Ethnocultural history of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries’ Bulgaria based on Muslim epitaphic monuments of the Ulus Djuchi period


The article studies epigraphic monuments of the Ulus Djuchi period drawing certain conclusions about the class of military-servile aristocracy in medieval Bulgaria (the second half of the 12th – 13th centuries A.D.) and its culture. Nowadays, the territory of distribution of Muslim burial grounds with epigraphic monuments has been examined and about 400 epitaphs of the 13th – 14th centuries A.D. have been found. A part of them is in a poor state of preservation and often contains a few words or lines from the Koran surahs. Initially, Muslim gravestones were studied by linguists and philologists who drew important conclusions about the functioning of the dialects of the written Turkic language in the Volga region. Of great value are the epitaphs as a historical source. Only wealthy and notable families had a possibility to order and install a gravestone with an epitaph (in some cases written in a special ritual language). Consequently, all the genealogy, going back to the Bulgar times, belonged to the upper classes of the society, mainly, military-servile aristocracy. After studying these narrative monuments we came to the conclusion that in the 13th – 14th centuries A.D. this class lost power and partially transformed into urban nobility, while the other part joined Tatar clans.

Key words: 

Volga Bulgaria, Ulus Djuchi, Bulgar, military-servile aristocracy, epigraphical monuments.

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