Old Georgian phrases and sentences 59: Fingernails and claws in three texts   Leave a comment

The content of this post stems from a chance sighting of a word in the Altgeorgisch-Deutsches Wörterbuch of Sarjveldze and Fähnrich: მოფრჩხენა “kratzen, zerkratzen” (794b). The lexicographers cite there the manuscript Jer.-149 (saints’ lives, 11th cent.), 144r, lines 14-16:

ფრჩხილითა თუისითა მოჰფრჩხენდა პირსა მისსა

Mit seiner Fingernägeln zerkratzte er ihm sein Gesicht.

  • ფრჩხილი (also ფრცხილი) fingernail, claw
  • თუისითა = თჳსითა
  • მო-ჰ-ფრჩხენ-დ-ა impf 3sg მოფრჩხენა to scratch, claw

He was scratching his face with his fingernails.

This reference to fingernails or claws brought to my mind Dan 4:33 (Theodotion):

αὐτῇ τῇ ὥρᾳ ὁ λόγος συνετλέσθη ἐπὶ Ναβουχοδονοσορ, καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων ἐξεδιώχθη καὶ χόρτον ὡς βοῦς ἤσθιεν, καὶ ἀπὸ τῆς δρόσου τοῦ οὐρανοῦ τὸ σῶμα αὐτοῦ ἐβάφη, ἕως οὗ αἱ τρίχες αὐτοῦ ὡς λεόντων ἐμεγαλύνθησαν καὶ οἱ ὄνυχες αὐτοῦ ὡς ὀρνέων.

At the same time, the sentence was completed against Nabouchodonosor, and he was driven away from humans and ate grass like an ox, and his body was bathed with the dew of heaven until his hair lengthened like that of lions and his nails like those of birds. (NETS)

In Georgian (Oshki/Jer), Dan 4:30 (= Theod) is as follows:

მასვე ჟამსა შინა აღესრულა ნაბუქოდონოსორის ზედა, და კაცთაგან განიდევნა, და თივასა ვითარცა ზროხაჲ ჭამდა, და ცუარისაგან ცისა ჴორცნი მისნი შეიღებნეს, ვიდრემდე თმანი მისნი ვითარცა ლომისანი იქმნნეს, და ფრცხილნი მისნი ვითარცა მფრინველისანი.

  • აღ-ე-სრულ-ა aor 3sg აღსრულება to complete, fulfill, end (also kill)
  • გან-ი-დევნ-ა aor pass 3sg განდევნა to drive out, chase away
  • თივაჲ grass, hay
  • ზროხაჲ cow
  • ჭამ-დ-ა impf 3sg ჭამა to eat
  • ცუარი dew
  • შე-ი-ღებ-ნ-ეს aor pass 3pl შეღებვა to dip, wet
  • თმაჲ hair
  • ლომი lion
  • ი-ქმნ-ნ-ეს aor pass 3pl ქმნა to make
  • ფრცხილი fingernail, claw (ფრჩხილი above)
  • მფრინველი bird

Finally, one more verse with nails/claws came to mind: Lev 11:4.

πλὴν ἀπὸ τούτων οὐ φάγεσθε· ἀπὸ τῶν ἀναγόντων μηρυκισμὸν καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν διχηλούντων τὰς ὁπλὰς καὶ ὀνυχιζόντων ὀνυχιστῆρας· τὸν κάμηλον, ὅτι ἀνάγει μηρυκισμὸν τοῦτο, ὁπλὴν δὲ οὐ διχηλεῖ, ἀκάθαρτον τοῦτο ὑμῖν·

ხოლო მათგანი არა შჭამოთ, რომელნი აღმოიცოხნიან და რომელთაჲ არა განყოფილ არს ჭლაკი და რომელნი ფრცხენენ ფრცხილითა: აქლემი, რამეთუ აღმოიცოხნის და ჭლაკი მისი არა განპებულ არს, არაწმიდა არს ესე თქუენდა

  • შ-ჭამ-ო-თ aor conj 2pl ჭამა to eat [with სჭ > შჭ]
  • აღმო-ი-ცოხნ-ი-ან pres 3pl აღმოცოხნა to ruminate, chew the cud
  • განყოფილი divided, split
  • ჭლაკი hoof
  • ფრცხენ-ენ pres 3pl ფრცხენა (as with the noun, also ფრჩხენა) to scratch
  • აქლემი camel
  • აღმო-ი-ცოხნ-ი-ს pres 3sg აღმოცოხნა to ruminate, chew the cud
  • განპებული split, torn (განპება to split, tear) [NB a different word than that above, even though referring to the same thing; cf. the Greek]
  • არაწმიდაჲ impure

So we have three texts, one a manuscript citation of an unpublished text (at least as far as I know) in a lexicon, and two from the Bible, all stemming from one word: ფრცხილი and its variant ფრჩხილი. I hope it’s obvious that these lexical and textual chains can be instructive for language-learners and philologists generally.

