The Frisian state historian Simon Abbes Gabbema (1628–1688) actively collected manuscripts and has thus been of tremendous importance for the preservation of medieval Frisian sources. It turns out that he possessed all but one of the Old Frisian law manuscripts from present-day Friesland. Gabbema also borrowed important manuscripts from other scholars in his network and (partly) copied these. His contacts with Franciscus Junius were especially important. Junius copied the archaic Old Frisian law manuscript Codex Unia from Gabbema, which is now lost. In this article, the focus lies on Gabbema’s collection of Old Frisian manuscripts and the study he made of Old Frisian sources. An appendix with an overview of the manuscripts discussed in this article has been added.
Han Nijdam and Jorieke Savelkouls
The Finnsburh Episode in Beowulf is a story within a story, the re-enactment of a lay sung by Hroðgar’s minstrel in Heorot. It concerns events seemingly of the mid-fifth century, beyond living memory for the imagined listeners. For them, the story could have been kept alive only as oral tradition, and must have been so for centuries by the time Beowulf was composed. Accordingly, scholars have been apt to treat the Episode as a report of a lay or lays, and in some respects archaic. The view that it is summary or otherwise defective has been encouraged by its textual difficulties, and until recently its internal structure has been little regarded by mainstream commentaries. The present analysis shows the Episode to be internally coherent, an intricately wrought composition in Biblical style; its form and implicit values are those of a culture which can reflect on Finnsburh and Heorot, but is not condemned to relive their experience. The Episode is the Beowulf-poet’s making throughout, and here (as not for the first time) it is held to be integral to the form and meaning of Beowulf.
The Brokmerbref and the Emsigo Compensation Tariff concerning arson provide a number of occurrences of the word krocha, otherwise unrecorded in Old Frisian, in the meaning ‘coal pan’. Yet the Modern Frisian dialect words denote different sorts of cooking pots, either earthen or metal, and apparently do not support the specialized meaning of the Old Frisian. Coal pans were quite common in medieval times, however, and the legal provisions under examination provide both homely and lively descriptions of arson, possibly based on actual cases. Medieval iconography of the devil as an arsonist—portrayed with a coal pan in his hand—assists the interpretation of krocha, which goes back to Richthofen, and adds a further negative tinge to the crime of arson, harshly sanctioned by Old Frisian laws.
The Old Frisian word scalc, scalch, schalc is usually used in the sense of ‘servant, slave’. However, the word evidences a pejoration in meaning, being also attested in the Frisian written tradition in the sense of ‘ill-mannered person, villain, a bad guy’. The investigation of the occurrences of skalk–along with a comparison of its Germanic cognates–will allow us to draw a picture of the semantic development of this word from medieval times to the Modern stage of the Frisian language. In the author’s opinion, the negative connotation of skalk as an offensive epithet is the final result of a range of different causes, whose origin should be searched both in Frisian-Scandinavian contacts during the Viking Age and in the influence exerted by neighbouring Middle Low German and Middle Dutch.
Frisian features an embedded v-First construction, which is semantically equivalent to an infinitival clause. The construction comes in two varieties. The coordinated variety involves a clause functioning as a second clause of a coordination in the scope of a modal verb. It used to feature an infinitival verb until it started to appear in the 18th century with (unambiguously) imperative verbs. The subordinated variety involves a clause functioning as a verbal argument. It developed out of the coordinated variety in the 18th century. The grammatical properties of both varieties of this construction in present-day Frisian are presented and understood as a result of their origin and subsequent development out of a coordinate construction in Old Frisian. To the extent that the analysis is successful, it provides support for the notion ‘construction’ and for examining the origin and evolution of constructions, as is customary in construction grammar (Goldberg 2006, Givon 2009).
