The tradition of the Croatian Cyrillic Script goes back to the 12th century and lasted continuously until the 18th century, with sporadic uses even in the 20th century. Of course, there are incomparably more Croatian Glagolitic monuments than Cyrillic, not to speak about tremendous Croatian literature in the Latin Script since the 15th century. However, it is the fact that the Croatian Cyrillic represents an important cultural heritage. This Script was in use among the Croats in Dalmatia (especially in the Split and Makarska hinterland), in the Dubrovnik region and in Bosnia-Herzegovina. It is interesting that some of the Croatian Catholics, who visited the Vatican in the 17th and 18th century, left their signatures written in the Croatian Cyrillic, which they call expressly the Croatian script.
Thus, the Croatian Cyrillic includes the following three major regions:
* Bosnia and Herzegovina, (especially widespread among Bosnian Franciscans),
* the Poljica Principality (near Split) and Makarska hinterland, as well as islands of the middle Dalmatia (e.g. Brac),
* the region of Dubrovnik, including Konavle.
The name of `Bosancica' (or `bosanica') is of a relatively recent provenance - it has been created by a Croat Ciro Truhelka in 1889, at that time a very young, 24 years old scientist. Its rather misleading name suggests that it has been related exclusively to the territory of Bosnia, which is not true, since it was used in Herzegovina, Dalmatia and on some Croatian islands as well. It is interesting that Croatian Cyrillic, i.e. `Bosancica', can be seen in Croatian texts written in Istria, see below. The name of `western Cyrillic', which also appears in the literature, is even more imprecise (`western' with respect to what?). It seems to be appropriate to call this version of the Cyrillic script by the national name of those who used it most and who left the greatest number of written documents, as in the case of other national versions (Bulgarian Cyrillic, Macedonian, Montenegrin, Serbian, Ukrainian, Byelorussian, Russian). There are also important palaeographic reasons, see [Benedikta Zelic-Bucan]. Thus the notions of Croatian Cyrillic and "Bosancica" are equivalent.
The name of the Croatian Cyrillic (or Bosancica) had the following genesis:
One of undoubtedly Croatian linguistic characteristics in Bosnia is a very widespread use of the ikavian dialect (an amazing literature has been written in the ikavian version of the Croatian language, since the time of Marko Marulic in the 15th century, and also earlier by Glagolitic scribes). Even today many Croats in Istria, Dalmatia, Gorski Kotar, Slavonia, Baranja use it, as well as the Croats in Austria (Gradisce area), Hungary and Yugoslavia (Srijem, Backa). Many traces of its use can be heard also in Bosnia, both among the Croats and Muslims, despite intensive serbization of the language in the period of 1918-1991.
The reader may be surprised to know that there are even traces of runic script on the territory of BiH, like the one from the village of Breza in central Bosnia, dating from 5-6th centuries.