In the early Ottoman registers there are many Bulgarian names
with Turkic, but Non-Ottoman origin. They can be attributed to
the Pre-Ottoman Turkic peoples, who settled down in the Balkan
area during the Middle Ages. The most of these personal names
are usually considered by the Bulgarian scholars as ones with
Slavic etymology. But in fact they have counterparts in many
popular Cumanian names, or can be explain from Turkish. This
article, which is a part of a large, as yet unpublished study
about the Oriental influences on the Bulgarian anthroponymics,
offers examples of probably Cumanian and Pechenegian names, used
by the Bulgarians during the first centuries of the Ottoman
For the purpose of the
investigation data was examined from the already published
onomastic materials in the
Fontes Turcici Historiae
The attention was drawn on the personal names of dwellers from
Bulgarian villages and districts,
who were sometimes explicitly noted as ‘infidel’ (Pers.
), as well as on names of
Voynuks, who were at that time recruited exclusively from the
local Christian population. And if one finds among them
Non-Slavic, Non-Greek and Non-Christian names of possible Turkic
or Iranian origin, they must be linked with the most probably to
the (Proto)Bulgarian ant to the Cumanian or Pechenegian
name-tradition, whose bearers were absorbed into the medieval
Bulgarian people. As the time passed some of these names entered
durably into the Bulgarian onomastics and do not testify
necessarily any particular ethnic origin. There are Slavic
etymologies, frequently offered to them, and only a broad
linguistic analysis can suggest more different possible
interpretations. In other cases the use of such names is limited
in time and space, reflecting a practice, already dying away.
They are often combined with customary Bulgarian (Slavic) names
and this fact speaks about the advanced stage of Bulgarization
of their bearers. Last but not least the preservation of such
forms in the 15th century is also due to the
characteristic of the patriarchal society „reproducing“ of old
names, whereby the new-borne kid received the name of his
grandfather or of an other ancestor of the family. So was made a
bridge over the generations and sometimes this is the only sign
of their possible Turkic origin.
research are comprised arbitrary selected names, fixed in the
Ottoman registers along the formula „X, son
or through the more rarely appeared variant „X - Y“,
where the „X“ means the proper name and the „Y“ reflects the
father’s name of the registered person.
One of the most spread appellations with such an origin is
() with variants
The adherents of the Slavic etymology derive the name from the
‘godfather; who wed someone’
(from Kum + -an),
whereas other scholars associate it quite right with the
designation of the people
In the European sources the name appeared in the 11th
century simultaneous with its bearers
chronicles noted it under 1096),
but still about the year 388 a. d. the Chinese sources mention
the pastoral tribe
which name is juxtaposed by some authors with that of the later
It was found as genonymous in many Turkic peoples: the clan
par example was existed amongst the Crimean Caraims,
the clan Komanğelair
belonged to the tribe Argun, a
branch of the Kara-Kirghiz, whereas one other tribe,
belonged to the Middle Horde.
A variant is the tribe name
similar to the Kirghizian name Mongoldur and to the Crimean
Mogoldur from Mongol,
who appears also amongst the Romanian noble names in documents
from the 15th and 16th centuries.
We find more distant forms of this appellation in
- two tribes of the Kumandi-people
personal name Kuman is pretty known in the entire territory,
inhabited once by the Cumans. In the Russian Hypatian chronicle
one finds a Polovtsian, named
including someone „Valakhian“, figure among the peasants, who
were given to the monastery of Ziče
in Montenegro with a charter of the Serbia’s King Stefan
The family Komani
from the Valakhian inhabitants of the
medieval town of Pijanici (in to-day’s Kosovo) and another one „Valakhian“
amongst the residents of „Katun
Bariljevski“ (now village Barilevë,
in Kosovo) are mentioned in a charter of the Holy Stephan (the
30 years of the 14th century).
One eminent Bulgarian
note to the end of the same
century the Byzantine sources, too.
We find this patronymic in Hungarian documents among the names
of Valakhian chieftains (knez’es), who immigrated into Hungary:
(1434); the name is proper
to the Romanian onomasticon from the 15th century
onwards, too: a Gypsy
(1489), a Gypsy
Matiei (18th c.)
Whether direct from
the ethnic name or secondary through the anthroponymous, shaped
from it, the name of the Cumans left traces on the pretty vast
territory. One place near Baku and another one in the land,
inhabited by the Turkmens, as well as one river in Turkestan,
bear the name
In the Ukraine the place-name
was probably received
from the Polovtsians.
Extreme numerous are the derivatives of this name in Moldavia,
Romania and in the whole domain of the formerly Valakhian
settlements in Hungary. As a toponymous one finds the name
in the department of Ilfov (Bacău).
So was called a hill in Oltenia in the area of the town of Balş,
as well as a village on the bank of the river Olt opposite to
the village Batia in the northern part of the valley between Olt
Cetatea lui Coman
was probably the old
name of the contemporary village Cetatea, mentioned in a
document from 1625 and disposed in Oltenia west of Jiu.
is a pretty spread
toponymous in Romania,
for instance in the departments Buzău
as well as a name of a village on the northern frontier of
Burnaz and of a swampy lake in the interior of the old „raďa
is the name of one village east of the
plain of Cîmpul Romanaţilor
and southern of the town of Balş;
a name of a little river in the area of Teleorman, eastern of
the river Olt; as well as a name of now extinct village (1512)
near the town of Dorobanţu
in the same region.
figure in the
Romanian toponyms Cîmpa Comanecei and Valea Comanecei.
is a name of another
In the department of Prahova one finds the toponymous
in the department of Teleorman -
and in the department of Dolj (Brăila,
One village in Oltenia, again in the region of Balş,
that is the formerly name of the village Costeşti
in the area of Teleorman, too.
The village Comani,
situated before Calafat and after Vidin, forms nowadays a part
of the settlement Golenţi.
