Bergakker inscription

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Visual copy of the Elder Futhark runes on the inscription.

The Bergakker inscription is an Elder Futhark inscription discovered on the scabbard of a 5th-century sword. It was found in 1996 in the Dutch town of Bergakker, near Tiel (in the Betuwe, once the habitat of the Batavi).[1]

Background[edit]

Runic writing at the time was used along the North Sea coast, in Frisia, but there are very few other known inscriptions from Francia. There is consensus that the find dates from the period 425-475 and that the inscription is either the singular direct attestation of Frankish (Franconian) or the earliest attestation of Old Dutch (Old Low Franconian).

Inscription[edit]

The inscription can be read as

ᚺᚨ?[V]ᚦ[V]??ᛋ᛬ᚨᚾᚾ᛬ᚲ[V]ᛋᛃᚨᛗ᛬
᛬ᛚᛟᚷ[V]ᚾᛋ᛬
ha?VþV??s : ann : kVsjam :
: logVns :

where V is a non-standard rune, apparently a vowel (variously read as e or u, or as "any vowel").

Several readings have been presented in literature. There seems to be consensus that the ann means "give/bestow/grant". Several authors read the first word as a personal name in the genitive (indicating property), and the last word as meaning "flame, brand", a kenning for swords. The third word is read either as kusjam, meaning "chooser" or "chosen", or as keisjam meaning "cut" or "cutter", also referring to swords or sword-fighters.

Scholarly interpretations[edit]

  • Quak (2000): Ha(þu)þ[e]was ann k(u)sjam log(u)ns, interpreting it as "[property] of Haþuþewaz. I bestow upon the choosers of the swords".
  • Vennemann (1999): Haþ(ur)s ann k(u)sjam lōg(u)ns "[property] of Haþur. I grant lodging to the swordblades".
  • Seebold (1999): h(ǫ)þ(u)was ann k(u)sjam log(u)ns. "I grant combat to the choosers of the sword".
  • Odenstedt (1999): hā(le) þ(e)was ann k(eis)am lo(ka)ns: "hale servants [warriors] I [the sword] like. I place cuts".
  • Looijenga (1999): Hā(le)þ(e)was ann k(e)sjam log(e)ns. "[property] of Hāleþewaz: He grants the swords to the swordfighters" (possibly a maker's inscription).
  • Bammesberger (1999): Haþ(u)þ(u)ras ann k(u)s(j)am lōg(u)n[r]... "I grant to Haþuþuraʀ and his chosen [bride] the wedding-rune".
  • Mees (2002): Ha(þu)þ[ȳ]was ann k(u)sjam lōguns. "[property] of Haþuþȳwaʀ. He grants a flame [=brand, sword] to the chosen".
  • Grünzweig (2004): Ha(þu)þ(ewa)s ann k(u)sjam log(ō)ns "[property] of Haþuþyewaʀ - he grants the choosers [enemies?] the flame [sword?]".

Comparison with legend[edit]

There is a possibility that the text refers to the Dutch-Flemish folk tale which survives in folk ballad 'Van Here Halewijn' (in English: The Song of Lord Halewijn). In that case the reading would be: Hā(le)þ(uin)s ann k(u)sjam log(u)ns "I grant Halewijn's [sword] to the chooser of the sword(s)", the chooser of the sword (vs. the noose) being the maiden/princess about to be killed by Lord Halewijn.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Looijenga, Tineke (2003). Texts & contexts of the oldest Runic inscriptions. Leiden Boston: Brill. p. 72. ISBN 9004123962. 

Sources[edit]

  • Bammesberger, Alfred. 'Die Runeninschrift von Bergakker: Versuch einer Deutung' in: Pforzen und Bergakker. Neue Untersuchungen zu Runeninschriften, ed. Bammesberger, Göttingen 1999 (=Historische Sprachforschung, Ergänzungsheft, 41), 180-185.
  • Grünzweig, Friedrich E. Runeninschriften auf Waffen. Inschriften vom 2. Jahrhundert n. Chr. bis ins Hochmittelalter. Wien 2004 (=Wiener Studien zur Skandinavistik, 11).
  • Looijenga, Tineke. The Bergakker Find and its Context in: Pforzen und Bergakker. Neue Untersuchungen zu Runeninschriften, ed, Bammesberger, Göttingen 1999 (=Historische Sprachforschung, Ergänzungsheft, 41), 141-151.
  • Mees, Bernard (2002). "The Bergakker Inscription and the Beginnings of Dutch". In Vennemann, Theo. Amsterdamer Beitrage zur Alteren Germaninstik. 56. Rodopi. pp. 23–26. ISBN 90-420-1579-9. 
  • Odenstedt, Bengt. 'The Bergakker Inscription. Transliteration, Interpretation, Message: Some Suggestions' in: Pforzen und Bergakker. Neue Untersuchungen zu Runeninschriften, ed. Bammesberger, Göttingen 1999 (=Historische Sprachforschung, Ergänzungsheft, 41), 163-173.
  • Quak, Arend, 'Wieder nach Bergakker' in: Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik', 53, 2000, 33-39.
  • Seebold, Elmar. 'Die Runeninschrift von Bergakker' in: Pforzen und Bergakker. Neue Untersuchungen zu Runeninschriften, ed. Bammesberger, Göttingen 1999 (=Historische Sprachforschung, Ergänzungsheft, 41), 157-162.
  • Vennemann, Theo, 'Note on the Runic Inscription of the Bergakker Scabbard Mount' in: Pforzen und Bergakker. Neue Untersuchungen zu Runeninschriften, ed. Bammesberger, Göttingen 1999, 152-156.

External links[edit]