Major Exhibition on Glagolitic Script Starts Tonight

By 6 November 2018

After 40 years, Zagreb will again witness a major exhibition on the Glagolitic script, which is the oldest Croatian script. The Croatian Glagolitic exhibition will open tonight at the National and University Library (NSK) in Zagreb. It will stay open until December 15, reports Jutarnji List on November 6, 2018.

There are many interesting things to see, and among them is the largest book ever printed in Croatia – it is intended as a textbook to learn the Glagolitic script, and it will be exhibited in the library lobby. It was printed for this very occasion and its dimensions are 145 x 200 cm, enough to break the record.

The NSK holds the largest inventory of Glagolitic books, and it has launched the website, so it is no surprise that the library has decided to set up such a large exhibition. Preparations lasted for a full year and involved renowned scientists and experts from the fields of literature and language. The areas covered are the theory of Glagolitic origins, geographic areas where it appeared and spread, the selection of some of the most significant manuscripts and print works, and the contemporary application of the script in communication, economy and culture.

“We have decided to round up our promotion of this script, and the exhibition seemed to us as the perfect solution for that purpose,” said Sandi Antonac, the author of the exhibition.

The library lobby will host eight panels of different sizes, two totems, the record-breaking handbook, a plotter and a 3D printer, where visitors can learn how to write letters and print them out. The whole exhibition is adapted to blind and partially sighted people – for this reason, each exhibit is accompanied by a small plate featuring an explanation in the Braille alphabet. In addition, the text of each description is written in the Latin script, in Croatian and English, as well as in the Glagolitic script.

“The oldest Croatian epigraphic monuments and thousands of pages of the most valuable books and documents written in the Glagolitic script, testify to the longevity and the continuous development of Croatian culture. That is why we thought this exhibition was needed,” said Antonac.

The oldest preserved Glagolitic manuscripts stored at the National and University Library in Zagreb are liturgical books, preserved as a whole or in part. In addition, there are also transcriptions of legal texts that show that the Glagolitic script was deeply rooted in Istria and the Croatian Littoral region.

The Glagolitic script was used for other documents as well: collections of sermons, theological manuals, and collections combining spiritual and secular themes. Moreover, the preserved monuments show that the Glagolitic script was sometimes used by ordinary people as well. Particularly interesting are the intricate, often dramatic records from the margins of Glagolitic texts, which writers used to leave us testimonies about the times and the societies in which they lived.

“The Glagolitic script lives today as a brand and through artifacts in culture, sport, society. To people, it is intriguing and mystical, it attracts them, although they do not know much about it. The last book using the script was printed in 1864, so not that long ago. It is important for the Glagolitic script to become part of our education system. Some schools are already working on that, but everybody should learn it,” concluded Antonac.

To read more about Croatian history, click here.

Translated from Jutarnji List (reported by Zrinka Korljan).