Rabbula Gospels online!   Leave a comment

I learned earlier this week from a tweet by Matthew Crawford (@mattrcrawford) that the Rabbula Gospels are freely available to view online in fairly high-quality images. This sixth-century manuscript (Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Plut. 1.56) is famous especially for its artwork at the beginning of the codex before, surrounding, and following the Eusebian canon tables, including both figures from biblical history and animals: prophets, Mary, Jesus, scenes from the Gospels (Judas is hanging from a tree on f. 12r), the evangelists, birds, deer, rabbits, &c. Beginning on f. 13r, the folios are strictly pictures, the canon tables having been completed. These paintings are very pleasing, but lovers of Syriac script have plenty to feast on, too. The main text itself is written in large Estrangela, with the colophon (f. 291v-292v) also in Estrangela but mostly of a much smaller size. Small notes about particular lections are often in small Serto. The manuscript also has several notes in Syriac, Arabic, and Garšūnī in various hands (see articles by Borbone and Mengozzi in the bibliography below). From f. 15v to f. 19r is an index lectionum in East Syriac script. The Gospel text itself begins on f. 20r with Mt 1:23 (that is, the very beginning of the Gospel is missing).

The images are found here. (The viewer is identical to the one that archive.org uses.)

Rabbula Gospels, f. 231r, from the story of Jesus' turning the water into wine, Jn 2.

Rabbula Gospels, f. 231r, from the story of Jesus’ turning the water into wine, Jn 2.

Rabbula Gospels, f. 5r. The servants filling the jugs with the water that will become wine.

Rabbula Gospels, f. 5r. The servants filling the jugs with the water that will become wine.

For those interested in studying this important manuscript beyond examining these now accessible images, here are a few resources:

Bernabò, Massimò, ed. Il Tetravangelo di Rabbula: Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Plut. 1.56. L’illustrazione del Nuovo Testamento nella Siria del VI secolo. Folia picta 1. Rome, 2008. A review here.

Bernabò, Massimò, “Miniature e decorazione,” pp. 79-112 in Il Tetravangelo di Rabbula.

Bernabò, Massimò, “The Miniatures in the Rabbula Gospels: Postscripta to a Recent Book,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 68 (2014): 343-358. Available here.

Borbone, Pier Giorgio, “Codicologia, paleografia, aspetti storici,” pp. 23-58 in Il Tetravangelo di Rabbula. Available here.

Borbone, Pier Giorgio, “Il Codice di Rabbula e i suoi compagni. Su alcuni manoscritti siriaci della Biblioteca medicea laurenziana (Mss. Pluteo 1.12; Pluteo 1.40; Pluteo 1.58),” Egitto e Vicino Oriente 32 (2009): 245-253. Available here.

Borbone, Pier Giorgio, “L’itinéraire du “Codex de Rabbula” selon ses notes marginales,” pp. 169-180 in F. Briquel-Chatonnet and M. Debié, eds., Sur les pas des Araméens chrétiens. Mélanges offerts à Alain Desreumaux. Paris, 2010. Available here.

Botte, Bernard, “Note sur l’Évangéliaire de Rabbula,” Revue des sciences religieuses 36 (1962): 13-26.

Cecchelli, Carlo, Giuseppe Furlani, and Mario Salmi, eds. The Rabbula Gospels: Facsimile Edition of the Miniatures of the Syriac Manuscript Plut. I, 56 in the Medicaean-Laurentian Library. Monumenta occidentis 1. Olten and Lausanne, 1959.

Leroy, Jules, “L’auteur des miniatures du manuscrit syriaque de Florence, Plut. I, 56, Codex Rabulensis,” Comptes-rendus des séances de l’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, Paris 98 (1954): 278-283.

Leroy, Jules, Les manuscrits syriaques à peintures, conservés dans les bibliothèques d’Europe et d’Orient. Contribution à l’étude de l’iconographie des églises de langue syriaque. Paris, 1964.

Macchiarella, Gianclaudio, “Ricerche sulla miniatura siriaca del VI sec. 1. Il codice. c.d. di Rabula,” Commentari NS 22 (1971): 107-123.

Mango, Marlia Mundell, “Where Was Beth Zagba?,” Harvard Ukrainian Studies 7 (1983): 405-430.

Mango, Marlia Mundell, “The Rabbula Gospels and Other Manuscripts Produced in the Late Antique Levant,” pp. 113-126 in Il Tetravangelo di Rabbula.

Mengozzi, Alessandro, “Le annotazioni in lingua araba sul codice di Rabbula,” pp. 59-66 in Il Tetravangelo di Rabbula.

Mengozzi, Alessandro, “The History of Garshuni as a Writing System: Evidence from the Rabbula Codex,” pp. 297-304 in F. M. Fales & G. F. Grassi, eds., CAMSEMUD 2007. Proceedings of the 13th Italian Meeting of Afro-Asiatic Linguistics, held in Udine, May 21st-24th, 2007. Padua, 2010.Available here.

