The paleographic analysis of the sum total of old runic inscriptions of the Eurasian Steppes has led to understanding that all
these scripts do not present the homogeneity either in Europe or in Asia. The conception presented in this book proclaims the
existence of two separate groups of Türkic alphabets, the Euro Asiatic group and the Asiatic one, each consisting of several
The Euro Asiatic group of the Türkic scripts (Chapter I) includes five alphabets which were not described before and are
shown by the author. The inscriptions of the Don (Fig. D l, Table VII) and the Kuban (Fig. K, Table IX) alphabets were
found in the N. Pontic and on the banks of the Kama river (Fig. l, Tables I-VI, VIII). They present two distinct, though
close to one another, alphabets (Table X). These alphabets don't look like the Tisza runiform writing (Nagy-Szent-Miklos
and Sarvas inscriptions, Tables XI, XII), the signs of Murfatlar (Table XIII) and other runiform scripts of the Southern Europe (Fig. 2). It appeared that in paleographic respect the Don and the Kuban alphabets have relationship with the South-Enisei
writing of South Siberia (Fig. K, Fig. 3, Tables XV, XVII, XIX), the Achiktash (Fig. A, Fig. 7, Tables
XVIII, XIX) and the Isphara alphabets of Central Asia (Fig. 7, Fig. H, Tables XX, XXI). The inscriptions of the Euro Asiatic group of the Türkic writings are presented from the Don river to Enisei
(Fig. 8) and belong to the 8th-10th centuries.
The Don and the Kuban alphabets were used in the Khazar Empire, the Kuban one was also used in the several ancient Bulgarian states,
including Volga Bulgaria . It is unknown who used the Achiktash and the Isphara alphabets. The South-Enisei alphabet was used by Kök Türks.
The "classic old Türkic inscriptions"present the Asiatic group of the Türkic writings (Chapter
II). It includes three distinct though close to one another, the Enisei, the Orkhon and the Tallas alphabets and was spread
only within the limits of Asia (from the Selenga river to Semirechye,Fig. 8). Every alphabet has different forms of
peculiar letters which are unknown to the others (Table XXIII, E, O, T, 31, 53, 70, 72, 75-77). These peculiar features of the 8-th century Orkhon
script had been preserved without any change until the l0-th century. This fact gives an opportunity to conclude
that the 8-th - 10-th centuries Enisei letters, which differed from the Orkhon ones, had an independent existence. These signs were the
characters for "b 2", "t 1", "s/š" and "m" (Table XXIII, 29 and 73, 68 and 69, 67
and 71, 33). Some features of the Enisei writing graphics influenced
the Orkhon inscriptions of the second part of 8th and the first part of 9th century (Table XXV). The inscriptions of the High Altai (9-th - 10-th centuries) are mixed texts in terms of
(Table XXIV, 19 and 32, 24 and 35), though they belong to the patterns of the Enisei alphabet (Table XXIV, 19, 35). The
Tallas alphabet appeared as a result of the Enisei writing's influence on the local scripts of the Central Asia (maybe on the
Achiktash alphabet - especially Table XXIII, 53). The existence of the paleographically mixed inscriptions of the 8-th - 9-th - 10-th centuries indicates that the Enisei alphabet supplanted the other Türkic writings. The peculiar
letters of some Enisei
inscriptions in the Tuva region (Fig. 9, Table XXVI) are the traces of this process.
They are remains of the local Türkic script (Upper-Enisei alphabet) used by the inhabitants
called Chiks .
Two manuscript fragments from the Eastern Turkestan (Fig. 10) preserved the Orkhon alphabet (Chapter III). The order of the letters peculiar to it
is not known in other alphabets, the letters being organized in pairs
(Table XXVII). If we take into account the phonetics (Table XXVIII), the alphabet's logic will become clear: the letters that conveyed two sounds
(they are marked with "x") were paired with
those that conveyed one sound only (they are marked with "o"). Four pairs with "x" are replaced with two pairs "o" (Table XXIX). This pattern allows one to fill in the lacunae in
(Table XXX) and to demonstrate that the
alphabet included not 38 or 40 signs as is currently believed, but 48 signs. In practice, not all signs were used: the
alphabet preserved many archaic signs (Tables XXVIII, Nos. l, 3, 12; XXXVI) that were still used by the Tuva aborigines (Table XXXI: the Upper-Enisei alphabet). These signs are not letters - they are syllables.
It seems that the proto-Orkhon
alphabet goes back not to alphabetic systems (like the Aramaic or others) but to the ancient, probably Semitic, syllabaries (Table XXXVII) of an unknown (not West Semitic) origin.
