Samples of text from "Kiev Missal" and "Reims Gospel"
Script type
CreatorSaint Cyril of Thessalonica
Time period
862/863 to the Middle Ages
DirectionLeft-to-right Edit this on Wikidata
LanguagesByzantine, Old Church Slavonic and local recensions, Chakavian, Littoral Slovene, Serbo-Croatian, Old Czech, Old Slovene, Old Slovak and Old Croat
Related scripts
Parent systems
ISO 15924
ISO 15924Glag (225), ​Glagolitic
Unicode alias
 This article contains phonetic transcriptions in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA. For the distinction between [ ], / / and ⟨ ⟩, see IPA § Brackets and transcription delimiters.
A page from the Zograf Codex with text of the Gospel of Luke

The Glagolitic script (/ˌɡlæɡəˈlɪtɪk/,[2] ⰃⰎⰀⰃⰑⰎⰉⰜⰀ, glagolitsa) is the oldest known Slavic alphabet. It is generally agreed that it was created in the 9th century for the purpose of translating liturgical texts into Old Church Slavonic by Saint Cyril, a monk from Thessalonica. He and his brother Saint Methodius were sent by the Byzantine Emperor Michael III in 863 to Great Moravia to spread Christianity there. After the deaths of Cyril and Methodius, their disciples were expelled and they moved to the First Bulgarian Empire instead. The Cyrillic alphabet, which developed gradually in the Preslav Literary School by Greek alphabet scribes who incorporated some Glagolitic letters, gradually replaced Glagolitic in that region. Glagolitic remained in use alongside Latin in the Kingdom of Croatia and alongside Cyrillic until the 14th century in the Second Bulgarian Empire and the Serbian Empire, and later mainly for cryptographic purposes.[3]

Glagolitic also spread to the Kievan Rus' and the Kingdom of Bohemia, though its use declined there in the 12th century, although some manuscripts in the territory of the former retained Glagolitic inclusions for centuries. It had also spread to Duklja and Zachlumia, from which it reached the March of Verona where the Investiture Controversy afforded it refuge from the opposition of Latin rite prelates, and allowed it to entrench itself in Istria, spreading from there to nearby lands.[4][5][6]

It survived there and as far south as Dalmatia without interruption into the 20th century for Church Slavonic in addition to its use as a secular script in parts of its range, which at times extended into Bosnia, Slavonia, and Carniola, in addition to 14th-15th century exclaves in Prague and Kraków, and a 16th century exclave in Putna.[7]

Its authorship by Cyril was forgotten, having been replaced with an attribution to St. Jerome by the early Benedictine adopters of Istria in a bid to secure the approval of the papacy. The bid was ultimately successful, though sporadic restrictions and repressions from individual bishops continued even after its official recognition by Pope Innocent IV.[8] These had little effect on the vitality of the script, which evolved from its original Rounded Glagolitic form into an Angular Glagolitic form, in addition to a cursive form developed for notary purposes.[9]

But the Ottoman conquests left the script without most of its continental population, and as a result of the Counter-Reformation its use was restricted in Istria and the Diocese of Zagreb,[8][10] and the only active printing press with a Glagolitic type was confiscated,[11] leading to a shift towards Latinic and Cyrillic literacy when coupled with the Tridentine requirement that priests be educated at seminaries. The result was its gradual death as a written script in most of its continental range, but also the unusually late survival of medieval scribal tradition for the reproduction of Glagolitic texts in isolated areas like the island of Krk and the Zadar Archipelago. Although the Propaganda Fide would eventually resume printing Glagolitic books, very few titles were published, so the majority of Glagolitic literary works continued to be written and copied by hand well into the 18th century.[12]: 9  Of the major European scripts, only the Arabic script is comparable in this regard.

In the early 19th century, the policies of the First French Empire and Austrian Empire left the script without legal status and its last remaining centers of education were abolished, concurrent with the weakening of the script in the few remaining seminaries that used the cursive form in instruction, resulting in a rapid decline.[13] But the when Slavicists discovered the script and established it as the original script devised by Cyril, Glagolitic gained new niche applications in certain intellectual circles, while a small number of priests fought to keep its liturgical use alive, encountering difficulties but eventually succeeding to the point that its area expanded in the early 20th century.[14][15]

Latinic translations and transliterations of the matter of the missal in this period led to its decline in the decades before Vatican II,[16][17] whose promulgation of the vernaucular had the effect of confining regular use of Glagolitic to a few monasteries and academic institutions, in addition to a small population of enthusiasts, whose numbers grew and shrank with the prevalence of the script in literature, but grew exponentially in pious and nationalist circles in the years leading up to and following Independence of Croatia, and again more broadly with the Internet.

Name and etymology

The word glagolitic comes from Neo-Latin glagoliticus and Croatian glagoljica, from Old Church Slavonic ⰳⰾⰰⰳⱁⰾⱏ (glagolŭ), meaning "utterance" or "word".[2]

The name glagolitsa is speculated to have developed in Croatia, around the 14th century, and was derived from the word glagoljati, literally "verb (glagol) using (jati)", meaning to say Mass in Old Church Slavonic liturgy.[18][19]

In the languages now spoken in the places where Glagolitic script was once used,[20][21] the script is known as глаголица (romanized as glagolitsa or glagolica, depending on which language) in Bulgarian, Macedonian and Russian; glagoljica in Croatian and Serbian; глаголиця (hlaholytsia) in Ukrainian; hlaholice in Czech; hlaholika in Slovak; głagolica in Polish; and glagolica in Slovene.[citation needed]



The Baška tablet, found in the 19th century on Krk, conventionally dated to about 1100[22]
The first page of the Gospel of Mark from the 10th–11th century Codex Zographensis, found in the Zograf Monastery in 1843
The first page of the Gospel of John from the Codex Zographensis
In a book printed in 1591, Angelo Rocca attributed the Glagolitic script to Saint Jerome.
The final Glagolitic entry in the Omišalj parish's baptismal register, by the cleric Nicholas in 1817

