Bulgars (also Bulghars, Bulgari, Bolgars, Bolghars, Bolgari,
pre-Bulgarians, Proto-Bulgarians) were Turkic semi-nomadic warrior
tribes that flourished in the
Pontic-Caspian steppe and the Volga
region during the 7th century. Emerging as nomadic equestrians in the
Volga-Ural region, according to some researchers their roots can be
traced to Central Asia. During their westward migration across the
Eurasian steppe the
Bulgars absorbed other ethnic groups and cultural
influences, including Hunnic and Indo-European
peoples. Modern genetic research on Central Asian
Turkic people and ethnic groups related to the
Bulgars points to an
affiliation with Western Eurasian populations. The Bulgars
spoke a Turkic language, i.e.
Bulgar language of Oghuric branch.
They preserved the military titles, organization and customs of
Eurasian steppes, as well as pagan shamanism and belief in the sky
Bulgars became semi-sedentary during the 7th century in the
Pontic-Caspian steppe, establishing the polity of Old Great Bulgaria
c. 635, which was absorbed by the
Khazar Empire in 668 AD.
In c. 679, Khan Asparukh conquered Scythia Minor, opening access to
Moesia, and established the First Bulgarian Empire, where the Bulgars
became a political and military elite. They merged subsequently with
established Byzantine populations, as well as with previously
settled here Slavic tribes, and were eventually Slavicized, thus
forming the ancestors of modern Bulgarians.
The remaining Pontic
Bulgars migrated in the 7th century to the Volga
River, where they founded the
Volga Bulgaria; they preserved their
identity well into the 13th century. The
Volga Tatars and Chuvash
people claim to be originated from the
1 Etymology and origin
2.1 Turkic migration
2.2 Old Great Bulgaria
2.3 Subsequent migrations
2.4 Bulgarian empires
3.1 Social structure
5.1 Anthropology and genetics
7 See also
9 Further reading
10 External links
Etymology and origin
The etymology of the ethnonym Bulgar is not completely understood and
difficult to trace back earlier than the 4th century AD. Since
the work of
Wilhelm Tomaschek (1873), it is generally said to be
derived from the Common Turkic bulğha, bulga- or bulya ("to mix"; "to
become mixed"), which with the consonant suffix -r implies a noun
meaning "mixed". Other scholars have added that bulğha might
also imply "stir", "disturb", "confuse". and Talat Tekin
interpreted bulgar as the verb form "mixing" (i.e. rather than the
noun "mixed"). Both Gyula Németh and Peter Benjamin Golden
initially advocated the "mixed race" theory, but later, like Paul
Pelliot, considered that "to incite", "rebel", or "to produce a
state of disorder", i.e. the "disturbers", was a more
likely etymology for migrating nomads. According to Osman
Karatay, if the "mixed" etymology relied on the westward migration of
the Oğur (Oghurs), meeting and merging with the Huns, north of the
Black Sea, it was a faulty theory, since the Oghurs were documented in
Europe as early as 463, while the
Bulgars were not mentioned until 482
– an overly short time period for any such ethnogenesis to
occur. However, the "mixing" in question may have occurred before
Bulgars migrated from further east, and scholars such as Sanping
Chen have noted analogous groups in Inner Asia, with phonologically
similar names, who were frequently described in similar terms: during
the 4th Century, the Buluoji (
Middle Chinese b'uo-lak-kiei), a
component of the "Five Barbarian" groups in Ancient China, were
portrayed as both a "mixed race" and "troublemakers". Peter A.
Boodberg noted that the Buluoji in the Chinese sources were recorded
as remnants of the
Xiongnu confederation, and had strong Caucasian
Another theory linking the
Bulgars to a
Turkic people of Inner Asia
has been put forward by Boris Simeonov, who identified them with the
Pugu (僕骨; buk/buok kwət; Buqut), a Tiele and/or Toquz Oguz
tribe. The Pugu were mentioned in Chinese sources from 103 BC
up to the 8th century AD, and later were situated among the
eastern Tiele tribes, as one of the highest-ranking tribes after the
Uyghurs. According to the Chronicle by Michael the Syrian, which
comprises several historical events of different age into one story,
three mythical Scythian brothers set out on a journey from the
mountain Imaon (Tian Shan) in Asia and reached the river Tanais (Don),
the country of the
Alans called Barsalia, which would be later
inhabited by the
Bulgars and the Pugurs (Puguraje).
Onoğur and Bulgar were linked by later Byzantine sources
for reasons that are unclear. Karatay interpreted gur/gor
as "country", and noted the Tekin derivation of gur from the Altaic
suffix -gir, which is related to the word yir, meaning "earth,
place". Generally, modern scholars consider the terms oğuz or
oğur, as generic terms for Turkic tribal confederations, to be
derived from Turkic *og/uq, meaning "kinship or being akin to".
The terms initially were not the same, as oq/ogsiz meant "arrow",
while oğul meant "offspring, child, son", oğuš/uğuš was "tribe,
clan", and the verb oğša-/oqša meant "to be like, resemble".
There also appears to be an etymological association between the
Bulgars and the preceding
Kutrigur (Kuturgur > Quturğur >
*Toqur(o)ğur < toqur; "nine" in Proto-Bulgaric; toquz in Common
Utigur (Uturgur > Uturğur < utur/otur; "thirty" in
Proto-Bulgaric; otuz in Common Turkic) – as 'Oğur (Oghur) tribes,
with the ethnonym Bulgar as a "spreading" adjective[vague][further
explanation needed]. Golden considered the origin of the Kutrigurs
and Utigurs to be obscure and their relationship to the Onogurs and
Bulgars – who lived in similar areas at the same time – as
unclear. He noted, however, an implication that the Kutrigurs
and Utigurs were related to the Šarağur (šara oğur, shara oghur;
"white oğhurs"), and that according to
Procopius these were
Hunnish tribal unions, of partly Cimmerian descent. Karatay
considered the Kutrigurs and Utigurs to be two related, ancestral
people, and prominent tribes in the later Bulgar union, but different
from the Bulgars.
Among many other theories regarding the etymology of Bulgar, the
following have also had limited support.
an Eastern Germanic root meaning "combative" (i.e. cognate with the
Latin pugnax), according to D. Detschev;
the Latin burgaroi – a Roman term mercenaries stationed in burgi
("forts") on the limes (G. A. Keramopulos);
an Indo-European or Turkic root shared with the river
Turkic yiylga, "moisture"), and/or
a reconstructed but unattested early Turkic term meaning "five
oğhur", such as *bel-gur or *bil-gur (Zeki Velidi Togan).
