthropological components transpire clearly enough, with a small (percentage-wise) number of transient (metisized) forms. The latter circumstance allows to assume quite reasonably that the process of metisization in the population has not advanced too far, and in this case we observe a mechanical rather than a biological admixture. In turn, this conclusion suggests that this population has existed for a relatively short time. This assertion in principle is supported by the materials testifying about relatively narrow chronological span of the Late Sarmatian part of the cemetery, and in addition the anthropological materials testify that the mixing arena was precisely the South Urals region.

Given the archaeological evidence, which records a chronological gap between the left bank Ilek people of the Early and Late Sarmatian time, it may be presumed that the population as a whole migrated to the confluence of Ilek and Hobda as a result of migration, but its core were females of the local Ural population. Gracilisation seen in dentition ~ In particular, in the Krasnoyarsk Territory from the Neolithic Epoch to the Iron Age the changes in the frequency of certain traits associated with the reduction process in the jaws, are subject to a sinusoidal pattern (Rykushina, 1977. 146). At the neighboring, to the area of the present study, territory of the Eastern Caspian littoral the material from the Kazybaba burials also demonstrated the decrease in the Carabelli cusp frequency, hypodontia M3, reduction of the lateral incisors (Bagdasarov, 2000).
Figure 1 shows relative positions of the Prokhorov and Pokrovka-10 Late Sarmatian people against Early Iron Age groups. The abscissa represents averaged values of the eastern complex, expressed in radians: spatulate I1, distal trigonid crest, and six-cusp M1; the ordinate represents western complex: Carabelli cusp, four-cusp M1 and M2. From the traditional in the national dentistry complex of the eastern markers is excluded such trait as the angular metaconid fold, because of too small observable incidence of the molars in the series.

The graph shows that the early and late Pokrovka-10 groups, belonging to the same array comprising mainly a series of Scythians and Sarmatians, are located on the opposite poles: the Prokhorov people are grouped together with the Scythians of the Lower Dnieper (Upper Tarasov burials) (Verhnetarasov) and forest-steppe Scythians (Light Waters burials) (Svetlovodsk) occupy position with low values of the Eastern complex, while the Pokrovka-10 Later Sarmatians with Tagars are grouped in the zone with more pronounced Eastern complex. At the same time, variation in the values of the Western complex in the group forming this array is not large.

Graph 1 shows the proximity of the Prokhorov series to the Scythian samples. Two possible explanations for such location may be suggested: either the groups are coupled by the commonality of their gene pool, i.e. common substrate, or the proximity is the result of direct contacts (i.e. genetical admixture). A valid interpretation of the situation requires further accumulation of factual materials.

Thus, the visualization of the odontological study in Figure 1 confirmed the impression received from the morphological analysis: of the Pokrovka-10 Later Sarmatians differ from the Prokhorov people by greater concentration of the Eastern odontological stem traits, suggesting participation in the Later Sarmatian genesis of the oriental origin groups, morphologically similar to the Tagar culture people from the Minusinsk depression.

The Tagar tribes have been Caucasoids of the Scythian circle with light hair and blue or green eyes, noted for huge royal kurgans fenced by stone plaques, with four vertical stelae marking corners. Their artifacts are close to the Scythian artifacts from Pazyryk. They lived in Their economy was pastoral with subsistent agriculture, the herds were predominantly large horned livestock and horses, goats and sheep. Their permanent settlements contained timber dwellings heated by clay ovens and large hearths, some settlements were fortified. Males had Y-chromosome haplogroup R1a, female mtDNA had haplogroups T3 and H.
To find earlier analogies for the odontological type of the Southern Urals early nomads, the study group is superimposed against populations of the preceding historical period, the Bronze Age. Graph 2 (Fig. 2) shows the proximity of the Prokhorov people to the people in the Middle Volga region, the people of the Balanov culture on the one hand, and the people of southern Uzbekistan that left the Sapallitepe cemetery on the other hand. The Late Sarmatians are closest to the Andronovans of the northern Kazakhstan and the population buried in the Gonur necropolis (southern Turkmenistan). the arrival to the Ilek area during the Late Sarmatian time (150-400 AD) of new nomadic groups, carriers of a different odontological type, which is characterized by a more pronounced Eastern complex.

