Croatian Cyrillic Script


 Darko Zubrinic, Zagreb (1995)


The tradition of the Croatian Cyrillic Script goes back to the 12th century and lasted continuously until the 18th century, with sporadic uses even in the 20th century. Of course, there are incomparably more Croatian Glagolitic monuments than Cyrillic, not to speak about tremendous Croatian literature in the Latin Script since the 15th century. However, it is the fact that the Croatian Cyrillic represents an important cultural heritage. This Script was in use among the Croats in Dalmatia (especially in the Split and Makarska hinterland), in the Dubrovnik region and in Bosnia-Herzegovina. It is interesting that some of the Croatian Catholics, who visited the Vatican in the 17th and 18th century, left their signatures written in the Croatian Cyrillic, which they call expressly the Croatian script.

Thus, the Croatian Cyrillic includes the following three major regions:

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina, (especially widespread among Bosnian Franciscans),
  • the Poljica Principality (near Split) and Makarska hinterland, as well as islands of the middle Dalmatia (e.g. Brac),
  • the region of Dubrovnik, including Konavle.

The name of `Bosančica' (or `bosanica') is of a relatively recent provenance - it has been created by a Croat Ciro Truhelka in 1889, at that time a very young, 24 years old scientist. Its rather misleading name suggests that it has been related exclusively to the territory of Bosnia, which is not true, since it was used in Herzegovina, Dalmatia and on some Croatian islands as well. It is interesting that Croatian Cyrillic, i.e. `Bosancica', can be seen in Croatian texts written in Istria, see below. The name of `western Cyrillic', which also appears in the literature, is even more imprecise (`western' with respect to what?). It seems to be appropriate to call this version of the Cyrillic script by the national name of those who used it most and who left the greatest number of written documents, as in the case of other national versions (Bulgarian Cyrillic, Macedonian, Montenegrin, Serbian, Ukrainian, Byelorussian, Russian). There are also important palaeographic reasons, see [Benedikta Zelic-Bucan]. Thus the notions of Croatian Cyrillic and "Bosancica" are equivalent.

The name of the Croatian Cyrillic (or Bosancica) had the following genesis:

  • Marko Marulić (1450-1525): harvatsko pismo (Croatian script),
  • Paltasic of Split (16th century): harvatsko pismo,
  • Daniels copy-book, London, 1664Richard Daniel (in his book "Daniels Copy-Book: or a Compendium of the most usual hands..., London 1664"): Alphabetum Illiricum Sclavorum (Illirucum = Croatian, for example Vat.Illir. documents of the Vatican library all refer exclusively to Croatian documents), thus Croatian alphabet, see p.50 of Daniels' book. On the same page you can see Alphabetum croaticum for the Glagolitic of the 17th century (see Branko Franolic: "Croatian Glagolitic printed texts recorded in the British Library General Catalogue," Croatian information centre, London, 1994 ISBN 953-6058-04-9)
  • Libro Nouvo, G.B. Palatino, 1545, Rome, table of Cyrillic scriptStill earlier, in 1545 in Rome, an Italian encyclopaedist Giovanni Batista Palatino presented the Glagolitic (see [the photo]) and Cyrillic Script (see on the right) in the second edition of his book Libro Nouvo (Libro nel qual s'insegna a scrivere ogni sorte lettera, antica et moderna...), among 29 scripts that he designed for printing. He claims the Glagolitic (which he calls Buchuizza - bukvica) to be created by St. Jerome, and to be "different from all other existing Scripts". The Cyrillic is ascribed to St. Cyril. Palatino also provided a page with tombstone inscription of the Bosnian Queen Katarina (15th century; buried in Aracoeli, Rome), written in Croatian Cyrillic, in Latin script (Croatian language) and in Latin Script (Latin language). The last sentence is SPOMINAK NJE PISMOM POSTAVLJEN (Monumentum ipsius scriptis positum - Monument written in her script):

    Libro Nouvo, G.B. Palatino, 1545, Rome, tombstone inscription of Bosnian Queen Katarina