Stephen Laker and Michiel de Vaan
Arjen P. Versloot
Rolf Bremmer (2007) concludes that the language of the Old Frisian Riustring manuscripts shows traces of copying from texts written in other Old Frisian dialects, notably from the Ems region. The strongest indication for his hypothesis comes from the masculine plural ending -ar, which is the rule in Ems Old Frisian but the exception in R1 and absent from other Riustring manuscripts. In this contribution, Bremmer’s hypothesis is partly confirmed, but augmented with the reconstruction of an indigenous Riustring plural ending -ar in masculine a-stem nouns denoting an animate subject, which appear substantially more often in the nominative. Nouns with a higher frequency of occurrence in the accusative take the plural ending -a. This is taken to reflect a former Proto-Frisian situation, with the ending -ar in the nom. pl. of masculine a-stem nouns against -a in the acc. pl., similar to Old Norse. The earlier distribution had become lexicalised by the time of Riustring Old Frisian. Some of the attested instances, however, are better explained as remnants of a copying process from Ems Old Frisian.
This article discusses where the Old Frisian glosses on the snippets of parchment of Gent Ms 3 may have originated. The main problem here is the time of writing: most of the monasteries in the Frisian area were founded after the second half of the twelfth century, which is too late for a possible connection. One possible place of origin, however, is the Benedictine monastery of Egmond in the Dutch area of Westfriesland; it has been established that the ‘defrisianization’ of the Egmond scriptorium did not take place before 1150.
Hier wird der Frage nachgegangen, wo die altfriesischen Glossen auf den Pergamentschnipseln mit der Signatur Gent Ms 3 geschrieben sein könnten. Das Problem in diesem Zusammenhang ist die Zeit der Niederschrift, weil die meisten Klöster im friesischen Gebiet nach der zweiten Hälfte des 12. Jahrhunderts gegründet wurden. Eine Möglichkeit wäre, dass dieser Ort das Benediktinerkloster Egmond im niederländischen Westfriesland ist; es ist festgestellt worden, dass die ‘Entfriesung’ des Egmonder Skriptoriums erst nach 1150 stattfand.
This article is in German.
There are some compostive place-names which seem not to have a genitive element, like ODu. Godolfhem [802–7]. The question is, whether they were actual stem-compositions or lost their genitive element. Gysseling (1973) explained them as originally containing the suffix PGm. *-ja, which was lost in the course of time. In that case there must be remains of the suffix in some place-names. This article argues that remains are to be found in place-names with -e like Notleuenes [C12] and even -a and -o like Fengrimahuson [918–48] and *Baltremothorp [C9]. Most of them are derivations from personal names, but there are also derivations from place-names like Heslemaholt [918–48]. The majority of these names seem to occur in the coastal areas, although there are also instances in Germany. Weakening in unaccented syllables made the derivation unclear and led to the loss of vowels, or sometimes to replacement by clearer suffixes like -er.
Bei Ortsnamen findet man ab und zu solche, die scheinbar kein genitivisches Element besitzen wie etwa anl. Godolfhem [802–17]. Die Frage ist dann, ob es sich hier um Stammkomposition handelt oder ob doch irgendwann eine Genitivendung vorhanden war. Gysseling (1973) hat versucht, sie dadurch zu erklären, dass sie mit einem Suffix pgm. *-ja gebildet wurden, das im Laufe der Zeit verschwunden ist. Wenn das stimmt, sollten sich eventuell noch Spuren nachweisen lassen. Es erweist sich, dass es tatsächlich Spuren gibt. So bestehen Formen mit -e wie Notluenes [12.Jh.] und mit -o und -a: Fengrimahuson [918–48] und *Baltremothorp [9. Jh.], gebildet zu Personennamen und Heslemaholt [918–48] zu einem Ortsnamen. Obwohl es auch in Deutschland beispiele gibt, stammen die meisten Namen eher aus den Küstengebieten. Da durch die Abschwächung der Vokale in unbetonten Silben diese Bildung undeutlich wurde, dürfte sie in späterer Zeit verschwunden oder durch deutlichere Bildungen wie die mit -er ersetzt sein.
This article is in German.