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  • #343395

    Anonymous
    [size=12pt]Pre-Christian Slavic Writing[/size]

    There is some evidence that the early Slavs may have used a writing system or a form of proto-writing prior to the introduction of Christianity and of the Glagolitic and Cyrillic alphabets in the mid 9th century. But there is no extant evidence of pre-Christian Slavic writing, and the hypothesis rests on indirect evidence.

    Evidence from early historiography
    [hr]
    The 9th century Bulgarian writer, Chernorizets Hrabar in his work An Account Of Letters (Bulgarian: О писменех, O pismeneh) briefly mentioned that, before the introduction of Christianity, Slavs used a system he had dubbed "strokes and incisions" or "tallies and sketches" in some translations (Old Church Slavonic: чръты и рѣзы). He also provided information critical to Slavonic palaeography with his book.

    In the old days, the Slavs did not have their own letters, but read and divined by means of strokes and incisions, being pagan. After their baptism they were forced to use Roman and Greek letters in the transcription of their Slavic words but these were not suitable.

    Another contemporary source, Thietmar of Merseburg, describing a temple on the island of Rügen, a Slavic pagan stronghold, remarked that the idols there had their names carved out on them ("singulis nominibus insculptis" Chronicon 6:23 ). This is not directly connected to the question of possible 8th-century Slavic writing, as Thietmar wrote in the 11th century, and the Conversion of Pomerania took place only in the 12th century.

    Evidence from etymology
    [hr]
    The Slavic word for "to write", pьsati derives from a common Balto-Slavic word for "to paint, smear", found in Lithuanian piẽšti "paint, write", paĩšas "smudge", puišinas "sooty, dirty", from the same root as Old Slavic pьstrъ (also pěgъ) "coloured" (Greek πικρός), ultimately from a PIE root *peik- "speckled, coloured" (Latin pingō "paint", Tocharian pik-, pink- "paint, write"). This indicates that the Slavs named the new art of writing in ink, as "smearing, painting", unlike English which, with Old English *(w)rītan English write, transferred the term for "incising (runes)" to manuscript writing. The other Germanic languages use terms derived from Latin scribere. A Slavic term for "to incise" survives in OCS žrěbъ "lot" originally the incision on a wooden chip used for divination (Russian жребий "number, tally mark", from the same root as Greek γράφω).

    #384447

    Anonymous

    Anyone know what this would have looked like? Tallies and marks aren't very descriptive.

    #384448

    Anonymous

    This is really interesting! I would love to see more on this subject!  :D

    EDIT: I found this site: http://indoeuro.bizland.com/project/script/slavi.html

    An Arabic traveler in the late 9th century wrote about Eastern Slavs: "…They constructed a monument and wrote the name of their dead leader on it". How could Slavs write a name when there was no Cyrillic yet? Such "lines and curvings" were found on different stone and wooden tablets, and also on rocks, instruments and pots all over Russia and several in East Europe. The first such inscription, consisting of 14 symbols, was discovered in 1897 not far from Ryazan, a city southeast from Moscow.

    Later similar symbols were found in Belorussia, Bulgaria, Poland, Crimea; they all probably represent modifications of the same writing system. But no idea exists about what kind of writing it was. The number of symbols makes more than 75, this makes us suppose this was a syllabic script or even a logographic one. Still, as the territory of its usage was very wide, different variant of the same letter can differ from each other and considered now as two different letters.

    Several symbols look much like Cyrillic, or remind the Greek alphabet. Hard to say how this happened: either the script originally borrowed from the Greek, or modified later under the influence of Cyrillic. Perhaps the "lines and curvings" were written from the left.

    #384449

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    This is really interesting! I would love to see more on this subject!  :D

    The Slavs were always believed to have no script in the pre-Christian epoch, until the 9th century, when St. Cyril and St. Methodius invented Cyrillic and Glagolitic alphabets to write the Bible in Slavic. For hundred years Cyrillic and Glagolitic were thought to be the first scripts used by Slavic nations. However, excavations made this century in Russia, the uKraine and in several West Slavic countries, gave a reason to think that Slavs possessed writing much before they were converted to Christianity.
    Old Russian manuscripts written already in the 10th century several times mention the "lines and curvings" which had been in use in pagan Russia. They were considered as a part of old Slavic cults of paganism, and priests could "read and tell fortunes" by them. An Arabic traveler in the late 9th century wrote about Eastern Slavs: "…They constructed a monument and wrote the name of their dead leader on it". How could Slavs write a name when there was no Cyrillic yet? Such "lines and curvings" were found on different stone and wooden tablets, and also on rocks, instruments and pots all over Russia and several in East Europe. The first such inscription, consisting of 14 symbols, was discovered in 1897 not far from Ryazan, a city southeast from Moscow.

    Later similar symbols were found in Belorussia, Bulgaria, Poland, Crimea; they all probably represent modifications of the same writing system. But no idea exists about what kind of writing it was. The number of symbols makes more than 75, this makes us suppose this was a syllabic script or even a logographic one. Still, as the territory of its usage was very wide, different variant of the same letter can differ from each other and considered now as two different letters.

    Several symbols look much like Cyrillic, or remind the Greek alphabet. Hard to say how this happened: either the script originally borrowed from the Greek, or modified later under the influence of Cyrillic. Perhaps the "lines and curvings" were written from the left.

    Still many scientists do not admit this was a script. Other theories say it was: calendar symbols; pictograms; Cyrillic letters written by illiterate Slavic scribes. Most of inscriptions date back from the 9-11 centuries, later the script (if it was a script) was replaced by Cyrillic together with the change of religion from polytheism to Christianity.
    [hr]

    Source: http://indoeuro.bizland.com/project/script/slavi.html

    #384450

    Anonymous

    Haha, well I guess we both found the same 'new' source :P

    Well, to at least add something new:

    A picture of the script:
    image

    #384451

    Anonymous

    Cool thread mate. In my opinion our ancestors didn't wrote a lot if they even wrote. Most folks in pagan times were farmers and their primary concern was to survive the harsh winters by any means even war. Pagan priest and rulers also didn't need to write since they relied on oral traditions. Even during 19th century village communities in Slovene lands relied on ancient unwritten laws passed down orally. But i guess they knew to write down symbols for protection and for other divine means so old time pisati might just be carving down symbols not writing down words. Just my thought. :)

    #384452

    Anonymous

    Examples (Dubious)
    [hr]

    [table]
    [tr]
    [td][img height=150]http://www.protobulgarians.com/Statii%20za%20prabaalgarite/Nadpisi/Nadpisi%20runni%20ot%20Makedoniya/Pliska–vaazmozhni-du.gif” />[/td]
    [td][img height=150]http://www.protobulgarians.com/Statii%20za%20prabaalgarite/Nadpisi/Nadpisi%20runni%20ot%20Makedoniya/Pliska–troyki.gif” />[/td]
    [td][img height=150]http://www.protobulgarians.com/Statii%20za%20prabaalgarite/Nadpisi/Nadpisi%20runni%20ot%20Makedoniya/Pliska–paarva-runa-A.gif” />[/td]
    [/tr]
    [/table]
    [table]
    [tr]
    [td][img height=150]http://www.protobulgarians.com/Statii%20za%20prabaalgarite/Nadpisi/Nadpisi%20runni%20ot%20Makedoniya/Pliska–E.gif” />[/td]
    [td][img height=150]http://www.protobulgarians.com/Statii%20za%20prabaalgarite/Nadpisi/Nadpisi%20runni%20ot%20Makedoniya/Pliska–dublirani-zna.gif” />[/td]
    [td][img height=150]http://www.protobulgarians.com/Statii%20za%20prabaalgarite/Nadpisi/Nadpisi%20runni%20ot%20Makedoniya/Pliska–drugi-znatsi.gif” />[/td]
    [/tr]
    [/table]
    #384453

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    Cool thread mate. In my opinion our ancestors didn't wrote a lot if they even wrote. Most folks in pagan times were farmers and their primary concern was to survive the harsh winters by any means even war. Pagan priest and rulers also didn't need to write since they relied on oral traditions. Even during 19th century village communities in Slovene lands relied on ancient unwritten laws passed down orally. But i guess they knew to write down symbols for protection and for other divine means so old time pisati might just be carving down symbols not writing down words. Just my thought. :)

    Yeah I figured, thought it would have been nice if our ancestors had an alphabet and documented things so we could know how they lived, what they believed, what the culture was back then, etc.

