The Budapest Glagolitic Fragments

Text: Országos Széchényi Könyvtár, MS Duod. Eccl. Slav. 2

1   ⰰⰴⱏⰻⰽⱁ  ⱍ̅ⰽ҃ⱏ  ⱄⰻ  ⱈⱁⱋⰵⱅⱏ  ⱃⰰⰸ[ⱁⱃⰻⱅ]
2   ⰻ  ⰸⰰⰽⱁⱀⱏ  ⰿⰰⱀⰰⱄⱅⱏⰻⱃⱏⱄⰽⰻ:  [ⰻⰶⰵ]  
3   ⱅⱏⰻ  ⱆⱄⱅⰰⰲⰻ჻  Ⱃⰵⱍⰵ  ⰶⰵ  ⰻⰳⱆⰿ[ⱏ] [ⱀⱏ]  
4   ⰽⰰⰽⱁ  ⱈⱁⱋⰵⱅⱏ  ⱃⰰⰸⱁⱃⰻⱅⰻ  ⰸⰰⰽ[ⱁⱀⱏ]  

5   [.] [ⰰ] ⰵⱄⱅⱏ·  ⱍⱃⱏⰲⰻ⁖  ⰻ  [ⰿ] [..........]
6   [..] ⰿⱏ  ⱀⰵ  ⰿⱁⰶⰵⰿⱏ  ⱄⰵⰳⱁ  ⱅⱃⱏⱂⱑⱅ[ⰻ]  
7   [ⰴⰰ]   ⰾⱆⰱⱁ  ⱄⰵⰳⱁ  ⰻⰿⱑⰻ  ⱄⱏⰴⱑ჻  ⰰ  ⰿⱏⰻ  ⱁ
8   [ⱅⰻ] ⰴⰵⰿⱏ:  ⰾⱆⰱⱁ  ⱄⰵⰳⱁ  ⱂⱆⱄⱅⰻ:  ⰴⰰ  ⱁⱅ
9   [ⰻⰴ] ⰵⱅⱏ  ⰻⰶⰵ  ⰵⱄⱅⱏ  ⱂⱃⰻⱎⱏⰾⱏ:  ⱄ[ⰵ]  


This commentary is based on a paper given at the International Conference Vatroslav Jagić and Slavonic Philology in Sofia on August 19-21, 1999. It has benefited greatly from the ensuing discussion at the conference, particularly from comments by Klimentina Ivanova and Andrej Bojadžiev. Subsequently I was able to examine the fragments together with Elissaveta Moussakova, whose advice was no less valuable.

The Manuscript

MS Duod. Eccl. Slav. 2 in the Hungarian National Library (Országos Széchényi Könyvtár). It consists of two fragments of parchment, measuring 52mm × 90mm and 85mm × 46mm respectively, which were contiguous parts of the same page of a book, so that the text can be read horizontally from one to the other without a break. The recto bears four lines of text, and the verso five lines, slightly less well preserved, written in round glagolitic. The text is a fragment of the Slavonic version of the Life of St Symeon Stylites. The manuscript has been published twice, by Péter Király in 1955[1] and by J.Reinhart and A.A.Turilov in 1990,[2] in both cases with valuable commentaries.

Although the fragments did not officially enter the library until 1932, as the gift of an anonymous donor, Király’s researches indicate with a high degree of probability that they were discovered in 1876 by Vilmos Fraknói in the binding of a copy of the Croat translation of Werbőczy’s Tripartitum, published in Nedelišće in 1574[3] which had been acquired in Zagreb for the celebrated collector Miklós Jankovich.[4]Certainly they were examined the following year by Miklosich, Ivan Kukuljević and Ivan Bojničić.[5] Their transcriptions, and a small amount of correspondence relating to them, are preserved with the fragments under the same shelfmark in the library. Also accompanying them are three other parchment fragments of similar dimensions extracted from the same binding. They bear traces of text in square glagolitic, now so badly faded as to be quite illegible.[6]

Principles of edition

In the present edition of the fragments, editorial intervention has been kept to a minimum in rendering the text, and confined to supplying letters that have been lost but can be unambiguously reconstructed from the context and by comparison with other manuscripts. These editorial additions are indicated by square brackets. Word-division is also editorial: the manuscript itself is written in scriptio continua.

It is also a matter of editorial judgment to use only the back jer. In practice the letters and can be extremely difficult to distinguish, but in this manuscript, in those cases (the majority) where the letter is completely unambiguous, it is certainly . In ⱂⱃⰻⱎⱏⰾⱏ (the first jer) and ⱍⱃⱏⰲⰻ, where one might expect a front jer, it is not clear and could certainly be read as ; however this is also true of ⱈⱁⱋⰵⱅⱏ (recto l.1) and ⱁⱅ|[ⰻⰴ]ⰵⱅⱏ, where one would expect a back jer. The only safe conclusion is that the manuscript has only one jer: there is no evidence that the scribe intended to distinguish between the two letters, and even if he did, he was using them interchangeably.

