Bulgaria and Persia: common styles in ancient arts


Bulgaria and Persia: common styles in ancient arts
by radius-of-the-persian-cat

The Persian-Archaemenid empire under Dareius the Great had its largest extension in the 5th century BCE, when its north-western boarders extended up the Thrakian plains in nowaday Bulgaria. In the archeological museum in Sofia many excavated artifacts are considered to represent an archaemenidian style much different from forms inflluenced by hellenistic culture. But there might exist a much older link between so-called Proto-Bulgarians and the ancient Partian people.


The ancient Bulgarians came to the Balkan peninsula from the south russian and and Kazakh grass lands, were they lived next to skyths. The Partians, i.e. the native persian people, came from the same area and from their brought to Iran the expertise of horse breeing and riding.

But the Black Sea basin, located between the Balkan peninsula, caucasus mountains, norther Anatolia and the Crimean peninsula, was perhaps the earliest site of neolithic settlements. Luigi Cavalli-Sforza, eminent geneticist, anthropologist and linguist located the site of the original proto-indoeuropean language there. An intriguing theory by Pitman and Ryan, based on geologic and archaeologic research even claims that the great deluge (Noahs flood in the old testament, but described much earlier in the epic of Gilgamesh) happened there at around 5600 B.C., leading to a migrational wave of the early agricultural settlements into various directions.

It is thus not difficult to understand that in Bulgaria some historical artefacts, that sometimes are still reproduced in common craftswork, resemble to a large degree the persian-sassanid style.

Bulgaria is known today as the land of roses. This references mainly to its present role as one of the largest producers of rose fragrance-oil. The damascene fragrance-rose grows here in a large area of the so-called rose-valley. Its origin, however, is also most likely ancient Persia. Whereas Bulgaria still feels reluctant to admit turkish influences onto its culture (probably due to an 800 years lasting ottoman dominance), they seem to be proude of the few traces that ancient Persia left behind.

In the attached collection, I tried to show a few examples of these common styles. I hope that the resolution of the uploaded image is good enough, otherwise go to my blog.


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by yolanda on

Hi Radius,

   I am not exactly sure how big Persian Empire was, but these 2 musical instruments really look alike to me:

1) The Persian instrument, Kamancheh, played by Kayhan kalhor:


2) The Uyghur instrument played by Uyghur in Xinjiang, China:


You can see that many instruments played by Uyghurs look Persian, for example, Santur, Daf, Sitar, dutar, tanbur!


Persian influence is wide-spread!



by radius-of-the-persian-cat on

Hi Yolanda, Thanks for the link to the ancient persian gold. The similarity to Tracian Gold artifacts is really stunning.

The similarities in style (Persian-Sassanide art pattern)
might equally point to common origin of proto-Bulgarians and ancient
Parthians (somewhere in the south-Ural plain), but could equally
indicate that the people in the past were very open to adopt influences
from other cultures (like today copying and pasting). But it can be
neglected that this common style elements developed completely

Dear Tiger Lilly, aryan genes have never been found, and I am 100% sure there are none. Aryan was and is used in different context. Sometimes it referes to the people who spoke the Proto-indoeuropean language, sometimes it is used to describe the original ethnicity of Iran. Any attempts to define it genetically failed completely. Just take the light skin-colour (which some stupid racists still believe is synonymous with aryan) : you have light skin colour among many non-indoeuropeans (like fins, japanese), but you have dark skin-colour among indo-european speaking ethnicities (as in India or Afghanistan). Your question about some common genetic origins of Bulgarians and Persians must be answered with a clear "Probably yes". The Proto-Bulgarians came from the south-ural plains just like ancient Parthians, albeit much later. The genetic anthropologist Luigi Cavalli-Sforza located the origin of Proto-Indoeuropean Language right there.



by yolanda on

Very educational blog! The shining and golden artifact in your blog photo reminds me of this Persian artifact:


Thank you for posting!

Tiger Lily


by Tiger Lily on

What about my Persian Aryan genes? Are the Vulgarians taking them over too? Just joking!

Very interesting. Werde Ihnen vielleicht später noch weitere Bilder dazuschicken....