The Croatian language has a rich and varied history, reflecting the diverse cultural influences that have shaped Croatian culture over the centuries. One interesting aspect of the Croatian language is Glagoljica, an alphabet that was used by the Croats in the Middle Ages and which is considered to be the oldest Slavic alphabet.

The History of Glagoljica

The Croatian monk St. Jerome invented Glagoljica, which means “glagolitic” in Croatian, in the 9th century. This script holds the distinction of being the oldest known Slavic alphabet and was utilized by the Croats for writing religious texts and documents. Glagoljica enjoyed widespread usage in Croatia until the 12th century when it gradually yielded to the Latin alphabet.

One of the most renowned artifacts associated with the “glagolitic” language is the Bašćanska ploča. Dating back to around 1100 AD, this monument represents one of the earliest instances featuring an inscription in the Croatian recension of the Church Slavonic language. Discovered near the village of Baška on the Croatian island of Krk in 1851, it remains an invaluable historical find.

oldest Slavic alphabet

The Role of Glagoljica in Croatian Culture

Glagoljica, despite no longer being utilized as a writing system, holds a significant position in Croatian cultural heritage. Some parts of Croatia still perform the Glagolitic Mass, a religious service written in Glagoljica, as a cherished cultural tradition. Moreover, Croatian art and literature frequently incorporate Glagoljica, establishing it as a vital symbol of Croatian cultural identity.

oldest Slavic alphabet

The Croatian Language Today

Over the centuries, the Croatian language has experienced numerous transformations, and it currently employs the Latin alphabet for its written form. The majority of the population in Croatia speaks Croatian, which serves as the official language. Croatian, a South Slavic language, exhibits close connections to Serbian and Slovenian, among other Slavic languages.

In essence, the Croatian language actively contributes to Croatian culture and identity. One intriguing facet of Croatian language and culture is the ancient Glagoljica alphabet, recognized as the oldest Slavic alphabet. It represents just one captivating element among the array of fascinating aspects within Croatian language and culture.

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