Palaeographical and codicological features

The study of fragmentary manuscripts is characterised by a peculiar set of problems and limitations resulting chiefly from their small size and imperfect condition. This is further compounded in the case of round glagolitic manuscripts by the lack of any manuscripts written in this script which contain any explicit reference to the place or date of their production. Palaeographical study in its classical sense is thus impossible. Furthermore, since the geographical origin of the various manuscripts is also debatable, it is impossible to establish any evolutionary relationship between the hands represented in them: differences are as likely to represent separate local traditions as developments within a tradition. The most that can safely be said is that while in Croatia round glagolitic developed into the square form of the alphabet associated with that area, round forms remained in sporadic use in Bulgaria into the fourteenth century.[7] The Budapest fragments do not show any of the distinctive features indicating the evolution towards square glagolitic that can be seen, for example, in the Mihanović Fragments or the Vienna Leaf.

The codicology of the fragments is largely a matter of reconstruction. It is clear that they were once the bottom of a leaf. The missing text between the end of the recto and the first surviving word of the verso amounts to about 210 characters, which would be eight lines. This means that the manuscript would originally have had twelve lines per page, and the vertical measurement of the written area would have been about 115mm. The lower margin, normally the widest, appears to be about 40mm; allowing for a somewhat smaller upper margin, we arrive at a hypothetical vertical measurement for the original manuscript of about 185mm. Judging by the surviving outer margin and allowing for the letters that have been lost at the inner edge of the text, we can similarly posit a horizontal dimension of about 155mm. These hypothetical dimensions turn out to be almost exactly the same as those of the Ohrid Gospels (185mm × 160mm), with which the fragments also have some palaeographical affinity.[8]

The language of the text

Linguistically, it is the small amount of material surviving in the fragments which is again the greatest obstacle to analysis. There are, for example, no words in which nasal vowels might have been expected to appear, and thus one of the prime diagnostic features for Old Church Slavonic texts is completely absent. For the rest, one has to remember that one is dealing with a very small sample of a text, and that though it is possible to draw some conclusions from it, a study of the complete manuscript, if that had been possible, might have led to rather different results. As it is, one has no choice but to proceed on the artificial assumption that this fragment is representative of the whole text.

The lack of distinction between the jers has already been mentioned; it should also be noted that in no case is a jer omitted, nor is a strong jer (of which there is one example, ⱂⱃⰻⱎⱏⰾⱏ) replaced by another vowel. The ending of ⰿⰰⱀⰰⱄⱅⱏⰻⱃⱏⱄⰽⰻ, Asg.m., suggests a dialect in which [i] and [y] have coalesced. This process of course takes place throughout the South Slavonic area, but earlier in the West than the East: it is already beginning to appear in the Codex Supraslensis, which is regarded as being of West Bulgarian origin;[9] it can be posited in Serbian and North Macedonian dialects as early as the eleventh century,[10] and was complete in Bulgarian by the thirteenth.[11] The apparent lack of distinction between the jers would similarly reflect the situation in either Serbo-Croatian or North Macedonian dialects. The form ⰾⱆⰱⱁ, which occurs twice, attests a failure to distinguish between [ľ] and [l] which is widespread in early Serbian cyrillic documents and is also found in a more limited range of early Middle Bulgarian manuscripts.[12] This particular form also occurs once in the Codex Supraslensis.[13] More informative is the spelling ⱄⱏⰴⱑ with a jat’, which is utterly uncharacteristic of Bulgarian manuscripts, but general in texts from the Serbo-Croat linguistic area from the earliest period. An even more telling reading pointing to a similar conclusion unfortunately has to rely on a damaged portion of the text. Only the first four letters of the word ⰻⰳⱆⰿ[ⱏⱀⱏ] are intact; the last two are lost, but what remains of the fifth certainly appears to be the left hand stroke of a jer, and does not resemble part of the letter ⰵ as it appears in this manuscript. The reconstructed form is unquestionably characteristic of Serbian and Croatian sources.[14]

The contents of the fragments

The text of which these fragments are a part has been identified by A.A.Turilov as the Life of St Symeon Stylites by Antony (BHG1682).[15] The Greek text of this life was published in 1908 by Hans Lietzmann.[16] The extant Greek witnesses are too diverse to allow the construction of a stemma; however, one of variants of the Greek text published by Lietzmann, that from Cod. Vat. Gr. 797, a menaion for the first quarter of the year from the tenth or eleventh centuries (Lietzmann’s “MS X” ), is sufficiently close to the Slavonic version to leave no doubt that the Slavonic archetype was translated from a Greek manuscript containing a text very similar indeed to this one.