The number of Southern Huns in China in the 3rd c. AD is assessed at 3 mln people; the number of Huns that joined Syanbi in 100 AD is assessed at 0.5 mln people; it is known that Syanbi Huns and China’s Southern Huns combined constituted a lesser fraction of the whole Hunnic population; thus the number of Hun people who migrated westward in ca 150 AD was in excess of 3.5 mln people. A part of the Hun migrants remained in the Middle Asia, a part migrated to Afghanistan and India, and the balance of 1-2 mln people migrated to the area from the Aral Sea to Itil. The Pokrovka-10 Late Sarmatian studies examine a tiny spec of the major Hunnic migration wave, which displaced some of the previous population, According to the craniological studies, at least two alien populations came to the Southern Urals as a direct result of migration. One (not numerous) group probably migrated from Central Asia and Kazakhstan. In physical type, it has no absolute analogies in the modern populations, but the closest to it are relatively gracilized (relative to the first migrant group) modern representatives of the northern variant of the Pamir-Fergana race (on the term, see Yablonsky, 2000b). In this case, both the cranial and odontological evidence shows increase at this time of the “Eastern” complex, which is in particular manifested by the increase in the percentage of traits usually associated with the great Mongolian race. The osteological materials, in turn, eliminate the eastern Ural region as a probable ancestral home of the Eastern migrants, which makes more likely their Kazakhstan (considering the odontological results) or South Siberian origin (Kazakhstan/South Siberia at the turn of the eras was a home of the numerous and powerful Tele and Kangar tribes). Notably, the anthropological distinctions of these migrant groups unite the Late Sarmatian people of the Southern Urals with the synchronous populations of the Lower Volga region, and with the relatively later inhabitants of the Syr Darya delta (Jetyasar culture burials).

Another, also not numerous group of migrants by their physical type has no analogies in the Eurasian steppes and semi-deserts, and by their genetic origins is apparently connected with the territory of the South Caucasus.

The buried in the cemetery people used in the same degree the custom of the circular type artificial cranial deformation. But all three anthropological components are distinguished clearly enough, with a small (percentage-wise) number of transient (metisized) forms. The latter circumstance makes fully justified a suggestion that the process of admixture in this population has not advanced very far. This conclusion, in turn, suggests that this population has existed for a relatively short time.

In view of archeological data, which observes exceptionally small population of the Middle Sarmat time in the Urals steppe region, we can admit that the Late Sarmatian population came to the confluence area of the rivers Ilek and Hobda as a result of migration, but its female core consisted of the local Ural (in a broad sense) population.

The turn of Sarmatian history started with pra-Chinese colonizing Hunnic Ordos in the 4th c. BC. That started a 2-centuries long war that bled both sides dry, and allowed the weaklings Syanbi to take over control of the eastern steppe belt section, starting a drive of multimillion Hunnic masses to search for better and less defended pastures and subjects. Spreading like a Christmas Tree east to west, the Hunnic tribes and their affiliates settled in Kazakhstan, India, Bactria and Khorasan, Urals, Caucasus, Ukraine, and extended into Balkans and Central Europe, opening a new page of history wherever they passed. Barging on the “Sarmatians”, who more likely were their subjects than just neighbors, Hunnic rulers and tribes asserted their god-given right for supremacy, by 150 AD they reached Itil in the north and Caucasus in the south
Sarmatian treasures, see photo of Sarmatian diadem

Sarmatian ancestry of Poles

All of the above names derive from the name of the Polans, one of the strongest of the tribes inhabiting the territories of present-day Poland in the 9th-10th centuries. The origin of the name Polanie itself is uncertain. It may derive from such Polish words as pole (“field”, from Proto-Indo-European *p(e)la, “flat, plain”, opole (“group of villages belonging to one clan”, an early administrative unit) or plemie (“tribe”). Polska was initially a name used by the Polans to describe their own tribal territory in the Warta River basin. During the 10th century, the Polans managed to subdue and unite the Slavic tribes between the rivers Oder and Western Bug into a single feudal state and in the early 11th century, the name Polska was extended to the entire ethnically Polish territory. The lands originally inhabited by the Polans became known as Staropolska, or “Old Poland”, and later as Wielkopolska, or “Greater Poland”, while the lands conquered towards the end of the 10th century, home of the Vistulans (Wislanie) and the Lendians, became known as Malopolska, or “Lesser Poland”.
Around the 17th century, the Polish nobility (szlachta) were seeking proofs of their ancient ancestry in classical Greek and Roman sources and often claimed to descend from the non-Slavic tribes, such as the Venedes or the Sarmatians, that inhabited Central and Eastern Europe in ancient times. In the 17th-18th centuries, Sarmaci (“Sarmatians”) was a popular name by which Polish nobles referred to themselves. The most generally recognized deity was Swiatowit (Indra), the Slavic, Zeus. He was pictured with four faces, hence seeing everything; with a cornucopia in his right hand a sword in his left hand. He was worshiped particularly in Pomorze (Pomerania) and on the Island of Rugia (Rugen). Slavic heritage: Swiatowit as represented by the artist Alphonse Mucha. The other well known deities were Perun, the god of storms; Welles, the god of cattle; Lada, the goddess of order and beauty; Marzanna, the goddess of death; Dziewanna, the goddess of spring; Radegast, the protector of merchants and guests. In addition, the woods and waters were filled with nymphs, sirens and fauns The Slavs believed in the immortality of soul and in an after world, with punishment and reward. The dead were the objects of particular care, and funerals were very elaborate and carried on with great pomp. Certain days of the year were set aside for offerings and prayers to the dead.
Some people, particularly women, had special powers of communication with the spirits of the dead, and their services as intermediaries were often sought. Generally speaking, however, this class of sorcerers and magicians did not develop into a permanent priestly class. The only exception to this rule were the Slavs on the Elbe and in Rugia among whom a class of professional priests is known to have existed. Sauromatian warriors http://www.europabarbarorum.com/factions_sauromatae_units.html