The creation of the characters is popularly attributed to Saints Cyril and Methodius, who may have created them to facilitate the introduction of Christianity.[23][24][25][26][27] It is believed that the original letters were fitted to Slavic dialects in geographical Macedonia specifically (the Byzantine theme of Thessalonica).[24][28] The words of that language could not be easily written by using either the Greek or Latin alphabets.[29]

The number of letters in the original Glagolitic alphabet is not known, but it may have been close to its presumed Greek model. The 41 letters known today include letters for non-Greek sounds, which may have been added by Saint Cyril, as well as ligatures added in the 12th century under the influence of Cyrillic, as Glagolitic lost its dominance.[28] In later centuries, the number of letters dropped dramatically, to fewer than 30 in modern Croatian and Czech recensions of the Church Slavic language. Twenty-four of the 41 original Glagolitic letters (see table below) probably derive from graphemes of the medieval cursive Greek small alphabet but have been given an ornamental design.[citation needed]

The source of the other consonantal letters is unknown. If they were added by Cyril, it is likely that they were taken from an alphabet used for Christian scripture. It is frequently proposed that the letters sha , tsi , and cherv were taken from the letters shin ש and tsadi צ of the Hebrew alphabet, and that Ⰶ zhivete derives from Coptic janja Ϫ.[28][citation needed] However, Cubberley[28] suggests that if a single prototype were presumed, the most likely source would be Armenian. Other proposals include the Samaritan alphabet, which Cyril learned during his journey to the Khazars in Cherson.[citation needed]

For writing numbers, the Glagolitic numerals use letters with a numerical value assigned to each based on their native alphabetic order. This differs from Cyrillic numerals, which inherited their numeric value from the corresponding Greek letter (see Greek numerals).[30]

The two brothers from Thessaloniki, who were later canonized as Saints Cyril and Methodius, were sent to Great Moravia in 862 by the Byzantine emperor at the request of Prince Rastislav, who wanted to weaken the dependence of his country on East Frankish priests. The Glagolitic alphabet, however it originated, was used between 863 and 885 for government and religious documents and books and at the Great Moravian Academy (Veľkomoravské učilište) founded by the missionaries, where their followers were educated. The Kiev Missal, found in the 19th century in Jerusalem, was dated to the 10th century.[citation needed]

In 885, Pope Stephen V issued a papal bull to restrict spreading and reading Christian services in languages other than Latin or Greek. Around the same time, Svatopluk I, following the interests of the Frankish Empire, persecuted the students of Cyril and Methodius and expelled them from Great Moravia.[citation needed]

In 886, an East Frankish bishop of Nitra named Wiching banned the script and jailed 200 followers of Methodius, mostly students of the original academy. They were then dispersed or, according to some sources, sold as slaves by the Franks. However, many of them, including Saints Naum, Clement, Angelar, Sava and Gorazd, reached the First Bulgarian Empire and were commissioned by Boris I of Bulgaria to teach and instruct the future clergy of the state in the Slavic language. After the adoption of Christianity in Bulgaria in 865, religious ceremonies and Divine Liturgy were conducted in Greek by clergy sent from the Byzantine Empire, using the Byzantine rite. Fearing growing Byzantine influence and weakening of the state, Boris viewed the introduction of the Slavic alphabet and language into church use as a way to preserve the independence of the Bulgarian Empire from Byzantine Constantinople. As a result of Boris' measures, two academies, one in Ohrid and one in Preslav, were founded.[citation needed]

Spread of the script

From there, the students travelled to other places and spread the use of their alphabet. Students of the two apostles who were expelled from Great Moravia in 886, notably Clement of Ohrid and Saint Naum, brought the Glagolitic alphabet to the First Bulgarian Empire on Balkans and were received and accepted officially by Boris I of Bulgaria. This led to the establishment of the two literary schools: the Preslav Literary School and the Ohrid Literary School.[31][32][33] Some went to Croatia (Dalmatia), where the squared variant arose and where Glagolitic remained in use for a long time. In 1248, Pope Innocent IV granted the Croatians of southern Dalmatia the unique privilege of using their own language and this script in the Roman Rite liturgy.[34] Formally granted to bishop Philip of Senj,[35] permission to use the Glagolitic liturgy (the Roman Rite conducted in the Slavic language instead of Latin, not the Byzantine rite), actually extended to all Croatian lands, mostly along the Adriatic coast. The Holy See had several Glagolitic missals published in Rome. Authorization for the use of this language was extended to some other Slavic regions between 1886 and 1935.[36] In missals, the Glagolitic script was eventually replaced with the Latin alphabet, but the use of the Slavic language in the Mass continued, until replaced by modern vernacular languages.[citation needed]

At the end of the 9th century, one of these students of Methodius – Saint Naum, one of the founders of the Pliska Literary School (commonly known as the Preslav Literary School, where the Bulgarian capital, along with the school, was transferred to in 893) – is often credited, at least by supporters of glagolitic precedence, for the "creation" or wider adoption of the Cyrillic script,[37] which almost entirely replaced Glagolitic during the Middle Ages. The Cyrillic alphabet is derived from the Greek alphabet used at that time, with some additional letters for sounds peculiar to Slavic languages (like ⟨ш⟩, ⟨ц⟩, ⟨ч⟩, ⟨ъ⟩, ⟨ь⟩, ⟨ѣ⟩), likely derived from the Glagolitic alphabet.[38][39] The decision by a great assembly of notables summoned by Boris in the year 893 in favor of Cyrillic created an alphabetical difference between the two literary centres of the Bulgarian state in Pliska and Ohrid. In the western part the Glagolitic alphabet remained dominant at first. However, subsequently in the next two centuries, mostly after the fall of the First Bulgarian Empire to the Byzantines, Glagolitic gradually ceased to be used there at all.[40] Nevertheless, particular passages or words written with the Glagolitic alphabet appeared in Bulgarian Cyrillic manuscripts till the end of the 14th century.[41] Some students of the Ohrid academy went to Bohemia where the alphabet was used in the 10th and 11th centuries, along with other scripts. It is not clear whether the Glagolitic alphabet was used in the Duchy of Kopnik before the Wendish Crusade, but it was certainly used in Kievan Rus'. Another use of Glagolitic is presumed in now southern Poland (Duchy of Vistula/White Croats state) and the Transcarpathia region.[42]