In a document from 1385 it was called
‘Cumanian ford’. The village was situated in the region Fundul
Diiului, known from the Cumanian invasions in Byzantium in 1114,
as the Emperor Alexios Comnen came to Vidin and send against
them an army over the river. The same name took another formerly
village (1579) in the region of Teleorman.
is a component of
the toponymous Comanii Vechi.
is a tributary of the little
river Teslui in the northern part of the valley between Olt and
In the Hungarian documents are fixed settlement-names
(1439, to the town of
We find the toponymous
between Tissa and the canal of Bega.
One town in the region of Pukë
on the mountain slopes of the valley of the river Drin in
Northern Albania is called
(without an enclitic
In the Middle Ages in the vicinity of the nowadays town of
Prishtina (Kosovo) was situated the village
which was gifted by Stefan Uroš
to the monastery of Hilendar (1327). Again near Prishtina was
found another one village
mentioned in a charter of King Stefan Dušan
from 1330 under the dominions of the new monastery of Dečan.
It disappeared without traces during the Ottoman times, but some
researchers identify it with the nowadays village Llapnasellë
is the name of a
village, situated near Tikveš,
is a name of a
great settlement in the region of Kostur, Macedonia.
is known in the
region of Nevrokop, another village in the region of Kaylare
bore the name
and in the Northeast of Skopje there is a big city
The name of the village Kubratovo near Sofia was once
in the Ottoman
Such is the name also of another unidentified village ()
from the same region,
of a village in the register for land dominions from the time of
the Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror,
of the undetermined village
and of a village
belonged to the Hortach or Horyatis, the region of Thessaloniki,
in the Ottoman defters from the end of the 15th
century. A quarter near the village Zimevica in the region of
Sofia was called
In the district of Tărnovo
there were cottages
another cottages named Kumanica were situated near the
village of Karash (in the region of Lukovit); in the vicinity of
(the region of Tărnovo)
existed a quarter
and near the village
Buchukovtsi (the region of Dryanovo) there was another quarter
All these testify the wide diffusion of the Cumanian ethnonymous
not only in the Moldo-Valakhia, but also in Bulgaria and in the
more western regions of the Balkan peninsula.
this frequency of the name also in the 15th-16th
centuries Ottoman registers. It is certainly one of the most
used anthroponymous, related to the Cumans: 69 of all
investigated examples contain the name
Kuman, 4 of them
have the form
and in 3 cases appears the form
Kumano. They are known from the whole ethnic territory of
the Bulgarians, so in the areas of Shumen, Tărnovo,
Nikopol, Pleven, Vratsa and Vidin; in the districts of Sofia,
Pernik and Samokov; in the regions of Plovdiv and Razlog; in the
present-day Macedonia and Yugoslavia, as well as in the area of
Thessaloniki and Drama in Greece. Especially widespread was this
name in the region of Pleven and in Panagyurishte, too. The last
settlement was once a village of Voynuks, that showed a
relatively high per cent of names with a probably Turkic-Persian
origin. But this anthroponymous was combined almost always with
traditional Bulgarian names (Stoyan, Nikola, Dragan, Dobre
etc.), what shows us, that in the period in question it was
firmly entered into the Bulgarian onomasticon and was not be
considered as alien. Jordan Zaimov relates its first appearance
in Bulgaria to the 13th century; two centuries later
was noted the female name
and the diminutive form
Kumanka, derived from it. The Ottoman registers do not
give us an opportunity for such conclusions. But therein are
found the derivatives
Kumo, Kumyo (analogous to
from Kum-an, respectively
-li), as well as the
uncommon for Bulgaria name
Kunbek, which turns on the
attention to another possible variant of the Cumanian
Similar to Uzbek,
Janibek, Berdibek and other names from the history of the Golden
is also a two-component appellation. It
contains as a second element the old noble title
bäg; Chag., Uzb., N.Uigh.
päk; Shor., Sagay., Koybal.
Kaz., Kirgh. bī;
Tel., Leb. pī
etc.), which general means ‘prince, chieftain of a separate
tribe, dignitary’ and in a wide sense ‘nobleman’ or ‘superior’.
It is found only twice in the used source material - in
from the village Karnofol (Voysil, the region
of Plovdiv) and in
from the village Sariche
(Tsaratsovo, the region of Plovdiv).
His combining with Bulgarian names and the existence of a
Kipchak form for the title
instead of the Oghuzian
variant on -g
excludes any possibly
penetration of the anthroponymous through the Ottoman influence.
It must have been rather borrowed from the Tartars or from those
Cumans, who already became under Mongolian domination allies to
the Valakhian chieftain Basarab Vodă
and to the Bulgarian Tsar Mikhail Shishman against Byzantium and
the Serbia’s rulers.
interesting the first component of this name -
reminding of the Hungarian designation of the Cumans -
which was rendered in Latin as
In the Latin-Hungarian sources therewith was named not only the
Cumans (Kipchaks), but also the Kabars, the Oghuz and the
Later, during the 13th century, diffused in Hungary
the learned term
Comani, so that the
remained in the common speech mostly as a
designation of the Cumans, who get a refuge in the country after
the Mongolian invasion. According to one observation, traces
from the name Kun are found chiefly in the toponymics of the
lands, crossed by the Hungarian King Laszlo the Great
(1342-1382), in whose army there were many Cumanian warriors
(cf. par example
between the rivers Drava and Sava),
whereas in other lands - in Voyvodina, Macedonia, Serbia,
Romania etc. - we find mostly place-names, derived from the
ethnonymous Kuman, as used by the Kipchaks themselves.
There are many hypotheses about the meaning and the etymology of
the name Kun (Qun). Some authors juxtapose it with the name of
the people Qūn,
known from the Islamic sources (e. g. by Bērūnī
who, before his invasion in the land of the so called Sārī
lived once eastern of the Kirghiz. Others think it as a
shortened form from Kuman (Quman) or Kuban (Quban), whereas a
third part of scholars derive all such names from a common
Altaic root *qu- > *qu-m; *qu-ba, *qu-wa.
