Anglo-Norman French

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This topic contains 3 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Agricola 6 months ago.

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  • #797 Score: 0

    D N. ODonovan
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    Reading one of the earlier threads I see it links to a post by Marco Ponzi, who mentioned that he had found a dictionary of Anglo-Norman French helpful.

    Recently, when checking the orthography for the month-names against a particular maker’s astronomical instruments, I found the same: that they occur in Anglo-Norman.  Most other accounts of them have suggested Occitan, or Judeo-Spanish etc.

    I don’t know what this means, but I also find that the linguistic connections which allowed ‘Saggitarius’ to be depicted as a figure with a crossbow occurs in the fact that the Anglo-Norman troops at Calais described crossbowmen not as the usual ‘ballista’ or ‘ballister- ‘ and such forms, but as Saggitario’  – which everyone else used for the long-bowman.

    There are other elements I’ve noticed which link to English works, but some of those have already been picked up so it’s not news any more.

     

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    Agricola
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    Perhaps you are right, but from my point of expertise, focussing on particular words, hidden or in plain sight, does not give a final solution to the provenance of the MS.

    Especially because there are no clear texts that are without a doubt ALL related to the same language or variants. Or am I wrong?

     

     

  • #801 Score: 0

    D N. ODonovan
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    Agricola, it’s fairly well accepted that the month-names were added later than the text was written, just as the marginalia has been.  These additions give us a glimpse of the vernacular used by persons who later had access to the manuscript; they speak of its post-manufacture history.

    There are different types of provenance.  There’s provenance for the content (from where and whence the matter included in our manuscript originated) ; provenance for the object (i.e. where the present manuscript was put together, copied and/or first bound); and the sort of ‘bookseller’s provenance’ which is all about post-manufacture – who owned it later and that sort of thing.

    I find the first sort of question most interesting, but since the month-names seem to have been added fairly soon – we think – after manufacture and perhaps even before the binding stage, it may be helpful in working out the second sort of provenance.  That is, where the current manuscript was made.   It can’t tell us absolutely, because people moved about;  you get manuscripts whose marginalia can include four or five different vernaculars, or a variety of ‘hands’ writing Latin.   I mean, an English or Spanish or German hand just means that whoever-it-was learned to write in those areas.   Codicology is the best yardstick for deciding where a manuscript was made, and the best codicological assessment we have (in the Yale facsimile edition) shows the scientists didn’t locate its manufacture exactly.  (Later, some editorial hand went through it ‘seeding’ hypothetical scenarios into it, which was a pity.)

    The best assessment I know of was Erwin Panofsky’s and he attributed the work as we have it to southern France, northern Spain, or Portugal.. or somewhere like that.

    But surely our aim should be to rightly understand the content – all else will follow from that.   Still, weaving fantastic stories about the period post-manufacture has been a constant in this study since 1912, and we can blame Wilfrid Voynich for the habit (and for most of the content) we see today. 🙂

  • #802 Score: 0

    Agricola
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    There are sometimes more hints towards the history of a book; I’ve read a book identification based on the tiny symbol that a copyist used; that was nothing more than a line and some dots. Based on that specific mark, the identification of person, place and time could be made.

    Europe is certain for me. But which exact region can not be pinpointed based on a single thing in the vms.

    There are some minor discoveries that I’ve made, but I can not really find the time nor the final ‘push’ to make it count, or lead to s specific point. In the mean time I’m just reading and plowing through historical medieval information and reading very very few things on vms theories because it’s always the same (amateur) stuff without fundamental knowledge or background. I see there are the following  types of people interested:

    • young people following a humanities study and think they already know everything
    • old people who’ve read one or two books and think they know everything
    • people in between that take a serious interest in the background and history and are willing to spend hours, months, years in reading and study related information, they are reluctant sharing information and thoughts, and when they do, then they want a profound building of the discussion. However, doing that “in the open” has proven to be impossible on a public open forum. Perhaps a closed community would be better suitable, but the pool of people would be so tiny that it’s not worthwhile I guess.

     

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