Cursive type of Cyrillic formed in state or court chancellery during reign of king Milutin, became in the XIV century general chancellery writing for all acts written in Serbian language in Dubrovnik and later on in Bosnian state chancellery, during reign of Tvrtko I. Much earlier, cursive was spread in Zachlumia, together with Trebinje, Konavli and Ston which were still within Nemanjići state when typological variant of Cyrillic was formed in Rascia. Cursive writing was to a lesser or larger degree known in the western part of Zachlumia, the coastal area which became part of Bosnia during rule of Tvrtko. Cyrillic was deeply rooted in those parts, especially area between river Cetina and Split otherwise known as zhupa Poljica which had its own statute written in, undoubtedly, Cyrillic cursive in year 1440. The oldest known transcription of this statute is from the end of XV century. Since XVI century, documentation written in cursive starts to appear in other areas, especially west and northwest from the Bosnian state. During Tvrtkos’ rule, territory of Bosnia encompassed Lika as a vassal region where Cyrillic was already starting to spread.
Scribe of the first preserved act written in cursive for king Tvrtko most probably came from Zachlumia. All other acts written in cursive for the king (one charter and six letters), from 10th of April 1378 until 12th of June 1389, were produced by logothete Vladoje, who had extensive knowledge on diplomatic cursive writing and was, most probably, earlier scribe in chancellery of knyaz Lazar. With introduction of Rascian cursive in his state chancellery Tvrtko wanted to further prove he was true heir and follower of famous Nemanjići family.
Use of cursive in state chancellery continued without interruption during the reigns of Tvrtko successors. Besides cursive, as we could see earlier, some scribes used printscript (uncial, manuscript), but only for charter writing. Vladoje used printscript to write the charter Tvrtko issued to voyevoda Hrvoje Vukčić in 1380. Vladojes’ good student and successor, Tomaš Lužac, scribe to king Stefan Dabiša (1391-1395) and queen Jelena (1395-1398) wrote five acts, three of which are letters and two charters. One of the charters was written in uncial and issued to zhupan Vukmir and his brothers, while the other one, written in cursive was issued to Dubrovnik municipality. Both Dabiša and Jelena had, besides Lušac, another scribe each, who, however, remain unknown and were limited to writing letters in cursive. Last letter of queen Jelena is from 1399 when king Ostoja was already in power (1398-1404 and 1409-1418). Chancellery of king Ostoja wrote charters in cursive as well, while letters were written exclusively in cursive. Scribe Stipan Dobrinović wrote two charters in uncial, while Hrvatin wrote one charter in uncial and a letter in cursive. Tomaš Bućanin, who was scribed during second reign of king Ostoja, wrote a charter in cursive. From the fourth, unknown, scribe to Ostoja remained six letters. King Tvrtko II (1404-1409 and 1421-1443) has six scribes and all of them are known by names. These are Novak Gojčinić, Dušan, Vladić, Radosav, Pavle and Radivoj Hrastić. They wrote only eight acts, four of these being charters, three of which are written in uncial. Scribes Dušan, Radosav and Radivoj used only cursive. During reign of Stefan Ostojić (1418-1421) two scribes were present at the court, Vladić, who later on became scribe to Tvrtko II, and Novak Gojčinić, who previously served Tvrtko II and was the only scribe during his first reign. As we already know, both of these scribes wrote in uncial and for purposes of king Stefan Ostojić wrote two charters. King Stefan Stefan Tomaš (1443-1461) had three scribes: Restoje, Tvrtko Sekulović and an unknown scribes. There are five documents preserved from his reign, only one of these being a letter. Restoje wrote one charter in cursive, as did the other two scribes, while his second charter was written in uncial. In the end, preserved from the reign of Stefan Tomašević (1461-1463) there are five charters, written in cursive by scribe Branoš in Jajce, the first one being written on the 23rd of November while the remaining four were written on the 25th of November 1461.
With Branoš, work of Bosnian state chancellery comes to an end, but not the documented history of the development of Rascian cursive in the Bosnian state.
As the oldest documentation for history of cursive in the Bosnian state was created outside the state chancellery, in the southern part of the country, in Zachlumia, it also survived the end of the royal chancellery. Last preserved document from Zachlumia dates back to 1493 and it’s a receipt issued to “Dubrovnik nobility” by heralds of the “Zachlumian voyevodas” Žarko and Tadija Vlatković. Two later receipts of the Vlatković brothers, dated to 1496 and 1498, were issued in original which were lost later.
Documentation period for use of cursive in Bosnian state chancellery encompasses 85 years, while cursive was present in the chancelleries of the local feudal lords in the south and southeast regions for at least 125 years. 95 written documents, belonging to seven different noble families, was preserved from this period of 125 years. Only two, out of almost one hundred documents, were written in uncial.
The oldest document is the letter of Zachlumia zhupan Sanko to Dubrovnik municipality written sometimes before 1369. Sons of zhupan Sanko, Bjeljak and Radič Sanković, issued two charters in 1391 beside the charter written in uncial which was issued in 1399.
Going by age of the documentation, after acts from Sankovići family, we have those belonging to old lords of Popovo polje, Nikolići. Two letters linked with this family remain, one from 1393, the other one from 1417 with a single charter issued by Nikolići family in 1418.
14 documents written in period from 1397 and 1454 belong to Jablanići family, starting with single charter issued by Pavle Radinović, through ten acts (four being charters) issued by his son Radosav Pavlović and ending with three acts issued by sons of Radosav, Ivaniš, Petar and Nikola.
Lords of the Donji Krajevi, Hrvatinići, left only three acts, oldest one dating back to 1404, issued by Hrvoje Vukčić, letter of the Hrvoje son-in-law, Tvrtko Borovinić from 1430 and charter issued by Jurij Vojisaljić in 1434.
First document belonging to noble house from Zachlumia, Kosače, was written in 1410. It was a letter from Sandalj Hranić with another six acts linked with this nobleman, last one issued in 1430. Herzog Stefan Vukčić is linked with fifteen acts issued from 1435 to 1466, two of which are charters. Third wife of herzog Stefan, Cecilia from Italy, issued one act in 1467 while his older son Vladislav issued eleven documents in period of 1450-1487. Younger sons of Stefan, Vlatko and Stefan issued nineteen acts-receipts together from 1460 to 1470, while Vlatko issued another five acts on his own in period of 1466-1470.
From noble family of Dragišići, kin to Sandalj Hranić, remain three receipts written in 1437 and 1438. They were issued, individually by knyaz Stjepan, knyaz Radosav and knyaz Ostoja.
Last noble family to appear in the preserved documents are Vlatkovići, with nine acts written between 1452 and 1493. First document was contract on alliance between voyevoda Ivaniš and his brothers with city of Dubrovnik. Remaining documents are mostly receipts for received money.
During 125 years, 50 scribes worked in the chancelleries of the local lords, 40 of which are known by name. Majority of scribes left only one act, few of them creating two or more. Only five scribes wrote more than two acts. Vukman Jugović, one of the scribes for brothers Dragišić and Stefan Vukčić, wrote four acts, while Ostoja and Ivan, scribes to Radosav Pavlović wrote five acts each. Vladislav, one of the scribes of Vladislav Hercegović, wrote seven, while Ivko, scribe to brothers Vlatko and Stefan (who will later accept Islam and be known as Ahmed-pasha Hercegović), wrote nine documents.
Taken form the book of Petar Đorđić “History of Serbian Cyrillic – paleographic-philological additions”, Third edition, Belgrade, 1990, page 145, 154-156.
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