What ever may its origin be, for us is more important the very
fact of the existence of the ethnonymous Kun, by which the name
could be interpret as „Bek of the Kuns“ (from
‘kun-i bek’), or as the proper-name „Kuni-bek“ (like „Beg Kune“
or „Kuno Bey“).
etc.) figure in the
Ottoman registers. We find therein also the toponymous
for the village Kunino (the region of Vratsa), that comprised to
the middle of the 15th century 21 Christian and 1
and which name descends either from the ethnonymous Kun or
better from the patronymic
Kunin (Kun-in), derived
from it. The most spread of the above forms is
which Ottoman writing allows the reading
Kono, too. Very
often is found the form Kune
both of them considered as diminutives from Kuno. Pretty known
are the variants
+ -in) and
Kun-in), but they have a relatively
limited use. All of them are derivatives of Kuno. And although
there are adequate explanations about the origin of this name,
the spread of the enumerated forms chiefly in North-western and
Western Bulgaria (in the areas of Vidin, Pleven, Lovech, as well
as in the regions of Pernik and Sofia) and the mention of a
in the Russian sources,
make probably to associate the anthroponymous
(Kun-in) with the ethnic name Kun. It is
true, that so far it was not found any existence of the initial
form *Kun, but this could be done to its originally
penetration in a relatively small area, from which, now on
Bulgarian soil, arose the derivatives, arrived to us.
One proved Cumanian
name, found in the Ottoman registers, is
sometimes falsely deciphered as „Damyan“. According to J. Zaimov
Derman is a shortened form of
was shortened of
derived from the verb dera ‘to fight, to struggle’) and Dărman
is a combination between
‘thick wood, brushwood’) and
He relates the both forms respectively to the 15th
and 16th centuries, but still during the 13th
century in the Hungarian sources was fixed the Cumanian
later also Dormani
Dormánháza (1406; later
Dormánd), the family
It is possible, that the form Dormanus in the medieval Hungarian
chronicles was an error of the copyist instead of Derman,
but more probably it re-creates the Turkic name
‘to stand, to stop, to remain; to dwell,
to inhabit’ +
-man), from which are developed the other
is known as a toponymous on
about 50 km northern of Hiva;
is the name of a
village in Northern Crimea and
was the name of a
Turkic tribe, lived under the Mongols.
was called the
governor of the Branichevo-region, subjected to the Bulgarian
Tsar Georg Ist Terter (1280-1292). We find the same
name on the territory of Moldavia and Valakhia, cf.
as well as a patronymic in Albania, cf. Leka and Pavli, sons of
someone Dermani; Andreja, Lleshi and Gura, sons of
in the first detailed register (defter-i
of the Sanjak of Shkodra (1485).
The appellation figure in the toponomy, so as
- designations of three villages in Romania: the one of which in
the valley of the stream Tatros in the environs of the village
the other near the town of Suceava and the third between the
towns of Târgovişte
hence in the area, where is disposed the settlement Comarnic,
Here belongs also the Bulgarian village
records), that is Dărmantsi
in the region of Vratsa and Dermantsi, situated in the valley of
the river Vit, like the village Komarevo, for which name one
supposes eventual Cumanian origin, too.
The used source material allows the wary conclusion, that in the
15th century the anthroponymous was partly spread in
Northern Bulgaria and in the district of Sofia, whereby in the
following century we find it already also in the region of
Plovdiv (in Kalofer).
written sometimes without diacritical dots as
The both forms of the anthroponymous are pretty known in the
Byzantine sources -
The scholars are unanimous about its Turkic etymology (<
‘fat, thick; fatman’
‘to swell’ +
The most early data about this appellation are connected with
the Cumanian in his ethnic origin despot of Vidin -
ancestor of the last medieval Bulgarian dynasty, comprised
Mikhail IIIrd Shishman (1323-1330) and his brother
Belaur; Ivan Stefan [Shishman] (1330-1331) and his brother
Shishman; Ivan Alexander (1331-1371) and his sons - the tsars of
and of Vidin Ivan Shishman (1371-1393) and Ivan Sratsimir
The name was formerly more spread, cf. the abbreviated forms
as well as the settlement-names
It was found in neighbouring to Bulgaria lands, too. In
Moldo-Valakhia par example are registered the both variants:
In Hungary are known many Valakhian „knez’es“, named
especially in the region Hátszeg: Stefanos
Bozas (1452), Stefani filij Sysman de Bozijas (1457),
Sandrinus Sysman (1470),
Susman (1494, 1507, 1511,
1514, 1519), the family Sismánfi; the name is laid down
also in the appellation „praedium Sismány“ (1700) by the
formerly Cumanian settlement near Előszállás
in the Comitat Fejér (cf. the later Alsó and Felső-Sismánd,
west of Hercegfalva).
As a place-name it is noted in Albania, too -
in the first detailed register of the Sanjak of Shkodra (1485).
During the census there lived also someone Leka, son of
The Ottoman records from the Bulgarian lands show, that the most
widespread was the form
and the shortened
These appellations are found mostly in the regions of Tărnovo,
Pleven, Sofia and partly in the area of Plovdiv (so in Kalofer),
There are serious
reasons for the supposition, that the name
so often found amongst the Bulgarian Christians,
has a Pre-Ottoman Turkic origin. By the translation of the
corresponding data it was sometimes falsely read as „Dušan“,
in spite of the existence of the letter Mīm
(m) in the Ottoman writing of the word. Its general
meaning ‘enemy, adversary, one who wishes evil to others’
excludes the possibility of the penetration of the name in
Bulgarian through the Ottoman influence. In addition comes the
circumstance, that still before the Turkish invasion on the
Balkans in a charter of King Stefan Dušan
for the foundation of the monastery of Dečan
(1330) figure someone „Valakhian“, named
On the other hand, one Albanian family
in vassalage to the feudal senior Balshë
from the region of Shkodra, is mentioned also
in the Venetian charters from the middle of the 14th
century, that is before 1385, when the Ottomans set foot for the
first time in Albania as allies of Karl Thopia. There again, in
the region of Pukë
Albania, not far from the town of Komani, is situated also the
(without an enclitic article -
Dushman), which name was probably adopted by the quondam
lord of the region. Later during the first Ottoman registration
of the Sanjak of Shkodra the old fief of the family Dushmani was
separated in a single administrative unity, named
All this, as well as the existence of a Polovtsian, named
in the Hypatian chronicle, refers to the possible Cumanian elements in the Bulgarian
anthroponymics. In the Ottoman-Turkish language the word
is considered to be a Persian loan-word. The initial Persian
is usually written
It is penetrated also in Pushto, where the Afghanian
stays most close to
the Bulgarian one. The entry of the name
in the Ottoman defters almost exclusively by Ālif
prompt, that the registrator did not make a connection with the
possible meaning of the anthroponymous (Turkish: düşman).
