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Inventing History : forgery: a great British tradition (British History)
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Mick Harper
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Not sure whether it's relevant but it may be worth somebody's while to inspect Anglo-Danish links while Thorkelin was 'agonising'. Not once but twice (I seem to remember) the Brits just popped in and sank the Danish fleet. {"I see no flag instructing me to disengage," said Nelson putting the telescope to his gyppy eye. Possibly Thorkelin made that one up too.)
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Hatty
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One third of the words in Beowulf do not appear in any other document, they might simply have been invented.Who was able to invent this language? It could have only been Franciscus Junius (1589-1677) who was the first to publish a grammar and dictionary of the Old English language

Odd that Junius, a Huguenot from the Netherlands, should have been so immersed in Anglo-Saxon. The earliest Beowulf MS is said to have been owned by Laurence Nowell, antiquarian and scholar, a somewhat shadowy character (the dates of both his birth and death are question marks) though "active", we're told, in the years 1550 to 1569.

This is the generally accepted view of Nowell:
Nowell's impact on scholarship, and particularly Anglo-Saxon studies, is significant. His interest in Old English was pioneering, and indeed he may have been alone in the subject in the early 1560s.

Note the last comment; there didn't appear to be much interest in A-S studies, just like now. Maybe Nowell single-handedly founded A-S scholarship but it isn't very likely, him being a commoner even if he was tutor to the Earl of Oxford's brood.

Nowell is best known as the first compiler of an Old English dictionary, the Vocabularium Saxonicum, which he produced chiefly from the Anglo-Saxon laws, Ælfric's 'Grammar' and 'Glossary', and by comparing the Latin and Old English versions of Bede's Historia ecclesiastica and Orosius's Historiae adversus paganos. The dictionary was never published but was an important source for later dictionaries which were. He made transcripts and translations of some or all of many Old English manuscripts, and he subsequently gave most of these to Lambarde. He owned the only surviving copies of Beowulf

He compiled an OE dictionary which wasn't published but somehow was an "important source"... how?
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Hatty
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Not sure whether it's relevant but it may be worth somebody's while to inspect Anglo-Danish links while Thorkelin was 'agonising'.

Might be more enlightening to look at Sweden which is the link with the Ulfilas Bible.

The Codex Argenteus (or "Silver Bible") is a 6th century manuscript, originally containing bishop Ulfilas's 4th century translation of the Bible into the Gothic language. Of the original 336 folia, 188 (including the Speyer fragment discovered in 1970) have been preserved, containing the translation of the greater part of the four gospels. A part of it is on permanent display at the Carolina Rediviva library in Uppsala, Sweden. (wiki)

Wiki says the "book wound up in the Netherlands in 1654". The story goes like this: Junius had a nephew living in London called Isaak Voss (or Vossius) who had been Queen Christina of Sweden's librarian. Apparently she was so broke that when he left her service in 1654 she paid his salary in books, including the Codex Argenteus which he took back with him to Holland. If it was the genuine article it would've been worth more than the salary even a royal librarian would command one would think.

The tribes we consider Gothic were nominally Arians during the period of time when Ulfilas translated the Christian bible into Gothic, meaning that they followed the teachings of Arius about the person and nature of Jesus Christ. The "Silver Bible" was probably written for the Ostrogothic King Theodoric the Great, either at his royal seat in Ravenna, or in the Po valley or at Brescia. It was made as a special and impressive book written with gold and silver ink on high-quality thin vellum stained a regal purple, with an ornate binding. After Theodoric's death in 526 the Silver Bible is not mentioned in inventories or book lists for a thousand years.

The "rediscovery" took place in Germany in the sixteenth century, i.e. during the Reformation, parts of the Codex having been preserved in an impoverished Benedictine monastery. Fortuitous discovery of a money-spinner? Well, it did end up in Prague at the court of Rudolph II, he of the famous alchemists alley...wonder how much he paid for it.

