Monday, 3 March 2014

Murfatlar Script

For you, my ancestors......

 Preface



     In 1984 , while preparing for the exam on Bulgarian medieval history, I came across a book by Peter Juhasz " Tyurko-balgari i Madzari ." In one of the chapters of the book, the author examine the relationship between Szekely alphabet and Bulgar runiform . Juhasz offered a long list of inscriptions attributed to Medieval Bulgars, among which stood out around 60 inscriptions found in the rock churches near the village of Murfatlar, which was at 10th century AD part of the First Bulgarian Empire. This has been an amazing surprise to me, because from the Bulgar Language which extincted around 14 century survived few words into modern Bulgarian. The only known Medieval Bulgar inscription was written in Greek alphabet , and studies suggested that it was an inventory of weapons. I could not believe that on some caves were incised 60 inscriptions written on a mysterious language of the Bulgars, and nobody had talked about them.
     Later, I found the article on Murfatlar Script where the author V. Beshevliev had been given 40 facsimiles of those mysterious  inscriptions . Beshevliev attempted to systematize newfound script. His conclusion was that mysterious alphabet is certainly a work of the Bulgars, and probably, it can be deciphered. In following years, except the Polish  linguist Edward Tryjarski who claimed reading of a few Runiform inscriptions, no one else attempted to decipher the alphabet of Murfatlar . It seemed that no Bulgarian scientist was interested in the subject.
     Then, in 1991, was published the book "Kamennata kniga na Balgarite " by economist Peter Dobrev. He claimed he deciphered Bulgar Alphabet. In the book, the author suggests readings of some of the short inscriptions, based on Iranian languages. I did read carefully Dobrev's study and  tried to apply his alphabet chart on some of the longer inscriptions . Alas , I did not get anything . This failure led me to conclusion that I do not have enough linguistic knowledge. Impressed by Murfatlar Script and determined to fill the gaps in my linguistic knowledge, I started reading grammars of Turkic and Iranian languages ​​, textbooks on general linguistics, studies on ancient writings , anything that could help me understand the mater. Little by little, my knowledge grew to the point that I could look at the inscriptions of Murfatlar differently . Although I knew I was the same amateur who was not allowed to pic nose into depths of linguistics, all these years I kept looking for signs, charts, close relationships in order to understand the meaning of at least one word.
      But an early spring morning , while reading a strange mixed cyrillic-glagolitic  inscription I realized that I am on  of something big. Literally a few days I was able to figure out the meaning of some of the letters , then words and sentences , after 1000 years old inscriptions became alive again  . After the initial euphoria, I stumbled.  Was this a real decipherment or childish game of uneducated adult. I could not tell. Ramming between despair and confidence, I began reading every article and book written about Murfatlar Runiform Inscriptions . It turned out that they were few and written in different languages. There was always another book and another article . It took me two years but the search is at an end : I had to get a pen and describe it.

London 2012
Nedyalko Ovcharov

Murfatlar Script

     In June 1957 , near the Romanian village Basarabi (former Murfatlar) was discovered Monastic Complex of Murfatlar. The workers of a limestone quarry suddenly  found an entrance of a rock church, which later would be called B1. From 1957 to 1960, romanian archaeologists conducted archaeological survey organized by the Institute of Archaeology in Bucharest presented by Ion Barnea and, the Directorate of architectural monuments presented by Victor and Liana Bilchiuresku . In the course of studies they found several churches and chapels (B1 , B2 , B3, B4, E3 , E5 ) , galleries (H , G ​​1-5), burial chambers (C1 , C2) and cells (E1 , E2 , E4 , E6 ) . Medieval workers in limestone quarry and  monks have left many anthropomorphic, zoomorphic and, geometric drawings on soft limestone walls. But not only that. On walls of the Monastic complex, its inhabitants had engraven Cyrillic, Glagolitic, Greek and runiform inscriptions .
      The object of this study are the Runiform inscriptions which, according to researchers of the rock complex, are over 60. In the first chapter of this survey, I will discuss the majority of publications related to the Murfatlar inscriptions. In the second chapter, I will try to do a frequency analysis of the symbols used in the runiform inscriptions and compare them with scripts that, in one way or another, are related to the Murfatlar Script. The final chapter explores my proposal for deciphering the mysterious Runiform alphabet .


Chapter One
The Research


       After the first report of rock complexes in Murfatlar appeared in 1960 to this day,  have been published numerous articles and monographs in which photos, facsimiles, and drawings of Murfatlar Runiform inscriptions were presented. In some of them, scientists studied the mysterious inscriptions and attempted to decipher them. In this chapter we will try to follow chronologically the majority of works devoted to Murfatlar Script.
       
        The first publication of the newly discovered rock churches of Murfatlar was released in 1959 in the sixth number of the Romanian archeology magazine "Materiale şicercetări arheologice". In the article, Ion Barnea and Virgil Bilchuaresku announced the discovery of the monastic complex. They just mentioned Runiform inscriptions and published drawings of few of them.
     
         The following year, romanian scientist D. Bogdan published an article in which he analyses about 45 runiform inscriptions found in the church B1 and neighboring areas . Conclusion of the author is that the inscriptions can be divided chronologically into three groups: signs of old Turkic runic inscriptions with old Turkic runes and glagolitic and Cyrillic letters and Cyrillic and Glagolitic inscriptions . According to Bogdan , since about 40 Murfatlar signs differ from the Old Turkic letters, then the Murfatlar Script can be attributed to Daco-Getae population which later began to use the Cyrillic and Glagolitic . The value ​​of the article is that it presented facsimiles of over 45 Runiform inscriptions. (Bogdan D. 1960)