This was due perhaps to the hard pronunciation of the word in
Bulgarian, except if there was not any more different meaning in
it. In this case the name Dušman
could be made also from another initial form (like
analogy to Durman and
Carried with the medieval Turks to the Balkans this name was
used during the 15th-16th centuries not
only in North-western and Western Bulgaria (in the regions of
Vratsa, Lovech and Pleven; in the vicinity of Godech; in the
districts of Sofia and Pernik), but also in the eastern part of
the Danubian plain (in the regions of Shumen and Razgrad), as
well as far to south in the area of Thessaloniki. In the Ottoman
records from that times the anthroponymous was combined with
customary Bulgarian names (Ivan, Yanko, Prodan, Boyo), but also
with not typical forms (Seto, Mirdjan, Hasno). Some of the
examples are noted in villages like Kumanich, Kărlăkovo,
Kunina, or in such settlements, from where are known also
another questionable appellations.
Pre-Ottoman is the name
noted twice during the reign of Sultan Mehmed IInd
(1451-1481) in the village Batkovtsi, the region of Sofia,
whereby one of the registered person came from Vidin.
J. Zaimov connects it with
along with the correct Turkic etymology (from
‘iron’, i. e. ‘iron hand’)
he assumes also, that it was an altered form of
Radomir. He explains similarly the appellation
Altimir, too - as „probably altered from
whereas N. Kovachev, who noted 2/3 from all examples of the
anthroponymous in Northern Bulgaria, is convinced of its Turkic
(Cumanian) origin: from
‘to take’ and
A variety (or rather an initial variant) of the pointed out form
is the name
Eltimir. So was called the Despot of the Krăn-district
on the Tundzha-valley. He was a brother of Tsar Georg Ist
Terter (1280-1292) and therewith belonging to the Terter-dynasty
in Bulgaria (1280-1323) - a late ramification of one of the most
eminent Cumanian clans Terter-oba (Terterobiči
in the Russian sources), from which descended also the Khan
Kotyan (Kuthen), who immigrated into Hungary.
is pretty known amongst the
names of Valakhian and Moldavian boiars, as well as of Valakhian
„knez’es“ in Hungary.
The appellation of the village
in the region
of Sofia derives from it. The name of the village
near Silistra could be an alteration to Aldemir, except if one
interprets it literally as ‘iron Moon’ (< Turk.
‘iron’). Hier belongs also the name of the
in the area of Byala Slatina (the region of Vratsa) with its 35
households in the middle of the 15th century,
as well as the proper name
in a register from the
which form, if not due to an incorrect reading because of a
similar kind of writing of the letters Lām
(l) and Nūn
(n) in initial position, could be testify to the
characteristic assimilation of both sounds in some dialects.
was made the shortened form
noted still 1491 in the Ottoman documentation.
which Cumanian origin was proved long ago, figure also in the
Ottoman records. Some scholars juxtapose it with the Chinese
transcription of the designation of the oldest Turkic ruling
clan during the 6th-8th centuries,
A-shih-na, whereas others see in it the form
‘healthy, cheerful, buoyant,
Before its appearance with the Tsar
Ivan Ist Asen
(1186-1196) the name was noted as an appellation of
the Polovtsian Khan
- the father or father-in-law of Khan
whose daughter married Yuriy Vladimirovich.
A son of Osen (or Yasen) was probably the famuous Khan Bonyak
in the Byzantine sources),
who helped 1091 the Emperor Alexios Comnin to manage the
Pechenegian danger. It seems, that upon his father was named the
(also: Sharukan, Cheshuev)
‘belonging to Osen’, that was twice occupied by the Russian in
1111 and 1116. Another Cumanian khan
was captured 1096 near
Sharkel (Belaya vezha).
The anthroponymous is pretty known in the Byzantine sources (Άσάν,
it appears as a New-Grecian name, too. Members of the Assenian
dynasty entered during the 13th-14th
centuries in a Byzantine service.
The last descendants of these Assenides put the beginning of one
of the oldest noble families in Romania -
Asan, noted in
the list with 75 names of D. Cantemir’s „Descriptio Moldaviae“
The later use of the name seems to keep up the memory of the
Bulgarian Assenides and do not be connect with a concrete ethnic
origin. It is very curious however the record in the presumed
second land-inventory of the region of Tărnovo
(about 1445-1461), wherein among the group of the reserve
Voynuks from a village in the area of Sevlievo was noted someone
„Dobruy [better Dobri:
- V.St.] with
The reason for this strange specifying is not clear. Whether the
questioned Dobri was a descent of Cumans and preserved his
Turkic name also in the 15th century, or he belonged
to a noble kin, that pretended to have ties with the Assenides.
Whatever it was, in distinction from today, as the name is
pretty known (N. Kovachev notes 9062 cases of its use during the
years 1901-1970), it was not have been once so widespread. This
could be due to its peculiar „sacrality“ - as a name of an old
ruling clan it was scarcely be „accessible“ to everyone and its
bearers received it mostly in connection with some of their
ancestors. In the used source material we find it once again by
„Kirana, widow of
amongst the inhabitants of Thessaloniki, where figure also
further „Cumanian-Bulgarian“ names. Except of the usually form
(cf. Old Bulg.
the Ottoman registers contain also variants like
soft pronunciation of the Old Bulg.
