Glagolitic Script

Glagolitic Script

We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

Cyrillic and Glagolitic alphabets

The two early Slavic alphabets, the Cyrillic and the Glagolitic, were invented by Saints Cyril and Methodius. These men were from Thessalonica, and they traveled to the southern Slavic regions to spread Christianity. An early tradition, in attributing the invention of an early Slavic writing to Cyril, does not indicate whether his contribution was the Cyrillic or the Glagolitic. It is just possible that both alphabets were invented by him. The earliest dated Old Slavic documents belong to the late 10th and the 11th centuries. The Cyrillic and the Glagolitic alphabets differed widely in the form of their letters, in the history of their development, and partly also in the number of the letters, but they were alike in representing adequately the many sounds of Slavic.

The Cyrillic alphabet was based on the Greek uncial writing of the 9th century It originally had a total of 43 letters the two Hebrew letters tzade and shin were transformed into the Cyrillic letters for the sounds ch, sh, and shch. The modern forms of this alphabet have fewer letters. Glagolitic writing consisted of 40 letters, externally very unlike either the Greek or Cyrillic scripts.

Cyrillic became, with slight modification in each case, the national script of the Bulgarians, Serbs, Montenegrins, Russians, Belarusians, and Ukrainians. (The other Slavic peoples—the Slovenes, Croats, Bosnians, Czechs, Slovaks, Wends, Lusatians, and Poles—use the Latin alphabet.) For a time, Cyrillic was also adapted to the Romanian language, and in recent times, through the medium of Russian script, it became the writing of a number of Finno-Ugric languages (Komi, Udmurt, Mordvinian, Mansi, Khanty, etc.), Turkic languages (Chuvash, Turkmenian, Azerbaijanian, etc.), Iranian languages (Ossetic, Kurdish, Tajik), and Caucasian languages (Abkhaz, Circassian, Avar, etc.).

The history of the Glagolitic alphabet is particularly connected with the religious history of the Slavic peoples of southwest central Europe and the western Balkan Peninsula. In the second half of the 9th century, it was introduced, together with the Slavonic liturgy, into the Moravian kingdom, but with the banning of this liturgy by the pope it disappeared from Moravia. It was, however, accepted (also with the Slavonic liturgy) in Bulgaria and Croatia and spread along the Dalmatian coast southward into Montenegro and westward into Istria. Although the Glagolitic script soon disappeared among the Greek Orthodox Slavic peoples because of the victory of the Cyrillic, it continued, notwithstanding the opposition of the higher Roman Catholic authorities, to be employed among the Roman Catholics of the western Balkan Peninsula together with the Slavonic liturgy and finally succeeded in obtaining the special license of the pope. It is still employed in the Slavonic liturgy in some Dalmatian and Montenegrin communities the inhabitants of these places are the only Roman Catholics to use the Slavonic liturgy. The earliest preserved Glagolitic secular document dates from 1309. Glagolitic had a short flourishing period in the 16th and 17th centuries.

The Glagolitic alphabet or Glagolitsa (Croatian: glagoljica) is the oldest known Slavic script which was introduced in mid-9th century and was used in the Slavic world until the 16th century, when it was eventually replaced by the Latin script (Croatian: latinica).

It is interesting to note that Glagolitsa was used in Croatia – and only in Croatia – up until the 19th century, which means it was the official script in Croatia for 1000 years!

The meaning of the name 'Glagolitic'

The name of the script is derived from the Croatian verb glagoljati, which has 2 meanings: (1) to speak, to utter, and (2) to serve mass in the Old Church Slavonic* language (or Old Church Slavic, abbreviated OCS), the oldest Slavic literary language. Not surprisingly, the verb glagoljati further stems from from the Old Church Slavonic word glagolъ (utterance).

Interestingly, the name for the script was coined as late as the 16th century, and what's more, on Croatian territory! One should note that by this time Glagolitsa was used only in Croatia and had already been replaced by the Latin script in the rest of the Slavic-speaking world.

*Old Church Slavonic, also known as Old Church Slavic, was the first Slavic literary language. You can find out more about OCS here on Wikipedia.

Who invented the Glagolitic alphabet?

It is believed that the creators of Glagolitic characters were the Saint brothers Cyril and Methodius, Christian missionaries from Thessalonica in the Byzantine Empire (now Thessaloniki, Greece).

