Hartwig Mayer, University of Toronto

title.none: Glaser, Fruehe Griffelglossierung

identifier.other: baj9928.9612.013 96.12.13

identifier.issn: 1096-746X

description.statementofresponsibility: Hartwig Mayer, University of Toronto,

publisher.none: .

date.issued: 1996

identifier.citation: Glaser, Elvira. Fruehe Griffelglossierung aus Freising. D-Goettingen. Germany: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1996. Pp.. $. ISBN: ISBN.

type.none: Review

relation.ispartof: Bryn Mawr Medieval Review

The Medieval Review 96.12.13

Glaser, Elvira. Fruehe Griffelglossierung aus Freising. D-Goettingen. Germany: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1996. Pp.. $. ISBN: ISBN.

Reviewed by:

Hartwig Mayer, University of Toronto

The Bavarian bishopric of Freising was founded by Bonifatius in 739. While we can assume that almost from the beginning the administrative obligations of the diocese required the acquisition of books and the training of scribes, a clearer picture of the Freising scriptorium and of its work becomes accessible to us with the reign of Bishop Arbeo (764-784), who was known for his literary ambitions. From this time on shared features in the style of writing allow us to discern a group of scribes, i.e. a school. It should be added that we understand here by the word scriptorium the sum of the locations in Freising where manuscripts were copied.

On the basis of the paleographic evidence, Bernhard Bischoff was able to assign more than 120 manuscripts, dating from the eighth and ninth centuries, to the Freising scriptorium. Twenty of these contain altogether about 1650 Old High German glosses. (There are about 35 later Freising manuscripts extant with vernacular glosses.) The glosses in eleven manuscripts are dry-point glosses, i.e. they are not written with pen and ink but impressed or scratched into the parchment with a stylus.

It is Glaser's goal to investigate the earliest vernacular tradition at Freising, one of the most important places for the production of Latin manuscripts in Southeast Germany during the early Middle Ages. As a result she hopes to make a contribution to our knowledge of the beginning of OHG writing. To this purpose she has chosen five of the glossed manuscripts from Freising, using as a criteria for her selection first that they were either written in Freising before or around the year 800 or were present in the Freising scriptorium at that time, and second that the vernacular glosses in these manuscripts were entered not much later. All five manuscripts are now in the Bavarian State Library in Munich (Clm 6300, Clm 6305, Clm 6308, Clm 6312, Clm 6433). Some of the, mostly dry-point, glosses from these manuscripts had been edited before, but Glaser revisited all the mansucripts in a very successfull attempt to see whether they contain additional glosses not discovered by her predecessors.

As part of her introduction Glaser gives a list of the 70 manuscripts which contain dry-point glosses and discusses in detail the special problems posed for the modern scholar by this type of writing. Depending on the interplay between parchment and stylus, some of the glosses can be seen quite easily but many of them are extremely hard to read if they can be read at all. Why a stylus was used for these glosses instead of pen and ink, is not always clear. Because corrections in manuscripts are also often done with a stylus, Glaser thinks that a major reason may have been the easy availability of this writing instrument. Another reason might be that in contrast to inked glosses, dry-point glosses do not alter the appearance of a manuscript page. Many of them may have been simply private notes. In the course of my own work I have become convinced that the only person who would have read these glosses before the arrival of the modern scholar was the scribe who entered them in first place and who could read them because he knew them. It is also possible that the fresh traces were easier to see. In some, unfortunately not very many, manuscripts, the stylus left metallic traces which appear in the light of an ultraviolet lamp, but as Glaser points out, most of the time the only way to decipher these glosses today is to be very patient and to spend repeatedly -- and the stress is on repeatedly -- time trying to decipher them. This is a lesson I learned myself while collecting the dry-point glosses in Ms. Vat. Ottob. Lat 3295. Unfortunately, I had not yet realized this when I tried to collect the glosses from the five manuscripts used by Glaser.

According to Glaser, Clm 6300 contains 448 dry-point glosses to Gregory the Great's Moralia in Iob. She was able to identify 370 glosses (513 words) completely or partially. All of them are Old High German. Clm 6305 contains 107 dry- point glosses to Hieronymus's Commentary to the Gospel of Saint Matthew. She was able to identify 43 as OHG and 44 as Latin. Clm 6308 contains altogether 21 glosses to Orosius Historia adversum paganos. Of these glosses 16 are dry-point glosses, and of these 6 are probably Latin. Clm 6312 contains 27 dry-point glosses to Ambrosiaster's Quaestiones Veteris et Novi Testamenti. Of these 15 are certainly or probably OHG, one is Latin. Clm 6433 contains 8 dry-point glosses to Isidore of Seville's Synonyma. Glaser was able to identify two as OHG.

