ΑΡΧΑΙΑ ΓΡΑΙΚΙΑ-ΙΤΑΛΙΑ ΗΤΟΙ Η ΜΙΚΡΑ ΕΛΛΑΣ (ΙV)

(ΣΥΝΕΧΕΙΑ ΑΠΟ  10/12/2015)

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(ΣΥΝΕΧΙΖΕΤΑΙ)

Δ.ΛΟΙΖΟΣ

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PAN-SLAV THEORY A FICTION STORY (VIIIb) – The East Roman Legacy in Folk Life and Tradition in the Balkans

(BEING CONTINUED FROM  7/12/2015)

3. Religion in the life of the Balkan peoples
This history of the formal religious structures and of popular religious practices among the inhabitants of the Balkan peninsula is a very long and complex one, stretching from the second millennium B.C. until modern times, with elements both of continuity and change. At the earliest level are the well studied structures and practices of Graeco-Roman antiquity which include not only the beliefs, ceremonies and institutions of the Greeks and Romans but also those of the non-Greek, non-Roman populations such as the Dacians, Illyrians, and Thracians. Much less is known about the religious life of the latter than of the former. Graeco-Roman paganism itself was the result of the fusion of many elements and practices, some sanctioned and especially sponsored by the state, others enjoying popularity in the non-sponsored, popular realm of culture and society. The god Dionysus and his worship enjoyed both a formal worship, as elaborated and controlled by state festivals of Dionysiaca, and a popular worship, as evidenced by popular ceremonies associated with religious practices in rural society which stood well out of the monitoring powers of the city-state or the empire. Further, Greek religion, according to Nilsson and other students, was the result of a fusion, at times imperfect, of pre-Greek chthonic elements and the religious beliefs and practices of Greek newcomers to the peninsula, a religiosity often symbolized by the duodecadic pantheon of the gods. As this religion came into contact with religious practices of Thracians (the cult of the rider hero, etc.) and other Balkan peoples there was further accommodation of Graeco-Roman and local gods and religious practices, to which were added the cults of the Near Eastern Mystery religions, especially in the period of the Roman Empire.

When Christianity began to spread into the peninsula in the period of the Roman Empire, the bases were laid for the next great strategraphic overlay on the religious life of the Balkan inhabitants: the official adoption of Christianity as the religion of the state, and the attempts of the emperors from the time of Constantius II, the son of Constantine the Great, through Justinian in particular to enforce conversion to Christianity by legislation and severe legal penalties for those who were recalcitrant. This resulted in mass conversions throughout the empire. Now it is precisely the phenomenon of mass conversions, which results, most effectively, in the survival of prior religious cults, practices, and beliefs. In this, mass conversion serves as a protection or insulation for the earlier religious life of the converts. In contrast individual conversion can and often is a more thorough process in that the individual is isolated from the body of his former co-religionists and is persuaded to make a true change and conversion. Thus during the period of mass conversions of paganism and pagans to Christianity the converts, especially in the rural areas, but in the towns, often, as well, preserved their former religious beliefs, associations and practices within the framework of the church. Conversely, the church, in asserting its dogmas and cultic practices had, nevertheless, to accommodate also much that was not Christian and that was indeed out and out pagan. This basic process of the accommodation of Christianity and pagan religiosity occurred thus from the very time of the first appearance of Christianity in the Balkans, in an ever intensifying manner, right into the reign of Justinian. It was, therefore, a process which had run a full cycle by the time of the appearance of the Slavs in the Balkan peninsula.
When the Slavs came, from the little that we know of their religious life (the earliest and most detailed description of their religious beliefs and institutions occurs in the Byzantine historian Procopius) it was a type of polytheism-polydaemonism in which they believed in a supreme sky and weather god (not unlike Zeus and Jupiter), and in spirits that inhabited the waters, the mountains and the forests (like the Greek nereids, dryads, oreads).(21) We know very little about the contact of the Slavs with the older Balkan peoples prior to the Christianization of the Slavs in the ninth and tenth centuries but their entrance, formally, into Christianity in the ninth and tenth centuries brought them into intimate contact with the formal, religious life, beliefs, and ceremony of Greek Christianity. But from the study of the popular religious practices and beliefs of Roumanians, Bulgarians,(22), Serbs,(23) and Greeks, it would seem that the Slavs also came into contact with the popular religiosity of the pre-Slavic peoples and it would be difficult to suppose that this 

occurred exclusively as a result of their formal Christianization. Thus in the religious life of the newcomers we might reasonably expect to see a fusion of Christian religiosity (itself already a fusion of Christianity with Graeco-Roman paganism in its evolved state of late antiquity) with Slavic popular religion. And indeed when we look at the religious life of this newer demographicethnographic element in the Balkans, we see a formal religious life which is formally completely Christian, but which at the popular level is very heavily influenced by the earlier Graeco-Roman and Slavic pagan practices, rites, and beliefs. Even aspects of their formal Christianity and Christian life had long ago been formed from a fusion of pagan and Christian elements.
Thus, returning, briefly, to the earlier theoretical statement and structure of the consideration of the popular culture of the Balkan peoples and the survival of the Byzantine legacy therein, we see once more that the concept of a series of cultural layers dynamically connected in cultural evolution is a concept of considerable utility in getting at the heart of the subject under consideration. In the area of religion we see the following strata:

Chthonic pre-Greek
Greek and Roman
Indigenous-Thracian, Dacian, Illyrian
Oriental Mystery religions
Christianity
Slavic paganism-Slavic Christianity and popular religion in the Christian era 

Let us return to the subject, more strictly speaking, of the Byzantine tradition in the realm of religion. With Christianization the Balkan Slavs entered a formal religious world of highly developed metaphysical speculative dogma, of formalization of dogma, belief, cultic practice through the mechanics of centralized church councils, and of a legalistic church structure buttressed by the centralized promulgation of a church law known as canon law. Indeed the medieval Serbian and Bulgarian states adopted Byzantine Christian dogma and the seven ecumenical councils, the hierarchical administrative structure of the Byzantine church, eventually creating for themselves patriarchates also, and of course they adopted the same system of canon law. But all these are elements of formal religious life and do not form the subject proper of our present discourse… nevertheless, formal religious life was important for popular religious life inasmuch as it formed or constituted one of the basic forces in the overall synthesis and character of popular religious life. And to this extent the influence of the Byzantine legacy in Balkan religious life was decisive, both in the pre-Turkish era as well as in the era of Ottoman rule.
The most striking elements of the Byzantine legacy in the popular religious life of the Balkan populations are to be seen in monasticism, hagiolatry, iconolatry, the appearance of neomartyrdom as a result of clashes with Islam, the survival of pagan animal sacrifices, the beliefs surrounding the Christian mystery of baptism, and indeed the existence of a religious calendar which is closely modelled on and adopted from the calendar and cycle of practices and beliefs associated with ancient paganism.
In the period following the Ottoman conquests and into the sixteenth century the number of Slavic monks on Mount Athos seems to have been substantial, and monasticism remained a vital institution in the popular religious life of all the Balkan Christians throughout the period of Ottoman rule. The tradition of martyrdom for the faith, so prominent in the earliest spread of Christianity during the reigns of Decius and Diocletian, had with the triumph of Christianity subsided. Then with the appearance of the new Muslim conquerors in the Balkans during the fourteenth century, and throughout their five hundred years of political sovereignty there was an apposition of Christianity and Islam. The latter, enjoying the prestige of political superiority and economic affluence, followed a double policy toward Christianity. On the one hand there was formal institutionalised tolerance of Judaism and Christianity so that the masses of Christians survived the five hundred years of Ottoman 

rule without surrendering their religion. On the other hand the missionizing spirit was inbuilt into the teaching and the spirit of Islam so that there was substantial conversion of Christians in the Balkans, though not on the same massive scale as in Asia Minor, and very often these conversions took place in stressful times.(24)Within this domain of restricted conversion there were individuals who underwent death and martyrdom for their Christian faith. The neo-martyrs, as a cult, appear early in the Ottoman conquests of the Balkans, as is evidenced by the martyrdom of St. George of Sofia, a Christian soldier in the Ottoman armies, and continued into the very late period of Ottoman rule, as witness the martyrdom of the neo-martyrs St. George of Jannina who was martyred in an Ottoman military camp, and Constantine the Neomartyr who underwent his tribulation in the early nineteenth century Izmir. As a phenomenon, neomartyrdom was a continuation of the phenomenon which first arose among Christians in the Turkish domains of Seljuk Anatolia.(25)
Certainly the most important of all the aspects of popular religious life of the Balkan peoples was hagiolatry, the cult and worship of the saints. One should note the following important characteristics of hagiolatry: the worship of the saint is localized and personalized; the local patron saint is the single most important religious figure in the life of the inhabitants of the Balkan village and town during the Ottoman period, as also the Byzantine period.
For he, or she, is the most efficacious supernatural force in the life cycle of the Balkan Christian, more powerful than Christ, the Virgin, and God. He is the most important because he is present in the village or town. The Byzantines and modern Greeks called him sympolites, co-citizen. Very often they have in the village reliquary or in the church’s foundations a relic of that saint, which means that the magic of his presence resides in his actual presence, his physical presence, pars pro toto. A great deal of scholarly attention has been given to the cults of individual saints, as indeed to the entire phenomenon.

At one stage of scholarship there were attempts to point to connections of individual saints with individual Graeco-Roman pagan deities: Poseidon, St. Nicholas; Athena, the Virgin, etc., because there was a strong suspicion that the cult of the saints grew out of the polytheistic cults of antiquity. It is perhaps simplistic to look for direct continuity between pagan deities and a given saint. But one should examine, and indeed this has been done successfully, the continuity of functions and attributes between pagan deities and Christian saints, as a more promising sector of research. And then finally, one should examine the function of the entirety of the structure of hagiolatry as a religious phenomenon and should do so comparatively with the polytheistic nature of Graeco-Roman religion. Given the undoubted importance of each individual saint in the local life of various villages and towns, and the elaborate cult attendant upon the worship of each, one cannot but be struck by the emphasis on the many rather than on the one in Orthodox Christianity in the Balkans. This emphasis on the varied rather than on the unified one in popular religiosity of course recalls the lack of a rigidly enforced unity in pagan religion. In effect, hagiolatry is a partial replacement of and a partial continuity of the ancient polytheistic and polydaemonistic concept of religion. So in this respect hagiolatry is polytheistic. Further, there is no doubt that the attributes and functions of ancient deities have been taken over by various saints.(26)
In this respect, it is instructive to look for a moment at the cult of the Prophet Elijah, first among the Byzantines and modern Greeks, and then among the Bulgars and Serbs. In the Byzantine and modern Greek tradition, Elijah (in Greek he is called Elias) is the saint of rain, thunder, lightning, and the wind. According to Greek folklore lightning and thunder are his weapons and he unleashes them as he chases the devil, or variously, the dragon, across the heavens in his chariot. His chapels are most conspicuously placed on mountain tops and heights… he has an almost exclusive monopoly of these, man’s highest landscapes, those points of the earth’s surface which are closest to the heavens. It had been pointed out by the Greek folklorist Nikolas Polites, with a high degree of probability, that these attributes of Elijah represented an appropriation of the principal characteristics of the pagan Greek god Zeus, who was also the Indo-european god of thunder, rain, and the skies, and to whom heights were sacred. Both by the philological proximity of the names Elias-Helios, and by further appropriation, it has been indicated, again with a high degree of probability, that the cult of the Prophet Elijah expropriated the functions of the sun god Helios; also close in position and function to Zeus.

