Hard to believe I’ve never posted about this before, but now, thanks to Slavo/bulbul, I offer you GORAZD: The Old Church Slavonic Digital Hub. They have digital dictionaries, collections of digitized Church Slavonic manuscripts, Slavic Historical Dictionaries Online, and what bulbul brought to my attention in his e-mail, “the Old Church Slavonic dictionary from the 60s finally complete.” Go to that link and click on “Access to the database” and Bova’s your uncle. As a sample, here’s the entry for азъ ‘I’:

ἐγώ|я|I|: азъ же по срѣдѣ вас ъесмь L 22:27 Zogr Mar; ѣко оутвръ(ді)шѩсѩ паче мене Ps 17:18 Sin; а не противи сꙙ мьнѣ акꙑ онисиї Supr 48:27; рьці ми • како подобаше створіті лоучъшъ Cloz 5а33; ꙗко и мене грѣшьнааго … съподобілъ ѥси Supr 103:6-7; помилоуи мѧ Euch 84b21; ѣко мілость твоѣ велиѣ на мьнѣ естъ Ps 85:13 Sin; чⸯто же г‹лаго›лѫ о сихъ • ѥже положі прѣдъ мноѭ Supr 49:9 ♦ тако ми +acc. μά,νή|клянусь (кем)|I swear (by somebody)|přísahám (při kom): тако ми богꙑ не имамъ тебе поштꙙдѣти Supr 104:21 ◼ ми μου|мой|my|můj: сꙑнъ ми ѥси Supr 243:21 (мои Ps 2:7 Sin) ♦ свои ми ὁ ἐμός|мой (собственный)|my (own)|můj (vlastní): ꙇли нѣстъ ми лѣть сътворити въ своихъ ми еже хоштѫ Mt 20:15 Mar; EuchN 26b20.—Zogr Mar As Sav Achr Bojan ZogrPal Vat En Sin SinN Euch EuchN Cloz Supr FragZogr

Amazing stuff; thanks, bulbul, and a very merry Christmas to those who celebrate it!


  1. David Eddyshaw says

    a very merry Christmas to those who celebrate it!


    Nadolig llawen!
    Nɛ fʋ bʋriasʋŋ!

  2. Frohe Weihnachten!

  3. ꙇ мноѕи о рождьствѣ его въздрадоуѭтъ сѧ

  4. J.W. Brewer says

    Христос раждается!

  5. An earlier Christmas greeting from me was apparently deemed suspicious by the moderating software but let me separately note that although the (English) part of the website doesn’t seem to say so I assume the site is named after the 9th-century St. Gorazd who was a disciple of SS Cyril & Methodius and thus part of the development team for Church Slavonic v. 1.0. He was Methodius’ chosen successor as (arch)bishop but unfortunately Frankish intriguing with the Vatican in service of the anti-Slavonic Latinizing agenda prevented that from working out in practice. He alas does not rate a free-standing wiki article about him in English, although he is covered in multiple other languages, including of course Czech. https://cs.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gorazd He is apparently particularly venerated among the Bulgarians although unlike the other disciples of C. and M. with whom he is traditionally grouped it is unclear if he actually made it south to Ochrid after the pro-Slavonic faction got kicked out of Great Moravia due to the shifting political/ecclesiastical winds.

  6. J.W. Brewer says

    Separately, I am fascinated to learn that in Czech usage (or at least the usage of Czech Wikipidie, which may not be entirely the same thing …) the 20th century St. Gorazd (martyred by the Nazis in 1942, and deemed worthy of his own wiki article in English) is referred to as Svatý Gorazd II, being the second of the name.

    In the Esperanto Vikipedio, he’s Sankta Gorazdo la 2-a, but I have no confidence that that reflects stable Esperantist usage as opposed to someone calquing the Czech.

  7. An earlier Christmas greeting from me was apparently deemed suspicious by the moderating software

    Thanks for mentioning that; I found it in the spam file and approved it.

    I assume the site is named after the 9th-century St. Gorazd who was a disciple of SS Cyril & Methodius and thus part of the development team for Church Slavonic v. 1.0.

    Thanks for that as well — I had been wondering about the name.

  8. Merry Christmas, everyone!

    St. Gorazd who was a disciple of SS Cyril & Methodius and thus part of the development team for Church Slavonic v. 1.0.
    That’s him, one of the седмочисленници. Alas, the original branch got lost, so we can’t run git blame.

  9. The 20th century Gorazd was the bishop of the Orthodox church in Prague (named, appropriately enough, Sts. Cyril and Methodius – or Pravoslavná katedrála svatých Cyrila a Metoděje v Praze) and was in fact the head of the entire Czechoslovak Orthodox church. He was martyred after he gave sanctuary in the church basement to the 7 men who had just assassinated Reinhard Heydrich. They were betrayed, the church was besieged, the fighters made a courageous last stand and perished, but afterwards it was Gorazd who unflinchingly took responsibility for the entire thing and subsequently tortured and executed by the Nazis. Absolute legend.