Survival and use in Croatia

In Croatia, from the 12th century, Glagolitic inscriptions appeared mostly in littoral areas: Istria, Primorje, Kvarner, and Kvarner islands, notably Krk, Cres, and Lošinj; in Dalmatia, on the islands of Zadar, but there were also findings in inner Lika and Krbava, reaching to Kupa river, and even as far as Međimurje and Slovenia. Hrvoje's Missal from 1404 was illuminated in Split, and it is considered one of the most beautiful Croatian Glagolitic books. The 1483 Missale Romanum Glagolitice was the first printed Croatian Glagolitic book.[citation needed]

It was believed that Glagolitsa in Croatia was present only in those areas. But, in 1992, the discovery of Glagolitic inscriptions in churches along the Orljava river in Slavonia totally changed the picture (churches in Brodski Drenovac, Lovčić, and some others), showing that use of the Glagolitic alphabet was spread from Slavonia also.[43]

Sporadic instances aside, Glagolitic survived beyond the 12th century as a primary script in Croatian lands alone, although from there a brief attempt at reintroduction was made in the West Slavic area in the 14th century through the Emmaus Benedictine Monastery in Prague, where it survived well into the 15th century, the last manuscript with Glagolitic script dating to 1450–1452.[44][45] Its use for special applications continued in some Cyrillic areas, for example in the Bologna Psalter (1230-1241), the Sinodalna 895 Menaion (1260), the RPK 312 Gospel (13th), the Karakallou Epistolary (13th), the NBKM 933 Triodion (13th), the Skopje 1511 Octoechos (13th), the BRAN 4.9.39 Miscellany (13th), the Hilandar Chrysorrhoas (13th/14th), the Mazurin 1698 Pandects (13th/14th), the Sofia Psalter (1337), the SANU 55 Epistolary (1366–1367), the RNB F.п.I.2 Psalter (14th), the Čajniče Gospel (late 14th), the Radosav Miscellany (1444–1461), the Prague NM IX.F.38 Psalter (18th) and in the initials of many manuscripts of the Prophets with Commentary dating to the late 15th and early 16th centuries from Muscovy and Russia. Most later use in the Cyrillic world was for cryptographic purposes, such as in the Krushedol Miscellany (15th), the RNB F.п.I.48 Prologue (1456), the Piskarev 59 Isaac (1472), the Shchukin 511 Miscellany (1511) and the Hludov Gospel (17th/18th).[46]

The early development of the Glagolitic minuscule script alongside the increasingly square majuscule is poorly documented, but a mutual relationship evolved between the two varieties; the majuscule being used primarily for inscriptions and higher liturgical uses, and the minuscule being used in both religious and secular documents. Ignoring the problematic early Slavonian inscriptions, the use of the Glagolitic script at its peak before the Croatian-Ottoman wars corresponded roughly to the area that spoke the Chakavian dialect at the time, in addition to some adjacent Kajkavian regions within the Zagreb bishopric. As a result, vernacular impact on the liturgical language and script largely stems from Chakavian sub-dialects, although South Chakavian speakers mostly used Cyrillic, with Glagolitic only in certain parishes as a high liturgical script until a Glagolitic seminary was opened in Split in the 18th century, aside from a period of time in the parish of Kučiće-Vinišće.[47]

Decline in Croatia

Bishoprics by size of 16th century Glagolitic inscriptional corpus (in letters). "Other" includes Senj, Koper, Novigrad, Otočac [hr], Zagreb, Osor, Aquileia, Đakovo, Nin, Assisi, Cazin, Rab. See list.

  Poreč [hr] (22.4%)
  Trieste (19.9%)
  Pula (18.9%)
  Krk (14.9%)
  Pićan (6.0%)
  Zadar (5.4%)
  Novi [hr] (5.0%)
  Other (7.5%)

The Ottoman Empire's repeated incursions into Croatia in the 15th and 16th centuries posed the first major existential threat to the script's survival. The Counter-Reformation, alongside other factors, led to the suppression of Glagolitic in Istria in the 16th–17th centuries as well as in the Zagreb archdiocese.[48] The Latinisation of the coastal cities and islands took much longer, where the script continued to be used by the notaries of Krk into the first decade of the 19th century,[49] with education by rural chapters on that island ensuring the survival of the script until well after their abolition by the Napoleon administration in the second decade of the 19th century.[50] Novitiates continued to be educated primarily in the Glagolitic script as late as the third decade of the 19th century. But without centres of education, Latin script and Italian rapidly took over, so that very little was written in the script after the third quarter of the 19th century except for ceremonial purposes, and soon very few could read the cursive script apart from a few scholars.[51]

Academic debates

Main article: Relationship of Cyrillic and Glagolitic scripts

The exact nature of relationship between the Glagolitic alphabet and the Early Cyrillic alphabet, their order of development, and influence on each other has been a matter of great study, controversy, and dispute in Slavic studies since the 19th century.

