Short History of the Cyrillic Alphabet


ISSUE NO. 2 ( 2013/2 )
Ivan G. Iiev


This work describes the history of the Cyrillic alphabet, which is one of the oldest, and one of the most widespread alphabets in the world nowadays, from its creation at the end of the 9th century AD to present-day times. At the beginning, the author discusses the name of the alphabet, its probable creators, and the period it was created in during the First Bulgarian Kingdom, as well as the model for the alphabet. Then he traces the spread of the Cyrillic letters to other countries and regions: Russia, Serbia, Croatia, Romania, the Caucasus, Siberia, Alaska, etc. Particular attention is dedicated to tsar Peter’s orthographic reform in Russia in 1708, its influence over other Slavic and Orthodox peoples, and, at the end, to the withdrawal from the Cyrillic alphabet at the end of the 20th century. In the article there are also notes on Cyrillic hand-writing styles (uncial, semi-uncial, quickscript) and typography. Maps and a list of the languages which have used the alphabet are included, too.

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Other sources

Русские автографы. Образы русского письма
Русские автографы. Образы русского письма. Устав
Русские автографы. Образы русского письма. Полуустав
А. В. Муравьев. Палеография. Сборник снимков с русского письма XI–XVIII вв. М.: Изд-во Московского университета, 1963.
Олег Мацуев, Мария Скопина. О двух техниках древнерусской каллиграфии. Typejournal, 25 января 2019.
Олег Мацуев. Русское письмо: традиция и эксперимент. Typejournal, 21 августа 2018.

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