What a Sarmatian /  Geto-Dacian may have looked like

Yuta shaman of Ryukyu operate in caves (see Proto Bulgar script  /  Okinawa rosetta stone Underwater pyramid iseki  cf Old Negev glyphs http://www.viewzone.com/alphabet33.htmlhttp://www.viewzone.com/firsttongue.html) / see Shamanism
Yemen S. Arabian prophecy large wall at the Queen of Sheba archaeological site inscribed with the story of the buried Ark and the Queen’s son, Menelik. source: Menelik  // http://www.viewzone.com/menelik2.html and http://www.viewzone.com/menelik.html //
http://www.historymuseum.org/halls.php?id=4&floor=2

:::

Getae and Dacians – the name given by the Greeks to several Thracian tribes inhabiting the regions to either side of the Lower Danube, in what is today northern Bulgaria and Romania. This was a hinterland of Greek colonies on the Black Sea coast, bringing the Getae into contact with the Ancient Greeks from an early date. Strabo, one of the first ancient sources to mention Getae and Dacians, stated in his Geographica (ca. 7 BC-20 AD) that the Dacians lived in the western parts of Dacia, “towards Germania and the sources of the Danube”, and the Getae in the eastern parts, towards the Black Sea, both south and north of the Danube.[1] The ancient geographer also wrote that the Dacians and Getae spoke the same language[2], after stating the same about Getae and Thracians
Appian, who began writing his Roman History under Antonius Pius, Roman Emperor from 138 to 161, noted: “[B]ut going beyond these rivers in places they rule some of the Celts over the Rhine and the Getae over the Danube, whom they call Dacians”[5].[6]

Justin, the 3rd century AD Latin historian, wrote in his Epitome of Pompeius Trogus that Dacians are spoken of as descendents of the Getae: “Daci quoque suboles Getarum sunt” (The Dacians as well are a scion of the Getae).[7][8]

In his Roman History (ca. 200 AD), Cassius Dio adds: “I call the people Dacians, the name used by the natives themselves as well as by the Romans, though I am not ignorant that some Greek writers refer to them as Getae, whether that is the right term or not…”[9] [10]. He also shows the Dacians to live on both sides of the Lower Danube; the ones south of the river (today’s northern Bulgaria), in Moesia, and are called Moesians, while the ones north of the river are called Dacians. He argues that the Dacians are “Getae or Thracians of Dacian race”, the principal god of the Getae was Zalmoxis whom they sometimes called Gebeleizis.

“This same people, when it lightens and thunders, aim their arrows at the sky, uttering threats against the god; and they do not believe that there is any god but their own.” – Herodotus. Histories, 4.94.
Pliny the Elder in his Naturalis Historia mentions a tribe called the Tyragetae,[47] apparently a Daco-Thracian tribe who dwelt by the river Tyras (the Dniester). Their tribal name appears to be a combination of Tyras and Getae; cf. the names Thyssagetae and Massagetae.
The Roman poet Ovid, during his long exile in Tomis, is asserted to have written poetry (now lost) in the Getic language. In his Epistulae ex Ponto, written from the northern coast of the Black Sea, he asserts that two major, distinct languages were spoken by the sundry tribes of Scythia, which he referred to as Getic, and Sarmatian. According to Herodotus the Greeks of the Hellespont and the Black Sea tell that Zalmoxis was a slave on Samos of Pythagoras, son of Mnesarchos. After being liberated, he gathered a huge wealth and once rich, went back to his homeland. Thracians lived simple hard lives. Zalmoxis having lived amongst the wisest of Greeks – Pythagoras and had been initiated to the Ionian life and Eleusinian Mysteries. Building a banquet hall, he received the chiefs and his fellow countrymen throwing a banquet, he taught that none of his guests nor their descendants would ever die, but instead they would go to a place where they would live forever in a complete happiness. He then dug an underground residence and, once finished, he disappeared from the Thracians going down to his underground residence and lived there for three years. The Thracians missed him and wept fearing him dead. The fourth year, he came back amongst them and thus they believed what Zalmoxis had told them.

