Glagolitic Alphabet


The Glagolitic script is the oldest known Slavic alphabet. It is generally believed to have been created in 863 by Saint Cyril, a Byzantine monk from Thessaloniki, and his brother Saint Methodius. The purpose was to translate religious texts into Old Slavic.

There are several reasons proving that Glagolitic is older than  Cyrillic 0410–0474 . The oldest manuscripts are written in Glagolitic. For example, “The Kiev Missals” are dated back to the X century. Some pieces of parchment have been preserved with old writings scraped and covered with new ones. In all cases the Glagolitic script was scraped and rescripted. In their oldest versions, Cyrillic and Glagolitic scripts were almost identical. The only difference was the symbols' appearance. However, the numerals were also different. The Cyrillic is more related to the Greek ones, and the Glagolitic — with the letter order in the alphabet.

It is difficult to identify the origin of Glagolitic letters. They have something in common with the Georgian script and the Greek cursive, and with  The Old Turkic script 10C00–10C48 . There is a theory that Cyril was inspired by the Old Slavic runes. However, there is no compelling evidence.

The Glagolitic script wasn't very popular in Ancient Rus. Some letters can be found in the texts written in the Cyrillic script. The Glagolitic script was more widespread in Bulgaria and Croatia where it was mostly used by priests. In Bulgaria the script was round, and in Croatia it was more angular.