Versions of authorship and name

A once common belief was that the Glagolitic was created or used in the 4th century by St. Jerome, hence the alphabet was sometimes named "Hieronymian".[citation needed]

It has also acrophonically been called azbuka from the names of its first two letters, on the same model as "alpha" + "beta" (the same name can also refer to Cyrillic and in some modern languages it simply means "alphabet" in general). The Slavs of Great Moravia (present-day Slovakia and Moravia), Hungary, Slovenia and Slavonia were called Slověne at that time, which gives rise to the name "Slovenish" for the alphabet. Some other, rarer, names for this alphabet are Bukvitsa (from common Slavic word "bukva" meaning "letter", and a suffix "-itsa") and "Illyrian" (presumably similar to using the same anachronistic name for the Illyrian (Slavic) language).[citation needed]

In the Middle Ages, Glagolitsa was also known as "St. Jerome's script" due to a popular mediaeval legend (created by Croatian scribes in the 13th century) ascribing its invention to St. Jerome (342–429). The legend was partly based on the saint's place of birth on the border of Dalmatia and Pannonia. He was viewed as a "compatriot" and anachronistically as belonging to the same ethnic group; this helped the spread of the cult of the saint in Dalmatia and was later used to support the idea of the presence of Slavic communities in the Eastern Adriatic Coast from ancient times, but the legend was probably firstly introduced for other reasons, like giving a more solid religious justification for the use of this script and Slavic liturgy.[52] The theory nevertheless gained much popularity and spread to other countries before being resolutely[clarification needed] disproven.[citation needed]

Until the end of the 18th century, a strange but widespread opinion dominated that the Glagolitic writing system, which was in use in Dalmatia and Istria along with neighboring islands, including the translation of the Holy Scripture, owe their existence to the famous church father St. Jerome. Knowing him as the author of the Latin Vulgate, considering him – by his own words, born on the border between Dalmatia and Pannonia (remembering that the Dalmatian borders extended well into Istria at that time) – presumed to be an Illyrian, the self-styled Slavic intellectuals in Dalmatia very early began to ascribe to him the invention of glagolitsa, possibly with the intention of more successfully defending both Slavic writing and the Slavic holy service against prosecutions and prohibitions from Rome's hierarchy, thus using the opinion of the famous Latin Father of the Church to protect their church rituals which were inherited not from the Greeks Cyril and Methodius but unknown. We do not know who was the first to put in motion this unscientifically-based tradition about Jerome's authorship of the Glagolitic script and translation of the Holy Scripture, but in 1248 this version came to the knowledge of Pope Innocent IV. <...> The belief in Jerome as an inventor of the Glagolitic lasted many centuries, not only in his homeland, i.e. in Dalmatia and Croatia, not only in Rome, due to Slavs living there... but also in the West. In the 14th century, Croatian monks brought the legend to the Czechs, and even the Emperor Charles IV believed them.[53]

— Jagić, Vatroslav, Glagolitica. Würdigung neuentdeckter Fragmente. Wien, 1890

The epoch of traditional attribution of the script to Jerome ended probably in 1812.[54] In modern times, only certain marginal authors share this view, usually "re-discovering" one of the already-known mediaeval sources.[55]


The Lord's Prayer shown in (from left) round, angular, and cursive versions of Glagolitic script

The phonetic values of many of the letters are thought to have been displaced under Cyrillic influence or to have become confused through the early spread to different dialects, so the original values are not always clear. For instance, the letter yu Ⱓ is thought to have perhaps originally had the sound /u/ but was displaced by the adoption of the ligature Ⱆ under the influence of later Cyrillic , mirroring the Greek ου. Other letters were late creations after a Cyrillic model. It should also be noted that Ⱑ corresponds to two different Cyrillic letters (Ѣ and Я), present even in older manuscripts, and not to different later variants of the same Cyrillic letter in different times or places.[citation needed]

The following table lists each letter in its modern order, showing its Unicode representation, images of the letter in both the round and angular/squared variant forms, the corresponding modern Cyrillic letter, the approximate sound transcribed with the IPA, the name, and suggestions for its origin. The Old Church Slavonic names follow the scientific transliteration, while the mostly similar Church Slavonic ones follow an approach more familiar to a generic English speaking reader. Several letters have no modern counterpart. The column for the angular variant, sometimes referred to as Croatian Glagolitic, is not complete as some of the letters were not used following the Croatian recension of Old Church Slavonic.[citation needed]