Zalmoxis may have lived much earlier than Pythagoras and was rumored either to be a divine being or from the country of the Getae. Consider that Zalmoxis has created a ritual of passage; this theory is mainly supported by Mircea Eliade, who was the first to write a coherent interpretation about Zalmoxis;
Some authors insist on Zalmoxis’ relation with Pythagoras, stating that he has founded a mystical cult; partly this theory may be found in Eliade’s work;
Some see in Zalmoxis a Christ figure who dies and resurrects; this position was also defended by Jean (Ioan) Coman, a professor of patristics and orthodox priest, who was a friend of Eliade and published in Eliade’s journal “Zalmoxis”, which appeared in the 1930s.
This belief precisely parallels the belief about the universal king Frode given in both Ynglingsaga and Saxo Grammaticus’ Gesta Danorum, however. Particularly, Ynglingsaga 12 and Saxo 5.16.3, in which Frode disappears into the earth for three years after his death.

It is difficult to define the time when a cult to Zalmoxis may have existed. It is just sure that it must be anterior to Herodotus’ work. Some authors believe it is possible that Zalmoxis is Sabazius, the Thracian Dionysus or Zeus. Sabazius appears in Jordanes as Gebelezis. Discarding the suffix -zius/-zis, one has Saba- = Gebele-, suggesting a relationship of the name with Cybele, as “Cybele’s Zeus. the belief in immortality, due to Herodotus affirmation that the Getae “think that they do not really die, but that when they depart this life they go to Zalmoxis”.[6] Orthodox authors, like Jean Coman, considered this to be the proof that the presumed ancestors of the Romanians, the Getae or Daco-Getae, had a proto-Christian belief and that, with the Christianisation of Romania, they very easily could accept the Christian doctrine. This idea even entered in Mircea Păcurariu’s history of the Romanian orthodox Church, work which is considered as an authority by his Church.

The sending of the messenger to Zalmoxis and the fact that the Getae shoot arrows towards the sky made some authors believe Zalmoxis was a uranian, heavenly, god, as where his journey in a cavern made others write he was a chthonic, infernal divinity.

The most coherent and perhaps also original interpretation about Zalmoxis is due to Mircea Eliade who believes that Getae actually had a religion based upon a ritual of passage where a ritual death symbolized by the disappearance in a cavern, was followed by a ritual rebirth which was the leaving of the cavern. Zalmoxis was a constant in Eliade’s life. His most complete work on this behalf is probably From Zalmoxis to Genghis Khan the belief in immortality, due to Herodotus affirmation that the Getae “think that they do not really die, but that when they depart this life they go to Zalmoxis”.[6] Orthodox authors, like Jean Coman, considered this to be the proof that the presumed ancestors of the Romanians, the Getae or Daco-Getae, had a proto-Christian belief and that, with the Christianisation of Romania, they very easily could accept the Christian doctrine. This idea even entered in Mircea Păcurariu’s history of the Romanian orthodox Church, work which is considered as an authority by his Church.

The correct spelling of the name is also uncertain. Manuscripts of Herodotus’ Historiae have all four spellings, viz. Zalmoxis, Salmoxis, Zamolxis, Samolxis, with a majority of manuscripts favouring Salmoxis. Later authors show a preference for Zamolxis. Hesychius quotes Herodotus, using Zalmoxis.

The -m-l- variant is favoured by those wishing to derive the name from a conjectured Thracian word for “earth”, *zamol. Comparisons have also been made with the name of Zemelo & Žemelė, the Phrygian and Lithuanian goddess of the earth, and with the Lithuanian chthonic god Žemeliūkštis. Lithuanian word Želmuo means corn shoot or fresh grass. Žalmokšnis is only another possible form of it.

The -l-m- variant is admitted to be the older form and the correct form by the majority of Thracologists, as this is the form found in the older Herodotus manuscripts and other ancient sources. The -l-m- form is further attested in Daco-Thracian in Zalmodegikos, the name of a Getic King; and in Thracian zalmon, ‘hide’, and zelmis, ‘hide’ (PIE *kel-, ‘to cover’; cf. English helm).

The other name for Zalmoxis, Gebeleizis, is also spelled Belaizis and Belaixis in Herodotus manuscripts.

Since the Getae-Dacian religious system was monotheistic aniconism centered around the God Zalmoxis

Source: Zalmoxis Wikipedia

:::

the goddess of the Taurian Khersonese (of Skythia)

What are the spheres of Thracian heritage along our lands?

