This concluding lecture reflects on the problems and possibilities of comparative legal history before moving on to the differences and similarities in patterns of England, France, and north Italy in the period c.1160-1270.
This lecture explores the ways in which deliberate legal change came to have unintended effects, especially on substantive law. It considers the interplay of legal learning, legal reasoning, and legal change. In so doing, it ponders Sir Henry Maine’s view of substantive law being secreted in the interstices of procedure.
Students will learn about Old Frisian language, text corpus, culture and history in the context of Old Germanic languages. Linguistic comparisons will be drawn between Old Frisian and the other (West) Germanic languages. Settlement history of Frisians in Britain, Old Frisian Law and Literature and Old Frisian manuscripts will be discussed in lectures. Library visits will focus on the Old Frisian manuscripts in Oxford. The OFSS will close with a social day in Oxford. The OFSS is about learning to read Old Frisian and to place Old Frisian in a wider linguistic, literary and historical context.
Who is the summer school for?
The summer school is aimed at students, PhD candidates and early career researchers with an interest in (Old) Germanic languages who want to familiarise themselves with Old Frisian.
What will the day programme look like?
There will be two lectures in the mornings and a translation workshop or library visit in the afternoons. The programme will cover the Old Frisian grammar in lectures by experts in the field and in translation workshops. Students will read Old Frisian texts in the afternoon workshops with help of modern handbooks and learn about the Old Frisian text corpus
By the end of the week, students should be able to translate a medium level Old Frisian text with the help of handbooks and have gained a good level of knowledge of the place and importance of Old Frisian within the Old Germanic language family
A visit to the Bodleian Library will enable students to view the Old Frisian manuscripts that are kept at Oxford.
This article adapts the Introduction to Dark Archives Volume I: Voyages into the Medieval Unread and Unreadable. Medium Ævum Monographs N.S. 43(Oxford, 2022). Available in print and digitally at https://aevum.space/NS43
‘Nel suo profondo ‘In its depth I saw vidi che s’interna, legato contained, bound with con amore in un love in one volume, volume, cio che per what is scattered as scraps ‘l’universo si squaderna’ through the universe.
Dante, Paradiso, XXXIII.85-88
AS WE ORGANISED THE FIRST DARK ARCHIVES CONFERENCE IN 2019 on the praxis of digitisation and its impact on medieval studies worldwide, little did we think that we would be arranging its sequels during a worldwide pandemic, with medievalists struggling for access to archives and libraries, even those which had previously been anything but dark. And so this volume, born of the pre-coronal world, in gathering together articles from papers delivered at the first event, forms a composite with those that followed, which were celebrated virtually and have been published as an on-line record of papers delivered, discussions round-tabled, and blogs subsequently posted. The development of Dark Archives into a hybrid, inseparably digital and physical, reflects the broader transformation of medieval studies and indeed our whole world: the digital substitutes which became necessary to living during the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 have not only persisted afterwards but begun, in often unsettling ways, to blend with the old existence into something new (as in our part inhabitation of the now-omnipresent Zoom). Clearly, we now dwell in a ‘Metaverse’ (as Neal Stephenson first termed it, and in the full intended sense of its latest proponents) – an inseparably digital and physical life with novel and still emergent properties, often as exotic as those of Jorge Luis Borges’ Orbis Tertius or ‘Third World’.
As one journey therefore halted – the archives became inaccessible (literally dark, in most cases) in ways unknown since the birth of medieval studies – another began. Yet on reflection, this journey has been less one of actual praxis than of acknowledging an existing fact: a vast area of medieval studies has predominately been conducted within a Metaverse for more than a decade, the beneficiary (or victim, some would argue) of inexorable and massive increases in the digitised representations of physical sources, primary and secondary. The present time, inannis coronae, has therefore sharpened our awareness of the issues involved in the first Dark Archives conference rather than supplanted them. Our primary concerns, which structured the conference and the present volume, centred around our knowledge of the written heritage (subsumed under the heading of the ‘Graphosphere’); its digital records (‘metadata’) alongside the huge challenge of harvesting, structuring and curating them; and the nature of the future scholarship that may resultantly emerge.
Mapping the Medieval Graphosphere
The medieval ‘Graphosphere’, as we define it, is itself one such emergent Metaverse object – the totality of what was inked, traced, daubed, carved, and scratched in the medieval Old World, from (somewhat arbitrarily) the end of antiquity in the West to its gradual adoption of movable-type printing in the fifteenth century; and, further, the infinitesimal survival of those scripta into the present; (other names suggest themselves, such as Michael G. Sargent’s Pleroma (πλήρωμα or ‘Fullness’), of the medieval written tradition). Barely grazed by scholarship, to grasp this totality has for centuries been the province of ecstatic vision, theory, fantasy, and horror, but only in the last decade or two, of scientific quest. Hugely lagging the parallel process for printed books, itself largely unaccomplished, we feel ourselves at the equivalent stage of the Age of Discoveries, of multiple missions into the previously unknown, that broadly capped what we ourselves term the Medieval. The reference to the Portuguese expansion is not simply mad self-aggrandisement (brought on by Zoom over-exposure). It captures on the one hand how soaringly the Graphosphere dwarfs our existing working map in extent, and whose proper charting will, we suspect, marginalise the latter as far as the circumnavigators did the Mappa Mundi; on the other, the great energies we witnessed at Dark Archives being marshalled to this end. Examples included: the unprecedentedly large Polonsky Foundation-funded scanning projects to digitally re-unite bodies of manuscripts dispersed since the medieval period, represented for us by the Polonsky Greek Manuscripts Project; Sarah Savant’s presentation on the KITAB digitisation project, which had by around 2020 produced a database of 1.5 billion words of eighth- to fifteenth-century C.E. written Arabic; and the project of the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library to digitally preserve handwritten artefacts from across the globe. Quantifying what is still extant in France’s incredibly rich libraries and archives is the topic of Anastasia Shapovalova’s paper, which describes the Biblissima project in which she is herself involved, as a tool for exploring this rich cultural reserve.
However, in seeking to even grasp the Graphosphere’s vastness our terrestrial analogy falters (while cosmological ones beckon), for it must also encompass what has been lost – a body of ‘dark matter’, literally unreadable, itself in turn dwarfing the extant (read or unread). The ambition to sketch and eventually restore this lacuna was highlighted at Dark Archives by Beyond2022, with its aim to reconstruct as fully as possible the centuries of material destroyed in the 1922 fire at Ireland’s Public Record Office; Krista Murchison’s similar efforts for manuscripts destroyed in the Second World War; Joanna Tucker’s presentation, ‘Survival and Loss: working with documents from medieval Scotland’, where monastic cartularies are excavated for information of lost documents, but disappeared monasteries are also queried for their lost cartularies; and our extended Dark Archives 20 round-table debate on ‘Loss and Dispersal’, chaired by Elizabeth Solopova. Nor can one speak of the ‘lost’ as a constant, since it grew unevenly throughout the medieval period and continues to do so, if not at the past’s calamitous rates.
If one had to identify an inaugural journey of the Graphosphere era, it would be Eltjo Buringh’s Medieval Manuscript Production in the Latin West: Explorations with a Global Database (2011). By applying statistics to a small database of manuscript records, Buringh inferred outline numbers, with more detailed breakdowns, for the Latin West’s total production from the sixth to the fifteenth centuries – c. 11mn whole manuscripts of which c. 0.75mn remain (albeit with major caveats to the definition of ‘manuscript’), part of a more loosely estimated c. 3mn surviving manuscripts, produced as far afield as Ethiopia and India, from the first to nineteenth centuries. This was a marked development upon previous estimations in its combined method, scale, and sheer ambition – an Erastothenes, Buringh longed to calculate the entirety of Old World medieval manuscript production, but was hampered by the time’s limited techniques and (above all) data. Yet both the need and practicality of an interrogable, navigable model of the Graphosphere along these lines has become clearer with each annual flood of fresh data. Therefore we were delighted that Eltjo Buringh contributed the opening Keynote to the first Dark Archives conference, and the first chapter of this Proceedings, with a re-consideration of his methods in the context of lost codices in England and Scotland. It was remarkable to see the influence of his work in a range of other research presented at Dark Archives, including the flowering science of manuscript statistics.
What has also become clearer is that any credible Graphosphere model must embrace not only all geographic areas of production, but all kinds of written artefact – from manuscript fragments (whose enormous scope for reconstructing the medieval was the subject of Lisa Fagin Davis’ Dark Archives 20 keynote, and other presentations), and writings neither on parchment nor paper such as graffiti, to artefacts generally ignored as being ‘written’ at all (despite clearly possessing a laden semantic freight for their original users). Two articles therefore explore the cast and the carved: Rosário Morujão describes the progress made in cataloguing, describing, analysing (from pictographic and chemical points of view) and preserving medieval Portuguese seals (‘Dark Seals in Portuguese Archives’);and John Hines offers a discussion of the origin and importance of runic inscriptions throughout northern Europe, ending with a particularly illuminating case-study of a runic fragment and its attached object (‘The Dark Sides of the Runes’). Materiality is here crucially important in the study of the written object, or the object with writing upon or within it.The evident thing-ness of the wax seal, or bridle-bit runically inscribed, encourages us to consider it ‘in the round’, and so both description and photographic representation have been spurred to capture its 3D accents — such three-dimensional representations are already arriving for manuscripts, providing a depth to the otherwise flattened page and the physical volume of the codex. At the same time, excessive pursuit the perfect simulacrum (in the manner of the facsimiles produced with remarkable exactitude by Ediciones Siloé)can draw us away from the inherent properties and possibilities of digitisation itself, not least that of simply preserving the physical aspects of manuscripts whose very existence, like both the libraries and the archivists that preserve them, is threatened.
We concluded our Mapping the Medieval Graphosphere session by turning to a third indispensable element of its dark matter, neither completely unknown nor destroyed: those things about which we know but which remain unread or unrated, dark in the archives because they remain unopened. Clearly, some of this neglect is due to difficulties of access, a point brought out by Paul Dryburgh – and sometimes that difficulty is purposeful (see the frustrations of Roger Martínez Davila in certain religious repositories in Spain, and Anna Dorofeeva’s presentation on medieval ciphers); but another aspect, as Monika Opalińska’s article shows in its unpicking of vernacular English translations of the Pater noster, is due to unquestioning reliance on the assumptions of previous scholarship, and in the West a nineteenth- and twentieth-century system of values for the evaluation of its texts – religious texts have suffered particularly from this tendency to marginalize cultural production. To that inheritance of distortions in western materials we must add its working archives of non-European writings, often the outcome of entirely arbitrary choices in the colonial era as to what should be sent home – a distortion which the Arcadia fund is correcting through its drive to digitally scan and preserve texts situated in areas from sub-Saharan Africa to East Asia. We were also honoured to welcome the literary historian Yating Zhang, via Zoom, from Shaanxi, for an eye-opening history of the reception of medieval English texts in China, a perspective completely new to most scholars of medieval Europe who dwell on the continent itself or in North America.