Turkic migration and Huns
Bulgars subsequent migrations from
Central Asia and Western Eurasia to
The origin of the early
Bulgars is still unclear. Their homeland is
believed to be situated in
Kazakhstan and the North Caucasian steppes.
Interaction with the Hunnic tribes, causing the migration, may have
occurred there, but the
Pontic–Caspian steppe seems a more likely
The first clear mention and evidence of the
Bulgars was in the 480,
when they served as the allies of the Byzantine Emperor Zeno
(474–491) against the Ostrogoths. Anachronistic references about
them can also be found in the 7th-century geography work
Ashkharatsuyts by Anania Shirakatsi, where the Kup'i Bulgar, Duč'i
Bulkar, Olxontor Błkar and immigrant Č'dar Bulkar tribes are
mentioned as being in the North Caucasian-Kuban steppes. An
obscure reference to
Ziezi ex quo Vulgares, with
Ziezi being an
offspring of Biblical Shem, is in the Chronography of 354.
According to D. Dimitrov, the 5th-century
History of Armenia
History of Armenia by Movses
Khorenatsi speaks about two migrations of the Bulgars, from Caucasus
to Armenia. The first migration is mentioned in the association with
the campaign of Armenian ruler Valarshak (probably Varazdat) to the
lands "named Basen by the ancients... and which were afterwards
populated by immigrants of the vh' ndur Bulgar Vund, after whose name
they (the lands) were named Vanand". The second migration took place
during the time of the ruler Arshak III, when "great disturbances
occurred in the range of the great
Caucasus mountain, in the land of
the Bulgars, many of whom migrated and came to our lands and settled
south of Kokh". Both migrations are dated to the second half of the
4th century AD. The "disturbances" which caused them are believed to
be the expansion of the
Huns in the East-European steppes. Dimitrov
recorded that the toponyms of the Bolha and Vorotan rivers,
tributaries of the Aras river, are known as Bolgaru-chaj and
Vanand-chaj, and could confirm the Bulgar settlement of Armenia.
Around 463 AD, the
Akatziroi and other tribes that had been part of
the Hunnic union were attacked by the Šarağurs, one of the first
Oğuric Turkic tribes that entered the Ponto-Caspian steppes as the
result of migrations set off in Inner Asia. According to Priscus,
in 463 the representatives of Šarağur, Oğur and
Onoğur came to the
Emperor in Constantinople, and explained they had been driven out
of their homeland by the Sabirs, who had been attacked by the
Avars. This tangle of events indicates that the Oğuric tribes are
related to the Ting-ling and Tiele people. It seems that Kutrigurs
and Unigurs arrived with the initial waves of Oğuric peoples entering
the Pontic steppes. The
Bulgars were not mentioned in 463.
The account by
Paul the Deacon
Paul the Deacon in his
History of the Lombards
History of the Lombards (8th
century) says that at the beginning of the 5th century in the
North-Western slopes of the
Carpathians the Vulgares killed the
Lombard king Agelmund. Scholars attribute this account to the
Huns, Avars or some Bulgar groups were probably carried
away by the
Huns to the Central Europe. The Lombards, led by
their new king Laimicho, rose up and defeated the
Bulgars with great
slaughter, gaining great booty and confidence as they "became
bolder in undertaking the toils of war." The defeated
became subjects of the
Lombards and later migrated in Italy with their
king Alboin. When the army of Ostrogoth chieftain Theodoric Strabo
grew to 30,000-men strong, it was felt as a menace to Byzantine
Emperor Zeno, who somehow managed to convince the
Bulgars to attack
the Thracian Goths. The
Bulgars were eventually defeated by Strabo
in 480/481. In 486 and 488 they fought against the Goths again,
first as allies of the Byzantium, according to Magnus Felix
Ennodius, and later as allies of the Gepids, according to Paul the
Deacon. However, when
Theoderic the Great
Theoderic the Great with
for Italy in 489, the Illyricum and Thrace were open for Bulgar
In 493, according to Marcellinus Comes, they defeated and killed
magister militum Julian. In 499, crossed
Danube and reached Thrace
where on the banks of the river Tzurta (considered a tributary of
Maritsa) defeated 15,000 men strong Roman army led by magister
militum Aristus. In 502,
Bulgars again devastated Thrace as
reportedly there were no Roman soldiers to oppose them. In
528–529 again invaded the region and defeated Roman generals Justin
and Baduarius. However, Gothic general, Mundus, offered allegiance
to the Emperor
Justinian I (527–565) in 530, and managed to kill
Bulgars plundering Thrace.
John Malalas recorded that in the
battle was captured Bulgar warlord. In 535, magister militum
Sittas defeated the Bulgar army at the river Yantra.
Procopius identified the
Bulgars with the Huns
in a 6th-century literary topos, in which
Ennodius referred to a
captured Bulgar horse as "equum Huniscum". In 505, the alleged
10,000 Hun horsemen in the Sabinian army, which was defeated by the
Ostrogoths, are believed to be the Bulgars. In 515, Bulgar
mercenaries were listed along with others from the Goths, Scythians
and Hunnic tribes as part of the Vitalian army. In 539, two Hunnic
"kinglets" defeated two Roman generals during the raid into Scythia
Minor and Moesia. A Roman army led by magister militum
Constantiolus intercepted and defeated them in Thrace, however,
another raiding party ambushed and captured two Roman generals. In
539 and 540,
Procopius reported a powerful Hunnic army crossed the
Danube, devastated Illyricum and reached up to the Anastasian
Wall. Such large distances covered in short time indicate they
Jordanes described, in his work
Getica (551), the Pontic steppe beyond
the Acatziri, above the Pontic Sea, as the habitat of the Bulgari,
"whom the evils of our sins have made famous". In this region, the
Hunni divided into two tribes: the Altziagiri (who trade and live next
to Cherson) and Saviri, while the Hunuguri (believed to be the
Onoğurs) were notable for the marten skin trade. In the
Middle Ages, marten skin was used as a substitute for minted
The Syriac translation of the Pseudo–Zacharias Rhetor's
Ecclesiastical History (c. 555) in Western Eurasia records:
"The land Bazgun... extends up to the Caspian Gates and to the sea,
which are in the Hunnish lands. Beyond the gates live the Burgars
(Bulgars), who have their language, and are people pagan and
barbarian. They have towns. And the
Alans - they have five towns...
Avnagur (Aunagur, considered Onoğurs) are people, who live in tents".
