The Budapest Glagolitic Fragments


The Budapest Glagolitic Fragments (Budapest, Országos Széchényi Könyvtár, MS Duod. Eccl. Slav. 2) are two fragments from a parchment manuscript containing nine lines of text from the Old Slavonic translation of the Life of St Symeon Stylites written in round glagolitic script; they are almost certainly the oldest witness to the Slavonic version. The fragments have been edited twice in paper editions, by Király in 1955 and by Reinhart and Turilov in 1989-90. The object of the present study is therefore not primarily to publish the text as such, but rather to demonstrate the potential of the new technology for the encoding, edition and publication of glagolitic texts, and to encourage its use for this purpose. Nevertheless, some new contributions to the study of the fragments are made in the commentary to the edition.

The original edition was encoded in SGML in 2001. This was followed by an XML version two years later, reflecting the advances in technology made over that period. The inclusion of glagolitic in Unicode 4.1, published on Thursday, 31 March 2005, now at last makes possible not only a revised, Unicode-compliant XML edition, but also an HTML encoding.

The edition thus now exists in four versions, all available on this site:

The last two should now be regarded as obsolete, but they are retained here for their historical interest, providing as they do a record of the process of encoding glagolitic on the web.

Before glagolitic was included in Unicode, encodings were of necessity font-specific. This is no longer the case, and the new edition will be displayed correctly with any Unicode-conformant font that includes the glagolitic characters. If there is no font with the requisite range of characters installed on the system, the browser will probably display question marks or something similar instead of glagolitic. This can be cured by installing a font which does have them. Some such fonts are available on our resources page.

The XML edition of the Fragments was encoded in conformity with the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI); the HTML version was generated from the XML version by means of XSLT and the content slightly edited to allow for the differences between the two systems. Using the TEI to encode a nine-line document may seem like a case of using a sledgehammer to crack a walnut, but nevertheless using a mark-up scheme which has become standard for many users has distinct advantages, and it also proves that it can be done (and is thus also feasible for more substantial texts). The file uses the TEI P4 DTD; no attempt was made to implement P5, which was still under development at the time when the text was encoded. It should furthermore be noted that in a document that uses only Unicode characters, writing system is independent of language, and, consequently, the modifications to the TEI DTD needed to display glagolitic and cyrillic correctly in earlier versions are no longer required.

Second edition, 2005-04-12
Updated for Unicode 5.1, 2008-04-09
© 2005, 2008, 2013 R.M. Cleminson