        In 1962 Jon Barney wrote the article " Predvaritelynie informacia o kamennah pamyatnikah in Basarabi " which tells the story of the new discoveries in Murfatlar rock complex , B2 -4 churches , galleries and burial chambers . In this publication, Romanian archaeologist presents the sketch drawing of a saint with a Runiform inscription from the church B4 and, facsimiles of 4 well-preserved inscriptions ( Barnea I. 1962 ) . In the same year I. Barnea published an article in the French magazine Cahiers archéologiques. The author briefly describes the monuments discovered until 1960. Here Barnea published facsimiles of 9 and photographs of two runic inscriptions (Barnea I. 1962 ) .
           A year later , I. Barnea released an article : "Reprezentarea labirintului pe monumente le rupestre de la Basarabi (reg. Dobrogea)" in which analyzed a drawing of a maze found at Murfatlar. In one of the illustrations Romanian archaeologist presents a sketch of the drawing of a  "maze", a shield and a Runiform inscription found on the west wall of the church B4 (Barnea I. 1963) .
          In 1964 M. Comsa made a critical examination of the inscriptions published by D. Bogdan (Bogdan D. 1960). Comsa rejected the hypothesis of  D. Bogdan, who had considered as Cyrillic some of runiform inscriptions and even had claimed to have  found a date on one of them. ( Comsa M. 1964) .
          Another article on Monastic Complex of Murfatlar, was published by Romanian scientists P.Dyakonu and N. Petre. They offered facsimiles of some runiform inscriptions already published by I. Barney . Their article treats mostly the question of ethnicity of Murfatlar Runiform inscriptions (Diaconu P. Petre N. 1969) .
          In 1971, was released the third volume of the collection dedicated to the history of Dobrudzha. There, in a separate chapter, Ion Barnea describes the findings of a Monastic Complex of Murfatlar . Moreover the author offers facsimiles of 9 runic inscription already presented in other publications (Barnea I. 1971).
         Veselin Beshevliev was the first Bulgarian scientist to study the Murfatlar Runiform script. In 1976, he analysed 15 of Murfatlar Runiform inscriptions in the article " Etniqeskata prinadlezhnost na runnite nadpisi ot Murfatlar". Out of those 15 inscriptions, he extracted 28 characters, which he believed to constitute the runiform alphabet of Murfatlar. Beshevliev compared those 28 characters with the characters found on stone and ceramics in Northeastern Bulgaria at the time of the First Bulgarian Empire . With that he opposed the claims of the Romanian scientists that Murfatlar Monastic complex is the work of Daco-Getae population. Also Beshevliev matched the shape of the Murfatlar signs with Germanic runes, signs of Orhon-Yenisei alphabet, Szekely rovas, signs of Don-Kuban inscriptions and signs of Sarkel. Bulgarian scientists established that while the signs of Murfatlar had similarity with 15 Orhon-Yenisei letters, 15 Szekely rovas, 14 characters from Novocherkassk, 12 of Karakent, 6 Mayakskoе gоrоdishte, 4 signs of Nagy Szent Miklos, 3 from Humara,  it had similarities with  6 main characters and three variants of Futhark runes. The conclusion of Beshevliev was that, greater similarity of  Murfatlar signs with Eurasian runiform scripts compared to German Futhark proved the origin and ethnicity of Murfatlar Script. He also notes the similarity of 4 murfatlar signs with Cyrillic alphabet. As far as the origin of these letters was not completely clear , Beshevliev suggested that they might originated from runiform alphabet . Thus the article of Bulgarian scientist convincingly demonstrated Bulgar origin of runiform inscriptions from Murfatlar and presents for the first time in a Bulgarian magazine 15 of them ( Beshevliev C. 1976). In his next article on Murfatlar Script Beshevliev repeated results of previous article and expanded the base of his analysis up to 24 inscriptions and thus defined 63 separate runiform characters. He also compared the runes with several spelling variations due to different handwriting, and some frequent letters combinations. Beshevliev attention of two frequently occurring characters, one of which, he thought had depicted some important religious concept (BeshevlievV. 1976) .
         Romanian scientist A. Stanchulesku had made the first attempt to decipher the Murfatlar Script. He found that the murfatlar inscriptions were written at 4 stages :  Gothic , Gothic-Old German , Old German and Bulgar. According to Stanchulesku, Dako-Getae who had lived near Murfatlar around the 4th century used an ancient script and incised on the walls of the monastery Gothic texts . Same letter with minor changes has been used during following centuries to write Old German texts. So using different languages ​​Stanchulesku managed to decipher several of Murfatlar runiform inscriptions (Stanciulescu A. 1977 , Stanciulescu A. 1986).
         Next, the Polish linguist E. Tryjarski tried his luck to decipher the Murfatlar script. In a series of publications Tryjarski attempted to decipher not only several inscriptions of the churches of Murfatlar but also the inscription on the Rosette from Pliska . He managed to decipher the names of saints, church officials and, even a  Greek text. He believes that the Script of Murfatlar was based on Asian runiform script and, created by Greek monks in order to spread Christianity. That's why he believed that the inscriptions were written from right to left (Tryjarski E. 1980 , Tryjarski E. , 1981).
      In 1985 was published the book "Runen tamgas und Graffiti aus Asien und Osteuropas" in which two of the articles are devoted to Runes of Murfatlar . In the first article, E. Triarski attempted to read 10 of Murfatlar inscriptions and the inscription of the rosette from Pliska. Here the Polish linguist continues and develops ideas from previous attempts to decipher mysterious script  (TryjarskiE. 1985). In the second article , H. Hausig based on readings of Tryjarski was looking for cultural and economic prerequisites for the emergence of the Murfatlar Script . According to him Steppe Runiform alphabets are the work of missionaries - commercial or diplomatic and, have been brought into Europe, most likely due to the migration of the Huns and Avars . According Hausig in Bulgaria and Khazaria Christian missionaries created the Runiform Scripts based on the alphabet of Armaz (Haussig H. 1985).
      After two years, Bulgarian scientist K. Popkonstantinov wrote an article about the Rock Monastery of Murfatlar examining the ethnicity of the complex and its dating. He found that some of the characters in the Runiform inscriptions were similar to several Cyrillic letters. Also Popkonstantinov refuted the thesis of D. Bogdan that the inscription marked as #24 (by Beshevliev ) was Cyrillic and contained date. He proved that the inscription in question was runiform (Popkonstantinov K. 1987).
          With the proposal for reading the Runiform inscriptions ot Murfatlar came out K. Daniel. He used for that purpose, a few of the short Murfatlar inscriptions . In one of them, Daniel had seen the name of Jesus Christ, and in another "theos akove" ( God hears ). Because of errors in writing (eg "austo" August ) the author believes that the Runiform inscriptions were written by uneducated Bulgarian and Romanian monks Greek. inscription (Daniel C. 1987 , Daniel C. 1989).
          In 1989,  Russian scientist Sjuleiman Baitchorov published his book , "Drevnetyurkskie runicheskie pamyatniki Evropy". Baychorov examines some of the Runiform inscriptions from Murfatlar . In his statement, the author mainly follows the already described features of the monuments by V. Beshevliev . Furthermore, Baychorov gave readings of some of the inscriptions ( Baychorov S. 1989).
         Next the teacher from Dobrich, P. Ivanov worked on the Murfatlar inscriptions. He wrote several articles devoted at deciphering of the Murfatlar script. He had believed that the signs of Murfatlar were similar in shape with Orhon-Enisey characters, slightly changed over the time because the use of shorthand . To decipher the inscriptions, Ivanov used Chuvash vocabulary. In course of his search, he found  also two Syrian religious terms: "selase" ( Trinity ) and "salab" ( cross). ( Ivanov P. 1990 , 1999a, 1999b, 1999c, 2001,2002 ).
          Another decipherment of the Murfatlar Script came from professor of Economic history Petar Dobrev. Dobrev approached the problem by following the ideas of the Russian scientist Turchaninov who claimed that the runiform inscriptions from Eastern Europe were written in the language of the ancient Alani . To decipher the Script from Murfatlar the author of "Kamennata kniga na prabylgarite" uses vocabulary of several Iranian Languages. Dobrev believed that the Murfatlar runiform was written from left to right (Dobrev P. 1992).
          The following year, K. Popkonstantinov published a review article on Runiform scripts of Medieval Bulgaria. The author examined in detail the inscriptions on the vessels of the treasure of Nagy Szent Miklos, Pliska, Preslav, Byala, Shudikovo, Murfatlar , Krepcha and Ravna. Popkonstantinov had believed that the Runiform scripts of Medieval Bulgaria were similar to Orhon-Yenisey runiform and, yet influenced by local Balkan writing traditions. The article is priceless with the precise sketches of some of the most famous Murfatlar Runiform inscriptions ( Popkonstantinov K. 1993).
          In 1994 Russian linguist I. Kyzlasov released  monograph on the Runiform alphabets of the Eurasian steppes. Kyzlasov separates two groups runiform alphabets : the Eurasian and Asian . According to him Eurasian group of scripts contained Don , Kuban , Talas , Achiktash and South Yenisey scripts. Kyzlasov briefly discusses scripts found on the former territory of the First Bulgarian Empire . For murfatlarskite signs he is adamant : although there are forms like Eurasian runes letter full of Greek, Cyrillic and distinctive character and should not be assigned to any runic be called such ( Kыzlasov I. 1994).
     The following year, E. Triarski published an article which examines attempts to decipher a number of Euro- Asian runic monuments proposed by Sjuleiman Baitchorov . Moreover, the Polish linguist an overview of the achievements in the area of ​​steppe runopodobni scripts to date (1992). Triarski affects topic Murfatlarskite runes criticizing attempts to read made ​​in Bulgaria (TryjarskiE. 1995).
     In 1995, Bulgarian scholar P. Georgiev maked a proposal to decipher Murfatlar script. He worked on text of rosette from Pliska and two inscriptions from Murfatlar. According to Georgiev, code to decipher unknown script was the Rosette from Pliska. He believed that, the outer circle of Rosette depicted the Seven seals with which Jesus had had stamped his letter to King Abgar and internal circle - signs of the seven planets ( P. Georgiev 1995). Thus the values ​​of the characters revealed with the help of the Rosette allowed Bulgarian scientists to decipher the four sign inscription above a picture of a saint from Church B4 ( P. Georgiev 1996). Using same patterns, later Georgiev deciphered inscription № 20 (according to Beshevliev)  ( GeorgievP. 2005) .
         Sv. Venelinova released  an article comparing Murfatlar Script with signs of Nagy Saint Miklos. She seek paleographic similarities between two writing systems. Venelinova established that from 18-19 compared to 11 characters are similar graphically . Venelinova influences of Cyrillic characters on murfatlarskite and most close over St. Mikloshkite runes graded writing systems in Europe and Asia ( Venelinova St. 2003)
          In 2003 K. Popkonstantinov seen two inscriptions from Murfatlar and equal. According to him, the monuments of Murfatlar from the beginning of the 10th century and some of the last quarter of the 10th century. Popkonstantinov admitted that runic letter from the monastery at Murfatlar is cryptography . Bulgarian scientists relied on the fact that the characters are partly murfatlarskite runic part Cyrillic and Greek letters ( Popkonstantinov K. 2003) .
          A. Granberg published an article related to the Runiform inscriptions of Murfatlar. In it the author compares graphically runic alphabet of the Balkans with a number of scripts from Asia and Europe. According to Granberg, there was a Balkan Runiform alphabet consisting of 25-26 letters. Some of letters of this alphabet either had had local variants or varied over time. The direction of writing was from right to left. Also the Runiform alphabet influenced some of the Cyrillic letters (Granberg A. 2005).
            In a series of articles, Ivan Ivanov tries to decipher a number of runic inscriptions from Murfatlar . In trying Ivanov follows P. Dobrev theory that ancient Bulgarians had spoken a language from Iranian linguistic family. Some of his readings are original, others follow in one way or another reading of P. Dobrev ( Ivan Ivanov 2005-2012 ) .
        In 2007 St. Venelinova consider general and specific features of the runic alphabet in the Danube Bulgaria and Don - Kuban region. Venelinova establishes that, despite some common letter-forms, runic monuments in the two regions differ due to the independent way in which the two cultures evolve and certain ethnic and political changes led to the self-development of the Danube and the Don-Kuban runiform scripts ( Venelinova St. 2007) .
         In 2011 Z. Voinikov published a study of Runiform script of the Ancient Bulgarians. He attempted to decipher tens of runic inscriptions from the Cave monastery of Murfatlar. Voynikov believed that the language of the ancient Bulgarians was akin to the language of the medieval Alans . In reading the inscriptions he follows the framework set by Dobrev, searching for more appropriate solutions to translate the Murfatlar inscriptions in the vocabulary of the descendants of the Alans - modern Ossetians . ( Voynikov G. 2011)
          After 2005. there were published in websites dozens of photos of Murfatlar Runiform inscriptions . First, in 2005 the Romanian group of alternate history "Patzinakia" created a site for the Monastic complex of Murfatlar . Along with many materials describing the complex, they published several photos of the Murfatlar Runiform inscriptions . The authors of the site showed part of the interior of the churches of Murfatlar and,
 gave details of runiform inscriptions known from previous publications or, shown for the first time (www.patsinakia.com). Then in 2011, the Romanian architect M. Opreanu launched a blog promoting a  project for protective device over the churches of Murfatlar. The site published a number of photos of runic inscriptions, some of them unpublished before. (www.ansamblubasarabi.co.uk). Finally, in 2012, had created the website of the Romanian National Museum of History and Archaeology created a website in which they released photos of the interior of churches  B1, B2, B3, B4. Among them some pictures of Runiform inscriptions found their place (www.biserici-rupestre-basarabi.ro).
          The following table compare the sound values ​​of the most commonly used Murfatlar runes proposed by: 1 - Al. Stanchulesku 2 - Ed . Triyarski 3 - P. Dobrev, G. Voynikov and Ivan Ivanov, 4 - and 5 P. Georgiev - P. Ivanov.




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      Diaconu P. Petre N. 1969 , Quelques observations sur le complexe archéologique de Murfatlar (Basarabi), Dacia, Bucureşti, 13 , 443-456 ;
      Georgoiev P. 1995 The Bronze Rozette from Pliska (on decoding the runic inscriptions in Bulgaria). - ΣΤΕΦΑΝΟΣ. Studia byzantina ac slavica Vl. Vavrínek (= Byzantinoslavica, LVI), 1995 , 547-555 ;
      Georgoiev P. 2004 , L `ecriture runiforme de Murfatlar. Une expérience de lire et commenter. - In: Prinos lui Petre Diaconu la 80 de ani. Braila, 2004 , 425-436 ;
      Granberg A. 2005 , On Deciphering Medieval Runic Scripts From the Balkans- cultural texts of the past: media , symbols and ideas , III, Sofia, 128-139 ;
      Haussig H. 1985 , Der historische Hintergrund der Runenfunde in Osteuropa und Zentralasien, - Runen tamgas und Graffiti aus Asien und Osteuropas. Wiesbaden,
      Parzymies A. 1991 , Une autre lecture de l'inscription de Pliska, JA CCLXXIX, 3-4, 227-232.
      Popkonstantinov K. 1986 , Die Inschriften des Felsklosters Murfatlar. - Die Slawischen Sprachen, 10 , 77-106 ;
      Popkonstantinov K. 1987 , "Les inscriptions du monastère rupestre près du village Murfatlar (Basarab). Etat, théories et faits", Dobrudža. Etudes ethno-culturelles, Sofia, 1987 , pp. 115-145 ;
      Popkonstantinov K. Kronsetiner O. 1994 , Altbulgarische Inschriften. I. (Die Slawischen Sprachen, 36 . Salzburg-Wien;
      Stanciulescu Al. 1977 , Contributii la descifrarea inscriptiilor de la Murfatlar (Basarabi), BOR, 95 , 9-12 , 1024-1034 ;
      Stanciulescu Al. 1986 , One hypothesis the decipherment of the inscriptions from Murfatlar (Basarabi), Balkan Studies, 27 , 1986 , 2, 238-251 ;
      Tryjarski E. 1980 , Nieznany alphabet, Problemy 3 ( 408) , 2-9 ;
      Tryjarski E. 1981 , Etat actuel des recherches sur l'alphabet de Murfatlar et de Pliska; JA CCLXIX, 361-372;
      Tryjarski E. 1985 , Die runenartigen schriften sudosteuropas. - Runen tamgas und Graffiti aus Asien und Osteuropas. Wiesbaden, 1-9;
      Tryjarski E. b 1985 , Alte und neue Probleme der runenartigen Inschriften europas. Ein Versuch der Entzifferung der texte aus Murfatlar und Pliska. - Runen tamgas und Graffiti aus Asien und Osteuropas. Wiesbaden, 53-80;
      Tryjarski E. 1995 , Has a key been found to decifer the eurasian scripts of the runic type? Laut-und Wortgeschichte der Türksprachen: Beiträge des Internationalen Symposiums Berlin, 7 . Bis 10 . Juli 1992 . Wiesbaden;

Chapter Two
Inscriptions




Inscription M 1

      Inscription M1 contains eight rows. It is incised on a wall in church B4 . It consists of 33 characters. Photo of this inscription is published by Popkonstantinov (Popkonstantinov K. Kronsetiner O. 1994). Attempts to read is done by Dobrev ( Dobrev P. 1992).






Inscription M2

     Inscription M2 is incised on the northern pillar of the Church B4 and consists of 30 characters . First facsimile of the inscription was published by Barnea ( Barnea, I. 1962 ) . Beshevliev presents the inscription under number 17 (Beshevliev, V. 1977) . The facsimile of Popkonstantinov differs from that of Beshevliev 
( Popkonstantinov K. 1993). Photo of the inscription was published by K. Popkonstantinov (Popkonstan- tinov K. 1987).  Triarski reads the inscription as : Elizaremnos Eepponynmos ( second row). Attempts to read were also made by Dobrev and Voinikov .







Inscription M3

      Inscription M3 was incised into a church wall of B4 and consists of 21 characters. First facsimile of the inscription was published by Barnea ( Barnea, I. 1962 ) . Beshevliev lists the inscription under number 23 (Beshevliev, V. 1977) . Popkonstantinov comments the inscription and adds changes in Beshevliev's facsimile ( Popkonstantinov K. 1993). Photos of the inscription was published by K. Popkonstantinov (Popkonstantinov K. 1987) and www.patzinakia. com. Triarski reads the inscription as : Ohathon ( first row ), Garithoni ( second row ), Xagathonid ( third row ).  Dobrev and Voinikov also tried to read it.