Paykova, Aza Vladimirovna, “Четвероевангелие Раввулы (VI в.) как источник по истории раннехристианского искусства,” (The Rabbula Gospels (6th cent.) as a Source for the History of Early Christian Art) Палестинский сборник 29 [92] (1987): 118-127.

Rouwhorst, Gerard A.M., “The Liturgical Background of the Crucifixion and Resurrection Scene of the Syriac Gospel Codex of Rabbula: An Example of the Relatedness between Liturgy and Iconography,” pp. 225-238 in Steven Hawkes-Teeples, Bert Groen, and Stefanos Alexopoulos, eds., Studies on the Liturgies of the Christian East: Selected Papers of the Third International Congress of the Society of Oriental Liturgy Volos, May 26-30, 2010. Eastern Christian Studies 18. Leuven / Paris / Walpole, MA, 2013.

Sörries, Reiner, Christlich-antike Buchmalerei im Überblick. Wiesbaden, 1993.

van Rompay, Lucas, “‘Une faucille volante': la représentation du prophète Zacharie dans le codex de Rabbula et la tradition syriaque,” pp. 343-354 in Kristoffel Demoen and Jeannine Vereecken, eds., La spiritualité de l’univers byzantin dans le verbe et l’image. Hommages offerts à Edmond Voordeckers à l’occasion de son éméritat. Instrumenta Patristica 30. Steenbrugis and Turnhout, 1997.

Wright, David H., “The Date and Arrangement of the Illustrations in the Rabbula Gospels,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 27 (1973): 199-208.

Old Georgian phrases and sentences 58 (Psalm 151:7)   Leave a comment

This time our Georgian lines come from Psalm 151 in a tenth-century Sinai manuscript. Among the following Georgian manuscripts of the Psalms in the old Sinai collection, only № 42 (see Garitte, Catalogue, pp. 156-158) has Psalm 151 (ff. 257v-258r, image 263), there following the Odes and the Beatitudes:

  • 22 (10th/11th, nusxuri)
  • 29 (10th, asomtavruli)
  • 42 (10th, asomtavruli)
  • 86 (14th/15th, nusxuri)

The others listed here only have the 150 Psalms and the Odes, except for № 22, which is incomplete at the end, and so it is not known what it had in addition to the 150 Psalms. Ps 151 not in the Graz manuscript, which ends with the Odes, but it is in Red. A, ed. M. Shanidze (at TITUS here).

Here is an image of our verse from the aforementioned Sinai manuscript (thanks to E-corpus):

Ps 151:7 in Sinai geo. 42, f. 258r

Ps 151:7 in Sinai geo. 42, f. 258r

Here is the asomtavruli and a transliteration into mxedruli:


ხ(ოლო) მე სახელითა უფლისა ღ(მრ)თისა ჩემისაჲთა მოვიღე მახჳლი იგი მისი და მოვჰკუეთე თავი მისი და აღვჴოცე ყოჳედრებაჲ ძეთაგან ი(სრა)ჱლისათა.

  • მო-ვ-ი-ღე aor 1sg მოღება to take, get
  • მახჳლი sword
  • მო-ვ-ჰ-კუეთ-ე aor 1sg O3 მოკუეთა to cut off
  • აღ-ვ-ჴოც-ე aor 1sg აღჴოცა to destroy, remove
  • ყუედრებაჲ reproach, derision, abuse

Finally, for comparison, here is the verse in Greek, Armenian, and Syriac. The Georgian text is unique in having “with the name of the Lord, my God” at the beginning of the verse. (Syriac from Harry F. van Rooy, “A Second Version of the Syriac Psalm 151,” Old Testament Essays 11:3 (1998): 567-581; see also William Wright, “Some Apocryphal Psalms in Syriac,” Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology 9 (1886-1887): 257-266.)

ἐγὼ δὲ σπασάμενος τὴν παρ᾽ αὐτοῦ μάχαιραν ἀπεκεφάλισα αὐτὸν καὶ ἦρα ὄνειδος ἐξ υἱῶν Ισραηλ.

Ես հանի զսուսեր ՛ի նմանէ եւ հատի́ զգլուխ նորին, եւ բարձի զնախատինս յորդւոցն ի(սրաէ)լի։

հանեմ, հանի to draw, pull out | սուսեր sword | հատանեմ, հատի to cut | բառնամ, բարձի to lift, remove | նախատինք injury, blame, reproach, dishonor

