Cyrillic Alphabet


This page represents the Cyrillic script. It is also known as the Early Cyrillic alphabet. It was used to write the Old Church Slavonic language.

Around 863, the Byzantine Emperor Michael III ordered the monk Saint Cyril (born Constantine) and his brother Saint Methodius, known also as “Solun Brothers” to develop a writing system for the Old Slavonic language.

Initially, the First Bulgarian Empire was a source of proliferation of Cyrillic. In the 9th century AD the Bulgarian Tsar Boris made it official. In 10th century it became the official script of the church in Kyivan Rus.

The Old Cyrillic script consists of 43 letters, including all  Greek symbols 0391–03C9 and 19 signs for sounds missing in Greek. In the early 18th century, the Cyrillic script used in Russia was heavily reformed by Peter the Great, and the letters became distinguished between upper and lower case. Several archaic letters were abolished and several letters were designed by Peter himself. As in Greek system, some letters had numeric values. For example, “Ц” meant 900, and “S” was used for 6. The letters got their names after the words starting with them or their Greek-letter analogues.