More precisely, the invention of Glagolitic script is attributed to Cyril. It is believed that he devised the script in order to introduce Christianity and writing among the illiterate, pagan Slavic tribes.

However, the origin of Glagolitsa is a bit more complex than that, and there are no less than 43 different theories on its genesis! Fortunately these theories can be divided into 3 groups:

  1. Exogenous: Glagolitsa was created with respect to some other scripts that preceded it and dates much further back than the 9th century.
  2. Endrogenous: The Glagolitic script is entirely unique, and we cannot speak of any other Slavic script that had existed before.
  3. Exogenous-endrogenous: A combination of the two. These theories presuppose the existence of some older script(s), but hold that Glagolitic system of characters was entirely original.

Some of the greatest Croatian scholars that were preoccupied by these issues are supporters of exogenous theories. But one thing is for sure: Glagolitic alphabet was the first script used to transcribe OCS.

The Glagolitic characters

There are 41 characters of Glagolitsa as we know it today, but this number can vary from type to type.

How many letters were there in the original Glagolitic script is not known. All of the letters had names, e. g.: a – az, b – buky, v - vêdê etc. (the positioning of the letters was, of course, different from today's alphabet).

The script is therefore called azbuki (Croatian: azbuka) – the name derived from the names of the first two letters, az and buky. Oh, and by the way, the term alphabet is coined by the same analogy: alpha + beta.

What's more, Glagolitic letters were also used as numbers. Their numerical value is correspondent to their alphabetical order and they were easily recognised as numbers because they either had dots on each side or a ligature above.

There are 2 types of Glagolitic script: round and square, according to the shape of the characters. The round type was used in the entire Slavic-speaking world, while the square Glagolitsa, introduced in the 13th century, is exclusively Croatian! Actually, there is also the third type, the triangular variant – this type is the oldest one and its existence was discovered much later.

The Baška tablet: the first recorded mention of 'Croatia'

Baška tablet (Croatian: Bašćanska ploča, from around 1100) is one of the oldest – and probably the most famous – monuments containing Glagolitic inscription.

This monument has great historical significance: It is the oldest known document in which the adjective Croatian (hrvatski) is mentioned, as well as the name of a Croatian ruler in Croatian language (kralj Zvonimir). The document was named after Baška, a town on the island of Krk where it was found. Nowadays it is kept in the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts in Zagreb.

It features a transitional form of Glagolitsa, between round and square. The language used is Croatian with some hints of OCS. In the first part of inscription, abbot Držiha reports the donation of a piece of land by King Zvonimir to a Benedictine abbey. The second half tells how abbot Dobrovit built the church together with his nine brothers.

  • ►� (263)
    • ► June 2021 (23)
    • ► May 2021 (46)
    • ► April 2021 (48)
    • ► March 2021 (57)
    • ► February 2021 (44)
    • ► January 2021 (45)
    • ►� (619)
      • ► December 2020 (55)
      • ► November 2020 (49)
      • ► October 2020 (46)
      • ► September 2020 (46)
      • ► August 2020 (46)
      • ► July 2020 (50)
      • ► June 2020 (55)
      • ► May 2020 (48)
      • ► April 2020 (58)
      • ► March 2020 (58)
      • ► February 2020 (50)
      • ► January 2020 (58)
      • ►� (727)
        • ► December 2019 (73)
        • ► November 2019 (59)
        • ► October 2019 (65)
        • ► September 2019 (56)
        • ► August 2019 (49)
        • ► July 2019 (61)
        • ► June 2019 (52)
        • ► May 2019 (68)
        • ► April 2019 (70)
        • ► March 2019 (66)
        • ► February 2019 (49)
        • ► January 2019 (59)
        • ►� (706)
          • ► December 2018 (64)
          • ► November 2018 (65)
          • ► October 2018 (64)
          • ► September 2018 (54)
          • ► August 2018 (55)
          • ► July 2018 (51)
          • ► June 2018 (53)
          • ► May 2018 (61)
          • ► April 2018 (57)
          • ► March 2018 (67)
          • ► February 2018 (53)
          • ► January 2018 (62)
          • ►� (715)
            • ► December 2017 (64)
            • ► November 2017 (62)
            • ► October 2017 (60)
            • ► September 2017 (54)
            • ► August 2017 (56)
            • ► July 2017 (56)
            • ► June 2017 (74)
            • ► May 2017 (58)
            • ► April 2017 (64)
            • ► March 2017 (63)
            • ► February 2017 (51)
            • ► January 2017 (53)
            • ▼� (721)
              • ► December 2016 (62)
              • ► November 2016 (55)
              • ► October 2016 (54)
              • ▼ September 2016 (55)
              • ► August 2016 (54)
              • ► July 2016 (55)
              • ► June 2016 (55)
              • ► May 2016 (71)
              • ► April 2016 (57)
              • ► March 2016 (82)
              • ► February 2016 (57)
              • ► January 2016 (64)
              • ►� (687)
                • ► December 2015 (80)
                • ► November 2015 (65)
                • ► October 2015 (58)
                • ► September 2015 (56)
                • ► August 2015 (54)
                • ► July 2015 (55)
                • ► June 2015 (48)
                • ► May 2015 (54)
                • ► April 2015 (57)
                • ► March 2015 (62)
                • ► February 2015 (43)
                • ► January 2015 (55)
                • ►� (709)
                  • ► December 2014 (66)
                  • ► November 2014 (67)
                  • ► October 2014 (66)
                  • ► September 2014 (54)
                  • ► August 2014 (58)
                  • ► July 2014 (61)
                  • ► June 2014 (75)
                  • ► May 2014 (47)
                  • ► April 2014 (62)
                  • ► March 2014 (56)
                  • ► February 2014 (43)
                  • ► January 2014 (54)
                  • ►� (810)
                    • ► December 2013 (58)
                    • ► November 2013 (59)
                    • ► October 2013 (60)
                    • ► September 2013 (46)
                    • ► August 2013 (93)
                    • ► July 2013 (89)
                    • ► June 2013 (89)
                    • ► May 2013 (63)
                    • ► April 2013 (65)
                    • ► March 2013 (69)
                    • ► February 2013 (57)
                    • ► January 2013 (62)
                    • ►� (793)
                      • ► December 2012 (55)
                      • ► November 2012 (68)
                      • ► October 2012 (67)
                      • ► September 2012 (55)
                      • ► August 2012 (66)
                      • ► July 2012 (67)
                      • ► June 2012 (62)
                      • ► May 2012 (67)
                      • ► April 2012 (73)
                      • ► March 2012 (74)
                      • ► February 2012 (67)
                      • ► January 2012 (72)
                      • ►� (910)
                        • ► December 2011 (75)
                        • ► November 2011 (75)
                        • ► October 2011 (69)
                        • ► September 2011 (74)
                        • ► August 2011 (69)
                        • ► July 2011 (68)
                        • ► June 2011 (82)
                        • ► May 2011 (85)
                        • ► April 2011 (96)
                        • ► March 2011 (75)
                        • ► February 2011 (69)
                        • ► January 2011 (73)
                        • ►� (1282)
                          • ► December 2010 (85)
                          • ► November 2010 (79)
                          • ► October 2010 (72)
                          • ► September 2010 (79)
                          • ► August 2010 (79)
                          • ► July 2010 (84)
                          • ► June 2010 (105)
                          • ► May 2010 (137)
                          • ► April 2010 (142)
                          • ► March 2010 (158)
                          • ► February 2010 (123)
                          • ► January 2010 (139)
                          • ►� (1590)
                            • ► December 2009 (137)
                            • ► November 2009 (128)
                            • ► October 2009 (134)
                            • ► September 2009 (127)
                            • ► August 2009 (126)
                            • ► July 2009 (132)
                            • ► June 2009 (144)
                            • ► May 2009 (133)
                            • ► April 2009 (130)
                            • ► March 2009 (147)
                            • ► February 2009 (119)
                            • ► January 2009 (133)
                            • ►� (1841)
                              • ► December 2008 (152)
                              • ► November 2008 (156)
                              • ► October 2008 (148)
                              • ► September 2008 (133)
                              • ► August 2008 (117)
                              • ► July 2008 (156)
                              • ► June 2008 (137)
                              • ► May 2008 (164)
                              • ► April 2008 (166)
                              • ► March 2008 (196)
                              • ► February 2008 (175)
                              • ► January 2008 (141)
                              • ►� (1613)
                                • ► December 2007 (139)
                                • ► November 2007 (144)
                                • ► October 2007 (150)
                                • ► September 2007 (175)
                                • ► August 2007 (136)
                                • ► July 2007 (156)
                                • ► June 2007 (135)
                                • ► May 2007 (135)
                                • ► April 2007 (121)
                                • ► March 2007 (135)
                                • ► February 2007 (86)
                                • ► January 2007 (101)
                                • ►� (987)
                                  • ► December 2006 (122)
                                  • ► November 2006 (121)
                                  • ► October 2006 (113)
                                  • ► September 2006 (105)
                                  • ► August 2006 (85)
                                  • ► July 2006 (79)
                                  • ► June 2006 (80)
                                  • ► May 2006 (68)
                                  • ► April 2006 (69)
                                  • ► March 2006 (55)
                                  • ► February 2006 (49)
                                  • ► January 2006 (41)
                                  • ►� (200)
                                    • ► December 2005 (43)
                                    • ► November 2005 (43)
                                    • ► October 2005 (34)
                                    • ► September 2005 (28)
                                    • ► August 2005 (52)