Then he records thirteen tribes, the wngwr (Onoğur), wgr (Oğur), sbr
(Sabir), bwrgr (Burğar=Bulğar), kwrtrgr (Kutriğur), br (Abar/Avar),
ksr (unknown, Kasar/Kasir/Akatzir), srwrgwr (Sarurgur=Šarağur),
dyrmr (unknown, Dirmar=Ιτίγαροι), b'grsyq (Bagrasir=Barsils),
kwls (unknown, Xwâlis), bdl (Abdel=Hephthalite), and ftlyt
(Hephthalite, aka White Huns). They are described in typical phrases
reserved for nomads in the ethnographic literature of the period, as
people who "live in tents, earn their living on the meat of livestock
and fish, of wild animals and by their weapons (plunder)".
Agathias (c. 579–582) wrote:
...all of them are called in general
Huns in particular
according to their nation. Thus, some are Koutrigours or Outigours and
yet others are Oultizurs and Bourougounds... the Oultizurs and
Bourougounds were known up to the time of the Emperor Leo (457–474)
and the Romans of that time and appeared to have been strong. We,
however, in this day, neither know them, nor, I think, will we.
Perhaps, they have perished or perhaps they have moved off to very far
According to D. Dimitrov, scholars partially managed to identify and
locate the Bulgar groups mentioned in the Armenian Ashkharatsuyts. The
Olxontor Błkar is one of the variations used for the Onoğurs
Bulgars, while others could be related to the ancient river names,
such as the Kup'i Bulgar and the Kuban (Kuphis). The Duč'i could read
Kuchi Bulkar and as such could be related to the
However, the Č'dar Bulkar location is unclear. Dimitrov theorized
that the differences in the Bulgar ethnonym could be due to the
dialect differentiations in their language.
By the middle of the 6th century, the
Bulgars momentarily fade from
the sources and the Kutrigurs and Utigurs come to the front.
Between 548 and 576, mostly due to
Justinian I (527–565), through
diplomatic persuasion and bribery the Kutrigurs and Utigurs were drawn
into mutual warfare, decimating one another. In the end, the Kutrigurs
were overwhelmed by the Avars, while the Utigurs came under the rule
of the Western Turks.
The Oğurs and Onoğurs, in the 6th- and 7th-century sources, were
mentioned mostly in connection with the Avar and Turk conquest of
Western Eurasia. From the 8th century, the Byzantine sources often
mention the Onoğurs in close connection with the Bulgars. Agathon
(early 8th century) wrote about the nation of Onoğurs Bulğars.
Nikephoros I (early 9th century) noted that
Kubrat was the lord of the
Onoğundurs; his contemporary Theophanes referred to them as
Constantine VII (mid-10th century) remarked
that the Bulğars formerly called themselves Onoğundurs. This
association was previously mirrored in Armenian sources, such as the
Ashkharatsuyts, which refers to the Olxontor Błkar, and the 5th
century History by Movses Khorenatsi, which includes an additional
comment from a 9th-century writer about the colony of the Vłĕndur
Bułkar. Marquart and Golden connected these forms with the Iġndr
(*Uluġundur) of Ibn al-Kalbi (c. 820), the Vnndur (*Wunundur) of
Hudud al-'Alam (982), the Wlndr (*Wulundur) of
century) and Hungarian name for Belgrad Nándor Fejérvár, the nndr
(*Nandur) of Gardīzī (11th century) and *Wununtur in the letter by
Khazar King Joseph. All the forms show the phonetic changes
typical of later Oğuric (prothetic v-).
Scholars consider it unclear how this union came about, viewing it as
a long process in which a number of different groups were
merged. During that time, the
Bulgars may have represented a
large confederation including the remnants of Onoğurs, Utigurs and
Kutrigurs among others.
Old Great Bulgaria
Main article: Old Great Bulgaria
The migration of the
Bulgars after the fall of
Old Great Bulgaria
Old Great Bulgaria in
the 7th century.
The Turk rule weakened sometime after 600, allowing the Avars to
reestablish the control over the region. As the Western Turkic
Khaganate declined, finally collapsing in the middle of the 7th
century, it was against Avar rule that the Bulgars, recorded as
Onoğundur–Bulğars, reappeared. They revolted under
Kubrat (c. 635), who seems to have been prepared by
Heraclius (610–641) against the Sasanian–Avar alliance. With his
Organa in 619,
Kubrat had been baptized in
Constantinople. He founded the Old Great Bulgaria
(Magna Bulgaria), also known as Onoğundur–Bulğars state, or
Patria Onoguria in the
Little is known about Kubrat's activities. It is considered that
Bulgars remained the only steppe tribes in good relations with
the Byzantines. His date of death is placed between 650 and 663
AD. According to Nikephoros I,
Kubrat instructed his five sons to
"never separate their place of dwelling from one another, so that by
being in concordance with one another, their power might
Subsequent events proved
Old Great Bulgaria
Old Great Bulgaria to be only a loose tribal
union, as there emerged a rivalry between the
Khazars and the Bulgars
over Turk patrimony and dominance in the Pontic–Caspian
steppe. Some historians consider the war an extension of the
Western Turks struggle, between the Nushibi tribes and Ashina clan,
who led the Khazars, and the Duolu/Tu-lu tribes, which some scholars
associated with the Dulo clan, from which
Kubrat and many Bulgar
rulers originated. The
Khazars were ultimately victorious and
parts of the Bulgar union broke up.
Map of the Bulgar necropolises on the Lower
It is unclear whether the parting ways by brothers was caused by the
internal conflicts or strong
Khazar pressure. The latter is
considered more likely. The
Bulgars led by the first two brothers
Kotrag remained in the Pontic steppe zone, where they
were known as Black
Bulgars by Byzantine and Rus sources, and became
Khazar vassals. The
Bulgars led by
Kotrag migrated to the
Volga region during the 7th and 9th centuries, where they
Volga Bulgaria, with
Bolghar as its capital. According
Ahmad ibn Rustah (10th century), the
Bulgars were divided
into three branches: "the first branch was called Bersula (Barsils),
the second Esegel, and the third Bulgar". In 922 they accepted
Islam as the official religion. They preserved their national
identity well into the 13th century by repelling the first Mongol
attacks in 1223. They were eventually subdued by the Mongols in
1237. They gradually lost their identity after 1431 when their
towns and region were captured by the Russians.
The third and most famous son, Asparukh, according to Nikephoros I:
crossed the river Danapros and Danastros, lived in the locale around
the Ister, having occupied a place suitable for settlement, called in
their language ογγλον (ogglon; Slav. o(n)gl, "angle, corner";
Turk. agyl, "yard")... The people having been divided and
scattered, the tribe of the Khazars, from within Berulia (Bessarabia),
which neighbors with Sarmatia, attacked them with impunity. They
overran all the lands lying behind the Pontos Euxeinos and penetrated
to the sea. After this, having made Bayan a subject, they forced him
to pay tribute.