Reinhart and Turilov have collated the text of the fragments with seven other manuscripts of the Slavonic version.[17] They conclude that the Budapest Fragments must be relatively close to the Slavonic archetype, but nevertheless contain two readings which are not present in the other manuscripts, and must represent deviations from it. These are ⰻⰶⰵ, l.9, as against ѿнюдоуже in the other manuscripts (ὃθεν: Reinhart and Turilov posit иде or идеже in the archetype), and the reading of the first two lines of the verso (ll.5-6), for which they offer no suggestions. This latter is problematic, being obscured by a lacuna. The reading ⰻ [ⰿ...|...]ⰿⱏ ⱀⰵ ⰿⱁⰶⰵⰿⱏ corresponds to и мꙑ не можемъ in the other manuscripts (ἡμεῖς οὐ δυνάμεθα). It is possible that there was a dittography – repetition of ⱀⰵ ⰿⱁⰶⰵⰿⱏ, but this would supply only eight of the missing characters, which appear to number about twelve. The manuscript is remarkably consistent, over its admittedly short length, in the number of characters per line, and so this hypothesis does not wholly remove the difficulty.

The origin of the manuscript

The indications from the above evidence are summarised by Josef Kurz in his review of Király’s original publication[18]: “Celkom bych tedy spojoval náš zlomek s nejstaršími památkami redakce srbskocharvátskohlaholské, památkami to, které vznikaly v stol. 12. a 13. v zemích od Makedonie k severu.” In spite of this, later commentators have tended to assume a Croat origin for the fragments, apparently for no better reason than the strong association between glagolitic and Croatia, though there is an occasional misplaced appeal to the authority of Josip Hamm,[19] who in fact makes no positive assertion of a Croat origin for the manuscript, but confines himself to demonstrating that it might have been written within the Croat area, adding the warning that “s ubiciranjem samo na osnovi paleografskih elemenata treba biti vrlo oprezan.” He is certainly right, and more definite conclusions cannot be drawn from the hand or language of the fragments. The text, however, though it cannot be firmly localised either, may have some bearing on the question. It was certainly translated directly from the Greek, and not through the intermediary of a Latin version,[20] and therefore presumably in an Eastern-rite milieu. Symeon was a popular saint in the East, and given additional prominence by being commemorated on the first day of the year. The ornamentation of early lectionaries and evangelistaries indicates that his feast was one of those regarded as particularly important.[21] His life is well-known in the cyrillic manuscript tradition. In the West, by contrast, where his feast day is January 5th, he was relatively obscure, and his feast is not noted in any of the early Croatian calendars that have been consulted.[22] The life is notably absent from the histories of mediaeval Croatian literature, which do not indicate any other manuscript which would attest that this text is part of the Croatian literary tradition, and there is no mention of any text referring to him (apart from the Budapest Fragments) in the list of sources given in the first fascicle of the Rječnik crkvenoslavenskoga jezika hrvatske redakcije, Zagreb, 1991- . The balance of probability, therefore, favours not a Latin-rite, but an Eastern-rite origin for the fragments; and while the evidence does not allow us positively to deny that the fragments originated in Croatia, it certainly does not justify the unqualified description of them as Croatian that we find in most references to them.

The fragments are, strictly, impossible to date. Király, Hamm and Reinhart and Turilov all date them to the eleventh or twelfth centuries; the Prague dictionary (p.lxix) to the twelfth; and Kurz to the twelfth or thirteenth. This is not an unreasonable range. Linguistically they are later than the classical Old Church Slavonic period, but since there is no reason to suppose that the rest of the original manuscript used any other script, they must belong to a time when entire manuscripts were still being written in round glagolitic. More than this it is hard to say.

[n1]   Király Péter, “Das Budapester glagolitische Fragment”, Studia Slavica I/4 (1955), 313-332. This article includes a monochrome photographic reproduction of the fragments. The verso has also been reproduced in colour (slightly enlarged and lightened) in the catalogue Discovering the Glagolitic Script of Croatia: Exhibition in Trinity College Library (Long Room), Zagreb, 2000, 36.

[n2]   Johannes Reinhart, Anatolij Arkad’evič Turilov, “Будапештский глаголический отрывок: древнейший славянский список Жития Симеона Столпника ”, Slovo 39-40 (1989-1990), 37-44.

[n3]   Decretvm koteroga ie Verbewczi Istvan diachki popisal [...] Od Ivanvssa Pergossicha na slouienski iezik obernien, V Nedelischu, 1574 (RMK II 136, RMNy 354). This is, incidentally, the oldest kajkavian secular printed book.

