Translated from Russian.
An Armenian Alphabet Before St. Mesrop: Bishop Daniel’s Script
In 1892, I. Haroutyunian in his study suggested an idea that “Daniel’s Script” proves existence of the original alphabet of the ancient Armenians in the pagan period. In the article “On the issue of the Armenian pre-Mashtots literature” Abrahamian G.A. supports this point of view. German scientist Armenologist Joseph Marquart presumed that “the writings of Daniel” in due time could have been used to create written records and to translate.
According to the records of historical sources, “Danielian script” was an ancient pattern of lost Armenian scripts. But in the V century it was no longer able to adequately capture the Armenian of those days. According to Koryun, it was the writings of Armenian alphabet, found by Syrian Bishop Daniel, and dated back to the earlier historical period:
“After many days of being there for the same (business), he came to the Holy Catholicos of Armenia, named Sahak, who approved his thoughts and expressed willingness to help him in that care. And in the perfect accord they hastened to raise fervent prayers to God, to call coming upon all (men) the Salvation of Christ. And they had been doing that for many days. Then they were granted with concerned of the country (Armenia) the blessed brothers` Council meeting by the all-merciful God, in order to create an alphabet for Armenian people. For a long time they were engaged in inquiries and searches and have undergone many challenges, then they notified the king of the Armenian Vramshapouh about their ceaseless search. Then the king told them about some Syrian, decent bishop named Daniel, who suddenly had found the letters of Armenian alphabet. And when the king told about the finding, they persuaded the king of their acquisition. Then the king sent some Vagrich with a royal charter to a certain priest Abel, attendant of Syrian bishop Daniel. Upon learning of the request, Abel immediately came to Daniel and first inquired of Daniel about those writings, and then took them and sent the king Vramshapouh to Armenia. And he (Vagrich) brought (letters) in the fifth year of his reign. The king, having received the writings from Abel, becane very happy with St. Sahak and Mashtots. Then the Blessed Guardians having taken suddenly found (letters), yet asked the king the young men in order to be able to apply (in fact) the letters. And when many of them have learned, (the king) ordered to teach the same (writings) everywhere. Thus the blessed (Mashtots) was awarded the title of excellent Vardapet. About two years he has taught and conducted (classes) of these letters. But when it became clear that these writings are not sufficient to express (all) syllables of the Armenian language, as these letters were buried under other writings and (then) revitalised, then they again began trying the same thing for some time and looking for solution (of the situation).”
According to Khorenatsi, these “writings” were inscribed in ancient times and arranged in order of the Greek alphabet:
“At that time Arkady fell ill and in Byzantium through John the Great were big waves and fires, Greek state was plunged into turmoil, the troops fought each other and with the Persians. Therefore, Vram commanded our king Vramshapouh go down to Mesopotamia, restore order and judge the officials of both sides. He went and brought everything in order, but experienced a lot of difficulties due to the secretary, as since Mesrop left the royal court, there was no one experienced scribe, because the Persian Letters were used. On this occasion, t some priest named Habel introduced himself the king and promised to get for the Armenian language the writings, adapted by his friend Bishop Daniel. The king did not pay attention to it, but arriving in Armenia, he found all the bishops gathered at Sahak the Great and Mesrop in concerns about the invention of the Armenian alphabet. That was reported to the king, and he transferred them the words of the monk. Hearing that, they asked him to get down to this so important business. So he sent as a herald one of the venerable men of the country, close to him person, named Vahrich, from the Haduni clan. Going along, they have learned firmly from Daniel a number of letters inscribed in ancient times in order of the Greek (alphabet), and on return handed them Sahak and Mesrop. Having acquainted with them and trying to teach some boys, they came to the conclusion that these writings, with its letters received as the alms, were not enough for an accurate expression of sounds, pronouncing in the Armenian language.”
22 letters of Armenian, pre-Mashtocian alphabet, known as “Daniel’s script”