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 »  Home  »  History  »  St. Jerome and his importance for Croatians
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St. Jerome and his importance for Croatians
By Nenad N. Bach and Darko Žubrinić | Published  08/1/2020 | History , Education , Culture And Arts | Unrated
Guillaume Postel: Alphabetum Hieronymianum seu Dalmaticum, aut Illiricum



Transit sv. Jerolima, Senj Glagolitic printing house, 1508 (the last pages, with the colophon at the end)
Clophone of the book, informing us that it was printed in 1508 in the town of Senj on Croatian coast.
The name of St. Jerome (EROLIM) is in the middle of the second line:



Marko Marulić (1450-1524), distinguished Croatian Renaissance writer and humanist

According to C. Verdiani, Marko Marulić is the author of the Florence Codex, which contains a biography of St Jerome written in the Croatian language. There he wrote

St Jerome is our Dalmatian, a glory, honour and fame,
and a brilliant crown of the Croatian language.

In Croatian: Jerolim je nass Dalmatin, on je dika, posstenje i slava i svitla kruna hrvatskoga jezika.

Marulić's verses appeared printed in the Glagolitic Script alreday during his lifetime, in Transit of St Jerome (Transit sv. Jerolima), published in the town of Senj in 1508 under the title of Anjelske kriposti, in 144 doubly-rhymed dodecasylabic (ie 12 syllabic) lines. These verses, transcribed into the Glagolitic from the original Croatian text in Latin script, can be found by the end of the book. Many thanks to academician Anica Nazor for this information (2007). Here is a part of describing wisdom of St Jerome, see [Bratulic, Il poeta Marco Marulić e la tradizione glagolitica in Croazia, p 232]:

Bog razum skupi u njem tr izvrstnu mudrost,
Sveta Pisma po njem da prosine svitlost,
Prorokov otajna, Kristove pritači
Nam su sad nahajna, jer je on stlmači.
Vsu knjigu latinsku i grčku umiše
I ošće ijudejsku...

Older Croatian Glagolitic Transits of St Jerome have been studied by [Štefanić].



A famous Croatian Renassance writer Petar Zoranic (1508-1569) born in the city of Zadar, and known for his patriotic novel Planine (The Mountains), has his roots in Lika. His ancestors were the noble family Tetačić from Lika, and when the Ottomans attacked Nin at the end of the 15th century, the family moved to the fortified town of Zadar. Zoranic returned to Nin when the Ottoman attacks lessened. He was born in Zadar to his parents, father Ivan and mother Elizabeta Medulla. In Planine he explicitely mentions the Glagolitic Script: "...i da bi me tumačenje blaženoga Hieronima ne uvižbalo, s prirokom bih pisal, boju se" ("da nisam uvježban u pismu sv. Jeronima, bojim se da bih teško pisao", i.e., "if I were not trained in the script of blessed St. Jerome, I am afraid that I would not have been able to write").


Title page of the book of Šimun Kožičić Zadranin (bishop of Modruš), printed in Croatian Glagolitic Script
in 1531 in the city of Rijeka. The drawing represents St. Jerome with his lion.
The title of the book is Knižice od žitija rimskih arhijerejov i cesarov
(Booklet on the Lives of Roman Popes and Emperors).


Title page of Misal hruaski (Croatian Missal) by Šimun Kožičić Zadranin, printed in 1531 in the city of Rijeka (nearly 500 pp).
Here as well, the drawing represents St. Jerome with his lion.
... : na Božju hvalu i hr-
vackoga jezika prosvešćenie.
(... : to the grace of God and for educating Croatian language)

Renowned French polyhistorian and encyclopaedist Guillaume Postel included a table of Croatian Glagolitic Script (which he calls Alphabetum Hieronymianum seu Dalmaticum, aut Illiricum) in his book Linguarum duodecim characteribus differentium alphabetum ([pdf] at Bibl. Nationale, Paris) published in 1538. According to Eduard Hercigonja, this represents the first mention of Croatian Glagolitic in West-European printed literature. Here is Postel's Glagolitic table, [pdf], or see below:

As we can see on the top, the Croatian Glagolitic Script is called
Alphabetum Hyeronimianum seu Dalmaticum, aut Illiricum.

Note also a mistake in Postel's initial order of Croatian glagolitic letters:
instead of AZ VIDI BUKI, there should be AZ BUKI VIDI.

In 1545, in Rome, an Italian encyclopaedist Giovanni Batista Palatino presented the Glagolitic Script in the second edition of his book Libro Nouvo (Libro nel qual s'insegna a scrivere ogni sorte lettera, antica et moderna...), among 29 scripts that he designed for printing. He claims the Glagolitic (which he calls Buchuizza - bukvica) to be created by St. Jerome, and "different from all other existing Scripts".

Libro Nouvo, G.B. Palatino, 1545, Rome, table of Glagolitic script
Here, the Croatian Glagolitic Script is called
Alphabetum Illyricum Hieronymi.

Gianbatista Palatino also mentions that there are numerous breviaries and missals written in the glagolitic, including the Glagolitic Bible (...et anco la Biblia). In the book a Croatian cyrillic is also exhibited, with the inscription on the tombstone of the Bosnian Queen Katarina (15th century).