Inscription M4


      Inscription M4 was engraved on the south wall of the church B4. It consists of 19 characters . First facsimile of the inscription was published by Barnea (Barnea I. 1963). Beshevliev lists the inscription under number 16 (Beshevliev, V. 1977) . Popkonstantinov comments the inscription and adds changes in Beshe- vliev's facsimile ( Popkonstantinov K. 1993). Photos of the inscription was published by K. Popkonstantinov (Popkonstantinov K. 1987) and www.patzinakia. com. Triarski reads the inscription as : Ogeppops (Ageppops, Oreppops) Dunari ingumnos ( only the first row). Attempts to read also were made ​​by Dobrev and Voinikov.




Inscription  M 5


     Inscription M5 is incised over the entrance to the nave of the church B1 and consists of 17 characters. First facsimile of the inscription was published by Barnea ( Barnea, I. 1962 ) . At Beshevliev inscription is under number 21 (Beshevliev, V. 1977) . Popkonstantinov comments the inscription and adds changes in Beshevliev's facsimile ( Popkonstantinov K. . Attempts ​​to read were made by Dobrev and Voinikov.







Inscription M6


      Inscription M1 contains three lines. It is located in Monastic Complex of Murfatlar . It consists of 17 characters . Photo of the inscription was published by Popkonstantinov (Popkonstantinov K. Kronsetiner O. 1994).






Inscription  M 7


      Inscription M7 inscription is engraved on the north wall of the nave of the church B4 and consists of 17 characters. First facsimile of the inscription was published by Barnea ( Barnea, I. 1962 ) . At Beshevliev inscription is number 19 (Beshevliev, V. 1977) . Popkonstantinov comments the inscription and adds changes in Beshevliev's facsimile ( Popkonstantinov K. 1993). Photo of the inscription was published by K. Popkonstantinov (Popkonstantinov K. 1987). Triarski reads the inscription as : Iohanos Geposkopis Ephezos . Attempts to read were made ​​by Dobrev and Voinikov.






Inscription M8

     M8 is a two-line inscription. It is incized on the walls of Cave Monastery of Murfatlar . It consists of 13 characters . Photo of the inscription was published in www.patzinakia. com.





Inscription 9 M


      Inscription M9 was engraved on the south wall of the church B1 and consists of 12 characters . First facsimile of the inscription was published by Barnea ( Barnea, I. 1962 ) . At Beshevliev inscription is under number 22 (Beshevliev, V. 1977) . Popkonstantinov suggests that it is very possible that inscription above it bares the same information in Old Bulgarian. ( Popkonstantinov K. 1993). Triarski read the inscription as : Xiponymos Lokike (Gotike). Attempts ​​to read the inscription were made by Dobrev and Voinikov .




  Inscription M 10


      Inscription M10 was engraved on the north wall of the nave of the church B4 and consists of 11 characters. First facsimile of the inscription was published by Bogdan (Bogdan D. 1960).  A Picture of the inscription was published by Triyarski (Tryjarski E. 1985 b). At Beshevliev inscription is listed under number 14 (Beshevliev, V. 1977) .






Inscription M 11


     Inscription M11 was engraved on the north wall of the nave of the church B4 and consists of 11 characters. First facsimile of the inscription was published by Barnea ( Barnea, I. 1962 ) . At Beshevliev inscription is listed under number 20 (Beshevliev, V. 1977) . Popkonstantinov comments the inscription and adds changes in Beshevliev's facsimile ( Popkonstantinov K. 1993). A photo of the iscription was published by K. Popkonstantinov (Popkonstantinov K. 1987). Triarski reads the inscription as : George Areopagath. Attempts ​​to read were also made by Dobrev and Voinikov .





Inscription M 12


     Inscription M12 was incised on the right side of the church B1 entrance. It contains of 11 characters. First facsimile of the inscription was published by Bogdan (Bogdan D. 1960). He thought it was Cyrillic. Her hypothesis was criticized by Comsa (Comsa M. 1964) , Galabov ( Galabov Eve 1975) and Popkonstantinov ( Popkonstantinov K. 1983 , Popkonstantinov K. 1987). They all undoubtedly classified the inscription as runiform. At Beshevliev it is listed under number 24 (Beshevliev, V. 1977) . Attempts ​​to read were made by  P. Ivanov and Voinikov.







Inscription M13


      M13 is a one-line inscription. It is located in the Rock Churches of Murfatlar . It consists of 10 characters. Photo caption is published by Popkonstantinov (Popkonstantinov K. Kronsetiner O. 1994). Attempts ​​to read were made by Dobrev and Voinikov.






Inscription M 14


     Inscription M14 is located at the Rock Churches of Murfatlar and consists of 10 characters. Drawing of the inscription was published in www.patzinakia.com. Its exact location was not specified.





Inscription M 15


 Inscription M15 was engraved on the wall left of the entrance to the altar of the church B3 and consists of 9 characters. Photo of the inscription was published by Barnea (Barnea I.1981). Attempts are made ​​to read Tryjarsky, Dobrev and Voinikov.








Inscription M 16


     Inscription M16 is incised on a wall in church B3 and consists of 9 characters. Photo of the inscription was published by Tryjarski (Tryjarski E. 1981) and www.patzinakia.com. Voinikov made an attempt ​​at deciphering it.








Inscription M 17


     Inscription M17 was incised on column in Church B4. It consists of 9 characters. Photo of the inscription was published at www.patzinakia.com and www.ansamblubasarabi.co.uk.






Inscription  M18

     Inscription M18 was engraved on the wall of the burial chamber C1. It consists of 9 characters . Facsimile of the inscription was published by Bogdan (Bogdan D. 1960).








Inscription M19


     Inscription M19 was incised on column in Church B4. It consists of 7 characters. Photo of the inscription was published by Tryjarski (Tryjarski E. 1981) and also at www.patzinakia.com and www.ansamblubasa-rabi.co.uk.






Inscription M20

      Inscription M20 inscription was incised on a fragment from the chapel E3. It consists of 7 characters. First facsimile of the inscription was published by Bogdan (Bogdan D. 1960). At Beshevliev it is listed under number 10 (Beshevliev, V. 1977) . Photo of the inscription was published by Tryjarski (Tryjarski E. 1981) . Voinikov and Dobrev made attempts ​​at deciphering it.






Inscription M21


     Inscription M21 was engraved on the wall left of the entrance to the altar of the church B3. It consists of 7 characters. Photo of the inscription was published by Barnea (Barnea I.1981).







Inscription M22


      Inscription M22 was engraved on a wall of the church B1. It consists of 7 characters. First facsimile of the inscription was published by Barney ( Barney, J. 1962 ) and Bogdan (Bogdan D. 1960). At Beshevliev inscription number 12 (Beshevliev, V. 1977) .








Inscription M23

       Inscription M23 is engraved on a wall in a burial chamber C1 and consists of 7 characters. First facsimile of the inscription was published by Barnea (Barnea I. 1962 ) and Bogdan (Bogdan D. 1960). At Beshevliev inscription is number 7 (Beshevliev, V. 1977) . Voinikov  made attempts ​​at deciphering it. .






Caption M24


      Inscription M24 was engraved on the wall left of the entrance to the altar of the church B3. It consists of 7 characters. Photo of the inscription was published by Barney (Barnea I.1981) and also at www.patzina- kia.com.





Inscription M25


     Inscription M25 was engraved on the wall of the church B1 and consists of 6 characters. First facsimile of the inscription was published by Barnea ( Barnea, I. 1962 , Barnea I. Ştefănescu S. 1971) . At Beshevliev inscription is under number 8 (Beshevliev, V. 1977) . A photo of the inscription was published at www.pa- tzinakia.com. Voinikov and Dobrev made attempts ​​at deciphering it.





Inscription M26

     Inscription M26 was engraved on a wall of chapel E3. It consists of 6 characters located in a large area, perhaps part of  multiple incisions. Facsimile of the inscription was published by Bogdan (Bogdan D. 1960).








Inscription M 27


     Inscription M27 was incised on a wall in a burial chamber C1. It consists of five characters. First facsimile of the inscription was published by Barnea (Barnea I. 1962 ) and Bogdan (Bogdan D. 1960). At Beshevliev inscription is under number 13 (Beshevliev, V. 1977) . Voinikov and Dobrev made attempts ​​at deciphering it.





Inscription M28

     Inscription M28 is incised in Church B4. It consists of 5 characters. Faksimile of the inscription was published by K. Daniel (Daniel C. 1989).





Inscription M29


      Inscription M29 was engraved on the walls of galleries and consists of 5 characters. First facsimile of the inscription was published by Barnea (Barnea I. 1962 ) . At Beshevliev inscription is under number 6 (Beshevliev, V. 1977) .  A photo of the inscription was published at www.patzinakia.com.







Inscription M30


     Inscription M30 was engraved on a wall of galleries. It consists of 5 characters. First facsimiles of the inscription were published by Barney (Barnea I. 1962 ) and Bogdan (Bogdan D. 1960). At Beshevliev inscription is under number 9 (Beshevliev, V. 1977) . A photo was  published at www.patzinakia.com.






Inscription M31

      Inscription M31 is a two-line inscription and was incised on the fragment represented the bottom of the cross in the church B1. It consists of five characters. Facsimile of the inscription was published by Bogdan (Bogdan D. 1960).



Inscription M 32
     Inscription M32 was incised on a column in Church B4, under a picture of a falcon and consists of five characters. Photo of the inscription was published in www.ansamblubasarabi.co.uk.







Inscription M 33
     Inscription M33 is located at the Rock Churches of Murfatlar and consists of 5 characters. Drawing of the inscription was published in www.patzinakia.com. Its exact location was not specified .







Inscription M34
     inscription M34 was incised on a column in Church B4. It consists of 5 characters. Photo was published by Tryjarski (Tryjarski E. 1981) , at www.patzinakia.com and, www.ansamblubasarabi.co.uk.






 Inscription M35


     Inscription M35 was incised over the head of a saint on the south wall of the church B4. It consists of 4 characters . First facsimile of the inscription was published by Barnea ( Barnea, I. 1962 ) . Beshevliev published the inscription under number 5 (Beshevliev, V. 1977) .  K. Popkonstantinov commented the  inscription. According to him, the characteristics of the clothing of the saint suggest that this was John the Baptist and most likely this is the content of the inscription ( Popkonstantinov K. 1993). Photo was published by K. Popkonstantinov (Popkonstantinov K. 1987). Tryjarski red the inscription as : Phohan. According to P. Georgiev, the inscription reads: Enoch . Dobrev and Voinikov also attempted to read it.

 




Inscription M36
      Inscription M36 was engraved above a figure of a saint on a wall in the chapel E5. It consists of 4 signs. A facsimile and a photo were published by Barnea (Barnea I. Bilciurescu V. 1959 , Barnea I. 1962 ) and a facsimile by Bogdan (Bogdan D. 1960). At Beshevliev the inscription is under number 4 (Beshevliev, V. 1977) . Dobrev and Voynikov attempted ​​to read the inscription.







Inscription M37
     Inscription M37 was incised over the head of a saint on a wall in the chapel E3. It consists of 4 characters. A photo was published  by Barnea (Barnea I. Bilciurescu V. 1959 , Barnea I. 1962 ) and a facsimile by Bogdan (Bogdan D. 1960). At Beshevliev the inscription is under number 11 and differs from the facsimile of Bogdan (Beshevliev, V. 1977) . Attempts at deciphering were made ​by Dobrev and Voynikov .









Inscription M38

Inscription M38 was engraved on the north wall of the pronaos of church B1. It consists of 4 characters. Facsimile of the inscription was published by Bogdan (Bogdan D. 1960). Attempts at deciphering were made by Dobrev and Voynikov .







Inscription M39
      Inscription was incised on a column in the Church B4, over human figure holding a falcon. It consists of 4 characters . A photo of the inscription was published in www.ansamblubasarabi.co.uk.