I shall use Clm 6305 as an example for pointing out in some detail the difficulties dry-point glosses pose, because it is to my knowledge the only manuscript where three different scholars tried to read the glosses over a period of time: first I myself (1974), then Klaus Siewert (1989) and finally Glaser. The result is instructive. Glaser, with much more experience than I had at the time, and much more time than either Siewert or I had, discovered a relatively large number of glosses which both Siewert and I had overlooked. In addition, while she and Siewert agree with some of my readings, in other cases Glaser sides either with Siewert or with me. In some instances all three of us saw something different. Originally, I identified 24 OHG glosses and located 21 additional entries which I could not read. Siewert corrected seven of my readings, questioned two and added one. Glaser added 18 more, corrected 13 of my readings plus the reading of Siewert's new gloss. She also gives the location of 40 possible vernacular glosses which she could not identify well enough to be sure about their vernacular character, and adds 44 Latin dry-point glosses, for which neither Siewert nor I had been looking. The differences between the three of us can be as small as in:

Glaser Mayer Siewert

26. fol. 54r, Z. 21

iniecore [sic] leparO lepero leparo

[uncertain letters are marked in the editions with a dot

below the letters. I indicate uncertainty here by


or as great as in:

3. fol. 3r, Z. 12

spacio fristi srini fristi

or in:

21. fol. 18r, Z. 8

murice purbORA - fiurIN

In one case, Siewert corrected my reading only to be

corrected in turn by Glaser:

28. fol. 66v, Z. 9

verbi gratia piludi ..piludi Huldi

Finally, I give one example where all three of us disagree:

18. fol. 10r, Z. 24

redundarent merOTin meroen meRTUn

These examples should suffice to show the problem. Glaser tries to cope with it by giving in her edition for every gloss a very extensive and extremely careful and cautious paleographic description. In a number of cases she even reproduces the lines she can see. This should allow anybody who wants to take another look at these glosses to follow her work. Unfortunately, I could not go back to Munich for the purpose of this review. However, in all the cases where Glaser's reading differs from mine, I would tend to side with her because first, her knowledge of Old High German is vastly superior to mine at the time when I collected these glosses. Second, she was clearly able to return time and again to check uncertain readings. Third, when I compared Glaser's corrections with my original notes, I noticed that in most cases her readings corresponded to variant readings of mine which I had discarded.

Glaser deals with the five manuscripts in the following order.

She provides a detailed description of the respective manuscript and of its history, including the history of the glosses. In the edition she gives the location of each gloss, the lemma, its Latin context, the gloss itself together with a discussion of its possible grammatical form and meaning, and of the relationship of both to the lemma. The edition is followed by a linguistic analysis which covers graphemics, phonology, morphology, word-formation, a chronological and geographical characterization, the technique of glossing, and the function of the glosses.

The language of the glosses in Clm 6300, Clm 6305 and Clm 6312 can be characterized with a great degree of certainty as Bavarian. In the case of the glosses in Clm 6308 and Clm 6433 this is not quite as certain but still quite possible. The glosses in Clm 6300 date probably from the end of the eighth century, the glosses in the other manuscripts from the beginning of the ninth century (with the exception of two inked glosses in Clm 6308 which date from the tenth century). This means that the linguistic evidence confirms the original assumption based on the history of the manuscripts that these glosses were, or at least could have been entered into these manuscripts in Freising at the end of the eighth or at the beginning of the ninth century. Almost all the glosses are entered with a stylus, a technique which seems to be typical for early glossing in Freising.

The translation method used is single-word glossing, giving in all cases the full form of the word rather than only an abbreviation. It is a characteristic of the glosses in Clm 6300 that for many nouns the grammatical case is indicated by an added article. Most of the translations reflect adequately the meaning of the lemma in the respective context. Altogether, the method of glossing points as glossators to individuals who used vernacular glossing as a help to understand the text. The fact that all the glossed manuscripts contain patristic works betrays a special interest in such texts in Freising at the time. One interesting fact might be added here: the share of hapax legomena amongst these glosses is about 15%. This is very high and an indication of the importance of this material for the early history of German.

None of the glosses in these manuscripts forms part of the general tradition of glossing of these texts. This indicates an independent use of the vernacular in Freising at the end of the eighth and the beginning of the ninth centuries in the context of the confrontation with Christian Latin culture.

Glaser's achievement is threefold. First, her book contains a wealth of details which make fascinating reading for anybody interested in this field. Second, in her edition she sets a splendid standard for the editing of dry-point glosses. Finally, her book is a very valuable contribution to the early history of written German.

One final comment. I read Glaser's book carefully without encountering even one misprint. This is rather impressive considering how difficult it must be to print this type of material.