Great Moravia

Great Moravia (Latin: Regnum Marahensium; Greek: Μεγάλη Μοραβία, Meghálī Moravía; Czech: Velká Morava [ˈvɛlkaː ˈmorava]; Slovak: Veľká Morava [ˈʋeʎkaː ˈmɔraʋa]; Polish: Wielkie Morawy), the Great Moravian Empire,[1] or simply Moravia,[2][3][4] was the first major state that was predominantly West Slavic to emerge in the area of Central Europe,[5] possibly including territories which are part of today the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and Serbia. The only formation preceding it in these territories was Samo's tribal union known from between 631 and 658 AD.

Velká Morava (Velkomoravská říše)  (Czech)
Regnum Marauorum/Marahensium  (Latin)
Terra Marauorum/Marahensium  (Latin)
833–c. 907
Great Moravia in the late 9th century
Common languagesOld Slavic
Slavic Christianity
Latin Christianity
Slavic paganism
kъnendzь or vladyka (King, Ruler), in the international context also translated as Prince or Duke 
 c. 820/830
Mojmír I (first)
Svatopluk I
Mojmír II (last)
 Decline and fall
c. 907
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Samo's Empire
Principality of Moravia
Principality of Nitra
Duchy of Bohemia
Principality of Hungary
Civitas Schinesghe
East Francia

Its core territory is the region now called Moravia in the eastern part of the Czech Republic alongside the Morava River, which gave its name to the kingdom. The kingdom saw the rise of the first ever Slavic literary culture in the Old Church Slavonic language as well as the expansion of Christianity after the arrival of St. Cyril and St. Methodius in 863 and the creation of the Glagolitic alphabet, the first alphabet dedicated to a Slavic language. Glagolitic was subsequently replaced by a simpler Cyrillic.

Although the borders of his empire cannot be exactly determined, Moravia reached its largest territorial extent under prince Svatopluk I (Slovak: Svätopluk), who ruled from 870 to 894. Separatism and internal conflicts emerging after Svatopluk's death contributed to the fall of Great Moravia, which was overrun by the Hungarians, who then included the territory of present-day Slovakia in their domains. The exact date of Moravia's collapse is unknown, but it occurred between 902 and 907.

Moravia experienced significant cultural development under King Rastislav, with the arrival in 863 of the mission of Saints Cyril and Methodius. After his request for missionaries had been refused in Rome, Rastislav asked the Byzantine emperor to send a "teacher" (učiteľ) to introduce literacy and a legal system (pravьda) to Great Moravia. The request was granted. The missionary brothers Cyril and Methodius introduced a system of writing (the Glagolitic alphabet) and Slavonic liturgy, the latter eventually formally approved by Pope Adrian II.[6] The Glagolitic script was probably invented by Cyril himself and the language he used for his translations of holy scripts and his original literary creation was based on the Slavic dialect he and his brother Methodius knew from their native Thessaloniki. Old Church Slavonic, therefore, differed somewhat from the local Slavic dialect of Great Moravia which was the ancestral idiom to the later dialects spoken in Moravia and western Slovakia.

Later, the disciples of Cyril and Methodius were expelled from Great Moravia by King Svatopluk I, who re-orientated the Empire to Western Christianity. Nevertheless, the expulsion had a significant impact on countries where the disciples settled and from there continued their evangelizing missions - especially Southeastern Europe, firstly Bulgaria from 886, and later in Eastern Europe. Arriving in the First Bulgarian Empire, the disciples continued the Cyrilo-Methodian mission. The language, termed Old Church Slavonic, became the official written language in Bulgaria probably from 893, where it is now sometimes referred to as Old Bulgarian. The Glagolitic script was substituted by Cyrillic which used some of its letters. Early Cyrillic alphabet was developed during the 9th century AD at the Preslav Literary School in Bulgaria, and became official for the country from circa 893.[7][8][9][10] The Cyrillic script and translations of the liturgy were disseminated to other Slavic countries, particularly in the Balkans and Kievan Rus', charting a new path in these Slavic nations' cultural development and establishing the Cyrillic alphabets as they are now known in Bulgaria, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mongolia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Russia, Serbia, and Ukraine.

Cyril and Methodius were declared co-patrons of Europe by Pope John Paul II in 1980.[11]