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wilds, and only by an abuse of terms could Moravia be described as Christian. The Moravian Slavs chafed under a dependency which their own divisions had helped to bring about, and we have seen how Rostislav, a prince who owed his ascendancy in the land to the support of King Lewis the German, sent an embassy to Constantinople.
Ecclesiastical tradition affirms that his envoys, who arrived at the court of Michael III. in A.D. 862-863, requested the Emperor to send to Moravia a teacher who knew Slavonic and could instruct the inhabitants in the Christian faith and explain the Scriptures. “Christian teachers have been amongst
“ us already, from Italy, Greece, and Germany, teaching us contradictory doctrines; but we are simple Slavs and we want some one to teach us the whole truth.” 3
We may confidently reject this account of the matter as a legend. The truth probably is that, when the Moravian embassy arrived, the Patriarch Photius saw an opportunity of extending the influence of the Greek Church among the Slavs, and incidentally of counteracting, in a new field, the forms of Western Christianity which he so ardently detested. The suggestion may have come to him from his friend Constantine the Philosopher, a man of Thessalonica, who had a remarkable gift for languages and was a master of that Slavonic tongue which was spoken in the regions around his birthplace.
There is not the least reason to suppose that the family of Constantine (more familiarly known under his later name of Cyril) was not Greek. His elder brother, Methodius, had entered the public service, had held the post of governor of some region where there were Slavonic settlements, and had then retired to a monastery on Mt. Olympus in Bithynia. Constantine (born about A.D. 827) had been devoted to
* At the Synod of Mainz in A.D. 852 above, p. 383, for its real object. we hear of the “rudis adhuc chri. 3 Vit. Meth. c. 5; cp. Translatio, stianitas gentis Marahensium : M.G.H. c. 7, “qui ad legendum eos et ad (Leg.) i. 414. Cp. Jagić, Entstehungs- perfectam legem ipsam edoceat." geschichte, i. 7.
4 Jireček's attempt to claim the A.D. 860 or 861, acc. to Jagić, apostles as Slavs (Geschichte, 151) is Entstehungsgeschichte, i. 6. As Con- unconvincing. stantine probably did not go to Moravia 5 Vit. Met. c. 3, držati slovensko, till A.D. 864 (see below, p. 396), it seems principatum Slovenicum. more likely that the embassy arrived 6 When he died (A.D. 869, February in 863 or at earliest 862. So too 14) he was 42 years old (Vit. Const. Bretholz, Geschichte Mährens, 66. See c. 18).
learning from his youth. Legend said that at the age of seven years he had chosen, in a dream, Wisdom as his bride. The promise of his boyhood excited the interest of the statesman Theoktistos, who fetched him to Constantinople to complete his education. He pursued his studies under two eminent men of learning, Leo? and Photius. But he disappointed the hopes of his patron, who destined him for a secular career and offered him the hand of his god-daughter, a wealthy heiress. He took orders and acted for some time as librarian of the Patriarch’s library, a post which, when Photius was Patriarch, could not have been filled by one who was not exceptionally proficient in learning. But Constantine soon buried himself in a cloister, which he was with difficulty persuaded to leave, in order to occupy what may be described as an official chair of philosophy at Constantinople. His biographer says that he was chosen by the Emperor to hold a disputation with Saracen theologians on the doctrine of the Trinity. Subsequently he retired to live with his brother on Mount Olympus. He was in this retreat when envoys from the Chagan of the Khazars arrived at Constantinople and asked the Emperor to send him a learned man to explain the tenets of Christianity, so that the Khazars might judge between it and two other faiths, Judaism and Mohammadanism, which were competing for their acceptance. Michael, by the advice of Photius, entrusted the mission to Constantine, who, accompanied by Imperial envoys, travelled to Cherson with the embassy of the Khazars." At Cherson he remained some months to learn the Khazar language, and to seek for the body of St. Clement, the first bishop of Rome, who had suffered martyrdom in the neighbourhood. But St. Clement was a name almost forgotten by the natives, or rather the 1 See below, p. 436.
since, according to the source, Vit. 2 On the Stenon, i.e. the Bosphorus Const. 6, he was aged 24. The author (Vit. Const. c. 4).
of this life describes the debate at 3 See below, p. 439. His friendship length. with Photius did not deter him from Cp. below, p. 423.