Liberation from the assumptions of our education (and that of our supervisors) may be the first great and necessary outcome of mapping the Graphosphere. By opening ever more doors and windows into the archive’s darkness, allowing an ever fuller picture to be drawn, we expect so much of what went before (previously taken as the totality of the archive), to be confirmed as a somewhat arbitrary wandering through a fraction. Then we can truly grapple with what has survived and been lost, and fundamentally redraw mental maps of the Middle Ages whose shaky outlines were laid down in the late fifteenth century, or the Victorian age, or the period between the World Wars. Thus in one way, we stand like Henry the Navigator, the recipients of ever-increasing snippets of information that will supplement the metaphorical significance of the Orbis terrarum maps beloved of the illuminators of the Beatus manuscripts or the fillers-in of the mappae mundi; and in another, we peer like the seventeenth-century scientist Nicolaus Steno at a new historical geology, with the hope of now understanding its sediments and how they were laid down, in place of former explanations of self-serving etiologies.
Endless deserts, oceans & mountains: the Metadata Crisis
At both Dark Archives 19 and 20 we necessarily turned from the theoretical survey of the Graphosphere to the central practical challenge we must solve before we can even begin to own its territory – the ‘Metadata Crisis’, as our second keynote of Dark Archives19, Will Noel, put it. This crisis has been acutely one of scarcity of digital information, and the variable quality of much of what there is. Our physical written heritage remains overwhelmingly unscanned in a usable fashion, let alone described, most of all because of the prohibitive expense of doing so, limiting even the best-funded scanning initiatives to strategic selections of a few thousand folio pages. We were pleased to welcome some of the major funders of these initiative for an insight into their motivations, represented by Marc Polonsky of the Polonsky Foundation, Maja Kominko and Simon Chaplin of Arcadia Fund, and Daniel Reid of the Whiting Foundation. The 2019 Notre Dame fire reminded us of the pricelessness for their own sake of digital records of our vulnerable medieval heritage, quite besides that of data extraction – and until recently, indeed, one would have to question the latter motivation. By even an optimistic guess of numbers of people currently capable of reading a handwritten medieval text (and the rosiest forecasts for training more) it might take millennia to transcribe them all.
To our initial rescue, ex machina, may come automated Optical Character Recognition (OCR), or for medieval manuscripts more precisely, Optical Handwriting Recognition (OHR). Previously a collection of techniques only achieving useful (if far from total) accuracy with uniform post-Gutenberg printed type, Achim Rabus’ article demonstrates the huge progress, as well as limits, of the Transkribus project in machine reading the vastly greater complexity and variability of medieval handwriting. Dark Archives was also privileged to hear Verónica Romero, from the Universidad Politécnica of Valencia, speaking on their own OHR successes; Vincent Christlein who presented his own work on algorithm-driven identification of scribes, dating of hands and the recognition of document types, and Estelle Guéville and David Joseph Wrisley on advances in machine-reading manuscript abbreviations. Roger Martínez Davila’s article in this volume approaches the same problem with a truly impressive alternative: the harnessing of the general public, and its interest in its own heritage, to transcribe documents via Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCS) with high accuracy – in this case, the archives of multi-confessional medieval Iberia;  a similar approach but with more specific goals was the La Sfera transcription competition described for us by two of its organisers, Laura Morreale and Ben Albritton. Effective not only in transcrib-ing texts beyond the competence of current OHR, the results of such crowd-sourced endeavours can also be used in turn to train yet more accurate OHR models. Indeed, with the advent of ever more powerful forms of machine-learning, the latest of which teach themselves without human re-training, it seems only a matter of time before machines deliver a huge new archive of materials that medieval studies will then be obliged to incorporate within itself.
However, exactly such progress in automation is hastening what we believe to be the crux of the metadata crisis: not the scarcity but the potential endlessness of information about a physical written artefact that might be digitally captured and represented. Throughout Dark Archives, the related debates on what the digital can, cannot or can only capture of the physical have often seemed at root metaphysical (and emotively so, amplified by the unique stresses of the pandemic). At the Dark Archives 20 panel, ‘The Whole Book?’, chaired by Lisa Fagin Davis, and its associated papers there emerged on the one hand a palpable excitement that we now possessed a new object of study, inseparably material artefact and digital repres-entation, generated by their constant interplay (see, for example, the presentation of Lena Vosding, Natascha Domeisen, Luise Morawetz, and Carolin Gluchowski). On the other there was great discomfort at the huge potential damage of equating digitised information, no matter how plentiful, with the ipsissima res of each unique medieval manuscript. Indeed, it was argued, the futile quest for digital verisimilitude of the physical should be abandoned, so that the digital may be re-evaluated on its own terms. Yet, before our eyes, such debates are fast being sidelined by the onrush of data now being generated, with manuscript folio images alone now numbering in the millions. Its sheer range and quantity was on display at Dark Archives, from Vincent Christlein and Daniel Stromer’s digital unwrapping of fragile rolls of text using tomography, and Alexander J. Zawacki and Helen Davies’ related recovery of palimpsested text via spectrography, to Sarah Fiddyment’s capturing of the DNA and other biological markers left on codices – the very ‘writing of life’, of huge significance to a range of historical enquiries beyond codicology itself.
It is this tsunami of unprocessed information that threatens to define our Metadata Crisis as one of ‘superabundance’, as Elaine Treharne termed it in her Dark Archives 20/20 keynote. In fact, this superabundance is welcomed by Treharne and others as a transform-ing catalyst to scholarship, premised upon automated machine-categorisation evolving to carve out navigable pathways for human scholarly explorers. The power of such algorithms to classify manuscript images was already on display in her collaborator Ben Albritton’s presentation (in this case, by isolating illuminated initials); techniques promising to knit our digital records, regardless of the fragmentation of metadata and physical sources, into a massive, open and online ‘Future Archive’ (these issues and more explored in the eponymous panel chaired by Suzanne Paul). We also saw how other medieval data scientists are working to lend such images at least a metadata skeleton, as witnessed by Andrew Hankinson’s presentation on the crucial International Image Inter-operability Framework (IIIF) protocols in which major scanning initiatives are now encoded. Likewise, Debra Cashion’s article here presented (‘Selva Oscura: in and out of a dark archive’) demonstrated the great use to researchers of the attachment of provisional meta-data to digitised images. Yet without rapid advances, ex machina, of the kind anticipated by Treharne to structure, interrogate, and interpret the data – a recurrent demand of our contributors – we are faced with what Zawacki and Davies term a ‘new kind of dark archive … a “digital palimpsest”’.
Moreover, as William Mattingly’s Dark Archives 21 presentation at UnEdition soberingly brings home, the very likelihood that independent self-teaching AI will complete the scanning of our archive without human input threatens us not only with a vast further body of data, but one which we may not immediately, fully (or ever) comprehend, or trust. As of 2022, such a scenario seems closer than ever with the astonishing progress and apparent creativity shown by machine interpretation of humanity’s cultural heritage, along with indifference to our distinctions between ‘truth’ and ‘fiction’, as demonstrated by services such as Dall-E and ChatGPT.
Thus, the lesson of our current struggle with metadata may be that setting out to know the medieval Graphosphere in any exhaustive, enumerative sense will achieve the very opposite, for its emerging territories and cruxes have the endlessness of a Mandelbrot fractal; as one kind of Terra Incognita disappears, a vaster one takes its place. We have (perhaps comfortingly) come full circle. Yet, what should our goals be, if that of complete discovery is futile?
New worlds of medieval scholarship
Among major grounds for optimism is that medievalists are already constructing the worlds of scholarship that a realised Graphosphere might make possible – moreover these are evolutions, not supersessions, of existing scholarly techniques. One such field was demonstrated by Mark Faulkner, whose ‘Corpus Philology, Big Dating and Bottom-Up Periodisation’ brings that most traditional of disciplines, philology, into fruitful commerce with the developments in corpus linguistics over the last decades. As the title suggests, he imagines the scope of a fully realised digital corpus of medieval textual materials to uncover vernacular linguistic features previously un-systematised, or even simply ignored, in older surveys on which we have relied. We may thereby transform, from ‘the bottom up’, our placement of ‘the composition of texts in time and space’. This approach indicates how medieval ‘Big Data’ may rebuild the entire foundation of assumptions upon which current medieval scholarship rests, as was on display throughout Dark Archives and specifically debated at our Dark Archives 20 Round-Table debate, ‘The Future of Scholarship’, chaired by Peter Frankopan.
Perhaps the most often articulated ambition in the Dark Archives events was to liberate the scholarly presentations of texts from the constraints of the static two-dimensional page and dominant single-manuscript edition. Thus William G. Sargent’s article invokes William Gibson’s three-dimensional ‘Cyberspace’ (an inspiration for the ‘Metaverse’): a realm of free mental movement to be contrasted with the crabbed world of our physical existence. In Cyberspace, Sargent suggests, we might finally experience the fullness of manuscript traditions – each represented as an independent ‘arcology’ with its dizzyingly complex networks of variances, distributions, sequence of recensions, and links to other such arcologies. Thereby we might dispel the ‘obfuscation’ of fixed print snapshots. We were able to follow up this vision of the future Edition – or of the ‘UnEdition’, as Laura Morreale and Ben Albritton termed it, at an eponymous Dark Archives 20/21 event chaired by Paolo Trovato. Presentations ranged from that of Wouter Haverals and Mike Kestemont on ‘UnEditing the Herne Corpus’, via a massively ‘hyperdiplomatic’, rapidly updateable and interactive digital edition of that monastery’s entire library, through to Anthony Bale’s evocation of the breathtaking permutations of John Mandeville’s Travels as its own manuscripts voyaged through Europe’s vernaculars – its true tale (inaccessible to rescensionist quests for an originary exemplar) one of constant re-fashioning in its medieval audiences’ imaginations.
