The Caucasian Albanian alphabet, which is also known as the Old Udi script, was used by the Caucasian Albanians, speakers of a northeast Caucasian language who lived in parts of what is now Azerbaijan and Daghestan. The alphabet was mentioned in some early sources, and was rediscovered in 1937 by Professor Ilia Abuladze in an Armenian language manuscript dating from the 15th century. The manuscript contained details of alphabets such as Armenian, Greek, Latin, Georgian, Coptic and Caucasian Albanian, which was referred to as "Ałuanic girn e", which means "Aghuanic alphabet/writing" in Armenian. Professor Abuladze believed the alphabet was based on the Georgian alphabet.
Further examples of the Caucasian alphabet were found in the 1940s and 1950s in the form of short inscriptions on a stone altar post, and on candlesticks, tiles and vessels. In 2003 a longer text on a palimpsest was found in St. Catherine's Monastery on Mount Sinai in Egypt. They date from between the 4th and the 12th centuries AD.
Georgian scholars believe that King Pharnavaz I (ფარნავაზი) of Kartli (Iberia) created the Caucasian Albanian alphabet, probably in the late 4th or early 5th century AD, however Armenian scholars believe that Mesrop Mashtots' (Մեսրոպ Մաշտոց), an Armenian missionary, did so.
Udi, a northeast Caucasian language spoken in parts of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia, is thought to be a descendant of the Caucasian Albanian language.
The name "Albania" is Latin for "mountaneous land" and the Caucasian Albanians were not related to the Albanians of Albania, nor were their languages related.
Information provided by Mattias Persson & Josh Gippert
Information about the Caucasian Albanian alphabet and language
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Page last modified: 01.06.21
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