[n4]   For Jankovich and his collection, see Berlász J., “Jankovich Miklós könyvtári gjűteményeinek kialakulása és sorsa ”, Az Országos Széchényi Könyvtár Évkönyve 1970-1971, Budapest, 1973, 109-73.

[n5]   Péter Király, “K otázke cyrilometodejských tradícií v Uhorsku: otázka hlaholských pamiatok ”, Slovo 21 (1971), 291-300.

[n6]   Cf. Botos Imre, Magyarországi glagolita emlékek   [unpublished candidate’s dissertation, Budapest, 1987], 70-73; he has been able to reconstruct only a few letters and fragmentary words.

[n7]   See, for example, the occasional use of round glagolitic in the Bitolja Triodion, a manuscript dated to the end of the twelfth century (Й.Иванов, Български старини из Македония, София, 1970, 446-467). A very late example, from the time of Tsar John Alexander, is found in Zographou MS II.д.5, f.36 (ibid., p.237).

[n8]   For a description of the Ohrid Gospels, with bibliography, see Сводный каталог славяно-русских рукописных книг, хранящихся в СССР: ХІ-ХІІІ вв., Москва, 1984, №13.

[n9]   Й.Заимов, М.Капалдо, Супраслски или Ретков сборник, София, 1982, 6.

[n10]   Б.Конески, Историја на македонскиот јазик, Скопје, 1965, 34.

[n11]   К.Мирчев, Историческа граматика на българския език, София, 1955, 83.

[n12]   For a series of examples, see Павле Ивић, Вера Јерковић, Правопис спрскохрватских ћирилских повеља и писама XII и XIII века, Нови Сад, 1981, 47-53, and for the Bulgarian material,Андрей Бояджиев, “ Житието на св. Кондрат - първоначалната история на неговия славянски текст и развитието на старобългарската правописна система с голям ер ”, Кирило-Методиевски студии   кн.10 (1995), 46-81, and in particular p.55.

[n13]   Slovník jazyka staroslověnského, Prague, 1958-96, s.v. любо¹. The form любо is normal for this manuscript: the form лоубо is thus a deviation from the norm, and may possibly reflect the language of the scribe of the manuscript, or, since the language of the Codex Supraslensis is not entirely uniform, of the scribe of one of its sources. While the failure to distinguish лю and лоу in early Serbian documents is purely orthographical and this appears to be true for the majority of the Bulgarian material, it is not inconceivable that it may have a phonological basis in the Codex Supraslensis, as the distinction between [l] and [lj] was completely eliminated at a comparatively early stage in the Prilep and Veles dialects of Macedonian. See Blaže Koneski, A historical phonology of the Macedonian language, translated by V.A.Friedman, 1983, 50.

[n14]   See Max Vasmer, Die griechischen Lehnwörter im Serbo-Kroatischen, Berlin, 1944, 18, 65.

[n15]   Reinhard & Turilov (n.2), p.38.

[n16]   Das Leben des heiligen Symeon Stylites [...], bearbeitet von Hans Lietzmann, Leipzig, 1908 (Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur, 32/4).

[n17]   Reinhard & Turilov (n.2), pp.41-42. While they do not give absolutely every variant (omitting, for example, оу себе in MS НБКМ 300 for ⱄⱏⰴⱑ, l.7), there is no reason to doubt their conclusions.

[n18]   Slavia 26 (1957), 410-12.

[n19]   E.g. Reinhard & Turilov (n.2), p.38, citing Hamm’s review of Király (n.1) in Slovo 6-8 (1957), 377-79.

[n20]   The Latin version (BHL7956, printed in Lietzmann (n.14), pp.21-78) is clearly derived from a textologically different Greek original, while the relevant passage in the other early Latin version (BHL7957, printed in PL 73, pp.325-34) is nothing like the Slavonic text.

[n21]   Елисавета Мусакова, “Паметите на светците в българските изборни евангелия”, Проблеми на изкуството 33 (2000), 23-28.

[n22]   Specifically, Bodl. MS Canon. lit. 373, ff.107-108v; Bodl. MS Canon. lit. 349, ff.150-154; HAZU III c.12 (published in J.Vajs, Psalterium croato-glagoliticum, Pragae, mcmxvi, pp.85-90 (third pagination)); the Hrvoje Missal (ed. Jagić, 1891); the 1483 printed Missal (repr. Zagreb, 1971); the Second Novi Breviary, the calendar of which has received a very detailed study by M.Pantelić, “Kalendar II Novljanskog brevijara iz 1495. god”, Slovo 29 (1979), 31-79). This is a fairly representative selection of early Croatian calendars, and it would seem reasonable to expect at least one of them to note a saint if he enjoyed a significant cult in the area.

First HTML edition, 2005-04-12
© 2005 R.M. Cleminson