Glagolitic script

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Glagolitic script
Font alphabet
languages Old Church Slavonic
inventor Cyril of Salonica
Emergence 863 AD
Usage time Exit 9th to 21st century
Used in Moravia , Pannonia , Bohemia , Bulgaria , Macedonia , Dalmatia , Istria , Serbia
ancestry Protosinaitic script
 →  Phoenician script
  →  Greek alphabet
   →  Glagolitic script
Derived Cyrillic alphabet
relative Cyrillic alphabet
Unicode block U + 2C00 – U + 2C5F
( Unicode block Glagolitic )
ISO 15924 Glag
Glagoljica uglata.jpg

The Glagolitic alphabet or Glagolitic (in slawistischer spelling also Glagolica ;. Bulgar./mazedon./slowen./russ glagolica , serbokroat. Glagoljica / глагољица, tschech. Hlaholice , slowak. Glagolitic ) is the oldest Slavic script. The Glagoliza (from Old Church Slavic glagol "language") is a letter script and was invented by Kyrill von Saloniki (826–869).


Development of the Glagolitic script

The different stages of development using the example of our father : on the left the original round shape, in the middle the angular Croatian shape and on the right the little-known Croatian cursive fast spelling form

The Glagolitic alphabet was further developed around 863 by the Byzantine monk Konstantin von Saloniki (Kyrill) for the mission in Pannonia and Moravia . Since the Greek alphabet was only suitable to a limited extent for the Slavic languages ​​and Constantine wanted to emphasize the cultural independence of the Slavs, he designed the Glagolitic script as a "spacing script"; d. That is, he based it on the Greek system (letters with phonetic and numerical functions), but created a formally independent, new alphabet. In addition to the Greek minuscule letters , Caucasian (especially Armenian or Georgian ) and Semitic writing systems were used as sources . Geometric shapes such as cross, circle and triangle also played an important role in the design (Christian symbolism?).

From the constructive original form of the Glagolitic a round, then also a square variant developed:

  • the round Glagolitsa dominated the Bulgarian- Macedonian- Serbian area,
  • the younger angular mainly in Croatia (Dalmatia, Istria).

The Cyrillic script , which emerged in the late 9th century, took over some characters from the Glagolitic script (without numerical value), specifically for sounds that were present in Slavonic but were missing in Greek.

History of scripture use

Kyrill had developed the script for the Slavic languages. The liturgical and theological texts for the building of a church in Moravia and Pannonia were written exclusively in Glagoliza, often as translations of Greek texts. After Method's death in 885, his students left Moravia and went to the Bulgarian Empire . There, more copies and texts in Glagolitic script were made, especially in the school of Ohrid . The Cyrillic script has also developed in the Bulgarian Empire since the 9th century. This completely displaced the Glagoliza there until the 12th century.

In Dalmatia it remained in use for the Catholic liturgy, the clerics who used it were called Glagoljaši . In 1248 Pope Innocent IV allowed to hold mass there in Church Slavonic, the liturgical texts were written in Glagolitic script. In Serbia , the Glagoliza could hold up into the 13th century. The first book printed with Glagolitic letters appeared in Venice in 1483 ( Missale Romanum Glagolitice ).

Glagolitsa persisted particularly on the island of Krk and in the northwestern Croatian region of Istria . The object created in the 19th century national movement of Croats it was a sign of distinction from the Latin West and the Orthodox East. It also remained in use in the Croatian Catholic Church. At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, a Catholic Church Slavonic missal in Glagolitic script was published.

The Glagolitsa is still considered a national symbol in Croatia and is often used as an ornament (e.g. as jewelry , on logos or as a tattoo ).


The letters of the Glagolitic alphabet:

Illustration Unicode characters description Transliteration pronunciation Probable origin Modern Slavic-Cyrillic equivalent
Azu As azъ / ɑ / Sign of the cross, or in Hebrew Aleph א ( А а ) a
Bouky Buky buky / b / Unknown; the Samaritan / m / corresponds to the mirror-inverted letter, Georgian / l / corresponds almost exactly to the letter ( Б б ) be
Vede Wede * vědě, vědi / ʋ / Probably from the Latin V ( В в ) ve
Glagolu Glagoli glagoli, glagolъ / ɡ / (Γ γ) Greek gamma ( Г г ) ge; see also ( Ґ ґ ) Ukrainian ge
Dobro Dobro dobro / d / ( Δ δ ) Greek delta (compare / v / as / d / reversed) ( Д д ) de
Jestu Jest ' jestъ / ɛ / Probably Samaritan / he / or Greek number sampi (900) ( Е е ) each; see also (Э э) e and ( Є є ) Ukrainian je
Zhivete Schiwete * živěti, živěte / ʒ / Probably Coptic janja (Ϫϫ) ( Ж ж ) že
Dzelo Dselo dzělo / ʣ / Probably Greek stigma (Ϛϛ) ( Ѕ ѕ ) Macedonian dse
Zemlja Zemlya zemlja / z / ( Θ θ ) Variant of the Greek theta ( З з ) ze
I., Izhe Ⰺ, Ⰹ Ische iže / i / , / j / (Ι ι) Greek iota with dieresis ( И и ) i; also ( Й й ) short i
I. I. i / i / , / j / Source unknown, probably a combination of the Christian symbols of the circle and triangle ( І і ) Ukrainian / Belarusian i; also ( Ї ї ) Ukrainian ji
Gjerv Djerw / ʥ / Unknown source ( Ћ ћ ) Serbian će and later ( Ђ ђ ) Serbian đe
Cocoa Cocoa kako / k / From the Hebrew Koph of ק ( К к ) ka
Lyudie Lyudie ljudije / l / , / ʎ / (Λ λ) Greek lambda ( Л л ) el
Myslite Myslite myslite / m / (Μ μ) Greek mu ( М м ) em
Nashi Nibble našь / n / , / ɲ / Source unknown ( Н н ) en
Onu On ' onъ / ɔ / Source unknown ( О о ) o
Pokoi Pokoi pokojь / p / ( Π π ) Greek pi ( П п ) pe
Rici Rzi rьzi / r / ( Ρ ρ ) Greek rho ( Р р ) er
Slovo Slowo slovo / s / Source unknown, probably a combination of the Christian symbols of the circle and triangle ( С с ) it
Tvrido Twerdo tvrьdo / t / ( Τ τ ) Greek tau ( Т т ) te
Uku Uk ' ukъ / u / Ligature of onъ and ižica ( У у ) u
Fritu Ready morningь / f / ( Φ φ ) Greek Phi ( Ф ф ) ef
Heru Cher chěrъ / x / Unknown, comparable to / g / and the Latin h ( Х х ) ha
Otu Ot ōtъ / ɔ / Ligature of onъ and its mirror image ( Ѿ ѿ ) ot (obsolete)
Shta Schta šta (originally maybe psalmъ and then pěsnь) / ʃt / Ligature of ša at the tip of chěrъ (or tvrьdo, less likely) ( Щ щ ) shcha in Russian, shta in Serbian or Bulgarian
Ci Room ci / ʦ / (ץ) Hebrew Tzade , final form ( Ц ц ) ce
Chrivi Cherv chěrъ / ʧ / (צ) Hebrew Tzade , unfinalized form ( Ч ч ) če
Sha Scha ša / ʃ / ( ש ) Hebrew Shin / ( Ϣ ) Coptic šai ( Ш ш ) eš or scha
Jeru Yer ' jerъ / ɯ / Probably a modification of onъ ( Ъ ъ ) hard sign
Jery ⰟⰊ Jer jery / ɨ / Ligature, see note below the table ( Ы ы ) jery
Jeri Jerj jerь / ɘ / Probably a modification of onъ ( Ь ь ) soft sign
Jati Yes yes / æ / , / jɑ / Probably from the epigraphic Greek alpha Α, or a ligature of the Greek E + I ( Ѣ ѣ ) jat (1917–1918 removed from Russian, 1945 from Bulgarian)
GlagolitsaJo.gif / jo / ( Ё ё ) o jotified (a hypothetical form)
Jou Ju ü, ju / ju / Simplified ligature IOV ( Ю ю ) ju
Ensu (small jousu) little jus Yes / ɛ̃ / ( Ѧ ѧ ) small jus, later ( Я я ) yes
Jensu (small jousu) small jus precluded * ęsъ / jɛ̃ / Ligation of jestъ and nasalization ( Ѩ ѩ ) Small jus jotified (obsolete)
Onsu (big jousu) great jus * ǫsъ / ɔ̃ / Ligature of onъ and nasalization ( Ѫ ѫ ) Capital jus (removed from Bulgarian in 1945)
Jonsu (big jousu) great jus prejoted jǫsъ / jɔ̃ / ( Ѭ ѭ ) Large jotified jǫsъ (removed from Bulgarian in the 1910s)
Thita Fita ḟita / θ / ( Θ θ ) Greek theta ( Ѳ ѳ ) ḟita (1917–1918 removed from Russian)
Yzhica Ischiza ižica / ʏ / , / i / Ligature of ižica and jerъ ( Ѵ ѵ ) Ižica (officially declared obsolete in Russian since the 1870s, but in use until 1917–1918)