9SH1 enā dēn kad šemṭēt saypēh pesqēt rēšēh w-arimēt ḥesdā men bnayyā d-Isrāʾēl

šmṭ to draw | saypā sword | psq to cut | rwm C to lift, remove | ḥesdā shame

12t5 enā dēn šemṭēt menēh ḥarbēh w-bēh nesbēt rēšēh w-aʿbrēt ḥesdā men Isrāʾēl

ḥarbā sword | nsb to take | ʿbr C to remove

From the Armenian synaxarion: Vardeni (May 5)   Leave a comment

Hagiography makes excellent reading material for language learners: the stories are entertaining (the more outlandish the better), sentence structures are usually simple, vocabulary is common in the main, and in many cases one can read the story in more than one language or version. Hagiography is meaningful, of course, for other reasons, too. Some readers find spiritual value and encouragement in the stories. Those with a critical focus may explore the historicity or lack thereof in certain stories, and whether or not even a single event can be deemed to have taken place, the fact that the story was told, heard, and written down in any case says something about the tellers, hearers, writers, and readers of these tales. In the story below, that of Saint Vardeni, about whom I know nothing more than what is in this synaxarial commemoration, there is such material ripe for discussion by those interested in gender, authority, religious violence (in this case, self-violence), and more. As a textual basis for such discussion, here is the text, with vocabulary and grammar notes especially suited toward Armenian language learners. As far as I know, no English translation of this story has appeared, so I also offer a rough draft of a translation, both for Armenian language learners and for those less interested in Armenian but interested in this story for some reason or another. (The text, notes, and translation are available in a more aesthetically pleasing format in PDF here: vardeni_armen_synax.)

The story and the saint’s behavior probably have in view “If thy right eye offend thee…” (Mt 5:29-30), and further “whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea” (Mk 9:42 with parallels). Although the details differ greatly, other self-blinding stories come to mind. In hagiography, there is that of Simon the Tanner; outside hagiography, and much more famously, there is that of Oedipus.

Χο. ὦ δεινὰ δράσας, πῶς ἔτλης τοιαῦτα σὰς

ὄψεις μαρᾶναι; τίς σ᾽ ἐπῆρε δαιμόνων;

Οι. Ἀπόλλων τάδ᾽ ἦν, Ἀπόλλων, φίλοι,

ὁ κακὰ κακὰ τελῶν ἐμὰ τάδ᾽ ἐμὰ πάθεα.

ἔπαισε δ᾽ αὐτόχειρ νιν οὔ-

τις, ἀλλ᾽ ἐγὼ τλάμων.

τί γὰρ ἔδει μ᾽ ὁρᾶν,

ὅτῳ γ᾽ ὁρῶντι μηδὲν ἦν ἰδεῖν γλυκύ;

Soph. Oed.Tyr. 1327-1335

The commemoration of Vardeni (Armenian text and FT) is available in PO 21 395-396.

Յայսմ աւուր տօն է աղախնոյն Աստուծոյ Վարդենայ։

տօն, -ից feast, celebration | աղախին, -խնոյ, -նաց maidservant, female slave

Աղախինն Քրիստոսի եւ կոյս կրօնաւորն Վարդենի՝ նստելով ի յարկս իւր լռութեամբ եւ մեծաւ ճգնութեամբ հոգայր զհոգի իւր պահօք եւ աղօթիւք եւ տքնութեամբ։

կոյս, կուսից virgin | կրօնաւոր monk, cenobite | նստելով inf.instr նստիմ, նստայ, նիստ to sit down, lodge, reside, dwell | արկ, -ից (app. ≈ home; cf. արկանեմ to throw, spread) | լռութիւն silence, tranquility | ճգնութիւն austerity, asceticism, penitence, mortification | հոգայր impf 3sg հոգամ, -ացայ/-ացի to take care of, preserve, mind | պահք, -հոց fast(ing) | աղօթ, -թից prayer | տքնութիւն wakefulness, vigilance, watch

Նա եւ ի ձեռագործէն իւրմէ բազում ողորմութիւն առնէր առ կարօտեալս։

ողորմութիւն charity, alms, mercy | առնէր impf 3sg առնեմ, արարի to do | կարօտեալ poor, needy

Այլ որ ի սկզբանէ թշնամի է արդարութեան հակառակն սատանայ ոչ ժուժեաց ընդ այնպիսի աստուածահաճոյ վարս, յարոյց ի վերայ նորա փորձութիւն, եւ ընկէց յերիտասարդ մի դիւական տռփութեան փափաք եւ սիրէր զանարատ կոյսն Վարդենի։

թշնամի, -մւոյ, -մեաց enemy, foe | արդարութիւն justice, equity, uprightness | հակառակ, -աց adversary, hostile, opponent | ժուժեաց aor 3sg ժուժեմ, -եցի to tolerate | աստուածահաճոյ god-pleasing | վարք, -րուց life, conduct, behavior | յարոյց aor 3sg յարուցանեմ, -ուցի to raise up (caus./factit. of յառնեմ յարեայ to rise, get up; on such verbs see Meillet, Altarm. Elementarbuch, § 109) | փորձութիւն temptation | ընկէց (= ընկեաց) aor 3sg ընկենում, -եցի to throw, cast, put | երիտասարդ, -աց young man | դիւական diabolic, demonic (< դեւ, դիւաց demon, devil, spirit; cf. Geo დევი, Syr daywā; all from Iranian, cf. MP dēw demon, devil; NB also dēwānag demonic) | տռփութիւն lust, burning desire | փափաք, -անք desire, wish, longing | սիրէր impf 3sg սիրեմ, -եցի to love | անարատ immaculate, innocent, pure

Եւ յորժամ ելանէր ի տանէն զի երթիցէ յեկեղեցին՝ ի ճանապարհին յոյժ նեղէր զնա եւ խօսէր ընդ նմա բանս փափաքանաց.

