Old East Slavic language

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Old East Slavic

Spoken in

Eastern Europe
speaker none (older language level of today's East Slavic languages)
Official status
Official language in Kievan Rus and successor states, Novgorod Republic
Language codes
ISO 639 -1


ISO 639 -2

sla (other Slavic languages)

ISO 639-3


The Old East Slavic language , also called Old Russian , describes a language form used between the 10th and 14th centuries, especially in the Kievan Rus , which is considered to be the predecessor of today's East Slavic languages .

The name of the language

Since the language of (pre-) national history of all Eastern Slavs heard is often referred to them in these languages with the national name, so Russian as Altrussisch (drewnerusski jasyk) ukrainian than Altukrainisch (davnjoukrajins'ka mova) and Belarusian as Altweißrussisch ( staražytnabelaruskaja mova). Even outside the East Slavic countries, Old Russian is still very common, but a nationally neutral name that does not exclude the other East Slavic peoples is preferable. Supranational names already exist in the East Slavic languages, e.g. B. Belarusian staražytnaruskaja mova 'Old Russian' or Ukrainian davnjorus'ka mova (the same) and davnjokyjivs'ka mova 'Old Kiev'.

The written language of the Kievan Rus

Old East Slavic was the common language of the eastern Slavs, who lived almost completely in the state structure known as Kievan Rus (Reussen, self-denominated Russian ) as well as the state and administrative language for the many other ethnic groups living there ( Varangians , Khazars , Pechenegs , various Baltic and Finno-Ugric tribes among others).

One problem of description is the importance of Church Slavonic : Often, Old East Slavic and Church Slavonic are viewed as two different languages that stood side by side in a kind of diglossia and were used for different text genres: Church Slavonic especially for religious texts and Old East Slavic, which is closer to the dialects of the people, as Administrative and legal language. However, many texts cannot be clearly assigned to one of these two idioms . So there was obviously a relatively smooth transition between Church Slavonic and East Slavonic, so that one should perhaps see them as different varieties or stylistic levels of a language.

The question of the share of Church Slavonic in the development of Old East Slavonic has been hotly contested in the past. In particular, Soviet linguistics insisted on the dogma of the "independence of the Russian language" (Russian: "samobytnost 'russkogo jazyka" ). Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union , the idea has spread in Russia , Ukraine and Belarus that the written language of Old East Slavic originated as a combination of elements of Old East Slavic dialects and Church Slavonic norms.

After the collapse of the Kievan Rus, two new great empires developed on their territory, both of which saw themselves as their successor states. Due to the separate administration and different geographical orientation, two new written languages ​​emerged as the respective state languages: Russian in the Grand Duchy of Moscow and Ruthenian (from which Ukrainian , Belarusian and Russian later emerged) in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania .

Linguistic features

The most important features of East Slavic in contrast to West and South Slavonic are the so-called full sound and the representation of original Slavic * tj and * dj.

  • Full sound: Urslavic interconsonant * or, * ol, * er and * el result in oro, olo, ere and ele in Old East Slavonic. So z. B. from * gordъ 'city, castle' (cf. German garden, Stuttgart ) gorodъ (cf. Russian Novgorod 'Neustadt'), from * melko 'milk' moloko or from * korva 'cow' korova. (In South Slavic as well as in Czech and Slovak , gradъ, mlěko and krava were created, in Polish gród, mleko and krowa, in Upper Sorbian hród, mloko and kruwa. )
  • Urslavic * tj results in č (pronounced: ch ), e.g. B. * svět-ja 'candle' (cf. * svět-ъ 'light')> Old Eastern Slavic svě č a, but e.g. B. Old Church Slavonic svě št a, Serbian sve ć a, Polish świe c a, Upper Sorbian swě c a.
  • Primeval Slavic * dj results in ž (read: like j in Journal ), e.g. B. * med-ja 'Rain, Grenz' (cf. Latin medium 'Mitte')> Old East Slavic me ž a, but z. B. Old Church Slavonic me žd a, Serbian me đ a, Polish mie dz a, Upper Sorbian mje z a.

Old East Slavic was written exclusively in Cyrillic script ; the Glagolitic script is practically non- existent in Eastern Slavonic territory.

The Novgorod Birch Bark Texts

Since the middle of the 20th century, over a thousand pieces of birch bark from the 11th to 15th centuries have been found in Novgorod and the surrounding area, most of which contain very everyday texts. The vast majority are written in what is known as the Altnowgorod dialect (Russian drewnenowgorodski dialect ), which differs significantly from all other East Slavic dialects and even has a number of features that separate it from all other Slavic languages , so it might be more appropriate to use it in to classify a separate, fourth Slavic language group ("North Slavic"). (Almost nothing of the characteristic features of the Altnowgorod dialect has survived in today's dialects; these are therefore clearly East Slavic.) In contrast, the Novgorodians used the same Old East Slavonic for more official and ecclesiastical texts, which is also known from Kiev.

Important texts

The first dated book of ostslawischen speech history is the Ostromir Gospel from the year 6564 the Byzantine era (i.e. after.. Creation of the world corresponds to 1056 /57 AD..). This gospel book is written in Church Slavonic, but has linguistic features ("mistakes" by the writer) that allow it to be clearly assigned to the East Slavic area.

Is the oldest East Slavic book at all the only on 13. July 2000 during excavations in Novgorod discovered Novgorod Codex - one described three wooden tablets with four wax pages existing book, in which wax the Psalms 75 and 76 as well as a small part of Psalm 67 is preserved. These wax tablets were used by their owner as a kind of notebook and therefore often written on and erased again. Since the hard stylus left scratches on the soft limewood while writing , a number of texts erased in the wax have already been reconstructed through laborious examination of the mutually overlapping strokes in the wood, whereby, in addition to other psalms, previously unknown texts have also come to light.

The Primary Chronicle (altostslawisch "Повѣсть времѧньныхъ лѣтъ '' story of the past years') from the first half of the 12th century (handed down first in Lawrence Code of 1377) is the oldest part of altostslawischen chronicles the chronicles resulting in significantly later the beginning of the individual chronicle writing was made. It is written in a mixture of East Slavic vernacular and Church Slavonic. It contains a description of events of the 9th and 10th centuries (from 852), but also many legends . The most important reports for the self-image of the Eastern Slavs include:

  • Andreas Legend: The Apostle Andrew was on his travels and the Dnepr driven up and I in the place of the later Kiev was, said: "Here is a great city will one day be." This legend makes the area of the Russian Orthodox Church to Apostle country that does not need any legitimation from Constantinople or even Rome.
  • Founding of Kiev: According to this, Kiev was founded by the Slavic brothers Kyj, Shchek and Choriw (and their sister Lybiddie) and named Kyj 's city after the eldest brother Kyj Kiev . Probably this is a legend that tries to explain the name of the city (and the Shchekovitsa and Khorivitsa hills) ad hoc.
  • Calling of Varangians: After conflicts with the Varangians (a Swedish strain) and to govern themselves trying the Eastern Slavs have found that they need someone to settle their quarrels and Fraternal strife, and therefore in 862 asked the Varangians over to rule them. Rjurik then becomes the first Grand Duke. Despite the exact dating, this is also a legend that cannot be taken literally. However, true is that the name Rus originally referred to a Swedish base and also a Germanic etymology (cf.. Finnish Ruotsi that the first prince of Rus have Germanic names (Rjurik = Hrørekr, Roderich 'Sweden'); Oleg = Helgi, Holger ; Igor = Ingvar; Olga = Helga)
  • Baptism of Rus: Grand Duke Vladimir I (later called "the Holy", but initially still a wild pagan) lets himself be successively from the Volga Bulgarians to Islam , from the Khazars to Judaism , from foreigners from Rome to Western Christianity and Finally, the Greeks reported about Orthodox Christianity and decided on the latter, which he made the state religion in 988 . This naive-looking description seems to be surprisingly true.

The Tale of Igor (altostslawisch "Слово о пълку Игоревѣ '' Song of the Helgeland Igors') is considered the national epic of Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians. Its authenticity has been disputed since the only surviving manuscript from the 16th century disappeared a few years after it was found in the fire in Moscow in 1812 . Only a handwritten copy for Tsarina Catherine II from 1796 and a first edition from 1800 , printed with many errors , have been preserved, so that the text of the burned manuscript has to be reconstructed, which in turn would have to go back to an original from the 12th century. The igorong tells of the unsuccessful campaign of the insignificant partial prince Igor against the Polovzians in 1187 . It is considerably shorter than other epics (e.g. Iliad , Odyssey , Edda , Nibelungenlied , Beowulf or Rolandslied ), but written in a very richly pictorial, poetic language. It appeals to the unity of the Russian princes and therefore corresponds in every respect to the taste of early romanticism.

The story of Boris and Gleb, written around 1100 (old-east Slavic "Сказаніе о страданіяхъ свѧтыхъ моучениковъ Бориса и Глѣба и похвала им" tells of the praise of many of the saints 'martyrs and the martyrs' fights between Boris and the martyrs princely brothers for the dignity of the Grand Duke. In this case, it is about the sons of Vladimir I , of whom Svyatopolk murdered his half-brothers Boris and Gleb. In the story, the two are stylized as martyrs; in fact, they were the first Eastern Slavs to be canonized.

See also

Web links