Pliska - 100 years of archaeological excavations
R. Rashev, Ya. Dimitrov

III. The legacy of Pliska

    11. Inscriptions

Pliska contains the highest number of the so called Proto-Bulgarian inscriptions – various texts cut into stone, written in Greek during the first half of the IX c. [26] Most frequently, locally found antique columns or columns brought after the military campaigns of khan Krum from Thracia were used for that purpose. No large inscription similar to the chronicle-type inscriptions of khan Krum or the building inscriptions of khan Omurtag has been found in Pliska itself, so far. The initial position of the Pliska’s columns is not know with certainty. It has been suggested that they were erected around the Palace and the Palace square. 42 inscriptions have been found in Pliska so far. Another 15 come from the villages in its immediate neighbourhood and, save for those at Madara, were probably removed from the Pliska’s ruins as well.

Regardless of the statements of some researchers that the Proto-Bulgarians had their own runic script, brought from Asia, not one such inscription has been found so far in Pliska.

The inscriptions in Cyrillic are few. Two short epitaphs from the Large Basilica, the first one – accompanied by a parallel text in Greek, and one inscription on the handle of a clay vessel are the only complete texts. [27] Similar is the situation with the inscriptions in Greek. Save for the bilingual inscription from the Large Basilica, there is one epitaph-criptogram from the end of the X – the beginning of the XI c. [28] as well as several short inscriptions, some of them – with unclear meaning. [29]

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26. BESHEVLIEV V. Purvobulgarski nadpisi. S., 1979; 1993.

27. GEORGIEV P. Eine zweisprachige Grabinschrift aus Pliska. – Palaeobulgarica 1978, 3, p. 32-44; MIHAYLOV ST. Arheologicheski materiali ot Pliska, examples 28, 29.

28. VISHNYAKOVA A.F. Svincovye pechati vizantiyskogo Hersonesa. – Vestnik drevney istorii 1939, 1, p. 132-133; GEORGIEV P. Deshifrirane na zagaduchniya nadpis ot Pliska. – Prinosi kum bulgarskata arheologiya I, 1992, p. 107-112.

29. BESHEVLIEV V. Novi otkusleci ot purvobulgarski i drugi srednovekovni nadpisi ot Pliska i Silistra. – IAI XX, 1955, p. 278 ff.