Log in

No account? Create an account
parrot_knight [userpic]

In the middle of seventeenth-century political memoranda...

May 30th, 2008 (04:06 pm)

current mood: happy

...I've found Thomas Carte's (I assume) transcription of what he thinks is Gildas but which actually seems to be 'Nennius':

In illis diebus Saxones in valescebant et crescebant non modice in Britanniâ. Mortuo auten Henegisto, ochta filius ejus transivit de sinistrali parte Britannie ad Regem Cantuariorum et de ipso orti sunt Reges illius Patre. Arthur pugnabat contrà illos in illos diebus (videlicet Saxones, cum Regibus Brittonum: sed ipse Dux erat Bellorum)

The list of Arthur's battles then follows, Catt Cott Celidore (the latter usually transcribed Celidon) and all.

In the margin is written (also a transcription from an earlier MS, I expect) "Arthur et de ses gestes."

(Bod MS Carte 113 fo 62)

ETA:No, I admit my Latin isn't good enough to translate it, but I know it's the passage about the Saxons increasing in number in Britain, Octha succeeding Hengist as king of the Saxons in Kent, and then Arthur fighting against them in those days alongside the kings of the Britons, though he was their leader in battles.


Posted by: muuranker (muuranker)
Posted at: May 30th, 2008 07:28 pm (UTC)

I'd be interested to see how this differs from the original, because it just struck me how _English_ this seems.

It's probably just my poor Latin skills.

Posted by: stripey_cat (stripey_cat)
Posted at: May 30th, 2008 08:47 pm (UTC)

I think it reads like pretty standard classicising Latin written by someone who natively spoke another language! Various Germanic languages and the romance vulgates had a word order much more like modern English than classical Latin, and that's showing through here. It could (at a casual glance) be anything from about the 4th century AD through to a kid's first attempts at prose comp - the vocabulary used makes me think more of the earlier stuff than the sort of things someone using modern dictionaries (which are based quite closely on classical usage) would produce, though. My money is probably on original Nennius rather significant scribal errors.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 30th, 2008 11:31 pm (UTC)

It's very close to the hypothesised original I've cited in my reply to muuranker's comment.

Posted by: muuranker (muuranker)
Posted at: May 31st, 2008 05:15 pm (UTC)

I was expecting it to be coloured by Welsh, rather than a Germanic or Romance language.

But the colour is only there in my mind.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 31st, 2008 08:56 pm (UTC)

From what we know of the composition of the Historia Brittonum, the colour should be Welsh; ISTR it's associated with the court of Merfyn Frych, who was attempting to present himself as the successor to the sixth-century kings of Gwynedd.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 30th, 2008 11:30 pm (UTC)

It should be relatively easy to find out which text 'Carte' was using. In the meantime, here's a reconstruction which suggests what the ninth-century original might have looked like, from this site:

in illo tempore saxones inualescebant in multitudine et crescebant in brittannia. mortuo autem hengisto octha filius eius transiuit de sinistrali parte britanniae ad regnum cantorum et de ipso orti sunt reges cantorum. tunc arthur pugnabat contra illos in illis diebus cum regibus brittonum, sed ipse erat dux bellorum.