Scholars who have studied this particular Byzantine cult have, further, examined the cultic practices attendant upon the worship of the Prophet Elijah and these too are instructive as to the composite character of his attributes and prehistory. It has been observed that on the highest landmark of Mt.Taygetus, dominating the Spartan plain, the Greek peasants used to ascend the mountain on his feast day, July 20, to light fires in his honor and to throw incense into the fire as an offering to the prophet-saint. Down below on the plains, the peasants lighted their own fires, dancing around them and jumping over the flames. Further, it was the practice to sacrifice a rooster to him, a practise closely associated with the worship of the pagan god of the sun Helios. As a symbol of the sun, whose rays first fell on the mountaintops, the cock sacrifice was adopted into the cult of Elijah who also inherited some of the traits-attributes of Helios, as well as of Zeus. Thus the farmers used to believe that they could foretell the weather from the crowing of the rooster. As an Old Testament Prophet, Elijah, it was believed, could foretell the future, and so on his feast day the peasants consulted him from the colors of the burning incense which the faithful offered to him in the fires on the mountain heights. In eastern Rumelia peasants sacrificed bullocks to him in an effort to ward off contagious diseases.(27)

Speros Vryonis,Jr.

Notes
21. Procopius, De bello gothico,
22. See my forthcoming, Prior Tempore, Fortior Iure; the chapter entitled “The Theory of a Tripartite Ethnogenesis of the Bulgarian People and the Rise of Thracology in Contemporary Bulgarian Scholarship”.
23. Runciman, op. cit., passim. Β. Djurdjev, Ulova tsrkva u starijoj srpskog naroda (Sarajevo, 1964). Srpska pravoslvna tsrkva 1219-1969 (Belgrade, 1969).
24. Vryonis, “Religious Changes and Patterns in the Balkans…”, passim.
25. Vryonis, Decline of Medieval Hellenism.-360-362. C. Patrinellis, “Mia anekdote pege yia ton agnosto neo-martyra Georgio (1437)”. Orthodoxos Parousia, Ι (1964), 65-74. Ι. Delehaye, “Greek Neo-Martyrs”, The Constructive Quarterly, ΙΧ (1921), 701-712.
26. Μ. Nilsson, Greek Popular Religion (New York, 1940). J.C. Lawson, Modern Greek Folklore and Ancient Greek Religion. Α Study in Survivals (New York, 1964). For many of the details of pagan survivals see especially the work of D. Constantelos, “Paganism and the State in the Age of Justinian”, Catholic Historical Review, ΧΧIII (1978), 217-234. “Cannon 62 of the Synod in Trullo and the Slavic Problem”, ΒΥΖΑΝΤlΝΑ, ΙΙ (1970), 23-35.
27. G. Megas, Greek Calendar Customs (Athens, 1958), 142-144.

(ΣΥΝΕΧΙΖΕΤΑΙ)

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ΠΕΡΙ ΤΩΝ ΡΩΜΑΙΚΩΝ ΦΡΑΤΡΙΩΝ ΤΩΝ ΒΛΑΧΩΝ/ΒΑΛΑΧΩΝ Ο ΛΟΓΟΣ (Α)

A)Μια εισαγωγή για τους βλάχους της Αλβανίας

Σήμερα οι βλάχοι είναι σκορπισμένοι σε πολλές περιοχές της Αλβανίας. Τους βρίσκουμε στις πόλεις όπως τα Τίρανα, Δυρράχιο, Καβάγια, Ελμπασάνι, Μπεράτι, Αυλώνα, Φίερι, Λιούσνια, Κορυτσά, Πόγραδετς, Πρεμετή, Αργυρόκαστρο, Αγία Σαράντα, και σε πολλά χωριά γύρω απο αυτές της πόλεις.
Είναι σημαντικό το γεγονός ότι οι βλάχοι σε αυτά τα μέρη ίδρυσαν οικισμούς ιστορικά μόνο στο νότο της Εγνατίας οδόυ. Δεν γνωρίζουμε αν υπήρχανε ποτέ βλάχικοι οικισμοί στο βόρειο μέρος της Αλβανίας, εκτός από ομάδες που ασχολούνταν με εμπόριο.

Τους βλάχους της Αλβανίας, με βάσει τα ιστορικά στοιχεία τους, μπορούμε να τους χωρίσουμε σε τρεις ομάδες:

Η ομάδα της Μουζακιάς. Είναι η μεγαλύτερη ομάδα των βλάχων της Αλβανίας. Γεωγραφικά εξαπλώνετε από την Αυλώνα στο νότο μέχρι το Δυρράχιο στο βόρα, από τη Δυβιάκα της Αδριατικής μέχρι το Μπεράτι προς Ανατολή.

Η ομάδα της Μοσχόπολης. Το μεγαλύτερο ποσοστό από αυτή την ομάδα κατοικεί στην πόλη της Κορυτσάς. Η πρωτεύουσα των βλάχων και της ελληνικής κουλτούρας στα χρόνια της τουρκοκρατίας, η μεγάλη Μοσχόπολη των 60 χιλιάδων κατοίκων, σήμερα είναι ένα μικρό χωριό. Σε αυτή την ομάδα ανήκουν τα γνωστά χωριά, όπως Πλεάσα, Γράμποβο, Σίπσκα, Λάγκα.

Η ομάδα της Κολόνιας και του Νταγκλί, που τους ονομάζουν και φαρσαριώτες, αρά, η ποιο σωστή ονομασία για την ομάδα αυτή θα ήταν «βλάχοι Ηπειρώτες». Σε αυτή την ομάδα ανήκουν οι βλάχοι της Πρεμετής, Αργυροκάστρου, Δέλβινου και Αγ. Σαράντα. Τα βλαχόφωνα χωριά της περιοχής μας, τα συναντούμε από τα χρόνια της βυζαντινής αυτοκρατορίας, όπως τα χωριά Χοτόβα και Σούχα.
Οι δύο μεγάλοι ευεργέτες της Ελλάδας από την περιοχή μας, ο Κωνσταντίνος Ζιάπας από Λάμποβο και ο Απόστολος Αρσάκης από το Χότοβο είναι βλαχόφωνοι. Και ο Κολοκοτρώνης πιθανόν να είναι βλαχόφωνος από το χωριό Ζάρκανη της Πρεμετής.

B)Η διασπορά και οι αποικίες των Γραμμουστιάνων

Αξίζει να αναφερθούν, έστω και επιγραμματικά, οι οικισμοί και οι καλυβικές εγκαταστάσεις που συνοίκησαν ή δημιούργησαν από μόνοι τους οι Γραμμουστιάνοι, δίχως όμως να μπορούμε να τις χρονολογήσουμε με απόλυτη ακρίβεια, καθώς τα κύματα των εξόδων αλληλοδιαδέχτηκαν το ένα το άλλο.
Γραμμουστιάνικα φαλκάρια είχαν κάνει την εμφάνισή τους στο Κρούσοβο και την περιοχή του, προς αναζήτηση θερινών βοσκών, πριν από την εγκατάσταση σε αυτό των εδραίων Νικολιτσιάνων. Αρχικά, όταν το Κρούσοβο μεταμορφωνόταν σε οικισμό με εδραίο βλάχικο πληθυσμό, οι Γραμμουστιάνοι κατοικούσαν σε αυτό μόνο τη θερινή περίοδο. Αργότερα και κατά τη διάρκεια του 19ου αιώνα, εγκαταλείποντας τη νομαδοκτηνοτροφία, εγκαταστάθηκαν οριστικά στο Κρούσοβο.

Λίγο νοτιότερα από το Κρούσοβο δημιούργησαν ένα μικρό οικισμό με αποκλειστικά γραμμουστιάνικο πληθυσμό, τη Μπιρίνα. Η Μπιρίνα φέρεται να είχε 100 περίπου οικογένειες και σύντομη ζωή, καθώς, ύστερα από επίθεση Τουρκαλβανών ληστών, οι κάτοικοί της αναγκάστηκαν να μετακινηθούν στο Κρούσοβο, όπου δημιούργησαν μία νέα συνοικία με το όνομα Μπιρίνα. Αναφέρεται πως αρκετοί από τους Γραμμουστιάνους της Μπιρίνας ήταν εκτός από κτηνοτρόφοι και πολύ καλοί σιδηροτεχνίτες. Δύο μάλλον μικρές εγκατάστασεις αποκλειστικά Γραμμουστιάνων είχαν δημιουργηθεί στις θέσεις Τσαρνούσι-Μουκός και Καντιγίτσα κοντά στα στενά της Μπαμπούνας, ανάμεσα στον Περλεπέ και το Τίτο Βέλες. Το Τσαρνούσι-Μουκός φέρεται να συγκέντρωνε τον πιθανότατα υπερβολικό αριθμό των 300-400 οικογενειών κτηνοτρόφων και κυρατζήδων και δεν έμελλε να ευημερήσει. Γύρω στα 1850, ύστερα και πάλι από ληστρική επίθεση Τουρκαλβανών, αυτή τη φορά από τη Σκόδρα, οι Γραμμουστιάνοι του Τσαρνούσι-Μουκός σκόρπισαν και πολλοί από αυτούς βρέθηκαν στο Κρούσοβο, το Στιπ και το Τέτοβο. Ανάμεσα σε αυτούς που εγκαταστάθηκαν στο Τέτοβο αναφέρονται και κάποιοι καλοί οπλουργοί.[1] Μετά την καταστροφή του Τσαρνούσι-Μουκός και της Καντιγίτσας είναι πολύ πιθανό να ενισχύθηκαν τα νομαδικά φαλκάρια και οι καλυβικές εγκαταστάσεις των Γραμμουστιάνων προς τα ανατολικότερα εδάφη της Μακεδονίας. Οι αναφορές για Γραμμουστιάνους σιδηρουργούς και οπλουργούς ενισχύουν την άποψη πως η Γράμμουστα δεν ήταν ένα απλό χωριό νομαδοκτηνοτρόφων Βλάχων και πως ανάμεσά τους υπήρχαν πληθυσμιακά στοιχεία με εμποροβιοτεχνικό προσανατολισμό. Μικρότερες ομάδες Γραμμουστιάνων, κυρίως κτηνοτρόφων, συνέβαλαν, όπως έχει ήδη αναφερθεί, στη συνοίκηση του Μεγάροβου, αλλά και του Τύρνοβου και της Νιζόπολης, στις πλαγιές του Περιστερίου, μαζί με Βλάχους φυγάδες και από άλλες περιοχές.