In 1591 an Italian scholar Angelo Rocca (founder of Angelica Library at Rome) wrote a book where Glagolitic Script is included (A. Rocca: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana a Sixto V... translata, Roma, 1591: Alfabeto glagolitico).

A. Rocca, Alfabeto glagolitico, Rome, 1591

In the description on the right-hand page, it is mentioned that the Croatian Glagolitic Script was created by St. Jerome. On the second page (p. 161) there are several mistakes in the natural order of letters (between UK and JER: should be UK FRT HIR OT ŠĆA CI ČRV ŠA JER).



Claude Duret, French scholar, is the author of the book ThrĂŠsor de l'histoire des langues de cest Univers (1078 pp), published in 1619, which contains two tables of Croatian glagolitic, and we show one of them (on p. 740):



The second table is here (on p. 739): [JPG]. In his book he cited Giovanni Batista Palatino's description of the Glagolitic, and trenslated it into French (see [JPG]): "... & ont en icelui leurs Messels, Breuiares, & Offices de la nostre Dame, & encor la Bible". On p. 744 one can find Lord's Prayer in Croatian (see [JPG]). See [Kempgen].



The French Encyclopedie by Diderot and D'Alambert from 1751 has a table and a short description of the Glagolitic script, called Ilyrien ou Hieronimite (in section Alphabets anciens). This enabled wide European cultural circles to be better acquainted with this exotic script (...Les caracteres illyriens sont singuliers et on y remarque tres peu de rapport avec les alphabets que nous connaissons...). For more information see [Hercigonja: Na temeljima hrvatske knjizevne kulture, pp 49-56]. The photo of the Croatian glagolitic table in the French Encyclopedia is here:

Source [Hercigonja: Na temeljima hrvatske književne kulture, pp. 49-56]

More infromation




Pierre Simon Fournier, Manuel typographique, utile aux gens de lettres, & a ceux qui exercent les differentes parties de l'Art de l'Imprimerie. Par Fournier, le jeune. Tome II. A Paris, Chez l'Auteur, rue des Postes. J. Barbou, rue des Mathurins. MDCCLXVI. [1766].


Paris, 1766: Croatian Glagolitic Script is called Illyric Alphabet, or the Alphabet of St. Jerome.

Of course, in numerous other sources, the Alphabet is called simpy Croatian Script (Alphabetum Croaticum).




Croatian Glagolitic documents and books are scattered throughout the world, in as many as 28 countries. Some important items are kept in Russia, in Moscow and Sankt Peterburg.
The Library of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Sankt Peterburg (I.I. Sreznjevski collection) contains the following:

  • 3 leaves of Croatian glagolitic breviary from 14/15th ct.;
  • manuscript from 15th ct. - Collection of teachings of St. Jerome (73 pp.);
  • Department of Manuscripts: Catholic church prayers - leaf of a Croatian glagolitic missal from the end of 15th ct.;
  • 15 titles of printed Croatian glagolitic books in 19 copies.

Lit. S.O. Vjalova, Glagoličeskie pamjatniki v hraniliščah Rossii, Slovo, sv. 54-55 (2004-5), Zagreb 2006, 171-194


In 1868, upon the initiataive of the then Zagreb archbishop Josip Haulik, an important
Croatian Literary Society of St. Jerome (Hrvatsko književno društvo sv. Jeronima) has been founded,
existing to these days.


The church of St. Jerome in the town of Hum in Istrian peninsula.


Humski triptih s glagoljčkim zapisom (Exhibition of Glagolitic Script, Rijeka)

V Hrstovo ime, amen. Let rojstva togoje 1529., miseca sktebra dan 20., bi svršena ta figura v Humi na slavu Gospodinu Bogu i svetomu Jerolimu po meštri Antoni s Padove (danas Kašćerga). I v to vrime biše v Humi plovan, gospodin Ivan Pečanić rodom iz ...ate. I v to let pokriše crikav sv. Jerolima i učiniše(?) figuru na antar svetoga Antona... i mali zvon postaviše i veće dobra stvoriše zač bihu v Humi muži dobri Juraj Gržinić i njega podžup Grgur Bakšić i ostali dobri muži. I v to vrime car Selimbeg zauja ugrsku zemlju i biše po vsemu svitu rat, nevera, neljubav, himba, užura. I to zapisah ja, pop Andrij Prašić rodom iz Bužan.


A detail from the Hum triptich, with a text written in nice glagolitic quickscript from 1529. The Hum Triptich was created in 1529 and originally placed in the church of Sv. Jeronim in Hum, now in Pazin. The triptich was raised to the glory of God and St. Jerome. The name of Erolim is the second last in the first line.


Church of St. Jerome in the city of Rijeka

Church of Sveti Jeronim in Štrigova in Međimurje on the north of Croatia

Franciscan Glagolitic monastery of St. Jerome in Martinšćica on the island of Cres, from 1525.
Glagolitic franciscans are on the island of Cres since 1479.



Olive grove near the Monastery of St. Jerome in Martinšćica on the island of Cres.


Croatian names based on the name of St. Jerome:
Jere, Jerko, Jerolim, Jeronim
surnames:
Jere, Jerko, Jerkov, Jerković, Jerolimov, Jeromić,


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