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The indefatigable Angelo Majo discovered, beneath the Homilies of Gregory the Great on Ezekiel, a MS. of the eighth century, fragments of all Paul's Epistles except to the Thessalonians. A second MS. of the ninth century,
containing Jerome's exposition of Isaiah, was found to conceal Gothic relics of the same epistles with the same omissions. He afterwards brought to light a portion of Matthew, supplying a chasm in the Codex Argenteus. _These with other Gothic fragments of a calendar, of the Old Testament, and a Homily, were published by Maio and Count Castiglione in 1819.*
The other relics of the language are few, and comparatively of slight importance, as they contain no new words. We give a brief account of them below.
1. A deed of sale at Naples which was discovered in recent times; it was once preserved in the archives of the Church St. Annunciata, but is now in the Royal Library, at Naples. It bears no date, but appears to have been written soon after the invasion of Italy by the Goths, probably about 551. The priests of the Church St. Anastasiat bought some land, and the contract is subscribed and attested in both Latin and Gothic. These documents are chiefly valuable on account of the certainty which they add to the genuineness of the Codex Argenteus. Of the four Gothic attestations one is given below with a Latin translation.
G. Ik merila bokareis handau meinai ufmelida jah andn(emum)
L. Ego merila librarius manu mea subscripsi et accepimus skilliggans .I. jah faurthis thairh kaytsjon jah mith dia(kona) (ala). solidos
antea per cautionem et cum Diakono modaf unsaramma jah mithgahlaibim unsaraim audnemum (skilig)
nostro et comministris nostris accepimus soli. gans. RK. wairth thize saiwe. dos 120 pretium horum paludum.Ş
2. Deed of sale at Arezzo, written on papyrus ; a contract in barbarous Latin between a Deacon Gotlieb and another Deacon Alamud. Among several Latin subscriptions we find but
* For further particulars, see Hug's Introd. p. 286_7. † Aclisie Gotice Sancte Anastasie.
| There is great uncertainty with regard to the meaving of this word. See Zahn's Gothischen Sprachüberreste in Neapel und Arezzo p. 48–53.
§ Zahn's Ulphilas. Introd. p. 76—7.
one Gothic. The original document was of the
with the Title Deed at St. Annunciata, but it is no longer extant. We
copy from Zahn the only Gothic attestation. G. Ik guthilub dkn tho frabauhta boka fram mis L. Ego Gottlieb Diakonus haec vendidi librum
me gaw*aurhta thus dkn alamoda fidwor unkjana hug* ses kaballarja
feci tibi Diakone Alamod quatuor uncias fundi caballaria jah killiggans RLG and*nahm jah ufmelida. et solidos 133 accepi et subscripsi.*
It will be seen that both the documents given above are imperfect. They are both written in a much more negligent and careless manner than the Codex Argenteus.
All else that remains of the Gothic language which has yet been discovered is extremely insignificant.
Before we come to the consideration of the Gothic language, it will be necessary to digress a little from our path, and give some account of the Germanic languages, and their mutual connection.
The German or Teutonic languages may be divided into two great branches : viz., the Scandinavian, which includes the Icelandic, Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian languages and their various dialects; and the German Proper, subdivided in turn into two classes, distinguished, the one by its harshness and fulness, and the other by its softness and flexibility. The rougher and more energetic of these tongues is called the Upper Germanic (Hoch-Deutsch) because spoken in the upper or mountainous parts of Germany; while the other, the Lower Germanic, (Platt-Deutsch) the more euphonious, receives its name from being used in the low or flat parts of the same country. To the Upper belong the Gothic, Allemannic and Francic, now extinct, with the modern High German and its dialects. From the lower came the Anglo-Saxon, the Friesic, the Old Saxon, and through them, the English, the Dutch, the Flemish, and the present dialects of northern Germany. We have seen that the Úlphilanic version received the name of Moeso-Gothic from the settlement of Moesia by the Goths, and that this was the first specimen of Teutonic literature. From the date of this work, until the eighth century, nothing can be discovered bearing the stamp of the High-German. The MSS principally contained Slavish translations of the church Latin, formed not only on the Latin construction, but following also its infection. The High-German dialects then in use, as we have mentioned, were the Allemannic or Suabian, and the Francic. The former was written by Kero, Rhabanus Maurus, Notker, etc : the latter by Isidore, and others. The Francic seems to occupy an intermediate space between the two classes of Germanic languages; but as its spirit rather resembles that of the High-German, it is ranked under its head. It will be seen, then, that there are no relics of the High-German languages for a space of three hundred years.
* Zahn's Ulphilas. Introd. p. 78.
+ There are also a few Gothic words found in the Visigothic and Ostrogothic Laws, and in the Gothic historians. Busbeck's Letters on the Goths in the Crimea likewise contain some Gothic words, and the beginning of a song. See Zahn. p. 78–80.
The most interesting of the Low German dialects, from the perfectness of its preservation, its literature, its connection with our native tongue, and its relation to the Moeso-Gothic, is the Anglo-Saxon. The earliest specimen of this language is found in the laws of Ethelbert, king of Kent, written about A. D. 600. Some writers however have awarded the palm of priority to the Poem of Beowulf, the Traveller's Song. But in the oldest MS. of it which is extant, there are allusions to a period subsequent to the year 600. In its original composition, it was probably much older ; perhaps about A. D. 450, and a hundred years later than the Gothic version. Marshall's Gospels in Anglo-Saxon, was published with the Moeso-Gothic translation, by Junius, the northern philologist, who added to the work a glossary of both languages. His scholar, Hickes, followed in his steps, and confounded them together, in which error he was followed by Lye. But the Anglo-Saxon and Moeso-Gothic have no nearer relation, than the Greek and Latin, or Hebrew and Arabic, and it is surprising that a scholar of the acuteness of Junjus should have treated of them as sister dialects.
It was not until Rask published his Anglo-Saxon Grammar, that the proper connection between the two languages was understood, and the Anglo-Saxon torn from the shackles of the Latin, and given its proper place as a Low German dialect.
Before we come to the immediate consideration of the MoesoGothic, it may be well to premise that there is not enough remaining of that language to form an accurate grammar or lexicon. The literature too exists in the form of a literal transla
tion, thereby forbidding the true spirit of the language to show itself untrammelled. In this respect the Anglo-Saxon is much more fortunate. For although a great part of its literature is found in translations, poetry, original prose, and paraphrase are extant to sufficiently display the more remarkable peculiarities of its idiom, as well as its richness and copiousness.
It has been generally supposed that the Moeso-Gothic was the prevalent High-German of the day. But there are strong reasons for doubting this. The remarkable difference between the Moeso-Gothic, and the oldest relic of the other High-German dialects,-a difference not merely to be accounted for by the supposed changes, and abbreviations which any language might undergo in the space of three hundred and fifty yearsproves that the time when the High-German divided itself into dialects was far earlier than the days of Ulphilas.. A comparison of the Lord's Prayer in Moeso-Gothic, and Allemannic of 720, will show the truth of our assertion. Gothic.
thu in himinam. Weihnai namo Allemannic. Fatter unseer, thu pist in Himele. Wihi Namun thein. Quimai thiudinassus theins. Wairthai wilja theins, swe in deinan; Chweme Rihi
Werde willo din, so in himina, jah ana airthai. Hlaif unsarana thana sinteinan gif uns Himile, sosa in Erdu; Proath unseer emezhic kip uns himmadaga. Jah aflet uns thatei skulans sijaima, swaswe jah weis hiutu ; Oblaz uns sculdi unseero,
wir afletam thaim skulam unsaraim. Ja ni briggais uns in fraistubnjai. oblazen
Skuldikem uns ; Enti ni firletti unsih in Khorunka ; Ah lausei uns af thamma ubilin. Uzz erlosi unsih fona Ubile.t
On the other hand it is asserted by some, that the MoesoGothic is a mixture of High and Low German, with some foreign, perhaps Thracian words.I Adelung and his supporters, acknowledged when they classed it under the head of HighGerman (Hoch-Deutsch) languages, that it was in many respects closely connected with the Low-German (Platt-Deutsch ;) and the introduction of all strange words is accounted for by the
* Fadur is legitimate Gothic. See Castiglione's Ulphil. Goth. Vers. ad Corinth. Sec. p. Vl. and 79. † Adelung's Mithridates, Vol. II. p. 185 and 194.
Encycl. Americana. Art. German Language.
supposed emigrations beyond the Baltic, and by the intercourse with the Suiones already there. In which case, as Count Castiglione remarks, it would follow that the Suio-Gothic approaches nearer to the Moeso-Gothic than any other Teutonic language, which does not happen. It was the opinion of Fulda, in which the Count concurs, that the Gothic did not obtain its foreign words from any German race, nor indeed that the Gothic belongs to any peculiar German dialect, inasmuch as it is impossible to decide to which class of languages it makes the nearest approach. And this he thinks may have happened in one of two ways. Either the Gothic, as the Latin afterwards, became the mother of many cognate languages, and although many words are lost, the present language is perceptible in each by numerous relics; or, on the contrary, the Gothic Janguage may have been formed from the juncture of many Gothic tribes !*
There is still another theory opposed to both of the former ones, supported by Balbi, and others, who rank the MoesoGothic among the Scandinavian languages. But Balbi, and the class of comparative philologists to which he belongs, have been contented to seek for mere verbal coincidences without taking into consideration the grammatical structure of a language. Yet, the most unphilosophical observer cannot fail to perceive that if the infection and syntactical arrangement of two languages be wholly different, although the roots of their words be the same, they can claim no nearer relationship than that of issuing from the same stock at some remote age. If indeed the forms of words in the Moeso-Gothic place it under the head of the Scandinavian languages, (which we very much doubt,) a moment's comparison of the grammatical changes and the structure of sentences in the Moeso-Gothic, and any Scandinavian dialect will convince us that the genius of the one is widely different froin that of the other.
What then is the Moeso-Gothic, and what are its relations to the other Teutonic languages ?
From the unabbreviated form in which the language exists, we are inclined to think that it is much older than has been generally supposed. Why may it not have stood in the same relation to the spoken Gothic, as the Sanskrit to the spoken dialects
Ulphil. Goth. Vers. ad Cor. II. Ded. p. iv-v. † Atlas Ethnographique. Tab. XIII. Vol. XII. No. 32.