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Am I crazy

8 August, 2005

Am I crazy, or is my Latin gone?

Hello Latinists! So I’m reading a book for this paper. The book uses pretty much all of the same sources as my thesis, except more of them. Kind of like two people were working on very similar topics at the exact same time, but one of us was very fast. And I come across a description of a document, and think, ‘hold on, that’s in the handy database I have of all of these documents, let me look it up.’ And what the author of this book has is different than what’s in the database. So I check the document itself. It says, “In dei nomine ego Theotacar trado in eliminosam meam ad Tienenheimero marcu duo iugera ad sanctum Bonifatium qui in monasterio Fulda sacro requiescit corpore [….] [Place enacted, date, important witnesses] “Theotmar indignus subdiaconus hanc traditionis kartulam iussus scripsit”

My exact translation notwithstanding, I understood this to say that the guy handing over the land to St. B (a normal thing to do — give to the saint, rather than to the institution) was named Theotacar, and the guy who wrote it all down was named Theotmar. High-powered scholar says that Theotmar was the donor. And I just realized that I was reading Latin A LOT when I created my database. So my present rustiness shouldn’t come into it. At the risk of revealing myself to be a complete feckin’ eejit, can anyone out there see how I got this wrong? Please be gentle.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. 8 August, 2005 8:33 pm

    Your Latin is fine–that’s what it says; Theotacar was the donor, Theotmar was the scribe. Either famous scholar screwed it up and got the names mixed up OR there’s a transcription err in one or both of the names. What was the script? Is it possible that an ‘ac’ could have been misread as an ‘m’ or vice versa?

  2. 8 August, 2005 10:24 pm

    I agree with Derek that your Latin is fine but that there could be a transcription error (although it seems like an odd error, depending on script). Is “Theotacar” a plausible name among these guys? I mean, are there any other -acar name elements? I’m grossly ignorant on this kind of thing, but -mar is clearly a common name element and -acar maybe not – ?

  3. 8 August, 2005 11:13 pm

    Thanks! -acar is a perfectly plausible name element, as is -mar. Otacar is another name in the region, for example. The document itself is edited, his bibliography lists the 1850 edition, and I used the reprint of the same edition. It’s probably not that big a thing, but I keep doing double-takes, because working with these sources is now a bit unnerving.

  4. 9 August, 2005 5:02 pm

    Just to chime in – my Latin sucks these days, and I think it’s pretty obvious that you’re right. Sorry I don’t recognize the time period, so the Latin might have been somewhat corrupted, but not THAT much.

  5. 9 August, 2005 10:05 pm

    Ditto to what everyone else said – scholar made an error, or there’s a transcription problem. The former’s more likely. (I was just excited that I could figure this out! ;-D)

  6. 9 August, 2005 10:37 pm

    Heh. One of the great things about my sources are that lots are formulaic. One of the things I hate, b/c it makes me lazy, is that they’re so formulaic I often do not read carefully enough.

  7. 10 August, 2005 7:02 pm

    To defend (weakly) the transcription possibility, There are some A-S scripts from the period that write an ‘a” as two curved lines (( [but with a little more bend to them]. Thus a Theotacar could look like Theot(((((r which could be read Theotmar depending on how the curved minims relate to one another… But I don’t know the Continental German scripts well enough to say. Chances are, famous scholar is just wrong. 😉

  8. 10 August, 2005 8:06 pm

    Well, since I am more than positive he didn’t use original documents, I don’t think it’s possible.

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