Unicode Round Angular Cyrillic Sound OCS name CS name Meaning Origin proposals
Azu Azu А /ɑ/ Azъ Az I Phoenician alphabet aleph 𐤀‎ or the sign of the cross[56]
Bouky Bouky Б /b/ Buky Buky letters Unknown,[56] possibly Hebrew bet בּ[57] or Aramaic bīt ܒ[58]
Vede Vede В /ʋ/ Vědě Vedi (you/he/she/it) knew Possibly Latin V[56] or an inverted dobro [59]
Glagolu Glagolu Г, Ґ /ɡ/ Glagoli Glagoli speak (past or imperative) Possibly cursive Greek gamma Γ[56]
Dobro Dobro Д /d/ Dobro Dobro kindness/good/well Greek delta Δ[56]
Jestu Jestu Є, Е, Э, Ё /ɛ/ Jestъ Yest is/exists Possibly Samaritan īy ‎ or Greek sampi ϡ[56]
Zhivete Zhivete Ж /ʒ/ Živěte Zhivete life/live
(2nd plural imperative)
Unknown,[56] possibly Coptic janja ϫ[citation needed] or astrological symbol for Pisces ♓︎, Tifinagh [60]
Dzelo Dzelo Ѕ /d͡z/ Dzělo Zelo very Unknown,[56] possibly Armenian ja Ձ[61]
Zemlja Zemlja З /z/ Zemlja Zeml(j)a Earth/ground/soil Possibly a variant of Greek theta θ[56]
Ⰹ, Ⰺ I, Izhe Izhe Ι, Ї /i/, /j/ Iže Izhe which is/the Possibly Greek upsilon Y[62] or Greek iota with dieresis ϊ[56]
I I И /i/, /j/ I/ižei I/izhey and Possibly mimicking the shape of a fish, .[62]
Gjerv Gjerv , Ћ, Ђ /dʑ/, /tɕ/ Djervь, ǵervь Cherv, Djerv tree/wood Unknown[56]
К /k/ Kako Kako how/as Hebrew qoph ק‎‎[56]
Ljudie , Ljudie Ljudie Л, Љ /l/, /ʎ/ Ljudie Lyudi people Possibly Greek lambda λ[56]
Myslite Myslite М /m/ Myslite Mislete think (2nd plural) Greek mu μ.[56] In squared glagolitic it was eventually replaced by a Latin/Cyrillic like form, partly due to its complexity[63]
Našь, Nashi Nashi Н, Њ /n/, /ɲ/ Našь Nash ours [unknown][56]
Onu Onu О /ɔ/ Onъ On he, that [unknown][56]
Pokoi Pokoi П /p/ Pokoj Pokoy calmness/peace Possibly a variant of early Greek pi [56]
Rici Rici Р /r/ Rьci Rtsi speak!/pronounce! Possibly Greek rho ρ[56]
Slovo Slovo С /s/ Slovo Slovo word/speech
Tvrido Tvrido Т /t/ Tvrьdo Tverdo solid/hard/surely Perhaps from crossbar of Greek tau τ[56]
Uku Uku У, ОУ /u/ Ukъ Uk teaching Ligature of onъ and izhitsa [56]
Fritu Fritu Ф /f/ Frьtъ Fert Variant of Greek phi φ[56]
Heru Heru Х /x/ Xěrъ Kher [unknown] (similar to glagoli and Latin h)[56]
Out Out Ѡ /ɔ/ Otъ Oht, Omega from Ligature of onъ and its mirror image[56]
Shta Shta Щ /tʲ/, /ʃ͡t/ Šta/Šča Shta/Shcha Ligature of sha over tvrьdo [56]
Ci Ci Ц /t͡s/ Ci Tsi Final form of Hebrew tsade ץ[56]
Chrivi Chrivi Ч, Џ /t͡ʃ/ Črьvъ Cherv worm [unknown] (similar to shta ;[56] perhaps non-final form of Hebrew צ‎); possibly from Gothic 𐍁[64]
Sha Sha Ш /ʃ/ Ša Sha silence/quiet Hebrew shin ש‎‎[56]
, Jeru, Jerъ Jeru, Štapić Ъ /ŭ/, /ʊ/ Jerъ Yer, Yor Possibly modification of onъ .[56] The rod-shaped "štapić" variant is probably derived from the apostrophe character.[65]
ⰟⰊ Jery Ы /ɯ/ Jery Yerɨ Ligature; digraph of either yer () or yerь (), followed by either izhe (Ⰹ, Ⰺ) or i (Ⰻ).[56]
Jeri, Jerь Jeri Ь /ĭ/, /ɪ/ Jerь Yer` Possibly modification of onъ [56]
Jati Jati Ѣ, Я /æ/, /jɑ/ Jatь Yat, Ya Possibly epigraphic Greek alpha Α[56]
Ё /jo/ Unknown:[56] Hypothetical component of jonsь below; /jo/ was not possible at the time
Jou Ю /ju/ Ju Yu Unknown[56]
Ensu (small jousu) Ѧ /ɛ̃/ [Ensь] [small yus] Greek epsilon ε, also used to denote nasality[56]
Jensu (small jousu) Ѩ /jɛ̃/ [Jensь] [small iotated yus] Ligature of jestъ and ensь for nasality[56]
Onsu (big jousu) Ѫ /ɔ̃/ [Onsь] [big yus] Ligature of onъ and ensь for nasality[56]
Jonsu (big jousu) Ѭ /jɔ̃/ [Jonsь] [big iotated yus] Ligature of unknown letter and ensь for nasality[56]
Thita Ѳ /θ/ [Thita] Fita Theta Greek theta θ[56]
Yzhica Ѵ /ʏ/, /i/ Ižica Izhitsa

In older texts, uk () and three out of four yuses (Ⱗ, Ⱘ, Ⱙ) also can be written as digraphs, in two separate parts.[citation needed]

The order of izhe (Ⰹ, Ⰺ) and i () varies from source to source, as does the order of the various forms of yus (Ⱔ, Ⱗ, Ⱘ, Ⱙ).[66] Correspondence between Glagolitic izhe (Ⰹ, Ⰺ) and i () with Cyrillic И and І is unknown.[citation needed]

The Proto-Slavic language did not have the phoneme /f/, and the letters fert () and fita () were used for transcribing words of Greek origin, and so was izhitsa () for the Greek upsilon.[citation needed]


Main articles: Glagolitic (Unicode block) and Glagolitic Supplement (Unicode block)

The Glagolitic alphabet was added to the Unicode Standard in March 2005 with the release of version 4.1.[67]

The Unicode block for Glagolitic is U+2C00–U+2C5F.[67]

Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
U+2C3x ⰿ
1.^ As of Unicode version 15.1

The Glagolitic combining letters for Glagolitic Supplement block (U+1E000–U+1E02F) was added to the Unicode Standard in June, 2016 with the release of version 9.0:[68]

Glagolitic Supplement[1][2]
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
U+1E00x 𞀀 𞀁 𞀂 𞀃 𞀄 𞀅 𞀆 𞀈 𞀉 𞀊 𞀋 𞀌 𞀍 𞀎 𞀏
U+1E01x 𞀐 𞀑 𞀒 𞀓 𞀔 𞀕 𞀖 𞀗 𞀘 𞀛 𞀜 𞀝 𞀞 𞀟
U+1E02x 𞀠 𞀡 𞀣 𞀤 𞀦 𞀧 𞀨 𞀩 𞀪
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Pre-Glagolitic Slavic writing systems