                                    Wednesday, July 13, 2011

                                    The Glagolitic Missal - Missale Romanum Slavonico Idiomate

                                    Recently, one of our readers sent in something that we have yet to have shown here: scans from the last preconciliar edition of the Roman Missal in Glagolitic as published in 1927. (In point of fact, the reader in question sent in a scan of the entire missal, but for now I will simply show a few select pages from this.)

                                    As it was explained to me, the 1927 edition of the Glagolitic Missal was transliterated into Latin script since knowledge of Glagolitic script was already in great decline by this time. Glagolitic script was only used for the Ordinary of the Mass and in parallel to the same in Latinized script.

                                    For the sake of interest, however, let me first show you the original title page of the Glagolitic Missal as published in 1631 you can see the Glagolitic script beneath the Latin title:

                                    Here then is the title page of the 1927 edition of the Glagolitic Missal:

                                    Background of the Glagolitic Missal

                                    Before we continue, a few words are likely in order about the Glagolitic Missal.

                                    The Catholic Encyclopedia offers the following summary which should suffice to give the core background context:

                                    These Slavs were converted to Christianity and to the Roman Rite by Latin missionaries, and gradually the Roman alphabet drove out the use of the Glagolitic, so that the Bohemians, Slovenians, Moravians, and part of the Croatians used Roman letters in writing their languages. In Southern Croatia and in Dalmatia (often treated as synonymous with Illyria in ancient times) the Glagolitic has continued in use as an ecclesiastical alphabet in writing the ancient Slavonic. Although the Slavic peoples bordering on the Adriatic Sea were converted to the Roman Rite, they received the privilege, as well as their brethren of the Greek Rite, of having the Mass and the offices of the Church said in their own tongue. Thus the Roman Mass was translated into the Slavonic, and, in order to more fully distinguish the Western Rite from the Eastern Rite among the Slavic peoples, the use of the Glagolitic alphabet was reserved exclusively for the service books of the Roman Rite, just as the Cyrillic was used for the Greek Rite.

                                    The use of the Glagolitic Missal and office books, while permitted in general among the Slavs of Dalmatia and Croatia from the earliest times since the Slavonic became a liturgical language under Pope John VIII, was definitely settled by the Constitution of Urban VIII, dated 29 April, 1631, in which he provided for a new and corrected edition of the Slavic Missal conformable to the Roman editions. In 1648 Innocent X provided likewise for the Slavic Breviary.

                                    For those who would like to read more about this a detailed consideration may also be found on pp. 58-67 of Archdale King's The Liturgy of the Roman Church.

                                    Scans From the Glagolitic Missal

                                    What follows then are a few pages from within the missal. I have tried to select pages which would be reasonably familiar to many of our readers. (Click on any of the photos to enlarge them.)

                                    And here in these images, we see the Glagolitic script in parallel to the Latin script:

                                    History of a Forgotten Script

                                    The conversion of the Slavs to Christianity was a slow process. Like most pagan tribes on the outskirts of early medieval Europe, they had no written language. To make matters worse, the missionaries sent to convert them stubbornly preached in either Greek or Latin—the only “official” languages recognized by the Church.