Inscription M40
      Inscription M40 was incised on a column in Church B4. It consists of 5 characters. Photo of inscription was published by Tryjarski (Tryjarski E. 1981) and www.patzinakia.com and www.ansamblu- basarabi.co.uk. A facsimile of the inscription was published by K. Daniel (Daniel C. 1989).




Inscription M41
     Inscription M41 is incised inscription in church B3 and consists of 4 characters. A photo of the inscription was published in www.patzinakia.com.











  Inscription M42
Inscription  M42 is located at the rock churches Murfatlar and consists of 4 characters. Drawing of the inscription was published in www.patzinakia.com. Its exact location was not specified.








Inscription M 43
     Inscription M43 is located at the Rock churches of  Murfatlar. It consisted probably of 3 lines but only few signs are recognisable. A photo of the inscription was published in www.patzinakia.com and www.ansamblubasarabi.co.uk. Its exact location was not specified.







Inscription M44

    Inscription M44 was incised in the burial chamber C1 . It consists of about 10 characters of which 4 are clear . Facsimile of the inscription was published by Bogdan (Bogdan D. 1960).










Inscription M45
      Inscription M45 is located at the Rock churches of Murfatlar. Recognisable are just 4 different characters. A photo of the inscription was published in www.patzinakia.com and www.ansamblubasarabi.co.uk. Its exact location is not specified.

 

 

Inscription M 46




        Inscription M46 is located in the Rock churches of Murfatlar. It consists of few rows, but visible are only 4 characters. A photo of the inscription was published in www.patzinakia.com and www.ansamblubasarabi.co.uk. Its exact location was not specified.

Inscription M47



     Inscription M47 was engraved on a column in the Church B4 . It consists of few characters woven around a cross. The recognisable signs are 4 . A photo of the inscription was published at  www.ansam- blubasarabi.co.uk.




   

Inscription M 47b


     Inscription M37b was incised on a wall at church B4. It contains 4 characters. Four of them are Greek or Cyrillic letters. Drawing  of the inscription was published by C. Daniel ( Daniel C. 1989)

.

Inscription M48
      Inscription M48 is located in the monastery of Murfatlar and consists of 3 characters. First facsimile of the inscription was published by Barney (Barnea I. 1962). At Beshevliev the inscription is under No. 1 (Beshevliev, V. 1977). Triarski read the inscription as: Xristos.


Inscription M 49
     Inscription M49 was incised over the entrance of the church B1 and consists of 3 characters. A facsimile of the inscription was published by Barnea (Barnea I. 1962 ) , Bogdan (Bogdan D. 1960) and Comsa (Комша  M. 1964) . At Beshevliev inscription is under number 2 (Beshevliev, V. 1977) . Popkonstantinov commented inscription ( Popkonstantinov K. 1993). Tryjarski red the inscription as:    Attempts at deciphering were made ​​by Dobrev and Voynikov. 




Inscription M 50
      Inscription M50 was engraved on a wall in the chapel E3 and consists of 3 characters. Facsimile of the inscription was published by Bogdan (Bogdan D. 1960). At Beshevliev inscription is under number 3 (Beshevliev, V. 1977) . Attempts to read were made ​by Dobrev and Voynikov .





Inscription M51

     Inscription M51 inscription was engraved on a wall in the burial chamber C1 and consists of 3 characters . Facsimile of the inscription was published by Bogdan (Bogdan D. 1960).




Inscription M52

Inscription M52 was engraved on a wall of the church B1 and consists of 8 characters of which 3 are recognizable. A facsimile of the inscription was published by Bogdan (Bogdan D. 1960).





Inscription M 53

      Inscription M53 was engraved on the wall left of the entrance to the altar of the church B3 and consists of 3 characters. A photo of the inscription was published by Barnea (Barnea I.1981) and at www.patzina- kia.com.





Inscription M 54   

     Inscription M54 was incised on a column in church B4 and consists of 3 characters . A photo of the inscription was published at www.ansamblubasarabi.co.uk.



Inscription M 55

     Inscription  M55 was located at the Rock churches of Murfatlar and consists of 3 characters. A drawing of the inscription was published at www.patzinakia.com. Its exact location was not specified .





Inscription M 56  

      Inscription M 56 was incised on a column in church B4  and consists of several characters of which 3 are recognizable . A photo of the inscription was published by Tryjarski (Tryjarski E. 1981), at www.patzinakia.com and, at www.ansamblubasarabi.co.uk.


Inscription M57    

     Inscription M57 was incised on a wall at the church B3 and consists of 3 characters. A photo of the inscription was published at www.ansamblubasarabi.co.uk.



Inscription M 58

     Inscription M58 is located in the Rock churches of Murfatlar and consists of 3 characters. A drawing of the inscription was published at www.patzinakia.com. Its exact location was not specified .



Inscription M 59



      Inscription M59 was located in the Rock churches of Murfatlar and consists of 3 characters. A drawing of the inscription was published at www.patzinakia.com. Its exact location was not specified .



Inscription M 60


      Inscription M60 was engraved on the north wall of the pronaos of the church B1 and consists of 2 characters. Facsimile of the inscription was published by Bogdan (Bogdan D. 1960).



Inscription M 61 

      Inscription M61 is located at the Rock churches of Murfatlar and consists of 2 characters. Although partially preserved , the left character from left  is definitely recognizable. A drawing of the inscription was published at www.patzinakia.com. Its exact location was not specified .






Inscription M 62

      Inscription M62 is located at the Rock churches of Murfatlar and consists of 2 characters woven into the drawing. Drawing of the inscription was published at www.patzinakia.com. Its exact location was not specified .






Inscription M 63

      Inscription M63 was located at the Rock churches of Murfatlar and consists of 2 characters. A photo of the inscription was published at www.patzinakia.com. Its exact location was not specified .







Inscription M 64  

      Inscription M64 was located at the rock churches of Murfatlar and consists of 2 characters. A drawings of the inscription was published at www.patzinakia.com. Its exact location was not specified .





Inscription M 65



      Inscription M65 was located at the Rock churches of Murfatlar and consists of several characters of which two are recognizable . A drawing of the inscription was published at www.patzinakia.com. Its exact location was not specified.









Inscription M 66



     Inscription M66 was engraved on a column in the church B4 under a  figure of a falcon. It consists of 2 characters . A photo of the inscription was published at www.ansamblubasarabi.co.uk.


Inscription M 67


    Inscription M67 was incised on a column in church B4 close to a human figure holding a falcon. It  consists of two characters. A picture of the inscription was published at www.ansamblubasarabi.co.uk.










Inscription M 68

     Inscription M68 was engraved on a wall of the burial chamber C1 and consists of 2 characters. Facsimile of the inscription was published by Bogdan (Bogdan D. 1960).




Inscription M 69

      Inscription M69 was engraved on a wall of the burial chamber C1 and consists of several characters 2 of which are recognisable . Facsimile of the inscription wos published by Bogdan (Bogdan D. 1960).




Inscription M70

Inscription M70 was incised at church B4. It consists of several characters of which 2 are recognisable . A photo of the Insciption was published at  www.patzinakia.com.




Sign M 71

     Sign M71 was incised on a wall of church B4 above schematic human figure , possibly containing another sign . Photo of the sign was posted at www.patzinakia.com.




Sign M72

     Sign M72 was incised on a wall of church  B4 above drawing of a human figure . A photo of the sign was posted at www.patzinakia.com.




Sign M73

     Sign M73 was incised on a column in the Church B4 near to drawing of a cross. A photo of the sign was posted at www.ansamblubasarabi.co.uk ..




Sign M74 

      Sign M74 was located at the chapel on E3 painting of a man . Photo of the sign was published by Barnea (Barnea I.1981).




Sign M 75

      Sign M75 was found at the rock churches Murfatlar . A drawing of it was published at www.patzinakia.com. It was not specified where it had been incised.








Sign M 76


      Sign M76 was found at the rock churches Murfatlar over a picture of a cross . A drawing of it was published at www.patzinakia.com. It was not specified where it had been incised.






Sign M 77


      Sign M77 was found at the rock churches Murfatlar . A drawing of it was published at www.patzinakia.com. It was not specified where it had been incised.






Sign M 78


      Sign M78 was found at the rock churches Murfatlar in a composition with  a coss and two letters of Greek alphabet . A drawing of it was published at www.patzinakia.com. It was not specified where it had been incised.






Sign M79

     Sign M79 was located at the burial chamber C1 over a drawing of dragons. Photo of the sign was published by Barnea (Barnea I., Bilciurescu V. 1959) .




Sign M80

     Sign M80 was incised at the church B4 into middle of a plan of a temple. Photo of the sign was published by Barnea (Barnea I.1981).


 



Sign M81


     Sign M81 is located in the church B4 left of inscription  M1. A photo of the sign was published by Popkonstantinov (Popkonstantinov K. Kronsetiner O. 1994).




Inscription P1


     Inscription P1 was incised on a rosette found in 1961 in medieval Bulgarian capital Pliska. It was published in 1978 by Vaklinov (Vaklinov S. 1978) . Most researchers accept that, the inscription on the Rosette uses the same alphabet as the inscriptions of the Murfatlar Churches. (Tryjarski E. 1985 , Georgiev P. 1995 , Ivan Ivanov, 2005) . There has been made repeatedly attempts to decipher the inscription of the Plisca rosette (Tryjarski E. 1985 , Georgiev P. 1995 , Ivan Ivanov 2005Sidorov Kelevedjiev M. E. 1999 , Mikhailov , S. 1995 E. Sachev 1977) .







         From the inscriptions shown above I separated 77 different characters. 44 of them were found two or more times . From signs occurring only once some characters may have been ligatures (52, 60 , 54) , other tamgas ( 67,68 , 71 , 74 ), the capitals or, variations of characters. Despite the uncertainty, the first 44 characters of the following table are probably a large part of content of the Murfatlar alphabet. In the next chapter I will use those 44 characters to compare the Murfatlar alphabet with writing systems having, at least theoretically, some connection with Murfatlar runiform .
     
        The first column of  the following table shows the number of characters , the second - sign itself , and the third frequency of use ( first number represents how many times the second meeting in how messages) .