Main article: Pre-Christian Slavic writing

A hypothetical pre-Glagolitic writing system is typically referred to as cherty i rezy (strokes and incisions)[69] – but no material evidence of the existence of any pre-Glagolitic Slavic writing system has been found, except for a few brief and vague references in old chronicles and "lives of the saints". All artifacts presented as evidence of pre-Glagolitic Slavic inscriptions have later been identified as texts in known scripts and in known non-Slavic languages, or as fakes.[70] The well-known Chernorizets Hrabar's strokes and incisions are usually considered to be a reference to a kind of property mark or alternatively fortune-telling signs. Some "Ruthenian letters" found in one version of St. Cyril's life are explainable as misspelled "Syrian letters" (in Slavic, the roots are very similar: rus- vs. sur- or syr-), etc.[citation needed]

In popular culture

Glagolitic script is the writing system used in the world of The Witcher books and video game series.[71] It is also featured, in various uses, in several of the point and click adventure games made by Cateia Games, a Croatian game studio.[72]

In the 2023 PS5 game Forspoken, Athian script, the written language of the Athian continent and cultures, seems to be based upon Glagolitic script.[citation needed]

It is also featured on 1 euro cent, 2 euro cent and 5 euro cent coins minted in Croatia.[73]

See also


  1. ^ Schenker, Alexander M. (1995), The Dawn of Slavic: An Introduction to Slavic Philology, New Haven: Yale University Press, p. 179, ISBN 0-300-05846-2
  2. ^ a b "glagolitic". Unabridged (Online). n.d. Retrieved April 21, 2021.
  3. ^ Miltenov, Yavor (2021). "Свидетелства за прехода глаголица – кирилица през Х–XIII век". Шьствоуѭ нꙑнѣ по слѣдоу оучителю. Сборник в чест на проф. д.ф.н. Анна-Мария Тотоманова [Evidence for the Glagolitic-Cyrillic Transition Through the X-XIII Centuries] (in Bulgarian). Sofia. pp. 35–49.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  4. ^ Fučić, Branko (1981). "Kulturno-povijesni vidovi glagoljske epigrafike" [Cultural-Historical Perspectives on Glagolitic Epigraphy]. Croatica Christiana Periodica (in Croatian). 5 (8): 135–189.
  5. ^ Gau, Melanie; Miklas, Heinz (2000). "Preliminary Remarks on the Old Church Slavonic Psalterium Demetrii Sinaitici". The Bible in Slavic Tradition. Studia Judaeoslavica. pp. 21–88. ISBN 9789004313675.
  6. ^ Tomović, Gordana (2005). "О глагољском натпису из Конавала" [On the Glagolitic Inscription from Konavle] (PDF). ИⰔⰕⰑⰓⰋⰌⰔⰍⰋ ⰝⰀⰔⰑⰒⰋⰔ (in Serbian). 52: 23–32.
  7. ^ Miltenov, Yavor (2009). "Кирилски ръкописи с глаголически вписвания (Част пръва)" [Cyrillic Manuscripts with Glagolitic portions] (PDF). Wiener Slavistisches Jahrbuch (in Bulgarian). 55. Wien: Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften: 191–219.[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ a b Jelić, Luka (1906). Fontes historici liturgiae glagolito-romanae a 13 ad 19 saeculum. Prague, Krk, Zadar, Ljubljana.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  9. ^ Žagar, Mateo (2013). Uvod u glagoljsku paleografiju. Vol. 1.
  10. ^ Strohal, Rudolf (2015). Hrvatska glagolska knjiga. Zagreb.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  11. ^ Jembrih, Alojz (2007). Stipan Konzul i "Biblijski zavod" u Urachu. Folia Protestantica Croatica (in Croatian). Zagreb. ISBN 978-953-7307-11-0.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  12. ^ Bolonić, Mihovil (1980). "Tiskane glagoljske knjige krčkih glagoljaša". Croatica Christiana Periodica. 4 (5): 1–40. ISSN 0350-7823.
  13. ^ Bolonić, Mihovil (1980). "Profil krčkog glagoljaša u prošlosti" [The Profile of the Glagolites of Krk in History]. Croatica Christiana Periodica (in Croatian). 4 (6): 96–115.
  14. ^ Prodan, Ivo (1900–1904). Borba za glagoljicu. Vol. 1–2.
  15. ^ Okey, Robin (1992). "Austro-Hungarian Diplomacy and the Campaign for a Slavonic Liturgy in the Catholic Church, 1881-1914". The Slavonic and East European Review. 70 (2): 258–283. JSTOR 4210926.
  16. ^ Pavlinović, Mihovil (1913). Molitve za puk što se pivaju preko svete mise po župama Dalmacije: prevedene iz Rimskoga misala: s dozvolom crkovne vlasti (3rd ed.).
  17. ^ Vajs, Josef (1927). Rimski misal slověnskim jezikom prěsv. G. N. Urbana papi VIII povelěnjem izdan. Rome.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  18. ^ Corbett, Greville G.; Comrie, Bernard (2003). The Slavonic Languages. Milton Park, UK: Routledge. p. 29. ISBN 978-1-136-86137-6. Archived from the original on 2021-04-20. Retrieved 2021-04-20.
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  20. ^ "Slavic languages | List, Definition, Origin, Map, Tree, History, & Number of Speakers | Britannica". 2023-11-02. Retrieved 2023-11-17.
  21. ^ "Alphabet - Cyrillic, Glagolitic, Scripts | Britannica". Retrieved 2023-11-17.
  22. ^ Fučić, Branko (21 September 1971). "Najstariji glagoljski natpisi" [Oldest Glagolitic Inscriptions]. Slovo (in Croatian). 21: 227–254.
