How the blog works

The poems on this blog are mostly written on the basis of my historical reading and are intended to be both educational and entertaining.
Recently I have also begun posting some of my work with Anglo-Saxon charms. This work is somewhat speculative and is conducted as an amateur researcher and keen Pagan historian.

Please feel free to use anything on this site as a resource if you think that it may be relevant to your needs.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Possible Translation of Lacnunga P10.10 - Revisited

Lacnunga P10.10 – See Leechdoms, Wortcunning and Starcraft of Early England
Vol III, P10 line10
'In case a man or a beast drink an insect'

Other possible translations

Further to my proposed possible translation of this charm (See my blog December 2015)
I reproduce here two somewhat more scholastic attempts at a translation, for comparison. These are attempts by students as part of their thesis’s.

The Galdor (charm)
Gonomil orgomil marbumil
marbsai marbsai tofethtengo docuillo biran cuithaer
caefmiil fcuiht cuillo scuiht cuib duill marbsiramum

My proposed translation:
I wound the animal, I strike the animal, I kill the animal.
Brine of death, brine of death (with) wind (and) tongue I destroy the thorn from the sky, belonging to fine lovely honey, suck the wound/ wound (like) a love bite/suck if (it be) split, sing to kill the long (worm).

Additional note: the implied use of saliva.
Belief in the medicinal usefulness of saliva is very ancient: see e.g. Opie & Tatem [1989: 373-41, Bonser [1963: 22 1-21, Chowdharay-Best [1975], Nicolson [1897] and Selare [19391. Its use in a remedy for wyrm is also derived from the belief recorded by Pliny that: Omnium vero in primis ieiunain salivam contra serpentes praesidio esse
docuimus. [NH 28.3 5].
Chowdharay-Best [1975: 197] also notes instances of the use of saliva against
venomous creatures in the works of Galen, Paulus Aegineta, and Oribasius.

Heather Lesley Stuart (1973: A Critical Edition of Some Anglo-Saxon Charms and Incantations. 802-9) proposes this reconstruction of the galdor:

Gono mil, orgo mil, marbu mil.
Marb sir [n]-amus. Do-foth tengo do. Guillo biran co [n]-ith ar
cach miil scucht co n-ibdaich. Marb sir [n]-amus.

Stuart's translation:
I wound the animal, I slay the animal, I kill the animal.
Kill the long-lived hireling. Its tongue will fall out. I destroy the little spear with fat
for each animal an end with a sorcerer. Kill the long-lived hireling

However duill "creature" has been removed, and the amendments do not produce readily intelligible sense.
Perhaps with the application of strict lexical and syntactical sense damage is done to the sound-patterns of the galdor.

With this in mind Harley (1996 A critical edition of the Anglo-Saxon Lacnunga in BL MS Harley 585 P315-318) suggests

Gono mil orgo mil marbu mil
marb sair amum tofeth tengo do cuillo biran cuuthaer
cufinnl scuiht cuillo scuiht cuib-.duill, marb sir amum.

Harley's translation:
I wound the animal, I hut the animal, I kill the animal.
Kill the long/lasting creature! The beast's tongue will fall out. I destroy the little
spear with verse.
Against the (?)dear-beast (?)An ending. I destroy. (?)An ending. (?)dear-beast. Kill the long/lasting creature!

So my previous conclusion remains and is reprinted thus:

Of course one could also arrive at alternative variations in the translation and perhaps this ambiguity is exactly what the charm intended to achieve, after all it is unlikely the Anglo-Saxons would have had any understanding of Old Irish. What would have been important was the distinct incantatory sound patterning resulting from the alliteration, rhyming and repetition.