“Most popular of all are of course the Thracian treasures, which were hidden before rituals or given as gifts to the departed Thracian rulers and noblemen. Those treasures are most popular of all, because they travel around the Globe in the so-called Thracian exhibition. But why so many Thracian treasures have been found so far? On one hand they are a sign of wealth and power and on the other hand a sign of a sacral purity of those who officiated with them. Gold and silver are such metals, which help people maintain sacral purity. Thracians have left tombs, among which most popular are the one named “Kazanlashka Grobnitsa” and the tomb called “Shvestarska Grobnitsa”- monuments of world cultural heritage in UNESCO. The museums in Bulgaria as well as those abroad are full of relic of this ethnic group. When we walk across the mountains or travel along the valleys we often come across constructions of castles, tombs and sanctuaries. The Thracians have left a strong imprint in the Bulgarian folklore heritage as well as in the heritage of other Balkan nations. That’s why fire-dancing, which is a ritual dance over live-coals has been listed on the world cultural heritage list. Nowadays it glorifies saint Constantine and Helena by rituals, the culmination being the dance over live coal. However, we must acknowledge that this custom is indeed a slightly Christianized type of the tribute, paid by the Thracians to the great Mother Goddess and its child-the Sun God. The fire set by those dancers is the earth projection of the Sun and they go into the fire to honor both gods.

Source: The Thracians, heritage and mystery

:::

Thracian gods

Dionysus – festive God of wine

Dionysus was, in ancient times, a dark and angry god who fertilized the great mother goddess so that the earth could be born. He developed into a more gentle festive god by the 6th century BC. The strange legends of Dionysus’ birth and death and his marriage to Ariadne suggest that Dionysus had roots in the early, pre-Greek, people. Each winter Dionysus died and every spring his rebirth was marked by celebrations and lavish festive orgies. Dionysus was also the god of wine for the Thracians were drinking wine long before the Greeks inherited the practice.

As the Greeks expanded into areas previously occupied by the Thracians, the Thracian god was adopted as the Dionysian cult from which Hellenic tragedy and comedy were developed. Later, when the Romans adopted Hellenic culture the Dionysian festivities and orgies became known as Bacchanalia and Dionysus became known as Bacchus. When Christianity was adopted in Bulgaria the church changed the names of pagan gods and holidays and Dionysus became St. Trifon.

There are some surviving references to remains of Dionysian : In early February Bulgarians celebrate by drinking wine, and in the Rhodopes climb a mountain and then drink. In some regions, and occasionally in Romania, traditional ritual figures use a giant phallus to fertilize the soil.

A silver cone-shaped pitcher suggests that the dead were initiated into the Dionysian cult, since the cone was a symbol of Dionysus.

Hero – the Thracian Horseman

The Thracian Hero, also known as the Thracian Horseman, was an abstract figure. The Hero was a central figure in Thracian religion as protector of life and health of the people. The Thracian Hero was always depicted on a horse, usually slaying an object with a spear. Stone reliefs can be seen in Bulgaria’s museums originating from Thracian times, through the Roman period and into the middle ages. The Christian church succeeded in hiding the Thracian religious altars and Gods, but the culture and rituals still continued. The Thracian Horseman was represented as St. George, on a horse slaying a dragon.

Orpheus – The Poet of Rhodope

Orpheus is the Thracian musician from the Rhodopes whose lyre playing charmed the animals, trees, rivers and rocks to dance. Tradition tells that Orpheus was the son of Calliope, the God of epic poetry, or of Oeagrus a king of Thrace, a Thracian river God, or Apollo. As well as Orpheus, the musical abilities of the Thracian and Dacian tribes were noted in ancient Greek texts, and may be continued in the strong music and dance traditions of Bulgaria, Romania and Macedonia. Orpheus’ music became integrated into ancient Greek culture and so into east Mediterranean culture.

Bendis – Goddess of the moon

Bendis is the Thracian goddess of the moon with power of heaven and earth. She was the mother of the Hero, and can be equated to the Greek goddess Artemis.

Since the chariot is always a symbol of the sun god, many scholars believe that the chariot driver is Apollo – the principle god of the Tribally.

http://www.eliznik.org.uk/Bulgaria/history/thracian-gods.htm

:::

Bactria (Bactriana, Bākhtar in Persian, also Bhalika in Arabic and Indian languages, and Ta-Hsia in Chinese) was the ancient Greek name of the country between the range of the Hindu Kush and the Amu Darya (Oxus); its capital, Bactra or Balhika or Bokhdi (now Balkh), was located in what is now Afghanistan. It is a mountainous region with a moderate climate. Water is abundant and the land is very fertile. Bactria was the home of one of the Iranian tribes. Modern authors have often used the name in a wider sense, as the designation of all the countries of Central Asia.