Για τους ορεινούς-θερινούς καλυβικούς οικισμούς των Γραμμουστιάνων είναι αρκετά δύσκολο να αναφερόμαστε με μεγάλη σαφήνεια, λόγω της ίδιας τους της φύσης. Πολύ συχνά διασπόνταν και ο πληθυσμός τους αυξομειώνονταν ή κατοικούνταν μόνο για κάποια χρόνια. Κάποιες από αυτές τις εγκαταστάσεις εξελίχθηκαν σε σταθερούς θερινούς οικισμούς με τη οργάνωση ορεινής κοινότητας. Όμως, οι περισσότερες από αυτές παρέμειναν, μέχρι την οριστική τους εγκατάλειψη, απλές θερινές καλυβικές εγκαταστάσεις με μικρό πληθυσμό και πολύ συχνά δεν εμφανίζονται στις διάφορες επίσημες ή μη στατιστικές. Ωστόσο, θα προσπαθήσουμε να κάνουμε μία όσο το δυνατόν πληρέστερη παρουσίασή τους, έτσι όπως τουλάχιστον είχαν διαμορφωθεί γύρω στα 1900.

Στην περιοχή του Μοριχόβου, στις νοτιοανατολικές πλαγιές του Βόρρα, δημιουργήθηκε η εγκατάσταση Καλύβια της Ρόντοβας, που έμελλε να διατηρηθεί μόνο μέχρι τα τέλη περίπου τις δεκαετίας του 1900-1910, όταν οι περισσότερες οικογένειές της βρέθηκαν πια στην Έδεσσα. Στο Πάικο, ανάμεσα στους εδραίους Μογλενίτες Βλάχους, δημιουργήθηκαν οι οικισμοί Μεγάλα Λιβάδια και Μικρά Λιβάδια, οι οποίοι άρχισαν να παίρνουν τη μορφή σταθερής ορεινής ημινομαδικής κοινότητας με τη συνοίκηση όχι μόνο Γραμμουστιάνων, αλλά και Μοσχοπολιάνων, Περιβολιατών και Σαρμανιωτών. Οι οικισμοί της Ρόντοβας και των Λιβαδίων θα μας απασχολήσουν εκτενέστερα.

Προς τα ανατολικότερα μακεδονικά εδάφη, στις πλαγιές του Όρβηλου ή Πιρίν, αναπτύχθηκε μία ιδιαίτερα αξιόλογη ομάδα γραμμουστιάνικων καλυβικών οικισμών. Αναφέρονται οι καλυβικοί οικισμοί στη Λόποβα, τη Μπόζντοβα, τη Σιάτροβα ή Σιάτρα, το Λαϊλιά και το Παπά Τσιαϊρ, όπως και κάποιες μικρότερες εγκαταστάσεις, με τις οποίες θα ασχοληθούμε αναλυτικότερα. Μία άλλη ομάδα εγκαταστάσεων δημιουργήθηκε στη Ροδόπη, σε εδάφη, που μετά τη χάραξη των συνόρων (1878), βρέθηκαν άλλες στο οθωμανικό έδαφος και άλλες στο έδαφος της Ανατολικής Ρωμυλίας. Στο έδαφος της Ανατολικής Ρωμυλίας βρίσκονταν η Πίζντιτσα, το Καρτάλι του Γιάνκου, το Τσακμάκ, η Κρίβα Ρέκα, το Ζάλτι Καμέν, τα Καλύβια του Κοστάντοβου και ο μεγαλύτερος από αυτούς τους οικισμούς η Μπακίτσα ή Κούρτοβα. Οι Γραμμουστιάνοι αυτής της ομάδας επικράτησε να είναι γνωστοί ως Κουτρουβιάνοι. Σύμφωνα με τις καταγραφές του G. Weigand, λίγο πριν το 1907, οι εγκαταστάσεις αυτές αριθμούσαν συλλογικά 305 περίπου καλύβες και ίσως πολύ περισσότερες από 2.000 ψυχές. Στο οθωμανικό έδαφος, γραμμουστιάνικες καλυβικές εγκαταστάσεις αναπτύχθηκαν στις θέσεις Καραμάντρα και Σουφαντερέ, αλλά και δίπλα στους οικισμούς της Μπελίτσα, της Γκόλντοβα, του Νεντομπάρσκο, της Ντράγκλιστα, της Γκιακορούντα, του Μπάτσεβο και στην κωμόπολη του Ραζλόγκ – Μαχομία. Οι Γραμμουστιάνοι αυτής της ομάδας επικράτησε να ονομάζονται Ραζλουκιάνοι. Σύμφωνα με στατιστική των ελληνικών προξενικών αρχών, γύρω στο 1906, η ομάδα αυτή αριθμούσε γύρω στις 2.000 ψυχές.[2]

Mία άλλη ομάδα δημιουργήθηκε γύρω από το όρος Ρίλα τόσο στο τουρκικό, όσο και στο βουλγαρικό έδαφος. Κάποιοι από τους Γραμμουστιάνους που βρέθηκαν στο βουλγαρικό έδαφος φέρονται να είχαν περάσει πρώτα από την περιοχή του Όρβηλου. Οριστικοποίησαν τις εγκαταστάσεις τους εκεί μετά την αναγνώριση της αυτονομίας της Βουλγαρίας (1878). Στο βουλγαρικό τότε έδαφος αναφέρονται η Ράβνα Μπούκα, το Μπεσμπουνάρ και το Κοστενέτς Μπάνια. Στο τουρκικό έδαφος αναφέρονται θερινές καλυβικές εγκαταστάσεις στο Ντομπροπόλε, το Ρίσοβο ή Χρίσοβο, το Αργκάτς, τη Μπίστριτσα, το Μπακίρ Τεπέ, καθώς και οι χειμερινές εγκαταστάσεις στην Άνω Τζουμαγιά (Μπλαγκόεβγκραντ), το Στρούμσκι Τσιφλίκ τη Γραμάντα και το Κρούπνικ. Κάποια μικρότερα φαλκάρια είχαν δημιουργήσει ορεινές καλυβικές εγκαταστάσεις και στις δυτικές πλαγιές του Αίμου στην περιοχή του Πιρντόπ-Άντον.[3] Σύμφωνα με το G. Weigand η ομάδα στις πλαγιές της Ρίλας αριθμούσε γύρω στους 1.500 με 2.000 ψυχές. Οι Γραμμουστιάνοι που είχαν τις θερινές τους εγκαταστάσεις στα ορεινά της οθωμανικής επικράτειας, αναζητώντας χειμαδιά, πλημμύριζαν κάθε χειμώνα τις πεδιάδες κατά μήκος του Στρυμόνα, την πεδιάδα της Δράμας και τις παράλιες χαμηλές περιοχές από την Ιερισσό μέχρι το Πόρτο Λάγος. Ενώ αυτοί που βρίσκονταν στο έδαφος της Βουλγαρίας και της Ανατολικής Ρωμυλίας αναζητούσαν χειμαδιά προς τον Δούναβη και κατά μήκος της κοιλάδας του Έβρου, μέχρι την Αδριανούπολη και τα λιβάδια της Ανατολικής Θράκης.

Στο σημερινό έδαφος της π.Γ.Δ.Μ., στις πλαγιές του Ογκράζντεν και της Καντιγίτσα είχαν δημιουργηθεί δύο καλυβικές εγκαταστάσεις, γνωστές με τα ονόματα Τσερναντόλ και Μαλέσοβο. Επίσης στην π.Γ.Δ.Μ., πάνω στις ορεινές βοσκές του Οσόγκοβου, υπήρχε ένας αξιόλογος αριθμός θερινών καλυβικών εγκαταστάσεων. Τέτοιες εγκαταστάσεις αναφέρονται να υπάρχουν στις θέσεις Καλίν Κάμεν, Κίτκα, Πόνικβα, Λόπεν, Ζάμιστα, Κοζαρίτσα ή Σαμάρι, Οζντένιτσα, Λίσετς, Στάντσι, Ντουράσκα και λίγο βορειότερα στις πλαγιές του Γέρμαν υπήρχαν η Μπάρα, το Βακούφ και η Ουσίτσα. Στο ορεινό όγκο του Γκόλακ υπήρχαν τουλάχιστον δύο θερινοί οικισμοί. Στον ορεινό όγκο της Πλατσκοβίτσα θερινές καλυβικές εγκαταστάσεις αναφέρονται να υπήρχαν στις θέσεις Τσατάλ Tσέσμα ή Παλιά Βλάχικα Καλύβια, Λίσετς, Καρτάλι, Τσούπινο, Ατζινίτσα, Κούκλα, Κολαρνίτσα, Καράτεπε, Ασανλία, Τσοκονίτσα, Λεονίτσα, Μπλάτσα ή Μπλάτετς, Ταραντσί και Ταρσίνο. Σύμφωνα με τον G. Weigand στις αρχές του 20ου αιώνα σε όλους αυτούς τους ορεινούς καλυβικούς οικισμούς υπήρχαν 500 καλύβες και ίσως περισσότερες από 3.000 ψυχές. Σύμφωνα με ελληνικό προξενικό έγγραφο της ίδια εποχής υπήρχαν συνολικά 314 καλύβες και ίσως γύρω στις 2.000 ψυχές.[4] Για χειμαδιά κατέβαιναν προς το Κουμάνοβο και κατά μήκος της κοιλάδας του Αξιού, μέχρι τις περιοχές του Κιλκίς, τη λιμνολεκάνη του Λαγκαδά, την Καλαμαριά και μέχρι τη Χαλκιδική. Σταδιακά και κατά τη διάρκεια του 20ου πια αιώνα, ο πληθυσμός αυτών των ορεινών καλυβικών εγκαταστάσεων βρέθηκε να εγκαταλείπει τη νομαδική κτηνοτροφία και εγκαταστάθηκε τελικά κυρίως σε πεδινούς οικισμούς και πόλεις των ανατολικών επαρχιών της π.Γ.Δ.Μ., και κυρίως στις επαρχίες της Κότσανης, του Στιπ, του Όβτσε Πόλιε και του Τίτο Βέλες, κατά μήκος των κοιλάδων του Αξιού και του παραποτάμου του Μπρεγκάλνιτσα.