References



     Барня, Й. 1962. Предварительные сведения о каменные памятниках в Басараби (обл. Доброджа).- Dacia VI;
     Бешевлиев В. 1974, Етническата принадлежност на рунните надписи при Мурфатлар, Векове, 4, 12-22;
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     Иванов Ив. 2012, Присъства ли името Зиези в рунните надписи от Мурфатлар? www.protobulgarians.com;
     Иванов П. 1984, Две становища върху прабългарската руническа азбука и някои надписи на нея Добруджа, Сборник / Исторически музей-Силистра;
     Иванов П. 1990 , Към въпроса за руническото писмо на прабългарите, Добруджа : Сборник, Исторически музей-Силистра, 53-61;
     Иванов П. 1995, Отношението на прабългарите към християнството според техните рунически надписи Ави-тохол / Историческо дружество Българска орда;
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     Иванов П. 1999 б, За смисловото съдържание на най-разпространения прабългарски рунически надпис, Научни съобщения на СУБ Добрич;
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     Комша М. 1964, К вопросу истолкования некоторых граффито из Басараби, Dacia, VIII, 363–374;
     Михайлов, С. 1995, Към тълкуването на бронзовата седмолъчна розета от Плиска, Старобългаристика, XIX, 2, 94- 101;
     Попконстантинов К. 1993, Рунически надписи от Средновековна България. - Studia protobulgarica et mediaevalia europensia. В чест на професор Веселин Бешевлиев. В. Търново, 141-165;
     Сачев Е. 1977, Надписът върху бронзовата розета от Плиска, Векове, 6, 78-81;
     Сидоров М. Келеведжиев Е. 1999, Опит за идентификация и датиране на розетата от Плиска, Старобългаристика, XXIII, 2, 78- 87;
     Barnea I. 1962 , Les monuments rupestres de Basarabi en Dobroudja, Cahiers archéologiques, Paris, 13 , 1962 , pp. 187-208 ;
     Barnea I. 1963 , Reprezentarea labirintului pe monumentele rupestre de la Basarabi (reg. Dobrogea), Studii şi cercetări de istorie veche, Bucureşti, nr. 14 , 1, 1963 , pp. 189-195 ;
     Barnea I.1981, Christian art in Romania, vol. 2 , Bucharest, 46-90;
     Barnea I., Bilciurescu V. 1959 , Şantierul arheologic Basarabi (reg. Constanţa), Materiale şi cercetări arheologice, Bucureşti, 6 , 1959 , pp. 541-566 ;
     Barnea I. Ştefănescu S. 1971 , Din istoria Dobrogei, vol. III, Bizantini, români şi bulgari la Dunărea de Jos, coll. Bibliotheca Historiae Romaniae, vol. 9 , ed. Academiei RSR, Bucureşti, 1971 , 181-233 ;
     Beshevliev, V. 1977 , Beobachtungen uber die protobulgarischen runeninschriften bei Basarabi (Murfatlar), IIMV , Varna, 13 (28) 49 55 ;
     Bogdan D. 1960 , Grafitele de la Basarabi, Analele Universităţii Parhon - Seria Ştiinte sociale - istorie,      Bucureşti, nr. 9, 16, 1960 , 31-49 ;
     Daniel C. 1987 , Prima atestare scrisa a limbii române: cuvinte românesti din secolul al X-lea în inscriptiile de la Basarabi, jud. Constanta, Istorii neelucidate. Almanah estival '87, Luceafarul, p. 35-40 ;
     Daniel C. 1989 , Cuvinte românesti in inscriptiile de la Basarabi, Noi Tracii XVIII/173, Roma, 1-10;
     Diaconu P. Petre N. 1969 , Quelques observations sur le complexe archéologique de Murfatlar (Basarabi), Dacia, Bucureşti, 13 , 443-456 ;
     Georgiev P. 1995 The Bronze Rozette from Pliska (on decoding the runic inscriptions in Bulgaria). - ΣΤΕΦΑΝΟΣ. Studia byzantina ac slavica Vl. Vavrínek (= Byzantinoslavica, LVI), 1995 , 547-555 ;
      Popkonstantinov K. Kronsetiner O. 1994 , Altbulgarische Inschriften. I. (Die Slawischen Sprachen, 36 . Salzburg-Wien;
     Stanciulescu Al. 1977 , Contributii la descifrarea inscriptiilor de la Murfatlar (Basarabi), BOR, 95 , 9-12 , 1024-1034 ;
     Stanciulescu Al. 1986 , One hypothesis the decipherment of the inscriptions from Murfatlar (Basarabi), Balkan Studies, 27 , 1986 , 2, 238-251 ;
     Tryjarski E. 1980 , Nieznany alphabet, Problemy 3 ( 408) , 2-9 ;
     Tryjarski E. 1981 , Etat actuel des recherches sur l'alphabet de Murfatlar et de Pliska; JA CCLXIX, 361-372;
     Tryjarski E. 1985 , Alte und neue Probleme der runenartigen Inschriften europas. Ein Versuch der Entzifferung der texte aus Murfatlar und Pliska. - Runen tamgas und Graffiti aus Asien und Osteuropas. Wiesbaden, 53-80;
     Vaklinov S. 1978 , Ein Denkmal Runischen Schriftums Pliskas, Studia in honorem Veselin Beshevliev, Sofia, 245-254;
     www.ansamblubasarabi.co.uk
     www.biserici-rupestre-basarabi.ro
     www.patsinakia.com








Chapter Three

Comparative Analysis


      The very first researchers of Murfatlar Runiform inscriptions were trying to establish the origin of this writing system . Romanian archaeologists targeted both the Greek alphabet and Old German runes as well as Orkhon - Yenisei alphabet. ( Barney, J. , 1962 , Komsa M. 1964 , Bogdan D. 1960). V. Beshevliev made a comparative graphical analysis of the characters of Murfatlar with the Runiform scripts of Europe and Asia, Old German runes and signs of Northeastern Bulgaria. He proved that the signs of Murfatlar are closer to the characters of Northeast Bulgaria and Runiforn writing systems . Beshevliev also noted the presence of four Cyrillic letters in Murfatlar script, which does not preclude possibility that, the creator of the Cyrillic borrowed them from the Runiform alphabet . (Beshevliev, V. 1977) . P. Georgiev saw the signs of Murfatlar as altered Greek letters (Georgiev P. 1995). Popkonstantinov believed that Murfatlar signs had arisen as a cryptography based on Cyrillic , Glagolitic , Greek and Runiform symbols ( Popkonstantinov K. 2003) . Kyzlasov recognized that, Murfatlar script contained many unique graphemes ( Kyzlasov I. 1994).
Although graphical proximity hardly would help deciphering inscriptions of Murfatlar, I made ​​this comparative analysis to get a more complete picture of the evolution of Murfatlar characters as writing system and how its creation was connected with Orkhono-Yenissey alphabet, Don -Kuban script , signs of Northeastern Bulgaria, the Greek alphabet, the Cyrillic alphabet, the Glagolithic alphabet , Carpathian basin script and Szekely rovas .

Orkhon-Yenissey Alphabet


      The first samples of Orkhon-Yenisei writing found along the Orkhon River date from the beginning of the 8th century . Due to their graphic similarity to the runic alphabet, new found writing  was first called Orkhon runes . In the Orkhon script, some consonants have two forms depending on whether they are used for front or back vowels . Also there are signs representing consonant clusters. Since Orkhon writing was deciphered by W. Thomson, scientists have been translated many long and short inscriptions. The shape of the letters and their sound values ​​were determined and their paleography adjusted. It is believed that Orkhon-Yenisei writing was created on the basis of one of the Semitic alphabets in Central Asia and local logographic signs . In connection with Murfatlar script, it is interesting that some scientists believe that Orkhon-Yenisei alphabet and Eastern runiform scripts are genetically linked.
     The materials on the table are from Kononov ( A. Kononov 1980 ). They compare the letters of the three branches of Orkhon-Yenisei script (Orkhon, Yenisey and, Talas) with 44 most common of the Murfatlar characters. Their form is shown at column 6 and, their serial number at 7. I found that 13 of most common Murfatlar signs are graphically close to Orkhon characters .







Euro-Asian Runiform Script


       First artifacts of Runiform script found in Eastern Europe are the inscriptions of the treasure of Nagy Saint Miklos from 1799 and texts on flask from the area of ​​Tsaritsyno found in 1896 's. Later founds at Mayatskoe and Humara increased the number of known Runiform inscriptions. Initially, some scientists believed that these inscriptions have a common origin with Orkhon-Yenissey script. (Donner O. 1896 Melioranskiy P. ) . Nemeth , and later Malov  questioned this view and considered Eastern runiform as different script (Németh J. 1932 , Malov S. 1936) . Turchaninov tried to decipher Runiform inscriptions with the help of the language of the Ossetians ( Turchaninov G. 1971) . Altheim proposed a hypothesis , later perfected by Hausig, that Orhon-Yenissey writing and Eastern runiform script arose from variations of the Semitic alphabet used for languages ​​of the Iranian group (Altheim F. 1948 , Haussig H. 1985).
      In an article for newly found inscription from Sarvash , Hungarian linguist A. Rona- Tash divided Runiform scripts from Eastern Europe on five geographical regions : the Northern Caucasus , the Volga- Don region, Dobrudzha , Eastern Bulgaria and Carpathian basin (Rona-Tas A. 1988). Kyzlasov made a slightly different division . Based on thorough analysis , he classified Steppe Alphabets into two groups : Asian and Eurasian . Asian group includes Orkhon-Yenissey script. In Eurasian group, Kyzlasov put Don , Kuban , Ashiktash , South-Yenissey and Isfarin alphabets. Outside this division Kyzlasov left runiform inscriptions from the Balkans and the Carpathian Basin ( Kyzlasov I. 1994). Here we make a comparison between the five alphabets of the Eurasian group, based on Kyzlasov's classification with Murfatlar runiform script. Murfatlar signs fell in with :14 signs of Don characters , 13 of Kuban , 10 of South-Yenissey , 11 of Ashiktash and, 5 of  Isfarin.







The Greek Alphabet


     Greek language was an official language of Early Mediaeval Bulgaria to the adoption of the disciples of Cyril and Methodius by Boris in 886, today we know over 70 Greek inscriptions on stone issued by the Bulgarian state on various occasions. The earliest are from the king Tervel and at the latest by the time of king Simeon ( Beshevliev C. 1979).  Maybe that is why, Glagolitic was replaced by the newly established Cyrilic sprung out of  unitsial Greek with addition of modified Glagolithic letters ( Grammar of Old English , 1991 ) .
     The following table compare 44 Murfatlar signs with the letters of the Greek alphabet used in four Bulgar  inscriptions. Nine of Murfatlar characters coincide in form with the letters of the Greek alphabet .








Cyrillic Alphabet


           Initially scientist thought that the alphabet, created at about 863 AD by Cyril and Methodius to record the Slavonic language was Cyrillic ( And Dobrovski , and Sreznevski ) but Glagolitic was cryptography . Today, most scientists believe that the Glagolitic alphabet was created by the brothers and, probably one of their students created Cyrillic  based on the Greek uncial letters are added to the missing of the Greek alphabet Slavic sounds ( Ivanova T. 2004 , Grammar of Old English , 1991 ) .

     The following table comparing 44 Murfatlar characters with the letters of the Cyrillic alphabet . Ten of Murfatlar signs coincide in shape with Cyrillic letters .






Glagolitic Alphabet



      Nowadays, almost all specialists believe that Glagolitic Alphabet was created by Cyril and Methodius for writing Old Bulgarian, around 863 AD. However, there are many theories about the origin of Glagolitic letters . Some authors suggest that a prototype of the Glagolitic is a Greek minuscule ( Taylor and Yagich ) , while others accept that some of the letters were taken from Hebrew , Coptic and, Armenian alphabets (A Ralphs , V. Vondrak , N. Grunski ) . According to G. Chernohvostov Glagolic letters are created as a combination of three main Christian symbol, the cross , circle and triangle ( Ivanova T. 2004 , Grammar of Old English 1991 ) .
         The following table comparing 44 Murfatlar characters with the Glagolitic letters . Ten of Mrfatlar signs coincide in form with letters from the Glagolitic alphabet . Because of the unique rounded shape of Glagolitic characters, such a comparison with the straight lines of the runes is somewhat arbitrary.





Carpathian Basin Script


      Carpathian Basin script is known from two findings: the world-famous treasure of Nagyszentmiklos and the needle case from Szarvas. The treasure from Nagyszaintmiklos was found at 1799 and consists of 23 gold vessels . On the dishes were cut 12 runiform inscription. According to Mavrodinov and most of the Bulgarian scientists the inscriptions on vessels of the treasure are of Bulgar origin ( Mavrodinov N. 1943 ) .  J. Nemeth who tried to decipher inscriptions as they awere Pecheneg ( J. Nemeth 1986). According to Laszlo inscriptions from Nagyszentmiclos were written in Hungarian. G. Nagy and I. Bona thought they were written on Avar language( G. Nagy 1895 , Bona I. 1984). In 1983, during excavations near the Hungarian town Szarvas, was found needle case incised with a inscription of 59 characters. From the 19 individual characters of Szarvas 15 are identical with the signs of NSM . According to the Hungarian scientists Szarvas inscription and signs from treasure of NSM was written with the same alphabet ( Rona-Tas A. 1985).
         The following table compares 44 Murfatlar characters with the signs from Carpathian Basin . Eleven of Murfatlar signs coincide in form with the Carpathian characters.




Szekely-Hungarian Rovas


     Szekely script was mentioned for first time in the chronicle of Simon De Keza (1282-1285), but the earliest examples of Szekely inscriptions are from the 15th century . The Inscription of Homorod- karaksonfalva (in romanian Krechunel ) dates back til before 1495 . The oldest known Szekler alphabet was found on the cover of incunabula in the library of Nikolsburg ( Mikulov , Czech Republic ) and dates back to 1483 . Today are known some 15 Szekely inscriptions before 1598 when J. Telegi wrote short monograph on Szekely script (Rona-Tas A. 1999). The origin of Szekely writing is not established.  Attempts were made to compare it with Orhon-Yenisei runiform (Nemeth J. 1971) or, Don-Kuban script (Hosszu G. 2013 ) . It is assumed that the shapes of the letters a, e , o , u come from the Greek alphabet through the mediation of  Slavic alphabets (Rona-Tas A. 1999).
      The following table comparing 44 Murfatlar sign with the Szekely rovas. Eight of Murfatlar signs coincide in shape with Szekely characters.