    #384454

    Anonymous
    Quote:

    [table]
    [tr]
    [td][img height=150]http://www.protobulgarians.com/Statii%20za%20prabaalgarite/Nadpisi/Nadpisi%20runni%20ot%20Makedoniya/Pliska–E.gif” />[/td][/tr][/table]

    So our ancestors already had a vision of EU a couple of centuries ago.

    #384455

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    Examples
    [hr]

    [table]
    [tr]
    [td][img height=150]http://www.protobulgarians.com/Statii%20za%20prabaalgarite/Nadpisi/Nadpisi%20runni%20ot%20Makedoniya/Pliska–vaazmozhni-du.gif” />[/td]
    [td][img height=150]http://www.protobulgarians.com/Statii%20za%20prabaalgarite/Nadpisi/Nadpisi%20runni%20ot%20Makedoniya/Pliska–troyki.gif” />[/td]
    [td][img height=150]http://www.protobulgarians.com/Statii%20za%20prabaalgarite/Nadpisi/Nadpisi%20runni%20ot%20Makedoniya/Pliska–paarva-runa-A.gif” />[/td]
    [/tr]
    [/table]
    [table]
    [tr]
    [td][img height=150]http://www.protobulgarians.com/Statii%20za%20prabaalgarite/Nadpisi/Nadpisi%20runni%20ot%20Makedoniya/Pliska–E.gif” />[/td]
    [td][img height=150]http://www.protobulgarians.com/Statii%20za%20prabaalgarite/Nadpisi/Nadpisi%20runni%20ot%20Makedoniya/Pliska–dublirani-zna.gif” />[/td]
    [td][img height=150]http://www.protobulgarians.com/Statii%20za%20prabaalgarite/Nadpisi/Nadpisi%20runni%20ot%20Makedoniya/Pliska–drugi-znatsi.gif” />[/td]
    [/tr]
    [/table]

    Is it just me or do some of these letters have a great resemblance to Glagolithic?
    Also, it appears to me to be letters, as well as pictograms for words (as in Chinese). Could this be possible?

    #384456

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    So our ancestors already had a vision of EU a couple of centuries ago. ;D

    It's strange how they have the letter a, b, etc. Perhaps they came into contact with Romans or Greeks?

    #384457

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    It's strange how they have the letter a, b, etc. Perhaps they came into contact with Romans or Greeks?

    Your link says Proto-Bulgarian. I guess they were just trying to copy Latin alphabet but adapted it for characteristics of their language but first of all we must be sure that those letters are even historical.

    #384458

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    It's strange how they have the letter a, b, etc. Perhaps they came into contact with Romans or Greeks?

    As far as I know, at least Kievan' Rus had a lot of trade connections with the Byzantine Empire. Don't know about the other Slavic people though…

    #384459

    Anonymous

    Some symbols remind me of cuneiform, others even to germanic futhark. But the resemblance to the latin alphabet is amazing. If the assumption that Slavic people are a mixture of some Scythian tribes and Germanic people is correct surely this so called "alphabet" would make (at least partially) sense to me.

    However Svevlad, don't you think if Slavs came into contact with Greco – Romans there would be some bigger references of them in their literature?

    #384460

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    As far as I know, at least Kievan' Rus had a lot of trade connections with the Byzantine Empire. Don't know about the other Slavic people though…

    Well correct me if I am wrong but Kievan' Rus was founded in 9th century. They traded with Byzantine Empire in 10th century but by that time Slavs already developed Glagolitic (863)

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