Criteria in Material Selection

The web resource presents all the Serbian manuscripts found within various collections of the Manuscripts Department of the National Library of Russia. They include handwritten books, fragments, as well as those extracts from Serbian manuscripts that have come down to us as part of miscellanies of "non-Serb" origin (most often Bulgarian). In the latter case, the entire book is represented in the resource, regardless of the size of the Serbian part.

The criterion for selecting the material for this resource was the notion that a Serbian manuscript is a handwritten book transcribed in the Serbian variant of Church Slavonic. The Serbian recension is distinguished by some Serbian linguistic features such as Serbian spelling. This does not always mean that this book was created on the territory of Serbia. Here historical circumstances should be taken into account.

At the end of the 14th century, Serbia and Bulgaria were conquered by the Ottoman Empire. A flood of refugees from the Balkans poured into Russia. At this time, in Bulgaria, the traditional Bulgarian writing ceased to exist. It was preserved only in two or three monasteries, using Serbian spelling. That is why, manuscripts of the 15th-17th centuries, created in Bulgaria, are difficult to tell from Serbian. The hearth of the Serbian writing was the Hilandar Monastery in Mount Athos, which kept this role for several centuries. And since the 18th century, the Serbian spelling has fallen under the influence of the Russian recension. The Russian version of the Church Slavonic language, the so-called Russian-Slavic language, were used in manuscripts of Serbian origin.