The Orhun (5) monuments were discovered by a Swedish officer named Strahlenberg, and his finding was made known by publications in 1730. In 1893, the Danish scholar Thomsen was able to decipher these inscriptions and declare that they were written in Turkish (6).The monuments of Kultigin and Bilge Kagan, situated near the Kosho-Tsaydam lake in the Orhun River valley to the south of the Lake Baykal, and that of Sage Tonyukuk, the Deputy-Khan (7) a little farther, are the three important memorials which make up what is known in general as the Orhun Monuments. The inscription used on them consists 38 characters. Numerous stone monuments are also found around the Yenisei River, but they belong to a period much earlier than that of the Orhun pieces, and there are in excess of 150 Skyturkish character-forms used on. The ancient Turkish script was written vertically with the lines running from top left downwards to the bottom right, and read accordingly, that is from right to left when the text is laid down on its right side. The individual marks are not joined, and the full or partial sentences are seperated with a column mark " : " in between.


The eight vowel sounds of Turkish, are represented in couples by 4 marks, and they usually are not employed in the beginning and the middle syllables of a word, but are shown in the last syllable, or if they occur at the end. For example:

a ferocious bull, or a fire-breathing dragon (8).

The "god", or "a deity".

As for the Futhark alphabet employed on the stones found in Sweden, the monuments bearing this inscription are studied in two main chapters in Prof.Jansson's study:

a) The oldest runic inscriptions

b) The 16-rune Futhark and Runic inscriptions from the Viking Age.

The oldest runic inscriptions are written with an alphabet of 24 characters (9).The chapter, from pages 9 to 24, in Prof.Jansson's book of 185 pages is devoted to this particular period. The three stone inscriptions which are mentioned in this part are:

- The stone from Kylver farm in Stanga (Gotland). This is the oldest relic found in Sweden, dating back to the fifth century. (p.13)

- The Mojbro stone from Uppland. (p.18)

- The Istaby stone from Blekinge. (p.21)

Although these three monuments are declared as not deciphered yet, the author is attempting at some unfounded assumptions in relation to their contents. According to the map supplied at the end of this book, there happens to be numerous stones, which are inscribed with the same alphabet and belong to the same period of history, in more than 70 locations in the north and northwest of Europe. (Appendix A). In this article, the decipherment of the three stones mentioned above is accounted.

The monuments considered to be in the 16-rune futhark group belong to a later period called the Viking Age which started at about AD. 800. During this period, the 24-characters of the Primitive Norse runes became simplified and reduced to 16-rune series.The pages 25-30 and the rest of the book in Jansson's study are allocated to this subject which is beyond the concern of my article.

The Europen scholars have come to recognize from the very beginning the obvious similarity between the character forms of the Primitive Norse stones and those of the C.Asian Gokturk monuments, but for certain various reasons have refrained from tackling this point by denying all kinds of plausible relations. All throughout the period of 160 years that elapsed between the years of 1730 and 1893, that is between the discovery of Orhun monuments and their definitely final decipherment, fanciful theories were fabricated about the Vikings' (or Indo-Germans', or Celts', or Goths') prehistoric emigrations into C.Asia, and the erection of Orhun stones as landmarks of their presence and civilization dating back to several thousands of years BC in that region. Only when in 1893, it was understood that these inscriptions were not written in any other tongue but pure Turkish, then those fanciful theories were discarded, and the proposed pre-historic datings were revised to be not earlier than AD 700. Even today, a number of academicians are still straining at finding a Sogdian, Persian or Aramaic origin for Turkish inscriptions, but their efforts at proving their claims all end in vain. A casual comparision of ancient scripts is all needed to see that the characters used in Orhun monuments are more identical with the futhark than any of those alleged originals. Besides this close resemblance, it is an exciting fact that the Primitive Norse runes declared to have ambiguous contexts can be rendered meaningfully when they are exposed to our novel method of read-ing ancient Turkish scripts.

As I have remarked at the beginning of this article, it must be kept in mind that the ancient Turkish script used in Central Asia and the Primitive Norse futhark in Europe, as well as those other scripts mentioned in passing above, have all stemmed from a common origin in a very remote past. Then, the Turkish, Germanic, and other tribes have independently relied on this common legacy of writing for the monuments in their own tongues.

PAGE 2

Previous Page |Next Page |Footnotes |Bibliography |Appendix A |Appendix B |Appendix C


Mail To Turgay KÜRÜM

Return to Homepage