Πέρα από αυτές τις εγκαταστάσεις θα πρέπει να προστεθούν και αυτές που αναφέρονται να είχαν δημιουργηθεί μέσα στα σύνορα της τότε Σερβίας, ανάμεσα στο Πιρότ και τη Βράνια, στα βουνά Στάρα Πλανίνα, Γκαβέσκα Πλανίνα, Σλιέπ, Βίντλιτς, Σούχα Πλανίνα και μέχρι τις πλαγιές του Καποάνικ, στα σύνορα Σερβίας-Κοσσόβου.[5] Προς τα τέλη του 19ου αιώνα τα φαλκάρια στο Καποάνικ φέρονται να έχουν 80.000 πρόβατα και 2.000 φορτηγά ζώα.[6] Με τα χρόνια τα ίχνη αυτών φαλκαριών φαίνεται πως χάθηκαν οριστικά.

Κάποιες από αυτές τις εγκαταστάσεις ήταν αρκετά πολυπληθείς και συγκέντρωναν περισσότερες από 100 οικογένειες, ενώ κάποιες άλλες δεν είχαν περισσότερες από 15 με 20 οικογένειες. Ωστόσο και μόνο ο μεγάλος αριθμός τους και το μέγεθος της διασπορά τους μπορούν να μας δώσουν την εκπληκτική διάσταση των πληθυσμιακών εξόδων από τη Γράμμουστα και τους γύρω βλάχικους οικισμούς στις πλαγιές του Γράμμου. Με όλα αυτά τα δεδομένα ερχόμαστε να επιβεβαιώσουμε τις αναφορές και το γεγονός πως, μέχρι τα τέλη του 18ου αιώνα, η Γράμμουστα ήταν πραγματικά μία από τις πολυπληθέστερες βλάχικες κοινότητες. Έτσι δε θα ήταν υπερβολικό να δεχτούμε πως, μέχρι τα τέλη του 18ου αιώνα, και ακόμη περισσότερο στα προηγούμενα χρόνια της ακμής, στη Γράμμουστα και τους περιφερειακούς οικισμούς της κατοικούσαν τουλάχιστον 3.000 οικογένειες και ίσως περισσότερες από 15.000 ψυχές.

[1] Haciu, ο.π., σελ.179-189, 216. Trifunoski, Jovan F., “Zaboraljeni Starobalkaci, Cincari u Republici Makedoniji”, Lunjina-Mida Spres, Beograd 1994, σελ.73-76.

[2] ΑΥΕ 1906 Προξενείο Θεσσαλονίκης, φφ.3232-3235, “Πίναξ στατιστικός των εν τη Προξενική Περιφέρεια Σερρών Βλαχοφώνων και Ρουμανιζόντων, Εν Σέρραις τη 12 Μαϊου 1906, ο Διευθήνων Μ.Τσαμαδός”.

[3] Weigand, ο.π., σελ.52-57. Haciu, ο.π., σελ.263. AYE, ο.π.. Kancof, Vasil, “Mακεδονία-Εθνογραφία και Στατιστική”, (βουλγαρικά), Sofia 1900. Brancoff, D.M., “La Macedoine et sa population chretienne”, Paris 1905. Νοe, Constantin-Dr. Popesco-Spineni, Marin, “Les Roumains en Bulgarie”, Craiova 1939. Πληρέστερη παρουσίαση των γραμμουστιάνικων πληθυσμών και εγκαταστάσεων στο έδαφος της σημερινής Βουλγαρίας στις εργασίες: Rakshieva, Svetla, “The shepherds from Gramos”, (στα βουλγαρικά), Balgarska Etnologia XXII.1, Sofia 1996, σελ.53-65. Popescu, Radu Sp.,-Balkanski, Todor, “Aromanii din Bulgariei si graiullor”, Editura Beladi, Craiova 1995.

[4] Kancof, ο.π.. Weigand, ο.π.. Filippocic, ο.π., σελ.59-72. ΑΥΕ 1908 ΑΑΚ/Ζγ, “Στατιστική των εν τη επαρχία Κοτσάνης κατά περιόδους οικούντες ρουμανίζοντες βλαχοποιμένες, Ιανουάριος 1906”. Trifunovski, Jovan, “Danasnji cincarski stocari na Plackovici”, Geografski Horizont VII 1-2, Zagreb 1961, σελ.43-44. Trifunovski, Jovan, “Cincarski stocari na Osogovu”, Geografski Horizont VIII 3, Zagreb 1962, σελ.40-41. Trifunovski, Jovan, “Cincari u slivu Bregalnice”, Vranjski Glasnik VIII, Vranje 1972, σελ.359-377. Antonijevic, D., “Τradition and innovation at Tzintzars in Ovce Polje in the Socialist Republic of Macedonia”, Balcanica 1974, σελ.319-333.

[5] Capidan, ο.π., σελ.60.

[6] Cvijic, ο.π., σελ.122.

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ΑΡΒΑΝΙΤΕΣ ΕΙΤΕ ΑΛΒΑΝΙΤΕΣ -ΑΡΚΑΔΙΤΕΣ ?- extraits d’Histoire de l’Albanie (H5 ΠΕΡΙΠΤΩΣΙΣ)

(SUITE DE 5/12/15)

Chapitre 10

Romanisation de l’Illyrie

Au quatrième siècle avant J. C. les historiens grecs appellent Illyrie la côte orientale de l’Adriatique depuis le fond de cette mer au nord jusqu’aux monts Acrocérauniens au sud où commençait l’Epire. Dans l’intérieur des terres, l’Illyrie s’étendait jusqu’à la Save au nord-est, et à l’est jusqu’à son affluent le Drina entre la Bosnie et la Serbie. Le mont Scardus l’aurait ensuite séparée de la Macédoine et de la Thrace. Traversée du nord-est au sud-est par le prolongement des alpes Juliennes, elle était parsemée d’îles, repaires des pirates et divisées par trois fleuves principaux: la Kerka ou Tatius qui se jette dans la mer à Scardona, le Narenta ou Naro et le Drin méridionale ou Drilo. L’Illyrie méridionale était comprise entre le Drilo et les monts Acrocérauniens. Rome n’occupa d’abord que l’Illyrie méridionale, la Macédoine et l’Epire.

La conquête de l’Illyrie septentrionale fut l’oeuvre d’Octave avant la bataille d’Actium. Mais déjà il importe de faire la remarque d’Appien. “Les Romains,” dit cet auteur, “entendent par le nom commun d’Illyriens non seulement les Dalmates et les tribus voisines, mais encore les Pannoniens, les Mésiens et tous les peuples qui se trouvent à droite en aval du Danube. Je n’ai pu découvrir, ajoute l’historien susdit, ce qui a fait naître cette opinion. Mais certainement elle prévaut aujourd’hui, et le tribut payé par tous ces peuples depuis le Pont Euxin (mer Noire) jusqu’à l’Istrie s’appelle collectivement le tribut illyrien.” Poinsignon explique le nom commun d’Illyrie donné à tous ces peuples par l’érection de l’Illyricum en duché ou gouvernement militaire. Mais Desdevises en trouve la cause dans une homogénéité de race, tous ces peuples étant illyriens (Macédoine ancienne, pag 59).

Quoiqu’il en soit, devenue province du vaste empire romain et s’étendant, y compris la Macédoine et l’Epire, de l’Adriatique à la mer Noire, l’Illyrie vécut plus que de la vie commune à toutes les autres, à la France, à l’Angleterre, à l’Espagne, à l’Italie. C’est dans cette vie commune qu’elle prit la forme romaine et contracta les habitudes qui en eussent fait le bras oriental de la civilisation chrétienne sans les intrigues anti-chrétiennes de l’esprit byzantin. Commencée en 168 avant J. C. par la conquête de l’Albanie, de l’Epire et de la Macédoine, la romanisation de la presqu’île illyrienne fut achevée en 46 de l’ère chrétienne par la transformation de la Thrace en province romaine. Deux choses y contribuèrent: les écoles et la législation. A vrai dire, Rome n’imposait aux vaincus ni sa langue ni ses lois. Mais elle établit une école de latin dans tous les principaux centres, afin qu’on put s’entendre avec les gouverneurs, car les gouverneurs ne devaient parler que latin, même en Grèce, dit Valère Maxime. Rome accordait en outre une législation particulière à ceux qui lui en demandaient.

Les Macédoniens en ayant demandé à Paul-Emile, il leur en donna une, dit Tite-Live, “qui semblait faite non pour des ennemis vaincus, mais pour des alliés qui auraient rendu d’importants services” (liv. 4, ch. 32). Très probablement Anicius en rédigea d’analogues pour toute l’Albanie du golfe de Cattaro à celui d’Ambracie. Mais pour respecter les usages nationaux, Rome n’en rendit pas moins accessible la qualité de citoyen romain à quiconque méritait cette faveur. Il est probable cependant que du jour où l’empereur Caracalla étendit le droit de citoyen romain à tous les sujets de l’empire, les coutumes locales se trouvèrent abolies en principe (211-217). Quoiqu’il en soit, la romanisation avait déjà tellement travaillé en Illyrie les éléments nationaux dont se composait le pays et elle en avait fait, grâce au Christianisme, un tout si homogène, que Constantin le Grand fit des provinces illyriennes un état distinct gouverné par son neveu Dalmatius. Qui est-ce qui annula les dispositions testamentaires du grand empereur? La faction hellène inféodée à l’arianisme et toute puissante alors. Cette faction réagit contre la volonté de Constantin. Dalmatius étant venu à Constantinople y fut massacré. Les états de ce prince, suivant les vues de Constantin, devaient former un tout capable de résister aux barbares. Mais partagés, affaiblis, rendus incapables de  repousser l’ennemi, ils en devinrent la propriété après en avoir été la proie.