  • A short note about Croatian Glagolitic and Cyrillic can be found in Viaggio in Dalmazia by Alberto Fortis, Venice 1774. The book is also known to have brought the famous poem of Asanaginica to European public.
  • Bosnian Franciscans (all of them are the Croats): Bosanska chirilica, bosanska azbukvica,
  • Ivan Kukuljević Sakcinski (outstanding Croatian intellectual, 19th century): Croato - Bosnian Cyrillic (hrvatsko - bosanska cirilica),
  • Ćiro Truhelka, a Croatian scientist: Bosančica, 1889,
  • Vatroslav Jagić (19th century, Tomislav Raukar (mid 20th century, Zagreb): "Western Cyrillic" (western with respect to what??). Jagić also used the name of "Bosnian - Dalmatian Cyrillic."
  • Josip Vrana (in the sixties of the 20th century): hrvatska ćirilica (Croatian Cyrillic),
  • Benedikta Zelić-Bučan (leading expert for the Croatian Cyrillic - Bosancica): since the seventies insisting on the name of the Croatian Cyrillic (she wrote an important booklet entitled "Bosancica in Middle Dalmatia" (in 1960, of course, in the Croatian language),
  • An important and highly readable book treating the three-script history of Croatian Middle Ages (including Croatian Cyrillic) is [Hercigonja], written by outstanding specialist in 1994. It should be consulted by anybody wishing to study in more detail extremely complex history of writing among the Croats.

Here is the text of Asanaginica from the above mentioned Fortis' book (transliterated into Latin Script with ikavian reflex of yat):

Što se bili u gori zelenoj?
Al su snizi al so labutove?
Da su snizi već bi okopnuli;
Labutove već bi poletili.

Here is the same text in Croatian Cyrillic:

Što se bili u gori zelenoj?
Al su snizi al su labutove?
Da su snizi već bi okopnuli;
Labutovi već bi poletili.

and in Croatian Cyrillic quickscript (with slight differences) :

{to se bili u gori zelenoi
Al su snizi al su labutovi
Da su snizi već bi okopnuli
Labutovi već bi poletili

 

Some of the oldest and most important Croatian Cyrillic monuments are as follows (here we follow [Benedikta Zelic-Bucan] and [Hercigonja]):

  • the tablet of Humac (Herzegovina), comprising also several Glagolitic letters (early 11th century according to Hercigonja; 10/11th century according to Vinko Grubišić),

    Humac tablet, 11th century

  • the Croatian Cyrillic inscription of the Povlja lintel (1184) from the Benedictine monastery in the village of Povlja on the island of Brac near Split;
  • the Povlja charter from Povlja on the island of Brac (1184, copy from 1250), extensive Croatian Cyrillic text having 53 lines, mentioning 250 old Croatian names (the information contained on the above to web pages is based on the work of Dr. Ivan Ostojić),
  • the charter document of the Bosnian ban (governor) Kulin (1198), see below
  • The inscription of pop Tjehodrag, 12th century, Livno, Bosnia and Herzegovina, discovered in 2003, described in [Marić, Šimić, Škegro]. Photo below by the courtesy of Slavko Kirin.

  • The Evangel of Prince Miroslav of Zahumlje (dating from the end of the 12th century), created by Croatian Benedictins, most probably in the city of Ston on the Peljesac peninsula. It has been noticed already in the middle of the twentieth century that miniatures of this evangelistary do not belong to the Byzantine style, but to the Roman (western) style (Ivan Ostojic in his voluminous three-volume "History of Benedictins in Croatia").

    Miroslav Evnagel, 12th century

    The language analysis performed by Benedikta Zelić-Bučan, based on the previous investigations of a Croatian palaeographer Josip Vrana, shows that it has been written in the Croatian recension of the Church Slavonic language. This important monument is held in Belgrade (Narodni muzej), except of one page which is in St. Petersburg.
  • the Blagaj inscription from the Bosnian city of Blagaj (second half of the 12th century),
  • the Trebinje inscription of the župan Grdo from Trebinje in Herzegovina (second half of the 12th century). "Zupan" (country prefect). This very old title is in use in Croatia even today.
  • the Croatian Chronicle (12th-14th centuries); the famous Croatian humanist Marko Marulić translated it from Croatian Cyrillic into Latin in 1510. The chronicle was written by Archbishop Grgur of Bar (pop Dukljanin).
  • Kočerin tablet from 1410 or 1411 (carved in stone in Kočerin near Siroki Brijeg), with about 300 Croatian cyrillic letters (this the largest known text in Croatian Cyrillic appearing on stecak's); the text is written in ikavian dialect, and starts with invocation of Holy Trinity:
    Va ime Oca i Sina i svetoga Duha, Amin, se leži Viganj Milošević..., and the concluding message is indicative: I molju vas ne nastupite na me! Ja sam bil kako vi jeste, vi ćete biti kako jesam ja ("And I ask you not to step on me, I was like you, and you will be like me")