Inscriptions from Early Medieval Bulgaria


      According to the classification of non-Bulgarian scientists, the Runiform inscriptions found within the territory of Early Medieval Bulgaria fall into three geographical groups : Carpathian Basin ( inscriptions of Nagyszentmiklos and Szarvas), Dobrudzha ( Murfatlar script) and, North-east Bulgaria ( inscriptions found near the old Bulgarian capitals Pliska and Preslav). (Rona- Tas A. 1988 , Tryjarski E. 1995). Bulgarian scientists have tended to view the inscriptions from the territory of the First Bulgarian Empire in the same group. Some believe that runiform alphabets are few types ( Popkonstantinov K. 1993), others that all inscriptions belong to the same alphabet with few local variations and changes over time (Granberg A. 2005). 
     The following table comparing 44 Murfatlar signs with characters of Early Medieval Bulgaria . The columns contain as follows: the second - inscriptions from Ravna ( 1993 Popkonstantinov K. , K. Popkonstantinov 1997) , the third - the inscriptions from Byala, Shudikovo , Kykrizhaba , Silistra , Pliska ( Popkonstantinov K. 1993) and Oryahovsko ( Ivanov P. 1997), the fourth column the inscriptions of Krepcha ( Popkonstantinov K. 1993), the fifth - inscription from Sofia ( Sefterski R. 1999) and the sixth - signs of the ring of Shumen ( Venedikov I. 1995-97 ) . Seventeen of Murfatlar signs coincide in form with the characters of Early Medieval Bulgaria .






       After graphically comparing the characters of Murfatlar, with alphabets that could be related to it in one or another way, I have got the following interesting conclusions :

       1. The following 23 Murfatlar characters are found among the characters of the Runiform alphabets of Europe and Asia :






      2. Those 21 Murfatlar characters are found among the characters of the Greek, Cyrillic and Glagolitic alphabets :






      3. 7 Murfatlar signs are found among the letters of the Greek, Cyrillic and Glagolitic alphabets, but not among the letters of the Runiform alphabets. It is likely that these letters are borrowed as graphics and sound values.







      4. The following 11 characters are not found in any of the analysed above alphabets:







      5. Two of Murfatlar signs, who are one of the most frequently occurring, have analogues in all Runiform alphabets and Glagolitic ( Although, the Glagolitic letter "on' " have two circles at the end, repeats the same pattern and the letter " nash' " even weave also repeats the same loop) . In Orkhon-Yenisey script, Szekely runiform and Glagolitic these letters have the same sound value: n and o (this sign in Orkhon-Yenisey alphabet have phonetic value for "o" and "u") . Experts believe that these two letters were borrowed from the Semitic alphabets in Central Asia where they had almost the same shape (Clauson G. 1970 , B. Livshits 1980).







      6. In Murfatlar alphabet these two characters have a direction opposite to the direction of the letters with same shape in the Runiform alphabet . This fact raises the questions about the direction of writing in Murfatlar alphabet. I think, we have enough evidence in the inscriptions of Murfatlar . In inscription M1, which was incised into the upper arm of a cross, all the characters start on equally short distance from the left outline of the cross, but it is not right where the characters reach out the line of the cross at different distances , sometimes quite long:

Inscription M1





      The uppermost left letter of the  inscription M3 have obviously visible added ornaments as it was a cover letter.

Inscription M4


     All this gives us grounds to assume that Murfatlar inscriptions were written from left to right. How to explain this? Lets examine the inscriptions of Byala and Shudikovo . The same sequence of characters is writen in two different directions:


Inscription from Byala


Inscription "Shudikovo 4"




      Does this mean that at some point in time, the direction of writing of runiform alphabets in Medieval Bulgaria had changed under the influence of the Greek alphabet? Light on this question throws inscription from Ravna (R1):


The Runiform abecedarium from Ravna



      In 1978, near the village of Ravna , Varna district was found a Medieval Bulgarian monastery from the second half of the 9th century . On the walls of the monastery, had been discovered nearly 150 inscriptions written in several graphic systems: Cyrillic, Glagolitic , Greek alphabet and Runiform alphabet . Among them was the runic inscription incised on a stone block . It was published by K. Popkonstantinov as No. 1 (Popkonstantinov K. 1997) .  On the stone block  were depicted a human figure and two horses . Above the human figure had been incised the first 4 letters of the Greek alphabet . In the outline of one of the horses were cut 11 Runiform characters. The second sign from left to right is identical with the letter "a" of the Greek alphabet . The third sign is graphically similar to b1 from Orkhon-Yenisei alphabet. This allows me to guess that inscription Ravna1 (in the numbering of Popkonstantinov ) depicts the beginning of a Runiform alphabet. It could be assumed that the fourth character is "b" with an extra dash - perhaps with sound value " v", and the fifth which, resembling Orkhon-Yenisei " ng " have sound value of "g". The sixth sign is graphically similar to " d " of Szekely alphabet.

Inscription R1 from Ravna 
according K. Popkonstantinov


       Interestingly, the Runic alphabet is written from left to right , but the third sign "looks " to the left as it would be written from right to left . Although the direction of writing changed in this version of the Runiform alphabet from Ravna, signs asymmetric on the vertical axis have retained their previous orientation. However unlike Ravna, the signs of the Murfatlar alphabet are with changed direction . This is well illustrated by the already presented signs, with alleged phonetic value " n" and "o":



       The comparative analysis made ​​above gives some general guidelines for initial search . The results achieved so far may be rejected or confirmed by the contents of the Murfatlar inscriptions themselves . But how can they be deciphered? Answer to this question I will try to give you at the next chapter of this study .



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      Сефтерски Р. 1999, Два новооткрити надписа в София тип Runika bulgarica, Старобългаристика, VII, 1, София, 89- 101;
      Турчанинов Г. 1971, Памятники письма и языка народов Кавказа и Восточной Европы, Ленинград;
      Щербак А, 1971, О рунической письменности в юго-восточной Европе, Советская Тюркология, 4, 76-82;   
      Altheim F. 1948 , Hunnische runen, Halle;
      Clauson G. 1970 , The origin of the Turkish "Runic" alphabet, Acta Or. Haunae 32 , 51-76 ;
       Donner O. 1896 , Sur l'origine de l'alphabet turk du Nord de l'Asie
      Granberg A. 2005 , On Deciphering Medieval Runic Scripts From the Balkans- cultural texts of the past: media , symbols and ideas , III, Sofia, 128-139 ;
      Haussig H. 1985 , Der historische Hintergrund der Runenfunde in Osteuropa und Zentralasien, - Runen tamgas und Graffiti aus Asien und Osteuropas. Wiesbaden;
      Hosszú G. 2013 , Heritage of Scribes. The Relation of Rovas Scripts to Eurasian Writing Systems, Budapest, Rovas Foundation;
      Németh J. 1932 , Die Inschriften des Schatzes von Nagy-Szent-Miklós von J. Németh. Bibliotheca Orientais Hungarica II., Mit Unterstützung der Ungarischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Budapest: Kőrösi Csoma-Gesellschaft, Leipzig: Otto Harrassowitz;
      Nemeth J, 1971 , The Runiform Inscriptions from Nagy-Szent-Miklos and the Runiform Scripts of Eastern Europe, Acta Linguistica, 21 , Budapest;
      Pritsak O. 1980 , Turkology and Comparative study of Altaic Languages. The System of the Old Turkic Runic Script, JTS 4 , 1980, 83-100 ;
      Rona-Tas A. 1988 , Problems of the East European Scripts with Special Regards to the Newly Found Inscriptions of Szarvas, Popoli delle steppe: Unni, Avari, Ungari, Spoletto, 483-511;
      Rona-Tas A, 1991 , An Introduction to Turkology, Szeged, 55-62;
      Rona-Tas A. 1999 , Hungarians and Europe in the Early Middle Ages: An Introduction to Early Hungarian History, Budapest and New York, Central European University Press;
      Tryjarski E. 1985 , Die runenartigen schriften sudosteuropas. - Runen tamgas und Graffiti aus Asien und Osteuropas. Wiesbaden, 1-9;
      Tryjarski E. 1995 , Has a key been found to decifer the eurasian scripts of the runic type? Laut-und Wortgeschichte der Türksprachen: Beiträge des Internationalen Symposiums Berlin, 7 . Bis 10 . Juli 1992 . Wiesbaden
      Vaklinov S. 1978 , Ein Denkmal runischen Schriftums Pliskas, Studia in honorem Veselini Beshevliev, Sofia, 245-251;
      Vékony, Gábor ( 1986 ): Die Glagolica und osteuropäische Schriften in der späten Völkerwanderungszeit. (Hungaro-Bulgarica I.)
      Vékony, Gábor ( 2004 ): The Relics, Relations and History of the Szekely Script. Budapest: Nap Kiadó.




Chapter Four

Understanding of Murfatlar Script




          Although Murfatlar inscriptions are short (the longest contains 18 characters), I believe that the presumable religious nature of the inscriptions and  several drawings that pursued the inscriptions of the Cave complex give hope for success.  In this chapter, I will present an attempt at reading some of the inscriptions from Murfatlar . As much as its possible, I will try to follow the chronological order in which I was trying to figure out their long-forgotten meaning.
          Murfatlar script raises two important questions: what is the language of the Murfatlar  inscriptions and, how Murfatlar script was created and developed. Bulgarian researchers answer on the first question without doubt: Murfatlar inscriptions was written on Bulgar language (                   ).  Language of Medieval Bulgars is an extinct language. The little we know of it is from few inscriptions written with Greek characters (most noticeable: Preslav inscription and Boyla inscription), a small number of loanwords in the Old Bulgarian, terms occurring in Byzantine and  Old Bulgarian texts, language material from Volga Bulgaria and borrowings in Hungarian . As far as, according to contemporary Linguistics,  Danube Bulgar has been classified as an Altaic language in one language group with the Hunnic , Khazar and, Chuvash (       ), in my quest to restore its vocabulary, I was looking for parallels with words from Chuvash , Tatar and Old Turkic . During the chapter, I will return again and again to this question, to understand better what are vocabulary and grammar of Murfatlar inscriptions?
           The second question is really tricky. Some of the researchers believe that Murfatlar script was created from Greek monks to convert local population (         ) or that is a peculiar representation of Greek alphabet (         ). Others though that it was created as cryptography (           ). Interesting opinion expressed I. Kyzlasov. He thought that Murfatlar script is a runiform script underwent influence of local Balkan scripts. As we have seen in Chapter 3, Murfatlar characters can be divided into tree groups: signs similar to letters of Greek alphabet, Cyrillic and, Glagolitic; signs similar to characters of runiform scripts and; character unique to Murfatlar script. Somehow this three different groups came together to form a new script. Searching for answers I came to some interesting conclusions:

1. The sign IYI


      Runiform inscription from Early Medieval Bulgaria was found not only at Murfatlar. Monasteries, churches and castles of First Bulgarian Empire produced numerous founds of single characters and short inscriptions. The most widely distributed among them is the sign IYI. It had been incised or scratched on pottery, walls, pieces of stone and tiles, columns. The sign was written either alone or in combination with other characters. Although the sign IYI does not occur at Murfatlar Cave complex, here we find a substitute for it, the sign "Cross ending with epsilon." 
       Bulgarian scientists have made different assumptions about its purpose and nature. V. Beshevliev suggested that the monogram IYI bared the name of god Tangra (Beshevliev V         ). R. Rashev argued that IYI is  a Christian symbol equal and interchangeable with a cross. In fact, nothing prevents both ideas to be  true: in Cuman bible word god is transmitted by the word " Tengri " . Lets see how the word "tengri" is writen with Orkhon script:   





      +
   The overall view of runiform "tengri" resemble a bit the monogram IYI. If one of  the letters was removed and the other three simplified we receive as a result IYI:





      The hypothesis that the monogram IYI meant "god" in Runiform script and was used  as non-canonical substitute of a cross sounded convincing, but needed more evidence. I thought that somewhere the monogram IYI could be written in the way that original letters are not simplified. And yes, the middle character sometimes was represented as: But I did't have chance to find a variant of IYI in witch forms of other two letters supported my theory. I found something else. 

