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Bisinus - Bessinus

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  • faltin2001
    Venantius Fortunatus mentioned a Thuringian king Bessinus and a queen Basina, who would have ruled around 460 AD. The name Bessinus, also rendered as Bisinus
    Message 1 of 3 , Oct 3, 2006
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      Venantius Fortunatus mentioned a Thuringian king Bessinus and a queen
      Basina, who would have ruled around 460 AD. The name Bessinus, also
      rendered as Bisinus is quite an unusual name. Since B and V are often
      interchangible some scholars have argued that the name means Visendus
      or Visandus. Others have pointd out that it is strange that Bessinus
      had a wife named Basina and therefore argued that these were not names
      but some sort of titles.

      Now, the Gothic Vesi, meaning 'the nobles', were the elite of the
      Tervingi. There name formed the basis for the ethnogenesis of the Vesi
      people, who would later be called Visigoths. The ancient sources
      render their name also as 'Vessi' and 'Besi'. I wonder if the name
      Bessinus could be rendered with V, i.e. Vessinus and if it was a title
      rather than a name, maybe it meant 'the noble'.

      Cheers,

      Dirk
    • ualarauans
      ... queen ... often ... Visendus ... Bessinus ... names ... It was early Byzantine Greek where the B/V confusion took its origin. To the time, Greek B (beta)
      Message 2 of 3 , Oct 3, 2006
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        --- In gothic-l@yahoogroups.com, "faltin2001" <d.faltin@> wrote:
        >
        > Venantius Fortunatus mentioned a Thuringian king Bessinus and a
        queen
        > Basina, who would have ruled around 460 AD. The name Bessinus, also
        > rendered as Bisinus is quite an unusual name. Since B and V are
        often
        > interchangible some scholars have argued that the name means
        Visendus
        > or Visandus. Others have pointd out that it is strange that
        Bessinus
        > had a wife named Basina and therefore argued that these were not
        names
        > but some sort of titles.

        It was early Byzantine Greek where the B/V confusion took its
        origin. To the time, Greek B (beta) came to be pronounced as [v],
        but since the Greek alphabet didn't dispose of another separate
        letter for [b], they used beta for both [b] and [v]. Procopius in
        V.18.29, 31-33 mentions a Goth named OUISANDOS BANDALARIOS, which
        probably stood for *Wisandus Wandalaharjis. To render Gothic [w] he
        used both OU and B in neighboring words. And he writes names
        BALERIANOS, BENETIAI etc. with a beta for Latin v.

        But is there some evidence that this change was spread outside
        Greek? When writing Bessinus, Fortunatus was probably meaning just
        Bessinus, not *Wessinus, unless he copied his account from some
        Greek original.

        That these names may be titles seems likely. If the form they are
        written already postdates the 2nd shift, it could be PG *bat-,
        maybe, the same as in suppletive *batiza-,
        *batista- "better", "best" (?)

        > Now, the Gothic Vesi, meaning 'the nobles', were the elite of the
        > Tervingi. There name formed the basis for the ethnogenesis of the
        Vesi
        > people, who would later be called Visigoths. The ancient sources
        > render their name also as 'Vessi' and 'Besi'. I wonder if the name
        > Bessinus could be rendered with V, i.e. Vessinus and if it was a
        title
        > rather than a name, maybe it meant 'the noble'.

        Yes, the authors mention a people called Bessi and the like. Are
        they really identical with Visi? The latter name is usually derived
        from PG *wesu- < PIE *wesu- "good", cf. Sanskr. vasu-, Avestan vohu
        etc. (the idea I saw in Wilhelm Streitberg's Gotisches
        Elementarbuch, p. 7).

        Interestingly, both etymologies - Go. *Batins and Go. *Wisins -
        suggest some "good" semantics...

        > Cheers,
        >
        > Dirk

        OUALARABANS
      • faltin2001
        ... also ... he ... the ... name ... derived ... vohu ... Hi Oualaravans, many thanks for that. I think I would agree that the name Bessinus/Bisin and Basina
        Message 3 of 3 , Oct 4, 2006
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          --- In gothic-l@yahoogroups.com, "ualarauans" <ualarauans@...> wrote:
          >
          > --- In gothic-l@yahoogroups.com, "faltin2001" <d.faltin@> wrote:
          > >
          > > Venantius Fortunatus mentioned a Thuringian king Bessinus and a
          > queen
          > > Basina, who would have ruled around 460 AD. The name Bessinus,
          also
          > > rendered as Bisinus is quite an unusual name. Since B and V are
          > often
          > > interchangible some scholars have argued that the name means
          > Visendus
          > > or Visandus. Others have pointd out that it is strange that
          > Bessinus
          > > had a wife named Basina and therefore argued that these were not
          > names
          > > but some sort of titles.
          >
          > It was early Byzantine Greek where the B/V confusion took its
          > origin. To the time, Greek B (beta) came to be pronounced as [v],
          > but since the Greek alphabet didn't dispose of another separate
          > letter for [b], they used beta for both [b] and [v]. Procopius in
          > V.18.29, 31-33 mentions a Goth named OUISANDOS BANDALARIOS, which
          > probably stood for *Wisandus Wandalaharjis. To render Gothic [w]
          he
          > used both OU and B in neighboring words. And he writes names
          > BALERIANOS, BENETIAI etc. with a beta for Latin v.
          >
          > But is there some evidence that this change was spread outside
          > Greek? When writing Bessinus, Fortunatus was probably meaning just
          > Bessinus, not *Wessinus, unless he copied his account from some
          > Greek original.
          >
          > That these names may be titles seems likely. If the form they are
          > written already postdates the 2nd shift, it could be PG *bat-,
          > maybe, the same as in suppletive *batiza-,
          > *batista- "better", "best" (?)
          >
          > > Now, the Gothic Vesi, meaning 'the nobles', were the elite of the
          > > Tervingi. There name formed the basis for the ethnogenesis of
          the
          > Vesi
          > > people, who would later be called Visigoths. The ancient sources
          > > render their name also as 'Vessi' and 'Besi'. I wonder if the
          name
          > > Bessinus could be rendered with V, i.e. Vessinus and if it was a
          > title
          > > rather than a name, maybe it meant 'the noble'.
          >
          > Yes, the authors mention a people called Bessi and the like. Are
          > they really identical with Visi? The latter name is usually
          derived
          > from PG *wesu- < PIE *wesu- "good", cf. Sanskr. vasu-, Avestan
          vohu
          > etc. (the idea I saw in Wilhelm Streitberg's Gotisches
          > Elementarbuch, p. 7).
          >
          > Interestingly, both etymologies - Go. *Batins and Go. *Wisins -
          > suggest some "good" semantics...
          >
          > > Cheers,
          > >
          > > Dirk
          >
          > OUALARABANS
          >


          Hi Oualaravans,

          many thanks for that. I think I would agree that the name
          Bessinus/Bisin and Basina are more likely to be titles than personal
          names. Not only is the pairing of Bessinus and Basina curious for a
          royal couple, but these names seem to be entirely unique. I guess
          there are other ancient Germanic names which are unique, but the
          name components are usually at least known from other names.

          Friedrich Lotter mentiones in his book on Germanic peoples at the
          middle Danube (2003) that there is potential to confuse the Bessi
          with the Vesi, but he states that there is also a mentiong of "Besi"
          that referes unmistakeably to "Vesi". The Venantius Fortunatus wrote
          about 100 years after king Besinus and I cannot say what sources he
          would have used.

          Cheers,
          Dirk
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