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II. PROTO-BULGARIAN RUNIC INSCRIPTIONS

11. What does the Symbol IYI on the Walls of Pliska mean?

The symbol IYI is to be found more than 50 times in Pliska and Preslav, 157 times for Bulgaria altogether. Reading it with the help of the Proto-Bulgarian alphabet results in the word IUI (or JUJI). The two characters are very frequent in Murfatlar so we can be completely sure in the reading.

What JUJI meant could be deduced from some old Elamic inscriptions which were written in the so-called Proto-Elamic alphabet. They contain a combination of characters which were read by the French Palaeographers, the discoverers of these inscriptions, as JU, i.e. quite similarly to JUJI. In the Elamic, like I mentioned in one of my earlier books, there exists a set of words (predominantly personal names), which resemble the Proto-Bulgarian ones: SHILHAH, KIRMESH, ASEEN among others.

All this would remain a hypothesis, if there were not more facts. The word U means sun in Sumerian - a contemporary and closely connected to the Elamic language. A similar word existed in old-Egyptian, but it was used for the second most important celestial body - the moon. And for a number of Celtic peoples a word of this type designated Jupiter - JUV in Celtic and IOVIS in Latin.

From the root U - sun, in Sumerian was developed the word UD (holiday), which under the form JAD and JOI passed to some Iranian languages.

These examples show that the word JUI was connected with some celestial body, most probably the sun. Our combination of IYI resembles Elamic, particularly their earliest, representations. That IYI denoted the sun is confirmed by the rosette found in Pliska - it has seven rays with the names of the seven heavenly bodies (one name on each ray) carved on the frontal side, and on the other side - the combination IYI:

Figure 4. The bronze rosette from Pliska.

It is logical to assume that these three characters on the rear side of the rosette represent the symbol of the sun. In the ancient world the sun was regarded as the ruler of all stars, and, besides the usual Proto-Bulgarian designation of the celestial bodies, the rosette was illustrated by that old symbol, with origins in Elam. For some Pamir peoples, for example for the Bartangs and the Bakhans, the amulets are called even today JU KAL (literally: An oath before the sun; KAL meaning an oath, a magical word). The two sides of the Pliska rosette carry two different styles - the usual Proto-Bulgarian style, that is characteristic for Murfatlar, and a strongly stretched style, which reminds the Proto-Elamic writing. That is a further proof that IYI here means sun.

Let us first have a look at the longer inscriptions, which contain the combination IYI. The first one, beside the group IYI, contains two more characters - one before and after it (see Supplement 3, 3). This and the rest of the inscriptions of this type form a compact group and the additional characters are independent words. The attempt of reading these inscriptions with the help of the Murfatlar alphabet produces the following expressions:

The small difference between the characters appears because there were used two versions of one and a same writing. The older type is related to the writings of Elam and Parphia, and the second, more recent writing reflects the elaboration and standardization of the original Proto-Bulgarian alphabet. SHO JUI was written using the first version, i.e. the characters in the both words are of Elamic type. The same is true for the inscriptions JUI DOANU and EO JUI, whose characters are of the old Parphian type. A further modification of the same writing we meet in the remaining four inscriptions, with letters of the the Murfatlar type. There are examples where the older characters were replaced by new ones- as in the inscription SHO JUJ JO, which proves that both types were used by the same people. They were left by the Proto-Bulgarians and not by two different peoples.

The eastern Iranian languages help use read the words - SHO means "to make you happy, to entertain you ", HE - "to play, to dance", ESH "to sing" and IHSH - "to love". JO meant "dear" and DOANU - a "request, prayer". These short words would be easily understood in the areas the Proto-Bulgarians once lived in and all they refer to terms of the same type: pleasure, joy, entertaining, love and promise to God.

There is something else. The word SHO (to make you happy) led to the Iranian word SHEN ('merry'). This word is still used during Bulgarian folk gatherings, particularly during weddings, when at the high point of the celebration a guest proclaims: "SHEN BADI KUME!", i.e. I salute you, I entertain you, I witness the marriage! The expression is particularly typical for Dobrudja, i.e. exactly that part of Bulgaria, which was once most densely populated by the Proto-Bulgarians.

There are two more words by which the Bulgarians expressed their joy and which resemble those from the stones of Pliska. In the Bulgarian folk songs frequently appears the expression OI TE TEBE or JOI TE TEBE, which sounds somewhat strange to us. It is, however, perfectly comprehensible to the Iranian peoples. It is used for addressing high-standing, admired personalities or sacred articles. JOI literally means "dear, precious" in the eastern Iranian languages, and JOITE - "I love you, I admire you". The Bulgarian folk songs also frequently have the call HEI - a typically Bulgarian and at the same time a typical eastern Iranian expression. In some areas of Bulgaria is also used the expression "ESH" or "ESEI", which resembles the word EHSH. EHSH is characteristic for the Iranian peoples, and ESH appears at the inscriptions of Pliska.

In the ancient world the sun embodied the divinity of life and joy. The sun was addressed by the priests of almost all eastern peoples during the moments of ecstasy. From it they received the blessing for all important enterprises - weddings, buildings of fortresses, wine-growing and agriculture. Therefore, SHO JUI most probably meant "Make you happy, sun!", HE JUI - "Rejoice, dance sun!", IHSH JUI - "Love us, sun!", JO JUI - "Oh, dear sun!" and JUI DOANU - "Sun, I swear to you!" or "Sun, to you I address my prayer!".

With no doubt, all these inscriptions were addressing the same divinity, called JUI and it could be only the sun. JUI is related to the old Sumerian name of the sun and to the Elamic symbol U, but another interesting point is that according to the excellent connoisseur of the old-Indian culture V. Evtimov (see V. Evtimov, Yoga, S., 1992, p. 16), JUI meant a "union with God" in the oldest work in Sanskrit - the Vedas.

That the Proto-Bulgarians worshipped the sun is reported in the Xth c. "Shestodnev" ('The Six days') of John Exarch. Now we see the words by which the believes were expressed. A special Bulgarian festive bread recalls this old Bulgarian belief, it still contains the three characters of the word JUI. The meaning of symbols on the bread is "Bless us, sun!" The Arab writer el-Balhi reports that the highest God of the old Bulgars was called EDFU. It is close to the eastern Iranian JAD, JED (festive, sunny), and can be translated as Solar God. It must be stresses that both words EDFU and TANGRA (discovered by V. Beshevliev on a Proto-Bulgarian inscription) are Sumerian in origin. The first word originates from the Sumerian terms U (sun) and UD (a holiday), the second one has its roots in the Sumerian Dingir - God, from which a whole series of derivatives sprung out: for example the Celtic words tingir (I swear before God) and tigarna (God), the eastern Iranian word tagra (healthy, blessed by God), and other designations connected in a number of languages with fire and thunderstorms - tandra (lightning) in Sarikoli, tenior (ignited) in Celtic, Donner (thunder) in German etc. Because of the old origin the Sumerian dingir and and the Iranian tandra (possession) spread also among the Altaic peoples, which misled many authors to believe that the Proto-Bulgarians worshipped God with a Turkic word. The Turkic languages, however, cannot correctly explain the meaning of 'Tangra', while the Iranian and Celtic languages prove us that it meant "God of the fire and the thunder".

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