Bactria was the homeland of Aryan tribes who later moved south-west into Iran, South Afghanistan, North Pakistan and North-Western India around 2500-2000 BC Later it became the north province of the Persian Empire in Central Asia.(Cotterell, 59) It was in these regions, where the fertile soil of the mountainous country is surrounded by the Turanian desert, that the prophet Zarathushtra (Zoroaster) was said to have been born and gained his first adherents. Avestan, the language of the oldest portions of the Zoroastrian Avesta, was once called “old-iranic” which is related to Sanskrit. Today some scholars believe the Avestan-Language was the western dialect of the Sanskrit because both languages are the oldest Indo-Iranian language of Aryans we know. With the time the Avestan-Language became developed by own western style.

Bactria was bounded on the south by the ancient region of Gandhara. The Bactrian language is an Iranian language of the Indo-Iranian sub-family of the Indo-European family.
Bactrian was probably spoken by the local populations of Bactria when Alexander the Great invaded the area around 323 BCE, inaugurating a two-century period of Hellenistic rule by the Seleucid Empire and the then the Greco-Bactrian kingdom.

Greek rule ended around 123 BCE with the invasions of the Yuezhi ( Kushans) from the North, who adopted the Greek alphabet to write the local Bactrian language, a case which is unique among Iranian languages. Before that time, Bactrian was written in the Aramaic alphabet.

Bactrian seems to have been, together with Greek, the official language of the Kushans, descendant of the Yuezhi, and was used in their coins and inscriptions. In 1993, the Bactrian Rabatak inscription was discovered, recording that under the Kushan king Kanishka (c. 120 CE), use of the Greek language was officially discontinued. The territorial expansion of the Kushans helped propagate Bactrian to Northern India and parts of Central Asia, as far as Turfan where Buddhist and Manichean inscriptions in Bactrian can be found.

The phonetic composition remains very hard to know for sure, because not all phonemes can be distincted from written documents. Supposedly, there were 9 vowels (all long and short, except short o), which could be reduced easily due to phonetic processes. The consonant mutations included *d > l, *c > dj, -rs- > -s’- etc. In general, Bactrian phonetics has features both seen in modern Pashto and in Middle Iranian Parthian and Sogdian.

In morphology, Bactrian went rather far from ancient languages than other Iranian tongues. The gender disappeared, only 2 noun cases were preserved (direct and indirect), the ancient inflected forms of the past tense were replaced. The language used a definite article i.

According to Professor Nicholas Sims-Williams of SOAS, University of London, who is the leading expert of the Sogdian and Bactrian languages, gave a lecture on the discovery and decipherment of Bactrian documents, written in the little-known Iranian language of Ancient Afghanistan in modified Greek script, at the Ancient Orient Museum in Ikebukuro, Tokyo, on September 23.

During the first centuries of the Christian era, Bactrian could legitimately have been ranked amongst the world’s most important languages. As the language of the Kushan kings, Bactrian must have been widely known throughout a great empire, in Afghanistan, Northern India and part of Central Asia. Even after the collapse of the Kushan empire, Bactrian continued in use for at least six centuries, as is shown by the ninth-century inscriptions from the Tochi valley in Pakistan…
. and the remnants of Buddhist and Manichean manuscripts found as far away as the Turfan oasis in western China. (This slide, for instance [Slide 212KB], shows the unique fragment of a Bactrian text written in Manichean script, which forms part of the Turfan collection in Berlin.) The career of Bactrian as a language of culture thus lasted for close to a thousand years.

Until forty years ago virtually nothing was known of the Bactrian language except for the legends on the coins of the Kushans and their successors. The Kushan coins are inscribed in Greek letters of an angular type, apparently imitating a style of writing used for monumental inscriptions. In principle these legends are not particularly difficult to read, but their content is limited to the names and titles of kings and deities. The coins of the later rulers of Bactria — Kushano-Sasanians, Kidarites, Hephthalites, Turks, and so on — are written in a cursive script, imitating manuscript styles, which has proved much more difficult to decipher. Some tiny scraps of manuscripts in a similar cursive script were also known, but they were too few and too incomplete to offer any realistic prospect of interpretation…

…the position of Bactrian amongst the Iranian languages. In particular I have chosen forms which show the connection between Bactrian and the languages of the surrounding area: medieval Sogdian and Choresmian; modern Pashto, Yidgha-Munji, and Ishkashmi. The Hindu Kush, which marks the fault line of the Iranian and Eurasian tectonic plates, runs more or less from the east to the west, and many small rivers run down from its slopes to the north, deposeting sediments on the foothills and the plain that runs parallel to the mountain range. Consequently, this is a very fertile area, where farmers produced wheat and barley in very ancient times. Their culture, known as the Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex (BMAC), can be dated to c.2200-1700 and is sometimes associated with the arrival of the Indo-Iranians.

