In the 4th century the Gothic alphabet and script suddenly and abruptly appeared, thanks to the action of the Visigothic bishop Wulfila and his team of translators of the Bible. Similarly, the usage of the Gothic script drastically disappeared in the middle of the 6th century, due to/owing to the end of the Ostrogothic kingdom in Italy and the Catholic conversion of the Visigothic community in Spain. In less than one century, the manuscripts, with the exception of the precious Codex Argenteus, were reduced to palimpsests. The oblivion of the script and, in larger part, of the Gothic language, were unexpectedly interrupted – even if for a short time – during the Carolingian age. It is difficult to grasp how that knowledge was recovered, whether new codices were copied: the aim of this essay is precisely to offer some clues. Such a cultural reconsideration can be supported by two mss. which date back to the beginning of the 9th century: Wien, ÖNB, cod. 795, and Paris, BNF, lat. 528. In the Vienna codex (ff. 20r-v) Gothic alphabetic series were copied, in the Paris manuscript some Gothic graphemes (f. 71v) were transcribed. Probably, they were copied in those manuscripts in order to decipher other Gothic texts. The intertextual analysis of the Gothic in connection with the other texts contained in the manuscripts could demonstrate the educational purpose of those Gothic annotations. The educational purpose of the gothic graphemes can by inferred thanks to the presence of some pronunciation rules, which are proposed and explained while using the Latin alphabet. The interface among the Gothic script, its reproduction during the Carolingian age (and, consequently, its antigraphic models), the pronunciation of the graphemes and the use of Latin and Caroline minuscule as means through which the understanding of the Gothic is facilitated, can provide a socio-cultural insight into some Carolingian scriptoria. Why was Gothic recovered? To what kind of audience was it addressed? The Gothic graphemes cannot be not linked to the contemporary taste for the alphabetic series, but are transcribed with the evident aim of learning that alphabet in order to be able to read Gothic. At the same time, the Gothic texts are constantly connected with the necessity of clarifying the phonetic aspects of the Gothic language through the auxiliary help of the Latin used by the scribe to transcribe examples and phonetic rules. The essay will try to clarify the cultural reasons connected with the rediscovery of a Germanic language and script which scholars have often considered dead at a previous temporal stage. Questions about the meaning of the Carolingian  retrieval will be faced from a socio-cultural point of view, taking into careful consideration the graphic and phonematic instruments with which the scribes intervene in the manuscript to transmit that knowledge, which testifies to the great cultural ferment  in western scriptoria between the end of the 8th century and the beginning of the 9th century.

Reading and Writing Gothic in the Carolingian Age

ZIRONI, ALESSANDRO
2010

Abstract

In the 4th century the Gothic alphabet and script suddenly and abruptly appeared, thanks to the action of the Visigothic bishop Wulfila and his team of translators of the Bible. Similarly, the usage of the Gothic script drastically disappeared in the middle of the 6th century, due to/owing to the end of the Ostrogothic kingdom in Italy and the Catholic conversion of the Visigothic community in Spain. In less than one century, the manuscripts, with the exception of the precious Codex Argenteus, were reduced to palimpsests. The oblivion of the script and, in larger part, of the Gothic language, were unexpectedly interrupted – even if for a short time – during the Carolingian age. It is difficult to grasp how that knowledge was recovered, whether new codices were copied: the aim of this essay is precisely to offer some clues. Such a cultural reconsideration can be supported by two mss. which date back to the beginning of the 9th century: Wien, ÖNB, cod. 795, and Paris, BNF, lat. 528. In the Vienna codex (ff. 20r-v) Gothic alphabetic series were copied, in the Paris manuscript some Gothic graphemes (f. 71v) were transcribed. Probably, they were copied in those manuscripts in order to decipher other Gothic texts. The intertextual analysis of the Gothic in connection with the other texts contained in the manuscripts could demonstrate the educational purpose of those Gothic annotations. The educational purpose of the gothic graphemes can by inferred thanks to the presence of some pronunciation rules, which are proposed and explained while using the Latin alphabet. The interface among the Gothic script, its reproduction during the Carolingian age (and, consequently, its antigraphic models), the pronunciation of the graphemes and the use of Latin and Caroline minuscule as means through which the understanding of the Gothic is facilitated, can provide a socio-cultural insight into some Carolingian scriptoria. Why was Gothic recovered? To what kind of audience was it addressed? The Gothic graphemes cannot be not linked to the contemporary taste for the alphabetic series, but are transcribed with the evident aim of learning that alphabet in order to be able to read Gothic. At the same time, the Gothic texts are constantly connected with the necessity of clarifying the phonetic aspects of the Gothic language through the auxiliary help of the Latin used by the scribe to transcribe examples and phonetic rules. The essay will try to clarify the cultural reasons connected with the rediscovery of a Germanic language and script which scholars have often considered dead at a previous temporal stage. Questions about the meaning of the Carolingian  retrieval will be faced from a socio-cultural point of view, taking into careful consideration the graphic and phonematic instruments with which the scribes intervene in the manuscript to transmit that knowledge, which testifies to the great cultural ferment  in western scriptoria between the end of the 8th century and the beginning of the 9th century.
Teaching Writing, Learning to Write: Proceedings of the XVIth Colloquium of the Comité International de Paléographie Latine
103
110
A. Zironi
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/95587
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