(shortened and diminutive form of
(another diminutive form
with an iotation >
-ko). Therein are recordet also
- the village Osenovlak in the region of Sofia and
- appellations of the village Polski Senovets in the region of Tărnovo
and of the village Osenets in the region of Razgrad. They could
be derived from a labialised variant of the name
Osyan) and therewith could be interpreted as
i. e. Asen > Asenev ‘belonging to Assen’ > Asenevci ‘the Assens’,
grassland’) or + Turk. suffix
(?), i. e. ‘Aseneva lăka’
(‘the meadow of Assen’) or ‘Asenevlik’ (?)
In the Ottoman
records from the 15th and 16th centuries
there are many other Bulgarian names with a Turkic (probably
Cumanian) origin. So we find par example in a register from the
time of Sultan Mehmed IInd (1451-1481) amongst the
inhabitants of the village Trebnik in the region of Sofia along
with Kuman and Kumanin also someone
whose name was wrongly deciphered as
This anthroponymous appears in Bulgaria by the middle of the 14th
century, when the bolyar Balik, for whom is supposed an eventual
Cumanian origin, separated his dominions between the Lower
Danube and the Black-Sea coast from the Bulgarian state. The
area with a centre in the town of Karvuna was called later
Dobrudzha - perhaps after the name of the Balik’s brother and
who began to cut his own coins as a sign of his independence
The Byzantine sources signify
(1346), which form can be interpret as
Balika, too. The
name is found also in the lands northern of the Danube (Balik,
Balyk); still 1392 a boiar
was testified in
It was been traditionally derived from the Turk.
‘fish’, but it
could be juxtaposed with the East Turk.
‘town’ (e. g. in Beš-balik,
an old designation of Peking), too. One supposes usually, that
the town of
on the Black-Sea coast was called so
after the name of Balik. This toponymous will be however arisen
as a diminutive from
in the meaning of a ‘little
town’, or from the Turk.
‘swamp, miry place,
mud, dirt; rubbish, excrement’, which word through the form
fixed by M. Kashgharî (11th century), lead to a third
possible explanation of the name
Balik, giving it a
function of a peculiar „protective appellation“. The Ottoman
sources contain as derivatives from it
it is not to exclude, that variants of Balik were the names
too, for which forms is not proposed any Slavic etymology.
The registers from
the 16th century note the proper name
often considered as a Slavic in origin. Its earliest records are
connected with names of Valakhians, for instance in a charter of
the Serbia’s King Stefan Uroš
IInd (about 1318).
It figure also in Valakhian documents: David
a lu Coţani
This fact by itself proves however nothing at all, because the
Valakhians used both Slavic and Cumanian proper names (cf. Kuman,
and the designation „Valakhian“ in the Middle Ages was not
always connected with an ethnic origin. One of the Polovtsian
cities was named
(1116) and this is a reasonable
ground to suppose a Non-Slavic origin of the place-name. And
because the towns of
(Sugroba), mentioned along with
Balin, were called
after the names of the corresponding Polovtsian khans, the
could be obviously regarded as arisen
from someone Cumanian patronymic. Its derivatives
figure in the Ottoman records, too.
was interpreted by J. Zaimov as derivative from
The Ottoman writing of the word during the 15th
century allows however different kinds of reading, inclusively
just as the name of the Polovtsian khan, first mentioned in the
Russian chronicles, who after the defeat of the Torks near Sula
came in the summer of 1055 on the left bank of Dnepr to make a
peace with the Prince Vsevolod Yaroslavich.
The etymology of this name is unclear. One can think about the
labialization of a primary
a-vocal, so characteristic for
the Russian language, i. e.
which form with a secondary fall of the vocal was developed on
the Russian soil into
reminds in its turn
of the Iranian male name
- from the designation of the people Baluchis, Balukhis), as
well as of the later Hungarian form
equivalent of the Russian „Polovets, Polovtsian“ (i. e. ‘Cuman’).
We do not know, if the questioned name could be connected also
with the name of the Romanian town of
which is situated in a zone, full of toponyms with a probably
Cumanian origin (e. g. the villages Comăneşti,
Belgun, Buzduc etc., the hill Comanul and so many water-names
with specific designations on -[l]ui).
A diminutive from
is found in the
Ottoman defters, too.
The used source
material contains the name
Barak, so in a late register
from 1576, where was noted someone „Nemi, son of Barak“ from the
village Berendey (i. e. Berende in the region of Radomir).
The Turkic word
as an adjective ‘hairy’, but it was also a designation of a
‘hairy breed hunting dog’ (M. Kashgharî). It is found as
Afghanian male name
too, as well as amongst the Romanian noble names in documents
from the 15th and 16th centuries, as
Cumanian anthroponymous from Hungary: Demetrius
(1521) and as a name of someone Polovtsian
in the Russian chronicles
This fact, as well as the circumstance, that the above example
was recorded in the village
(the region of
Radomir, or rather Pernik), refers to he Pre-Ottoman Turkic
name-tradition, since the Berendeis were one of the most
powerful tribal group amongst the union of the so called ‘Black
Hats’ in Kievan Rus’.
medieval Cumans, if not even to the early Bulgarians, is to
related also the anthroponymous
recorded in 1491 in the village Lyubene (probably the village
Lyuben in Chech, Eastern Macedonia): „Barsyu, son of Yano“.
With a labialized first vocal (a
the name is presented in the form
too - in a register from the last quarter of the 15th
century, wherein amongst the inhabitants of the village Kalabak
(Kalanbak, Kalambaki), the region of Drama, successively figure
Iorgi and Mikhail, sons of someone Borso.
Both variants refer to one widespread among the Turks
‘panther, tiger’. It is known in the Romanian onomastics since
the 14th century like a name of a Valakhian boiar
Bars Roman (1389), of a Moldavian „comis“
beginning of the 15th century) etc.,
one finds it also amongst the names of the Kipchakian in their
as well as in the name of the Polovtsian Khan
from the tribal group of Urus-oba.