However, UnEdition also made clear that a truly useful repres-entation of this complexity still belongs to a more advanced ludic future age (except, that is, via the royal road of narrative description demonstrated by Bale himself). One route ahead was signalled by the Digital Editions Live workshop co-hosted by Dark Archives in 2021 (with Oxford Medieval Studies, and OCTET, the Oxford Centre for Textual Editing and Theory), reflecting on the digital editions recently crafted by Oxford medievalist students, based upon the protocols of the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI). Perhaps the event’s greatest lesson in this regard was that scholarly discernment, including traditional rescensionist editing skills, will be more important than ever in crafting useful scholarship from the vast amounts of data now available. Another lesson was the pressing need (as in humanities tout court), for a proactive digital pedagogy to gradually incorporate these new skills, even as digital technology itself constantly evolves. Perhaps the most novel aspect of Digital Editions Live was the augmentation of each presentation with a ‘live-feed’ consultation, from the Bodleian, of the physical original, an art brought to perfection by Andrew Dunning (so dramatically present did the three-dimensional physical artefact feel that one convenor nearly shouted when a student’s desktop cup of coffee appeared side-by-side with ‘her’ manuscript on the screen)!
Digital Editions Live is also the latest of our learning experiences in crafting the Dark Archives series itself, which now ranges from the workshops of 2019 (which covered skills from spectrography, and the scanning of seals on a budget, to crowdsourcing transcriptions) to the organising of subsequent events online in and after lockdown. Freed from the constraints of physical space and (in many ways) time, and to involve a truly global audience, we arranged for Dark Archives 20 presentations to be entirely pre-recorded, pre-captioned (by computer, sometimes amusingly) and released several days ahead of the scheduled live panels, with all participants encouraged to digest them beforehand. This front-loaded approach allowed us to concentrate the live events themselves (also computer live-captioned) in the early afternoon to early evening GMT, maximising the active attendance of many hundreds from as far afield as the US West Coast and China. Alongside the Zoom events we ran a separate online text forum (on ‘Discord’) allowing discussion of themes at any time. Behind the scenes the event was kept going by shifts of unseen but vital online moderators, from Oxford Medieval Studies, the University of Fribourg, and the University of Colorado (Colorado Springs). This born-digital approach also greatly facilitated the creation of a comprehensive digital archive of the event’s metadata (to fuel future discussion, events and scholarship (see https://darkarchiv.es). Yet among the most impressive achievements were those ‘outreach’ events that took place between the main sessions: the ‘Blogging with Manuscripts’ Presentations and Prize (also awarded via Zoom) associated with the #PolonskyGerman Project; and, finally, ‘Singing Together. Apart’, an extraordinary Zoom Compline in the evening (GMT) of the second day, which united in perfect synchrony singers physically dispersed across many locations (from St Edmund Hall’s crypt to the Church of St Barnabas Church in Jericho) together with all of the people who digitally attended from around the world.
Throughout our discussions at Dark Archives has run a quandary, explicitly or in the background — what truly is a digital repres-entation of a material thing; what truly are the two taken together? Far from being esoteric, in the last few years we have recognised it to be an existential issue, for it has convulsed all our lives, and as yet we have no answers. To explore it more broadly, we invited Luciano Floridi to present a Dark Archives keynote, to which he very graciously agreed. However, his planned article became another casualty of the times, as he became wholly involved in advising on various privacy issues regarding the UK Government’s ‘world-beating’ COVID-19 app that would potentially allow an efficient track-and-trace operation to be launched, thereby saving countless lives. Professor Floridi’s contribution to the philosophy of information has been so important that we sought another philosopher who might be able to give an overview of Floridi’s thought and its implications for digital humanities – in particular Floridi’s situating the historical archive at the heart of human life via the digital, as encapsulated in his conception of hyperhistory (our dependence upon the digital, and our incessant creation of digital traces).
Whatever our future digital representation of the medieval world, already clear is that it will not be the nightmare of Borges’ Tlön. Rather, it is the medieval world in ways that we have never before experienced it, part of its physical existence as inseparably and magically as Dante’s vision in Paradiso of the pages scattered throughout the universe, beheld re-bound ‘in one simple light’. Our manner of marvelling at this has taken the form of articles — such as those here — and blogs and presentations —such as those found on our website—followed by questions and the search for answers, the discussions of roundtables, all of which have deepened our knowledge of the written universe beyond us. We hope that the volume you hold in your hands, or your eyes scan on a screen, will mark the beginning of numerous exploratory paths for you into this newly revealed world.
We must thank everyone who has made the Dark Archives series thus far possible, including our presenters, panelists and chairs, and all those who kept things running behind the scenes: Pablo Acosta-García, Tuija Ainonen, Benjamin L. Albritton, Anthony Bale, Graham Barrett, Zoe Bartliff, Josephine Bewerunge, Elizabeth Biggs, Mary Boyle, Stewart J. Brookes, Scott Bruce, Eltjo Buringh, Toby Burrows, Daron Burrows, Debra Cashion, Matthew Champion, Simon Chaplin, Vincent Christlein, Sophie Clayton, Ralph Cleminson, Julia Craig-McFeely, Robin Darwall-Smith, Helen Davies, Karen Demond, Matteo di Franco, Maria do Rosário Morujão, Natascha Domeisen, Anna Dorofeeva, Sebastian Dows-Miller, Paul Dryburgh, Andrew Dunning, Sara Elis-Nilsson, Lisa Fagin Davis, Mark Faulkner, Gustavo Fernández Riva, Sarah Fiddyment, Chris Fletcher, Molly Ford, Alex Franklin, Peter Frankopan, Carolin Gluchowski, Emma Goodwin, Estelle Guéville, Andrew Hankinson, Wouter Haverals, Carrie Heusinkveld, Sam Heywood, John Hines, Matthew Holford, Kyle Ann Huskin, Folgert Karsdorp, Martin Kauffmann, Mike Kestemont, Ben Kiessling, Lynn Killgallon, David King, Maja Kominko, Pavlina Kulagina, Henrike Lähnemann, Franziska Lallinger, Andres Laubinger, Caroline Lehnert, Molly Lewis, James Louis Smith, Roger Louis Martinez-Davila, William Mattingly, John McEwan, Genevieve McNutt, Luise Morawetz, Laura Morreale, Krista Murchison, Eva Neufeind, Mary Newman, Will Noel, Monika Opalińska, Richard Ovenden, Nigel F. Palmer, Suzanne Paul, Luca Polidoro, Marc Polonsky, Dot Porter, Ellie Pridgeon, Adrien Quéret-Podesta, Achim Rabus, Henry Ravenhall, Daniel Reid, Tom Revell, Shannon Ritchey, Jane Roberts, Natasha Romanova, Verónica Romero, Anastasija Ropa, Edgar Rops, Miri Rubin, David Rundle, Rebeca Sanmartin Bastida, Michael G. Sargent, Sarah Savant, Daniel Sawyer, Marlene Schilling, Carolin Schreiber, Anastasia Shapovalova, Elizabeth Solopova, Lesley Smith, Emma Stanford, Alyssa Steiner, Columba Stewart, Jo Story, Justin Stover, Daniel Stromer, Jane H.M. Taylor, Keri Thomas, Samuel Thrope, Elaine Treharne, Paolo Trovato, Joanna Tucker, Cornelis van Lit, Stacie Vos, Lena Vosding, Julia Walworth, Michelle R. Warren, Teresa Webber, Thomas White, Pip Willcox, Lois Williams, Damon Wischik, Christopher Wright, David Joseph Wrisley, Ulrike Wuttke, Alexander Zawacki, and Yating Zhang. Finally, we must thank our sponsors, sine qua non: Medium Ævum, Oxford Medieval Studies, the Bodleian Library, and the Oxford English Faculty which freely and graciously provided our venue for the first physical conference in 2019.
Stephen Pink Anthony John Lappin
 English translation indebted to many others, most recently Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy 3: Paradiso, trans. Robin Kirkpatrick. (London, 2007).
 Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash (New York, 1992), passim. Although the term is clearly a conflation of ‘universe’ and ‘meta’, the latter is susceptible to a range of interpretation: in OED, as ‘beyond, above, at a higher level’, certainly, but most relevant to the IT industry’s current ambitions to create an indispensable hybrid reality for humanity, as ‘denoting change, transformation, permutation, or substitution’. In 2021, reflecting such ambitions, Facebook Inc. renamed itself ‘Meta’.
 The ‘third world’ is a new existence forged, in Borges’ ficción, from the leakage into ours of the impossibly fantastic qualities of the world of Tlön; Jorge Luis Borges, ‘Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius’, Sur 68 (1940), 36-46.
 On πλήρωμα, see ‘Birth of the UnEdition’, part of the Dark Archives 20/21 (DA20-21) series of events; on its theological connotations, see for example Jn. 1.16. We have drawn the general idea of a ‘Graphosphere’ from Simon Franklin’s The Russian Graphosphere, 1450-1850 (Cambridge, 2019), and less directly from Régis Debray’s division of human signage into the ‘logosphere’, ‘graphosphere’ and ‘videosphere’ eras (see Régis Debray, trans. Eric Rauth. ‘Three Ages of Looking’. Critical Inquiry 21.3 (1995), 529-55. Our consideration of the medieval Graphosphere broadly ends where Franklin’s begins, chronologically at least, at the rise of movable-type printing in Europe; however, all boundary definitions commonly attaching to ‘the medieval’, itself hugely problematic, await reconsideration through a proper survey of the Graphosphere itself.
 Christopher Wright and Matteo di Franco spoke on the Polonsky Foundation Greek Manuscripts project, ‘From isolation to integration: making Greek manuscripts readable’ (DA19). One might point to the ambitious projects to digitize the manuscript holdings of the Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel (Marenliese Holscher and Katharina Mähler, ‘Ready for the Big Show: how manuscripts are prepared for digitization’, covering the Polonsky Foundation’s project, ‘Manuscripts from German-Speaking Lands’) which has had subsequent knock-on effects such as the digitisation of the 127 manuscripts in the Staats- und Universitäts Bibliothek of Bremen between 2020-21, funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.
 Sarah Savant, ‘Finding Meaning in 1.5 Billion Words of Arabic: the KITAB project and its aims’ (DA19).
 On ‘dark matter’, cosmic and written, see further Michael G. Sargent, ‘Hidden in Plain Sight: the obfuscation of manuscript evidence in the modern critical edition’, Dark Archives Vol. I, 315-35 (315).
 Krista Murchison’s ‘Righting and Rewriting History: recovering and analyzing manuscript archives destroyed during World War II’ (NWO Project Database) will reach its completion in 2023. For her paper to Dark Archives 20/20, see Murchison 2020b.