Notre intention n’est pas de retracer les douloureuses vicissitudes de la presqu’île illyrienne au temps des invasions barbares. Mais il est un point sur lequel aujourd’hui plus qu’à une autre époque, il importe d’avoir une opinion. D’où vient en effet qu’il n’en a pas été en Romanie (provinces illyriennes), comme en France, en Italie, en Espagne, voir même en Angleterre? En d’autres termes, d’où vient que le slavisme y a prévalu sur la romanisme? Qu’elle en a été la cause? L’impuissance des Grecs et leur esprit sectaire. Installé à Byzance au lieu et place du romanisme, l’hellénisme en prit le nom, mais il n’en fit pas les oeuvres. Au lieu de s’en tenir aux décisions inévocables des conciles oecuméniques et de laisser le gouvernement civil concentrer son attention sur la défense des frontières, il fit du palais impérial une arène théologique. Et chose remarquable, c’est précisément à l’heure où la frontière était la plus menacée et les provinces illyriennes les plus ravagées par les Goths, les Huns, les Avares, que les Grecs se disputaient avec le plus de fureur. En un mot, au moment où les provinces tombaient, l’une après l’autre, aux mains des barbares, ils firent exactement ce qu’ils devaient faire encore au moment où les Turcs s’emparaient de Constantinople (Etudes historiques sur les Valaques du Pinde, pag. 213-214).

Chapitre 11

Les légions illyriennes et l’empereur Sévère

– leur protestation contre la vente de l’empire par les prétoriens L’empereur Sévère n’était point Albanais de naissance, mais il commandait les légions illyriennes au moment où après avoir égorgé Pertinax, les gardes impériaux vendirent l’empire romain à Dedius Julianus au prix de 6,250 drachmes par soldat. Réduit à l’impuissance, le sénat lassait faire, mais un tel marché souleva l’indignation de toutes les légions romaines. Celles d’Angleterre proclamèrent empereur le général Albin, celles de Syrie Pecennius Niger et celles d’Illyrie Septème Sévère. Or les légions illyriennes se recrutaient particulièrement en Albanie et en Macédoine. Pour ne pas le céder en ambition à ses collègues, Sévère ne voulut pas de lui-même prendre la dignité impériale. Il attendit que son armée la lui imposa. Seulement, dit Hérodien (liv. 2), il s’emportait fort contre la garde prétorienne. Entre autres, il l’accusait d’avoir égorgé Pertinax après lui avoir juré une fidélité inviolable, et il aurait voulu qu’un homme énergique vengeât sa mort et rétablit l’honneur de l’empire. Or, ajoute Hérodien, ces discours faisaient plaisir aux soldats d’Illyrie qui avaient servi sous Pertinax au temps de Marc-Aurèle et qui avaient admiré sa douceur envers les soldats autant que sa valeur intrépide. Les voyant pleins de vénération pour Pertinax et de ressentiment pour ceux qui l’avaient tué, Sévère parut indifférent à toute autre chose qu’à venger un sang si cher aux soldats. Les soldats le crurent car, dit Hérodien, autant ils ont la taille avantageuse et se portent aux combats avec intrépidité, autant ils sont peu propres à démêler les véritables sentiments de ceux qui les trouvent. Pleinement convaincus que Sévère ne pensait à rien moins qu’à sa propre élévation, ils se donnèrent à lui et le proclamèrent empereur.

“Je ne m’étais jamais attendu,” répondit Sévère, “à me voir à la place où vous m’élevez. Mon attachement pour mes légitimes souverains m’avaient empêché d’y prétendre, mais puisque vous m’en faites un devoir, ni vous, ni moi, nous ne devons laisser plus longtemps l’empire dans l’opprobre. Les reproches qu’on pouvait faire à Commode ne pouvaient s’adresser à Pertinax, ce vieillard dont la valeur et la modération seront toujours présentes à ma mémoire. Non seulement les prétoriens ont osé porter sur lui leurs mains sacrilèges, encore ils n’ont pas eu honte de vendre à vil prix un empire qui s’étend au loin sur terre et sur mer. Autant ils se sont avilis, autant ils sont peu à craindre. Ce sont des soldats de parade et de cérémonie.

Ni par leur courage ni par leur nombre ils ne sont comparables à vous. Effectivement vous êtes, vous, accoutumés à voir l’ennemi, à soutenir les plus longues marches, à souffrir patiemment le froid et le chaud, la soif et le faim, à traverser les fleuves couverts de glaces. Mourir au contraire dans les luxes et les délices de Rome, les cohortes prétoriennes ne sauraient soutenir votre présence.” Ce discours fini, on se dirige vers Rome. Partout la terreur précède l’armée d’Illyrie. Les prétoriens eux-mêmes lui viennent audevant sans armes. Les ayant faits entourer par ses légions, Sévère commence par leur reprocher la mort de Pertinax et le honteux marché de Dedius. Il leur fait ensuite arracher les enseignes militaires, casse leurs cohortes et leur défend les approches de Rome. Ainsi tomba, grâce aux légions illyriennes, cette garde turbulente de vrais janissaires ottomans, vrais strélitz russes. Ses commencements avaient été obscurs et elle avait fini par s’arroger le droit de vendre l’empire au dernier enchérissant

(D’ETRE CONTINUE)

Jean-Claude Faveyrial

SOURCE   livre ‘Histoire de l’Albanie’

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ΘΡΑΙΚΟΙ Η ΣΥΝΕΧΕΙΑ ΤΩΝ ΑΡΧΕΓΟΝΩΝ ΓΡΑΙΚΩΝ (ΜΕΡΟΣ IC)

(ΣΥΝΕΧΕΙΑ ΑΠΟ   04/12/15)

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(ΣΥΝΕΧΙΖΕΤΑΙ)

ΣΧΕΤΙΚΩΣ Μ’ΑΝΑΦΟΡΑΣ Ο ΑΝΑΓΝΩΣΤΗΣ ΔΥΝΑΤΑΙ ΩΣ ΠΡΟΣΤΡΕΧΕΙ ΕΣ ΠΡΟΗΓΟΥΜΕΝΑΣ ΔΗΜΟΣΙΕΥΣΕΙΣ ΤΟΥ ΑΡΘΡΟΥ.

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RELIGIOUS CULTS ASSOCIATED WITH THE AMAZONS (9)

(BEING CONTINUED FROM  3/12/15)

INSCRIBED TABLETS FOUND IN CRETE

p. xxxiii

It was probably from an early offshoot of this great family of pictorial signs that the elaborate characters of the Chinese writing were ultimately evolved.” Similar pictographs are found in Scandinavia, Ireland, Brittany, Portugal, Spain, North-West Africa, the Canaries, in the Maritime Alps, the Vosges, Dalmatia, in Transylvania, and on early Trojan artifacts. 1

In addition to the pictographs there also passed from the Palæolithic into the Neolithic and Bronze Ages certain burial customs, decorative designs developed from animal drawings, the custom of shaping figurines of the mother goddess with female characteristics emphasized, and the bell-shaped skirt which found favour in Crete. Palæolithic pottery found in Belgium has Neolithic characteristics. It has also been demonstrated, as stated, that what is known as the Azilian stage of culture links the cultures of the Early and Late Stone Ages. After the close of the Fourth Glacial Period the early pioneers of the Mediterranean race came into contact in Europe with the remnants of the Palæoliths and mingled with them in localities. Among a large number of skulls taken recently from an old Glasgow graveyard, into which an Infirmary extension intruded, were a considerable sprinkling of Palæolithic types. The interments at this part were made during the 18th century and the early part of the 19th century. Apparently there were descendants of the Palæoliths among the makers of modern Glasgow.

Certain beliefs and customs and folk-tales appear also to have survived with the peoples of the Reindeer Period, among whom they were prevalent. And as the culture of that period (the Fourth Glacial Epoch) developed from the cultures of the earlier periods, it is possible that some surviving modes of thought may have obtained for

p. xxxiv

40,000 years. The Chellean hand-axe of the Second Interglacial Period in France was distributed far and wide; it travelled across the Italian land-bridge to Africa and penetrated as far as Cape Colony; it was imitated in Asia and passed across the Behring Straits land-bridge to America. and reached the utmost southern limits of South America. It never reached Australia. Perhaps Mr. Lang’s “far-travelled tale” was similarly given widespread distribution at a remote period in the history of the human races. The culture of a particular people reached remote corners of the globe to which descendants of its originators may never have penetrated. We are familiar with this phenomenon even at the present day. It should be borne in mind, therefore, that although the mind of man may have in primitive times conceived similar ideas and invented similar tales in various regions widely separated, the masses of humanity on the whole have also been more prone to conserve what they have acquired than to welcome something new. Nothing impresses the student of comparative mythology more than the barrenness of the primitive mind. New ideas are the exception rather than the rule. Changes in religious ideas were forced upon ancient peoples either by intruding aliens or by the influence exercised by physical phenomena in new areas of settlement. Even when a change occurred the past was not entirely cut off. Rather a fusion was effected of the new ideas with the old.

In dealing with a mythology like that of Crete, which has not yet been rendered articulate, for the script has still to be deciphered, we expect to find traces of more than one stage of development in religious ideas, and also of the ideas of settlers on the island of peoples from different cultural centres. Certain relics suggest Egyptian influence and others point to an intimate connection with

p. xxxv

archaic Grecian beliefs. No doubt Crete inherited much from Egypt; and certain Greek States in which Cretan colonists settled borrowed much from Crete. It remains to be proved, however, that the Cretans, after settling on their island, developed on the same lines as primitive peoples elsewhere, or even that they previously passed through the different stages of religious culture regarding which evidence has been gleaned from various parts of the world.

