Armenian Alphabet

“This alphabet was created by a man of genius with a striking sense of homeland - was created once and for all, - it is perfect. That person was like God in the days of creation ... ”

Armenian Alphabet

The Armenian alphabet was created in 405 by the scientist and priest Mesrop Mashtots. Initially, the alphabet consisted of 36 letters, of which 7 vowels and 29 consonants. In the XI century, two more letters “O” (arm. “Օ”) and “F” (arm. “Ֆ”) were added. The rest of the alphabet remained almost unchanged.

Like most ancient peoples, the letters of the Armenian alphabet initially also performed a digital function. For this purpose, the letters of the alphabet were divided into 4 rows, where the first stood for units, the second for tens, the third for hundreds, and the fourth for thousands. This numerical system was one of the most advanced in the ancient world. The numbering system was used in Armenia until the 17th century.

The Armenian alphabet played an important role in preserving the national identity of the Armenian people. Despite the difficult periods in the history of Armenians, the Armenian Church managed to preserve over thirty thousand Armenian manuscripts created during the 5th-18th centuries, many of which are stored in the Yerevan Matenadaran and on the island of St. Lazarus in Venice.

Matenadaran named after St. Mesrop Mashtots, located in Yerevan, is one of the largest manuscript repositories in the world. A monument to Mesrop Mashtots was erected in front of the building, and an inscription was carved next to the wall: “To know wisdom and instruction, to understand the sayings of the mind”. This was the first phrase written in Armenian letters.

“This alphabet was created by a man of genius with a striking sense of homeland - was created once and for all, - it is perfect. That person was like God in the days of creation ... ”, wrote Andrei Georgievich Bitov about the Armenian alphabet and about Mesrop Mashtots in his work“ Lessons of Armenia ”.