 Further DA19 conference papers were given by Jo Story (‘Insular Manuscripts: how many and what next?’; Ralph Cleminson (‘Non leguntur: shedding light on Slavonic sources’; Adrien Quéret Podesta (‘Textual Ghosts in the Oldest Central European historiography’); Daniel Sawyer (‘At Knowledge’s Edge: lost materials’), Gustavo Fernández Riva (‘Network Analysis of Manuscripts’).
 Further engagement with materiality was found through the DA19 contributions of Henrike Lähnemann (‘Nun’s Dust’); David King (‘The Corpus vitrearum medii aevi’), Ellie Pridgeon (‘The Writing on the Wall: medieval painted inscriptions’), and Sarah Fiddyment (‘Manuscript Palaeo-proteomics’).
http://siloe.es. Most recently engaged by the Beinecke Library to produce a facsimile edition of the Voynich manuscript, which retails at around eight thousand euro.
 See below, 145-67. Further DA19 papers on this theme were offered by Mathew Holford (‘The Least Studied Manuscripts in the Bodleian’) and David Rundle’s characteristically provocative think-piece (‘The Unbearable Lightness of the Archive’).
 Will Noel, ‘Through a Screen Darkly: the Metadata Crisis and the authority of the digital image’. Further, at DA19, Toby Burrows (‘Aggregating Provenance Metadata to Reveal the Histories of Medieval Manuscripts’) showed how metadata can be used to good effect.
 Marc Polonsky discussed the various strategies adopted by the Polonsky foundation in his address, ‘Digitisation of Cultural Heritage: a funder’s perspective’ (DA19). Ben Kiessling, ‘The Limits to Digitization’ (DA19) sounded a warning note over some of these processes.
 ‘Discussion: Funders’ Perspectives’, DA20 Round-table debate, chaired by Peter Frankopan.
 Samuel Thrope, ‘The Curator in the Machine’ (DA20) discussed the difficulties of balancing accessibility with the reading experience in making public the digitized Arabic manuscripts of the National Library of Israel.
 Achim Rabus, ‘Training Generic Models of Handwritten Text Recognition using Transkribus: opportunities & pitfalls’, Dark Archives Vol. I, 183-208.
 All at DA19: Verónica Romero, ‘Hands-on Workshop on Assistive Technologies to Access the contents of handwritten text manuscripts’; John McEwan, ‘Imaging Seals on a Budget’; Roger Louis Martinez-Davila, ‘Crowdsourcing Manuscript Transcriptions: opportunities and challenges using MOOCs, social media, and emerging platforms’; Alexander Zawacki and Helen Davies, ‘Multispectral Imaging: technologies, techniques, and teaching’.
The Oxford Medieval Commentary Network is delighted to announce an upcoming Seminar Series for Hilary Term 2023. We will welcome four distinguished speakers from different disciplines, who will share their insights into different aspects of the commentary tradition. Seminars will take place on Thursdays of weeks 2, 4, 6, 8, at the Thatched Barn at Christ Church. There will be a free lunch at 12.45pm, followed by a one-hour seminar 1.15-2.15pm. Further details below, and on our website.
While digitising the manuscript MS. Canon. Pat. Lat. 57 (Bodleian Library), the team of the Bodleian discovered that it contains not only Latin but also Old High German (OHG) glosses – which have not been edited yet. In the following blog post, I will present the vernacular glosses and discuss them, adding more glosses each week.
The manuscript was written and glossed in the 11th century in the South-West area of Germany. It contains the full text of Gregory the Great’s ‘De cura pastorali’. The glosses, Latin and vernacular, are clearly visible between the lines of the main text, but some of them have been erased. At least two different hands can be identified which glossed in Latin as well as in Old High German. The main difference between the hands in this manuscript is the colour of the ink and the thickness of the lines, so it is possible that one scribe glossed and corrected the text in several passes. The erasure of some glosses could be part of the correction process. The text contains not only lexical glosses, but also grammatical markings that connect different words or add endings. I could not find any scratched glosses.
The corpus of glosses matches to a large extent the Alemannic-Franconian glosses of the manuscript B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), interestingly also some of the erased glosses.
A large part of the first page (fol. 1) has been excised. This was to remove part of folio 1r, probably library stamps, as the Latin text on folio 1v is incomplete because of the cut. Parts of the text have been erased in the middle of the page before the excision. Another (later) hand has added a few lines of Latin in the lower half of the page. There are some annotations by a much later hand (light ink) which left comments throughout the manuscript. The text of ‘De cura pastorali’ begins on folio 2r.
In the following, I will present the glosses of MS. Canon. Pat. Lat. 57 with focus on the Old High German glosses. Latin glosses will be included if they give additional information on relations to other manuscripts. At a later stage, the corpus of Latin glosses will be explored as well. Vernacular glosses are first listed and then gradually commented on and interpreted. Comments are very welcome! You can use either the commenting function at the end of this page, or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I would like to extend special thanks to Prof. Dr Andreas Nievergelt (University of Zurich), who helped me with this edition.
Notes about the edition:
the Latin and OHG lemmas are spelled as in the manuscript, including abbreviations
if the Latin lemma or OHG gloss cannot be identified with certainty (mainly when marginal glosses were written without a reference marker, or the gloss was erased), there is a question mark before the lemma
the spelling of the Latin context follows the manuscript, abbreviations are resolved, the punctuation follows the manuscript
line breaks are marked by |, page breaks by ||
book and chapter of ‘De cura pastorali’ are given in brackets after the context (= Greg., Cura), with reference to the appropriate section of the edition Sources Chrétiennes 381/382 (= SC)
Latin lemmas in the context are underlined
if the glosses also appear in the manuscript B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), the glosses and reference to the edition in StSG are included
images were retrieved from the digitised manuscript, for reference please see the folio and line number given for the glosses
pastoralis cu|rę me pondera fugere de|litiscendo uoluisse . benigna frater karissime | atque humillima intentione reprehendis· (Greg., Cura 1,Praef.; cf. SC 381 124,3–5)
1. delitiscendobosconde .i. tacendo (fol. 2r, l. 7, interlinear)
Possibly scribal error b‑ instead of l‑; interpretament is a pres part of wv loskên (AWB 5,1298) ‘sich verbergen, verstecken’ = ‘to hide, to conceal’) with adverbial function, parallel to the function of Latin gerund in dat/ab. sg; vowel ‑o‑ in ending suggests that verb fluctuated between class II (‑ôn) and class III (‑ên) (cf. Braune §369 A.2), shifting from class III to class II is typical for the Franconian dialect (cf. Franck §198); the gloss is supplemented by the Latin gloss .i. tacendo, also a gerund in dat/abl sg, ‘to be silent’.
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,197,22: ‘Delitiscendo losconde’
2. rep̄hendislasteres (fol. 2r, l. 8, interlinear)
Vowel ‑e‑ in ending suggests that verb fluctuated between class II (‑ôn) and class III (‑ên) (cf. Braune §369 A.2), but could also be weakened from ‑ô‑.
Quos rursum dominus detestatur| dicens · Et tenentes legem nescierunt me . Et | nesciri ergo se ab eis ueritas queritur . et nescire prin|cipatum nescientium protestatur · Quia profecto | hi qui ea quę sunt domini nesciunt . a domino nesciuntur · (Greg., Cura 1,1; cf. SC 381 130,32–132,36)
3. detestat̃leidizot (fol. 3r, l. 19, interlinear)
3rd pers sg pres ind act wv leidazzen (AWB 5,753) ‘jemanden, etwas verabscheuen’ = ‘to detest someone, something’
Verb fluctuated between class II (‑ôn) and class I (‑jan) (cf. Braune §369 A.1), here it is class II; shifting from class I to class II is typical for the Franconian and Alemannic dialect (cf. Franck §198, Weinhold A §357).
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,197,27: ‘Detestatur leidizot’
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,197,28: ‘Queritur clagot’
Quorum profecto humilitas | si cęteris quoque uirtutibus cingitur . tunc ante | dei oculos uera est . cum ad respuendum hoc quod | utiliter subire praecipitur . pertinax non est . (Greg., Cura 1,6; cf. SC 381 148,5–8)
If the OHG interpretament is equivalent to the Latin (nom sg f pos adj), an unknown adjective must be assumed; the ending ‑u is rare but appears for nom sg f in Franconian sources (Braune §248 A.6a).
Ne | is quem crimen deprauat proprium . intercessor | fieri appetat pro culpis aliorum · (Greg., Cura 1,11; cf. SC 381 164,4–5)
6. depráuatgérget (fol. 11r, l. 13, interlinear)
3rd pers sg pres ind act wv gi-ergen (AWB 3,390) ‘entstellen (in moralischer Hinsicht)’ = ‘distort (in a moral sense)’
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,197,29: ‘Déprauat gerget’
Si cęcus fuerit . si claudus . si uel paruo uel | grandi et torto naso . si fracto pede . si manu . | si gippus . si lippus . si albuginem habens in | oculo . si iugem scabiem . si impetiginem in | corpore . uel ponderosus · (Greg., Cura 1,11; cf. SC 381 164,9–12)
7. gippushouer (fol. 11r, l. 23, interlinear)
nom sg str m noun hovar, hovir (AWB 4,1168) ‘Buckel’ = ‘hunch’
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,197,53: ‘Gyppus houer’
Sed sunt nonnulli . qui dum se estimari |hebetes nolunt . sepe se in quibusdam inquisitio|nibus plusquam necesse est exercentes . ex nimia | subtilitate falluntur. (Greg., Cura 1,11; cf. SC 381 166,34–6) [the first se was added by a later hand]
8. hébetesslegue (fol. 11v, l. 21, interlinear)
nom pl m pos str adj. slêo (Ahd. Gl.‑Wb. p. 557) ‘stumpfsinnig’ = ‘dull’
‑g‑ could have been included to prevent the hiatus of sleuue (cf. Franck §69); StSG 2,197,55 assumes a scribal error (fn 8).
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,197,55: ‘Hebetes slegue’
Quasi enim | cutis pruriginem paulus curabat abstergere | cum dicebat . Temptatio uos non apprehendat . nisi | humana · (Greg., Cura 1,11; cf. SC 381 170,89–91)
9. pruriginēiukiligi · (fol. 12v, l. 23, interlinear)
Cui in | esu quoque pectusculum cum armo tribuitur . ut quod | de sacrificio praecipitur sumere . hoc de semetipso | auctori discat immolare · (Greg., Cura 2,3; cf. SC 381 182,19–21)
12. pectusculūbrustelin (fol. 15r, l. 11, interlinear)
nom sg str n noun brustilî(n) (AWB 1,1460) ‘kleine Brust’ = ‘small breast’
the Latin lemma was translated without context, in context it means ‘Bruststück’ = ‘brisket’ (cf. AWB 1,1460).