The source entering into a speculative controversy for the discovery of the body of St. with the learned Patriarch, who had Clement is the Translatio of Gauderic, written a treatise to maintain the rash cp: Appendix XI. doctri that two souls abited the 6 Translatio, c. 2. In Vit. Const. human body. Anastasius, Praef. 6, c. 8 he is represented as studying “fortissimo eius amico.'
Hebrew and Samaritan at ChersonCp. Appendix XI. The date, if the Hebrew evidently for the purpose of story were true, would be A.D. 851, disputing with the Jews.
strangers,' who inhabited Cherson; the church near which his coffin had been placed on the seashore was fallen into decay; and the coffin itself had disappeared in the waves. But it was revealed to the Philosopher where he should search, and under miraculous guidance, accompanied by the metropolitan and clergy of Cherson, he sailed to an island, where diligent excavation was at length rewarded by the appearance of a human rib “shining like a star.” The skull and then all the other parts of what they took to be the martyr's sacred
martyrs body were gradually dug out, and the very anchor with which he had been flung into the sea was discovered. Constantine wrote a short history of the finding of the relics, in which he modestly minimized his own share in the discovery; and to celebrate the memory of the martyr he composed a hymn and a panegyrical discourse. Of his missionary work among the Khazars nothing more is stated ? than that he converted a small number and found much favour with the Chagan, who showed his satisfaction by releasing two hundred Christian captives.
In this account of Constantine's career the actual facts. have been transmuted and distorted, partly by legendary instinct, partly by deliberate invention. We need not hesitate to accept as authentic some of the incidents which have no direct bearing on his titles to fame, and which the following generation had no interest in misrepresenting. The date of his birth, for instance, the patronage accorded to him by the Logothete (Theoktistos), the circumstances that he taught philosophy and acted as librarian of the Patriarch, there is no reason to doubt. His visit to the Khazars for missionary purposes is an undoubted fact, and even the panegyrical tradition does not veil its failure, though it contrives to preserve his credit; but the assertion that he was sent in response to a
1 Translatio, ib., “ut pote non to his disciples, one of whom was indigenae, sed diversis ex gentibus probably the author of Vit. Const. advenae.
The chronological order, of course,
need not be accurate. 2 Vit. Const. cc. 9, 10, 11, relates
For instance, at length disputations at the court of
it is natural to conjecture that the the Khazars. Cp. Pastrnek, Dějiny
learned Constantine, whom we know
otherwise to have been intimate with sl. Ap. 58 sq., and see below, Ap
Photius, Patriarchal librarian pendix XI.
under him, i.e. not earlier than A.D. 3 These facts, known to Methodius, 859. The narrative in Vit. Const. could have been handed down by him would certainly imply an earlier date.
request of the Chagan is of one piece with the similar assertion in regard to his subsequent mission to Moravia. His discovery of the body of St. Clement is a myth, but underlying it is the fact that he brought back to Constantinople from Cherson what he and all the world supposed to be relics of the Roman saint.
