Adam of Bremen, Gesta Hammaburgensis Ecclesiae Pontificum

By Iynx, in 'Reading Latin', Sep 27, 2009.

  1. Iynx Consularis

    • Consularis
    Iynx Senex omnibus amicis suis in Foro Latin sodalibus plurimam salutem vercunde dicit.

    Once again I find myself bewildered, and seek help here. The passage this time is from Adam of Bremen, Gesta Hammaburgensis Ecclesiae Pontificum iii: 44; it runs as follows.

    Haec sunt munera, quae rex misit ad reaedificationem Hamburg: tres calices aureos, in quibus erant librae auri decem, unum vas chrismale argenteum, scutum argenteum deauratum, psalterium aureis scriptum litteris, thuribula et candelabra argentea, dorsalia novem regalia, casulas 35, cappas 30, dalmaticas et subtiles 14 et alia multa, et unum plenarium, cuius tabula videbatur novem libras auri habere.

    I translate this as follows:

    These are the gifts that the king sent for the rebuilding of Hamburg: three golden cups, containing ten pounds of gold, one silver chrism-vessel, a shield of silver-gilt, a psalter written with letters of gold, thuribles and candlesticks of silver, nine regal cloth-hangings, 35 chasubles, 30 hoods, 14 dalmatics and subtiles, and much else, together with one plenary, the tabula of which seemed to contain nine pounds of gold.

    Now I'm pretty comfortable with most of this (though I wouldn't bet the farm on my translation of those dorsalia regalia). I do know what a subtilis (or subtile) was-- a vestment for a subdeaon, as the dalmatic was for a deacon-- though I don't know an English word for it. And I understand that any of several different liturgical books might have been called a "plenary"

    My problem is that tabula. Nine pounds of gold? Four kilos? Surely that's too much for the word here to mean "writing" or "picture". My best guess is that it refers to some sort of bookstand-- a "little table".

    My hope is that there's some one of you who really knows.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Imber Ranae Ranunculus Iracundus

    • Civis Illustris
    Re: Hard word in Adam of Bremen

    Just guessing, as I really have no idea, but I think it might refer to the covers of the codex being inlaid with gold sheets. It would have to be a rather massive book, though.

    How much was a libra at the time and place where this was written? It wouldn't have been avoirdupois. Probably the German pfund, then, right? It seems there was no standardized measure for the pfund until 1854.
  3. Iynx Consularis

    • Consularis
    Re: Hard word in Adam of Bremen

    Don't know exactly-- 400 grams would be a reasonable guess. Can you cite another instance of tabula meaning "cover"?

    Thanks,
    Iynx
  4. nickwib New Member

    Location:
    Hispania
    Re: Hard word in Adam of Bremen

    My guess would be a frontal. (late 9th to early 15th).
  5. Cinefactus Censor

    • Censor
    Location:
    litore aureo
    Re: Hard word in Adam of Bremen

    Niermeyer has altar for one of the meanings of tabula, which doesn't fit so well for a book, but it gives reliquary for one of the meanings of plenarium, which would fit better.

    Unfortunately for subtillis, it just says, 'liturgical garment for a subdeacon', so I can't come up with the technical term for that either ;)
  6. nickwib New Member

    Location:
    Hispania
    Re: Hard word in Adam of Bremen

    Another possibility is rood screen.
  7. Iynx Consularis

    • Consularis
    Re: Hard word in Adam of Bremen

    Gratias omnibus ago.

    Cinefacte, I'm sure you're right-- in fact Niermeyer cites Adam-- or rather "Addit ad Adam Brem."-- as using plenarium for "reliquary". I was thinking that I was looking at the accusative of plenarius.

    But what then is the tabula of a reliquary?

    Forgive me, nickwib, but I don't understand. By "frontal" do you mean an antipendium, aka pallium altaris? Such things long survived the fourteenth century; they were certainly in use in my boyhood, if they are not still. But they have always been made of cloth, have they not?
  8. Iynx Consularis

    • Consularis
    Re: Hard word in Adam of Bremen

    The reference in Niermeyer is to the chapter after my text (iii:45). But I find no mention of a plenarium there, and I guess N's reference must be to the very word I quoted.
  9. nickwib New Member

    Location:
    Hispania
    Re: Hard word in Adam of Bremen

    Another possibility listed for tabula is a 'flat reliquary'. Frontal would be a moveable cover for the front of the altar. Were they always cloth?
  10. Iynx Consularis

    • Consularis
    Re: Hard word in Adam of Bremen

    Frontals (in the sense of pallia altarium) were in the twentieth century always cloth, at least as far as I know. I have no idea about the situation in Adam's time.