Asparukh, according to the Pseudo–Zacharias Rhetor, "fled from the
Khazars out of the Bulgarian mountains". In the
Khazar ruler Joseph's
letter is recorded "in the country in which I live, there formerly
lived the Vununtur (< Vunundur < Onoğundur). Our ancestors, the
Khazars warred with them. The Vununtur were more numerous, as numerous
as the sand by the sea, but they could not withstand the Khazars. They
left their country and fled... until they reached the river called
This migration and the foundation of the
Danube Bulgaria (the First
Bulgarian Empire) is usually dated c. 679. The composition of
the horde is unknown, and sources only mention tribal names Čakarar,
Kubiar, Küriger, and clan names Dulo, Ukil/Vokil, Ermiyar, Ugain and
Duar. The Onglos where
Bulgars settled is considered northern
Dobruja, secured to the West and North by
Danube and its Delta, and
bounded to the East by the Black Sea. They re-settled in
North-Eastern Bulgaria, between
Shumen and Varna, including Ludogorie
plateau and southern Dobruja. The distribution of pre-Christian
burial assemblages in Bulgaria and Romania is considered as the
indication of the confines of the Bulgar settlement.
In the Balkans they merged with the Slavs and other autochthonous
Romance and Greek speaking population, like the
Vlachs, becoming a political and military elite. However, the
influence of the pre-Slavic population had relatively little influence
on the Slavs and Bulgars, indicating their population was reduced in
previous centuries. The hinterlands of the Byzantine territory
were for years occupied by many groups of Slavs. According to
Bulgars subjugated the so-called Seven Slavic tribes,
of which the Severeis were re-settled from the pass of Beregaba or
Veregava, most likely the
Rish Pass of the Balkan Mountains, to the
East, while the other six tribes to the Southern and Western regions
as far the boundary with the Pannonian Avars. Scholars consider
that the absence of any source recording the Slavic resistance to the
invasion was because it was in their interest to be liberated from the
Byzantine taxation. It is considered that the Slavic tribal
organization was left intact, and paid tribute to the ruling
According to Nikephoros I and Theophanes, an unnamed fourth brother,
believed to be Kuber, "having crossed the river Ister, resides in
Pannonia, which is now under the sway of the Avars, having made an
alliance with the local peoples".
Kuber later led a revolt against the
Avars and with his people moved as far as the region of Thessaloniki
in Greek Macedonia.
The fifth brother, reported by Nikephoros I and Theophanes, "settling
in the five Ravennate cities became a subject of the Romans". This
brother is believed to be Alcek, who after a stay in Avar territory
left and settled in Italy, in Sepino,
Bojano and Isernia. These
Bulgars preserved their speech and identity until the late 8th
First Bulgarian Empire
First Bulgarian Empire and Second Bulgarian Empire
First Bulgarian Empire
First Bulgarian Empire (681–1018) had a significant political
influence in the Balkans. In the time of Tervel (700–721) the
Bulgars helped Byzantines two times, in 705 the Emperor Justinian II
to regain his throne, and 717–718 defeating the Arabs during the
siege of Constantinople. Sevar (738–753) was the last ruler from
the Dulo clan, and the period until c. 768-772 was characterized by
the Byzantino-Bulgar conflict and internal crisis. In the short
period followed seven rulers from the
Uokil and Ugain clan.
Telerig (768–777) managed to establish a pacific policy with
Byzantium, and restore imperial power.
During the reign of Khan
Krum (803-814), the Empire doubled its size,
including new lands in Macedonia and Serbia. He also successfully
repelled the invading force of the Byzantines, as well defeated the
Pannonian Avars where additionally extended the Empire size.
In 865, during the reign of Khan
Boris I (852–889), the Bulgars
Christianity as the official religion, and Eastern Orthodoxy
in 879. The greatest expansion of the Empire and prosperity during
the time of Simeon I (893–927) is considered as the Bulgarian Golden
Age. However, from the time of Peter I (927–969) their power
declined. The Hungarians,
Kievan Rus' Slavs, as well
Cumans held many raids into their territory, and so weakened were
eventually conquered in 1018 by the Byzantine Empire.
In 1185, the
Vlachs held a revolt against the Byzantine
Empire, and helped by the settled
Cumans from Hungary, created the
Second Bulgarian Empire
Second Bulgarian Empire (1186–1396) ruled by the Asen dynasty
(1187–1280). From 1280 till 1322 periodically ruled the
Terter dynasty, and from 1323 till 1396 the Shishman dynasty, all the
three of Cuman origin. In 1396, the
Bulgarians were conquered by
the Ottoman Turks, and only in 1878 established an autonomous
principality, while in 1908 declared independence.
The Madara Rider, an example of Bulgar art in Bulgaria, dated to the
beginning of the 8th century
Bulgars had the typical culture of the nomadic equestrians of Central
Asia, who migrated seasonally in pursuit of good pastures, as well
attraction to economic and cultural interaction with sedentary
societies. Being in contact with sedentary cultures, they began
mastering the crafts of blacksmithing, pottery, and carpentry. The
politically dominant tribe or clan usually gave its name to the tribal
confederation. Such confederations were often encouraged by the
Imperial powers, for whom it was easier to deal with one ruler than
several tribal chieftains.
In nomadic society the tribes were political organizations based on
kinship, with diffused power. Tribes developed according to the
relation with sedentary states, and only managed to conquer them when
had social cohesion. If the raiding by the nomads had negative
effect on the economic development of the region it could
significantly slow down their own social and cultural
development. In a nomadic state the nomad and sedentary
integration was limited, and usually had vassal tribute system.
Bulgars arrived in the Balkan their first generations
probably still lived a nomadic life in yurts, but they quickly adopted
the sunken-featured building of rectangular plan and sedentary or
seasonal lifestyle of the Slavs and autochthonous population. The
Bulgar and Slavic settlements cannot be distinguished other than by
the type of biritual cemeteries.
The Bulgars, at least the Danubian Bulgars, had a well-developed clan
and military administrative system of "inner" and "outer" tribes,
governed by the ruling clan. They had many titles, and according
Steven Runciman the distinction between titles which represented
offices and mere ornamental dignities was somewhat vague.
Maenchen-Helfen theorized that the titles of the steppe peoples did
not reflect the ethnicity of their bearers. According to Magnus
Felix Ennodius, the
Bulgars did not have nobility, yet their leaders
and common men became noblemen on the battle field, indicating social
mobility. Tribute-paying sedentary vassals, such as the Slavs
and Greek-speaking population, formed a substantial and important part
of the khanate's maintenance.