Source: Ancient history of Indo-Europeans: Eastern Iranic People / Bactrians, Saka Scythians and Tocharians

:::

The Saka-Scythian connection — “they were the most manly and law-abiding of the Thracian tribes” — Herodotus

The Scythians migrated from Central Asia toward Eastern Europe. They disappeared from history after the Hunnish invasion of Europe in the 5th century AD, and Turkic (Avar, Batsange, etc.) and Slavic peoples probably assimilated most people speaking Scythian. However, in the Caucasus, a dialect belonging to the Scythian-Sarmatian linguistic continuum remains in use today, namely Ossetic

The most dominant surviving Eastern Iranians ( Saka-Scythians) are represented by the Pashtuns, whose origins are generally believed to be in southern Afghanistan, from which they began to spread until they reached as far west as Herat (Aria) and as far east as the Indus. The Pashtu language shows affinities to Scythians and Bactrians.

However the Scythian language still survived. Pashtu is classified as Scythian language, and we can still trace the remains of Scythians in Europe their language is known as Ossetic or Ossetian. Which is the closest language to Pashtu.

There is a distant relationship between the Iranic Saka and the Germanic people due to the fact that both speak Indo-European languages. Their common forefathers, or better : the people speaking the proto-language which gave rise to Germanic and Iranian probably lived somewhere near the Black Sea. The contact between them must have terminated at an early stage. Most of Europeans and Iranic Saka are from same ancestors.

The early Sakas or Scythians are remembered by Greek (e.g. Herodotus, Megatheses, Pliny, Ptolemy) and Persian historians as tall, large framed and fierce warriors who were unrivalled on the horse. Herodotus from the 5th century BC writes in an eye-witness account of the Scythians: ” They were the most manly and law-abiding of the Thracian tribes. If they could combine under one ruler, they would be the most powerful nation on earth.”

According to their origin myth recorded by Herodotus, the Sakas arose when three things fell from the sky: the I. plough, II. sword and III. cup. The progenitor of the Sakas picked them up and hence the Saka race began its long history of conquering lands, releasing its bounties and enjoying the fruits of their labor (the cup has a ceremonial-spiritual-festive symbolism). A branch of the Sakas known as the Alani reached regions of Europe, Asia Minor and the Middle East. They have been connected to the Goths of France/Spain, Saxons and the Juts of Denmark.

The following sections deal mostly with popular traditions of Saka descent found among numerous Asian and European peoples. The Saka/Scythians are considered by mainstream historians and linguists as being Indo-Europeans who spoke a language in the Northern branch of the Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranian also Aryan family of the Indo-European languages. The two surviving modern languages closest to Scythian are Ossetian in the Caucausus mountains and Pashto in Afghanistan .

Like other Iranians, these nomads probably called themselves by the generic term “Airya.” This is testified inter alia by the native name of their descendants in the present day Europe . It seems, however, that they, or at least some of their powerful clans, also called themselves “SAKA” in the East, and *SKU?A, SKUDA, or SKUDRA [5] in the West. SKUDA is believed to be related to the German word “SACHS”, meaning a type of throwing-dagger which the eponymic Saxons used to carry and shoot with [6]. Indeed, it is possible that like the historical Saxons, the Skuda derived their name from their ability to shoot.

The Northern Iranian Aryan speakers including the Saka/Scythians were slowly overwhelmed by the Mongol-Turkic expansion in Central Asia beginning in the 4th century AD. Despite significant deaths in the invasions and further loss of population as survivors moved to other areas, Saka/Scythians and other ethnic groups formerly speaking the Northern Iranian language groups today form an ethnic substratum of contemporary Central Asian Turkic peoples, including the Kazakhs.

The adherents of the Saka -Scythians theory point out that the burial customs of the Scythians and the Vikings show certain similarities.

Paul Pezon supports this theory, claiming that the Saka Scythians and the seemingly related Cimmerians were ultimately ancestors to the Celts and Germans , and that the Germans fled the Baltic area when it was flooded by the rising sea level after the Ice age. He believes that the German tribe Cimbri have descended from a branch of the Cimmerians.

We know a great deal about their physical appearance. They were long-headed giants with blond hair and blue eyes; this well-known fact is attested by various classical sources [8], and by their skeletal and other remains in numerous archaeological excavations, which give a fairly detailed description of these ancient Iranians ( Iranic People).

According to some traditions, the Saka race, with an affiliated tribe under a different name, migrated to the area of the Baltic Sea, and supposedly gave rise to the Saxon tribe in the area of present day Germany.