                                    The first break with this tradition came during a spat between Louis the German, the powerful king of East Francia, and his Slavic vassal Rostislav, the prince of Great Moravia. The latter, wanting to assert his independence, expelled all Frankish missionaries and requested help from the Byzantine Empire. Its ruler, Michael III, viewed Louis as a threat and was eager to extend Byzantine influence to Central Europe. In a stroke of genius, he sent two brothers, Cyril and Methodius, who not only translated the Bible in the Slavic language, but invented a custom alphabet, attuned to its phonology. It became known as the Glagolitic, named after its fourth letter—Glagoli, meaning “to do” or “to speak.”

                                    The initiative faced a sustained backlash, and Moravia defaulted back to Latin liturgy. Some of Cyril’s disciples ended up in the Bulgarian Empire—another Slavic domain, whose rulers, like Rostislav, yearned for cultural independence, this time from the Byzantine Empire itself. Sensing an opportunity, the Bulgarian tsar, Simeon I, welcomed them and commissioned the creation of a brand new alphabet that was eventually named after Cyril, probably as a sing of homage. It was hardly a coincidence that soon after that Bulgaria reached the apogee of its power and its cultural influence spread as far as the lands of Kievan Rus, one of the predecessor states of modern Russia.

                                    The Glagolitic remained popular in Slavic Croatia, where in 1248 Pope Innocent officially allowed the use of Croatian in the Roman Rite. The first printed Croatian book, Missale Romanum Glagolitice, appeared in 1483, barely three decades after the first copies of the Gutenberg Bible. However, the Croatian language eventually adopted a Latin-based alphabet and the Glagolitic became obsolete.

                                    Brno archaeologists reveal early Slavs used Germanic runes prior to Glagolitic script

                                    Archeologists at the Masaryk University in Brno have announced a groundbreaking discovery. The researchers have found a fragment of an inscribed bone which proves that the oldest writing system used by the ancient Slavs were Germanic runes, not the Glagolitic script as it was previously thought.

                                    Researches working at a site near the town of Břeclav in southern Moravia found a fragment of an inscribed cow rib alongside other early Slavic artefacts dating to the seventh century.

                                    The discovery was made back in 2017 and was subsequently examined by an international team of scientists from the Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland and Australia.

                                    Archaeology student Alena Slámová was the first person to hold the bone in her hands:

                                    “There were dozens of bones that passed through my hands that evening, but I noticed some incisions on this particular one. When I examined them more carefully, I realized they were some kind of inscriptions. It was only later when I discussed it with my colleague that it occurred to me that they were runes.”

                                    To analyze the bone, researchers used the latest genetic and radiocarbon dating methods. The seven signs inscribed on the bone are believed to be written in Older Futhark, a script used by Germanic-speaking inhabitants of Central Europe between the second and seventh centuries.

                                    The alphabet consists of 24 runes, the last seven of which are engraved on the bovine rib fragment. Archeologists say it is likely that the entire alphabet was originally written on the bone. Rather than a specific message, the inscription probably served as a teaching aid.

                                    Until this discovery, the oldest writing system among Slavs was considered to be the Glagolitic script, brought to Moravia from the Byzantine Empire in the ninth century by Saints Cyril and Methodius.

                                    Jiří Macháček, head of the Department of Archaeology and Museology at Masaryk University’s Faculty of Arts and leading researcher of the international team, says the discovery completely overturns our previous assumptions of the Slavic alphabet.

                                    Although there are historical texts suggesting that the Slavs used some kind of writing system prior to the introduction of the Glagolitic script, archaeologists had no proof of that assumption until now, says Mr. Macháček:

                                    “There is a text about Slavic writings penned by monk Chrabr, who says that the Slavs uses some kind of incisions. However, his hypothesis was rejected, since there was no proof of script used prior to the introduction of the Glagolitic script. Now we have concrete scientific evidence that the report written by monk Chrabr is based on facts.”

                                    Mr. Macháček says the discovery also casts doubt on whether the cultural differences between Germanic and Slavic Europe were as clear cut as it was previously thought.

                                    The archaeologists from the Masaryk University have published their findings in the prestigious Journal of Archaeological Science. Once they complete the examination of the site, they plan to exhibit the inscribed bone fragment to the public.

