Historical View of the Languages and Literature of the Slavic eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 454 pages of information about Historical View of the Languages and Literature of the Slavic.

SECTION III.

LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE OF THE VINDES OR SLOVENZI.

The Slavic inhabitants of the Austrian provinces Carinthia, Carniola, and Stiria, extending from thence in scattered villages into Udine once the territory of Venice, and of the Hungarian counties Eisenburg and Szala, about a million in number, call themselves Slovenzi.  By foreign writers they have generally been called Windes or Vindes; a name, however, less definite and less correct; inasmuch as the term Vindes or Vendes served in ancient times among the Germans as a general name for all Slavic nations.  The Slavic settlements in Carniola took place at a very early period, certainly not later than the fifth century.  In the course of the following centuries their number was increased by new emigrations from the southeast; and they extended themselves into the lower parts of Stiria and Carinthia, and the western counties of Hungary.[34]

In regard to the language of this people, it was formerly considered a matter of certainty, that it had never been a written language before the time of the Reformation.  But the investigations of modern philologians have proved, on the contrary, that this portion of the Slavic race was earlier acquainted with the art of writing than were any of the other branches; probably even before the time of Cyril; and since the discovery of several very old manuscripts in the library of Munich, every doubt of this fact has been silenced.  According to Kopitar,[35] the true home of the Old Slavic Church language is to be found among the Pannonian and Carinthian Slavi; and it was for them that the Old Slavonic Bible was translated.  The liturgy of Methodius was, however, soon supplanted by the Latin worship; which at any rate must have been earlier established in this part of the country; since Christianity appears to have been introduced about the middle of the eighth century, by German priests.

Be this as it may, the definite history of the language begins only with the Reformation; and it is principally to the exertions of one distinguished individual, that it owes its introduction into the circle of literature.  There is nothing more pleasing in the moral world, than to behold the whole life of a man devoted to one great cause, his thoughts all bent on one great object, his exertions all aiming at one great purpose; and so much the more, if that object has respect to the holiest interests of mankind.  Such was the case with the primus Truber, who may be called the apostle of the Vindes and Croatians.  The direct results of his labours long ago perished in the lapse of time; but this does not render them less deserving, although it diminishes his fame.  Truber, born A.D. 1508, canon and curate at several places in Carniola and Carinthia, seems to have been early in life impressed with the truth of the new doctrines of the Reformation. 

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Historical View of the Languages and Literature of the Slavic from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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