    But in any case it seems pretty clear that Adam (or whoever penned the additiones) was talking about some kind of reliquary.

    Thanks again.
  11. nickwib New Member

    Location:
    Hispania
    Re: Hard word in Adam of Bremen

    A Medieval Latin Word-List, an ongoing project, has tabula used for 'flat reliquary' in 1383, 1388, 1419. But this is only from English and Irish sources so it is quite possible the usage was earlier elsewhere.

    ..............

    It has occurred to me, over lunch, that the adjective ‘flat’ in relation to a reliquary may, unless in ecclesiastic terminology it conjures an identifiable image, as in such modern usage as ‘flat shoe’, today need some added concept like ‘shallow’?
  12. Imber Ranae Ranunculus Iracundus

    • Civis Illustris
    Re: Hard word in Adam of Bremen

    No, but I'm not much familiar with Medieval Latin at all, much less obscure Latin terminology from late antiquity and the Christian era. That seems to be more within your sphere of knowledge. Do you know what the usual Latin term for the covers of codices was? (Assuming there was such a standard term, of course.)

    However, be that as it may, I'm now rather inclined to agree with nickwib that "tabula" here probably refers to the reliquary itself. If it were a triptych or some such, the Latin word tabula would make perfect sense as this is a word often used for panels of any sort. I'm imagining the object in question looked something like this.
  13. Symposion Member

    Location:
    Helsingia (Finnia)
    The History writer Magister Adam of Bremen wrote in the Fourth book Chapter 23 of his large work in Latin Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum from the 1070s:

    Verum Westragothia confinis est provinciae Danorum, quae Sconia dicitur; a qua etiam ferunt diebus VII perveniri usque ad civitatem Gothorum magnam Scarane.

    Does ferunt (fertur) mean is said in English? I am a bit confused because it is in 3rd person plural.

    And then I translate perveniri (pervenire) as to reach in English.

    The Swedish Wikipedia states that civitas Scarane (Scaranae or Scharam) is definite plural genitive. What!? I do not know what declension of Nouns it belongs to but a plural genitive looks weird! I would myself think it should be Scare in Medieval Latin or similar as I would write Scarae in Classical Latin. I think the feminine noun belongs to the 1st declension (stems in -a) and is in singular genitive! This as I have seen also Scaram somewhere as singular accusative. What do you think?
  14. Cinefactus Censor

    • Censor
    Location:
    litore aureo
    People say

    Looks like 1st conj singular.
  15. Symposion Member

    Location:
    Helsingia (Finnia)
    The verb ferunt (fertur) is the 3rd person plural present active indicative of fero, ferre, tuli, latum. It means I carry or bear. I have not seen before that it means "say". Since then I have learnt it is better to understand and analyze the original texts in Latin than to check translations.

    You mean 1st declension singular genitive? The place name Scara is not a verb so it does not belong to the 1st conjugation. I think this place name could instead be of the 3rd declension because of the -n- in Scarane and the case could rather be singular ablative.
  16. Dantius Homo Sapiens

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    in orbe lacteo
    fero can mean "to say" in certain contexts. This can be found in the Lewis and Short dictionary entry for fero, II.B.7.b.
    [IMG]
    Cinefactus and Matthaeus like this.
  17. Dantius Homo Sapiens

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    in orbe lacteo
    perveniri is an impersonal passive. The infinitive form is because it is within an indirect statement dependent upon ferunt. The most literal translation is: "from which they also say it is arrived/reached (i.e. "one can arrive") all the way to the great civilization of the Goths, Scarane, within 7 days."

    An alternate reading that makes more sense to me is Scaranen. That would make Scarane a noun declining with Greek endings in the first declension, like the proper names Penelope or Europe or Thisbe.
  18. Westcott Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Regarding ferunt/fertur, I often come across ut prefertur for "as is aforesaid" in medieval Latin.

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