The ruler title in Bulgar inscriptions was khan/kana. A
counterpart of the Greek phrase ὁ ἐκ Θεοῦ ἄρχων (ho ek
Theou archon) was also common in Bulgar inscriptions. The kavhan
was the second most important title in the realm, seemingly
chief official. Some Bulgar inscriptions, written in Greek and
later in Slavonic, refer to the Bulgarian rulers respectively with the
Greek title archon, or the Slavic titles knyaz and tsar.
There are several possible interpretations for the ruler title, kana
sybigi, mentioned in six inscriptions by the Khan Omurtag and two by
Malamir. Among the proposed translations for sybigi or
subigi are "lord of the army", from the reconstructed Turkic
phrase syu-beg (army master) paralleling the attested Orkhon Turkic
syubashi. Runciman and
J. B. Bury
J. B. Bury considered ubige or uvege to be
related to the Cuman-Turkic öweghü (high, glorious);
"bright, luminous, heavenly"; and more recently "(ruler)
from God", from the Indo-European *su- and baga-, i.e.
Florin Curta noted the resemblance in the use of the
kana sybigi with the Byzantine name and title basileus.
Members of the upper social class bore the title boila (later
boyar). The nobility was divided onto small and great
boilas. In the 10th century, there were three classes of
boyars: the six great boilas, the outer boilas, and the inner
boilas, while in the mid-9th century there were
twelve great boyars. The great boilas occupied military and
administrative offices in the state, as well the council where
they gathered for decisions on important matters of
Bagaïns were the lesser class of the nobility, probably a
military class which also participated in the council.
The title bagatur, once as bogotor, is found in several instances
within the inscriptions. It derives from Turkish bagadur
(hero) and was a high military rank. The Bulgarian
military commander who was defeated by the Croats in the Battle of the
Bosnian Highlands (926) was called Alogobotur, which is actually
a title comprised by alo (considered Turkic alp, alyp; chief) and
There are several title associations with uncertain meaning, such as
boila kavkhan, ičirgu boila, kana boila qolovur, bagatur bagain, biri
bagain, setit bagain and ik bagain.
Kolober (or qolovur), a rank title, is cited in two inscriptions,
and it derives from the Turkish term for a guide, golaghuz.
The title župan, also once as kopan in the inscriptions, was
often mentioned together with the bearer's name. They were
traditionally seen as Slavic chiefs. It seems to have meant "head
of a clan-district", as among the
South Slavs (Croats, Serbs) where it
was more widely used, it meant "head of a tribe" with a high district
and court function.
The title tarkhan probably represented a high military rank, similar
to the Byzantine strategos, of the military governor of a
province. The variations kalutarkan and buliastarkan are
considered to be officers at the head of the tarkans. Curta
interpreted the title zhupan tarqan as "tarqan of (all the)
Although it was not recorded on inscriptions, the title sampses is
considered to be related to the royal court. The title tabare or
iltabare, which derives from the old Turkish ältäbär, like sampses
is not mentioned on inscriptions, but is related to the legates and
Anastasius Bibliothecarius listed Bulgarian legates at the Council
at Constantinople in 869–870. They were mentioned as Stasis,
Cerbula, Sundica (vagantur=bagatur), Vestranna (iltabare),
Praestizisunas (campsis), and Alexius Hunno (sampsi).
Very little is known about the religion of the Bulgars, but
it is believed to have been monotheistic. In Greek language
inscriptions from pagan
Danube Bulgaria, Bulgar monarchs describe
themselves as "ruler from God", indicating authority
from a divine origin, and making an appeal to the deity's
omniscience. Presian's inscription from
When someone seeks the truth, God sees. And when someone lies, God
sees that too. The
Bulgars did many favors to the Christians
(Byzantines), but the Christians forgot them. But God sees.
It is traditionally assumed that the God in question was the Turkic
supreme sky deity, Tengri. In the Chinese transcription as
zhenli, and Turkic as Tangara and Tengeri, it represents the oldest
known Turco-Mongolian word.
Tengri may have originated in the
Xiongnu confederacy, which settled on the frontiers of China in the
2nd century BC. The confederacy probably had both pre-Turkic and
pre-Mongolian ethnic elements. In modern Turkish, the word for
god, Tanri, derives from the same root.
Tengrism apparently engaged various shamanic practices. According
to Mercia MacDermott, Tangra was the male deity connected with sky,
light and the Sun. The cult incorporated Tangra's female
equivalent and principle goddess, Umay, the deity of fertility.
The ypsilon sign between two bars () which can be frequently found in
early medieval Bulgaria is associated with deity Tangra. However, its
exact meaning and use remains unknown. The most sacred creatures
to Tangra were horses and eagles, particularly white horses.
Broze amulets with representations of the Sun, horses and other
animals were found at Bulgar archeological sites. This
could explain the variety of
Bulgars taboos, including those about
Ravil Bukharaev believed that such an autocratic and monotheistic
religion—henotheism, as seen in the report by Ahmad ibn Fadlan
(10th century) about the Oghuz Turks, kindred to the Bulgars,
made the acceptance of
Islam more natural and easier in Volga
If someone trouble befalls any of them or there happens any unlucky
incident, they look out into the sky and summon: "Ber Tengre!". In the
Turkish language, that means, "by the One and Only God!".
Another mention of
Tengri is on the severely damaged Greek inscription
found on a presumed altar stone near Madara, tentatively
deciphered as "Khan sybigi Omurtag, ruler from god...was...and made
sacrifice to god Tangra...itchurgu boila...gold". An Ottoman
manuscript recorded that the name of God, in Bulgarian, was
A piece of ethnographic evidence which has been invoked to support the
belief that the
Bulgars worshipped Tengri/Tangra is the relative
similarity of the name "Tengri" to "Tură", the name of the supreme
deity of the traditional religion of the Chuvash people, who are
traditionally regarded as descendants of the
Nevertheless, the Chuvash religion today is markedly different from
Tengrism and can be described as a local form of polytheism, due to
pagan beliefs of the forest dwellers of Finno-Ugric origin, who lived
in their vicinity, with some elements borrowed from Islam.
Paganism was closely connected with the old clan system, and the
remains of totemism and shamanism were preserved even after the
crossing of Danube. The
Shumen plate in the archaeological
literature is often associated with shamanism. In the 9th
century, it was recorded that before a battle the
Bulgars "used to
practice enchantments and jests and charms and certain
Liutprand of Cremona reported that Baian, son of
Simeon I (893–927), could through magicam didicisse transform into a
Clement of Ohrid
Clement of Ohrid reported the worship of fire and water by
the Bulgars, while in the 11th century Theophylact of Ohrid
remembered that before the Christianization the
Bulgars respected the
Sun, Moon and the stars, and sacrificed dogs to them.
