This inscription is carved into a piece of stone in the in the courtyard of the Basilica of San Clemente in Rome, which houses the bones of Saint Cyril. The script is Glagolitic and the language is most likely Church Slavonic. Can any of you decipher the text?

Glagolitic mailbox

This entry was posted in Language, Puzzles, Writing.

8 Responses to Puzzle

  1. AlexM says:

    I’m pretty sure it’s John 1-5 in Old Church Slavonic.
    In modern Russian:

    1 В начале было Слово, и Слово было у Бога, и Слово было Бог.
    2 Оно было в начале у Бога.
    3 Все чрез Него начало быть, и без Него ничто не начало быть, что начало быть.
    4 В Нем была жизнь, и жизнь была свет человеков.
    5 И свет во тьме светит, и тьма не объяла его.

  2. AlexM says:

    It definitely is. The OCS text is

    1 Искони бе Слово, и Слово бе к Богу, и Бог бе Слово.
    2 Сей бе искони к Богу:
    3 вся Тем быша, и без Него ничтоже бысть, еже бысть.
    4 В Том живот бе, и живот бе свет человеком:
    5 и свет во тме светится, и тма его не объят.

  3. TJ says:


  4. AlexM says:

    1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
    2 The same was in the beginning with God.
    3 All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that hath been made.
    4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
    5 And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness apprehended it not.

  5. b_jonas says:

    What does the small text at the bottom mean? It’s hard to read on this photo, but it seems to be Latin letters, like

    G? ? ? Evang Assom???

  6. Allie says:

    You’re a superstar, AlexM, this picture has been baffling my family since we took it.

    I can’t tell what the Latin text says very well, and I don’t think I have access to the full-size picture right now. G—- Evang Assomani is my best guess.

  7. Marc says:

    The last line (Latin script) is :
    Gv (ital. Giovanni = John) I 1-5 Evang. Assemani
    i. e. Evangelarium Assemani
    The manuscript of Assemani is the oldest copy of the Church Slavonic Gospel.

  8. tenata says:

    Тhere’s an error at the end of the first line.It must be:

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