                                    The Illyrian alphabet that wasn’t: how two centuries of European printers circulated an imaginary Balkan script

                                    One of the joys of historical research is finding unusual things in old books.

                                    One of the joys of social media once you link a whole lot of historians, linguists and literature people up with each other is finding the unusual things people have found in a lot of old books.

                                    Like these pages from Josiah Ricraft’s The Peculier Characters of the Orientall Languages and Sundry Others, published in London in or around 1645, that Heather Froehlich encountered while looking at texts in languages other than English in the Early English Books Online collection:

                                    Several writing systems for Croatian
                                    TCPid A57259 | Wing R1432

                                    &mdash heather froehlich (@heatherfro) August 31, 2016

                                    (Make that The Peculier Characters of the Orientall Languages and Sundry Others, Exactly Delineated for the Benifit of All Such as Are Studious in the Languages, and the Choice Rarities Thereof, and for the Advancement of Language Learning in These Latter Dayes. That claim to precision with its millenarian twist at the end – the same combination that introduced readers of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens to an occult text called The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch – is exactly what you want in your early-modern-English-book-title aesthetic.)

                                    Two of these scripts – the ‘Alphabet of the Slavs’ and ‘Alphabet of the Croats’ – are forms of Glagolitic, one of the scripts devised for writing down Old Church Slavonic by the early medieval Byzantine missionaries who spread Orthodox Christianity in eastern Europe. Cyrillic (named after one of the two most famous missionaries, Saints Cyril and Methodius) endured and became the basis of alphabets for eastern Slavonic languages such as Russian and Ukrainian, and for south Slavonic languages in nations with strong Orthodox traditions (Serbian, Bulgarian, Macedonian).

                                    Glagolitic (somehow, it never got called ‘Methodian’) didn’t become the basis of any modern-day national language’s literary script, but as a liturgical and monumental script lasted longest in Croatia. For 19th- and 20th-century Croatian national movements, the 12th-century Baška tablet, discovered by a Croatian priest in 1851 when Croatian (and many other) national ‘awakenings’ were in full swing, has both symbolised the continuity of Croatian statehood and connected to layers of Croatian national myth.

                                    The inscription acknowledges the historic King Zvonimir, who ruled the medieval Croatian kingdom until being betrayed by his own noblemen moreover, it provides the first reference to ‘the national Croatian name […] in the Croatian language’. And it does it in Glagolitic. (In the words of one of the most famous new patriotic songs that emerged in 1991 at the beginning of the Croatian war of independence, resonant with the karst landscapes of the Dalmatian hinterland, history is quite literally ‘written on a firm stone’.)

                                    (Today, narratives and iconography of the Croatian national past that play on the ‘primordialism’ of ethnicity and tradition in the landscape continue to make Glagolitic script a symbol of Croatian ethnic continuity on the land, immediately distinguishable for a Croatian onlooker from the Cyrillic script which in the region’s late 20th/early 21st century language politics connotes Orthodoxy and Serbdom. It’s not uncommon on patriotic t-shirts and tattoos some monuments commemorating 20th-century Croatian national ‘martyrs’ are inscribed in Glagolitic and the Zagreb-based designers Vesna and Marija Miljkovic have used the script as detail for an entire clothing and accessories line.)

                                    Ricraft’s fourth script, a version of Cyrillic, is the ‘Alphabet of the Muscovites’, inverting the balance of power between Russian and South Slav languages that most inhabitants of Slavonic languages departments will be used to these days.

                                    It’s the first script, the ‘Alphabet of the Illyrian Slavs’, that looks hardest to place. Glagolitic-but-not-quite, Greek-but-not-quite, serpentine tails where you don’t expect them to go – tipping its ‘peculier characters’ into the uncanny valley between historic typography, modern-day invention and contemporaneous alchemical esoterica to which several decades’ worth of films and book covers have tied the aesthetic of early modern printing for a contemporary eye.

                                    (Take a novel like Arturo Pérez-Reverte’s The Dumas Club, filmed as The Ninth Gate, about an antiquarian book dealer hunting a 17th-century treatise that can supposedly summon the Devil just put up a woodcut on screen and the viewer should start to be smelling brimstone.)