The last designation figure several times in the Russian
chronicles (so under the years 1084, 1190, 1229) and belonged
obviously to different persons.
was the name of
one melik (king) of Derbend from the end of the 12th
and the first half of the 13th century, probably
identical with the 1190 mentioned Polovtsian. The name
was used by the Valakhian „knez’es“ in Hungary; we see it
amongst the Romanian noble names from the 15th-16th
centuries, as well as in some settlement-names (Bibarcfalva,
Bibarcovo), too. But may be the most famous bearer of
this name was the Mameluk Sultan of Egypt
descended from the Cumanian dynasty of Ölberlü. All this prompt,
that also in the Bulgarian variants
could have been hidden eventually traces from the influence of
the Cumanian name-tradition.
In such an article
like this is impossible to comprise all suspicious forms with
probably Cumanian or Pechenegian origin. But the studied source
material shows clearly, that still by the first Ottoman records
of land possessions and population, made to the middle of the 15th
century, i. e. about a generation after the conquest of
Bulgaria, along with the typical Bulgarian (Slavic or Christian)
names are found also designations with Turkic, Iranian and even
Arabian origin (Aldomir,
etc.). And because the time of one generation is not enough for
adapting of new alien anthroponyms, these appellations must be
related to the name-tradition of a part of the local population
and especially to the onomasticon of the medieval Turks, still
integrated into the Bulgarian people, as well as probably to the
Valakhians, beeing under their cultural influence. In the more
cases these names are combined with customary designations, what
speaks of the advanced stage of Bulgarization of their bearers.
Sometimes however the continuity is more evident, especially
when the proper name and the father’s name belong to the same
„Non-Bulgarian“ category, or if they were recorded in a region,
strongly saturated with similar forms. Such areas emerge mostly
in the districts of
in the town of
and the neighbouring
in the settlements near
as well as far to east in
and partly in
Kalofer. We can suppose therefor, that still before the
Ottomans arrived Turkic ethnic elements were settled down in
these areas of medieval Bulgaria.
A ground to connect
such names with the Turkic equestrian peoples gives us their
semantic, reflecting the nomadic way of life. The great part of
them represents designations of typical animals - hare (Koyan),
buffalo (Malak), wolf (Kurt), roe (Karağa),
different species of hunting birds (Balaban,
Tugan) etc., as well as eventual derivatives of verbs
with a specific meaning (like: to run, to escape, to chase, to
pursue, to catch, to surround, to swoop down, to settle etc.).
Another group of names can be juxtapose with objects from the
everyday life. They arose probably along the old Turkic practice
to name the child according to the first word, pronounced after
the birthing, or to the first object, seen by the lying-in
woman. Some appellations have a wishing meaning, others contain
the idea of something dirty or repulsive, which gives them a
protective function. There are also cases, in which the meaning
of the designation is connected with the time, the place or
other circumstances of the birth, or allude to the succession of
the corresponding child. Of course, we must not exclude the
possibility of additional enlargement of the palette with Turkic
names under the influence of the new-arrived Turkish population
etc.). A special role at that seems to
have had the so called Yuruks, who preserved for a long time the
mobile pastoral way of life and so were in contact with more
settlements of one area.
the suspicious proper-names shows an Iranian origin (Bazo,
etc.). This is not strange, because both the Cumans and the
Pechenegs (and in more great degree the early Bulgarians, too)
were in one or in other way subjected to the influence of the
Iranian culture. It is curiously to note however, that in many
cases the Afghanian phonetic variant (respectively the Afghanian
semantic) of some words stays closer to the Bulgarian forms as
their Persian counterparts. This refers to Central Asia, from
where the three people set out in different times to the West.
the 15th century, but more often during the following
one, amongst the Bulgarians are found names with a definitive
Arabian origin (Ahrin,
etc.). Some of them are penetrated through the Iranian
mediation, of which is witness the peculiarity of the
corresponding forms. Others can be resulted from eventual
earlier contacts, but in the prevailing part the Arabian
name-material (so as many Persian word-forms) will have been
entered in the local onomastics thanks to the Ottoman Turks.
These are indeed single examples and they went rapidly out of
use, but their existence by itself put the question of the
cultural syncretism on the Balkans during the first Ottoman
be sound very strange, that a Christian have had once a name
Zamir, that he could called his child after the name
of the Sultan
Bayezid, or that he bore a typical Persian
or Turkish designation, which, if not inherited from earlier
Turkic precursors, could have been owed to the influence of the
Ottoman ethnic conglomerate. The cultural interaction however
was a fact and without considering it we could hardly understand
many characteristic features of the Bulgarian mode of life and
mentality, as well as the existence of all those Turkish
loan-words, inclusively in their Bulgarized variants.
In villages with a confessional heterogenous population
the Christians and the Moslems were recorded as usual
separate. In the large cities, such as Tărnovo,
Vidin, Thessaloniki, Sofia etc., they inhabited
different quarters and this fact was reflected precisely
in the Ottoman defters.
Честотно-тълковен речник на личните имена у българите.
Речник на личните и фамилни имена у българите.
Й. Заимов. Български именник.
Cf. G. Moravcsik. Byzantinoturcica. Bd.
II. Sprachreste der Türkvölker in den byzantinischen
Quellen. Berlin, 1958
Κόμανοι, Κομάνια, Κόμανια, Κόμανος).
For instance by
1856, p. 99:
рекше Половци“ [‘Cumans,
Cf. K. H. Menges. The Oriental Elements in the
Vocabulary of the Oldest Russian Epos, The Igor’ Tale
Slovo o Púlku
Published by the Linguistic Circle of New York.
Supplement to Word, Vol. 7, December 1951,
Monograph N° 1, pp. 13-14.
1931, t. 2, zesz. 3-4, p. 7
see on p.
Kumanlar. - Belleten, 3, 1939, 401-422
on p. 416-417).
L. Rásonyi. Valacho-Turcica. - In: Aus den
Forschungsarbeiten der Mitglieder des Ungarischen
Instituts und des Collegiem Hungaricum in Berlin dem
Andenken Robert Graggers gewidmet.
Berlin-Leipzig, 1927, 68-96
(see on p.
