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Numismatic Bulgarian — Some Useful Words

There are several excellent coin reference books written in Bulgarian. This is a list of some words you might find in them. It's certainly not complete, but it might be helpful. It takes no account of grammar or syntax and is just to allow you to recognise the roots of the words. Sometimes the word in the "English" column is actually an English transliteration of a Greek or Latin word — for example, the names of deities or rulers. If you can pronounce the Cyrillic words you won't need those sections at all.

The words are listed in three sections. Here are links:

Rulers — emperors, wives and children in whose names the coins were struck.
Personifications and deities — the main figures on many reverses.
Other words — used in coin descriptions.

The centre column, "Romanised," gives the English versions of the Cyrillic letters. I can't imagine that this gives the correct pronunciation, but helps me, totally ignorant of the language, work with the Bulgarian words; maybe it will help you too.



Personifications and Deities


Other Words

Some short words:
а = and, first  |  в = in, on, at  |  и = and  |  на = of  |  по = on, over  |  с = with, and  |  си = its  |  му = him
зад = behind  |  над = over  |  под = under  |  със = with  |  без = without

Some of the reference books this might be useful for are:

Ivan Varbanov's series on Greek Imperial Coins and their Values. The first three volumes are also available as (improved) English versions.

Hristova & Jekov's series of volumes on the Coins of Moesia Inferior, I-III c. AD.

Dimitar Dragonov's "The Coinage of Deultum," and the Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum volume on the Coins of Deultum in Thrace.

Credit should go to members of the Forum Classical Numismatics Discussion Board; in particular, to Charley Rhodes for a list of words that I used to start off this page, to the users Optimus and Pekka K for corrections and additional words, and to Pat Lawrence for generosity and encouragement. But I have made many additions and changes, so any mistakes are likely to be mine.

Two web translation resources have proved useful. Where one fails, try the other. They are Google Translate and Eurodict. They each have their own strengths, and know words the other does not. Google can translate paragraphs and phrases. Eurodict gives you access to the Cyrillic alphabet, which can be very useful, and often gives more detailed definitions of words. You will need to ensure that cookies are enabled in your browser.

The content of this page was last updated on 28 December 2011

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