                                    Indeed, as a place-name Illyria itself is in much the same valley – the name of a historic tribe in south-east Europe who pre-date the migration of the Slavs, attached to a Roman province, Napoleon’s Adriatic satellite state and the first wave of the South Slav national ‘revival’ in the Habsburg Empire part of an Albanian myth of national origin and, as Vesna Goldsworthy records in her history of fictional Balkan countries, one of literature’s most popular go-to names for imagining the Balkans behind the one that gave her book its title, Inventing Ruritania. And then there was that time Joss Whedon named an ancient warrior demon after it.

                                    To paraphrase Kieron Gillen’s line from The Wicked + The Divine about the mysteriously reincarnated goddess Tara (‘We don’t know if she’s Buddhist, Hindu or Tara from fucking Buffy‘), semidetached from its historic moorings the name has permeated literature so far that ‘we’ might be forgiven for not knowing if it’s from Shakespeare, Greater Albania or Illyria from fucking Angel.

                                    Except the background to the Alphabet of Illyrian Slavs is less Ninth Gate, more in the equally time-honoured bibliographic tradition of printers messing about – with something to reveal about how north-west European typographers thought about foreign languages in the 16th to 18th centuries.

                                    Ricraft’s was far from the only handbook to include the Alphabet of the Illyrian Slavs, according to the Slavonic linguist Sebastian Kempgen, collector of Slavic alphabet tables from 1538 to 1824. It’s there in Richard Daniels’s Copy-Book of 1664, also from London, and a Leipzig printing manual in 1740 it surfaces in France in 1766, in Pierre Simon Fournier’s Manuel typographique, and in Edmund Fry’s 1799 Pantographia. De Bry’s Alphabeta et characteres, printed in Frankfurt in 1596, contains several Cyrillic and Glagolitic alphabets, the Illyrian script and a Cyrillic ‘Moscovitian’, putting it into the same lineage as Ricraft. Several Italian handbooks, meanwhile, don’t have the script at all. Finally, Kempgen traces it back to Zurich: Urban Wyss’s Libellus valde doctus, elegans, & utilis, published for the edification of calligraphers in 1549, where Kempgen notes no other Slavonic languages were printed at all.

                                    ‘Illyrian’ alphabets in the later books, compared to the greater variations of Cyrillic and Glagolitic scripts, resemble the Wyss models much more:

                                    These later copies reproduced the alphabet very faithfully, but it is obvious that, for 250 years, none of the authors of these copybooks had a “living” alphabet to check his engravings against, that there actually were no texts that could be used to sample these letters from, no speakers to correct anything etc. Whereas in all these typographic books the Glagolitic and the Cyrillic alphabets do exhibit certain changes over time as they changed naturally, this one alphabet seems to be frozen in time, as if it had been photocopied by one author after the other. (Kempgen 2015: 6)

                                    Kempgen speculates that Wyss invented the alphabet himself, using Glagolitic as a model but adding embellishments of his own that matched the codes of what he perceived as exotic (something he also seemed to have done to his book’s ‘Egyptian’ alphabet):

                                    Having no idea which parts of the Glagolitic letters were distinctive and which weren’t, he transformed the Glagolitic letters into fanciful designs that fit the rest of the exotic alphabets that he cut for his book […] In Zurich at the time, there would have been no one who could have given him advice on how to interpret the Glagolitic letters best – which parts were important and which of his ornamental additions or re-interpretations made them unrecognizable as Glagolitic letters. (Kempgen 2015: 11)

                                    The ‘mysterious’ Illyrian script, in other words, belongs somewhere between the chain of early-modern biblical typos, litanies of unfortunately transcribed script tattoos, and the comedies of errors through which Google Translate error messages and out-of-office emails end up written on signs.

                                    Moreover, it’s missing several important sounds that the alphabet of any Slavonic language would be likely to contain and the Italian manuals, printed closest to the Adriatic where their readership was likely to be in most contact with the script, have no trace of the Wyss alphabet whatsoever. Esteemed typographers in north-west Europe, for two and a half centuries, still reprinted the ‘Illyrian’ alphabet as fact. As Kempgen concludes:

                                    Due to lack of better knowledge, it has been faithfully reprinted for 250 years – but never anywhere near Slavic-speaking countries. (Kempgen 2015: 11)

                                    Wyss’s alphabet circulated because it looked plausible other Cyrillic and Glagolitic scripts were and had been in use, ‘Illyria’ already existed as a designation, the Illyrian alphabet looked like its neighbours, why shouldn’t it be there? It’s as if the Dothraki language, knowingly constructed by George R R Martin and David Peterson for Game of Thrones in evocation of the horse-nomads of Eurasian steppes, were actually to appear in a handbook on the languages of Central Asia.

