Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/247

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231
SLAVS


nations has probably had more influence upon their subsequent history than racial distinctions or geographical conditions.

Wherever heathen Slavonic tribes met Chrietendom missionary effort naturally came into being. This seems first to have been the case along the Dalmatian coast, where the cities retained their Romance population and their Christian faith. From the 7th century the Croats were nominally Christian, and subject to the archbishops of Salona at Spalato and their suffragans. Frpm the beginning of the 9th century Merseburg, Salzburg and Passau were the centres for spreading the Gospel among the Slavonic tribes on the south-eastern marches of the Frankish empire, in Bohemia, Moravia, Pannonia and Carinthia. Though we need not doubt the true zeal of these missionaries, it was still a fact that as Germans they belonged to a nation which was once more encroaching upon the Slavs, and as Latins (though the Great Schism had not yet taken place) they were not favourable to the use of their converts' native language. Still they were probably the first to reduce the Slavonic tongues to writing, naturally using Latin letters and lacking the skill to adapt them satisfactorily. Traces of such attempts are rare; the best are the Ereisingen fragments of Old Slovene now at Munich.

In the eastern half of the BaliSan Peninsula the Slavs had already begun to turn to Christianity before their conquest by the Bulgars. These latter were hostile until Boris, under the influence of his sister and of one Methodius (certainly not the famous one), adopted the new faith and put to the sword those that resisted conversion (a.d. 865). Though his Christianity came from Byzantium, Boris seems to have feared the influence of the Greek clergy and applied to the Pope for teachers, submitting to him a whole series of questions. The Pope sent clergy, 'but would not grant the Bulgarians as much independence as they asked, and Boris seems to have repented of his application to him. He raised the question at the Council of Constantinople (a.d. 870), which decided that Bulgaria was subject to the Eastern Church. Cyril and Methodius. — In the same way Rostislav, prince of Greater Moravia, fearing the influence of Latin missionaries, applied to Byzantium for teachers who should preach in. f the vulgar tongue (a.d. 861). The emperor chose two brothers, sons of a Thessalonian Greek, Methodius and Constantine (generally known as Cyril by the name he adopted upon becoming a monk). The former was an organizer, the latter a scholar, a philosopher and a linguist. His gifts had been already exercised in & mission to the Crimea; he had brought thence the relics of S. Clement, which he finally laid in their resting-place in Rome. But the main reason for the choice was that the Thessalonians, surrounded as they were by Slavonic tribes, were well known to speak Slavonic perfectly. On their arrival in Moravia the brothers began to teach letters and the Gospel, and also to translate the necessary liturgical books and instruct the young in them. But soon (in 864) Rostislav was attacked by Louis the German and reduced to complete obedience, so that there could be no question of setting up a hierarchy in opposition to the dominant Franks, and the attempts to establish the Slavonic liturgy were strongly opposed. Hearing of the brother's work Pope Nicholas I. sent for them to Rome. On their way they spent some time with Kocel, a Slavonic prince of Pannonia, about Platten See, and he much favoured the Slavonic books. In Venice the brothers had disputes as to the use of Slavonic service- books; perhaps at this time these found their way to Croatia and Dalmatia. On their arrival in Rome Nicholas was dead, but Adrian II. was favourable to them and their translations, and had the pupils they brought with them ordained. In Rome Constantine fell ill, took monastic vows and the name of Cyril, and died on the 14th of February 869. Methodius was conse- crated archbishop of Pannonia and Moravia, about 870, but Kocel could not help him much, and the German bishops had him tried and thrown into prison; also in that very year Rostislav was dethroned by Svatopluk, who, though he threw off the Frankish yoke, was not steadfast in supporting the Slavonic liturgy. In 873 Pope John VIII. commanded the liberation of Methodius and allowed Slavonic services, and for the next few years the work of Methodius went well. In 879 he was again called to


Rome, and in 880 the Pope distinctly pronounced in his favour and restored him to his archbishopric, but made a German, Wiching, his suffragan. Methodius died in 885, and Wiching, having a new pope, Stephen V. (VI.), on his side, became his successor. So the Slavonic service-books and those that used them were driven out by Svatopluk and took refuge in Bulgaria, where the ground had been made ready for them. Boris, having decided to abide by the Greek Church, welcomed Clement, Gorazd and other disciples of Methodius. Clement, who was the most active in literary work, laboured in Ochrida and others in various parts of the kingdom.

In spite of the triumph of the Latino-German party, the Slavonic liturgy was not quite stamped out in the west; it seems to have survived in out-of-the-way corners of Great Moravia until that principality was destroyed by the Magyars. Also during the life of Methodius it appears to have penetrated into Bohemia, Poland and Croatia, but all these countries finally accepted the Latin Church, and so were permanently cut off from the Orthodox Servians, Bulgarians and Russians.

These details of ecclesiastical history are of great importance for understanding the fate of various Slavonic languages, scripts and even literatures. From what has been said above it appears that Cyril invented a Slavonic alphabet, translated at any rate a Gospel lectionary, perhaps the Psalter and the chief service- books, into a Slavonic dialect, and it seems that Methodius translated the Epistles, some part of the Old Testament, a manual of canon law and further liturgical matter. Clement continued the task and turned many works of the Fathers into Slavonic, and is said to have made clearer the forms of letters. What was the alphabet which Cyril invented, where were the invention and the earliest translations made by him, and who were the speakers of the dialect he used, the language we call Old Church Slavonic (O.S.)? As to the alphabet we have the further testimony of Chrabr, a Bulgarian monk of the next genera- tion, who says that the Slavs at first practised divination by means of marks and cuts upon wood; then after their baptism they were compelled to write the Slavonic tongue with Greek and Latin letters without proper rules; finally, by God's mercy Constantine the Philosopher, called Cyril, made them an alphabet of 38 letters. He gives the date as 855, six or seven years before the request of Rostislav. If we take this to be exact Cyril must have been working at his translations before ever- he went to Moravia, and the language was presumably that with which he had been familiar at Thessalonica— that of southern Macedonia, and this is on the whole the most satisfactory view. At any rate the phonetic framework of the language is Buhaiiaa. more near to certain Bulgarian dialects than to any other, but the vocabulary seems to have been modified in Moravia by the inclusion of certain German and Latin words, especially those touching things of the Church. These would appear to have been already familiar to the Moravians through the work of the German missionaries. Some of them were superseded when O.S. became the language of Orthodox Slavs. Kopitar and Miklosich maintained that O.S. was Old Slovene as spoken by the subjects of Kocel, but in their decision much was due to racial patriotism. Something indeed was done to adapt the language of the Trans- lations to the native Moravian; we have the Kiev fragments, prayers after the Roman use in which occur Moravisms, notably c and z where O.S. has It and zd, and fragments at Prague with Eastern ritual but Cech peculiarities. Further, the Freisingen fragments, though their language is in the main Old Slovene and their alphabet Latin, have some connexion with the texts of an O.S. Euchologium from Sinai.

Alphabets. — Slavonic languages are written in three alphabets according to religious dependence; Latin adapted to express Slavonic sounds either by diacritical marks or else by conventional combinations of letters among those who had Latin services; so-called Cyrillic, which is the Greek Liturgical Uncial of the 9th century enriched with special signs for Slavonic letters— this is used by all Orthodox Slavs; and Glagolitic, in the " spectacled " form of which certain very early O.S. documents were written, and which in another, the " square," form has survived