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,198,1: ‘Pectusculum prustelin’
Quod recte etiam super|humerale ex auro . [atque] iacincto . purpura . bis | tincto cocco . et torta fieri bisso praecipitur . | ut quanta sacerdos clarescere uirtutum diuersitate | debeat . demonstretur · (Greg., Cura 2,3; cf. SC 381 184,39–42) [atque was marked as incorrect by underlining with dots]
13. tortagezvvirendero (fol. 15v, l. 3, marginal)
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,198,3: ‘Torta gezvvirendero’
Qui | igitur sic ad auctoris speciem anhelat . ut proximorum curam neglegat . vel sic proximorum | curam exsequitur| ut a diuino amore torpescat . quia qui unum horum | quodlibet neglegit . in superhumeralis ornamento | habere coccum bis tinctum nescit · (Greg., Cura 2,3; cf. SC 381 186,69–73)
14. exsequit̃bigeht (fol. 16r, l. 7, interlinear)
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,198,6: ‘Exequitur bigeht’
Clauis quippe apertio|nis est . sermo correptionis · Quia increpando | culpam detegit . quam sepe nescit . ipse etiam qui | perpetrauit . (Greg., Cura 2,4; cf. SC 381 188,31–190,33)
15. clauissluzel (fol. 16v, l. 26, interlinear)
nom sg str m noun sluzzil (Ahd. Gl.‑Wb. p. 561) ‘Schlüssel’ = ‘key’
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,198,7: ‘Detegit unbaret’
Sa|cerdos namque ingrediens vel egrediens moritur . si | de eo sonitus non auditur · Quia iram contra se oc|culti iudicis exigit . si sine praedicationis sonitu | incedit · (Greg., Cura 2,4; cf. SC 381 190,52–4)
17. exigitésget (fol. 17r, l. 21, interlinear)
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,198,8: ‘Exegit esget’
Hinc iterum dicit · Siue mente excedimvs . | deo . siue sobrii sumus . uobis . Quia et semetipsum no|uerat contemplando transcendere . et eundem se audi|toribus condescendendo temperare · (Greg., Cura 2,5; cf. SC 381 198,35–8)
18. excedimvsuzgeliden · (fol. 18v, l. 25, interlinear)
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,198,9: ‘Excedimus uzgeliden’
Unde et ante fores templi ad abluendas ingredien||tium manus . mare eneum . id est luterem . xii . boues | portant · (Greg., Cura 2,5; cf. SC 381 200,68–70)
19. luterē?label (fol. 19v, l. 1, interlinear, erased)
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,198,12: ‘Luterem label’
Plerumque | ergo . dum ex subiectorum affluentia animus inflatur . | in fluxum superbię ipso potentię fastigio lenoci|nante corrumpitur . (Greg., Cura 2,6; cf. SC 381 208,75–7)
20. lenocinante?lôscosendemo (fol. 21r, l. 8, interlinear, erased)
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,198,14: ‘Lenocinante loscosendemo’
Uę his qui consuunt puluillos sub | omni cubitu manus . et faciant ceruicalia sub capite | uniuersę ętatis . ad capiendas animas . (Greg., Cura 2,8; cf. SC 381 232,20–2)
21. puluilloshŏbedfulv en (fol. 26v, l. 20, interlinear)
Second v was erased, hence the gap in the gloss.
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,198,16: ‘Puluillos hŏbedfulvven’ (fn 2: ‘d scheint aus n corr.’)
22. ceruicaliavvanccussui (fol. 26v, l. 21, interlinear)
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,198,19: ‘Cer:̌icalia wancussui’
23. effrenata iragenodegot zoren . (fol. 27v, l. 21, interlinear)
uninfl past part wv gi‑nôtagôn (AWB 6,1363) ‘jmdn. bedrängen’ = ‘to harass so.’
nom sg str n noun zorn (Ahd. Gl.‑Wb. p. 768) ‘Zorn’ = ‘anger’
‑d‑ is WGmc /d/ which was word‑internally not shifted to /t/ in Middle and Rhine Franconian (Braune §163); glosses were written with visible gap between them and partly in the margins above effrenata, not above ira in the next line; participle is used as adjective attribute (as in Latin); figurative translation of Latin effrenata (literally ‘unbridled’), AWB assumes possible mistranslation.
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,198,21: ‘Effrenata ira genodegoth zorn’
Aut hoc quod agi | recte aut grauiter potuit . inmature praeueniens | leuiget . aut bonę actionis meritum . differendo | ad deteriora permutet · (Greg., Cura 2,9; cf. SC 381 238,16–8)
24. inmaturecefruo (fol. 28r, l. 2, interlinear)
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,198,23: ‘Mature cefruo’
Ut cum delinquens . | et deprehendi se agnoscit . et perpeti . has quas in se | tacite tolerari considerat . augere se culpas eru|bescat . seseque iudice puniat . quem sibi apud se rec|toris patientia clementer excusat . (Greg., Cura 2,10; cf. SC 381 238,9–13)
25. dep̄hendiiruarenvverden · (fol. 28r, l. 14, interlinear)
uninfl past part strv ir‑faran (AWB 3,603) ‘jmd. durchschauen’ = ‘to see through sb.’
the glosses do not have a gap between them, which signals their close syntactic relation; the Latin synthetic present passive infinitive is translated with an OHG analytic infinitive construction with the auxiliary vverden.
Ne si minus contra culpas accen|ditur . culparum omnium reus ipse teneatur · Unde be|ne ad ezechielem dicitur · Sume tibi laterem . et pones || eum coram te . et describis in eo ciuitatem hierusalem · (Greg., Cura 2,10; cf. SC 381 244,108–246,1)
26. minus? luzil (fol. 29v, l. 28, interlinear, erased)
27. laterē? zigel (fol. 29v, l. 30, interlinear, erased)
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,198,24: ‘Laterem zigel’
Et ordinabis aduersus eam | obsidionem . et ędificabus munitiones . et conportabis | aggerem . et dabis contra eam castra . et pones arietes| in giro . eique ad munitionem suam protinus subinfertur · | Et tu sume tibi sartaginem ferream . et pones eam mu|rum ferreum . inter te et inter ciuitatem · (Greg., Cura 2,10; cf. SC 381 246,112–7)
28. arietes? phederere (fol. 30r, l. 4, interlinear, erased)
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,198,27: ‘Arietes phedere’
29. sartaginē? phanna (fol. 30r, l. 6, interlinear, erased)
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,198,29: ‘Sartaginem phanna’
Aggerem namque comportat . | quando praedicator quisque molem crescentis temp|tationis enuntiat . et contra hierusalem castra erigit . | quando recte intentioni audientium . hostis cal|lidi circumspectas et quasi incomprehensibiles | insidias praedicit . Atque in giro arietes ponit . cum | temptationum aculeos in hac uita nos undique | circumdantes . et uirtutum murum perforantes . innotes|cit . (Greg., Cura 2,10; cf. SC 381 248,146–52)
30. p̄dicitfirbûtit · (fol. 30v, l. 11, interlinear)
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,198,32: ‘Predicit firbûtet’
31. aculeosangola (fol. 30v, l. 12, interlinear)
Per sartaginem | quippe frixura mentis . per ferrum vero fortitudo incre|pationis . signatur . Quid uero acrius doctoris | mentem quam zelus friget dei et excruciat . (Greg., Cura 2,10; cf. SC 381 248,158–61)
32. frixuracôhunga (fol. 30v, l. 20, interlinear)
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,198,33: ‘Frixura cohunga’
33. frigetcohot (fol. 30v, l. 22, interlinear)
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,198,34: ‘Friget cohot’
Quia uidelicet cum spiritale || aliquid a subditis pastor inquiritur . ignominiosvm| ualde est . si tunc quęrat discere . cum quęstionem | debet enodare · (Greg., Cura 2,11; cf. SC 381 254,45–256,47)
34. ignominiosv̄honisam . (fol. 32v, l. 1, interlinear)
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,198,35: ‘Ignominiosum honisam’
Sepe namque aliis officiunt| quę aliis prosunt . quia et plerumque herbę quę | hęc animalia nutriunt . alia occidunt · Et | lenis sibilus . equos mitigat . catulos instigat . (Greg., Cura 3,Prol.; cf. SC 382 258,5–8)
35. officiuntdarent · (fol. 32v, l. 21, interlinear)
36. sibilusvvisbiloht · (fol. 32v, l. 24, interlinear)
Quia et plerumque dura uulnera . per | lenia fomenta mollescunt · (Greg., Cura 3,2; cf. SC 382 270,46–7)
37. fomentabaiunga (fol. 35r, l. 4, interlinear)
Discurre . festina . | suscita amicum tuum . ne dederis oculis tuis somnvm . | nec dormitent palpebrę tuę · Quisquis enim | aliis ad uiuendum in exemplo praeponitur . non solum | ut ipse euigilet . sed etiam amicum suscitet . ut eui|gilet . ammonetur · (Greg., Cura 3,4; cf. SC 382 278,44–8)
38. dormitentnafizon (fol. 36v, l. 23, interlinear)
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,198,37: ‘Dormitent nasizon’ (fn 3: ‘l. nafizon’)
39. suscitetuueke (fol. 36v, l. 25, interlinear)
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,198,39: ‘Suscitet vveke’
Quia uidelicet dum | praelatę dignitati . saltim innoxie et latenter dero|gant . quasi regis subpositi . uestem fędant · (Greg., Cura 3,4; cf. SC 382 282,100–2)
40. dérogantbisprehont (fol. 37v, l. 24, interlinear)
3rd pers pl pres ind act wv bi‑sprehhôn (Ahd. Gl.‑Wb. p. 580) ‘verleumden’ = ‘to slander’
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,198,40: ‘Derogant bisbrechont’
Quod enim antiquatur . | et senescit . prope interitum est · (Greg., Cura 3,6; cf. SC 382 286,27–8)
41. senescitfiruuesenet · (fol. 38v, l. 28, interlinear)
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,198,42: ‘Senescit firvvesenet’
42. fascinauitzouberota (fol. 39r, l. 27, interlinear)
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,198,44: ‘Fascinauit zouberuta’
Nonnunquam vero cum se uicium proteruię | minime perpetrare cognoscunt . conpendiosius| ad correctionem ueniunt . si alterius culpę ma|nifestioris ex latere requisiti inproperio confun|duntur · vt ex eo quod defendere nequeunt . cog|noscant se tenere improbe quod defendunt · (Greg., Cura 3,8; cf. SC 382 290,15–292,20)
43. conpendiosiusgefuorsamero (fol. 39v, l. 20, interlinear)
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,198,47: ‘Compendiosivs gefoursamero’
Incesti culpam inmedium deduxit . quę apud eos | et perpetrata fuerat . et incorrecta remanebat | dicens · (Greg., Cura 3,8; cf. SC 382 292,22–4)
44. incestihuores (fol. 39v, l. 28, interlinear)
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,198,49: ‘Incesti houres’
Quatenus eorum teneritudinem| laus audita nutriat . quam culpa increpata | castigat · (Greg., Cura 3,8; cf. SC 382 292,34–5)
45. teneritudinemmurvvin · (fol. 40r, l. 11, interlinear)
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,198,50: ‘Teneritudinem murvvin’
Illi namque | aurigarum ac strigonum gesta fauoribus efferunt · (Greg., Cura 3,10; cf. SC 382 308,18–9)
46. strigonumscernere · (fol. 44r, l. 6, interlinear)
gen pl str m noun skernâri (AWB 7.1,1022) ‘Schauspieler’ = ‘performer’
the suffix ‑âri appears in Franconian with short /a/ which could be weakened to /e/ (Braune §200 A.1b, Franck §53); the regular ending of the gen pl of OHG ja‑stem nouns, ‑eo, ‑o, was here also weakened to ‑e.