It is sometimes assumed that the religious history of the human race is marked by well–defined layers of thought–Naturalism or Naturism, Totemism, Animism, Demonology, Tribal Monotheism which with the fusion of tribes leads to Polytheism, and then ultimately sole Monotheism. All these stages may be traced in a particular area. But we must not expect to find them everywhere. Human thought has not accumulated strata of ideas in regular sequence, like geological or archaeological strata. Sonic peoples, for instance, have never conceived of a personal god, or even of distinctive animistic spirit groups. Mr. Risley has shown that the jungle-dwellers of Chota Nagpur fear and attempt to propitiate “not a person at all in any sense of the word. If one must state the case in positive terms,” he adds, “I should say that the idea which lies at the root of their religion is that of Power, or rather of many Powers. . . . Closer than this he does not seek to define the object to which he offers his victim, or whose symbol he daubs with vermilion at the appointed season. Some sort of Power is there, and that is enough for him. . . . All over Chota Nagpur we find sacred groves, the abode of equally indeterminate things, who are represented by no symbols and of whose form and function no one can give an intelligible account. They have not yet been clothed with individual attributes;

p. xxxvi

they linger on as survivals of the impersonal stage of religion.” 1 The Australian natives, on the other hand, and even those who are more primitive than the Chota Nagpur jungle-dwellers, have a god whose voice is imitated by the “bull roarer”. Palæolithic man of the Reindeer Age, as has been said, had animal-headed deities and shaped, in ivory, figurines of the mother goddess. In Egypt and Babylonia there were composite deities, half animal and half human, from the earliest times of which we have knowledge. The Chinese have deities also, but have specialized as ancestor-worshippers. Argue as we may regarding well-defined “mental processes”, it must be recognized that religious phenomena all over the world cannot be explained by a single hypothesis, and that we are not justified in assuming that the same stages, or all the recognized stages, of development can be traced everywhere. There may have been Totemic beliefs in Crete and Greece and there may not. Until definite proof is forthcoming that there were, the problem must remain an open one. Similarly, we should hesitate to accept the hypotheses that patriarchal conditions were preceded by matriarchal and that goddesses preceded gods everywhere. In India the gods were prominent in the Vedic period; during the post-Vedic period goddesses ceased to be vague and became outstanding personalities as “Great Mothers”. 2

This brings us to an interesting phase of Cretan religious and social life. From the evidence afforded by idols, pictorial art, symbols, and traditions it would appear that the goddess cult was supreme on the island, Priestesses were as prominent as they were at Dodona. In fact, women appear to have taken a leading part in

p. xxxvii

religious ceremonies, as Jeremiah found was the case in Jerusalem, where women baked cakes which were offered to the “Queen of Heaven”, the Eastern mother-goddess. “Probably in Minoan Crete”, writes Mr. Hall, “women played a greater part than they did even in Egypt, and it may eventually appear that religious matters, perhaps even the government of the State itself as well, were largely controlled by women. It is certain they must have lived on a footing of greater equality with the men than in any other ancient civilization, and we see in the frescoes of Knossos conclusive indications of an open and easy association of men and women, corresponding to our idea of ‘Society’, at the Minoan Court unparalleled till our own day.” 1 Among the goddess worshippers of Sumeria women enjoyed a high social status also. But among the Semites of the god cult this was not the case. Women were not depicted in Assyria as in Crete. It was when Babylonian influences entered the Assyrian Court that Queen Sammu-ramat–the Semiramis of tradition-rose into prominence. Professor Sayce has drawn attention to the significant fact that when the Semites translated the Sumerian hymns they transposed “women and men” (equivalent to our “ladies and gentlemen”) into “men and women”. The law of descent by the female line which obtained in Egypt and elsewhere among peoples of the Mediterranean race was probably a relic of customs which had a religious significance.

The view has been strongly advocated that in all primitive communities matriarchal conditions preceded patriarchal conditions, and goddess worship the worship of gods. It is not now generally accepted, however: some peoples seem to have been worshippers of male

p. xxxviii

deities and others of female deities from the earliest times. The fusion of the god and goddess cults in Egypt and Babylonia and elsewhere was probably one of the results of the fusion of peoples. In some countries, where patriarchal peoples formed military aristocracies, they may have ordered succession by the male line. But there is also evidence to show that they adopted the wiser method of marrying the heiresses of estates and thrones to win the allegiance of the masses. “Mother-right” prevailed in Egypt, for instance, until the end. The problem involved is too complex to be accounted for by a single hypothesis.

It would appear that the activities of the Cretan women were chiefly confined to indoor life. As in Egypt, they were depicted by painters with white skins, while the men were, with the exception of princes, given red skins. Women were also more elaborately attired and bejewelled than men.

In dealing with ancient civilizations it is of importance to take note of burial customs. There can be little doubt that these have been ever closely associated with religious beliefs. What are known to archæologists as “ceremonial burials” must have been performed, it is reasonable to suppose, with some degree of ceremony with purpose either to promote the welfare of the deceased or to secure the protection of the living. The Dynastic Egyptians, for instance, mummified their dead because they believed that the soul could not continue to exist in the Otherworld unless the body were preserved intact in the tomb. On the other hand, the Homeric Achæans burned their dead, so that the soul might be transferred by fire to Hades, from which it would never again return. 1 In pre-Dynastic Egypt the

p. xxxix

body was laid in a shallow grave in crouched position, with food-vessels, implements, and weapons beside it. A similar custom prevailed in Babylonia and throughout Europe in the Neolithic and Bronze Ages. Dwellers on the northern sea-coast of Europe set their dead adrift in boats, as was Balder in the Eddic legend and Sceaf in the Beowulf poem. Others buried their dead in caves, threw them to wild beasts, or ate them.

In some cases it would appear that the beliefs connected with burial were suggested by local phenomena. In Upper Egypt bodies are naturally mummified in the hot dry sands. It is possible, therefore, that the custom of embalming the dead may have grown up among that section of the Egyptian people whose religious beliefs were formulated in the area where the corpse was naturally preserved. They may have been horrified to find that bodies did not remain intact in new districts to which they migrated. But the custom of burning the dead cannot be explained in this way.

Burial customs may not always afford us definite clues regarding religious beliefs. It does not follow that the pre-Dynastic Egyptians, the Babylonian Sumerians, and the Neolithic Europeans who favoured crouched burials had all the same ideas regarding the destiny of men, or the same beliefs regarding the Otherworld. Different conceptions might be prevalent in a single country. It is found that in Wales, for instance, ideas about the future state varied considerably. Folk-lore and mediæval poetry have references to an Underworld in which the dead continue to live in organized communities and work and fight as they were accustomed to do upon earth, to happy islands situated far out to sea, to fairy dwellings below rivers and lakes where souls exist like fairies, and to the woods of Caledonia where shades wander about as did

p. xl

the ancestors of the people who migrated from Caledonia to Wales. In one Welsh poem the Otherworld is referred to as “the cruel prison of the earth, the abode of death, the loveless land”. 1 The Babylonian Hades was similarly gloomy and was similarly dreaded. Ishtar descends to–

The house out of which there is no exit . . .
The house from whose entrance the light is taken,
The place where dust is their (the souls’) nourishment and their food mud.
Its chiefs are like birds covered with feathers.

But in pre-Dynastic Egypt the worshippers of Osiris, like a section of the Welsh folks, believed that the Otherworld was a land of plenty in which corn was sowed and crops reaped in season. A similar Paradise was believed in as far north as Scotland. It is referred to in a Perthshire fairy story. A midwife is taken to a fairy mound to nurse a fairy child, and is given a green fluid with which to anoint the eyes of the little one. The fairy woman moistens the right eye of the midwife with this fluid, and bids her look. “She looked”, the narrative proceeds, and saw several of her friends and acquaintances at work, reaping the corn and gathering the fruit. ‘This’, said the fairy, ‘is the punishment of evil deeds.'” 2 In ancient Egypt the fairy would have said it was “the reward of good deeds”.

Burial customs afford us no exact evidence regarding these varying beliefs, which grew up in localities and were imported from one country to another. In Egypt the adherents of the cults of Osiris and Ra who believed in different Paradises mummified their dead, although, in the one case, happiness in the after state was believed to

p. xli

be the reward of good conduct n this life, and, in the other, of those who by performing ceremonies obtained knowledge of the formulæ which were the “Open Sesames” required by departed souls to secure admission to the boat of the sun.

Similarly, it does not follow that the cremation custom had the same significance at all periods. In the Iliad the ghost of Patroklos declares that he will never again return from Hades when he has received his meed of fire. Modern Hindus burn their dead, 1 but the soul may either depart to Paradise or continue its round through other existences on this earth. In Sanskrit literature the fire-god, Agni, “the corpse devourer”, conducts souls to the “land of the fathers”. The Persian fire-worshippers do not cremate their dead, although they may have done so at one time, but expose them to be devoured by wild birds. Of special interest is the practice of the Mongolian Buriats. The bodies of those who die in autumn and winter are piled up in a log-house in the midst of a forest. When the cuckoo begins to call, in May, this house is set on fire and the accumulated bodies are cremated together. Persons who die during the summer are burned immediately. 2 That the Aryo-Indians had knowledge at one time of the belief involved is suggested by a reference in the Mahabharata. Describing the heaven of Yama, the sage Narada says that he saw there “all sinners among human beings as also (those) that have died during the winter solstice”. 3 The explanation may be that there were lucky and unlucky hours, days, and months for death as for birth. The

p. xlii

omens at birth which foretold an individual’s fate were supposed to give indication of his manner of death. One of the Scottish midwife prophecies runs:

Full moon, full sea,
Great man shalt thou be,
But ill deith shalt thou dee. 1

Omens at death threw light on his fate in the after life. The Buriat custom has evidently a long history behind it. Perhaps it was originally believed that those who died in winter were doomed to exist ever afterwards in cold and darkness. Such a belief imported into India would in time cease to have any significance. The new country had new terrors which supplanted the old, and influenced the development of religious beliefs.

Among certain peoples who did not believe, like the Achæans, the Aryo-Indians, and others, that the soul was transferred to Paradise through the medium of fire, burning was a punishment. Erring wives in ancient Egyptian and Scottish folk-tales are burned at the stake. 2 Similarly, witches were burned alive. Sir Arthur Evans has brought together interesting evidence regarding “the revival of cremation in Europe in mediæval and modern times to get rid of vampires”. 3 Bodies of persons whose ghosts had become vampires, which attacked sleepers and sucked the life-blood from their veins, were taken from tombs and publicly burned. The vampires were thus prevented from doing further harm. Herodotus tells that when Cambyses, the son of Cyrus, caused the mummy of Pharaoh Amasis to be burned, he displeased both the Persians and the Egyptians. “The Persians”, he says, “hold fire to be a god, and never by any chance burn

p. xliii

their dead. Indeed, this practice is unlawful, both with them and with the Egyptians–with them for the reason above mentioned, since they deem it wrong to give the corpse of a man to a god; and with the Egyptians, because they believe fire to be a live animal, which eats whatever it can seize, and then, glutted with the food, dies with the matter which it feeds upon. Now, to give a man’s body to be devoured by beasts is in no wise agreeable to their customs, and, indeed, this is the very reason why they embalm their dead, namely, to prevent them from being eaten in the grave by worms.” 1

The evidence afforded by the Cretan burial customs is of special significance. From the earliest times until the close of the Bronze Age the dead were buried. Then cremation was introduced by invaders, who are believed to have been identical with the Achæans of Homer. The new custom had, in this instance, not only a religious but an ethnic significance.

