Literature of the Catholic Slavonians.
The Slavonians of the Greek Church make use of the Cyrillic letters; and their productions belong therefore to that division of Servian literature. We have seen above, that the catholic Slavonians also neither speak nor write a different dialect; but that only their mode of writing, the strange combination according to which they express the sounds of the same language, separates them from the Dalmatian Servians. To enter into the details of these varieties would be of little interest for our readers.
The light of the Reformation penetrated at an early day into Slavonia, and gave birth to a kind of limited theological or ecclesiastical national literature. But the catholic clergy soon succeeded in extinguishing it; and in the same proportion, the Latin language continued to supersede the dialect of the people. In more modern days, the Latin has been preferred by nearly all catholic Slavonic writers; and their own literature is now almost exclusively limited to works for religious instruction, catechisms, prayer-books, etc.
But although their language was thus relinquished in a practical point of view, it remained nevertheless the object of investigation to some of their profoundest scholars. Thus the Latin works of Prof. Katancsich, are almost all of them devoted to Slavic philological inquiries, etc, The translation of the Bible mentioned above, was made by the same learned individual.
LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE OF THE CROATIANS.
Schaffarik in his history of the Slavic Language and Literature enumerates, on Dobrovsky’s authority, the Croatians or Croats as a distinct branch of the great Eastern Slavic stem. Later researches however have identified them, to a certain extent, with the other Southern Slavi or Illyrico-Servians, with whose language theirs is essentially the same. The recent political events, and their struggles against the Hungarians, have made the Croats in our days again the subject of some interest and curiosity, There is however such a confusion in the early history of this race; such a change of names, boundaries, and constitutions; such a contradiction between the accounts of ancient writers and the experience of modern times; that it would require a long historical exposition to give to the reader a clear view of their relation to each other and to their Slavic brethren. For such an exposition there is no room in these pages.
The subject becomes far simpler if we consider the Croats only in respect to their language, as it prevails among them at the present time. Here they do not appear as a distinct race; but still are divided into two portions. One, in Military Croatia, comprising the military districts of Carlstadt and Varasdin, and also the Banal Border, speak the Dalmatian-Servian dialect with very trifling variations; the other, in Provincial Croatia, i.e. the provincial counties of Agram, Kreutz, and Varasdin, approach nearer to the Slovenzi or Vindes, whose language will be the subject of our next section. The dialect of this latter division of the Croatians forms indeed, in a certain measure, the transition and connecting link between the Dalmatian-Servian and the Vindish languages.