The first documented mention of 'Codex Argenteus' is in 1597; Bonaventura Vulcanius (Leiden professor of Greek) wrote:
'In regard to this Gothic language, there have come to me [two] brief dissertations by an unidentifiable scholar - shattered planks, as it were, from the shipwreck of the Belgian libraries; the first of these is concerned with the script and pronunciation [of the language], and the other with the Lombardic script which, as he says, he copied from a manuscript codex of great antiquity which he calls "the Silver".' [Note that according to this Vulcanius did not himself invent the epithet 'Argenteus' but found it in the notes of an unidentified precursor.]


Wulfilia or Ulfilias was a Goth or half-Goth living in the Roman empire at the height of the Arian controversy in the mid to late 4th century AD, a "bishop, missionary and bible translator" says wiki, and is credited with inventing the 'Gothic language'. His parents were Anatolian apparently enslaved by Goths on horseback and he himself ended up preaching (Arianism) in what is now Bulgaria to avoid persecution.

Ulfilas converted many among the Goths, preaching an Arian Christianity, which, when they reached the western Mediterranean, set them apart from their overwhelmingly "orthodox" (i.e. Trinitarian) neighbors and subjects.

The precursors of the Cathars?
Wulfilia is said to mean "little wolf" though it sounds like 'son of wolf' to me; could 'Beowulf' possibly be a learned in-house play on words referring to said Wulfilia?
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Hatty
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He compiled an OE dictionary which wasn't published but somehow was an "important source"... how?

The longevity of Junius' influence is remarkable:
His paraphrase of Genesis, Exodus and Daniel were of specific interest to Milton, also particularly, his translations of Caedmon's three poems on the fallen angels, hell and temptation (Amsterdam, 1655) which have a place in 'Paradise Lost'. His 'Etymologicum Anglicanum', first printed only in 1743, was largely used by Dr Johnson for the etymologies of his Dictionary

May be we have Junius to thank for OE etymologies.

England benefited mightily from the influx of Dutch and French Protestant refugees who were clearly appreciated (Edward VI authorised the building of separate Dutch and French churches in the city of London), Leiden in Holland appears to be one of the main exporters of talent; many of them were outstanding scholars and linguists and they seem to have had a far-reaching influence as both librarians and collectors of libraries.

Junius himself was employed as a tutor and then as librarian by Thomas Howard, who was also a patron of Robert Cotton which might explain the Beowulf connection. Junius' nephew, Isaak Vossius, another Huguenot from Leiden, has been described as owning the "best private library in the world" (Stephen Massil). The name makes me wonder if Vossius was masquerading as a Huguenot (it wasn't until Oliver Cromwell's time that Jews were officially allowed in) especially when wiki remarks of him:

He had a contemporary reputation for eccentricity, refusing the sacrament on his deathbed, it was reported, until reminded that to do so would reflect unfavorably on the canons of Windsor, to which chapter he belonged.
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Mick Harper
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So many bricks, Hatty! What a wondrous house we could build. But meanwhile we can use the bricks to knock down bits of The Big House, so here's a task for everyone.

Gothic has always intrigued me since it appears to be one of these artificial 'Alphabetic languages' used for written commmunication that was, or so I had assumed, the earliest Northern example ie before either Anglo-Saxon or Old Norse. But now there is the clear possibility that the language itself might be a forgery. That would be grand! So all hands on the Gothic deck!

First thing. Which modern languages do the linguists claim came from Gothic?
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Komorikid


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I mentioned this in a previous post in another thread.
Gothic appears to be related to Latin.
The verb 'to be' in both languages is virtually identical
Gothic = habaidedumes
Latin = habebamus
Literally 'have-did-we' in both
They share the same root -- hab and the same suffix mes/mus

The other interesting thing about Gothic is although it is linguistically linked to Latin it is alphabetically linked to Greek and Runic letters. The strange and as yet unexplained mystery of Gothic is how it got two Greek letters Qoppa and Sampa, both of which disappeared from the Greek alphabet BEFORE the Classic Greek period. They only appeared in Ionian Greek.

So how did two letters that had supposedly disappeared from the Greek alphabet by the 6th Century BC turn up in Gothic a thousand years later?
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Hatty
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So how did two letters that had supposedly disappeared from the Greek alphabet by the 6th Century BC turn up in Gothic a thousand years later?

The explanation given by linguists is that in the 4th century the Ulfilias Bible was translated from Greek, hence the recurrence of Greek words and syntax. It might be to do with Anatolia... Scythians, Goths, Huns (not all together) who'd once been around the (Hellenised) Caucasus and travelled ever further westwards.

Wiki claimsIt is the Germanic language with the earliest attestation but has no modern descendants.
but adds that it survived in parts of Spain and Portugal as late as the 8th century which might suggest that the Moorish invasion pushed 'Gothic' remnants into...where? South of France? (where Arianism eventually 'died'). It was said (by a 9th century Frankish monk called Strabo) to have still been around in the lower Danube region and isolated mountain areas in the Ukraine in the 9th century.

Wiki informs us that First publication mentioning Gothic manuscript appeared in 1569 by Goropius Becanus in his book "Origines Antwerpianae" (referring to what is now known as the Ufilias Bible discovered in a monastic library):
'So now let us come to another language, which the judgement of every man of distinguished learning at Cologne identifies as Gothic, and examine the aforesaid Lord's Prayer written in that [language] in a volume of great age belonging to the monastery of Werden in the district of Berg, about four miles from Cologne' .

It was the afore-mentioned Bonaventura Vulcanius, an influential Dutch humanist, who made the connection between Gothic and Ufilias:
'With all due respect to these writers, I should think that the use of Gothic scripts existed among the Goths long before the time of Wulfila but that it was he who first made it known to the Romans by translating the Holy Bible into the Gothic language. I have heard that a manuscript copy of this, and a very ancient one, written in Gothic capital letters, is lurking in some German library.'

Vulcanius was secretary to the Archbishop of Burgos in northern Spain and then to the archbishop's brother in Toledo (the Netherlands was still a Spanish possession). Later he taught Greek at the university of Leiden, founded a few years previously by William I of Orange to reward the city for its heroic struggle against Spanish rule. He gave both Latin and Gothic translations of the bible and transliterated the Gothic into Latin.
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DPCrisp


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One third of the words in Beowulf do not appear in any other document, they might simply have been invented. Who was able to invent this language? It could have only been Franciscus Junius (1589-1677) who was the first to publish a grammar and dictionary of the Old English language

I presume they still think English words descended from them. It'd be nice to know what they are. Are they in his dictionary?

Odd that Junius, a Huguenot from the Netherlands, should have been so immersed in Anglo-Saxon.

Anglo-Saxon is similar to Friesian though...
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DPCrisp


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The other interesting thing about Gothic is although it is linguistically linked to Latin it is alphabetically linked to Greek and Runic letters.

I think it was argued on GrahamHancock.com that Gothic bears a strong resemblance to Greek. This may or may not be related to the Homer in the Baltic hypothesis that the Trojan War involved Gothic tribes who later settled Greece and transplanted Homeric names to the Eastern Med. (rather as Wilkens has it with Atlantic tribes). {Mind you, I think it was argued on GH.com that Greek/Runes/Cyrillic/everything comes from Turkic... and there is controversy over the Romanceness of Romanian... so one wonders how susceptible close-ish-ly related languages are to any old analysis at all.}

Way back in the days of email, I suggested there is therefore a corridor between the western Baltic and Greece that repeats the pattern

Finnish/Hungarian
Slavic
Gothic/Greek
Hungarian/Finnish
Slavic
Greek/Gothic
and this corridor seems to isolate Romance-speaking Romania from Romance-speaking Western Med.

I mentioned mass migration at the time, which I have no affection for now, and nothing was ever brought to a conclusion. But one of our number did say:

I found this: < http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Romanian-language > which says that the oldest written Romanian was written in the Cyrillic alphabet and that the Latin alphabet was only used to write Romanian in the late 1700s.

Latinate Gothic written in runes or alpha-betas and Latinate Romanian written in Cyrils. Something fishy going on.

Mick wrote:

Can you keep your eyes out for anything weird on Gothic. To give you a flavour of what to look out for, this exchange has just taken on Gesithas (Anglo-Saxon enthusiasts board)

[re: Gothic] Different, isn't it? Being familiar to varying degrees with English, Dutch, German and the Scandinavian languages, I see much less that rings a bell here.

-----------------------------------

I came to Gothic through Tolkien's biography and his impressive schooldays attempts at Gothic. It was the first elder Germanic language I looked at. A large amount of it is similar to Old English. Sometimes the spelling system disguises this. Additionally, it is far older than any of the OE we have and some of the language is different because of sound shifts that happened later. Some of the common words like 'and' and the pronouns are very different and this can also disguise the similarities. Numerous similarities include 'aftra' - again; aira - earth; bairan - to bear; baurgs - city; faginon - rejoice; haban - have and so on...

I also find the history of the Goths fascinating. This history shows how large scale migration is a viable historical theory.

-----------------------------------

While Gothic is the oldest Gmc language recorded in any quantity it is not in every respect the most archaic. Old English has preserved some features that Gothic modified.
Great link though!!



"A large amount of it is similar to Old English. Sometimes the spelling system disguises this."

So it's OK to adjust spellings to reveal the sense of things.

Oh. No it isn't: we need the spellings to tell us about the "sound shifts that happened later."


"This history shows how large scale migration is a viable historical theory."

Wot?

"While Gothic is the oldest Gmc language recorded in any quantity it is not in every respect the most archaic. Old English has preserved some features that Gothic modified."

Wot?
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Mick Harper
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So let me see if I've got the sequence right
1. Spain holds the Netherlands
2. Netherlands begins revolt against Spain
3. "Gothic" Bible is discovered
4. Goths happen to be a neo-Netherlandish people who conquered Spain

Quite a coincidence.
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Hatty
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Which modern languages do the linguists claim came from Gothic?

None, far as I can tell; a 'proto-Germanic' language that subsequently died out is the consensus.

"Gothic" Bible is discovered

The Codex Argenteus is the lynchpin for proponents of the existence of a Gothic language, the rest of the evidence is scanty by their own admission. Its chequered history would be suspect even without occupying such a pivotal role.

The abbey of Werden (site of the rediscovered MS) in north-east Germany was once a prosperous monastery owning land in Westphalia, Frisia and Lower Saxony, approximating a principality; despite reforms (the Bursfelde Congregation) its decline was hastened by the spread of Protestantism and the expansion of the neighbouring County of the Mark and the Mark of Brandenburg, which incorporated the County of Ravensberg. One of the questions perplexing scholars is how the 'Silver Bible' manuscript reached Werden from Ravenna, capital city of Theodoric, king of the Ostrogoths (still practising Arians), where it was purportedly written. Unless there's a confusion between Ravensberg and Ravenna? Theodoric was known as Trajan by the Romans and modelled his capital Ravenna on Constantinople 800+ miles to the east.
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Mick Harper
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Strictly speaking, that should read "claimed to have been found in the Abbey of Werden". As far as I can make out there is no independent evidence that it was found anywhere, just a 'provenance' supplied by one of the usual suspects (Becanus and Junius were mates!) and repeated ad nauseam by scholars.

It's all a bit vague at the moment but the bloke who started the ball rolling seems to be this Johannes Goropius Becanus geezer who was a Dutchman as per above. And not just any old Netherlander either but Charles V's family doctor. (Charles V was the bloke the Dutch were originally trying to break away from.)

However the next step in the saga is even more significant. The Swedes at the end of the Thirty Years War demanded they be given this "Gothic Bible" as part of the peace proposals. Why is this significant? Well, because Gothland (best known nowadays as where Gothenburg is) was originally Danish territory but was desperately required by (and eventually acquired by) Sweden. So having the Gothic Bible safely in Uppsala (rather than Prague) was reasonably important. Gothland had really been Swedish all this time! There is a possibility that the bible only became "Gothic" at this stage -- I can't find out what language Becanus thought it was.