    Kocerin tablet, 1404

  • the cyrillic inscription on the stecak in Brotnice in Konavle south of Dubrovnik probably from 15th century (note also the glagolitic A appearing at the end of the first line), see [Kapetanic, Vekaric, Stanovnistvo Konavala 1, p. 24]:

    cyrillic inscription on stecak in Brotnice in Konavle (near Dubrovnik), with glagolitic A (end of first line), photo by Mladen Zubriniccyrillic inscription on stecak in Brotnice in Konavle (near Dubrovnik), with glagolitic A (end of first line)

Here we provide a translitartion of the Charter of Ban Kulin, August 28, 1189, from Croatian Cyrillic to Latin script, with English translationn provided by Mr. Marko Puljic, USA. Note the solemn Christian invocation "In the name of Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (and other), a proof that Bosnia at that time was a Christain land.



U ime oca i s(i)na i s(ve)toga d(u)ha.

Ja ban’ bos’n’ski Kulin’ prisezaju tebЪ kneže Kr’vašu i v’sЪm’ građam’ Dubrov’čam’ pravi prijatelj’biti vam’od’selЪ i do vЪka i pravi goj dr’žati s’vami pravu vЪeu dokolЪ s’m’ živ.

V’si Dubrov’čane kire hode po mojemu vladanju tr’gujuće, gdЪ si kto hoće krЪvati godЪ si kto mine pravov’ vЪrov’ i pravim’ sr’(d’)cem’ dr’žati je bez’v’sakoje z’ledi raz’v’Ъ što mi k’to da svojov’ voljov’ poklon’. I da im’ne bude od’moih’čest’nikov sile I do kolЪ u mene budu dati im’s’vЪt’i pomoć’ jajire i sebЪ kolikore moge bez’ v’sega z’loga i primis’la.

Tako mi b(og’) pomagaj i sie s(ve)t(o) evan’đelie.

Ja Radoje dijak ban pisah’siju knjigu poveljov’ banov’ od’ roždstva H(risto)va hiljada i s’to i os’m’deset i devet’ IЪt’, mЪseca av’gusta u d’vedesete i deveti d’n’, usЪčenie glave Jovana Kr’stitelja.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

I, Kulin, ban of Bosnia, swear to be a true friend to you, o prince Kr’vash, and to all Dubrovnik citizens from now on and forever, and to keep true peace with you, and true faith, as long as I am alive.

All Dubrovnik people who go through my domain trading, wherever anyone wants to move or wherever anyone passes, I will in true faith and with a true heart keep without any damage, unless someone of his own will gives me a gift, and let there be no violence against them by my officers, and as long as they are in my lands I will give them advice and help as I would to myself, as much as I am able, without any evil intention.

So help me God and this holy Gospel.

I Radoje the ban’s clerk wrote this document by the command of the ban, one thousand and one hundred and eighty and nine years from the birth of Christ, the month of August, the twenty-ninth day, [the day of] the beheading of John the Baptist.

It is interesting that in 2012 a monument dedicated to Ban Kulin was errected in the city of Tuzla in Bosnia and Herzegovina, containing this text, but with indicated boldface parts deleted, obviously aiming to deny the Christian roots of Ban Kulin. For more information  see here.


Humac Tablet (Humačka ploča), kept in the Franciscan Museum in Ljubiški, BiH. 
According to academician Eduard Hercigonja, it dates from 11th century.


Kočerin tablet from 1410 or 1411, kept in the Franciscan Museum in Ljubuški, Bosnia and Herzegovina

There exists a significant number of Croatian Cyrillic codices, chronicles, healers' pharmacopoeias, registers of births, testaments, personal correspondence etc. Especially important is the Poljice Statute of the small Principality in the neighbourhood of Split (1440).


Zakon parvi od kneza
u ime Gospodina Boga - amen.
The Poljica statute, a famous Croatian Cyrillic legal document. This is a version from 1665, kept in the National and University Library in Zagreb. The oldest preserved version is from 1440., and it is known to have been based on even older manuscripts.

Here is a Croatian Cyrillic testament of R. Vladisic written in the famous fortress of Klis near Split in 1436 (transcription from 1448).

Croatian Cyrillic testament, fortress of Klis near Split, 1436

One of the most famous Franciscan monasteries is the one in Kraljeva Sutiska (or Kraljeva Sutjeska = Royal Gorge):

Kraljeva sutiska (photo by www.turizam-zdk.net)

Kraljeva sutiska

Contemporary inscription in Croatian Cyrillic, Kraljeva sutiska

An old and contemporary inscriptions in Croatian Cyrillic
in Kraljeva Sutiska
(on the left: + V ime Bozje, se lezi Radovan Pribilovic, na svojoj zemlji plemenitoj, na Ricici; bih s bratom se razmenio, i ubi me Milko Bozinic, sa svojom bratijom; a brata mi isikose i ucnise vrhu mene krv nezaimitnu vrhu; Nek (zna) tko je moj mili.

Numerous manuscripts show the parallel use of the Croatian Glagolitic and Cyrillic Scripts (and also the Latin Script), thus proving that they were not opposed to each other among the Croats. One of the oldest such examples originates from Istria (St. Peter in the Wood, 12th century), where in one single word - Amen - all three Scripts are used! The coexistence and parallel use of these three Scripts - Croatian Glagolitic, Cyrillic and Latin - is a unique phenomenon in the history of European culture.

According to Croatian researcher Josip Hamm, members of the Bosnian Church (Krstyans) particularly appreciated the Glagolitic Script. Namely, all the important Bosnian Church books,

  • Nikoljsko evandjelje (Gospel), Croatian parchment Cyrillic book, copied in around 1400 from older Glagolitic original by Krstyanin Hval (the name was given according to a Serbian monastery Nikolj where the manuscript was found, the book is now held in the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin),
  • Sreckovicevo evandjelje (Gospel),
  • the Manuscript of Krstyanin Hval, 1404 (copied from older Glagolitic original; held in University Library in Bologna since 18th century), the manuscript contains glagolitic letters on two places

    Manuscript of Krstyanin Hval Manuscript of Krstyanin Hval

    Hval's Manuscript, Croatian Post

  • the Manuscript of Krstyanin Radosav, 15th century (which contains three Glagolitic notes), held in the Library of De Propaganda Fide in Rome, etc.
are based on Croatian Glagolitic Church books. For more information about Bosnian Krstyans see [Leon Petrovic].

The first printed Croatian Cyrillic book was The Book of Hours (or the Dubrovnik breviary, or Oficje) published in Venice in 1512, prepared by Franjo Ratkovic from Dubrovnik. One copy is held in Paris in Bibliothèque Nationale. There is also another copy in the Codrington Library at All Souls College, Oxford (q.14.9); it was probably part of the founding bequest of Christopher Codrington in 1710. It is, admittedly, slightly less complete than the Paris copy, lacking 19 leaves. Many thanks to prof. Ralph Cleminson (University of Portsmouth, UK) for information about the Oxford copy. The third preserved copy is kept in Washington.

In 2012 an international conference "Croatian Cyrillic Heritage" (Hrvatska ćirilična baština) has been organized by Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, on the occasion of 500 years since the first printed Croatian Cyrillic book. The book of summaries of lectures: [PDF]. Proceedings from the conference will be published.


Franciscan Museum in Ljubuški, Franciscan seals in Croatian Cyrillic

Many of the Croatian Cyrillic inscriptions are carved on tombstone monuments, called stechak.

According to the Austrian palaeographer Thorvi Eckhardt, the graphics of the Bosancica (Croatian Cyrillic) shows the greatest independence and individuality among all the national Cyrillic Scripts - Bulgarian, Macedonian, Montenegrin, Serbian, Ukrainian, Byelorussian, Russian (see her monograph Die slawischen Alphabete, Studium Generale VIII, 1967, p. 467).

She was also the first scholar to indicate the political loading in discussions about the Bosanica. In recent decades Serbian authors have openly monopolized Croatian Cyrillic as an exclusively Serbian Script. For more information see [Benedikta Zelic-Bucan].

A detailed palaeographic analysis of numerous epigraphic monuments found in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, related to inscriptions written in the Croatian Cyrillic, is contained in a monograph of Vinko Grubisic: "Grafija hrvatske lapidarne cirilice", KHR, München-Barcelona, 1978. Some of the characteristics of Croatian Cyrillic are:

  • Croatian Cyrillic ligatures
    Croatian Cyrillic ligatures
    the existence of unusually many ligatures on epigraphic Croatian Cyrillic monuments, obviously under the influence of Glagolitic script;
    In the aforementioned Grubisic's book (p. 108) you will find a table of 50 interesting Cyrillic ligatures (click on left and rigth): ab (2), av (2), ai (2), al, amin', am, ao, ap, ar, al, vi, gi, gr, ez, iv, iy, in, ime, ish, jni, mc, ne, oe, oni (3) ni (3) pis, pl, pr, pa, rime, tv, tg, ti, til, ca ce, et, ma vi, am, ti mi. This is a unique characteristic of Croatian Cyrillic;
  • absence of tildes, contrary to Cyrillic scripts of other nations (Bulgarian, Macedonian, Serbian, Ukrainian, Russian);
  • among all Cyrillic scripts only Croatian Cyrillic has the numerical value for CH (i.e. for chrv) equal to 1000, the same as in the Glagolitic script (see Grubisic's monograph, p. 116).

There exist many types of the Croatian Cyrillic - both carved in stone and handwritten:

We know of 18 Croatian Cyrillic texts (documents, prayers, letters) that are a part of the famous Bercic collection, held in the Russian National Library in St. Petersburg. These texts contain among others also interesting correspondence between Muslim officials in Bosnia and Croats. One of the prayers written in Croatian cyrillic ends with "Amen" written twice: first in the Glagolitic and then in Croatian Cyrillic. Here is an example, provided by the National Library of Russia:

Mahmud b. Salih, captain of Ostrovitsa and Bihach provinces.
Letter to Pavasovich, serdar of Shibenik and Skradin kapitenias (provinces in Croatia [Šibenik and Skradin are Croatian towns on the Adriatic Sea; D.Ž.). 1135 A.H./1722 – 1723 A.D. 1 f., 305 x 209 mm, paper. Coll. 67. Berchich. No. 62.
The letter is written in cursive bosanchitsa script – a variety of Cyrillic used mainly by the Catholic and Moslem population of Bosnia and Herzegovina. [Cyrillic mentioned Here is Croatian Cyrillic, while Catholic population in Bosnia is Croatian population, as well as a part of Moslem population. D.Ž.]

 

In the Royal Library of Stockholm (Kungliga biblioteket) there is a huge Czech book Gigas Librorum from the 13th century, which in the 14th century was in Prague. It was due to the Croatian glagolites in Prague that the Croatian glagolitic alphabet had been written on the inner part of the cover page. I express my gratitude to Mr. Zdenko Naglic, Göteborg, for this information. Here is the photo of the table of Croatian Glagolitic Script in Gigas Librorum:

One can clearly see that the table is written on a separate vellum leaflet, subsequently glued to the page of Gigas Librorum. The photo of the page of on which one can see the table of the Glagolitic Script can be seen on the internet page of the Royal Library in Stockholm. My gratitude goes to Mr. Nenad Hancic-Matejic for information about the web adress. Undersigned on the glagolitic leaflet is Opat Divich, hardly readable. The same name can be seen on the neighbouring leaflet, glued on the same page to the right, containing the table of Croatian Cyrillic, signed lisibly with the name of the same Opat Divinic. Especially interesting is the last character in the first line: it is the Croatian Glagolitic djerv!

The year near the name is indicated as 1360-1366, showing that the origin of both leaflets is related to Croatian glagolites in Prague since 1348.

 

See a stone fragment (1640) from Modrus in Lika, inscribed with letters in Cyrillic and Latin script.


Austrian royal envoy Jerolim Zadranin writes a letter in Croatian Cyrillic on 11 February 1543 from Constantinople to Croatian Ban (governer) Baćan and other Croatian dignitaries to be in peace with neighbouring Turks (Carski poslanik Jerolim Zadranin piše hrvatskom ćirilicom banu hrvatskom Baćanu i ostalim poglavarima 11. veljače 1543. u Carigradu, da budu u miru sa susjednim Turcima:) 

  • The first sentence reads (Prva rečenica glasi): Izveličeni i zmožna gospodo, bani Hrvacki!
  • ...da imam vam Slovinskim i Hrvackim banom pisati
  • .. ne samo za Hrvatsku ali Slovinsku zemlju
  • ...podložnikom u Požegi, Slovinie i Hrvatih

See Acta croatica, p 243.

There are legal documents written in Croatian cyrillic which mention the Croatian name, as well as the surname Harvatić derived from Croatian name (Harvat = Hrvat = Croat):

Godine 1552. tijekom ispitivanja svjedoka u vezi parnice kneza Nikole Zrinjskoga s knezom Petrom Keglevićem poradi Selca, u dokumentu pisanom hrvatskom ćirilicom, spominje se kao jedan od svjedoka Varban Harvatić. Vidi Acta croatica, str. 252.

Croatian Protestants published The New Testament in 1563 in Urach, Germany, in two volumes (1000 copies of each):


Prvi dél No-
voga Teštamenta,
va tom su vsi četiri Evan-
gelisti i Apustolska d’jan’ja iz’
mnozih’ jazikov’ v sadašnji općeni i
razumni H’rvatski jazik’, po Antonu
Dalmatinu i Stipanu Istrijanu, s po-
moću drugih’ bratov’, verno st’l-
mačeni, i s ciruličskimi
slovi najp’rvo sada 
štampani 

In the sixth line of the above title page of Vol I, we can see that the book was printed in Croatian language - Hrvatski jazik:

This is again stressed on the same page in German - Crobatische Sparch:

The books were printed in Konzul’s and Dalmatin’s Croatian-Urach Cyrillic script, see Alojz Jembrih [PDF1], [PDF2]. The whole edition was prepared by Anton Dalmatin and Stipan Istrian, as well as by other brethern. The same book was published in Croatian Glagolitic Script in 1562/63, prepared by the same persons. Reprints of these books have been published in 2008 by the Theological Faculty "Matija Vlačić Ilirik" in Zagreb, where you can find more information.

Here is an interesting monument from central Bosnia with inscription for which it is difficult to decide is it Croatian glagolitic, cyrillic, or something else:

Epigraphic monument in Bosnia with unknown script

We illustrate some of numerous very interesting monuments of Croatian Cyrillic from the Makarska area, see [fra Karlo Jurisic].

 
Croatian Cyrillic inscription on convent in Zaostrog from 1589
Croatian Cyrillic inscription on the church of St. Juraj in Sucuraj from 1655
Military chronicle by fra Pavle Silobodovic, Makarska, 1662
Croatian Cyrillic inscription on the church of All Saints in Zagvozd from 1644

It is interesting that in the franciscan convent in Makarska a baptismal parish register is preserved from 1664, written in Croatian Cyrillic, see [fra Karlo Jurisic, pp. 152-153]:

 
Baptismal parish register from franciscan convent in Makarska, in Croatian Cyrillic, 1664

In the same monograph one can find an extremely interesting example of official correspondence with Turkish officials in Herzegovina written in Croatian Cyrillic in 1498, dealing with the destiny of franciscans in Zaostrog, see [fra Karlo Jurisic, pp. 200-201].

In the town of Zagvozd behind the beautiful mountain of Biokovo one can see a lovely Catholic church of all Saints with Croatian Cyrillic inscription from 1644:

Catholic church of all Saints in Zagvozd with Croatian Cyrillic inscription from 1644 (photo by Mladen Zubrinc) Catholic church of all Saints in Zagvozd with Croatian Cyrillic inscription from 1644

Croatian Cyrillic inscription on the Catholic church of All Saints in Zagvozd from 1644

Here is a fascinating example of Three Script character of Croatian Middle Ages (that is, parallel usage of Glagolitic, Cyrillic and Latin scripts). You can see a part of the main text written in Croatian Cyrillic, and at the end, near the cross, AMEN written in Latin, Croatian Cyrillic, and Glagolitic (deeply moving text written by Bare Pifrovic in 1636, in which he thanks God for having learned these three scripts):

AMEN (near the cross) written in three scripts: Latin, Cyrillic, and Glagolitic

You can listen to the text, narrated by Stjepan Bahert, drama artist: Glagoljski zapis don Bare Pifrovica iz okolice Zadra. In 1636. Croatian glagolitic priest Bare Piforovic wrote in the Registry of Dead from the parish of Petrcane near the city of Zadar the following lines in the Croatian Cyrillic: "Ja, dom Bare Pifrovic, to pisah krvaski, curilicu i latinski..." (Me, don Bare Pifrovic, wrote this lines in Croatian, in Cyrillic and Latin...). See [Hercigonja, Glagoljaštvo i glagoljica].

In the beautiful Franciscan monastery on the islet of Visovac on Krka river there is an inscription on the grave of fra Stipan Skopljanin (+ Visovac, 1609.) in the Croatian Cyrillic:

Photo from [Bogovic and Jurisic, p. 112]

 
Nek se znade
ovdi leži
m.o.p.f. Sti-
pan Skoplan-
in vikario g.
biskupa bos(ne)
l(ita) n(a) 1610.

 


The above Croatian Cyrillic inscription can be seen inside the parish church of the village of Ravno, Eastern Herzgovina, not far from Dubrovnik. The following text is taken from www.rb-donjahercegovina.ba (follow the link for the photo):


THE TABLET IN THE CHURCH OF THE NATIVITY OF OUR LADY IN RAVNO. This tablet is set up in the Church of the Nativity of our Lady in Ravno, written in Croatian Cyrillic script (bosancica), testifying that Bosko and two men named Nikola Anrijasevic restored this Medieval church in 1579. The tablet was written by Fra. Bazilio, who calls himself "Ravjanin" (a man of Ravno) and was probably in the monastery in Slano. The Bishop blessed the church on 6th June 1579.

Original text in Croatian (line by line):

Gradi Boško
Nikola i Nik
ola Andriaš, na slavu Boga i Sv(e)te
Gospe. I Blago(slo)vi
Biskup nakon 1.
5.7.9. godina poroda
Isusova. Na s(v)e(toga) žuna.
Pisa fra Bazilio Ravnanin.


Parish church in the village of Ravno in 2007, damaged in 1991 when the Greater Serbain agression on BiH started.


Village of Ravno, Eastern Herzegovina, not far from Dubrovnik.

We provide several documents published in Croatian Cyrillic in Eastern Herzegovina, not far from Dubrovnik, see [Dubljani]:

A Croatian Cyrillic text written by inhabitants from Ravno, Dracevo, Drijenjan, Grmljan, Velican, Dubljani and other parts of Popovo, written 1688, admitting Leopold I as their protector. See [Dubljani, p. 91].

Representatives of Orahov Do, Cesljar, golubinac, Kijev Do and Belinic
sending letter to emperor Leopold I asking him for protection in 1688. See [Dubljani, p. 92].

Representatives of Ravno, Cvaljin, Velican, and Dubljani sending a letter to Leopold I in 1690. See [Dubljani, p. 94].

Dr. Marinka Šimić:

  • Jezik boljunskih natpisa, in Stolacko kulturno proljece, Godisnjak, godiste V, 2007., str. 175 - 189 (condensed version [PDF])
  • Srednjovjekovni natpisi stolackog kraja, in Stolacko kulturno proljece, Godisnjak za povijest i kulturu, godiste VII, 2009., str. 119-146
  • Jezik srednjovjekovnih kamenih natpisa iz Hercegovine, Matica hrvatska, Sarajevo 2009. (250 pp) ISBN978-9958-830-34-1

On the island of Brac there is a famous glagolitic convent of Blaca built in the 16th century:

Its interesting library keeps among others old Croatian Cyrillic manuscripts, like this one:

In fact, on the island of Brac near Split we know of six Glagolitic convents, founded by Glagolitic Catholic priests from Poljica, near the mountain of Mosor, who had to escape to the island during the Turkish onslaughts. These convents kept not only Croatian Cyrillic books, but also Croatian Glagolitic and Latin books.

An interesting remain from Draceva Luka Glagolitic eremitage, kept in the Dominican Convent in the town of Bol on the island of Brac, is a wardrobe bearing Glagolitic inscriptions describing the color of dresses of priests. Also a remain of the first Croatian printed book (incunabulum) from 1483, printed in the Glagolitic script, is kept there, originating from Draceva Luka on the island of Brac.

Croatian Glagolitic quicscript book found in a Glagolitic convent near Murvica, near famous Zlatni rat, on the island of Brac, see [Batelja, Apokalipsa u Zmajevoj ±pilji]

There are several additional convents of the Poljica Glagolitic Catholic origin founded in 15.-16. st.:

  • one on the island of Čiovo: Prizidnice (on the south-east of the island),
  • one on the island of Šolta: Gospa u Borima (eastern part of the island, north of the G. Sela),
  • six on the island of Brač: except the mentioned convents of Blaca, Dračeva Luka and Zmajeva špilja (Dragon's Cave), also Dutić, Silvio i Stipančić (near the village of Murvice by the famous Zlatni rat).

Edo Pivcevic: The Poljica Statute

Croatian nobles were familiar not only with the Croatian Glagolitic Script, but also with Croatian Cyrillic. We can illustrate this with the following text signed by Petar Zrinski (1621-1671) outstanding Croatian statesman and writer. It is contained in the "Libar od Spominka" (Book of Remebrances) written by Katarina Zrinska (1625-1673).

The following book issued by the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts deals with medical recepies texts from the 18th century written in Croatian Cyrillic Script in the region of Poljica near the city of Split.

Stella Fatović-Ferenčić, Marko Pećina (eds.): Knjiga od likarije, Faksimil i obrada dviju ljekaruša pisanih hrvatskom ćirilicom, HAZU, Zagreb 2010. (facsimile and transliteration, scholarly studies by Ante Nazor, Ante Nazor J., and Marinka Šimić) ISBN 978-953-154-922-6

Acta croatica:
  • oko 1550. Oporuka Jurja Keglevića (hrvatskom ćirilicom). 251
  • 1552. Ispitivanje svjedoka o pravdi kneza Nikole Zrinjskoga s knezom Petrom Keglevićem poradi Selca (hrvatskom ćirilicom). 251 252
  • 1564.-1576. U Beču. Knez Gašpar Keglević piše svojemu otcu Petru, kako je razne poslove u Beču obavio (hrvatskom ćirilicom). 261
Some Croatian nobleman and a part of aristocracy used among others Croatian Cyrillic Script: these refer to families of Frankapan, Keglević (on Croatian north!), Peranski, Kačić, Petar Kružić, Nikola Jurišić, etc.




Museum of the town of Grude (BiH), Chronicle of fra Stjepan Vrljić from 1716, written in Croatian Cyrillic.
The first and the last sentences are the Latin Language.
In Dei Nomine Amen. ... Non nobis Domine, non nobis sed nomini tuo ad gloriam.

In the archives of the Nin Bishopric (Nin is a town at the Croatian coast, not far from the city of Zadar) the following document dating from 1723 has been discovered, written in Croatian Cyrillic Script:



The document was written by don Ivan Mišlić, a Catholic priest in Nadin, and deals with a marriage in Nadin in 1723. We provide its transliteration from Croatian Cyrillic into Latin script:


U ime Boga
Prisvitli gospodine daemo na znane vašoi milosti da se ženi Gargo sin Jurja Bušlete a uzima Anticu ženu pokoinoga Luke Arlića iz daržave prisvitloga gospodina arhibiskupa i ucinil san navišćenja kako zapovida sveta mati crikva i nije se našla nijedna zaprika koja bi mogla zabraniti svetomu matremoniju a sada pozdravla vaše prisvitlo gospodstvo.

U Nadinu na 6 maja 1723
Ponizni sluga vaše milosti don Ivan Milišić kurat od Nadina


We owe our gratitude to Mr. Ivica Glavan, University of Zadar, for sending us this interesting document.


For more information see


Croatia - an overview of its History, Culture and Science