ելանէր impf 3sg ելանեմ, ելի to go out, go forth | տանէ abl.sg տուն, տանց house | երթիցէ aor subj 3sg երթամ, չոգայ to go (this verb is suppletive only in the aor ind, not subj; see Meillet, § 177b) | ճանպարհ, -աց way, road, street | յոյժ very, much, considerably | նեղէր impf 3sg նեղեմ, -եցի to press, trouble, annoy, harass | խօսէր impf 3sg խօսիմ, -եցայ to speak, talk | փափաքան of desire, of longing (< փափաք, see above)

եւ յղէր պատգամաւորս բազում խոստմամբ, այսպէս առնէր ի բազում աւուրս։

յղէր impf 3sg յղեմ, -եցի to send, dispatch | պատգամաւոր messenger | խոստումն promise, offer, declaration | այսպէս thus, so, in this manner | աւր, աւուրց day

Եւ ի միում աւուր երանելի կոյսն առաքեաց զաղախինն իւր եւ կոչեաց զերիտասարդն ի տուն իւր. եւ նա խնդայր եւ երթայր ուրախութեամբ, կարծէր եթէ հասցէ ցանկութեանն իւրում։

միում dat/loc.sg մի one | աւուր gen/dat/loc.sg աւր day | երանելի blessed | առաքեաց aor 3sg առաքեմ, -եցի to send, dispatch | կոչեաց aor 3sg կոչեմ, -եցի to call, invite | խնդայր impf 3sg խնդամ, -ացի to rejoice | երթայր impf 3sg երթամ, չոգայ to go | ուրախութիւն rejoicing, joy, pleasure | կարծէր impf 3sg կարծեմ, -եցի to believe, think | հասցէ aor subj 3sg հասանեմ, հասի to reach, arrive | ցանկութիւն desire, pleasure, lust

Եւ յորժամ եկն Վարդենի նստեալ էր յոստայնն իւր եւ գործէր, եւ ասէ ցայրն.

եկն aor 3sg գամ, եկի to come | ոստայն, -ից texture, web, weft (weaving) | գործէր impf 3sg գործեմ, -եցի to work, make, do, fashion | ասէ pres 3sg ասեմ, ասացի to say

Բարի եկիր տէր եղբայր. ընդէ՞ր նեղես զիս եւ չտաս թոյլ երթալ յեկեղեցին ի տանէս իմէ։

եկիր aor 2sg գամ, եկի to come | ընդէ՞ր why? | նեղես pres 2sg նեղեմ, -եցի to press, trouble, annoy, harass | չտաս neg չ- + տաս pres 2sg տամ, ետու to give grant | թոյլ տամ to give leave, permit

Ասէ զնա այրն. Յոյժ ցանկամ քեզ, եւ յորժամ հայիմ ի քեզ՝ ցանկութիւնն որպէս հուր բորբոքի ի սիրտս։

ցանկամ, -ացայ to desire, long for, covet | հայիմ, -եցայ to see, look upon | բորբոք heat, fervor | սիրտ, սրտից heart

Ասէ կոյսն. Եւ զի՞նչ բարի տեսանես յիս՝ զի այնչափ սիրես զիս։

տեսանես pres 2sg տեսանեմ, տեսի to see | այնչապ so much | սիրես pres 2sg սիրեմ, -եցի to love

Եւ ասէ այրն. Աչք քո գայթակղեցուցանեն զիս եւ բորբոքիմ ցանկալ քեզ։

աչք, աչաց eyes (pl. tantum) | գայթակղեցուցանեն pres 3pl գայթակղեցուցանեմ, -ուցի to trip, cause to stumble (caus./factit. of գայթագղիմ/գայթակղիմ to stumble) | բորբոքիմ pres pass 1sg բորբոքեմ, -եցի to kindle, heat, burn

Եւ յորժամ լուաւ Վարդենի եթէ աչքն խաբեն զերիտասարդն, մինչդեռ ի ձեռին ունէր զբարաբն ոստայնին՝ եհար զաչսն իւր եւ կուրացոյց զերկոսեանն, եւ հեղան իբրեւ զջուր երկու բիբք աչացն, եւ անկաւ ի վերայ երեսացն։

լուաւ aor 3sg լսեմ, լուայ to hear | խաբեն pres 3pl խաբեմ, -եցի to cheat, deceive, ensnare, mislead | մինչդեռ when, while | ունէր impf 3sg ունիմ, կալայ to have, hold | բարաբ shuttle | եհար aor 3sg հարկանեմ, հարի to beat, strike (also հարում, հարի) | կուրացոյց aor 3sg կուրացուցանեմ, կուրացուցի to blind (caus./factit. of կուրանամ, -ացի to b/c blind) | երկոսեան acc of երկոքեան both (cf. Meillet, § 81) | հեղան aor m/p 3pl հեղում, հեղի to pour | բիբ, բբի, բբաց pupil (cf. Syr bābtā) | անկաւ aor 3sg անկանիմ, անկայ to fall | երես, -ի, երեսք, երեսաց face