Source: Thracian Gods

5 thoughts on “The Thracian-Bulgar legacy to the P-I-E and Hellenistic world

  1. There is no “bulgarian-thracian” culture.
    The bulgars came to Europe in the 6th-8th centuries and assimilated the existing latin speaking population of modern day Bulgaria in the next centuries.
    The Thracians lived from Ukraine to Poland to Greece to Turkey and they were indeed present in Greece and their culture was the bedrock uppon which the later “greek” culture was built.
    Today the bulgarians have around 50% thracian DNA and are basically the same people with the Serbs and Romanians who are also descendants of Thracians (like all people of Southern and Eastern Europe actually) but they have lost their original Latin language.

  2. On appearance and coloring of earliest Europeans: Genetic tests reveal that a hunter-gatherer who lived 7,000 years ago had the unusual combination of dark skin and hair and blue eyes.

    It has surprised scientists, who thought that the early inhabitants of Europe were fair….

    “The dark skin is a very interesting finding, as light skin is nearly universal across Europe today. These results suggest that the light skin seen across Europe today is a development of the last at least 7,000 years.”

    He added: “It will be very interesting to see how general this result is across ancient pre-agricultural Europe once additional genome sequences become available.”

    Early results of research that Prof Reich has been involved with were recently published on the biology preprint website bioRxiv.org and a paper has been submitted to a journal.

    The team found that the early European was most closely genetically related to people in Sweden and Finland.

    But while his eyes were blue, his genes reveal that his hair was black or brown and his skin was dark.

    “This was a result that was unexpected,” said Dr Lalueza-Fox….
    He has looked at the genomes of several hunter-gatherers and early farmers in Europe. This work suggests that present-day Europeans derive from three ancient populations of early inhabitants of the continent.
    Source: Hunter-gatherer European had blue eyes and dark skin
    By Rebecca Morelle
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-25885519

    How Farming Reshaped Our Genomes
    By Michael Balter 2014-01-26 Science http://news.sciencemag.org/archaeology/2014/01/how-farming-reshaped-our-genomes?rss=1
    The rise of farming about 10,000 years ago was one of the most dramatic events in human history. Europe’s farmers came originally from the Middle East and migrated west via Greece and Bulgaria… over the past several years, ever more sophisticated techniques for extracting and sequencing DNA from ancient skeletons have opened the window on to the genetics of ancient hunter-gatherers and farmers alike, allowing researchers to not only trace their movements and interactions but also how the rise of farming changed their biology.

    In June 2012, for example, a team led by geneticist Carles Lalueza-Fox of the University of Barcelona in Spain reported a complete DNA sequence from the mitochondria—the energy plant of living cells—of a hunter-gatherer skeleton discovered in 2006 at the La Braña-Arintero cave site in northwest Spain. The skeleton was one of two found in the cave, accompanied by ornaments made of the teeth of red deer, which this population apparently hunted along with other animals. This southern European genome showed striking similarities with that of a number of other hunter-gatherers in northern and Eastern Europe and suggested that early nomadic hunter-gatherers were a far more cohesive group—both genetically and culturally—than researchers had realized.
    Finally, the La Braña genome provides new evidence, Lalueza-Fox and Willerslev say, for the initial hypothesis that European hunter-gatherers were a widespread, genetically and culturally cohesive population long before farmers arrived, rather than a collection of isolated nomadic bands. Thus the new genome bears significant affinities with that of a 24,000-year-old child found at the Siberian site of Mal’ta, the sequence of which was reported by Willerslev late last year. This suggests, Willerslev says, that there might have been “substantial gene flow between east and west” leading to more homogenous populations than previously suspected.

    Pontus Skoglund, a geneticist at Uppsala University in Sweden, says that this conclusion is supported by his own work on the ancient DNA of Scandinavian hunter-gatherers, who, although from the far north, show genetic affinities not only with the southern La Braña individual but also with the eastern Mal’ta child. “It is quite clear that we are looking at a big genetic watershed” during the transition from hunting and gathering to farming, Skoglund says, in which both genes and biology changed markedly. The farmers from across Europe “look the same” and the hunter-gatherers also “look the same, the opposite of what we would expect from geography alone.” How Farming Reshaped Our Genomes
    By Michael Balter 2014-01-26 Science http://news.sciencemag.org/archaeology/2014/01/how-farming-reshaped

  3. Navarre(Basque country) is the true promised land.Top secret says:

    http://www.jesuswasnotajew.com/page-5-2/

    check out the links in the video’s description and the comments in the video.

  4. Susan says:

    That video is horribly racist & antisemitic; you might not want to link to it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s