  23. ^ Alan Timberlake, A Reference Grammar of Russian, Cambridge University Press, 2004, p. 14 Archived 2021-04-14 at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ a b Florin Curta & Paul Stephenson, Southeastern Europe in the Middle Ages, 500–1250 Archived 2017-10-19 at the Wayback Machine, Cambridge University Press, 2006, p. 125
  25. ^ Simon Franklin, Writing, Society and Culture in Early Rus, c. 950–1300, Cambridge University Press, 2002, p. 93: "East Christian Slays used two alphabets, Glagolitic and Cyrillic. Just to confuse matters, the script devised by Cyril was probably Glagolitic, while Cyrillic—which came to predominate, emerged somewhat later."
  26. ^ Henri-Jean Martin, The History and Power of Writing, University of Chicago Press, 1995, p. 40
  27. ^ Jean W. Sedlar,East Central Europe in the Middle Ages, 1000–1500, University of Washington Press, 1994, p. 144
  28. ^ a b c d Paul Cubberley (1996) "The Slavic Alphabets" Archived 2012-10-29 at the Wayback Machine. In Daniels, Peter T.; Bright, William, eds. (1996). The World's Writing Systems. Oxford University Press, Inc. pp. 347. ISBN 978-0195079937.
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  33. ^ Rosenqvist, Jan Olof (2004). Interaction and Isolation in Late Byzantine Culture. Bloomsbury Academic. ISBN 9781850439448. Archived from the original on 2020-05-23. Retrieved 2019-07-14.
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  35. ^ Kraft Soić, Vanda (2016). "OTPIS INOCENTA IV. SENJSKOM BISKUPU (1248.) POD PATRONATOM SV. JERONIMA I. Senjski privilegij iz godine 1248". Croatica Christiana Periodica. 40 (77): 1–23. Archived from the original on 24 May 2021. Retrieved 24 May 2021.
  36. ^ "The right to use the Glagolitic language at Mass with the Roman Rite has prevailed for many centuries in all the south-western Balkan countries, and has been sanctioned by long practice and by many popes..." Dalmatia Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine, Catholic Encyclopedia; "In 1886 it arrived to the Principality of Montenegro, followed by the Kingdom of Serbia in 1914, and the Republic of Czechoslovakia in 1920, but only for feast days of the main patron saints. The 1935 concordat with the Kingdom of Yugoslavia anticipated the introduction of the Slavic liturgy for all Croatian regions and throughout the entire state..." The Croatian Glagolitic Heritage Archived 2007-08-10 at the Wayback Machine, Marko Japundzić.
  37. ^ The A to Z of the Orthodox Church, Michael Prokurat, Alexander Golitzin, Michael D. Peterson, Rowman & Littlefield, 2010, ISBN 0810876027 p. 91. Archived 2021-04-12 at the Wayback Machine
  38. ^ The Orthodox Church in the Byzantine Empire, Oxford History of the Christian Church, J. M. Hussey, Andrew Louth, Oxford University Press, 2010, ISBN 0191614882, p. 100.
  39. ^ Southeastern Europe in the Middle Ages, 500–1250, Cambridge Medieval Textbooks, Florin Curta, Cambridge University Press, 2006, ISBN 0521815398, pp. 221–222.
  40. ^ Sedlar, Jean W. (1994). East Central Europe in the Middle Ages, 1000–1500. University of Washington Press. p. 146. ISBN 9780295972916. Archived from the original on 2021-04-14. Retrieved 2013-05-01.
  41. ^ Велчева, Б. Късната българска глаголица. Кирило-Методиевски студии, кн. 12, София, 1999, 87–152.
  42. ^ Dvornik, Francis (1994). The Making of Central and Eastern Europe. University of Washington Press. ISBN 9780875690230.
  43. ^ (in Croatian) "Glagoljaška baština u Slavonskom Kobašu" Archived 2007-06-14 at the Wayback Machine, Slavonskobrodska televizija, News from February 25, 2007.
  44. ^ Pacnerova, Ludmila (2008). "Staročeské literární památky a charvátská hranatá hlaholice" [Old Czech Literary Monuments and Croatian Angular Glagolitic]. Slovo (in Czech). Zagreb. doi:10.31745/s. ISSN 0583-6255.
  45. ^ Šmahel, František (2016). Alma mater Pragensis. Studie k počátkům Univerzity Karlovy (in Czech). Prague. ISBN 978-80-246-3203-2.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  46. ^ Miltenov, Yavor (2009). "Кирилски ръкописи с глаголически вписвания (Част пръва)" [Cyrillic Manuscripts with Glagolitic portions] (PDF). Wiener Slavistisches Jahrbuch (in Bulgarian). 55. Wien: Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften: 191–219.[dead link]
  47. ^ Kovačić, Slavko (2010). "Knjiga Оpćena, matica crikvena – stara matična knjiga župe Kučiće-Vinišće, djelo župnika glagoljaša". Slovo (60): 477–504. doi:10.31745/s. ISSN 0583-6255.
  48. ^ Strohal, Rudolf (1915). Hrvatska glagolska knjiga [Croatian Glagolitic Book] (in Croatian). Zagreb: Merkur. Archived from the original on 2021-04-14. Retrieved 2020-12-12.
  49. ^ Štefanić, Vjekoslav (1960). Glagoljski rukopisi otoka Krka [Glagolitic Manuscripts of the Island of Krk] (in Croatian). Zagreb: Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts.
  50. ^ Bolonić, Mihovil (1976). "Ekonomsko-socijalno stanje krčkih glagoljaša". Bogoslovska smotra. 46 (4): 478–503.