I. Schütz. Les contacts médiévaux albano-comans
reflétés par l’onomastique de Kosovo. - AOH, 40,
2-3, 1986, 293-300
on p. 296).
The document belongs to Stefan Prvovenčani
- a Serbia’s Great zhupan in 1196-1217 and king in
Les contacts, 296.
See Moravcsik. Byzantino-Turcica, II: Index.
Valacho-Turcica, 89-90; Tuna,
420. See also: L. Rásonyi. Contribution ŕ
l’histoire des premičres cristallisations d’Etat des
Roumains. L’origine des Basaraba. Budapest, 1935, p. 9
[Extract from the Archivum Europae Centro-Orientalis
- I (Etudes sur l’Europe Centre-Orientale dirigée
par Ostmitteleuropäische Bibliothek,
herausgegeben von E. Lukinich, N° 3), pp. 221-253].
1-2 (37-38), 1973, 112-118
on p. 118).
I.Conea, I. Donat.
Contribution ŕ l’étude de la
toponymie pétchénčgue-coman de la plaine roumaine de
Bas-Danube. - In: Contribution Onomastiques.
Publies ŕ l’occasion du VIe Congrčs
international des sciences onomastiques ŕ Munich du 24
au 28 Aoűt 1956. Bucarest, 1958, 139-169
on pp. 154, 156);
Les Coumans au Bas-Danube aux XIe
et XIIe sičcles.
Bucarest, 1978, p. 26.
Contribution, 154; Diaconu.
Les Coumans, 27.
Cf. Gy. Györffy. Adatok a románok XIII. Századi
történetéhez és a román állam kezdeteihez. -
Történelmi Szemle, 1964, N° 3-4, 542-543.
Les Coumans, 26.
Contribution, 155, 156; Diaconu.
Les Coumans, 26.
Les Coumans, 26.
Les Coumans, 26.
Contribution, 154, 157.
Contribution, 154, 156; Diaconu.
Les Coumans, 26.
Les Coumans, 26.
Contribution, 157; Diaconu.
Les Coumans, 26.
Des „comans noirs“ dans la poésie
populaire albanaise. - AOH, 39, 1985, 193-203
(see on p.
Des „comans noirs“, 200-201. The
town, situated not far from the town of Dushmani, became
to be wellknown after the archaeological excavations,
started there in 1898, which offered the first material
proofs of the Albanian civilisation from the 10th-11th
centuries. According to István Schütz, this village
could have been a Cumanian colony and the nearly
Albanian communities were related probably hostility to
it, whereas the newcomers gave to the neighbouring town
the name Dushmani, ‘enemy’.
Les contacts, 293-294. One supposes,
that the two villages were founded by Cumans in the time
of their invasions.
See A. Urošević.
selo Kumanovo na Kosovo.
Schütz. Les contacts, 294).
Македония: етнография и статистика.
1900, pp. 155, 265. See also
Младенов. Печенези и узи-кумани в българската
Българска историческа библиотека,
year IV, vol.
I, Sofia, 1931, pp. 115-136
on p. 130).
This is a male name and has nothing to do with the word
‘a second wife by the new
legal marriage (of the Moslems)’; respectively a female
form of the Bulgarian word
- 3 (1972), pp. 71, 72.
Cf. B. Kossányi. Az úzok és kománok tőrténetéhez
a XI-XII században. - Századok, 57-58, 1923-1924,
Turkish translation: B. Kossanyi. XI.-XII-nci Asırlarda
Uz’lar ve Koman’ları
dair. - Belleten, VIII, 29, 1944, 119-136
on p. 133-136).
Cf. also G. Györffy. A kun és a komán népnév
eredetének kérdéséhez. - Antiquitas Hungarica, 2,
1948, 158-176. According to Laszlo Rásonyi the „Kuns“
consisted at least of five components: (1) of the people
qűn, who originally lived in the eastern part of
the Gobi-desert; (2) of the people sârî, carried
away with the former in his compulsory migrations to the
West till the end of the 9th century; (3) of
the Kipchaks (qďpčaq),
originally a part of the Kimäk-confederation, who
joined with these two peoples about the year 1020;
finally (4) and (5) of the heterogeneous ethnic groups,
consisted of Pechenegs and Uzoi (Oghuz),
integrated by the Cumans in the West in their own tribal
organisation during the second half of the 11th
century. Cf. L. Rásonyi. Les noms toponymique du
Kiskunság. - Acta Linguistica Acad. Sci. Hung.,
7, 1956, 73-146 (see on p. 74-75).
Des „comans noirs“, 198.
Cf. J. Németh. Die Volksnamen „quman“ und
„qun“. - KCsA, III (1941-1943), N° 1, 1941,
95-109. See more detailed by
Menges. Op. cit., 8-11, 13-14.
- 2, p. 309; cf. also
FTHB - 3, p. 28.
Op. cit., 131, 132;
Op. cit., 116.
Cf. about it: А. И.
Кыпчаки и Русь. - Ученые записки Ленинградского
государственного университета. Серия исторических наук.
Вып. 14, 1949, 94-119 (see
on p. 119).
cit., 83, 101.
Valacho-Turcica, 86; L. Rásonyi.
Les anthroponymes comans de Hongrie. - AOH,
20, 1967, 135-149 (see on p. 140).
So assumes Schütz. Les contacts, 296.
Ibid. Also Rásonyi. Contribution, 13;
Les contacts, 296. The author refers
to Selami Pulaha.
Nahija e Altun-ilisë
dhe popullsia e sajë
„Gjurmime albanologjike“ Seria e shkeucave historike, I
- 1971, pp. 193-272 (p. 210, 219).
Valacho-Turcica, 86; Tuna, 420;
Schütz. Les contacts,296-297.
István Schütz supposes, that toponyms
like Komarevo in Bulgaria, Comarnic in
Rumania and Komarni nahiye in the land register
of the Sanjak of Shkodra (1485) arose from the Cumanian
name Koman, respectively Koman-an >
Komanan > Komaran, whereat the change n >
r (rhotacism) was realised probably under Valakhian
(Arumanian?) influence. Cf. Schütz. Les contacts,
Byzantino-Turcica, II: Index.
