At the beginning of the 5th century AD, when Armenia was still an independent state, a clergyman named Maštocc (also known as Mesrop), decided to give his people a script, involving in this project his Patriarch, Sahak, and his King, Vṙamšapowh. They soon found out that a script for the Armenian language already existed, and that it had been discovered by and was in the possession of a Syriac Bishop named Daniēl. This alphabet was requested and obtained from him, but, according to some sources (Koriwn, Movsēs Xorenacci), it proved inadequate for rendering the sounds of the Armenian language. Maštocc was consequently compelled to continue his work. Another source (Łazar Pcarpecci) argues instead that the script obtained from Daniēl proved suitable on the whole, and just required some minor adjustments. It is possible that all our sources actually describe the same process, focusing to different degrees on the genuine contribution of the Armenian team. In any case, it is quite sure that these adjustments involved creating signs for the vowels, which were probably not present in the script possessed by the Syriac Bishop. After the creation of the Armenian alphabet, all sources agree in saying that a huge translation activity began. The Armenian script shares many traits with the Greek one, having for instance peculiar signs for the vowels, a writing direction from left to right, and so on. In order to evaluate its effectiveness, it is worth noticing that at least its capital form (erkatcagir) seems to avoid signs with a left-right symmetry, which, according to studies devoted to the neuro-physiology of reading, are especially difficult to learn. It would be interesting to know how many people used the newly invented script in the 5th century, to which social status and gender they belonged, where the alphabetization process took place, and whether, when reading alone, people did so aloud or silently. Unfortunately, the available sources provide little information on these topics. Finally, it should be pointed out that in 5th-century Armenia, books were very likely not scrolls, but rather parchment volumes.
ORENGO, ALESSANDRO (Corresponding)
|Titolo:||L'invenzione dell'alfabeto armeno: fatti e problemi|
|Anno del prodotto:||2016|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|