2.The amulet from Haskovo


       Around 2006 an leaden amulet-palimpsest was found by chance at the region of Haskovo and, donated to the local Historical museum  . Using palaeographic peculiarities of its inscription, researchers relate it to the late 10th early 11th century.

Beginning of the amulet of Haskovo



 Haskovo amulet is one of the rare occasions when the old Bulgarian text was written with a mixed script : Cyrillic and Glagolitic. From a total of 355 grapheme, it contains 209 Cyrillic grapheme and 146 Glagolitic. Glagolitic letters are angular in shape, like the runiform characters has been written. Among them stands a peculiar sign transmitting Glagolitic letter "хлъмъ"  ( Popkonstantinov K. Petrov I. 2006).



       The monogram OY in the Greek alphabet and, the Cyrillic alphabet was conveyed with the same sign. It also occurs at Murfatlar . The same sign was used in the inscription of the Byala, engraved on a stone block found during archaeological excavations of the Medieval earthen rampart near Varna.

Inscription from  Byala



     B. Simeonov suggested for it to be read as "eb"- house ( Simeonov B. 1986).  It is truth that the Orkchon -Yenisey script sign denoting "b2" looks like Byala character turned on 180 degree: and  this very form exists as well in Murfatlar script. To add to the puzzle, researchers trace its origin from logogram of house. In fact the word for house have another reading in Old Turkic: "ew". This reading suits the existence of the  two  conflicting characters at Murfatlar inscriptions. Also its possible phonetic value suggest that the sign was borrowed from Greek or Cyrillic alphabet. What if this is so?
          Lets look again at Byala inscription. The first character from left to right resembles š from Okrchon-Yenisey alphabet: .  Its origin has been traced to logogram for door (ešik). Thus the whole inscription could be red as: "ešik teŋri ew" (door of church). The expression "holly house" can be find in Codex Cumanicus: yix v ( < iduq ev - sacred house), Qaraim: yeg'v - church (Golden P. 1992). In Hungarian we find the same pattern : egyház- egy (“holy” from Old Turkic edgü) +‎ ház (“house”). So if all this is correct at one point of development Runiform script borrowed the Greek monogram  It was used at Byala and Murfatlar. This raised to me question- what if Murfatlar signs that resemble Cyrillic and Glagolitic characters also have the same phonetic value?


2. The character 

  The character is the most used sign at above presented  Murfatlar inscriptions. It occurs 56 times in 36 inscription. First V. Beshevliev noted that it was frequently used at Murfatlar because of its significance, and compared it with the monogram IYI (Beshevliev V.       ). Same sign was found among the Orkhon-Yenisey inscriptions where it was used four times , making it difficult for scientists to determine its meaning. Character  is used in both Ashiktash tally and the Don-Kuban inscriptions . It is also found among the signs of HCM . It has the phonetic value "ú" in Szekely script. In Glagolitic, with similar signs are marked three vowels :/i/, / ɯ /,/ ə /. It should be mentioned, that character  is found in Cyrillic manuscripts, where it was used to depict a few vowel sounds . In determining its phonetic value at Murfatlar inscriptions useful ware inscriptions M35 and M36, incised over icons and probably bared names of saints .

Inscription M35
Inscription M37


      Like on Medieval Greek and Old Bulgarian icons, at Murfatlar must be incised the name of the saint and the word for saint. Only common element in inscriptions M35 and M37 is just character . In M37 it is the last, but in M35 is accompanied by the sign.
        Hungarian linguist A. Rona - Tas states that the Tatar and Bashkir word " izge " was borrowed from the language of Volga Bulgars meaning " holy, saint " , and is also a Bulgar loan word in Hungarian, with meaning  "a saint" (Rona-Tas A. 2007) . Therefore it can be assumed that at  inscription M36,  the first two letters of the word "iz(ge)- saint had been written and at inscription M36 just its first character "i":


Surprisingly Murfatlar sign  looks like the letter / dzelo / from Glagolitic. Let's look more Glagolitic parallels.





      To prove that, Murfatlar characters have the same phonetic value as their glagolitic counterparts, I searched  among inscriptions from Cave complex and found a sequence of three signs repeated at three different inscriptions: M1, M4 and,  M39:


Inscription M3



Inscription M11


Inscription  M39









      As the middle sign resemble a turned on 180 degree Aramaic letter aleph, the word in question can be read as "man" or "män". This happened  to be first person singular pronoun in Old Turkic (Talat T. 1993).   


3. The Letter 


        Inscription M2 is second largest at Murfatlar. Luckily, it contains two groups of letters with titles over them. It is very likely that in this case we are dealing with religious terms:

Inscription M2
  
      I will start with the longest group of characters with title:


Among drawings on walls of Murfatlar churches, there is  a strange monogram of Jesus Christ:


Looking on it, I had feeling that into the cross was woven Jesus's name, possibly looking like that:


Searching for something similar, I came across inscription M2. It turns out that, there is another inscription with the same combination of letters: M13:



Inscription M13



At M13 we have the same combination of three characters. Here the third letter is slightly different. This character is similar to Greek letter Sampi which can be seen at a Bulgar Greek inscription from Preslav:




Is it possible that letter have phonethic value "s"? Answer to this questions gave me another inscription.
      During years of archaeological escalations at sites of the First Bulgarian Empire, have been found many short inscriptions and single signs. Four of them contain the sign . Two of them look very similar. They are incised on a roof tile and are found at Madara and Pliska (Doncheva-Petkova L. 1980 p. 161 and Feher G. 1934, p. 407).  The third was incised on a breek and comes from Plisca (Doncheva-Petkova L. 1980, p. 40). Fourth was found at Madara and also was incised on a breek (Feher G. 1934, p. 407):

First twoinscriptions Pliska 2 and Madara 1                                         Fourth inscription Madara 2
 (Doncheva-Petkova L. 1980)





Third inscription Madara 3 (Doncheva-Petkova L. 1980)



       Inscriptions Pliska 2 -Madara 1 and Madara 3 are very similar. They contain of a sign and two Greek letters IC, an abbreviation which means Jesus Christ. It must be assumed that, the runiform letter also means Jesus Christ. Interestingly though, the sign from Madara and Pliska is turned on 180 degree. It "looks" to to left, which means that those inscriptions was red from right to left. Even in the case of Pliska 2-Madara1  the Greek characters also look to left. Those inscriptions must represent an earliest development of the script when it red from right to left. As we seen at Murfatlar the sign  was written to right. Similar sign with right direction was found at Hungary, incised twice on a bone cover of a bow in grave #45 in Bekes-Povadzug archaeological site. The grave was dated to 11-12 century (Hosszú, G. 2011, p. 177 ). 
     Inscriptions from Madara and Pliska raise another question: why the abbreviation IC is written with one character? Is it possible that this is ligature? As we have the sign  in Murfatlar script, we can assume that character  was made of those two parts:
       Thus inscriptions from Madara and Pliska give us  a phonetic value of two signs: /s/ and /is/.

4. The Letter  Y


  As part of the monogram IYI, Letter Y is a very important, because its existence at Murfatlar proves the connection between Murfatlar script and runiform scripts of Medieval Bulgaria. Lets return to inscription of Byala:



Byala Inscription (Doncheva-Petkova L. 1980)


     We can find same sequence of signs at several other inscriptions. At Sudikovo we find together only right part of Byala inscription:


Inscription Sudicovo 4


      But on the other side of the stone was inscribed another inscription:

Inscription Sudicovo 



This two signs resemble the sign of Byala:  and might be with the same phonetic value.
       Other similar inscription was found at Pliska incised on a stone bloc: 

Inscription Pliska 3 (Doncheva-Petkova L. 1980)    
     

Here in the middle to replace the monogram IYI stays a cross. To clear the doubt that other two signs are the same as at Byala comes another inscription. It is also from Pliska and it was incised on a roof tile:

Inscription Pliska 4  (Doncheva-Petkova L. 1980)

The cross from last two inscriptions is not a simple cross. Its three arms end with Y's - the central sign of monogram IYI. Similar cross is presented at Murfatlar too, incised into the drawing of a church:

Sign M81 - Rock Churches of Murfatlar



If the cross ending with upsilons is synonym of the monogram IYI, then the sign Y must be in the core of the word the whole monogram represents. I had an idea that this is a sound /r/. In fact in some occasions IYI was represented with middle sign same as the letter r2 from Orkhon-Yenisey alphabet:

Inscription Sudikovo 2


     To find out sound value of other two characters we needed another inscription. It was incised on a funerary urn from a pagan cemetery near village Garvan, Silistra district (Vazharova, Zh. 1976). The inscription contains Runiform and Cyrillic characters. Among them, was incised a peculiar variant of the monogram IYI:


Garvan inscription (Minkova, M. Tanev, I. 2009)




Here first and third letter are not stylised. First letter is a Orchon-Yenisean /a/. The same form can be seen in a inscription from Ravna. The third letter is a Orchon-Yenisean /i/, as it has been presented at Murfatlar monogram :



Word /arï / have parallels in Chuvash: ыра (good,spirit), Old Turkic: arïg (cleen), arï- (to clean yourself) (Fedotov М. 1996 p. 474) and Quipchak: ari (holy, clean) (Garkavec, A. 2010, p. 126). Therefore, the most important monogram of Early Medieval Bulgaria, IYI, must have meant: ARÏ (holy) and then the value for Murfatlar character Y was /r/.


5. The character 


      The character  is one of the letters that might have been originated from a Runiform alphabet. In Orkchon- Yenisey script it have phonetic value b(2). Scientist believe that its form came from logogram of a house (Rona- Tas A. 1988). Although at Murfatlar, the signoccurs only 8 times in 7 inscriptions, we are lucky to have a peculiar inscription in which  is a capital letter:


Inscription M38 Rock churches of Murfatlar

The four letters of the inscription M38 are defined by two concentric rectangles. The first letter from the left is twice as bigger as the others and, must be a capital letter. The fourth letter is slightly of from the others three. We can assume that it represents a word. At inscription of Byala, the same sign had phonetic value /w/ and stand for the word ew (a house). It is very possible that, the other three characters belong to the first of only two words:



The first character from left is Orkchon-Yenisey /b2/. Second is a peculiar variety of an /o/ and, the third have the shape of Cyrillic letter "Ъ" with possible phonetic value /ï/. In the result, we have something like /boï/ or /boï(y)/ bo(y)ï. For such a word we find parallels in Old Turkic: baj (rich) (OTD, 1969, p. 79), Chuvash: paj (rich) (Fedotov, М. 1996, p. 440) and Quipchak: biy (Lord, dominus) (Garkavec, A. 2010, p. 285). Therefore, the whole inscription have to be: Boïy ew (Lord's (God's) home) and the value of letter- /b/.



6. Inscription Pliska 5


     Almost all inscriptions, until now, related to Murfatlar script were discovered at Rock churches of Murfatlar. The only inscription located outside Murfatlar, was found at Pliska, the first capital of the Danube Bulgaria(Plisca 1). All grapheme of the famous inscription of Rosette of Pliska are also presented at Murfatlar. Except of the inscription on the rosette, so far only single Murfatlar characters are discovered at Pliska, Preslav and other sites of First Bulgarian Empire. I would like to present you an inscription (more likely two monograms) that contain several Murfatlar characters.

Famous Rosette from Pliska (Vaklinov S. 1977)


      Inscription Pliska 5 was incised on a stone block, found at archaeological excavations of Archiepiscopal monastery at Pliska. On the left side of the stone block were incised two schematic human figures. In the middle was drown a pentagram. On both sides of the pentagram were drown  two monograms.

