Glagolitic script

Glagolitic
Kodex.Zograf.JPG
A page from the Zograf Codex with text of the Gospel of Luke
Type
LanguagesOld Church Slavonic
CreatorSaints Cyril and Methodius
Time period
862/863 to the Middle Ages
DirectionLeft-to-right
ISO 15924Glag, 225
Unicode alias
Glagolitic
U+1E000–U+1E02F Glag. Supplement

The Glagolitic script (k/,[1] Ⰳⰾⰰⰳⱁⰾⰹⱌⰰ Glagolitsa) is the oldest known Slavic alphabet. It is generally agreed to have been created in the 9th century by Saint Cyril, a Byzantine monk from Thessaloniki. He and his brother, Saint Methodius, were sent by the Byzantine Emperor Michael III in 863 to Great Moravia to spread Christianity among the West Slavs in the area. The brothers decided to translate liturgical books into the Old Slavic language that was understandable to the general population, but as the words of that language could not be easily written by using either the Greek or Latin alphabets, Cyril decided to invent a new script, Glagolitic, which he based on the local dialect of the Slavic tribes from the Byzantine theme of Thessalonica.

After the deaths of Cyril and Methodius, the Glagolitic alphabet ceased to be used in Moravia, but their students continued to propagate it in the First Bulgarian Empire, where it was subsequently also displaced by the Cyrillic alphabet developed at the Preslav Literary School. The Glagolitic alphabet was preserved only by the clergy of Croatia to write Church Slavonic until the early 19th century.

Name

The name was not created until many centuries after the script's creation, and comes from the Old Church Slavonic глаголъ glagol "utterance". The verb glagolati means "to speak". It has been conjectured that the name glagolitsa developed in Croatia around the 14th century and was derived from the word glagolity, applied to adherents of the liturgy in Slavonic.[2]