Եւ տեսեալ երիտասարդին զոր արար երանելի կոյսն վասն իւր՝ զահի հարաւ եւ զղջացաւ ի միտս իւր, հրաժարեաց եւ գնաց առ անապատաւոր ծերսն եւ եղեւ ընտիր կրօնաւոր հաճոյ Քրիստոսի։

տեսեալ ptcp տեսանեմ, տեսի to see | արար aor 3sg առնեմ, արարի to do | ահ, ահից fear, terror | հարաւ aor m/p 3sg հարկանեմ, հարի to beat, strike (also հարում, հարի) | զղջացաւ aor m/p 3sg զղջամ, -ացի to repent | միտ, մտի, զմտաւ, միտք, մտաց, մտօք mind, intellect, understanding | հրաժարեաց aor 3sg հրաժարեմ, -եցի to renounce, abstain, desist | գնաց aor 3sg գնամ, գնացի to go | անապատաւոր solitary, hermit, anchorite (< անապատ, -ից/-աց desert) | ծեր, -ոց old, aged, elder | եղեւ aor 3sg եղանիմ to become | ընտիր, ընտրոց/ընտրից worthy, fine, good | հաճոյ, ից aggreable, pleasant; grateful

Իսկ երանելի կոյսն Վարդենի՝ խաւարեալ աչօք՝ այնչափ խիստ կրօնաւորութեամբ հաճոյ եղեւ Աստուծոյ մինչ զի զմահ նորա հրեշտակ Աստուծոյ ազդեաց հարցն յանապատի, զոր երթեալ թաղեցին ի տապանի սաղմոսիւք եւ օրհնութեամբ։

խաւարեալ ptcp (here w/ pass sense) խաւարեմ, -եցի to blind | խիստ, խստից/խստաց hard, severe, strict, austere | կրօնաւորութիւն monastic life, religion, piety | մահ, -ուց death | հրեշտակ, -աց angel (cf. Man.Parth frēštag, MP frēstak [NP firišta]: apostle, messenger, angel) | ազդեաց aor 3sg ազդեմ, -եցի to announce; influence | հարց gen/dat/abl pl հայր father | թաղեցին aor 3pl թաղեմ, -եցի to bury | տապան, -աց large box, coffin, tomb (also Noah’s ark) | օրհնութիւն blessing, benediction, hymn, eulogy

Եւ բազում սքանչելիք եղեն յաւուր հանգստեան նորա։

սքանչելի admirable, wonderful, astonishing, miraculous | եղեն aor 3pl եղանիմ to become | հանգիստ, հանգստեան repose

ET draft

On this day is the feast of God’s maidservant Vardeni.

The maidservant of Christ and the virgin nun Vardeni, by means of dwelling at her home in silence and great asceticism was preserving her soul with fasting, prayer, and wakefulness. From her handiwork she also performed much charity for the poor. But the one who was a foe from the beginning, Satan, hostile to uprightness, did not tolerate such a god-pleasing life: he raised up a temptation against her and put a demonic longing desire into a young man, and he was in love with Vardeni, the pure virgin. And when she would leave her house to go to church, he would harass her a lot on the road and express his desire to her. So he kept sending many messengers with a promise; this he did over several days. One day the blessed virgin dispatched her maidservant and invited the young man to her house, and he was very happy and started out in delight, thinking that he would fulfill his lust. When he had come, Vardeni was seated at work at her weaving, and she said to the man, “Welcome, sir, brother! Why do you harass me and not permit me to go from my home to church?” The man said to her, “I long for you deeply, and when I look upon you, this longing is like a fire burning in my heart!” The virgin said, “And what good thing do you see in me that you love me so much?” The man said, “Your eyes make me stumble, and longing for you is kindled in me.” When Vardeni heard that her eyes had ensnared the young man, she was holding at the time in her hand the shuttle for her weaving: she struck her eyes and blinded them both. The two pupils of her eyes flowed like water, and she fell on her face. The young man, when he saw what the blessed virgin had done because of him, was struck with terror and repented in his mind: he renounced [the world] and went to the old men of the desert and became a worthy monk, pleasing to Christ. As for the blessed virgin Vardeni, with blinded eyes, she became pleasing to God with piety so severe that the angel of God announced her death to the fathers in the desert: they buried her in a tomb [or coffin] with psalms and a benediction, and many astonishing things happened on the day of her repose.

Old Georgian phrases and sentences 57 (Isa 5:22)   Leave a comment

In the previous post we had the word თაფლუჭი. Here is another occurrence of the word in Isa 5:22 (Oshki).