  10. Unfortunately, Gorazd’s bravery probably did little to save lives. The assassination of a major Nazi potentate like Heydrich so incensed Hitler and his inner circle that they butchered thousands of people in their reprisals. Almost anyone who was suspected of being connected in any way with Operation Anthropoid* was arrested, and many of them were killed. Two villages, neither of which was directly involved in the operation, were destroyed.

    One of the two assassins, Jan Kubiš, was posthumously promoted to the rank of colonel in 2002 in the Czech army. However, Jozef Gabčík—who, like Kubiš, was a rotmistr (equivalent of staff sergeant) at the time of Anthropoid—was a Slovak from Rajecké Teplice and has not been similarly honored by the Slovakian armed forces, although he has been honored in other ways. (Gabčík may also have been posthumously commissioned as an officer in the 1940s, as Kubiš was at the time, but I am not sure.)

    * My primary reason for leaving this comment is actually a partially linguistic one, although it has ended up here in a footnote. Codenames are really supposed to be indecipherable; that’s a big part of what makes them useful.** One could not infer anything about where Operation Torch would strike from the name alone. The more recent tendency for using invented names like “Desert Shield”*** or “Iraqi Freedom” seems really weird to me. However, even in the Second World War, the names of operations were sometimes chosen thematically. The massive Operation Overlord commenced with Operation Neptune, the largest amphibious landing of all time.

    The name “Operation Anthropoid,” for sending in paratroopers to kill Reinhard Heydrich (“the hangman,” “the blond beast,” “Mann mit eisernem Herzen” according to Hitler) always struck me as one that carried a subtle implication behind the choice of words. It seems to insinuate that Heydrich was, in spite of his handsome appearance, actually inhuman.

    ** I am finally making some progress on my fiction again, after more than a year of practically no writing. Last week, I put my opinion about the proper use of codenames into the mouth of one of my characters:

    The dark outline, when Yarec gazed up at it, seemed smaller than he had expected. It was human-sized, or maybe a little greater. The lower extremities were impossible to discern, but from the narrow waist grew up a heavy-shouldered torso, edged with corded musculature. The upper limbs hung slack—half-floating, perhaps, in whatever fluid was being circulated through the container.

    Yarec gasped. “Lord of wonders!” It was his mother’s old exclamation. Under his breath, he corrected the potential blasphemy. “Mi chamochah, ba’al gevurot,” he muttered, without taking his eyes off the thing.

    The head could have been hairless, and there was no face Yarec could discern. He might have been seeing the body from the back, but somehow he did not think so. But what is in those bulges, beetling up from its scalp? Extra brain? Shearing, razor-edged bone?

    Yarec peered around, taking in the whole room more carefully. Mrissa was already looking up and down the aisles, which ran amidst a whole array of plastic cubes just like the one they were huddled against. It was too tenebrous to see whether every one of the blocks was occupied, but if some of them were empty now, they would receive occupants seen enough.

    Mrissa stared at the form, with its clear violation of the will of nature. Then she shook her head and tried to laugh. “Well,” she said softly, “they say all life on Earth was really just a joke or mistake.”

    “Who says that?” Yarec asked.

    “Whoever.” Mrissa shrugged. “I don’t know. It’s an expression.”

    “I don’t think I’ve ever heard that expression.” His face hardened again. “In any case, we’ve found the purpose of Site Ashmedai, I presume.”

    “It’s a fitting name,” Mrissa said, sounding pensive. “Or maybe not.”

    “Huh?” Yarec did not turn his head, but his eyes flicked momentarily in her direction. “How do you mean?”

    “It’s a devil name, ‘Ashmedai,’” she said—softly, almost in a whisper. “I punched it up, and it’s Avestan, or Hebrew.” Yarec’s eyes flicked again, and they stayed looking at her longer this time—long enough to meet Mrissa’s gaze for the span of a couple of breaths. “He was king of the dark devas.” Sounding almost reverent, she intoned: “Lord of the spirits of earth and stone, he could be bargained with to build temples. However, he feared the creatures of the water, especially the catfish.”

    “But code names aren’t supposed to have too much to do with what they denote. That’s giving away free bits to an enemy’s cryptanalysts.” Mrissa gestured up at the horned shadow. “So maybe ‘Ashmedai’ wasn’t a good operational choice, but it certainly seems”—her voice trailed off to nothing, leaving a long pause—“apt.”

