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Butaul (also spelled Buta-ul, with possible meaning "the son of Buta"[1]) is a name mentioned in an inscription contained in a treasure trove of gold artifacts found in 1799 in Groß Sankt Nikolaus[undue weight? ] (Romanian: Sânnicolau Mare) in northern Banat (then under administration of Habsburg Monarchy, today in Timiş County in western Romania). According to various interpretations of the inscription, Butaul was an župan,[2] a sort of local chieftain.

The inscription[edit]

Buta-ul and Buyla are names preserved by an inscription on one of the vessels found in the hoard. The inscription is written in the Greek alphabet and reads:

(Transliteration: bouēla zoapan tesē dygetoigé boutaoul zōapan tagrogē ētzigē taisē).[3]

The language of the inscription is unknown. While there is no consensus as to the meaning of the inscription, there is general agreement that Buta-ul and Buyla are personal names from a Turkic language, and that both are identified as holding the title of župan. Other very short inscriptions found on the artifacts there are in a runiform script and also likely to be in a Turkic language, but these are very brief and have not been deciphered.[4]


Various sources provided different interpretations of the inscription. According some opinions, inscription was written by a people whose local leaders had Turkic names and bore Slavic titles.[5] According to other opinions, form ZOAΠAN could be read as "čaban", so BOYTAOYΛ.ZΩAΠAN would mean "son of Buta from the breed of čaban".[6]

Area ruled by Buta-ul according to Serbian historian Milan Tutorov.[7]

According to one interpretation, Buyla was the grand duke of two Getae lands of the Tisa, while Buta-ul was the duke of the Tagro and Etzi lands of the Tisa.[8] According to other interpretation, Župan Buila (Buyla) was prince of Dügetoigi, while Grand Župan Butaul was prince of Tagrogi and Itschigi (Utschugi).[8] Another interpretation states that Butaul was župan of Tagroges, Iazyges, the peoples of the Tisa.[9] Another translation states that Bela (Buyla) was župan of the Tisa, while Butaul was župan of the Iazyges.[10] According to Serbian historian Milan Tutorov, grand župan Buta-ul was ruler of two Getae lands, Targorska and Eciska and across the Tisa.[7] Tutorov claims that "Getae land" was designation for present-day Banat, while area "across the Tisa" is present-day Bačka.[7]

According to Tutorov, Buta-ul was an Avar noble who had a traditional Slavic ruler's title - the "great župan" (rendering veliki župan).[7] Tutorov also speculates that the Treasure of Groß Sankt Nikolaus was probably buried by Buta-ul in 796, when Pippin, the son of Frankish ruler Charlemagne, penetrated with his army into the centre of Avar caganate near the river Tisa.[7] It is assumed that Buta-ul buried his treasure in great hurry before the Frankish army arrived,[7] since the treasure was buried only half metre deep in the ground.[7]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Media related to Buta-ul at Wikimedia Commons