Like certain of the Palæolithic tribes in western Europe, the early Cretans buried their dead in caves and rock shelters. As caves were dwellings, this was a form of house-burial. House-tombs have been found in Cretan as in Babylonian towns. The custom is referred to in the Ethiopic version of the mythical life of Alexander the Great. That hero was reputed to have “asked one of the Brahmans, saying: ‘Have ye no tombs wherein to bury any man among you who may die?’ And an interpreter made answer to him, saying: ‘Man and woman and child grow up, and arrive at maturity and become old, and when any one (of them) dieth we bury him in the place wherein he lived; thus our graves are our houses. And our God knoweth that we desire this more than the lust for food and meat which all men have; this

p. xliv

is our life and manner of dwelling in the darkness of our tombs.'” 1 This conversation can never have taken place in. India, but it is of interest in so far as it reflects a belief with which the author was familiar.

In Palæolithic times a cave was deserted after the head of the family was buried in it. There were also, however, burial-caves. The Cro-Magnon people, for instance, sometimes deposited whole families, or the members of tribes, in one of these. One cave has yielded no fewer than seventeen skeletons. Caves and rock-shelters were similarly utilized in Crete. It became customary, however, to construct chamber-tombs, which may have been imitations of caves. One at Aghia Triadha, near Phæstos, in south-central Crete, is some 30 feet in diameter. The remains of no fewer than 200 skeletons of men, women, and children were found in it. Other chambers adjoining added fifty to this number. Family tombs of this kind, which were entered by narrow passages, were sometimes circular, and developed into the beehive style of tomb found in Mycenæ and Tiryns. They date back to early Minoan times (C. 2800 B.C.). Others were of rectangular shape, like those found near Knossos. The Cretans also buried their dead in terracotta chests, in which the bodies Jay in crouched position as in the pre-Dynastic graves of Egypt. These larnakes or sarcophagi were probably of Egyptian origin. They have also been found in Sicily and Italy. Sometimes the Cretan sarcophagi were profusely decorated. Like the tombs, they contained vessels, seals, daggers, amulets, &c.

The Cretans were worshippers of the Great Mother goddess who inhabited the abode of the buried dead. She was the Earth Mother. Caves were entrances to the Underworld over which she presided. In Crete,

LIMESTONE SARCOPHAGUS, SHAPED LIKE A CHEST, FOUND AT AGHIA TRIADHA

The thin plaster covering is painted with scenes connected with the cult of the dead. (See pages 289-290)

p. xlv

where no temples were erected, votive offerings were deposited in caves, the most famous of which were those on Mount Dicte and Mount Ida. According to Greek legend, the mother-goddess Rhea gave birth to Zeus in a Cretan cave. The ferocious mother-goddesses of England and Scotland, as is shown (Chapter III), were cave-dwellers. Palæolithic artists drew and painted their magical figures of animals in the depths of great caves.

Demeter of the Grecian Phigalia–the Black Ceres–lived in a cave, which is still regarded as sacred. This deity, who is believed to be a form of the Cretan Great Mother, was also associated with stone circles. Pausanias, writing of the town of Hermione in the Peloponnese, says that near it “there is a circle of huge unhewn stones, and inside this circle they perform the sacred rites of Demeter”. 1

Stone circles, single standing-stones, and groups of stones like those at Carnac in Brittany were erected at burial-places. Offerings were made to the dead whose spirits had become associated with the Earth Mother. These spirits might be summoned from their tombs to make revelations. When Odin visited the Underworld to consult the Vala (witch or prophetess) regarding Balder’s fate–

Round he rode to a door on the eastward
Where he knew was a witch’s grave,
He sang there spells of the dead to the Vala,
Needs she must rise-a corpse-and answer. 2

Folk-memories of the ancient custom of summoning the spirit of the dead still survive in rural districts. An archæologist who recently conducted investigations at a stone circle in northern Scotland asked a ploughman if

p. xlvi

he knew anything regarding it. The answer was to this effect: “It is said that if you walk round it three times against the sun at midnight, you will raise the devil.” Our demonology is the last stage of pagan mythology. The summoning of the devil, or the spirits of the Underworld, was a ceremony performed for purposes of divination, or to compel the aid of infernal beings. As only one grave is sometimes found in stone circles, it may be that a circle was erected when a great chief, or great priest or priestess, died, so that the ghost might be propitiated and called up to assist his or her kinsfolk in times of need. A patriarch or teacher would thus be worshipped after death like a god, and especially as a guide to the spirit world. The Babylonian Gilgamesh was a hero who first entered the cave which led to Paradise. So was the Indian Yama; he was the first man to “find the path for many”, and he became god of the dead. Osiris, as Apuatu, was “opener of the ways”, and similarly reigned in Hades. The Cretan Minos is in the Odyssey a lawgiver, like Osiris, of the Underworld. In Greek mythology the guide of travellers, who conducts the soul on his last journey, is Hermes. His name appears to be derived from herma, which signifies a cairn or a standing-stone. The Thracian “square Hermes” was a pillar surmounted by a human head–a form which is evidently a link between a standing-stone and the statue of an anthropomorphic deity. It may be that some of the anthropomorphic deities were simply deified ancestors, priests, or priestesses.

The Great Mother, who was worshipped by the Cretans and other pre-Hellenic peoples in south-eastern Europe, was the goddess of birth and death, of fertility and fate. As the ancestress of mankind she gathered to her abode in the Underworld the ghosts of her progeny.

 

(TO BE CONTINUED)

By Donald A. Mackenzie

notes

xxxiii:1 Scripta Minoa, pp. 3, 4, 6.

xxxvi:1 Census of India (1901), Vol. I, Part I, pp. 352 et seq.

xxxvi:2 Indian Myth and Legend, pp. 148 et seq.

xxxvii:1 The Ancient History of the Near East p. 48

xxxviii:1 Iliad, XXIII, 75.

xl:1 Celtic Religion, E. Anwyl, pp. 60 et seq.

xl:2Graham’s Picturesque Sketches of Perthshire.

xli:1 Except, as was the case in Rome (Juvenal, XV, 140), the bodies of infants. Those under eighteen months are in India buried head downwards in jars. Mothers who die in childbed are not cremated either, but buried.

xli:2 A Journey in Southern Siberia, Jeremiah Curtin, p. 101.

xli:3 Sabha Parva, Section VIII (Roy’s translation, p. 27).

xlii:1 Lamont’s Chronicle of Fife, p. 206.

xlii:2 Indian Myth and Legend, p. xxxvii, and Egyptian Myth and Legend, p. 143

xlii:3 Comptes Rendus du Congrès International d’Archéologie, 1905, Athens, p. 166.

xliii:1 Herodotus, III, 16.

xliv:1 The Life and Exploits of Alexander the Great, E. Wallis Budge, pp. 133-4.

xlv:1 Pausanias, II, 34.

xlv:2The Elder Edda, O. Bray, p. 241.

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THE MORE ANCIENT IS THE DIALECT THE CLOSER TO HELLENIC IDIOOMATA OF LINEAR SCRIPTS

The English Glosses in Eleventh-Century Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts

§1.  In 2005, the Manchester Centre for Anglo-Saxon Studies concluded an AHRB-funded study of scripts and spellings in eleventh-century English manuscripts, directed by Professor Donald Scragg and Dr Alex Rumble. The aim of this project was to investigate the long-held assumption that a standard form of written English existed in the eleventh century by cataloguing a representative sample of spellings from manuscripts written at different centres throughout the period. The primary outcome of that project was the Manchester C11 Database, an online resource for the study of eleventh-century scripts and spellings. The database, which is freely available online at  http://www.arts.manchester.ac.uk/mancass/C11database/, provides users with a tool for studying and comparing spellings used throughout the period and correlating those spellings with the scribes who used them. This database currently contains spellings drawn from more than a thousand manuscript copies of texts in Old English, and new texts continue to be added. Because of constraints on time and technology, that initial project took the difficult decision not to investigate or catalogue occasional glosses and marginalia. Now, however, with two years of AHRC funding, a new MANCASS project, directed by Professor Scragg, has the opportunity to complete that work. This new project, “The English Glosses in Eleventh-Century Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts,” aims to study this important body of late Old English and incorporate the results of this research into a larger study of late Old English spellings.

§2.  The original project focused on main texts and the spellings they present in eleventh-century manuscripts, and these constitute a relatively well-documented source of late Old English. Although not all editions of these texts include spelling variants from all available manuscripts, texts surviving in eleventh-century manuscripts generally have been edited and are widely available in some form. The same cannot be said of the large number of corrections, glosses and annotations written between the lines and in the margins of eleventh-century English manuscripts. For example, many editions do not represent spelling corrections in their apparatuses, especially where those corrections are not judged by editors to be “authorial.” Likewise marginalia, if it is judged to be unrelated to the main text in whose margins it appears, are often left out of modern editions. Yet these brief snippets of text, taken together, stand as an important witness to late Old English writing and readership, and constitute the final frontier of unedited Old English. If collected, indexed, and made widely available, this body of work would undoubtedly alter our understanding of late Old English and our perception of the state of language and learning in the eleventh century.

§3.  The eleventh century in particular is a crucial period for the study of the development of English language and culture. The end of the tenth and beginning of the eleventh centuries saw the flowering of the Benedictine Reform movement begun by Æthelwold and his compatriots in the mid-tenth century. As a result of the teachings of these reformers, exponentially more people were reading and writing the vernacular than a century before, and they were writing in a fairly standardized and recognizable orthography that did not necessarily reflect local dialectical differences. But throughout the eleventh century, historical accident has numerous opportunities to disrupt what would otherwise be a natural continued development of this standardized language. First the series of Viking attacks that ultimately resulted in the Danish conquest of England, and later the Norman Conquest and the suppression of English’s “official” status must have resulted in an influx of non-native speakers—and probably readers and writers—of English, and a necessary degree of linguistic change and diversity. We know all of this in theory, but without a reasonably complete record of the language as it was written throughout the century, we cannot know the true nature or extent of that change in practice. It is this gap in our knowledge that this project seeks to redress. The interest of the project is not narrowly linguistic; if we are able to draw a more accurate picture of the development of the language in this period, it may help us better understand the forces of historical and social change that influenced this development.

