Saturday, March 17, 2007

Fun with Gothic Scripts

>"All these materials were written in many different hands in the Gothic German script of the nineteenth century, which even highly educated native German speakers today cannot make heads of tails of." (and the footnote makes clear that the author himself required someone to transcribe these pages into Latin alphabet for him--I think it took me an hour to learn how to read Gothic script, not to say that I know German )

This comment from On The Main Line triggered an old memory.

The text says:
"Mimi numinum nivium minimi munium nimium vini muniminum imminui vivi minimum volunt"
or in English:
"The very short mimes of the gods of snow do not at all wish that during their lifetime the very great burden of the wine of the walls to be lightened"

This is an example of a game that scribes in the Gothic era would play with creating verses which are almost impossible to read. This particular verse is from a letter of complaint by short actors, sent to the Senate in Rome, pointing out their desire to continue distributing to the actors wine acquired from particular vineyards near the walls.

(from 'Medieval Calligraphy' by Marc Drogin)


Blogger Baal Habos said...

E, it likes like Binary code to me.

March 17, 2007 10:58 PM  
Blogger Miri said...

hee. that's just fun.

March 18, 2007 3:03 PM  
Blogger Mississippi Fred MacDowell said...

Very cool!

March 19, 2007 1:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that scribed of the past had a MUCH more twisted sense of humor than for which we often give them credit. Although the translation of this Latin phrase may (or may not) be acurate, I FIRMLY believe that the explanation for it is nothing more than a Medieval "shaggy dog story".

I may not have a Ph.D. in Medieval Studies, but I know enough about Medieval art and history to know that anyone who believes the "roman Senate Midget Actors" origin of this phrase would perhaps also believe that the word "gullible" is not in the dictionary...

November 22, 2011 12:17 AM  

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