  51. ^ Kero, Pavao (2015). ⰒⰑⰒⰋⰔ ⰃⰎⰀⰃⰑⰎⰌⰔⰍⰋⰘ ⰍⰑⰄⰅⰍⰔⰀ ⰈⰀⰄⰀⰓⰔⰍⰅ ⰐⰀⰄⰁⰋⰔⰍⰖⰒⰋⰌⰅ (in Church Slavic) (2nd ed.). Zagreb. ISBN 978-953-331-073-2.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  52. ^ Ivić, Ines (2018). "The "Making" of a National Saint: Reflections on the Formation of the Cult of Saint Jerome in the Eastern Adriatic". Il Capitale Culturale: Studies on the Value of Cultural Heritage. Supplementi 07/2018. doi:10.13138/2039-2362/1795. Archived from the original on 2021-04-14. Retrieved 2021-01-20.
  53. ^ До конца XVIII века господствовало странное, но широко распространенное мнение, что глаголическое письмо, бывшее в употреблении в Далмации и Истрии с прилегающими островами и в приморской Хорватии, вместе с переводом священного писания, обязано своим существованием знаменитому отцу церкви св. Иерониму. Зная о нем как авторе латинской «Вульгаты», считая его же как уроженца Далмации славянином, в частности хорватом, домашняя славянская интеллигенция Далмации стала очень рано присваивать ему изобретение глаголицы, быть может, нарочно, с тем умыслом, чтобы успешнее отстаивать и письмо, и богослужение славянское от преследований и запретов со стороны римской иерархии, прикрывая авторитетным именем знаменитого латинского отца церкви свой от греков Кирилла и Мефодия унаследованный обряд. Кем впервые пущено в ход это ни на чем не основанное ученое предание об авторстве св. Иеронима по части глаголического письма и перевода св. писания, мы не знаем, но в 1248 году оно дошло уже до сведения папы Иннокентия IV. <...> Много столетий продолжалась эта вера в Иеронима как изобретателя глаголического письма, не только дома, т. е. в Далмации и Хорватии, не только в Риме, через проживавших там славян... но также и на западе. В Чехию предание занесено в XIV столетии хорватскими монахами-глаголитами, которым поверил даже император Карл IV. (Jagić 1911, pp. 51–52)
  54. ^ P. Solarić's "Букварь славенскiй трiазбучный" (Three-alphabet Slavic Primer), Venice, 1812 mentions the version as a fact of science (see Jagić 1911, p. 52; Vajs 1932, p. 23).
  55. ^ For example, K. Šegvić in Nastavni vjesnik, XXXIX, sv. 9–10, 1931, refers to a work of Rabanus Maurus. (see Vajs 1932, p. 23).
  56. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al
    Schenker, Alexander M. (1995). "Early writing". The Dawn of Slavic: An introduction to Slavic philology. New Haven, CT/London, UK: Yale University Press. pp. 168–172. ISBN 978-0-300-05846-8.
  57. ^ Ilievski, Petar H.R. (2002). "Glagolica: An iconic script for visual evangelic preaching". Illinois Classical Studies. 27–28: 153–164. ISSN 0363-1923. JSTOR 23065457. Archived from the original on 2020-10-03. Retrieved 2020-08-26.
  58. ^ Jung, Hakyung (January 2013). "On the origin of the Glagolitic alphabet". Scripta. 5: 105–130. Archived from the original on 2021-10-07. Retrieved 2020-08-26.
  59. ^ Uspenskij, Boris (2013). "Glagolitic script as a manifestation of sacred knowledge". Studi Slavistici. 10 (online ed.). Firenze University Press: 7–27, 358. ISSN 1824-7601. ProQuest 1550519312.
  60. ^ Bernal, Martin (1990). Cadmean Letters: The Transmission of the Alphabet to the Aegean and Further West Before 1400 B.C. p. 119. ISBN 0-931464-47-1.
  61. ^ "Wiener slawistischer Almanach". Archived from the original on 2020-10-03. Retrieved 2020-08-26.
  62. ^ a b Kuznetsov, Anatoly Mikhailovich (2012). ""Бывают странные сближенья…": греческий юпсилон и глаголица". Slavistica Vilnensis (in Russian). 57: 7–14. doi:10.15388/SlavViln.2012.2.1207. ISSN 2351-6895. Archived from the original on 2020-10-03. Retrieved 2020-08-26.
  63. ^ Čunčić, Marica (1999). "Duktus tipaua glagoljskoga pisma" [Ductus of the types of Glagolitic script]. Filologija (in Croatian). 32. Zagreb: Staroslavenski institut: 33. Archived from the original on 2021-04-14. Retrieved 2021-02-27.
  64. ^ Peţan, Aurora (1994-11-13). Plăcile de plumb de la Sinaia. p. 46.
  65. ^ Žagar, Mateo (2003). "Osnovni procesi konstituiranja ustavne glagoljice". In Božilova, Rumjana (ed.). B'lgari i H'rvati prez vekovete. Sofija. pp. 31–42. Retrieved 3 January 2024.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  66. ^ Examples of glagolitic abecedaria, numeraria and alphabet acrostics with some considerations about the original order of letters can be found in Veder, William R. (2004). "The glagolitic alphabet as a text". Glagoljica I Hrvatski Glagolizam: Zbornik Radova S Meunarodnoga Znanstvenog Skupa Povodom 100 Obljetnice Staroslavenske Akademije I 50 Obljetnice Staroslavenskog Instituta, Zagreb-krk, 2.-6 Listopada 2002. Staroslavenski Institut. ISBN 9789536080052. Archived from the original on 2021-08-17. Retrieved 2021-03-22.
  67. ^ a b "Unicode 4.1.0". Retrieved 2024-01-02.
  68. ^ "Unicode® 9.0 Versioned Charts Index". Unicode. Retrieved 1 June 2024.
  69. ^ Chernorizets Hrabar An Account of Letters; Preslav 895, Bulgaria; Oldest manuscript 1348
  70. ^ L. Niederle, "Slovanské starožitnosti" (Slavic antiquities), III 2, 735; citation can be found in Vajs 1932, p. 4.
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  73. ^ "Designs of Croatian national sides of euro and cent coins presented". 4 February 2022. Retrieved 2022-09-02.