The visit to the Khazars may probably be placed in the neighbourhood of A.D. 860, and it was not long after Constantine's return to Constantinople that the arrival of the Moravian envoys suggested the idea of a new sphere of activity. We are quite in the dark as to how the arrangements were made, but it was at all events decided that Constantine and his brother Methodius should undertake the task of propagating Christianity in Moravia. They set out not later than in the summer of A.D. 864.3
According to the naïve story, which, as we have seen, represents Rostislav as begging for teachers, Constantine accomplished, in the short interval between the embassy and his departure, what was no less than a miracle. He invented a new script and translated one of the Gospels.or.compiled a Lectionary in the Slavonic tongue. If we consider what this
4 means we shall hardly be prepared to believe it. The alphabet
1 Anastasius believed in it, but he they remained 40 months in Moravia ; heard it from Metrophanes, bishop of according to l'it. Meth. c. 6, 3 years. Smyrna. Constantine himself, whom (The Translatio, c. 7, gives 41 years, he knew personally (at Rome in A.D. but there may be an error through 868), declined to say how the relics confusion of iii. with iu.). They left had been obtained (Ep. ad Gauderi- probably before the end of A.D. 867 ; cum, apud Pastrnek, 247 :
see below. praedictus philosophus fugiens arro- Jagić, op. cit. i. 17, who thinks gantiae notam referre non passus est”). that Constantine's work as a translator This admission enables us to judge the consisted of (besides the Lectionary) story. Cp. Franko, Beiträge, 236. liturgical books containing psalms Franko, in this article, points out that and prayers. These books may have there was another legend which relates been begun before his arrival in the discovery of St. Clement to the Moravia, but the evidence of the old reign of Nicephorus I. (231 sqq.). Glagolitic Psalter (ed. by Geitler in
assume that he was 1883) points to the conclusion that librarian of Photius and that he some of the Psalms were translated in held this office before the Khazar Moravia (ib. ii. 51). For the conmission (as the Vit. Const. states). sultation of the Latin text (likely in We have a certain confirmation of this Moravia, highly improbable at Conin the probability that he could hardly stantinople) is evident in several have undertaken the mission until he passages, e.g. Ps. 118, 130, ônAawas in priest's orders. As 30 was the σις των λόγων σου φωτιεί και συνετιει minimum age (Conc. Trull. can. 14), νηπίους where the Slavonic τακum and he was born in 827, he could not daet for ovvetiei is obviously influenced have been ordained priest before 857. by the Latin intellectum dat.
3 According to Vit. Const. c. 15,
2 If we
of the early Slavonic books that were used by Constantine and his brother in Moravia was a difficult script, derived from Greek minuscule characters, so modified that the origin can only be detected by careful study. It would have been impossible to invent, and compose books in, this Glagolitic writing, as it is called, in a year. It has been suggested that the Macedonian Slavs already possessed an alphabet which they employed for the needs of daily life, and that what Constantine did was to revise this script and complete it, for the more accurate rendering of the sounds of Slavonic speech, by some additional symbols which he adapted from Hebrew Samaritan, His work would then have been similar to that of Wulfilas, who adapted the
Runic alphabet already in use among the Goths and augmented it by new signs for his literary purpose.
But we have no evidence of earlier Slavonic writing; and the Glagolitic forms give the impression that they were not the result of an evolution, but were an artificial invention, for which the artist took Greek minuscules as his guide, but deliberately set himself to disguise the origin of the new characters.
It must have been obvious to Constantine that the Greek signs themselves without any change, supplemented by a few additional symbols, were an incomparably more convenient and practical instrument. And, as a matter of fact, his name is popularly associated with the script which ultimately superseded the Glagolitic. The Cyrillic script, used to this day by the Bulgarians, Servians, and Russians, is simply the Greek uncial alphabet, absolutely undisguised, expanded by some necessary additions. That tradition is wrong in connecting it with Cyril, it is impossible to affirm or deny; it is certain only that he used Glagolitic for the purpose of his mission to Moravia and that for a century after his death Glagolitic remained in possession. To expend labour in manufacturing such symbols as the Glagolitic and to use them for the purpose of educating a barbarous folk, when the simple Greek forms were ready to his hand, argues a perversity which would be incredible if it had not some powerful motive. It has been pointed out that such a motive existed. In order to obtain a footing in Moravia, it was necessary to proceed with the Cp. Jagić, op. cit. ii. 28.
2 Brückner, 219 sq.