10th to 13th centuries

Illustration designation Time of origin Place of origin Remarks archive
Kiev folios, fol.  7r.jpg
Kiev leaves before 950 Principality of Pannonia ? Catholic (!) Missal fragment , seven sheets Kiev, Academy of Sciences
Codex Assemanianus 10th or 11th century Macedonia ( Ohrid School ) Evangelistary , 158 sheets Rome, Vatican Apostolic Library, Cod. Slav. 3
Codex Zographensis Late 10th century or early 11th century Macedonia (Ohrid School) Gospels , 304 sheets (palimpsest) St. Petersburg, Russian National Library
Codex Marianus, fol 36r.jpg
Codex Marianus Early 11th century Macedonia (Ohrid School) Gospels, 174 sheets Moscow, Russian State Library,
Vienna, Austrian National Library
Prague leaves 11th century Sázava ? Monastery , Bohemia Prayers, lessonary fragment, two sheets Prague, cathedral chapter, N 57
Euchologium Sinaiticum 1N, fol.  1r.jpg
Euchologium Sinaiticum 11th century Bulgarian Empire Euchologion , 137 leaves Sinai Peninsula, St. Catherine's Monastery
Psalterium Sinaiticum 2N, fol1r.jpg
Psalterium Sinaiticum 11th century Bulgarian Empire? Psalter with 15 hymns, 209 leaves Sinai Peninsula, St. Catherine's Monastery
Rila Glagolithic Fragments.jpg
Rila leaves 11th century Bulgarian Empire Paraenesis of Ephraim the Syrian and prayers, 8 leaves and 3 fragments Rila Monastery, Cod. 3/6; St. Petersburg, Russian Academy of Sciences, Cod. 25.4.15
Gospel Achridanum 11th century Ohrid? Evangelistary fragment, two sheets Odessa, National Scientific Library, Cod. 1/2 (532)
Glagolita Clozianus, fol.  5r.jpg
Glagolita Clozianus 11th century Macedonia or Dalmatia Homilies , 14 sheets Trient, city library; Innsbruck, Tyrolean State Museum
Boyana palimpsest late 11th century Ohrid school? Palimpsest (first writing) in a manuscript from the 13th century Moscow, Russian State Library, M 1960
Bečki listići.JPG
Viennese Glagolitic leaves Late 11th century or early 12th century Dalmatia? Apostolar fragment, two sheets Vienna, Austrian National Library
Mihanović Apostolar 11th or 12th century Zahumlje ? Apostolar fragment, 2 leaves Zagreb, Academy of Sciences and Arts
Gršković Apostolar 12th Century Zahumlje? Apostolar fragment, 4 leaves Zagreb, Academy of Sciences and Arts
22 psalter dimitrijs.jpg
Dimitar Psalter 12th or 13th century northeastern Bulgarian Empire Psalms, prayers, recipes against diseases, 154 sheets Sinai Peninsula, St. Catherine's Monastery

14th to 19th century

Illustration designation Time of origin Place of origin Remarks archive
Missal from Prince Novak 1368 Krk, Dalmatia Missal , with miniatures Vienna, Austrian National Library
Evangelier reims texte sacre big.jpg
Evangelistary of Reims 1395 (Glagolitic part) Prague, Emmaus Monastery ? Evangelistary, 31 sheets in a Cyrillic manuscript from the 11th century. Reims, Bibliothèque municipale
Hrvoje's missal 1.jpg
Missal from Prince Hrvoje around 1404 Split , Dalmatia, Missal, 247 leaves Istanbul, Topkapi Sarayi Library
Klanac hrvatskog lucidara - detalj1.jpg
Croatian Lucidarius first half of the 15th century. Dalmatia Compendium on theological and scientific topics, translation of the Latin Elucidarium
Breviary of Priest Mavra 1460 Vrbnik , Krk Breviary , 417 sheets Zagreb, Academy of Sciences and Arts
Missale Romanum Glagolitice.jpg
Missale Romanum Glagolitice 1483 Venice? or Kosinj, Croatia? Roman Catholic Missal, first printed Glagolitic book
Glagolica Tübingen 1562.jpg
Glagolitic New Testament 1562 and 1563 Tübingen First New Testament in Glagolitic script, made to spread reformatory efforts among the Croatian and Slovenian populations in the Habsburg monarchy
Missale slavonice scripta.jpg
Missale Romanum Slavonico idiomate 1631 Rome New version of the Roman Missal