It was developing through eliminating the signs used in practice. The
Orkhon and Enisei inscriptions demonstrate the final stage of this process. The "classical" ancient Türkic "runic"
were not invented - they were borrowed. Among many such systems the ancient Turkic "linguists" wisely chose the alphabetical system best suited to the
The unity of both groups of the Türkic alphabets is in the fact that they belong to the same Türkic family of languages. Paleographic
similarity consists in the order the lines were written and read, from the right to the left. The scripts of these two groups
present not the "fast writing" but runiform signs, though the cursive scripts belonging to the professional scribes
are also well-known (Chapter IV, Fig. 12). The rock inscriptions written in ink (Fig. 13, 14) and the appearance of the
majority of theTürkic letters show that there was a custom to write with ink on soft material.
To find the peculiar and historically related groups of the alphabets is the basis of the paleographic research.
The study of every concrete Türkic alphabet and its application in writing inscriptions is an independent branch of the paleography,
because every Türkic alphabet possesses unique graphics and, therefore, unique history. The outward similarity of the Euro
Asiatic and Asiatic Türkic scripts can be explained by their basis, the ancient Semitic alphabets of the Central Asia. Each
of these groups of the Türkic alphabets was formed under different conditions and on a different basis. The Enisei and the Orkhon
alphabets were formed independently from one another though they had the same basis. The influence of the Enisei alphabet on
the Orkhon alphabet determined the main line of their development. The author supposes that the Orkhon and the South-Enisei alphabets
were replaced by the Enisei alphabet, and the Tallas alphabet influenced the development of the Achiktash one.
Both groups of the Türkic alphabets coexisted, at least partially, in the South Siberia, Central Asia (Semirechye) and, maybe, in Mongolia, for a
while they were used simultaneously. In the Enisei and South-Enisei, in the Tallas and Achiktash inscriptions are discovered the traces
of the mutual influence. The fact of this coexistence and mutual penetration gives the opportunity to look for phonetic
correspondences of the Euro Asiatic Türkic scripts on the basis of the paleographically composite inscriptions. The phonological meaning of the
Asiatic Türkic signs should become the basis of this work. The Euro Asiatic Türkic inscriptions will be deciphered in the
The correct interpretation and translation of the Türkic inscriptions
are possible only if the origins are studied in detail (Chapter V). The majority of the Türkic texts are extraordinary laconic. That's why the pursuit of the group of inscriptions with the analogous meaning is very important. The numerous Enisei
Türkic inscriptions, for example,
are divided into such meaning groups: the epitaphs, the boundary, sacral, magic, historical, elucidative inscriptions, the marks of owners and visitors, wishes of welfare
The paleography of the old Turkic Türkic writings is inseparable from the history (Chapter VI). Every Türkic alphabet (and certainly
every group of alphabets) is primarily not an ethnic but rather a cultural-political, state phenomenon. Thus, the Orkhon alphabet
was used in the Eastern Türkic and the Uigur empires, while the Enisei alphabet was used in the multinational old Khakass
(Kyrgyz) state, the Tallas alphabet was used probably by the population of the Karluk and the Karakhanid federations in theJeti-Su
On the contrary, several Türkic alphabets were used in the same state, as the Don and the Kuban scripts in the Khazar empire, and as the Enisei and the South-Enisei alphabets in the old Khakass state, and so on.
However, one of the alphabets always was the state script and the others had no official status. Therefore the ethnic definitions
of the Türkic alphabets, which existed earlier in the Türkological literature, were not scientifically grounded, and the paleographical-geographical definitions of the alphabets in this
book are only
The state laws guided even the external features of such official inscriptions as the Türkic epitaphs.
In the Eastern Türkic and the Uigur empires, the
tamga heraldic signs were placed near the top of stele. The lines of the
text run from the top of the stone to its foundation (Fig. 36, 7, 2).There were other rules in the
old Khakass (Kirghiz) state. The
tamgas were placed near the sole of the stele and texts were written from the bases of stone to its
top (Fig. 36, J). The third kind of composition was among the Chicks (čiks)
in the Tuva region: the lines of their inscriptions went across
the stele and the tamga was placed under them (Fig. 37). But when this land was occupied by the old Khakasses, the
Chicks (čiks) changed
their style in accordance with the Khakass canon (Fig. 37). The Tallas epitaphs present the fourth type of the monuments.
They were written on the round stones (Fig. 38). It is very important that these classes of the Türkic epitaphs
match with the
different Türkic alphabets of the texts. Type I demonstrates the Orkhon alphabet, types II and III - the
Enisei and the type IV - the Tallas. Every medieval state of the Turkic-speaking peoples had its own modification of the literacy culture and,
probably, an early form of the literary language.
The supplements of the book contain the copies
of the inscriptions that demonstrate the Euro Asiatic Türkic alphabets defined by the author. There are also descriptions of these inscriptions
in the supplements, the history of their discoveries and study, and paleographic commentaries.
Table 23 Türkic alphabets of the the Euro Asiatic and the Asiatic groups
Don, Kuban, S. Enisei, Achiktash, Isfar, and Enisei, Orkhon, Talas group
Note. Kharosthi characters shown in the field at left appear not to have matches in
the table of the Türkic characters of the table.