Todhri alphabet

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The alphabet of Theodhor Haxhifilipi as shown in Albanesische Studien by Johann Georg von Hahn in 1854. The alphabet was cut into type by the Austrian punchcutter Alois Auer as early as 1851. Todhri-alphabet.jpg
The alphabet of Theodhor Haxhifilipi as shown in Albanesische Studien by Johann Georg von Hahn in 1854. The alphabet was cut into type by the Austrian punchcutter Alois Auer as early as 1851.

The Todhri alphabet is an 18th-century Albanian alphabetical writing system invented for writing the Albanian language by Theodhor Haxhifilipi, also known as Dhaskal Todhri. [1]



It is a complex writing system of fifty-two characters which was used sporadically for written communication in and around Elbasan from the late eighteenth century on. The earliest dated text in Todhri's alphabet is Radhua Hesapesh (daybook) of a local merchant partnership known as Jakov Popa i Vogël dhe Shokët (Jakov Popa Junior and Friends). The entries in Todhri's alphabet start on 10 August 1795 and continue until 1797. An even older text written in the Todhri alphabet was discovered recently in a family notebook in Elbasan, dated 1 January 1780. [2] Other older texts possibly written by Todhri himself cannot be dated or confirmed. [3]

The Todhri alphabet was rediscovered in Elbasan by Johann Georg von Hahn (1811–1869) who published it in 1854 his work Albanesische Studien in Jena. [4] He thought it was 'the original' Albanian alphabet and a derivative of the ancient Phoenician alphabet. Leopold Geitler (1847–1885) and Slovenian scholar Rajko Nahtigal (1877–1958) subsequently studied the alphabet, concluding that it was derived primarily from the Roman cursive. [5]

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Theodhor Haxhifilipi</span> Creator of the Todhri alphabet

Theodhor Haxhifilipi also known as Dhaskal Todhri was a teacher from Elbasan, who is credited as an inventor of an original Albanian alphabet. The Todhri script, as is called because of him, according to Kostandin Kristoforidhi, was either invented by Theodor, or brought by him from Voskopojë.


  1. Stefanaq Pollo (1983). Historia e Shqipërisë: Vitet 30 të shek. XIX-1912. Akademia e Shkencave e RPS të Shqipërisë, Instituti i Historisë. p. 169.
  2. Yll Rugova (2022). Malte Bruni dhe fillimi i studimeve mbi alfabetet origjinale të gjuhës shqipe. In Studimet për Shqiptarët në Francë, ASHAK Prishtina, pp. 571–2
  3. Dhimiter Shuteriqi (1976), Shkrimet Shqipe ne Vitet 1332-1850, Tirana: Academy of Sciences of PR of Albania, p. 140, OCLC   252881121
  4. Johann Georg Hahn (30 May 2015). The Discovery of Albania: Travel Writing and Anthropology in the Nineteenth Century Balkans. I.B.Tauris. p. 8. ISBN   9781784532925.
  5. Elsie, Robert. "The Elbasan Gospel Manuscript (Anonimi i Elbasanit), 1761, and the struggle for an original Albanian alphabet" (PDF). p. 4.