Methodology

§4.  Because modern editions do not consistently record corrections, glosses and marginalia, this project must collect its data directly from the original manuscripts. To that end, I am spending two years looking at manuscripts which are known to contain, or which may contain, marginal or interlinear additions in English written in the eleventh century. Because of the difficulty of dating the compressed hands of such additions with any precision, the project defines “eleventh century” loosely, and its scope extends backward into the last decade of the tenth century and forward into the beginning of the twelfth. Eleventh-century additions can, of course, be made in manuscripts that were produced earlier, so it is necessary to consider all manuscripts written up to the end of the eleventh century. Thankfully, it is not necessary to actually view each one of these manuscripts. While catalogue descriptions cannot always be relied upon to tell one if and where eleventh-century glosses and marginalia occur, they do frequently and reliably state that no additions or corrections have been made to a manuscript. On this basis, it has been possible to draw up a list of manuscripts that need to be seen—85 in all. Each of these has to be examined page by page to ensure that any marginal and interlinear additions are recorded. In the first year of the project, I have viewed 36 of these manuscripts—many of them among the largest and most heavily glossed that need to be viewed—and have recorded approximately 5,600 marginal and interlinear entries in these volumes. These entries vary greatly in terms of their nature and extent, from single-letter spelling alterations made above the line of writing to marginal additions that continue over several pages. All of them nonetheless provide evidence of writers at work in the eleventh century, each with his own definite ideas about English spelling, responding to vernacular texts in a variety of ways.

§5. Currently, I am storing data about the annotations I find in spreadsheets which will be made available on the C11 Database website at the end of the project. For each correction, gloss, or marginal item I find in a manuscript, I record enough data to help anyone using these spreadsheets later to place that item in the context of its manuscript, in relation to the text it supplements or alters, and in relation to other work by the same scribe where such an identification is possible. For each entry, I record the text added (whether that is a single letter or a lengthy marginal passage), its immediate context in the manuscript (i.e., the word or words that it alters), its location in the word or line that it alters (if it is a single letter, for example, whether it is meant to be added initially, medially, or finally in the word it alters), its location on the manuscript page (e.g., above or below the line, in the top, bottom, left or right margin), and any information that can be provided about the scribe responsible. Every entry is indexed to the page and line numbers where it is found in its manuscript, to an item number in the description of that manuscript in Ker’s Catalogue, and to a Cameron number and sense unit number in the Toronto DOE Corpus so that one may easily see what text is being altered and see if and how the alteration affects the sense of the text. So, for example, the data collected on a series of entries from London, BL, Cotton Caligula A. xv might look like this:

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The entry in column one, for example, tells us that, in line one of folio 126r, the scribe has written the word “earfoð,” and then later added the suffix -lice above the line. If one follows up the reference to Ker’s Catalogue, one learns that this alteration is made to “a lunar prognostic” (Ker 1957, 174), and the reference to the DOE Corpus provides the context in which the altered word occurs (Förster 1912, 32). By way of contrast, the entry in column three shows that, on line 12 of folio 135r, the main scribe of this part of the manuscript has written a record of Edward the Confessor’s death in 1066 and that a later reader felt that some mention should be made of William the Conqueror’s accession and added “7 her com willelm” in a blank space at the end of the line. The reference to Ker tells us that the note is added to a set of annals mainly relating to Christ Church, Canterbury, that accompanies a table of years from 988 to 1193, extended at a later date to 1268 (Ker 1957, 175). By referencing the Cameron number, one can find the full text of these annals as edited by Liebermann (Liebermann 1879, 4).

§6.  The process of data collection so far has brought to light a few challenges for the project. For example, it was initially agreed that as I record annotations, I should include in each entry a note classifying the annotation as a correction, an alteration, a gloss, commentary, etc. While these types of annotation seem distinct enough in theory, in practice one finds significant overlap and grey area between them. In particular, I have found the distinction between corrections and alterations impossible to maintain. Corrections are a subset of alterations, and to call something a correction is to imply that the main scribe has in some way got it wrong—miscopied his source, misspelled a word, or deliberately departed from his exemplar. Sometimes, when the main scribe has made an obvious error such as a dittography, it is possible to make such a judgment based solely on a viewing of the manuscript in question. More often, however, it requires more detailed knowledge of a text’s whole transmission history to know whether an annotation is correcting a text to match some other copy or version, or whether the annotator is simply altering the text to meet his own needs or personal preferences. Even deciding whether or not an annotator’s substitution of one word for another is intended as a gloss can sometimes prove problematic. Particularly where an annotator writes as an apparent gloss a word which is not a synonym for the word it annotates, but which still makes some sense in context, one has to ask if this suggests that the annotator was struggling with the language of the text in a way that led him to gloss the word incorrectly, or if he was simply revising. Therefore, in an effort to avoid prejudicing the results of the project and preventing others from drawing their own conclusions about scribal intentions, I have tended to use the catch-all category of “alteration” to describe most annotations, unless the annotator’s intentions are quite clear.

§7  The most troubling challenge faced by the project is posed by the difficulty of identifying scribes based on the compressed hands of marginal and interlinear writing. It is easy enough to see when a scribal hand changes in the main text of a manuscript; one has a large sample of writing that is typically of a uniform size upon which to base such a judgment, and the writing of the two scribes in question is usually adjacent. When alterations are made by one of the main hands of the manuscript, as in examples one and two in the table above, it is usually possible to identify the hand because one again has a large body of writing with which to compare it. Even here, however, the aspect of the scribe’s writing and his choice of letter forms may change significantly when he is writing in cramped spaces between lines or in the margins of a page. When a number of later readers make annotations in a single manuscript, it can become difficult or impossible to sort out how many scribes are at work and precisely where each is working. If, for example, the only annotation on a particular page is an i added above the line, it will likely be impossible to identify that i with any particular scribe at work elsewhere in the manuscript. Marginalia tend to provide larger and more uniform writing samples than interlinear annotations, and the former can sometimes offer helpful clues to identifying the hands of the latter. Likewise, ink color and the use of marks of revision are often more helpful than letter forms for identifying hands in compressed writing. Nonetheless, except where the hands of annotations are quite distinctive, any scribal identifications made by the project are necessarily more suggestive than conclusive. This limits some of the claims the project will be able to make about exactly how many scribes are at work in the surviving manuscripts from the eleventh century, how uniform any particular scribe’s spelling choices were, etc. Nonetheless, even being able to make tentative suggestions about the answers to these questions based on a broad survey of the evidence represents an advance in our understanding of eleventh-century writing and readership.

Dissemination

§8.  The project plans to disseminate its findings in a number of forms. As I’ve already mentioned, we hope to make the raw data that I collect publicly available through the C11 Database website. Originally, we hoped that it would be possible to integrate this data into the existing database, making it easy to search the data on glosses and marginalia and to compare the spellings used in them with those found elsewhere in the manuscripts. The loss of our database programmer from the earlier project, however, as well as a general lack of technical support from the University of Manchester has forced us to reduce our goals. We still plan to make the data available via the same website as the database, but possibly in the form of links from the manuscript descriptions currently in the database to PDFs of my spreadsheets describing annotations in those manuscripts. So, for example, if one looked up the description of Cambridge, Corpus Christi College 162 in the database, it would note that the manuscript includes numerous eleventh-century additions and alterations, and would include a link that would allow the reader to view a PDF of a spreadsheet that catalogued all of these annotations in a form similar to that of the table above. As PDFs, these spreadsheets would be searchable and could be downloaded or printed, so it is hoped that they will be useful in this form to a broad audience of early medievalists. From the point of view of studying the development of the language, it would obviously be more useful to be able to include this data in a larger, searchable database of eleventh-century English, but we hope that making the data available in any form will help to advance scholarship in this area.

§9.  In addition to the website, we will also disseminate our findings through the more conventional means of print publications and conference presentations. We have already presented preliminary findings at the MANCASS 2008 Easter conference, “Leaders of the Anglo-Saxon Church” and at the International Medieval Congress at Leeds 2008, and at the 2009 International Congress on Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo.

§10.  We also plan two substantial publications proceeding from the project. Donald Scragg is currently compiling a handlist of eleventh-century scribes writing English, including the scribes of main texts in manuscripts, annotations, and documents. Obviously, all of the difficulties of positively identifying, dating and localizing scribal hands complicate this project. Nevertheless, it would be difficult to write any account of the development of the language in the eleventh century without identifying and referring to the work of individual scribes, so some attempt to differentiate between them and devise a reference system for them seems necessary. Professor Scragg intends to compile such a reference work and to publish it in printed form, to be completed after the conclusion of the project in August 2009.

§11  At the same time, I am writing a monograph in which I examine glosses and marginalia in a selection of the manuscripts I am studying for evidence of how actual readers in the eleventh century received and responded to a variety of English texts. Marginalia, in particular, provide evidence of readers responding to texts by commenting directly upon them or by adding material of their own composition or drawn from other sources, so that we have a fairly direct window onto the scribe’s thoughts about the text and, in many cases, the other texts he had available to him. Even minor corrections, by their mere presence, provide evidence that a text was being read at a particular date and, where a corrector has only marked up selected items from a manuscript, that some texts were not necessarily being read or revised. Taken collectively, such corrections can potentially provide us with a picture of a scribe’s intellectual interests. Although I only plan to survey a small number of manuscripts in this study, I hope to be able to show readers responding to texts in surprising ways and thereby to demonstrate the usefulness of returning to the manuscripts for speculating about the audiences of early medieval texts.

§12.  The project will continue and will collect data from many more early English manuscripts—data which is likely to change the way we view late Old English and the history of the English language. Hopefully, this data will shed new light on the degree to which the Danish and Norman conquests of England affected the development of the language, and may perhaps provide us with some contemporary insights into the effects of these events on the lives of English people. Furthermore, even from the data collected already, it is clear that we will have to rethink our notions of how many people were reading and writing Old English in the eleventh century, what they were reading, and why they were reading it. Such insights should more than demonstrate the value of interlinear and marginal corrections and annotations, and will perhaps even persuade future editors of early medieval texts to accord them a slightly less marginal status.

Kathryn Powell

University of Cambridge

Works Cited

Förster, M. 1912. Beiträge zur mittelalterlichen Volkskunde VIII. Archiv 129: 16–49.  

Ker, N. R. 1957. Catalogue of manuscripts containing Anglo-Saxon. Oxford: Clarendon Press.  

Liebermann, F. 1879. Ungedruckte anglo-normannische Geschichtsquellen. Strassburg: Karl J. Trübner, 3–8.  

SOURCE  The Heroic Age, A Journal of Early Medieval Northwestern Europe

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