                                    Two centuries before the Venetian traveller Alberto Fortis was romanticising the nomads and bandits of the Dalmatian hinterland as ‘Morlachs’, a generation before Shakespeare was imagining his shipwrecked twins making landfall in Illyria, Wyss was playing his own part in the European imagination of the Balkans. Whether Ricraft regarded the Illyrian Slavs as speakers of one of his ‘orientall languages’ or ‘sundry others’, his woodcut contributed a small node to the network of representations that south-east European cultural theorists such as Maria Todorova and Milica Bakic-Hayden have often compared to orientalism, or the politics of imperialist Europe representing and exoticising the Middle East.

                                    Similar fabrications, in the age of national ‘awakenings’, could sometimes inspire nationalist imaginations anyway the poems of Ossian, a third-century Gaelic bard, were part of a cultural movement that moved not only some Scots but romantic nationalists in other countries to imagine a folkloric national past even when they turned out to have been written by a contemporaneous Scottish poet, James MacPherson, in the 1760s.

                                    If the Illyrian alphabet has never lent itself to an invention-of-tradition move, it might be because the chain of transmission ends abruptly, according to Kempgen, with Pantographia linguists active in the 19th-century national ‘awakenings’ put enough new material into circulation about their languages’ scripts that they stopped depending on handbooks in the Wyss lineage and the error did not persist into the 20th century. Its lack of the full complement of South Slavonic letters means it would be hard to adapt to revivalist purposes in the same way that Glagolitic itself, though out of daily use, lives on in contemporary Croatian patriotic iconography.

                                    Benifit or not to any such as were studious in the languages, Ricraft’s perpetuation of the alphabet-that-wasn’t certainly stands as a choice rarity thereof an insight, even if not the one he might have wished for, into the advancement of language learning in his own latter dayes.

                                    Glagolitic Script - History

                                    There were two brother missionaries in Saloniki in the 9th century, Cyril and Methodius, who once decided to create a special alphabet for the Slavs to read Christian books. The legend says that they formed Cyrillic and Glagolitic alphabets simultaneously but in fact, according to historical documents, it seems that was Cyril who invented Glagolitic, and his brother and his pupils already made up Cyrillic.

                                    The Glagolitic script was absolutely the same in symbol composition and in phonetics, but completely different in shape. The script is really very unique, that is why there is no sure about where it originated from. Some linguists state that its letters are connected with Greek, and some - even with the Samaritan and the Old Hebrew writing. Alternatively, Bernard Comrie (of University of Southern California) came up with another reason for the competition between Glagolitic and Cyrillic. He theorized that Glagolitic came from cursive Greek scripts, while Cyrillic derived from Byzantine Greek uncial scripts already used in manuscripts. The students of Cyril might have found Glagolitic "undignified and unsuitable for ecclesiastical use" (Hersey) because of its cursive shapes, and derived Cyrillic from an already liturgical script.

                                    The script was in wide use in Moravia and Bohemia since the 9th language then it penetrated to Bulgaria, Serbia and Croatia. It was seldom used also in Kiev Russia. In most places Glagolitic gave way to Cyrillic after the 12th century. In Croatia, though, it continued to be in use until the 19th century in church. The Croatian Glagolitic is quite similar in to Old Church Slavonic Glagolitic, but it has less letters and the shape of its characters are much more rectangular.

                                    Languages which used the script: Slavic (Old Church Slavic, Serbo-Croatian, Old Czech, Bulgarian).


                                    Miraculous apparition of the Virgin Mary in Nin

                                    Did you know that in Nin's area the miraculous apparition of the Virgin Mary is celebrated for 500 years three times a year: on the day of the Apparition 5th May with the pilgrimage to Our Lady's Island by land and sea on the actual holiday, the first Monday before the holiday of the Ascension and on 5th August, Homeland Thanksgiving Day? There are around 20 preserved customs referring to the miraculous apparition.


                                    Watch the video: Glagolitic Alphabet with Pronunciation Old Slavic (May 2022).