Dulo clan had the dog as its sacred animal. To this
Bulgarians still use the expression "he kills the dog" to mean
"he gives the orders", a relic of the time when the Dulo Khan
sacrificed a dog to the deity Tangra. Remains of dog and deer
have been found in
Bulgars graves, and it seems the wolf also had a
special mythological significance. The
bi-ritual, either cremating or burying their dead, and
often interred them with personal objects (pottery, rarely weapons or
dress), food, and sacred animals.
Partial reconstruction of the Great Basilica in the first capital of
the Bulgarian Empire, Pliska.
Because of the cult of the Sun, the
Bulgars had a preference for the
south. Their main buildings and shrines faced south, as well their
yurts, which were usually entered from the south, although less often
from the east. Excavations showed that
Bulgars buried their dead on a
north-south axis, with their heads to the north so that the
deceased "faced" south. The Slavs practiced only cremation, the
remains were placed in urns, and like the Bulgars, with the conversion
Christianity inhumed the dead on west-east axis. The only
example of a mixed Bulgar-Slavic cemetery is in Istria near ancient
Histria, on the coast of the Black Sea.
D. Dimitrov has argued that the Kuban
Bulgars also adopted elements of
Iranian religious beliefs. He noticed Iranian influences on the cult
of the former Caucasian
Huns capital Varachan (Balanjar), making a
religious syncretism between the principal Turkic deity
Tengri and the
Iranian sun god Hvare. Dimitrov cited the work by V.A. Kuznetsov,
who considered the resemblance between the layout of the Zoroastrian
temples of fire and the Kuban Bulgar centre, Humarin citadel, situated
11 km to the north of the town Karachayevsk, where the pottery
belonged to the
Saltovo-Mayaki culture. Kuznecov also found a
connection in the plan of the
Bulgars sanctuaries at Pliska,
Veliki Preslav, and Madara. The architectural similarities
include two squares of ashlars inserted one into another, oriented
towards the summer sunrise. One of these sites was transformed
into a Christian church, which is taken as evidence that they served a
The view of the Parthian and Sasanian influence, which Franz Altheim
also argued, is considered debatable, showing the cultural impact of
the Iranian world on communities in the Pontic–Caspian steppe.
Many scholars believe that the square shape, with the North-South and
East-West axis of the Bulgar sacral monuments is very similar to those
of Turkic khagans in Mongolia. However, that the Bulgar residence
Palace of Omurtag
Palace of Omurtag were inspired by the Byzantine
architecture is considered indisputable.
Christianity had already begun to penetrate, probably via their Slavic
subjects, when it was adopted in the
First Bulgarian Empire
First Bulgarian Empire by
Boris I in 865 as a state religion. There was interest in
Islam as well, seen in the book Answers to the Questions of the King
of the Burgar addressed to him about
Islam and Unity by the Abbasid
Al-Ma'mun (813–833) for the Pontic/Bosporan Bulgars,
while it was officially adopted in
Volga Bulgaria as a state religion
Main article: Bulgar language
The reconstructed copy of
Chatalar Inscription by Khan Omurtag
(815-831). It is written in Greek, and top two lines read: "Kanasubigi
Omortag, in the land where he was born is archon by God. In the field
The origin and language of the
Bulgars has been the subject of debate
since around the start of the 20th century. It is generally accepted
that at least the Bulgar elite spoke a language that was a member of
the Oghur branch of the Turkic language family, alongside the now
Khazar and the solitary survivor of these languages,
According to P. Golden this association is apparent from the fragments
of texts and isolated words and phrases preserved in
inscriptions. In addition to language, their culture and
state structure retain many Central Asian features. Military and
hierarchical terms such as khan/qan, kanasubigi, qapağan, tarkan,
bagatur and boila appear to be of Turkic origin. The Bulgar
calendar within the
Nominalia of the Bulgarian khans
Nominalia of the Bulgarian khans had a twelve-year
animal cycle, similar to the one adopted by Turkic and Mongolian
peoples from the Chinese, with animal names and numbers deciphered as
Tengri (in Bulgar Tangra/Tengre) was their supreme
Bulgar inscriptions were written mostly in Greek or Cyrillic
characters, most commonly in Greek or Graeco-Bulgar, sometimes
with Slavic terms, thus allowing scholars to identify some of the
Bulgar glosses. Several Bulgar inscriptions were found in
Northeastern Bulgaria and parts of Romania, written in runes similar
to the Old Turkic alphabet; they apparently have a sacral
meaning. Altheim argued that the runes were brought into Europe
Central Asia by the Huns, and were an adapted version of the old
Sogdian alphabet in the Hunnic/Oghur Turkic language. The custom of
stone engravings are considered to have Sasanian, Turkic and Roman
Madara Rider resembles work of the Sasanian
rock relief tradition, but its actual masonry tradition and cultural
source is unknown.
Bulgars were unable to alter the predominantly Slavic
character of Bulgaria, seen in the toponymy and names of the
Pliska and Preslav. They preserved their own native
language and customs for about 200 years, but a bilingual period was
recorded since the 9th century. Golden argued that
Bulgar Turkic almost disappeared with the transition to Christianity
and Slavicization in the middle of the 9th century. When the
ruling class abandoned its native language and adopted Slavic,
according to Jean W. Sedlar, it was so complete that no trace of
Turkic speech patterns remained in Old Slavic texts. The
Bulgarian Christian Church used Slavic dialect from Macedonia.
Among Bulgarian academics, notably Petar Dobrev, a hypothesis
Bulgar language to the
Iranian languages (Pamir) has
been popular since the 1990s. Most proponents
still assume an intermediate stance, proposing certain signs of
Iranian influence on a Turkic substrate. The names
Asparukh and Bezmer from the Nominalia list, for example, were
established as being of Iranian origin. Other Bulgarian scholars
actively oppose the "Iranian hypothesis". According to
Raymond Detrez, the Iranian theory is rooted in the periods of
anti-Turkish sentiment in Bulgaria and is ideologically
The jug golden medallion, from the Treasure of Nagyszentmiklós,
depicts a warrior with his captive. Experts cannot agree if this
warrior represents a Khazar, Pannonian Avar, or Bulgar.
Due to the lack of definitive evidence, modern scholarship uses an
ethnogenesis approach in explaining the
Bulgars origin. More recent
theories view the nomadic confederacies, such as the Bulgars, as the
formation of several different cultural, political and linguistic
entities that could dissolve as quickly as they formed, entailing a
process of ethnogenesis.