    *** When American forces in the 1991 Gulf War switched from defensive operations in Saudi Arabia (Operation Desert Shield) to offensive operations against Iraqi positions in Kuwait and Iraq, the new operation was named “Operation Desert Storm.” I said at the time that if they wanted an operation name with “storm” in it, “Sandstorm” would have been a better choice. The choice of new name also provided Doonesbury with a running gag; the strip consistently referred to the offensive operation as “Desert Sword.” During that time, Trudeau did a lot of strips about the daily press briefings that were broadcast live each morning, including this one, which really seemed to capture the military’s euphemization of the violence going on.

  11. David Eddyshaw says

    Operation Anthropoid is the theme of Laurent Binet’s (very good) novel HHhH.

    He also wrote the altogether wonderful La septième fonction du langage, which I occasionally evangelise for.
    (If the question “Who murdered Roland Barthes?” immediately grabs your interest, you won’t be disappointed in the novel …)

  12. More recent non-secret military operations, at least U.S. and Israeli ones, bear codenames as a means of advertising themselves, not disguising themselves, and therefore tend to be blustery, macho, and/or jingoistic (“Desert Storm”, “Enduring Freedom”, “Cast Lead”, ad nauseam). There is a certain degree of convergence between them and names of action video games.

    It’s been hard to keep that tendency at bay. If the Allies heard of Operation Barbarossa, they must have sensed that it was major, probably involving conquest. Likewise Operation Overlord must have carried some sense of a significant event, even if it didn’t suggest a location.

  13. @Y: I had to look up which Israeli operation “Cast Lead” referred to. I had probably heard it before, but Israeli military terminology does not get reported much in America, or even discussed in the parts of the Jewish community that I am involved in. After looking it up, however, another oddity of that term occurred to me. The command language of the Israel Defense Forces is not English, so “Operation Cast Lead” must be an official translation of מִבְצָע עוֹפֶרֶת יְצוּקָה. Code names now have official translations!

    Moreover, after typing “Anthropoid”* in many times, YouTube suggested maybe I should watch the 2016 film by that name. I like Jamie Dornan and Toby Jones, so I did. It was a very different film from Hangmen Also Die! (a collaboration between Fritz Land and Bertolt Brecht), and it also seemed to espouse a rather different view of courage than one typically sees in Western mass media. Suicide is usually depicted in our culture as a coward’s way out, but that obviously will not work in a film honoring the memory of Heydrich’s killers. It was unusual to see so many of the heroes of the story taking their own lives. Just as in reality, the parachutists and members of the Czech Resistance fought when they had the capability, but rather than be captured, each of them intended to die—whether using a cyanide capsule or a bullet—by their own hand.

    * I don’t generally remember the correspondence between a post title and what eventually gets discussed in a comment thread, so I often have to search for a distinctive word to find the thread where I want to leave a new comment. I have noted before that sometimes, Google will not find the right place, even when I use a word that I know has been used in the thread. However, for some reason, neither Google nor DuckDuckGo can find this comment thread with a site search, regardless of what words I try searching for.

    ** I also discovered that there have actually been a fair number of movies about Heydrich’s assassination in this century. The story, even if it ends badly for everyone involved, does have some obviously cinematic features that could appeal to filmmakers. More surprising, I think, is that there is apparently one actor now, Detlef Bothe, who is the go-to guy for playing The Blond Beast. At the beginning of Anthropoid, it showed some real stock footage of Heydrich, which made me wonder how they were going to handle having an actor play him later on. However, they managed to make it work without any trouble. The film never provides a completely clear view of Heydrich’s face, and when Bothe is moving or has his hat sagging down over his eyes, his resemblance to Heydrich can be downright uncanny.

  14. If you were searching for something from your December 28 comment like Anthropoid or Heydrich, then probably Google and DuckDuckGo simply haven’t re-indexed the page since then. At the moment, it appears that Google last indexed this page between juha’s comment (it successfully finds Hyvää) and JWB’s first comment (it fails to find раждается).

  15. Brett: to be nitpicky, it’s מִבְצַע, in the construct case, with a pataḥ: ‘operation of-’.

    Wikipedia has lots of lists of named military operations, e.g. here.

  16. operation “Cast Lead”

    Apparently taken from “Likhvod haḤanukkah” ditty. Which is not jingoistic or macho, but not exactly what one would expect either.

    But, of course, the best named operation was “Операция Ы

  17. You’re right about that: the operation started around Hanukkah. It hadn’t occurred to me. Still, the term has associations with bullets and heavy things and such (1000+ killed, 5000+ injured, btw).

    Bialik’s song goes, “My mother gave me a pancake, a warm, sweet pancake… My teacher brought me a dreidel, a dreidel of cast lead…” etc. Somehow, every single child gets the lines switched. I remember the first time we all sang it together in first grade. Everyone sang, “My mother gave a pancake, a pancake of cast lead…”

    Back in the day, children’s toys made of lead were a popular thing. Toy soldiers were probably also painted with other delicious heavy metals.

Speak Your Mind