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I. PROTO-BULGARIAN INSCRIPTIONS IN GREEK LETTERS

3. The Golden Cup of Friendship

The inscription from Nagy Saint Miklos is the second largest inscription in the Proto-Bulgarian language with Greek letters. All translation attempts in the past were based on the Turkic languages. Perhaps this was the reason why the inscription remained practically untranslated. It can be safely stated that science paid a very high price for this blind faith - 70 years of arduous research work could not produce a convincing translation. Only a year ago the Turkologist Baichorov rejected all previous translation attempts as completely groundless and tried to arrange the words of the inscription in a completely new pattern which, however, proved likewise little convincing.

Proto-Bulgarian inscription on a golden cup from Nagy Saint-Miklos

The inscription from Nagy Saint Miklos, as well as that from Preslav, mentiones two Proto-Bulgarian dignitaries - BOILA ZOAPAN and BOITAUL ZOAPAN:

BOILA ZOAPAN TESI DUGETOIGI BOITAUL
ZOAPAN TAGROGI ITZIGI TAISI

TAGROGI leads to the Sumerian root DINGIR - God, of which was derived a multiplicity of spiritual terms, including a wish for health (tagra in Pamir) and royal sceptre (takra in Old Syrian) among others. In our case TAGROGI meant most likely an oath, vow. The next word ITZIGI means 'holy' from the ancient root IS, which in many languages (for example in Sanskrit) meant God, light. The Tuvians still call the holy sacrifice IZIK, ISHIG is the sun shine in some Pamirian and Caucasian languages, for the Indo Iranian peoples IS and ISI were words for holiness since earliest times. Therefore, the expression TAGROGI ITSIGI contained a combination of the type TAGAROX ISHIG (sacred vow), developed most likely on Iranian base. The repeated case ending -I is particularly typical for the eastern Iranian and to a certain degree for the Celtic languages.

The last word of the inscription - TAISI, is likewise very characteristic. Nobody tried to interpret this word yet probably because such a word is missing in the Turkic languages. It is, however, still to be found in some Iranian languages, where the epilogue TAISI means "in the name of", "in the honour of", "because of". As an epilogue, the specific expression TAISI is placed after the word it explains. Thus the expression TAGROGI ITSIGI TAISI can be translated as AS A SIGN OF THE SACRED OATH. It is interesting that one finds a similar epilogue in some Caucasian languages, for example in Chechen, where it sounds as "taihe". The whole inscription is translated as:

BOILA ZOAPAN TESI DUGETOIGI
BOITAUL ZOAPAN TAGROGI ITZIGI TAISI

BOILA ZOPAN HAS GIVEN YOU THE CUP
AS A SIGN OF THE SACRED OATH

Here is the explanation of the rest of the words:

BOILA SOAPAN - name and title in nominative. The title is Iranian.
TESI - Iranian (Pamirian) form for the Dative of the word TES (a cup, glass) with the ending I, characteristic for the Pamir languages.
DUGETOIGI=DUGE-TUGI - an eastern Iranian expression derived from the verb DUGE (to give) and the pronominal form TUGE (you). Also possible is the combination DUGE TUK with the suffix for past tense (TUK), which is characteristic for example for the Ishkashimi language in Pamir.
BOITAUL ZOAPAN - construction in nominative.
TAGROGI - Iranian dative of TAGAROH with the ending -I.
ITZIGI - Iranian dative of ISHIG with the ending -I.
TAISI - Iranian epilogue, which means "as a sign of", "because of".

The golden drinking cup with Greek inscription from the gold treasure of Nagy Saint Miklos is a very interesting article in both linguistic and cultural points of view. It was a gift from a Proto-Bulgarian dignitary to another dignitary as a symbol of a sacred oath. In the area the Proto-Bulgarians originate from, there existed a custom known as "fraternization". The main feature of that custom was a sacred drinking vessel, and the blood drops of the fraternizing in it sealed the eternal brotherhood.

All points that the inscription from Nagy Saint-Miklos is connected with such a ritual. There is a sacred oath between two men. On that occasion one gave to the other a golden cup. The cup was connected with the oath, it was a pledge for the oath. The fraternization oath, that age-old custom of our people, was still to be found until the last century under the Bulgarian sky.

The root of this custom goes back into the centuries. It already existed in the Proto-Bulgarian epoch as shown by the find from Nagy Saint Miklos.

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