According to Walter Pohl, the existential fate of the tribes and their
confederations depended on their ability to adapt to an environment
going through rapid changes, and to give this adaptation a credible
meaning rooted in tradition and ritual. Slavs and
because their form of organization proved as stable and as flexible as
necessary, while the
Pannonian Avars failed in the end because their
model could not respond to new conditions. Pohl wrote that members of
society's lower strata did not feel themselves to be part of any
large-scale ethnic group; the only distinct classes were within the
armies and the ruling elite.
Recent studies consider ethnonyms closely related with warrior elites
who ruled over a variety of heterogeneous groups. The groups
adopted new ideology and name as political designation, while the
elites claimed right to rule and royal descent through origin
When the Turkic tribes began to enter into the Pontic–Caspian steppe
in the Post-Hunnic era, or as early as the 2nd century AD, their
confederations incorporated an array of ethnic groups of newly joined
Turkic, Altaic-Turkic, Caucasian, Iranian, and Finno-Ugric
peoples. During their Western Eurasian migrations to the Balkans,
they also came into contact with Armenian, Semitic, Slavic, Thracian
and Anatolian Greek among other populations.
From the 6th to 8th centuries, distinctive Bulgar monuments of the
Sivashovka type were built upon ruins of the late Sarmatian culture of
the 2nd to 4th centuries AD, and the 6th century Penkovka culture
of the Antes and Slavs. Early medieval
Saltovo-Mayaki (an Alanic-based
culture) settlements in the
Crimea since the 8th century were
destroyed by the Pechengs during the 10th
Although the older Slavic-Iranian tribes were enveloped by the
widespread Turkic Empires of the Pontic–Caspian steppe, the
following centuries saw a complete disappearance of both the Iranian
and Turkic languages, indicating dominance of the Slavic language
among the common people.
Anthropology and genetics
Genetic and anthropological researches have shown that the tribes of
the Eurasian steppes were not always ethnically homogeneous, and were
often unions of multiple ethnicities. Skeletal remains from
Kazakhstan (Central Asia), excavated from different sites dating
between the 15th century BC to the 5th century AD, have been analyzed.
The distribution of east and west Eurasian lineages through time in
the region agrees with available archaeological information. Prior to
the 13th - 7th century BC, all samples belong to European lineages,
while later, an arrival of
East Asian sequences that coexisted with
the previous genetic substratum was detected. Hundreds of excavated
mummies in the
Tarim Basin (West China) have Caucasoid features,
revealing the presence of an ancient Caucasoid substratum in East
Asia. These findings are associated with the ancient
According to P. Golden, the Central Asian
Turkic peoples have multiple
points of origin and are a mixture of steppes ethnic groups. Eric
Hobsbawm considered the languages to be "almost always semi-artificial
constructs". Political processes, rather than linguistic, tribal
or ethnic elements, created new communities. Golden noted that
the Turkic tribes in the Western Eurasia since the 1st millennium BC
had contacts with Proto-Indo-Europeans. Those tribes were considered
by Golden to be the ancestors of the Oğuric Turks.
Recent blood and DNA studies of present-day populations in Central
Asia confirm the extreme genetic heterogeneity. The latest DNA
Turkic people in
Central Asia and Eastern Europe also
confirm genetic heterogeneity, indicating that the Turkic tribal
confederations included various haplogroups.
A comparative genetic study shows the
Bulgarians primarily represented
by the Western Eurasian Y haplogroups, with 40% belonging to
haplogroups E-V13 and I-M423, and 20% to R-M17 (R-M198 and R-M458).
Haplogroups common in the Middle East (J-M172, J-M267, and G-M201) and
in South Western Asia (R-L23*) occur at frequencies of 19% and 5%,
respectively. Haplogroups C, N and Q together occur at the negligible
frequency of only 1.5% among Bulgarians.
The DNA studies of the Chuvash people, who speak a Turkic language
(Chuvash), show that they are genetically related to Caucasians,
Mediterraneans, and Middle Easterners, partially Central or Northern
Europeans (Finno-Ugric), but with little Central Asian-Altaic gene
flow. The DNA studies of the Tatars,
Bashkirs and Russians in
Chelyabinsk Oblast show European and Finno-Ugric impact on the Tatars;
East Asian impact were reported for the Bashkirs.
Some aspects of genetic relationships were found between
Chuvashes, as well Bulgarians, which could support the view that the
Tatars may be descendents of ancient Bulgars. It is currently
unknown with which haplogroup the
Bulgars should be associated; some
scholars consider the possibility that only a cultural and low genetic
influence was brought into the region.
The paleoanthropological material from all sites in
Ukraine and Moldova attributed to the
Bulgars testify complex
ethno-cultural processes. The material shows the assimilation
between the local population and the migrating newcomers. In all
sites can be traced the anthropological type found in the Zlivka
necropolis near the village of Ilichevki, the district of Donetsk, of
brachiocranic Caucasoid with small
East Asian admixtures but with
Bulgar males being more
Mongoloid than females. Despite
the morphological proximity, there is a visible impact of the local
population, in the
Volga region of Finno-Ugric and ancient Turkic, in
Ukraine of Sarmatian-Alans, and in Moldova of Slavic people. The
comparative analysis showed large morphological proximity between the
medieval and modern population of the
Volga region. The examined
graves in Northern Bulgaria and Southern Romania showed different
somatic types, including Caucasoid-Mediterranean and less often East
The pre-Christian burial customs in Bulgaria indicate diverse social,
i.e. nomadic and sedentary, and cultural influences. In some
necropolises specific to the
Danube Bulgars, artificial deformation
was found in 80% of the skulls. The
Bulgars had a special type of
shamanic "medicine-men" who performed trepanations of the skull,
usually near the sagittal suture. This practice had a medical
application, as well as a symbolic purpose; in two cases the patient
had brain problems. According to Maenchen-Helfen and Rashev, the
artificial deformation of skulls, and other types of burial artifacts
Bulgars graves, are similar to those of the Sarmatians, and
Sarmatized Turks or Turkicized
Sarmatians of the post-Hunnic graves in
the Ukrainian steppe.
In modern ethnic nationalism there is some "rivalry for the Bulgar
legacy" (see Bulgarism). The
Volga Tatars and Chuvash people, are said
to be descended from the
Volga Bulgars, and there may have been
ethnogenic influences on the Bashkirs,
Karachays and Balkars
History of Bulgaria
Kingdom of Balhara
Medieval Bulgarian army
^ Waldman, Mason 2006, p. 106.
^ Shea, John. The Bulgars,
Christianity and Slavic text.
^ a b c d Hyun Jin Kim (2013). The Huns, Rome and the Birth of Europe.