And just to complete the circle: why was Gothland so important? Well, because if Denmark held it they would control the entrance to the Baltic Sea, whereas if Sweden held it neither country would have control. And who was overwhelmingly the largest user of the Baltic straits? Why, Holland of course, who kept having to go to war with Denmark for this reason.
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Mick Harper
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I think I can now answer one of my own questions

Incidentally, it was in the city of Antwerp that fragments of the Gothic Bible were published for the first time ever. In 1569, Ioannes Goropius Becanus printed samples from the Codex Argenteus (viz the Lord's Prayer and citations from Mark) in his Origines Antwerpianae. His (mostly erroneous or biased) attempts to identify and interpret the language sparked the interest of other philologists and can be considered the start of Gothic philology (see Van De Velde 1966 pp. 24-35 for a detailed account; von Friesen & Grape 1928 pp. 128-129, Stutz 1966 pp. 83-84).

This would suggest that he didn't regard it as Gothic (and his generally pro-Spain stance might rule that out too). So now we need to discover who first attached the term "Gothic" to this 'artefact', and when. Let's hope it was the Swedes.

But it proves one other thing -- nobody knew what Gothic looked like in 1569 (otherwise there could have been no doubt about its identity). That strikes me as very odd if Gothic had really existed (and why should we be certain now!?) but clearly it creates a market for some more 'discoveries' if it didn't.
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Hatty
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The Swedes at the end of the Thirty Years War demanded they be given this "Gothic Bible" as part of the peace proposals.

That's a novel(istic) interpretation...officially, it "fell into their hands" (along with the Imperial Castle's other treasures).

Strictly speaking, that should read "claimed to have been found in the Abbey of Werden".

Indeed, and I'm now wondering whether it was the Swedes themselves who made the link with Werden; 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica sums up Sweden's gains from the Treaty of Westphalia 1648 (the end of the Thirty Years War) thus:

Sweden received western Pomerania with Rugen and the mouths of the Oder, Wismar and Poel, in Mecklenburg, and the lands of the archbishopric of Bremen and the bishopric of Verden, together with an indemnity of 5,000,000 thalers. The privileges of the Free Towns were preserved. Sweden thus obtained control of the Baltic and a footing on the North Sea, and became an estate of the empire with three deliberative voices in the diet.

Verden, a town in the province of Hanover, could be easily read as Werden (abbey).
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Hatty
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3. "Gothic" Bible is discovered
4. Goths happen to be a neo-Netherlandish people who conquered Spain

Quite a coincidence.

By all accounts Becanus was bonkers linguistically speaking (he claimed Brabantian was the original world language) and passionately nationalistic. There's no record that he was "mates" with or even knew Junius; plenty of clues however suggest that Junius was Jewish not merely based on his nephew, Isaak, but his father, Franciscus Junius the Elder, was professor of Hebrew at Leiden university and married the daughter of Emmanuel Tremellius, an Italian Jew "converted to Christianity" - first Catholicism, then Protestantism.

Dutch Jews had of course good reason to see Spain as the enemy as the majority were descendants of the 1492 expulsion though there's no way of telling if the Junius family were from Spain originally. Junius Senior seemed to encounter a fair amount of prejudice:

...he was appointed minister of the Walloon church at Antwerp. His foreign birth excluded him from the privileges of the native reformed pastors, and exposed him to persecution. Several times he barely escaped arrest, and finally, after spending six months in preaching at Limburg, he was forced to retire to Heidelberg in 1567. There he was welcomed by the elector Frederick II, and temporarily settled in charge of the Walloon church at Schonau;


Junius Junior was responsible for the Gothic version of the Ulfilas Bible (the Anglo-Saxon version was edited by one Thomas Marshall), a year previously he'd published his Gothic glossary. By the time of his death he'd amassed an impressive library which he bequeathed to Oxford University.
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