The Letter H (was Re: Gothic word for King)
- Hi Matþaius, Francisc and Keth
I am sorry to bring this thread up again so late, but I had to return
to my books from my holiday before asking, as I have no knowledge
about the linguistic part of this topic:
I understand Matþaius' arguments in this way: The "H" used in Latin
(a.e. "Heruls") might be a form symbolizing a classical name and not
necessarily a sound because of the silent "H" in Latin. An earlier
Roman author knowing the Heruls himself would probably know how to
pronounce the name, but even he might use the silent "H" though
the "H" was not pronounced by the Heruls themselves. As the Heruls
disappeared from Southern Europe around 565, the following writers
writing in Latin would probably always spell "Heruls" with "H" having
no knowledge about the pronunciation.
Therefore the "H" would also be used since 565 by authors educated in
Latin (a.e. by the church) writing names referring directly to the
Heruls, and therefore Keth's example from Paulus Diaconus does not
tell us if there should be a "H" in "Heruls" (Paulus is a later
writer in Roman tradition).
We also have to look at the authors before 565AD writing in Greek.
Procopius wrote in Greek in the 550ies - possibly also using sources
in Latin. He must have known how "Herul" was pronounced being the
secretary of Bellisarius using many Heruls in his army. I have only
the Dewing-version, where the apostrophe (down-left) is what Francisc
calls the "soft spirit" meaning no "H" before the "E". If this is
correct, the Latin "H" is most likely a misunderstanding because of
traditional classical spelling. Is this Greek spelling in "Gothic
Wars" correct according to more original sources?
The situation might be another in the Northgermanic and Westgermanic
regions where some of the Heruls disappeared from the sight of the
Roman authors in pagan times.
Following Matþaius's theory the place-names in Austria/Germany from
the 9th century referring to the Heruls might be spelled with "H", as
the writers of such official documents at that time probably had a
classical (clerical) education but only if they knew, that the name
referred to the Heruls, or if the name was pronounced with an "H".
In most other cases local (not learned) spelling in these regions
would be without "H" if the original pronunciation was "Erul" as
indicated by the Procopius-argument above.
If we assume the name to be the background for the OE word "eorl" and
maybe ON "jarl" the way of spelling is dependent on the later writers
knowledge of this background. However "eo" and the Nordic "j" might
indicate a sound before the vowels "e" or open "a" - if it is not
caused by the "r". Could this have been a faint Eastgermanic
aspiration or consonant contributing to all the above confusion? If
we assume the Herulian language to be similar to Gothic did such a
faint H/J-sound exist in Gothic?
If the name was written in runes we should according to Keth expect
the name to be written as it was pronounced at that time and place. I
agree, but do we know how "erilaR" was pronounced in the 5th and 6th
century as you indicated, Keth?
If not there is as far as I can se no "H"-argument against the theory
about a connection between "Erilar" and "Herul" - if the Procopius-
argument above is correct.
--- In gothic-l@y..., keth@o... wrote:
> Hails Matþaius,
> You wrote:
> >I suppose this argument will lead back to the original spelling of
> >as well as lend support for *Ala- over against *Hala-
> >Keth, the only problem I see here with your theory concerning the
> >manuscript tradition is that because Latin no longer pronounced
the 'h' in
> >the period, following a trend that had been ongoing since the 2nd
c. AD, its
> >scribes could no longer recognize its proper place or proper
usage. It is
> >thought that the h was kept in spelling out of tradition rather
than as a
> >reflection of colloquial pronunciation, which was thus like
> >Italian or French (or any other Romance language) in respect to
> >Since the h was not pronounced in spoken Latin, scribes often had
> >their best to remember when it should be written, and, in lieu of
> >errors, probably seldom resorted to ancient texts for correction.
> >become a vestige, a sort of symbol of antiquity, and therefore
> >of learnedness. Whether the h was etymological, eventually, through
> >ignorance or apathy, came to have diminished importance. The
> >such treatment is apparent in much of the vulgar latin texts of
> >medieval period.
- --- In gothic-l@y..., ahmetsahinn@y... wrote:
> As far as I know from the ottaman archieves that the crimean gotswho
> are called by turks as "pomaks" adopted islamic religion under thea
> ottaman rule and migrated to southern Bulgaria(around 50.000 people
> today.) There they adopted bulgarian(slavic) language. They live in
> very closed community and hardly marry outside. They are veryHi,
> religious and conservative and dont associate themselves with the
> bulgarians.They have closer contacts with the Turks. They are
> distinguished by blond hairs almost half of them have. Some of them
> immigrated to Turkey escaping the communist rule.
can you specify the sources in the Ottoman archives that state that
the Crimean Goths migrated to Bulgaria, adopted Islam and became
According to my knowledge, the exact origin of the Pomaks
(i.e. Bulgarian Muslims) is disputed. Bulgarian historiography tended
to see them as the product of forced conversion to Islam under Sultan
Selim II in the 16th century and the second under the reign of Mehmed
In an other version the Pomaks are seen as descendants of the Yuruks,
Anatolian nomadic pastoralists who had settled on the Balkans -and
specifically in the Rhodopes - soon after the Ottoman occupation in
the mid-14th c.
In another variant the Pomaks are the descendants of Ottoman (Turkish)
soldiers who had married Bulgarian women. This theory is based on the
assumption that men transfer nationality (through blood) and women
language (through bringing up the children). As a consequence the
Pomaks speak Bulgarian as a mother tongue, but are of Turkish
(sometimes Pomak) nationality.
Yet another variant is that the Pomaks descend form the Kumano-Turks
who on their way from the steppes of Central Asia to the Balkans
stopped for some time in the Ukraine where they adopted a Slavic
After the fall of Communism, Pomaks are now in the process of defining
their ethnic and historical identity. However, the variation that you
reported based on the Ottoman archives, that the Pomaks are the
decendents of Crimean Goths is not part of the discourse as far as I