Are the Cyrillic and Greek alphabets related
The Cyrillic alphabet is a letter font that is still used today by the Slavic languages in Europe and Asia. The Slavic languages form a major branch of the Indo-European languages and are most closely related to the Baltic, whose common predecessor was Ur-Slavic. An example of a Slavic language is Russian, which is used as a mother tongue by around 145 million people. Scripture is much more than just a means of retaining language. It is an instrument of power. This is a fact that can be observed very well in Russia.
- The spread of the Cyrillic script today
Origin of the Cyrillic alphabet
After the fall of the Roman Empire, one direction of Christianity was particularly pronounced in the Eastern Roman part. The Orthodox Church, which is also called the Byzantine Orthodox Church, sees itself as the correct denomination, which is also represented in the word "orthodox". In the second half of the 10th century and after a hundred years of paganism, the Kiev Grand Duke wanted to choose a monotheistic religion for his empire. To do this, he found out about various religions, including Catholic Christianity and Islam. He finally chose Orthodox Christianity and in order to be converted he was baptized in 988. This event is called the Christianization of the Rus or also the baptism of the Rus. How true this legend is, however, is not known. However, it is important to know that the proselytizing of the Orthodox Christians was decisive for the cultural development in the Russian Empire.
- Cyril with his brother, Method
In order for the converted elite to be able to spread the new doctrine of the faith, missionaries were required to translate the Bible from Greek into Slavic. Two missionaries were of particular importance, namely the brothers Kyrill (829–869 AD) and Method (815–885 AD) from Saloniki. Since both could speak both Greek and Slavic, they were ideally suited for this task.
The Cyrillic alphabet was named after Kyrill von Saloniki, who designed the oldest Slavic script that preceded it: the Glagolitic script. This script was developed because the Greek alphabet was only partially suitable for the Slavic languages and because Kyrill wanted to emphasize the cultural independence of the Slavs. Accordingly, the Glagolitic alphabet is a modification of the Greek.
The Cyrillic script, in turn, contains parts from the Glagolitic and Greek alphabet, with most of the letters coming from the Greek. Although it is still debated, it is now believed that the Cyrillic script originated at the court of the Tsars in Bulgaria and was not designed by Cyrill himself.
- The Greek (left) and Russian (right) alphabet in comparison
Development of the Cyrillic alphabet and its consequences
The new alphabet, like all other scripts, went through great changes in the course of its existence. Letters are dropped, replaced or new ones are added. All of this depends on the temporal needs and developments of the language. When Peter the Great carried out a script reform from 1708 to 1710, he adapted the Cyrilliza to the Latin alphabet. Other Slavic-speaking countries such as Bulgaria, Serbia, Ukraine and Belarus further developed the script independently from Russia during the 19th and 20th centuries. In 1918 the Cyrillic script was renewed in Russia. The modernizations were similar to those of the surrounding states.
In the 1920s and 1930s, the then Soviet Union planned to replace non-scripted languages as well as Arabic and Mongolian scripts with new ones. This is nothing new, as Russia had already carried out such writing at the time of the tsars. It is possible to use it to increase one's influence because the affected ethnic groups feel more connected to one another. However, the Cyrillic alphabet was not used for these languages, but the Latin alphabet. At the end of the 1930s, however, the Cyrillic alphabet was still used for writing. The only languages that kept their own scripts were Armenian and Georgian.
A power struggle can be observed in the history of the Cyrillic alphabet. It's a battle between the Cyrillic and the Latin alphabet. After its introduction, the Cyrillic script was changed and simplified to more closely match Latin. In the Soviet Union even Latin was initially preferred for writing, because according to Josef Stalin the Cyrilliza is too closely related to Christianity and Orthodoxy. This does not correspond to his communist ideologies. However, the Latin script is problematic because the Bible has also been translated into Latin and also has a religious connection. Scriptures are often associated with religions. The Cyrillic alphabet mostly stands for Orthodox Christianity, whereas the Latin or Hebrew alphabet stands for Catholic or Reformed Christianity. A modern example of such associations would be the attack on the Westgate shopping center in Nairobi in 2013. In this attack, the Islamist terrorist group Al-Shabaab differentiated Muslims from non-Muslims by showing people Arabic scripts. Those who could not read it were tortured and killed.
Nowadays, more and more states are rejecting the Cyrillic alphabet and in some cases even the Russian language. They adapt more and more to the West. The inhabitants of these countries do not see themselves as part of Russia; instead, their own nationality is more important to them. From this one can conclude that with the fall of the Cyrillitsa Russia is slowly losing power and influence.
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyrillisches_Alphabet, October 5, 2016
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glagolitische_Schrift, October 5, 2016
Oral communication, Mr Prica, October 4th, 2016
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Griechisches_Alphabet, October 5, 2016
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russland, October 5, 2016
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyrill_von_Saloniki, October 5, 2016
http://www.eurasischesmagazin.de/artikel/Lingua-incognita/20100307, October 5, 2016
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schriftreform#Schriftreformen_in_Russland, October 5, 2016
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