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,198,52: ‘Cistrionum scernere’
Dicendum itaque est inuidis . quia dum se a liuore mi|nime custodiunt . in antiquam uersuti hostis ne|quitiam demerguntur · (Greg., Cura 3,10; cf. SC 382 312,49–51)
47. uersutihinderscrenckicen (fol. 44v, l. 9, interlinear)
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,198,54: ‘Uersuti hinderserekun’ (fn 6: ‘l. hinderscrēkun’)
Ibi habuit foueam ericius · (Greg., Cura 3,11; cf. SC 382 318,46–7)
48. ericiusigil · (fol. 46r, l. 3, interlinear)
Et qui totum iam de re|prehendendo uiderat . tergiuersatione prauę de|fensionis illusus . totum pariter ignorat · (Greg., Cura 3,11; cf. SC 382 318,65–7)
49. tergiuersationehindersrencgunce (fol. 46r, l. 24, interlinear)
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,198,56: ‘Tergiuersatione hindersregone’
Patres quidem carnis | nostrę habuimus eruditores . et reuerebamur eos . non | multomagis obtemperabimus patri spirituum et uiue|mus . (Greg., Cura 3,12; cf. SC 382 328,85–7)
50. reuerebam̃vviruorden (fol. 48v, l. 10, interlinear)
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,198,58: ‘Reuerebamur eos werfonden’ (fn 7: ‘= wer forhden?’)
Insanus | quippe homo a subiugali muto corripitur · | quando elata mens . humilitatis bonum quod tene|re debeat . ab afflicta carne memoratur · (Greg., Cura 3,12; cf. SC 382 330,109–11)
51. memoraturirhuget (fol. 49r, l. 8, interlinear)
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,198,60: ‘Memoratur irhuget’
Liuor uulneris abstergit mala . et plagę in | secretioribus uentris . (Greg., Cura 3,12; cf. SC 382 330,119–20)
52. liuor uulnerisbleizza (fol. 49r, l. 17, interlinear)
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,198,61: ‘Liuor uulneris bleizza’
Bona enim pro semetipsis | amanda sunt . et non pęnis compellentibus exsequenda . (Greg., Cura 3,13; cf. SC 382 336,25–6)
53. exsequenda. ceduonne . (fol. 50ar, l. 25, interlinear)
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,198,63: ‘Ex::sequenda ceduonne’
Plerumque enim sine dedignatione de|dignandi sunt . et sine desperatione desperandi . | ita duntaxat . vt ostensa desperatio formidinem |incutiat . et subiuncta ammonitio ad spem re|ducat . (Greg., Cura 3,13; cf. SC 382 336,33–6)
54. incutiatscude . (fol. 50av, l. 6, interlinear)
‑d‑ is WGmc /d/ which was word‑internally not shifted to /t/ in Middle and Rhine Franconian (Braune §163).
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,198,70: ‘Scoriam sinder’
59. stagnū. cin . (fol. 50av, l. 26, interlinear)
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,198,73: ‘Stagnum cin’
Scire igitur debent . qui plus quam expedit| tacent . ne inter molestias quę tollerant dum linguam | tenent . uim doloris exaggerant . (Greg., Cura 3,14; cf. SC 382 340,36–9)
60. expeditnucesi (fol. 51r, l. 8, interlinear)
Thimotheum namque ammonens ait . Ar|gue . obsecra . increpa . in omni patientia · et | doctrina · (Greg., Cura 3,16; cf. SC 382 356,36–8)
61. arguefleho (fol. 54r, l. 22, marginal)
Ne enim sibi uir|tutem suę liberalitatis deputent . audiant | quod scriptum est . (Greg., Cura 3,20; cf. SC 382 384,36–7)
62. liberalitatiscebegerni (fol. 61r, l. 4, interlinear)
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,199,1: ‘Libertatis Gebegerni’
Unde et nonnulli huius mundi diui|tes . cum fame crutientur christi pauperes . effusis | largitatibus nutriunt striones . (Greg., Cura 3,20; cf. SC 382 386,82–4)
63. strionesscernere (fol. 61v, l. 30, interlinear)
Qui ergo innoxios se quia | aliena non rapiunt estimant . ictum securis uicinę | praeuideant . et torporem inprouidę securitatis amit|tant . ne dum ferre fructis boni operis neglegunt . | a praesenti uita funditus quasi auiriditate radicis |exsecentur . (Greg., Cura 3,21; cf. SC 382 398,53–8)
64. exsecenturabegesnidenvverdent · (fol. 64r, l. 29, interlinear)
uninfl past part strv aba‑snîdan (Ahd. Gl.‑Wb. p. 565) ‘abschneiden’ = ‘to cut off’
3rd pers pl ind act strv uuerdan (Ahd. Gl.‑Wb. p. 712) ‘werden’ = ‘to become’
the gloss forms an analytic passive form translating the synthetic Latin passive, using the auxiliary vverdent and the past part abegesniden; the glosses are written without space between them, to signal that they belong together or because of the lack of space; the auxiliary is positioned after the past part, see also gloss 90.
Qui mercedes congregauit . misit eas in | saculum pertusum . In saculo quippe pertuso uidetur | quando pecunia inmittitur . sed quando amit|titur non uidetur . (Greg., Cura 3,21; cf. SC 382 400,96–9)
65. ꝑtusūlokeroden (fol. 65r, l. 11, interlinear)
66. amittit̃uirlorenvvirdit (fol. 65r, l. 12, interlinear)
uninfl past part strv fir‑liosan (AWB 5,1157) ‘(etw.) verlieren’ = ‘to loose (sth.)’
3rd pers sg ind act strv uuerdan (Ahd. Gl.‑Wb. p. 712) ‘werden’ = ‘to become’
the Latin synthetic passive is translated as OHG analytic passive with the auxiliary uuerdan; the glosses were written without a gap and not separated at the line break, which marks the close syntactic relation; the auxiliary follows the participle.
Ex qua scilicet praeceptione . pensandum | est quorum ostia repellitur . quam intollerabilis culpa | monstratur · (Greg., Cura 3,22; cf. SC 382 406,51–3)
67. p̄ceptionegebodeni (fol. 66r, l. 9, interlinear)
Admonendi sunt discordes . ut si aures | a mandatis cęlestibus declinant . mentis oculos ad con|sideranda ea quę ininfimis uersantur aperiant . | quod sepe aues unius eiusdemque generis sese socialiter | uolando non deserunt . quod gregatim animalia bru|ta pascuntur . (Greg., Cura 3,22; cf. SC 382 406,56–61)
68. gregatimcordegliho (fol. 66r, l. 18, interlinear)
Hinc finees pec||cantium ciuium gratiam spernens . coeuntes cum madi|anitis perculit . et iram domini iratus placauit · Hinc | per semetipsam ueritas dicit · Nolite arbitrari quia | uenerim pacem mittere in terram . non ueni pacem mit|tere sed gladium · Malorum namque cum incaute ami|citiis iungimur . culpis ligamur · (Greg., Cura 3,22; cf. SC 382 410,103–9)
69. coeuntesgehivvende (fol. 67r, l. 1, interlinear)
70. arbitraritrahtdon (fol. 67r, l. 3, interlinear)
the glosses translate the complex Latin passive construction consisting of two clauses with a simpler subjunctive syntagm, containing a subject macman with an attributive genitive object ubilis gesellen, and a copula construction siehcvverden; the predicative siehc is nominally declined (cf. Braune §247.2b); the gloss is positioned between the two lines of the Latin sentences, therefore, the glosses are not vertically linked to specific lemmas; the OHG word order still seems to be based on the Latin word order.