First, the Old Greek has

οὐαὶ οἱ ἰσχύοντες ὑμῶν οἱ τὸν οἶνον πίνοντες καὶ οἱ δυνάσται οἱ κεραννύντες τὸ σικερα

The Old Georgian version reads

ვაჲ ძლიერთა მაგათ თქუენთა რომელნი ღჳნოსა სუმენ, და მძლავრნი იგი თქუენნი <რომელნი> იწდევენ თაფლუჭსა

  • მაგ- is the obl. stem for ეგე
  • სუმ-ენ pres 3pl სუმა to drink (aor 3pl is სუ-ეს, NB no -მ-)
  • მძლავრი strong, mighty
  • ი-წდევ-ენ pres 3pl წდევა to pour
  • თაფლუჭი mead (cf. თაფლი honey)

Until next time, გაგიმარჯოთ! Prost!

Old Georgian phrases and sentences 56 (Lk 1:15)   1 comment

In the foretelling of John the Baptist’s birth, the archangel Gabriel tells John’s father-to-be, Zacharias, that John should abstain from drinking alcohol (Luke 1:15):

ἔσται γὰρ μέγας ἐνώπιον [τοῦ] κυρίου,
καὶ οἶνον καὶ σίκερα οὐ μὴ πίῃ,
καὶ πνεύματος ἁγίου πλησθήσεται
ἔτι ἐκ κοιλίας μητρὸς αὐτοῦ

This is all seemingly simple enough, but I was surprised to find an interesting reading here in one of the Old Georgian versions of the text. Here it is in the Adishi, Pre-Athonite, and Athonite texts (this verse not extant in ms A-89 or Vind. georg. 2):

Adishi რამეთუ იყოს დიდ წინაშე უფლისა და ღჳნოჲ და სათრობელი და იყი არა სუას და სულითა წმიდითა სავსე იყოს მიერვე მუცლით დედისა თჳსისაჲთ.

  • ღჳნოჲ wine
  • სათრობელი intoxicating drink
  • იყი strong drink
  • სუას aor conj 3s სუმა to drink
  • სავსეჲ full
  • მუცელი belly

PA რამეთუ იყოს დიდ წინაშე უფლისა და ღჳნოჲ და თაფლუჭი არა სუას და სულითა წმიდითა აღივსოს მიერვე დედისმუცლით მისითგან.

  • თაფლუჭი mead (cf. თაფლი honey; see excursus below)
  • აღ-ი-ვს-ოს aor conj 3s აღვსება to fill (NB the CV -ი- > to be filled)

At რამეთუ იყოს დიდ წინაშე უფლისა და ღჳნოჲ და თაფლუჭი არა სუას და სულითა წმიდითა აღივსოს მიერვე დედისმუცლით მისითგან.

In addition, here is an image from the Gospel manuscript BnF géo. 28, f. 111v, col. b., ll. 14-20, which is a 13th-cent. witness to the Athonite version:


Here is the text from transcribed from nusxuri into mxedruli and with abbreviations resolved:

რ(ამეთუ) იყოს დიდ წ(ინაშ)ე ო(ჳფლ)ისა და ღჳნოჲ და თაფლოჳჭი არა სუას და ს(უ)ლითა წ(მიდ)ითა აღივსოს მიერვე დედისმოჳცლით მისითგ(ა)ნ.

The Adishi text, then, has three in the list of prohibited drinks, while the Pre-Athonite and Athonite have two, just like the Greek. Furthermore, neither the second nor the third in the Adishi list is თაფლუჭი, which we find elsewhere paired with ღჳნოჲ in the “wine and strong drink” passages of the Bible (e.g. Lev 10:9, Num 6:3). (Of the same root as the second word in the Adishi list, სათრობელი, we see დამათრობელი in Jdg 13:4, which also has ძმარი “vinegar” and ყურძენი “grape”.)

Since, alongside Greek, both Armenian and Syriac enter into discussions of the textual lineage of the Georgian Gospels, I’ll give them both here, too. For Syriac, the Old Syriac (Sinaiticus), the Peshitta, and the Ḥarqlean all have simply ḥamrā w-šakrā lā neštē. In Armenian, this part of the verse reads, գինի եւ աւղի մի́ արբցէ. So the witnesses for this verse in both of these languages give simply a bipartite prohibition, just like the two later Georgian versions, not a tripartite one like that of the Adishi text.


On honey-water, or mead

As pointed out above, the word that stands sometimes in the Georgian versions for σίκερα (traditionally “strong drink”, but probably better, “beer”) is თაფლუჭი “mead”, derived from the word თაფლი “honey”. As is well known, mead is a thing and a word with a long history in at least some Indo-European societies (see Pokorny; Buck, Synonyms, §§ 5.84, 5.91). The modern English “mead” goes back to medu in Old English, where there are many derivatives appearing in Beowulf and elsewhere (all of these in Bosworth-Toller), e.g.

  • medoærn banquet-house, place to drink mead
  • medubenc mead-bench
  • medoburg city of mead-drinkers
  • medudrēam mead-revelry
  • medoful mead-cup
  • medoheal mead-hall
  • meoduscenc mead-draft
  • meodosetl mead-seat
  • medostīg path to the mead-hall

(“Honey” itself in OE is unrelated: hunig; see PIE *kₑnəkó- “golden” in Pokorny.) Here are a few other words of the same origin as this word medu in other IE languages (PIE *médhu-). Sanskrit madhu- was used for sweet drinks, including soma, and in line with Avestan maδu- is the Middle and later Persian may “wine” (Mackenzie 55, Steingass 1357). Greek μέθυ (> μεθύω to be drunk > μεθύσκω to make drunk) is a poetic word for wine; it does not mean “mead”. (The latter is μελίτειον, as in Plut. Quaest. Conv. 672b: καὶ μέχρι νῦν τῶν τε βαρβάρων οἱ μὴ ποιοῦντες οἶνον μελίτειον πίνουσιν. Mod. Gr. has ὑδρόμελι like Latin hydromeli, with derivatives in the Romance languages). In Russian, “honey” is мёд (for the color, cf. медь “copper”). The Slavic words for “bear” derive partly from this root, e.g. Russian медведь (honey-eater; cf. Buck, § 3.73). (In Old Georgian, “bear” is დაფჳ [modern დაფვი], as in 1Sam 17:34 JerLect. The word does not sound dissimilar to თაფლი “honey”: should we posit a direct etymological link?) Note that Chubinov/ჩუბინაშვილი (Грузинско-Русско-Французскій Словаръ/Dictionnaire géorgien-russe-français [Saint Petersburg, 1840], 220) defines თაფლუჭი with “сикера” — σίκερα! — and “медовика”.

Lastly, for one more (non-mead) term for drinks, to return to Lk 1:15, Gothic has

jah wein jah leiþu ni drigkid

The first noun is, of course, “wine”, and the second is cognate with OE līþ, “strong drink” (cf. the first element in German Leithaus).

A short scholion on Scylla and Hydra in Armenian   Leave a comment

Another short passage from ACC 119, f. 348v (cf. this post) is a scholion on Scylla and Hydra, unrelated to the surrounding texts.

ACC 119, f. 348v.

ACC 119, f. 348v.

So it reads,

Գի՛րք ասեն սիկղ՛ եւ հիդրայն ծով<ա>յինք սիկղ՛ն շու՛ն ասի գ գլխի եւ հիդրայն չար եւ՛ս քան զնայ

  • ծովային adj < ծով, -ուց sea
  • շուն, շանց dog

Books say Scylla and Hydra are sea-creatures. Scylla is said to be a dog with three heads, and Hydra to be more dangerous than that.

I have not found in Greek any lines exactly corresponding to these, but for what they’re worth, here are a few loosely related places from Greek literature. (Translations my own.) The following line from Anaxilas (= fr. 22) is quoted in Athenaeus, Deipn. 13.6:

τρίκρανος Σκύλλα, ποντία κύων.

three-headed Scylla, a dog of the sea

The Hydra is canonically described in Ps.-Apoll., Bibliotheca 2.77:

εἶχε δὲ ἡ ὕδρα ὑπερμέγεθες σῶμα, κεφαλὰς ἔχον ἐννέα, τὰς μὲν ὀκτὼ θνητάς, τὴν δὲ μέσην ἀθάνατον.

The Hydra had a huge body with nine heads, eight of them mortal and the middle one immortal.

The Hydra is described as ἀμφίκρανος in Eur., Her. fur. There (1274-1278) Herakles (also mentioning Cerberus) says

τὴν τ᾽ ἀμφίκρανον καὶ παλιμβλαστῆ κύνα

ὕδραν φονεύσας μυρίων τ᾽ ἄλλων πόνων

διῆλθον ἀγέλας κἀς νεκροὺς ἀφικόμην,

Ἅιδου πυλωρὸν κύνα τρίκρανον ἐς φάος

ὅπως πορεὐσαιμ᾽ ἐντολαῖς Εὐρυσθέως.

Having killed the dog with re-sprouting heads all around, the Hydra, Ι completed scores οf countless other toils and reached the dead, to bring to light at Eurystheus’ command Hades’ porter, the three-headed dog.

Hesychius says the Hydra is a water-snake (ὁ ὕδρος ὄφις. οἱ δὲ τὸν χέρσυδρον), and much later a specific description as “wicked” we find in Joannes Tzetzes, Chil. 2.36.263,

Καὶ πεντηκοντακέφαλος ὕδρα τις ἡ κακία.

And a Hydra, the evil with fifty heads.

Finally, the Ps.-Nonnos Scholia (surviving in Greek, Armenian, Syriac, and Georgian) have paragraphs on both creatures: Scholia Inv I 49 (Arm 46 [Manandian, p. 264]) on the Hydra, and 52 (Arm 49 [Manandian, pp. 264-265]), on Scylla. (I hope to offer a post on both of these paragraphs soon.)


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 206 other followers

%d bloggers like this: