Glagolists who were Latinists
Darko Žubrinić, 2019.
Filip, bishop of Senj (13th ct.)
alphabet has a long and interesting history of more than a thousand
years. The Croats using the Glagolitic alphabet were the only nation in
Europe who was given a special
permission by Pope Innocent IV
(in 1248) to use their own language and this script in liturgy. More
precisely, this permission had formally been given to the bishop
Philip of Senj. However, special
care accorded by the Vatican to
the Glagolitic liturgy in subsequent centuries (even by publishing
several Glagolitic missals in Rome), shows that this privilege applied
to all Croatian lands using the Glagolitic liturgy, mostly along the
coast. As is well known, the Latin had been the privileged language in
religious ceremonies in the Catholic Church until the 2nd Vatican Synod
held in 1962-1965, when it was decided to allow vernacular national
languages to be used in the Catholic liturgy instead of Latin. It is
interesting that even today the Glagolitic liturgy is used in some
In 1252 the Pope
Innocent IV allowed Benedictine Glagolitic
monks in Omisalj on the largest Croatian island of Krk to use the
Croatian Church-Slavonic liturgy and the Glagolitic Script instead of
Juraj Slovinac (Georges
d'Esclavonie, 1355/60 - 1416)
d'Esclavonie (or de Sorbonne,
born in Brezice in present Slovenia, 1355/60-1416), a professor at the
University of Paris (Sorbonne) and a theological writer, wrote the
first Croatian abecedarium of Christian science in the Glagolitic
alphabet about 1400 (held in the
Municipal Library in Tours). He
wanted to show his renowned colleagues of Sorbonne that except Hebrew,
Greek and Latin also existed a genuine Croatian alphabet, or alphabetum
chrawaticum as he called it,
having a great graphic and lexical
value. In 1401 he defended his doctorate in theology. In 1403 his name
was included in the big scroll of professors of the University of
Paris. Since 1404 he was also a canonist-penitentiary in Tours, in the
nun's convent Beaumont, until the end of his life. With his book "Le
chasteau de virginite", written in Latin and French in 1411, he entered
the history of French and European literature. There exist many of its
copies from the 15th century, plus three French printed editions (1505,
1506, 1510) and one Latin (1726), thus proving its popularity in
Europe. His manuscripts, some of them written in the Croatian
Glagolitic, are held in the City Library (former Cathedral Library) in
Tours. He was also very fond of Istria, to which he referred as a part
of his Croatian homeland: Istria
eadem patria Chrawati. Photos of
of his manuscripts can be seen at Juraj Slovinac
(in Croatian). One of his original manuscripts is held at Yale
Benjamin, Croatian Dominican priest (15/16 ct.)
Croatian Dominican priest Beniamin
was editor in chief of the first
Russian Bible (finished in 1499) written in Russian Church Slavonic. It
was the first Bible also among all Orthodox Christian Slavs. It served
as a basis of later printed Russian editions in 1580-81 and 1663, which
had spread among Orthodox Christian Slavs. Beniamin's original
translations of the Vulgata are even today left unchanged in many parts
of the contemporary Russian Bible. It is interesting that the old
Russian Bible has many Croatian characteristics in phonetics,
morphology and vocabulary, for example,
It is clear that he originates from the coastal region of Croatia,
probably from the city of Split (according to Vladimir
Rozov), and according to Franjo Sanjek,
environment in the area of
- kovac (blacksmith)
- loviti (to hunt)
- plijen (prey)
- staja (stable)
- stijena (rock)
- nastojati (to strive)
- puk (common people)
- obitelj (family)
- and even - gusterna
(stone water cistern)!
According to the famous
Russian church historian Makarij,
Beniamin was the chief personality in the creation of Genadij's Bible.
This undertaking was of great importance for the Russian Church, in
particular for the development of Russian spiritual literature.
Beniamin also translated the 8th part of the latest 1486 Strasbourg
edition of the famous work Rationale
divinorum officiorum of
Guilelemus Durandus - Spectator, which was devoted to calendar
calculations and astronomy. In this way Beniamin influenced also the
development of Russian astronomical terminology, in particular -
Russian names for star constellations. According to Vladimir
Rozov (Russian emigrant in
Zagreb), Beniamin (or Venjamin
as he is called in the Russian literature) represents the
humanist on the Russian soil,
and furthermore, Beniamin was
actually editor in chief
of the first complete Church-Slavonic
Bible among Pravoslav Slavs. Beniamin also had important role in
opening new schools in Novgorod (until that time there were no real
schools in Russia). The name of Croatian Dominican Beniamin is
completely unknown among Croats in time when these lines are written
(1999), except to several specialists. The Croats can be rightfully
proud of this little known person for his great Ecumenical role.
Beniamin's mission in Russia represents an important and almost
forgotten bridge between Catholic and Orthodox Christianity.
- Vladimir Rozov: Hrvatski
dominikanac Venjamin u
Rusiji, Nastavni vjesnik, knj.