Admonendi sunt enim qui sacrę legis uerba non recte | intelligunt . ut perpendant quia saluberrimum uini potvm | inueneni sibi poculum uertunt . ac per medicinale | ferrum uulnere mortali se feriunt . dum per hoc in se | sana perimunt . per quod salubriter abscidere sauciata | debuerunt · (Greg., Cura 3,24; cf. SC 382 418,6–420,11)
72. ꝑ́imuntslahent · (fol. 69r, l. 14, interlinear)
3rd pers pl pres ind act strv slahan (Ahd. Gl.‑Wb. p. 555) ‘töten’ = ‘to kill’
Frumentum quippe a domino accipimus . quando in dictis | obscurioribus . subducto tegmine literę . per medullam | spiritus . legis interna sentimus . (Greg., Cura 3,24; cf. SC 382 422,48–51)
74. subductoabegezogenemo · (fol. 69v, l. 22, marginal)
Audiant quod sponsi | eloquio ad sponsam dicitur . Quę habitas in hortis ami|ci . ausculta fac me audire uocem tuam · Ęcclesia quip|pe in hortis habitat . quę ad uiriditatem intimam | exculta plantaria uirtutum seruat . (Greg., Cura 3,25; cf. SC 382 432,67–70)
75. ? ausculta. zuloseno . (fol. 72r, l. 7, marginal)
76. plantaria.i. flanzunga . (fol. 72r, l. 9, interlinear)
In ciuitate quippe considemus . si intra mentium | nostrarum nos claustra constringimus . ne loquendo exterius |euagemur . Vt cum uirtute diuina perfecte induimur . tunc | quasi a nobismetipsis foras etiam alios instruentes exeamus . (Greg., Cura 3,25; cf. SC 382 436,118–22)
77. evagem̃vvadelon (fol. 72v, l. 29, interlinear)
Hinc est quod idem re|demptor noster cum in cęlis sit conditor . et ostensio|ne suę potentię semper doctor angelorum . ante | tricenale tempus in terra magister fieri noluit ho|minum . ut uidelicet praecipitatis uim saluberrimi ti|moris infunderet . cum ipse etiam qui labi non posset . | perfectę uitę gratiam non nisi perfecta ętate praedicaret . (Greg., Cura 3,25; cf. SC 382 436,124–30)
78. p̄cipitatisgahen (fol. 73r, l. 7, interlinear)
Quia uidelicet reprobi cum recta opera diuinis muneribus non | rependunt . cum totos hic se deserunt et afluentibus | prosperitatibus dimittunt . unde exterius proficiunt . | inde ab intimis cadunt . (Greg., Cura 3,26; cf. SC 382 442,72–5)
79. dimittuntcelazent . (fol. 74v, l. 6, interlinear)
Quem igitur cęlibem curarum sęcu|larium impedimentum praepedit . et coniugio se nequaquam sub|didit . et tamen coniugii onera non euasit · (Greg., Cura 3,27; cf. SC 382 454,130–2)
80. cęlibem· ungehiden · (fol. 77r, l. 15, interlinear)
Et quia cum mens | a culpa resipiscit . addicitur . atque admissum flere co|natur . corruptor autem spes ac securitates uacuas an|te oculos uocat, quatenus humilitatem tristicię sub|trahat . recte illic adiungitur . tristemque blandiens | deliniuit · (Greg., Cura 3,29; cf. SC 382 472,56–60)
81. addicit̃geruogetvvirdit · (fol. 80v, l. 25, marginal)
uninfl past part wv ruogen (AWB 7,1256) ‘anklagen’ = ‘to accuse’
3rd pers sg ind act strv uuerdan (Ahd. Gl.‑Wb. p. 712) ‘werden’ = ‘to become’
Latin synthetic passive is translated with OHG analytic passive with auxiliary uuerdan; the two glosses stand next to each other without a gap; the participle precedes the auxiliary.
Nonnum|quam uero ita mens baratro temptationis absorbetur . ut nvl|latenus renitatur . sed ex deliberatione sequitur hoc . unde | ex delectatione pulsatur · (Greg., Cura 3,29; cf. SC 382 472,74–6)
82. baratroloke (fol. 81r, l. 13, interlinear)
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,199,7: ‘Baratro vverbin’
83. ex deliƀationefonebemeineda (fol. 81r, l. 14, interlinear)
Ammonendi sunt | qui admissa plangunt . nec tamen deserunt . ut ante | districti iudicis oculos eis se esse similes agnoscant . | qui uenientes ad faciem quorundam hominum magna | eis summissione blandiuntur . recedentes autem . inimici|cias ac damna quę ualent atrociter inferunt · (Greg., Cura 3,30; cf. SC 382 478,37–41)
84. summissioneunderdani (fol. 82r, l. 28, interlinear)
Hinc | est enim quod pharisęis dicitur · liquantesculicem ca|melum autem glucientes · Ac si aperte diceretur . minima | mala discernitis . maiora deuoratis · Hinc est quod | rursum ore ueritatis increpantur cum audiunt · | Decimatis mentam et anetum et ciminum . et relinqve|tis quę grauiora sunt legis · (Greg., Cura 3,33; cf. SC 382 502,53–8)
85. liquantessmelcendo (fol. 87r, l. 19, interlinear)
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,199,8: ‘Liquantes sihinte’
the interpretament is otherwise attested to translate Latin pulix (cf. AWB 3,992), while culicem is usually translated with str w f noun mugga (cf. AWB 6,817, see also parallel gloss in Basel ms.), flohc is therefore possibly a mistranslation; ‑c was corrected from ‑o.
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,199,28: ‘Culicem muccun’
87. mentãminzun · (fol. 87r, l. 23, interlinear)
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,199,30: ‘Mentam minzun’
88. anetũdille · (fol. 87r, l. 23, interlinear)
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,199,32: ‘Anetum tẏlle’
89. ciminũcinemin · (fol. 87r, l. 23, interlinear)
cf. B. V. 21 (Basel, UB), StSG 2,199,34: ‘Ciminum chumi’
Cum uero praua estimatio in quantum sine | peccato ualet . ab intuentium mente non tergitur . cunctis | mala credentibus per exemplum culpa propinatur . (Greg., Cura 3,35; cf. SC 382 516,79–518,81)
90. ꝓpinaturgescencgetvvirdit · (fol. 90v, l. 18, marginal)
uninfl past part wv skenken (Ahd. Gl.‑Wb. p. 537) ‘verbreiten’ = ‘to spread’
3rd pers sg ind act strv uuerdan (Ahd. Gl.‑Wb. p. 712) ‘werden’ = ‘to become’
‑cg‑ is not an attested spelling for /k/ but for the geminates Franconian /gg/ or Upper German /kk/ (cf. Braune §148 A.3, §149 A.7c), it must therefore be a spelling mistake; the Latin synthetic passive was translated with an OHG analytic passive with past part and auxiliary; the gloss is marginal and has a reference marker leading to the lemma; both glosses were written without space inbetween, emphasising the close syntactic relation of the glosses; the auxiliary is positioned after the past part, see also gloss 64.
Surdo quippe male|dicere . est absenti ac non audienti derogare . Coram | cęco vero offendiculum ponere . est discretam quidem | rem agere . sed tamen ei qui lumen discretionis non habet . | scandali occasionem praebere . (Greg., Cura 3,35; cf. SC 382 518,94–8)
91. derogarebissprachon · (fol. 91r, l. 2, interlinear)
inf bisprâhhôn (Ahd. Gl.‑Wb. p. 60) ‘verleumden’ = ‘to defame’
Et grauis quidem praedicatori labor est . | in communis praedicationis uoce ad occultos | singulorum motvs causasque uigilare . et palestri|tarum more in diuersi lateris arte se uertere . multo | tamen acriori labore fatigatur . quando uni e contrariis | uiciis seruienti praedicare compellitur . (Greg., Cura 3,37; cf. SC 382 522,3–8)
92. palestritarū. dumare . (fol. 91v, l. 14, interlinear)
Cui iam torpenti seductor callidus omne | quod bene gessit enumerat . eamque quasi prae cęteris | praepollentem in tumore cogitationis exaltat . (Greg., Cura 4; cf. SC 382 534,39–41)
93. p̄pollentē· díhendā· (fol. 94r, l. 6, marginal)
AWB = Karg-Gasterstädt, E., Frings, T., Grosse, R., & Schmid, H.-U. (1952–). Althochdeutsches Wörterbuch. Aufgrund der von Elias von Steinmeyer hinterlassenen Sammlungen im Auftrag der Sächsischen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Leipzig bearbeitet und herausgegeben von Elisabeth Karg-Gasterstädt und Theodor Frings.
BMZ = Benecke, G.F., Müller, W., & Zarncke, F. (1854–66): Mittelhochdeutsches Wörterbuch. Stuttgart: Hirzel.
Braune = Braune, W. & Heidermanns, F. (2018): Althochdeutsche Grammatik. I. Laut‑ und Formenlehre. 16th ed. Boston: DeGruyter.
Franck = Franck, J. (1909): Altfränkische Grammatik. Laut‑ und Flexionslehre. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.
SC 381 = Judic, B., Rommel, F. & Morel, C. (1992): Grégoire le Grand. Règle Pastorale. Tome I. Sources Chrétiennes 381. Paris: Éditions du Cerf.
SC 382 = Judic, B., Rommel, F. & Morel, C. (1992): Grégoire le Grand. Règle Pastorale. Tome II. Sources Chrétiennes 382. Paris: Éditions du Cerf.
StSG 2 = Steinmeyer, E. v., & Sievers, E. (1882): Die althochdeutschen Glossen. Glossen zu nichtbiblischen Schriften. Vol. 2. Berlin: Weidmannsche Buchhandlung.
Weinhold A = Weinhold, K. (1863): Alemannische Grammatik. Berlin: Ferd. Dümmler.
The final session of the Early Text Cultures Seminar on Pre-modern Commentaries will take place on Wednesday 30 November at Corpus Christi College, Seminar Room, 2-3pm. Vittorio Danovi (Oxford) will give a talk titled
Medieval Commentaries on Vergil (Bern scholia and Servius Auctus)
My research is primarily concerned with the commentary on Vergil’s Eclogues and Georgics known as Bern scholia and with the augmented version of Servius’ commentary on the whole of Vergil known, after its first editor Pierre Daniel, as Seruius Danielis or DS scholia. Both commentaries were probably assembled in seventh-century (Insular?) scriptoria by anonymous compilers who resorted to pre-existing commentaries, but almost all their extant witnesses date back to the Carolingian period. I am currently aiming to analyse the characters of the different versions of the Bern and DS scholia transmitted by each witness and to establish their genealogical relationships. On these grounds, I hope to shed some new light on the Carolingian engagement with the two commentaries.
Please do come in person! But if you cannot, here is a Zoom link to attend remotely:
‘Violent Victorian Medievalism’ is an exhibition taking place at the Taylor Institution Library (21st November-2nd December 2022) and online. It tells part of the story of how ‘medieval’ often becomes synonymous with ‘violent’ in later responses to the Middle Ages by bringing together some of the Bodleian’s collection of Victorian and Edwardian English-language adaptations of the Nibelungenlied and related material. These publications are accompanied by eye-catching images, often focusing on some of the more violent aspects of the narrative.
The Nibelungenlied is the most famous medieval German version of a collection of heroic legends known also in various Scandinavian incarnations. It tells of the hero Siegfried, his courtship of the Burgundian princess, Kriemhild, and his involvement in facilitating the marriage between Kriemhild’s brother, King Gunther, and the warrior queen, Brünhild. Siegfried is subsequently betrayed and murdered by Gunther and Hagen, the king’s vassal. The widowed Kriemhild subsequently marries Etzel, King of the Huns, and engineers a catastrophic revenge, resulting in the complete annihilation of the Burgundian men.
Rediscovered in the eighteenth century, the Nibelungenlied was quickly acclaimed the German national epic, but over the course of the nineteenth century, various anglophone writers also identified it as their own cultural inheritance, based on a belief in a shared so-called Germanic ancestry. Particularly after the premiere of Wagner’s Ring des Nibelungen, English-language adaptations proliferated, often illustrated, and many aimed at children. While – given the Nibelungenlied’s plot – references to violence are unavoidable in adaptations, it is striking how often editors or adapters chose to highlight these events in illustration.