Inscription Pliska 5 (Georgiev P. Vitlyanov S. 2001)


       Left monogram contains about 5 characters. Two of them are Greek letter. Others are runiform characters:



     The first three signs was incised on a cross at Murfatlar:


Inscription M 57 (Rock churches of Murfatlar)



Assuming possible religious nature of the above inscription, can be speculated that greek letter M stands for "Maria"(Mary -mother of Jesus)and other two: "Bikä dünyânïŋ" (Lady of the Universe) (Garkavec, A. 2010 p. 448). 
     The other monogram contains more signs woven vertically:



Here in the middle, we can isolate a composition:

Which contains sequence of two letters in Greek alphabet and in Murfatlar script with meaning "izge" (sacred):
Under this group of signs stays another interesting combination with possible meaning IS (Jesus)(although more complicated that that):

Above was drown another symbol of Jesus: a ship:

Thus inscription Pliska 5 shows several similarities with Murfatlar inscriptions and proves the widespread use of  Murfatlar script.


7. The Character ѣ


     The first researchers of Murfatlar script mentioned the existence of four Cyrillic letters in it: Ъ, ь,ѣ and
ѫ (Beshevliev, V. 1974, Popkonstantinov, K. 1993). In Old Bulgarian Cyrillic letter ѣ represented the sound /æ /. We do not know if this was the case with the Murfatlar script. Only the meaning of the inscriptions can revile its phonetic value. In the inscription M ,2 two character ѣ  were put under title:


Inscription M 2 Rock Churches of Murfatlar

  
      Such an unusual word can also have religious meaning:
Similar combination we find at inscription M 37:

Inscription M 49 Rock Churches of Murfatlar


      According to Cyrillic and Glagolitic value of those runiform signs, we reed: "æyæ". Similar word can be found in Old Turkic: ijä (Lord) (Dictionary of OT, 1969 p. 205), Chuvash: ийе (name of spirit)(Fedotov M. 1996 V. 1 p. 161) and, Quipchak: eyä (Lord, God)(Garkavec, A. 2010 p. 514). Similar word with different spelling can be observed at another inscription from Murfatlar:



Inscription M 16 Rock Churches of Murfatlar
      
Those observations once more give us confidence that Cyrillic and Glagolitic letters have similar phonetic value at Murfatlar script. 


8. The Character 


    In the article "Why OT? A Note on the Development of a Cyrillic Letter",  German linguist Cebastian Kempgen addresses the question, why the Cyrillic monogram "OT" became a separate letter. With the following lines we hope to add one more reason.
    The character  was used 14 times in 10 Murfatlar inscriptions. The same grapheme was used occasionally to represent the Cyrillic letter "živéte" and, stand for Szekely letter "and". Among the signs of Murfatlar, there are two signs build partly out of the grapheme:

Also in inscription M2 can be find following sequence of signs:

Its existence gives impression that and are ligatures of    and. It is very possible that behind those ligatures stays a religious term. Another lucky chance to understand phonetic value of grapheme gives the inscription M18, where the signis separated by short dashes- possibly a word divider. Here we have a word formed from letter and one or two vowels that were omitted.

Inscription M18 - Rock Churches of Murfatlar


       Searching for a sound that can fulfil all those conditions, we stopped at /t/ , sound that forms two important religious terms: ata (Old Turkic -father), ot (Old Turkic- fire), and, ot /ottan (Quipchak - fire, light) (Dictionary of OT, 1969, Garkavec, A. 2010). Thus was possible to found phonetic value of three grapheme:/t/,/ot//ott/.



9. The inscription M 22

      Inscription M 22 was engraved on a wall of the church B1. It consists of 7 characters. Above the mane inscription has been incised a monogram. We think that monogram repeats a word from main inscription, possibly a name.


Inscription M 22 - Rock Churches of Murfatlar

       It is easy to distinguish two of the grapheme forming the monogram: 


The third sign is probably the letter that stays before these two characters in the mane inscription.Thus the word becomes: 


which is beginning of the name "Matea" - Matthew. Since the next character is = izge (holy, saint), the second part of the inscription becomes: Mat(ea) I(zge) - Saint Matthew. The begining of the inscription consists of two grapheme. The second is with a known phonetic value/o/. The first  is similar to Glagolitic letter "sha"which gives us a word "sho".  Similar word in Old Turkic is osh (here) which makes the form "oshul" (this)(Dictionary of OT, 1969 p. 372). Also, the final /l/ was lost  in some Turkic languages. For example in Kirghiz we have : osho (this) (Sevortyan E. 1974 p.493). Thus finally, the inscription reads as follows: "(O)sho Mat(ea) I(zge)" (Here, Saint Matthew). 




10. The Inscription M47b



       Inscription containing name of a saint is also M37b, which was incised on a wall at church B4. It contains 4 characters. Three of them are Greek or Cyrillic letters.  ( Daniel C. 1989) The fourth  is = izge (holy, saint). The inscription can be read as: Ger(man) I(zge) - Saint Germanus. Saint Germanus I was Patriarch of Constantinople from 715 to 730.


Inscription M47b Rock Churches of Murfatlar



      11. The Character X



On the walls of Murfatlar churches were carved hundreds of drawings . Among them was incised many crosses. At Murfatlar cross was carved in many different ways. Here we will try to present some of them:







         As we have seen, some signs of the Murfatlar were similar to Glagolitic letters in form and phonetic value. Also, some scientists believe that,  Glagolitic alphabet was created on base of three symbols:  cross , circle and triangle ( Ivanova T. 2008) . Was such an idea used when Murfatlar script was created? Unlike the Glagolitic alphabet in Murfatlar script circle is almost absent. However, this does not apply to the cross . Some of Murfatlar characters resemble part of a cross others triangle.









At inscription M3 we find a character that looks as an saltire:  



Inscription M3 Rock Churches of Murfatlar



In Glagolitic alphabet, the letter "A" have a form of cross:




What letter was depicted with a saltire at  Murfatlar script? Answer to this question might give us inscription M1:


Inscription M1 Rock Churches of Murfatlar




At the end of the first line we find the combination :


The first grapheme have a form of saltire. The second one is similar to Orkhon- Yenisey letter "Č"(Kononov, N. 1980 p. 58). Gabor Vecony argues that glagolitic letter "čr'v'" is similar to same Orchon- Yenisey letter   (Vékony, Gábor 1986). So two characters can be read as:


Armenian word for cross was borrowed at number of languages from Caucasus, including Balkar. As Bulgars lived several hundred years at the same region, it is highly possible that they also borrowed the word "hach" from Armenian. Thus, it is very possible that, the phonetic value for grapheme X to  be /h/ and for grapheme, /č/.
 



12. The Inscription M1


      In the inscription M1, character occurs at several instances. We already mentioned one of them. The second is at the beginning of the inscription. The both characters are already known and, we can easy identify the word: 
In Old Turkic it means  "inside" (Dictionary of OT, 1969). Word with a similar root occurs at the inscription from Philippi : " ichirgi " = internal (Beshevliev, V. 1981) . In the third occasion character   is within a group of grapheme:



If we assume that, for the letter " l " is used Greek (or Cyrillic ) L: "Λ".  The word "ičlik" means a saddle blanket in Old Turkic (Dictionary of OT, 1969 p. 202) and, a interior, a lining in Quipchak (Garkavec, A. 201p. 603). We find the suffix "lik" one more time in the same inscription:


13. The Inscription M3



      Inscription M3 was incised into a wall at church B4 and consists of 21 characters. First  3 characters are as follows:They can be read as /ojim/ . The verb oj- means "to dig" in Old Turkic ( Dictionary of OT, 1969 p. 365, "-i" is a present tense marker similar to Tatar "-a" for present tense and, suffics "-m" denotes first person singular (Tenishev, E. 1984). Thus the word "ojim" means "I dig". Fourth and sixth characters form next word:. The character we have also in inscription M35: According to K. Popkonstantinov on the icon was depicted Saint John:



As second two letters denote the word izge (saint), we have first two to depict the name Ioan (John). It can be possibly read as: (I)o(a)n. Thus the charactershould have phonetic value "n". On the other hand, it resemble rotated on 90 degree glagolitic letter "ens". In that way, the word on question could be: yeni/yani. It possible match could be Old Turkic yana (again). Next word is represented with one character:. It can be read as "ïra" which means "groove" in Chuvash.


Inscription M3  Rock Churches of Murfatlar

This word is followed by the same verb we had in the first row: /ojim/ (I dig). The next word is: . The only unknown grapheme here is:. Lets see what sound it might represented. There was two letters for /p/ in Glagolitic: "pokoi":and "pe" (Kempgen, S. 2008b). Letter "pokoi" in Amulet from Haskovo looks slightly different:(Popkonstantinov, K. Petrov, I. 2006). In Szekely alphabet letter for /p/ looks like: (Rona-Tas A. 1999) and in Orkhon-Yenisey script:  All this convinced us tosuspect that in Murfatlar script grapheme   had phonetic value /p/. In that way we are looking for word pan/apan. In Chuvash, "appa" means elder sister, and "apaj" mother. Suffix -n denotes a possessive declension. Next word is represented by a pictogram for cross: . After it, we have the word:  /po/. In Old Turkic it means "this" (Dictionary of OT, 1969 p. 397;Sevortyan, E.1978 p. 227). Next word is:  /mäningi/. Word "män" is pronoun first person singular, I (see §2). Suffix -ingi is for genitive declension. The inscription finishes with cross and letter = izge (holy, saint). Thus the inscription reads as: O(j)im (ya)ni. (Ï)r(a) o(j)im. (A)pan h(ach) po mäning(i). H(ach) i(zge). : "I still dig. I dig a groove. My mothers(sisters) cross is my (i did it). Holly Cross.



14. The Inscription M16


       Inscription M16 was incised on a wall in church B3. It consists of 9 characters engraved over the lower arm of a cross.




 The inscription contains two words. First of them contains four characters forming a word: kekg(i).

The root of this word (kek) means "anger", "hatred", "loathing" in number of Turkic languages (EDTL, 1997 p. 24). Suffix -gi forms an adjective out of a noun (Kononov, A. 1980). So here we have the adjective kekgi - angry.  Second word contains 5 grapheme. 
Their phonetic value is: Eyehe. The root of this word is Eye "Lord" (see §7 of this chapter). The suffix  "-he" denotes possessive 3 person singular which after a vowel is -si in Tatar and -hi,-he,ho in Bashkir (Usmanova, M. 2006). Third person possessive is used as polite way to address a person (Zakiev, М. 1993 p. 36) and perhaps God. Thus the inscription reads: Kekgi Eyehe! - Oh angry Lord!



15. The Inscription M11

       Inscription M11 was engraved on the north wall of the nave of the church B4 and consists of 11 characters. 

Inscription M11 Rock Churches of Murfatlar


 The inscription contains two words. First of them contains three characters forming the word /män/- (I) personal pronoun first person singular. Second word is  /gilankin/. It's root is gil- a verb met in several Turkic languages as: gel- (Quipchak), kil- (Tatar), gil- (Salar) (EDTL, 1997 p. 14) with meaning "to come". The suffix -an is used for passive voice. So gilan- would mean "to come back" (Zakiev, М. 1993 p. 295). On other hand, the suffix -kin is used for past participle (Zakiev, М. 1993 p. 446).  Thus the inscription reads: Man gilankin. "I (am) who came back- I came back.)


Final Notes

        So far, we found out the phonetic value of 26 Murfatlar grapheme.



Although, this is not the entire alphabet, it is time for a question: how Murfatlar script was created? In order to answer it we need to explore relations not only between Murfatlar script and Glagolitic, but Cyrillic, Greek Alphabet and Runiform Alphabets. It is not easy! If Murfatlar Script and Glagolitic ar so similar,which of them came first and which of them was influenced from the other, or both were influenced by an unknown script? How the signs common in Cyrillic and Murfatlar Alphabet were developed? I don't think that all those questions could be answered at this point. "Murfatlar Script" has to be viewed only as a beginning, a little step towards unraveling the runiform past of Bulgaria.