Cambridge University Press. pp. 58–59, 150–155, 168, 204,
243. ISBN 9781107009066.
^ Golden 1992, p. 253, 256: "[Pontic Bulgars] With their Avar and
Türk political heritage, they assumed political leadership over an
array of Turkic groups, Iranians and Finno-Ugric peoples, under the
overlordship of the Khazars, whose vassals they remained." ... "The
Bulgars, whose Oguric ancestors ..."
^ McKitterick, Rosamond (1995). The New Cambridge Medieval History.
Cambridge University Press. p. 229. ISBN 9780521362924. The
exact ethnic origins of the Danubian
Bulgars is controversial. It is
in any case most probable that they had enveloped groupings of diverse
origins during their migration westwards across the Eurasian steppes,
and they undoubtedly spoke a form of Turkic as their main language.
Bulgars long retained many of the customs, military tactics,
titles and emblems of a nomadic people of the steppes.
^ Sophoulis 2011, pp. 65–66, 68–69: "The warriors who founded
the Bulgar state in the Lower
Danube region were culturally related to
the nomads of Eurasia. Indeed, their language was Turkic, and more
specifically Oğuric, as is apparent from the isolated words and
phrases preserved in a number of inventory inscriptions." ... "It is
generally believed that during their migration to the Balkans, the
Bulgars brought with them or swept along several other groups of
Eurasian nomads whose exact ethnic and linguistic affinities are
impossible to determine... Sarmato-Alanian origin... Slav or
Slavicized sedentary populations."
^ Brook 2006, p. 13: "Thus, the
Bulgars were actually a tribal
confederation of multiple Hunnic, Turkic, and Iranian groups mixed
^ "Bulgaria: Arrival of the Bulgars". Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.
Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved 3 June 2015. The name
Bulgaria comes from the Bulgars, a people who are still a matter of
academic dispute with respect to their origin (Turkic or
Indo-European) as well as to their influence on the ethnic mixture and
the language of present-day Bulgaria.
^ a b "Bulgar". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia
Britannica, Inc. Retrieved 3 June 2015. Although many scholars,
including linguists, had posited that the
Bulgars were derived from a
Turkic tribe of
Central Asia (perhaps with Iranian elements), modern
genetic research points to an affiliation with western Eurasian
^ a b Cenghiz, Ilhan (2015). "Y-DNA Haplogroups in Turkic People".
^ a b c Suslova; et al. (October 2012). "HLA gene and haplotype
frequencies in Russians,
Bashkirs and Tatars, living in the
Chelyabinsk Region (Russian South Urals)". International Journal of
Immunogenetics. Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 39 (5): 375–392.
doi:10.1111/j.1744-313X.2012.01117.x. PMID 22520580.
^ a b c Waldman, Mason 2006, p. 106–107.
^ Waldman, Mason 2006, p. 108–109.
^ a b Waldman, Mason 2006, p. 109.
^ a b c d e f g h i j k Waldman, Mason 2006, p. 108.
^ a b Golden 2011, p. 145, 158, 196.
^ Fiedler 2008, p. 151: "...ethnic symbiosis between Slavic
commoners and Bulgar elites of Turkic origin, who ultimately gave
their name to the Slavic-speaking Bulgarians."
^ a b Shnirelʹman 1996, p. 22–35.
^ Gurov, Dilian (March 2007). "The Origins of the Bulgars" (PDF).
^ Golden 1992, p. 103–104.
^ a b c Karatay 2003, p. 24.
^ Karatay 2003, p. 24, 27.
^ Chen 2012, p. 96.
^ a b c d e f g h i j k Bowersock, Brown, Grabar 1999, p. 354.
^ a b c d e Golden 2011, p. 143.
^ a b c Maenchen-Helfen 1973, p. 384.
^ Chen 2012, p. 97.
^ Leif Inge Ree Petersen (2013). Siege Warfare and Military
Organization in the Successor States (400-800 AD): Byzantium, the West
and Islam. Brill. p. 369. ISBN 9789004254466.
^ a b c d Golden 1992, p. 104.
^ Karatay 2003, p. 25.
^ Chen 2012, p. 92–95, 97.
^ Chen 2012, p. 83–90.
^ Chen 2012, p. 92–97.
^ a b Golden 2012, footnote 37.
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Chernomorie. kroraina.com. Varna.
^ a b D. Dimitrov (1987). "Sabirs, Barsils, Belendzheris, Khazars".
Prabylgarite po severnoto i zapadnoto Chernomorie. kroraina.com.
^ a b c d Golden 1992, p. 103.
^ Karatay 2003, p. 27.
^ a b Golden 1992, p. 96.
^ Golden 2012, p. 96.
^ a b c Golden 1992, p. 99.
^ Golden 2011, p. 140.
^ Golden 1992, p. 97, 99.
^ Karatay 2003, p. 24–29.
^ Karatay 2003, p. 28.
^ Golden 1992, p. 92–93, 103.
^ Golden 1992, p. 92–93.
^ Golden 1992, p. 92–93, 97.
^ Golden 1992, p. 93–95.
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^ Hist. gentis Lang., Ch. XVII.
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^ Maenchen-Helfen 1973, p. 164.
^ Maenchen-Helfen 1973, p. 421.
^ Curta 2015, p. 75–76.
^ a b c Curta 2015, p. 76.
^ Maenchen-Helfen 1973, p. 431.
^ a b Golden 1992, p. 98.
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^ Golden 1992, p. 100.
^ Golden 1992, p. 100–102.
^ Golden 1992, p. 102.
^ a b Golden 1992, p. 244.
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^ a b c d e f Golden 2011, p. 145.
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severnoto i zapadnoto Chernomorie. kroraina.com. Varna.
^ a b c Fiedler 2008, p. 152.
^ a b c d e f g Golden 1992, p. 245.
^ Somogyi, Péter (2008). "New remarks on the flow of Byzantine coins
in Avaria and Walachia during the second half of the seventh century".
In Curta, Florin; Kovalev, Roman. The Other Europe in the Middle Ages:
Khazars and Cumans. Brill. p. 104.
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^ Golden 1992, p. 245–246.
^ a b c D. Dimitrov (1987). "The Proto-
Bulgarians and the
Saltovo-Majack culture". Prabylgarite po severnoto i zapadnoto
Chernomorie. kroraina.com. Varna.
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^ Waldman, Mason 2006, p. 107.
^ Waldman, Mason 2006, p. 107–108.
^ D. Dimitrov (1987). "The migration of the Unogundur-
Asparukh from the lands of Azov to the Lower Danube". Prabylgarite po
severnoto i zapadnoto Chernomorie. kroraina.com. Varna.
^ a b c Golden 1992, p. 246.
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^ Fiedler 2008, p. 154–156.
^ Fine 1991, p. 68.
^ a b Sedlar 2011, p. 16.
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