Cf. the derivatives:
‘swelled, swelling, bloated’;
‘fatman; fat, thick’;
‘two years old lamb, begun to grow
See more details abot them by
Асеневци (1186-1460). Генеалогия и просопография.
pp. 119-136, 139-144, 149-178,
И. Божилов. Българите във Византийската
1995, p. 361.
Ibid. Cf. also Rásonyi. Contribution, 9, 15;
Les contacts, 295, 296.
More than 40 items in the used source
Des „Comans noirs“, 200-202; Les
contacts, 295, 297-298, 299-300.
Before the appearance of the tribe
in the Northern coast area of the Black Sea the clan
Terter-oba was amongst the
ruling clans of the Kipchaks, having the highest rank by
the so called ‘wild Polovtsians’. To it belonged
- the father-in-law of the
Kievan prince Svyatopolk Izyaslavič,
and from Tugorkan derived their descent in the 15th-16th
centuries the princes
from Skvir - the only
prince-dynasty, survived after the decline of the Kievan
113-115; P. Golden. The Polovci Dikii. -
Harvard Ukrainian Studies, 3-4, 1979-1980,
Contribution, 8, 10; Tuna, 420.
- 2, p. 245. The Ottoman
kind of writing of the name allows the reading „Eltimir“,
too. In a later register of Voynuks from the 16th
century the appellation of the same village was recorded
- 3, p. 171. The person in
question was recorded in the village Prevala (the region
of Montana), i. e. in the area between Vratsa and Vidin,
abounding with possible Cumanian names.
cit., 9, who takes this variant of the name to 16th
So L. Rásonyi. Kuman özel adları.
- Türk Kültürü Araştırmaları,
3-6, 1966-1969, 71-144 (see on p. 82-83). The meaning
‘clever, reasonable’ of the word esen is
connected semantically with the nickname
of the tsar
which derived probably from the Turk. bilgün
bilgin ‘knowing, wise’
Потеклото и съставът на среднобълг. Бhлгунь, прекор на
Списание на БАН,
Cf. the Lavrentien chronicle under the year 6540 (=
„Осень умре Половечьскый князь“
[‘Osen’ died, the Polovtsian
Полное Собрание Русских Летописей
vol. I, p. 205.
Cf. the Hypatian chronicle under 6615 (= 1107): „и
поя Володимер за Юргя Аепину дщерь Осенову внуку“
[‘and took Volodimer for Yurgi
(Georg) the Aepa’s daughter, the Osen’s granddaughter’]
(PSRL, II, 282-283).
is found in the Lavrentiev
chronicle (see PSRL, I, 275, 290). After the
residence was re-named into Sharukan’ according
to the appellation of
Sharagan (from *šaraqan
‘dragon’ or from saryγ
i. e. ‘Khan of the [people]
or ‘Yellow [central] lord’). He led the clan
arrived about 1110 from Central Asia and displaced into
the second plan the Assenidian dynasty
The other name of the town, Cheshuev
Cheshlyuev from the Russ.
connected also with
under 6604 (=
1096): „идохом к Беле Вежи и
избиша 900 Половець и два князя яща Багубарсова брата
Асиня и Сакзя“
went to Sarkel and ... killed off 900 Polovtsians and
two princes, Asin and Sak(i)z, who were brothers of
Beg-u Bars’] (PSRL, II, 248-249).
Byzantino-Turcica, II, 73-75; Index.
Болгарскиа Асеневичи на византийской службе. -
Известия Русского Археологического Института в
13, 1908, 1-16; see also:
на Асеневци. - Македонски преглед, IV, 4, 1928,
on p. 12,
Cumania as the Name of Thirteenth
Century Moldavia and Eastern Wallachia: Some Aspects of
Kipchak-Rumanian Relations. - In: Journal of Turkish
Studies, 8, 1984 (= Turks, Hungarians and
Kipchaks. A Festschrift in Honor of Tibor Halasi-Kun),
on p. 270).
An another explanation of the name (from
‘masters of Burdjan’) was proposed by M.-M.
Alexandrescu-Dersca. L’Origine du nom de la
Dobroudja. - In: Contribution Onomastique.
Publies ŕ l’occasion du VIe Congrčs
international des sciences onomastiques ŕ Munich du 24
au 28 Aoűt 1956. Bucarest, 1956, 97-114.
Valacho-Turcica, 74; Contribution,
Cf. K. Kadlec. Valaši
právo v zemích slovanských a uherských..- In:
Úvoden podávajícím přehled
theorii o vzniku rumunského národa.
Praha 1916, 451
(quoted after Lăzărescu-Zobian.
Cf. Panaitescu. Documentele
t. I, 1938, 145 (quoted after Lăzărescu-Zobian.
Op. cit., 14, 18.
Cf. the Hypatian chronicle under 6563 (= 1055)
с половци и створи Всеволод мир с ними и возвратишася
Polovtsians and made Vsevolod peace with them and they
returned where they had come from’] (PSRL, I,
162; II, 150).
Contribution, 11; Tuna, 42; Les
Contribution, 11; Tuna, 420; Lăzărescu-Zobian.
Noms et surnoms de Mamelouks. - JA,
238, 1, 1950, 31-58 (cf. entries nos. 29, 49, 50, 65,
Cf. O. Pritsak. Non-‘Wild’ Polovtsians. - In:
To Honor Roman Jakobson. Essays on the Occasion of His
Seventieth Birthday, 11 October 1966, Vols. 1-3. The
Hague-Paris: Mouton, 1967, vol. II, pp. 1615-1623
on p. 1620).
In these regions are to be expected
the successors of Cumanian fragmentary groups.
30 per cent from all proper names in Pernik about
the middle of the 15th century shows an
eastern, Cumanian or Pechenegian origin. Especially
saturated with such forms was once the village
So for instance the villages Bistritsa,
Trebich, Belitsa, Kostinbrod etc.