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Author: Tigran S. Simyan
Information about the author:

Tigran S. Simyan, DSc in Philology, Professor, Yerevan State University, Alex Manoogian 1, 0025 Yerevan, Armenia.

ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9534-3505

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 



For citation:

Simyan, T.S. “Political Context of the Invention of Writing (by Example Armenian and Slavic).” Germenevtika drevnerusskoi literatury [Hermeneutics of Old Russian Literature]. Issue 22. Ed.-in-chief O.A. Tufanova. Moscow, IWL RAS Publ., 2023, pp. 469–491. (In Russian) https://doi.org/10.22455/HORL.1607-6192-2023-22-469-491 

DOI: https://doi.org/10.22455/HORL.1607-6192-2023-22-469-491
UDC: 80
Keywords: invention of alphabet, Armenian writing, Slavic writing, frontier, Mashtots, Cyril, Methodius.
Date of publication: 20.09.2023

Acknowledgements: The work was supported by the Science Committee of RA, in the frames of the research project no. 21AG‐6C041.


The article examines the analysis of political context of the invention of writing on the example of Mesrop Mashtots and Cyril and Methodius, which is sanctified in a typological way. Mashtots’ habitus and activity are analyzed in detail by example of the text of Koryun, an Armenian historian, translator and writer of the 5th century. Mashtots is presented not only as the inventor of the Armenian script but also as a cultural figure, a diplomat who considers all the complex political differences between Iran (Eastern Armenia) and Byzantium (Western Armenia), as well as between Christian religious denominations (Armenian, Syrian) and Zoroastrianism. The political context of Slavic writing showed that at the time there were disagreements and conflicts of interests between Catholic and Greek confessions. Consideration of the empirical material showed that Mashtots, Cyril and Methodius, by inventing Armenian and Slavic scripts, solved the issues of preserving identity and creating prerequisites for generating Christian and secular discourses. Mashtots’ invention of new alphabets for Georgians, Caucasian Albanians had geopolitical significance, thereby creating a Christian wall in the northeast for weakened Armenia. In the Goghtn region, Mashtots solved the issue of promoting Zoroastrianism with his enlightenment and translation activities, since the area was a problematic contact zone; Christian values were not deeply instilled there, and Armenians with a pagan worldview were predisposed to assimilation, acceptance of Zoroastrianism. The analysis of Slavic material also showed that Moravia was a contact zone for geopolitical confrontations between the Eastern and Western Churches. The struggle for periphery and the contact zone was important for both Roman Church and Byzantine (Orthodox).


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