41, sv. 8-10, Zagreb, 1933, 302-336.
See also here.
Vladimir Alekseevic Rozov
(1876-1940), born in Kyiv, capital of
Ukraine, in the family of professor of the Kyiv Spiritual Academy. In
1903 graduated from the Kyiv University (Faculty of Philosophy). In
1907-1908 investigated the Slavic manuscripts on the Near East.
Professor of Slavic philology in the Nizyn Institute (1916) in Ukraine.
Professor at the University of Tavrid (1918-1920; Tavrid is today's
Herson in Ukraine). Lectured Russian language at the University
of Zagreb (1920-1940), and
died in Zagreb. Literary critic,
culturologist, publicist, investigator of Russian-Croatian relations,
author of many articles. [more].
Many thanks to Mr. Oleh Hirnyk, Lviv, Ukraine, for kind help.
- Zarko Dadic: O
hrvatskom dominikancu Benjaminu i
ulozi na dvoru novgorodskog arhiepiskopa Genadija,
christiana, XIII, (1989) 23, str. 44-48.
PRIJEVOD OSME KNJIGE ZNAMENITOGA DURANDUSOVA DJELA "RATIO DIVINORUM
OFFICIARUM", by academician
- Franjo Sanjek:
Dominikanci u Rijeci i Hrvatskom primorju,
Sveti Vid VIII, zbornik, Izdavacki centar Rijeka 2003.
Nikola Modruški (c. 1427-1480)
of the most
important Croatian humanists in the 15th century was bishop Nikola
Modruski, the creator of the
first known Latin incunabula written
by a Croat author ("Oratio in funere Petri Cardinalis S. Sixty," 1474,
Rome). At the same time he was a great promoter of the Croatian Glagolitic Script.
He was also the papal
nuncio at the court of the Bosnian
ban (viceroy) Stjepan Tomasevic
and at the court of king Mathias Corvin in Budim. His huge library,
whose origin is from Modrus, was left to the Vatican. He wrote a
treatise in defence of the Glagolitic Script in Modrus bishopric. It is
regarded to be the first
polemic treatise in the history
Croatian literature. It is interesting that Nikola Modruski was born in
kotorska. In 1474 he printed
the first book among the Croats, in the Latin language. For additional
Bernardin Frankapan (1453-1529)
born and educated in the Glagolitic environment, was an important
promoter of the Croatian Glagolitic literature. He founded the
Glagolitic scriptorium for translating the Bible in the town of Ozalj.
In his speech Oratio pro
Croatia held in Nürenberg
in 1522 he sent a dramatic appeal to the German State Council and to
Europe to help the Croats in their struggle against the attacks of the
Ottoman Empire. Simun
Kozicic Zadranin wrote for
him that "even under arms and with sword, all the time he writes and
translates". For additional information see
(1477-1554), a Czech humanist,
is the author of a Latin Czech dictionary Lexicon
Simphonium published in Basle in
1537, where one can encounter
Croatian words as well (in particular in its second edition from
1547; information by Mr. Ivan Dubravcic, Delft,
Šimun Kožičić Zadranin (c. 1460-1536)
Kozicic Zadranin (or
Benja), the bishop of Modrus,
was a humanist,
Glagolitic writer and Glagolitic typographer with his printing house in
the city of Rijeka.
He is known for his speech about the
insupportable pressure of the Ottoman Empire
on Croatia to the participants of the Lateran Council in 1513. The same
purpose had his speech De
Corvatiae desolatione (On
Devastated Croatia) held in
presence of the Pope Leon X in 1516. For additional information see here.
1516 speech of Simun Kozicic Zadranin, Bishop of Modrus: De Coruatiae desolatione
Devastated Croatia), published in Latin original in Paris, France, 1517
It is interesting that
Kozicic's 1516 speech, held in Latin, has been translated into French already in 1518,
again in 1560 and 1561, all three times in Paris.
In the French translation the author of the speech is described as "reuerend pere en Dieu leuesque de
Modrusie, ambassadeur deuers sa Sainctete pour le pais de Coruacia"
(reverend father in God from Modrus, emissary in front of His Holiness
from the country of Croatia). It is interesting that his Kožičić's
Latin words pauperes illi nostri are translated as
"noz poures gentz de Coruatie"
(our poor people of Croatia).
Bratislav Lučin: Kožičić na francuskom - 1518. godine!
Ivan Tomko Mrnavić (1580-1637)
A small table containing
twelve Glagolitic and Cyrillic letters
was provided by Ivan Tomko
Mrnavic in his book Nauk
Karstianski (Christian science,
published in Latin and Croatian
languages in left and right columns respectively), Rim, 1708.
Ivan Paštrić (1636-1708)
Ivan Golub: Ivan Paštrić, znanstvenik i književnik (1636.-1708.)
Dragutin Antun Parčić (1832-1902)
D. A. Parčić
Mala enciklopedija hrvatske
Croatia, its History, Culture and Science