Civil Alphabet with Moral Teachings


Civil Alphabet with Moral Teachings, published in 1710, is the first official Russian civil alphabet. Also known as the “ABC book of Peter the Great,” it was aimed at simplifying the Russian alphabet and was produced after many years of experiments conducted by Dutch and Russian experts under the guidance and with the direct participation of Tsar Peter the Great (reigned, 1682–1725). This copy of the alphabet is of particular interest, as it contains corrections to the composition and form of the letters, handwritten by the tsar. The back of the binding has instructions from Peter, in which he decrees that certain crossed-out letters and symbols are not to be used in printing civil books in the future. The alphabet includes Slavic printed and handwritten letters, moral teachings from the Holy Scriptures, and tables of correspondence relating ecclesiastical and arithmetical numbers to the ecclesiastical, Arabic, and Roman numbering systems. The document is part of the collection of the Moscow Synod Press and is held in the Russian State Historical Archive, St. Petersburg.

Last updated: January 8, 2018