Here we see heroes who will not go on to triumph, whether they are to meet their deaths in a blaze of glory, or as a result of betrayal. Two images show Hagen’s cowardly murder of the great hero, Siegfried, whose strength and invulnerability mean that he can only be destroyed through deception. One image shows Hagen’s desperate and violent attempt to disprove a dreadful prophecy that all but one of the Burgundians are doomed, should they continue with their journey. The other images depict the Burgundian warriors, fighting unrelentingly in the face of certain death. This panel shows courage and pathos, bravery and treachery, and it tells a complex tale: Hagen is the aggressor in several of the images, yet one of the valiant warriors fighting against the odds in the others.
The Nibelungenlied was viewed as the German national epic, but anglophone writers often also staked their own claims to it. The underdog’s struggle against immeasurable odds is a frequent feature of national narratives, including in this country, and we see here warriors depicted at their defining moment, characterised not necessarily by their virtues or achievements, but by their most desperate experiences.
The chief architect of much of the violence in the Nibelungenlied is the beautiful Queen Kriemhild, seeking revenge for Siegfried’s death. This was a source of difficulty for many nineteenth-century adapters, who sought variously to make an example of her, to make excuses for her, or to rehabilitate her entirely. But even where there was an attempt to explain her actions, the temptation to depict her at her most transgressive – brandishing the decapitated head of her brother – was almost irresistible. And the scale of that transgression also gave illustrators licence to depict Kriemhild’s own violent death, with her final victim, Hagen, lying at her feet.
Kriemhild is not the only violent woman in the Nibelungen material. Her sister-in-law, Brünhild, who is a valkyrie in both Norse legend and Wagner’s Ring, was possessed of immense physical strength before her marriage, and children’s books in particular often include images of her with her spear. In contrast to Kriemhild, there is ultimately no direct victim of Brünhild’s violence, but the illustrators commonly show the fear of the male heroes, as they cower behind a shield, emphasising the threat offered by a physically strong woman.
In this panel, we see the continuities between nineteenth-century medievalism and more recent medievalist fantasy material, particularly onscreen (e.g. Game of Thrones, The Hobbit, Merlin, Harry Potter). Siegfried’s fight with the dragon takes place entirely off-stage in the Nibelungenlied, and it is only mentioned once or twice in passing. It is, though, far more prominent in other traditions, and its appeal to illustrators, especially of children’s adaptations, needs no explanation.
These versions for younger readers frequently avoid adapting, or fully adapting, the second half of the narrative, with its focus on brutal vengeance. This has the effect of rebalancing the story into one focused entirely on Siegfried’s heroics, with Kriemhild simply functioning as a mild and beautiful love interest. Such adaptations also tend to bring in material which is omitted from, or played down in, the Nibelungenlied itself. While Siegfried’s violent death prevents such adaptations from culminating in a traditionally child-friendly happy ending, their emphasis on fantasy elements like the dragon give them a fairy-tale quality which we recognise today.
Welcome to Week 3. Some timely advice from Alcuin for the stormy weather we had this weekend:
Hodie tempestas inminet, sed cras serenitas arridet [Today a storm hangs over us, but tomorrow pleasant weather will smile upon us, Ep. 173]
I would like to draw particular attention to an especially pleasant event that will be smiling upon us this time next week, when we will be hosting the long-awaited termly OMS lecture / Astor Visiting Lecture by Prof. Ardis Butterfield. The lecture will take place on Monday 31 October, 5.15pm, in Lecture Theatre 2, English Faculty (St Cross Building). For full details, please see our blog post. This said, we are not fairweather Medievalists, and come rain or shine this week, there will be plenty of events and opportunities to enjoy. Please see below for everything happening this week:
Sign-ups Now Open for the Medieval Mystery Cycle! Just follow this link to propose a play and to join one of the highlights of the Oxford Medieval Studies calendar, which will be held on Saturday 22 April 2023 at St Edmund Hall. For full details on the kinds of play that you can put on and a wealth of inspiration from past years, see our blog post here.
OMS Small Grants Now Open: The TORCH Oxford Medieval Studies Programme invites applications for small grants to support conferences, workshops, and other forms of collaborative research activity organised by researchers at postgraduate (whether MSt or DPhil) or early-career level from across the Humanities Division at the University of Oxford. The activity should take place between the beginning of November 2022 and end of March 2023. The closing date for applications is Friday of Week 4 of Michaelmas Term = 4 November). Grants are normally in the region of £100–250. For full details, see our blog post here.
Meet your OMS Team2022/23! Oxford’s medieval studies community continues to get bigger and better every year. This year we have our largest OMS team to date to help keep you informed about Medieval goings on in and around Oxford. To meet the team, please visit our blog post here.
EVENTS THIS WEEK:
Monday 24th October:
The Byzantine Graduate Seminar takes place at 12.30-2pm online via Zoom. This week’s speaker will be Joaquin Serrano (University of Edinburgh), The reliquary-cross of Saint Constantine and the military use of holy relics. To register, please contact the organiser at email@example.com.
The Medieval History Seminar takes place at 5pm in the Wharton Room, All Souls College and on Teams (Teams link here). This week’s speaker will be Ildar Garipzanov (Oslo), ‘Early Medieval Minuscule Texts: What, where, and why?‘. The Teams session can be accessed by logging in to Teams with your .ox.ac.uk account and joining the group “Medieval History Research Seminar” (team code rmppucs). If you have any difficulties please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Medieval English Research Seminar takes place at 12.15pm in Lecture Theatre 2, English Faculty. This week’s speakers will be John Colley (Oxford), ‘Skelton and the Commonweal: Greek History in Quattrocento England’ Lucy Fleming (Oxford), ‘ “A Racket at the Mill”: The Reeve’s Tale for a Century of Young Readers’. The paper will be followed by lunch with the speaker. All welcome.
The Governability across the medieval globeDiscussion Group meets at 12:30 in the History Faculty. Everyone welcome, staff, students and researchers, of all historical periods. We encourage you to bring lunch along. This session we will be discussing ‘What is governability and how can we study it?’.
GLARE (Greek and Latin Reading Group) takes place at 4-5pm at Harold Wilson Room, Jesus College. Please meet at Jesus College Lodge. This week’s text will be Sophocles, Antigone. All welcome to attend any and all sessions. For more details and specific readings each week, or to be added to the mailing list, email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Medieval Church and Culture Seminar takes place at 5pm at Charles Wellbeloved Room, Harris Manchester College. The theme for this term is ‘Women’. This week’s speaker will be Philippa Byrne (Somerville):Making Germans Sicilian in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries. Everyone is welcome at this informal and friendly graduate seminar.
Wednesday 26th October:
The Medieval German Graduate Seminar meets for a paper by Luise Morawetz on the ‘Hildebrandslied’ at 11:15am in Somerville College – ask at the Lodge for directions. If you want to be added to the medieval German mailing list, please contact Henrike Lähnemann.
The Codicology and the Material Book Seminar takes place at 1.30-3.30pm, in the Weston Library. Today’s seminar is on Paper & Parchment/Inks & Pigment. The seminar is open to all current Oxford students. To attend: email email@example.com. Please note that this takes place at 1.30pm, not at 2pm as previously advertised!
The Medieval Latin Document Reading Group meets on Teams at 4-5pm. We are currently focusing on medieval documents from New College’s archive as part of the cataloguing work being carried out there, so there will be a variety of hands, dates and types. A document is sent out in advance but homework is not expected. Contact Michael Stansfield (firstname.lastname@example.org) for further details and the Teams link.
The Late Antique and Byzantine Seminar takes place at 5pm at the Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies, 66 St Giles. This week’s speaker will be Ine Jacobs (Oxford), The Byzantine Dark Ages at Stauropolis/Karia (FKA Aphrodisias).
Thursday 27th October:
The Seminar in Medieval and Renaissance Music will take place on Zoom at 5pm. This week’s speaker will be Laurie Stras(University of Southampton): Music, musicians, and community at the Florentine convent of San Matteo in Arcetri (1540-1630). If you are planning to attend a seminar this term, please register using this form. For each seminar, those who have registered will receive an email with the Zoom invitation and any further materials a couple of days before the seminar. If you have questions, please just send me an email (email@example.com).
The Launch of ThePalgrave Encyclopedia of Medieval Women’s Writing in the Global Middle Ages takes place at 5pm via Zoom. To celebrate the launch of this exciting volume, there will be a round table on Women’s Writing in the Global Middle Ages, featuring Diane Watt (University of Surrey), Ruth Lefevre (Palgrave), Michelle M. Sauer (University of North Dakota), Liz Herbert McAvoy (Swansea University), Ayoush Lazikani (University of Oxford), Kathryn Maude (American University of Beirut), Will Rogers (University of Louisiana at Monroe), and Alexandra Verini (Ashoka University). A Q&A will follow the roundtable. For full details, and to sign up, see the eventbrite page.
The Celtic Seminar will take place at 5.15pm via Zoom and The History of the Book Room, English Faculty. This week’s speaker will be Jon Morris (Caerdydd), ‘The interplay between social structures and language variation in Welsh-speaking communities‘. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you need a link.
At 9:20pm, the St Edmund Consort will sing Compline at Candlelight in the Norman Crypt under St-Peter-in-the-East, the library church of St Edmund Hall, Queen’s Lane, featuring a hymn written in 1522 by Elisabeth Cruciger.
Friday 28th October:
The Medievalist Coffee Morning takes place at 10:30-11.30am in the Visiting Scholars Centre in the Weston Library (access via the Readers Entrance on Museum Road: straight ahead and up two floors!).
The Anglo-Norman Reading Group meets at 5-6.30pm at St Hilda’s College, in the Julia Mann Room. The text will be extracts from the Chronicle of Langtoft; pdf will be provided. For access to the text and further information, please email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, here is some parting wisdom from Alcuin to keep in mind as you venture around town this week:
Non sis harundo agitata, non flos aura tempestatis decidens [Do not be a reed shaken by the wind, a flower blown down by the storm, Ep. 72]
I interpret this to mean: be careful of your umbrella choice when navigating Oxford in the autumn winds!! In less literal understanding: don’t give up if you hit stormy seas in your research. Wishing you a week of sunny skies both literally and metaphorically.
Trinity Term 2022 saw a lecture series at Christ Church on the medieval commentary tradition, organised by the Oxford Medieval Commentary Network. Video recordings of the lectures by Madalena Brito, Maria Czepiel, and Zachary Giuliano are now available to watch online, along with an extensive video archive of papers from last year’s OMCN workshop.