Illustration designation Time of origin place Remarks
inscription early 10th century Veliki Preslaw , round church a short inscription and an alphabet
inscription probably 10th century Cave monastery near Murfatlar , Dobruja
Inscriptions 11th to 13th centuries Novgorod , St. Sophia Cathedral 10 inscriptions
Bašćanska ploča HAZU 17 lipanj 2008.jpg
Baška tablet around 1100 Krk, Dalmatia Foundation text for a church
inscription Bededictine monastery of St. Cosmas and Damian on the Cokovac mountain near Tkon on the island of Pasman


Illustration designation Time of origin place Remarks
Glagoljica Zagreb Cathedral.jpg
Plaque 1944 Zagreb , cathedral text
Glago Path 2006-08-26.jpg
Glagolitic avenue 1976 Istria
Putokaz grad Drivenik glagoljica 290508.jpg
signpost Drivenik
Glagolica .jpg
graffiti 2003 Zagreb
Glagolitic path since 2006 Baška , Krk Glagolitic stone letters
Dobrinj ulaz glagoljaski natpis 010808.jpg
Street name Dobrinj , Krk

Another monument with the inscription "Sunčanik" is in Senj, exactly at the 45th parallel .

See also

Commons : Glagolitic Inscriptions in Croatia  - collection of images, videos and audio files

See also


  • Dobrowsky’s Glagolitica. About Glagolitic literature, the age of the Bukwitza, the pattern according to which it was formed, the origin of the Roman-Slavic liturgy, the quality of the Dalmatian translation which was ascribed to Jerome. 2. improved and much increased edition. Mayregg, Prague 1832.
  • Sharon Golke Fullerton: Paleographic Methods used in Dating Cyrillic and Glagolitic Slavic Manuscripts. Department of Slavic Languages ​​& Literatures - Ohio State University, Columbus OH 1975 ( Ohio State University Slavic Papers. 1).
  • Helmut Jachnow: A new hypothesis on the provenance of the Glagolitic script - reflections on the 1100th year of death of Methodius of Saloniki. In: Renate Rathmayr (Hrsg.): Slavistische Linguistik 1985. Papers of the XI. Constance Slavic Working Meeting, Innsbruck, 10. – 12. September 1985. Sagner, Munich 1986, ISBN 3-87690-345-9 , pp. 9-93 ( Slavistic contributions 200).
  • V. Jagić : Glagolitica. Appreciation of newly discovered fragments. Tempsky, Vienna 1890 ( Memoranda of the Imperial Academy of Sciences. Philosophical-Historical Class. Vol. 38, Abh. 2, ISSN  1012-4861 ).
  • Valentin Kiparsky: Tschernochvostoffs theory about the origin of the Glagolitic alphabet. In: Manfred Hellmann u. a. (Ed.): Cyrillo-Methodiana. On the early history of Christianity among the Slavs. 863-1963. Böhlau, Cologne a. a. 1964, pp. 393-400 ( Slavistic Research 6, ISSN  0583-5437 ).
  • Heinz Miklas (Ed.): Glagolitica. To the origin of the Slavic writing culture. Publishing house of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna 2000, ISBN 3-7001-2895-9 ( Austrian Academy of Sciences. Philosophical-Historical Class. Philological Department. Writings of the Balkan Commission. 41)
  • Heinz Miklas: The Slavic writings: Glagolica and Kyrillica. In: Wilfried Seipel (Ed.): The Tower of Babel. Origin and diversity of language and writing. Volume 3: Scripture. Volume: A. Kunsthistorisches Museum u. a., Vienna a. a. 2003, ISBN 3-85497-055-2 , pp. 243–249 (exhibition catalog).
  • František Přikryl: Monuments of St. Constantine (Cyril) and Method in Europe. H. Kirsch, Vienna 1920, p. 92ff.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Martin Eggers: The Archdiocese of Method. Location, Effect and Afterlife of the Cyrillomethodian Mission. Verlag Otto Sagner, 1996, p. 89, University of Michigan - 2008.
  2. Klaus Buchenau: Orthodoxy and Catholicism in Yugoslavia 1945–1991 . A Serbian-Croatian comparison. Harrassowitz Verlag, Wiesbaden 2004, p. 45 f .
  3. Anna-Maria Meyer: On the use of the Glagolica today (based on tattoos and prints) . In: The world of the Slaves . No. 1/2015 , 2014 ( online [accessed May 11, 2014]).
  4. Слава въ вишнихъ Богу На въспоминание 1300 го лѣта крьщениѣ Народа Хръватъ иже закле се вѣчьною вѣрьностью Стѣнѣ Петра приемъ отъ её обѣтование помощи въ вьсакои печали Дружьба Братие Хръватъскаго Змьѣ съхранѣе светине прадѣди Прѣпоручае Отьчьство Хръватъ Великои Богородици 1941
  5. ^ The Baška Glagolitic Path on the island of Krk., 2007, accessed March 12, 2016 .