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Abstract

This study concerns a late medieval manuscript, the Ambraser Heldenbuch, created by Hans Ried for Emperor Maximilian I between 1504 and 1516. The recent facsimile edition makes it much easier to probe the critical question why this volume was not printed and what makes it stand out so much in the context of the early modern book market. The inclusion of the anonymous verse narrative Mauritius von Craûn (ca. 1220–1240) allows for more trenchant analyses concerning the patron and his interest in these literary works. The study takes into view the emperor’s strong concern with his afterlife, the paradoxical aspects determining that novella, and the contrast of this text copied here, very oddly, for the first time with the more popular literary works offered on the early modern book market. At a time when the printing press was increasingly conquering the book business, luxury bibliophile items continued to be produced as manuscripts. It might well be that the current book market finds a parallel in this phenomenon, with the electronic book pushing traditionally printed books aside. In fact, until today, we still resort to the manuscript in special cases, such as deeds, wills, licenses, and other documents.

In: Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik
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Abstract

The Old Norse-Icelandic literary corpus offers a rich and specific lexicon for spells, charms, magic, and other paranormal events. This article offers an etymological overview of the term atkvæði and a selection of textual occurrences in order to investigate the semantic possibilities of the term beyond the context of witchcraft. The founding hypothesis is that a careful look at atkvæði through various types of texts from different periods of time may highlight its origin in a pre-literate phase of the Old Norse-Icelandic culture where the boundaries between magic, poetry, and law-making were not as clear as the contemporary readers might reckon.

In: Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik

Abstract

This article examines current practices of normalization of names in Norse philology and computational linguistics that to a large extent build on deductive reasoning and external authoritative sources such as grammars, dictionaries and gazetteers. Instead, a survey of manuscript evidence and quantification of name forms at several levels of abstraction is proposed as an alternative inductive principle of normalization. A case study of name-form distributions in a dataset of 6,633 spatial attestations in East Norse literature from the Norse World resource serves as a point of departure for a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of the approach. The comparison between attestations linked to the five most frequent place-names in Old Swedish and Old Danish shows the existence of typical spellings. However, there are still examples of norm negotiations and competitive distributions. Thus, the first inductive step of normalization can be complemented by further processing based on correspondences between phonology and spelling. Finally, stratified normalization of place-names pioneered by Norse World is seen as more versatile compared to traditional methods; the approach has a potential to facilitate both more nuanced philological and linguistic research as well as the further development of named-entity recognition tools.

Open Access
In: Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik

Abstract

The origin of the word polder is contested. The older theories derive polder from Dutch pol (‘sod of grass, top, head, higher piece of land’, cognate with English poll(e) and Middle-Low-German pol(le)) or from Dutch poel (‘puddle, pond of still water’; cognate with German Pfuhl, English pool and Middle-Low German pōl(e)/pūl). In this article the author will review the etymological explanations and offer new support for a connection with poel. The original meaning of polder must have been ‘a land covered in puddles, wetland, marshy ground’.

In: Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik
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Abstract

Over the past decade, steady progress has been made in identifying the Latin witnesses to the Homiliary of Angers; however, no new copies of its Old English rendition have surfaced. The singular source of information about the vernacular adaptation and dissemination of this important preaching resource in Anglo-Saxon England remains the Taunton Fragment (Taunton, Somerset County Record Office, DD/SAS C/1193/77), two bifolia of unknown origin and uncertain date. The previous discussions, which centered around orthography, morphology, and morphosyntax, determined that the Taunton Fragment is a copy produced towards the end of the Old English period, probably deriving from an Anglian archetype. To complement these findings, the present study focuses on lexis. A close examination of the two layers of the Taunton Fragment’s vocabulary—the lexemes which primarily occur in texts of Anglian origin or exhibiting the influence of Anglian works and the lexemes which typically replace obsolescent lexis in late copies of Old English material—supports the hypothesis that the Old English translation preserved in the Taunton Fragment is a copy descending from an Anglian archetype produced in a scriptorium dominated by the late West-Saxon writing tradition in the second half of the eleventh century.

In: Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik
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Abstract

The Batavian name Pero is best understood as a derivative of Germanic *perō ‘pear’. Names that also feature the root per- are recorded from other parts of the Roman Empire in connection with Germanic speakers and seem to reflect the influence of pear growing in the Roman provinces. This influence was so great that the name of the p-rune also appears to have been derived from *perō ‘pear’. The early Germanic names Pero, Uxperus and Gamuxperus seem to represent occupation names, and are consistent with archaeobotanical evidence for the development of pear cultivation in the Germanic-speaking provinces of the Empire.

In: Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik
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Abstract

The reconstructed name of the early Germanic god *Wōdanaz is generally traced to a Proto-Indo-European root *u̯ā̆t- meaning ‘spiritually aroused, possessed’. The signification contrasts sharply with the attributes of the primal Germanic sky and war god *Tīwaz, whose name references the bright sky. In a cultural development not yet fully explained, the former displaces the latter as the chief god. In this article, a homophone of the above PIE root, designated *u̯ā̆t- (2), and meaning ‘to bow down, bend, stoop’, is posited as the root of a theonym meaning ‘the bent, stooped one’. He is identified as the Germanic psychopomp and lord of the dead with ties to an ancestor cult. From a largely quiescent role as the bowed or bent-knee god, he emerges from the underworld, when Germanic tribes resemanticized the reflex of the *u̯ā̆t- (2) root ‘bent, bowed’ – militarized it. The new chief god was understood as ‘the master of battle rage’, based on the prioritization of the signification inherent in the root *u̯ā̆t- (1).

In: Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik
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In: Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik
In: Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik
Author:

Abstract

The Norman Conquest and its tremendous linguistic impact on the English language is widely acknowledged among scholars and triggered a substantial body of literature. The great influx of French loanwords into the lexis of Middle English not only led to a profound restructuring of the lexicon, but also deeply affected the English morphology and patterns of derivation (Kastovsky 1994), as well as the English syntax to some extent (Smith 2012; Haeberli 2010). However, few studies have focused on a detailed analysis of these loans. Most researchers chose to focus on the quantitative aspects of the period of extensive lexical borrowing in Middle English, without dedicating much attention to the way and the extent to which French loanwords actually integrated and interacted with native vocabulary. This study thus sought to examine some excerpts of Middle English texts in more detail with the aim of getting closer to understanding whether these borrowings were already fully integrated in Middle English by the time these texts were written, whether this integration was determined by internal or external factors, and whether the process itself was abrupt or rather continuous.

In: Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik